Newsletter: Center Focus Fall 2011

To see the full newsletter, click on the image below. 

It is starting to cool off, the students are taking all the parking spots, and the Hokies won their first football games of the season. Therefore, it must be fall in Blacksburg and classes are in full swing. We had an earthquake and hurricane hit the state within one week, which many believe has something to do with our proximity to Wash-ington, D.C. The old Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times,” is considered both a blessing and a curse. One thing is for certain, these are in-teresting times.

It is starting to cool off, the students are taking all the parking spots, and the Hokies won their first football games of the season. Therefore, it must be fall in Blacksburg and classes are in full swing. We had an earthquake and hurricane hit the state within one week, which many believe has something to do with our proximity to Wash-ington, D.C. The old Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times,”  is considered both a blessing and a curse. One thing is for certain, these are in-teresting times.

I wrote in our center annual report that if we listen to the media long enough, we should either hide in a cave or jump off a cliff. However, working with students on campus is refreshing, and they provide hope for our future. In my sales courses, I teach a section on staying positive, and here is a fact that I share during my presentations. Statistics (those numbers we make up to give creditability to what we are about to say) indicate that the average child smiles or laughs 300 times a day before the age of five. The average adult smiles less than 30 times a day. Why the disparity? I believe that children don’t read the news and are not impacted by those around them as much as adults. I personally think this reduction in enjoyment is something we should be extremely concerned about. Of all the indicators of successful leadership, having and showing a positive atti-tude is one of the highest ranked traits (yes, more statistics).

Our industry has changed dramatically in the last four years, with production off by 30 percent or more in most sectors. Yet many firms are expanding operations and new firms are coming into the business. We work in a dynamic, changing, and valuable sector of our economy. Wood is used more than any other resource in the world, and we will continue to utilize more wood in the future. In other words, we are almost guaranteed a market for our efforts. Our job at the center is to train young adults and your employees to be able to compete in this changing landscape. We do this through teaching our students the latest business practices, providing short courses to bring this information to your employees, and conducting research to better understand our markets and business management practices.

Bob Smith
Center’s Director