Name: John R. Coiner, Jr.
Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
Born: Too long ago
Education: Mount Pleasant H.S., Wilmington, Delaware;
B.S. Chemical Engineering, M.S. Nuclear Engineering, Virginia Tech
Family: One wife (Janet), one son (Robbie), three cats (Sasha, Sooner, Smoke)
Interests: Wildflowers (duh), computing, astronomy, photography, chaos theory, VT sports
My interest in wildflowers started while I was in graduate school. While hiking the trails around Blacksburg, Va., my wife and I became interested in the local flora. We bought our first Peterson's A Field Guide to Wildflowers so we could identify the flowers we saw while hiking. Soon our hikes turned into wildflower hunts. Being an engineer, I naturally kept records of every flower we identified.
Upon graduation, in 1972, I accepted a job at Babcock & Wilcox in Lynchburg, Virginia. Lynchburg is located in central Virginia on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge mountains. Being in the foothills means the surrounding area has a wide range of habitats from lowland fields to mountain meadows and forests. The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is just a short drive west of town.
Living in such an area, it was only natural that we maintained our interest in wildflowers. After several years I decided that I should start taking photographs of the flowers we identified. The first efforts left something to be desired, but over the years I learned a little and improved. For about an eight-year period, Janet and I could be found on the BRP (and the roads and trails off it) every Saturday and Sunday from April through October. We have identified over 500 different wildflowers and photographed over 350.
With the birth of our son in 1980, our manic drive to identify and photograph every plant in existence was somewhat curtailed. We continue to enjoy the BRP and to identify and photograph wildflowers but are no longer so driven. Over the last several years, I have even managed occasionally to go to the BRP or on trips without packing all of my cameras!
I still work for BWX Technologies in Lynchburg. I have been fortunate in being able to have several different careers within the same company (albeit different organizations or entities). I started as an engineer doing nuclear reactor fuel cycle design and have since held jobs as an international project engineer (Germany and Japan), as a project engineer and project manager for the development of space-based nuclear reactors, as the manager of a computer services and graphics department, and recently as a project engineer for a waste treatment facility being built in the far east of Russia.