Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Alicia Hicks Oral History Interview, June 28, 2018

Oregon State University
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - Early Childhood; Moving Often; Social Challenges;

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Okay, start with your name..

Segment Synopsis: Alicia was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, because her dad was stationed there after his campaign in Vietnam, where he finished out his obligation to the military. Shortly after she was born they moved to Long Beach, California, where they only spent a short amount of time before moving to Longview, Washington. After her parents divorced, she and her mother moved back to Long Beach, then to Lake Tahoe, followed by Idaho, and then back up to Washington in Kennewick. Throughout this period she found sanctuary in the outdoors and spent a lot of time skiing, sledding, and doing various other activities outdoors.
The summer following her sophomore year, she spent a few months with her father, and ultimately wound up staying with him indefinitely. She explains many of the challenges of moving towns and changing schools. It was difficult to establish a core group of friends, but by the time she graduated from high school she had come together with a group of people that got along well.

00:12:40 - Career Aspirations; University of Washington; Working in College;

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What you would do after high school, what were the things in your junior and senior year of high school that you saw as career paths?

Segment Synopsis: At the University of Washington Alicia studied microbiology and considered going to dental school, but by the time she graduated she felt burnt out, and wound up falling into a job. She really enjoyed her time at UW, she loved the fact that there was a big beautiful campus right in the middle of Seattle.
Prior to UW, she attended a junior college in Lacey, Washington for two years. Her coursework at UW was quite vigorous as she moved into the core work of her degree. In addition to her classes, she worked at an Italian restaurant in Seattle to help supplement her income.
She shares a bit about her two younger siblings, her brother and sister.

00:21:33 - Class Composition; Brewing; Working in a Lab; Rainier Brewing;

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Who was in the classes with you? Could you characterize the types of students?

Segment Synopsis: In Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Alicia met a few students who she became good friends with. She explains that in the general sciences the classes were pretty male-dominated, but at the micro level it was fairly 50/50 among genders.
While at UW, nobody Alicia knew was interested in brewing chemistry. It was fairly early in the micro brewery scene, so it wasn't a relevant topic while she was in school.
During her senior year she began working in a lab on campus, and her role continued to expand and she was ultimately offered a position following graduation. Alicia then began working at Rainier in 1996 after she found a posting in the newspaper looking for a microbiologist with an emphasis on fermentation science. She received an interview and was hired on as a brewing chemist.

00:32:49 - Introduction to Rainier; Unionization; Women in Brewing;

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So what was that environment like? What were some of the things that stood out to you when you first got there?

Segment Synopsis: When she was brought on at Rainier it was a union environment. All the brewers and electricians were union, but the brew chemists were not. Because of this, there were strict regulations surrounding what the non union workers were allowed to touch, which could lead to minor conflicts. The working conditions were very strenuous, she mentions times in which she wouldn't have a day off for three straight weeks.
She elaborates on women in the brewing industry, as they had three women working in the lab when she was brought on. She mentions that everyone involved was pretty respectful, and there weren't any conflicts between genders.

00:44:00 - Moving to Bend; Getting Married; Husband's Work; Early Memories of the Lab at Deschutes;

Play segment

Partial Transcript: My cousin was living in Bend, and he told me a position was opening up here for a lab technician...

Segment Synopsis: She and her fiancé at the time took a weekend trip to Bend where she interviewed for a position as a lab technician, and after an extended period of not hearing anything, they finally gave her an offer. They quit their jobs, got married, went on their honeymoon, then returned home to pack up their house and drive down to Bend.
Her husband had worked in International Customer Service that required him to travel all over the world setting up classes and teaching people how to do service work on all the equipment. He didn't have a job for a period of time after the moved to Bend, but he eventually found a job after about 6 months.
Alicia was the first person that was hired as a lab technician. It was tough at first because she had to find stuff to do and keep herself busy due to the continued involvement from the brewers. She moves forward to share her first impression of the city of Bend. She talks about the pace of life, local restaurants, traffic, and weather.

00:53:28 - Rainier to Deschutes; Expanding the Lab; Brewing Community; Favorite Facets of the Job;

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What are some of the differences that you remember between working in that environment at Rainier and coming here?

Segment Synopsis: Alicia notes some of the biggest distinguishing factors in her roles at Rainier and Deschutes. She explains the impacts unionization had on her job at Rainer, and how much more informed she was on the overall direction of the company at Deschutes. As her workload increased and she was unable to keep up, she tells how she was able to get her department to hire another employee to work in the lab with her.
She moves forward to elaborate on the knowledge and intellect of the brewers within Deschutes that helped her expand her understanding the brewing process. She also attended conferences that allowed her to network with other microbiologists, allowing them to learn from another and improve their craft.
More than anything about her job, Alicia really enjoys the people she works with. Given the nature of her department, she comes in contact with many other departments; shipping, packaging, and brewing. This allows her to interact with many different employees throughout the organization.

01:02:49 - Quality Assurance; Packaging; Shift Points; Professional Organizations;

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What are the things that now you are looking for as the company has gotten bigger and the department has gotten more involved?

Segment Synopsis: Alicia now works in the quality assurance department, where their primary focus is determining whether things are within specification. If it is not, they have to determine if it is something they can allow to slide or not. With packaging, they are looking for dissolved oxygen and CO2, and they also inspect how the labels look on the bottles, how the boxes look, and if they bottles are getting rinsed properly among other things.
She then mentions a period of time where the brewing department had some issues and they lost some personnel, as well as how they have had to adjust to the growing size of upper management.
Alicia has been involved in professional organizations such as MBAA, and she details how she is able to expand her network, and listening to presentations where she learns new things she can bring back to the lab to improve their processes.

01:14:24 - Cultural Shift; History of Deschutes; Favorite Beer;

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What milestone in the company has created the greatest cultural shift?

Segment Synopsis: Alicia explains that one of the biggest shifts she has witnessed during her tenure at Deschutes was when quality assurance became its own department by pulling out of the brewing department. This increased their presence within the company, which ultimately expanded their responsibilities and her own duties.
She moves forward to elaborate on the historical significance of Deschutes at 30 years years old. She shares her excitement for the Roanake expansion, as well as the ability to enjoy their brewing at the PDX pub location.
She concludes the interview by sharing her favorite beer, naming Pacific Wonderland, Dissident, and the Sours.