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As a young girl living in Redding, Susan Wyche dreamed of becoming a pilot. Years later as a Dean at Shasta College, Wyche “piloted” an innovative initiative that launched the Heavy Equipment Logging Certificate program with a grant worth $3.2M. On February 6, in recognition of her outstanding assistance to the Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference (SCLC), Dr. Wyche was presented with the Roy Derek Berridge Award. Delbert Gannon, First Vice President–SCLC, and President–Creekside Logging, presented Dr. Wyche with the award during the 2020 Sierra Cascade Logging Expo.
Mr. Gannon on introducing Dr. Wyche had these words to say about her contributions, “Were it not for the open mind, the gift of language, forward-thinking and the ability to harness all of these talents, the logging program could not have taken flight. So, in reality, she [Dr. Wyche] is a pilot…just like she wanted to be as a little girl from Redding. We will be forever grateful for her dedication and vision for training future forest workers.”
As the Dean of the Business, Agriculture, Industrial Technology, and Safety Division at Shasta College Susan Wyche formed the critical partnerships necessary to apply for a Climate Change Initiative (CCI) CAL FIRE Forest Health Grant in partnership with Fall River Resource Conservation District. The fostering of those industry partnerships with companies like Sierra Pacific Industries, Del Logging, Creekside Logging, and Peterson Timber helped launch the Heavy Equipment Logging Operation (HELO) program at Shasta College. This program addresses the new reality of our forests, wildfires, and climate change.
Dr. Wyche said that she was inspired by both the hardworking faculty in the Heavy Equipment program and by the leadership shown from Sierra Pacific Industries and the members of the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference with whom Shasta College had partnered. “We all understood the issue of an aging workforce with no young recruits in the pipeline, and the increased danger in the forests from wildfire.”
Born and raised in Redding, Susan Wyche graduated from Shasta High School and went on to attend Shasta Community College. It was at Shasta College that she was inspired to pursue a degree in English which culminated with her obtaining her Ph.D. in the subject of the same name. Dr. Wyche went on to teach English at San Diego State and Washington State Universities and helped found Cal State Monterey Bay. Ever the entrepreneur, Dr. Wyche had a period where she put aside her cap and gown to open and operate a landscape design business in Hawaii. Prior to transferring back to her home town of Redding to work at Shasta College Dr. Wyche also worked at Maui College as a Special Projects Coordinator and then Director of Grants.
Today, Dr. Wyche is continuing her ecological efforts to help our communities and world as the Chief Operations Officer at Rana Creek Design.