Over the course of his career, JD Fernstrom has followed his passion for the outdoors. From his
years in the Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACC) to his 18 years with STIHL Northwest, he loves
using STIHL to train and assist those who preserve the beauty of the American Northwest.
In May of 1980, Fernstrom was part of the YACC service crew that responded when Mount St. Helens
erupted. The day of the actual blast, he was visiting friends at a ranger station and heard what he
describes as a sonic boom.
"I could hear it coming down from the canyons so I thought there was somebody dynamiting, or they
were building a road. I got to the ranger station and everybody was running around like their heads
were cut off, saying ‘the mountain just blew."
Although the eruption caused numerous problems for the area, one silver lining for Fernstrom was
that it reunited him with the woman who would eventually become his wife. They had previously
worked together at a ranger station, but separated when Fernstrom was reassigned elsewhere. The
Mount St. Helens blast brought them back together in a working environment.
"She was working one area of the operation, I was working the service side of it. Basically she was
almost like a traffic control person, she would direct helicopters in and out of the blast zone all day."
Today, Fernstrom and his wife are happily married, and he is now able to share his passion for nature
conservation and service with other professionals through his position at STIHL.
As technical services manager, Fernstrom works with STIHL Dealership technicians as well as end
users to answer whatever questions they may have about their product.
"My favorite part of the job is the training that we get to do, whether it's for our Dealer network, with
technicians coming in, or the end users, it really is fun to do that."
Looking back at his career, Fernstrom feels lucky. Whether it was working on the slopes of Mount St.
Helens or at STIHL Northwest, he's worked jobs because he's loved them, not because of money. To
him, that passion is what's important, and that's a passion he shares with STIHL.
*Disclaimer: A majority of STIHL powerheads are built in the United States from domestic and foreign parts and components.