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Meet the Advisory Board: Chuck Folkner

How long have you served on the Advisory Board?

Chuck Folkner
Chuck Folkner

2 years.

Are you part of any committees? If so, what is your role?

I am the chair of the Track 2 (Engineering / Technology / Physical Sciences) Curriculum Committee.

What is your most memorable Osher Institute experience?

It was my first Osher event; a three-day bus field trip of Idaho’s Salmon River geology with Terry Maley.  I knew something about geology, but this was a class that was both wide-ranging and as in-depth as any.  It introduced me to the really, really good questions that Osher members ask and how much fun the interactions with an expert who welcomes those questions can be.

Favorite Osher presentation you have attended thus far?

I especially remember a lecture from BSU football coach Chris Peterson held at the football team’s main hall; I was amazed, first, that he would take time to do it and, second, what a fabulous leader in every sense of the word he is; it was an inspiration.

Are you a Boise native? If not, where are you originally from?

I have a brother who has lived in Boise for 40 years and I visited Boise often.  But I was born in San Diego, raised in Los Alamos, NM and lived in the Seattle area for 30 years before retiring and moving here in 2011.

What is your career history?

My career is mostly a series of accidents.  After degrees in Chemical and Environmental Engineering, I started working in the nuclear field for a few years at Hanford and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The Shipyard, in its infinite wisdom, assigned me to what we would now call an Information Technology project.  That project turned into more projects, which eventually turned into my not going back to my old desk while doing more IT stuff.  After we won the cold war and the Shipyard decided to give lovely parting gifts to then extra, unneeded personnel, I went to do more IT projects that I wasn’t qualified to do at a then relatively small coffee company, Starbucks, where I stayed for 15 years until I retired.  The best job I ever had (that paid nothing), though, was spending four years as a hospice volunteer at Providence Hospice of Seattle; I gained a different perspective on life and learned more from my patients than I ever gave them or could repay.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

Aside from being a bit of a jigsaw puzzle fiend, I mostly dabble in walking the dog, researching things that interest me and listening to classical music.

What are you doing to occupy your time during the stay-at-home order?

On my current reading list is The Body by Bill Bryson and Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.  As part of my research bug, I listen to a fair number of podcasts.  My favorite is NASA JPL’s On A mission