By now, some of you will know that I have chosen to retire from FPInnovations at the end of this summer, after almost 22 years as a research engineer and research manager.
There were a number of reasons for this decision, which was not an easy one. FPInnovations is a great place to work, and I will miss the intellectual stimulation of the day-to-day contact with staff. However, the reasons for leaving eventually overcame those for staying.
First, if you have read earlier posts on this blog, you will know that I lost my wife, Mary, to cancer early in 2014. Since then, several other close friends and family members have also been hit with life-changing medical issues; some are still fighting, some have overcome the challenges, but not all have survived. I have learned from that experience that life is short, and that you should not wait to pursue your dreams. I do not want to work to age 65 or beyond, only to fall sick shortly after retiring. This is fine if your career is all you want to do, but not so good if you have other plans.
Second, many of the projects I was involved in at FPInnovations are at major transition points. Having brought a given project to a major milestone, it is now time to select a direction and strategy for the next phase, typically of 3 to 5 years duration. The question was whether I was willing to commit for 3 to 5 years; I didn't feel right, committing the research program to a long term path, only to retire a year or two later and leaving my successor to live with my choices. I decided that this would be a good time to step back and hand the controls over to keen, young professionals who will have the opportunity to take on a major challenge, select the path forward, and prove their capabilities, build a career and forge a reputation on a solid platform of new bio-product development.
On the other hand, I do not intend to sit around and watch the grass grow. Among the plans: cycling, traveling, playing with my granddaughters, learning photography and music, building model cars, the list goes on. Furthermore, I intend to stay connected and active in the field of bio-products and bio-chemicals, especially from wood, with this blog as a part of that ambition. In this context, I will shortly be updating my LinkedIn profile.
With a renewed focus on climate change, in Canada and around the world, there should be plenty of things to talk about. I am looking forward to building the dialog with you.
Thomas C. Browne, ing., Ph.D.