Center Focus: Spring 2013 Newsletter

Hello Center Members and Friends:

As we get close to spring break on campus (in two weeks) it is im-pressive to see the growth of our program and the energy of the stu-dents this semester. We have 80 students now in our department and many are majoring in Forest Products Business. Firms are al-ready on campus interviewing for summer internships and full-time positions. I think this is a great indicator of our economy’s and the industry’s resurgence. We will graduate around 25 students in the spring, so if your companies are looking for full time employees, please contact us to set up interviews.

On a personal note, last fall our department head in Sustainable Biomaterials stepped down and the dean has asked me to take it on for a while, so I am currently acting as in-terim department head of our program. It is nice to be working regularly with my colleagues in the department again and seeing students on a more regular basis. Students are busy with the Wood Enterprise Institute where they will be designing, manufacturing and marketing 3 different products this year. The packaging science program continues to grow and students are learning to efficiently design and build packaging for the products we ship around the world.

Currently our faculty are working on such items as energy savings in mills, international marketing efforts, lumber use in the pallet industry, secondary manufacturing issues, and a variety of topics in the area dealing with cellulosic chemistry. It always amazes me the breadth of our research areas in the department. But, they all have one common theme: Assisting the forest products industry in the sustainable development and use of our natural resources. Whether it is new products using cellulose, increasing manufacturing efficiencies in your mills, or developing new markets, our research efforts try to assist our industry in increasing its competi-tiveness.

In this newsletter is a listing of upcoming continual education classes, some industry news and a short article on energy savings research that Dr. Quesada and his students are doing in a secondary mill. There still remain a lot of areas in which mills can reduce their energy costs and this research shows another way to tackle the problem. If you have any questions regarding this newsletter or the Center, please feel free to contact me at 540-231-7679 or rsmith4@vt.edu.

To read the full news letter, please follow this link.