Helping run her family’s logging business in Patten, Maine, Shelbe Lane ’13 is getting plenty of practical experience to complement the business theory she is learning in her classes.
“I started helping out in the office when I was 13,” says the Maine Business School junior who adjusts her class schedule so she can spends two days a week doing office work at K.R. Lane Logging Inc., which thins forests, hauls logs to paper companies, transports wood chips – or biomass – to energy plants, and supplies firewood to community residents.
“I fill out the tally sheets indicating the types of trees that were hauled, where they were hauled, and who hauled them,” says Lane. “I also file the taxes, deal with insurance companies, and do just about everything else that’s needed.”
Lane says she enjoys helping with the family business. “I like trouble shooting, and dealing with people. I like the variety of work, too. There’s always a new challenge. It’s very gratifying to be the person people call when there’s a problem. Early on, when the foresters and contractors would call my Dad with a question, he’d tell them, ‘call Shelbe.’ Now, they call me first. I know my Dad is very proud of me for being able to handle these situations. I’m glad I can help so he doesn’t have to deal with it and can concentrate on his work in the forest.”
A former Miss Maine National Teenager and fifth runner up for National Pre-Teen Princess in 2003, Lane is an ambitious, motivated student who aims to earn her business administration degree in three years. A member of the Honors College, she makes the most of every minute at the University of Maine. Traveling three hours a day to and from Orono provides a valuable opportunity to “unwind and reboot,” she says. “With as many credits as I take to compact my degree to three years, my focus always has to be on school. My driving time allows me some downtime in which I don’t have to think about schoolwork until I get home and begin my next assignment.”
Meanwhile, she has become interested in the logging industry and how it plays an integral role in the health of the environment. When loggers thin out a crowded forest, it is less likely to be devastated by disease. Also, older trees are taking up nutrients that could be used by younger trees to grow stronger and taller. By converting thinning trees into woodchip biomass, loggers help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the risk of wildfires. Researchers are working on technology to convert biomass into liquid fuels for transportation which will reduce pollution and our dependence on oil.
Lane’s career goal is to work as a human resources specialist at an energy company in Maine. “It’s a way to merge my interest in the forest industry with the talent I believe I have to deal effectively with people,” says the management major who aims to earn an MBA in human resources through an on-line program. Her MBS education is paving the way for a successful career, according to Lane, who says her classes “broaden my views of the business world”.
“As a manager, you need to have a background in all aspects of business – finance, accounting, and marketing – so you can do any of the tasks you designate to others. I have especially enjoyed Professor Martha Broderick’s class in business law. Since human resources is all about the law, her class has been a great first step for me and has solidified my desire to work in this field. I like that she expects a lot from us and emphasizes the importance of being dedicated to the quality of our work.”
Image Description: Shelbe Lane