BLACKSBURG, Va. Oct. 22, 2010-.Virginia Tech’s Center for Forest Products Marketing and Management has merged with the Sloan Foundation Forest Industries Center to create the Center for Forest Products Business.
The center, based in the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, has added new faculty and redefined its focus towards achieving three main goals: preparing students for future employment, conducting research relevant to today’s market, and offering specialized training for the current workforce
The two previous centers, which had similar goals but different audiences — students at the Center for Forest Products Marketing and Management and researchers at the Sloan Foundation Forest Industries Center — have combined to better reflect faculty research as well as attract more students and outside resources.
The newly created center will maintain the Sloan Foundation Forest Industries Center’s academic tie as an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Industry Studies Center, which will connect the Center for Forest Products Business to over 1,200 Sloan Industry Studies Affiliates researching many different types of business issues at major research centers in the United States.
“In collaboration with the Department of Marketing in the Pamplin College of Business, we will provide the tools needed for students to fully understand marketing and business issues as they can be applied to the forest products industry,” said Robert Smith, center director and professor of forest products marketing.
“Our ultimate goal is to have students well prepared in all aspects of business fields as they apply to the forest products industry,” he continued. “We do that in a number of ways: through classroom teaching, engagement and undergraduate research efforts, and experiential learning.”
Assistant Professor Henry Quesada, who has been named the assistant director of the center, will work with faculty and students in meeting the center’s goals. “Students will connect more with industry,” Quesada said. “Getting students out to work with the real challenges in industry and having more industry partners speak to our classes will give students expanded opportunities to learn about what goes on in the forest products industry.”
“Basically, a name is a brand,” Smith explained. “We’d like the Center for Forest Products Business to be the first name that forest products companies think of when it comes to conducting research or hiring employees for the industry.”
Students who have been involved with the centers have a good track record once they enter the business world. “Historically, our students are in middle or upper management positions in their companies within a few years,” Smith added.
In the future, the center will look at strategic management issues within the forest products industry, supply chain management issues, and lean manufacturing as research continues to focus on how to help the forest products industry better compete in a global market. There will also be a greater emphasis on the student-based Wood Enterprise Institute — a one-year, hands-on learning program that provides experiential learning in the classroom.