I am not sure how to start this letter for 2020. These are unprecedented times and I know your organization has been greatly impacted by this pandemic, just as we have at Virginia Tech. From a marketing viewpoint, nothing really makes sense. Hardwood lumber production is down, housing is up, and softwood lumber prices hit record highs this year. Exports are down and imports are down. We all are getting fatigued of various lockdowns and the daily reminder of how many people are sick, or what small business in our neighbored had to close its doors due to Covid-19. Yet, the economy keeps plugging away behind all the masks. The positive side of this is businesses are finding new ways to satisfy customer needs which will help them in the future and new businesses are being created that will serve us better after this pandemic has passed.
It is hard to believe that another year has passed and we welcomed 160+ students back in late August. Many of you have hired them for summer internships. When we visit with you during the student interviews, internships are one of the major factors’ employers are looking for when they hire new permanent workers. There is no substitute for good experiences in your mills or offices. We again thank you for helping our students gather this valuable experience. We currently have one of the largest undergraduate enrollments in the department’s 40+ year history. We virtually graduated over 50 students last May, with many of them finding employment within our industry.
As I mentioned last year, I have stepped down as Department Head the end of 2019 in preparation for my retirement. The Department hired Dr. Ching Huang from the Northern Arizona State University’s Forestry College. She started in January and unfortunately was hit dealing with the pandemic as part of her first duties. She is a Forest Economist by training, so she has a business background.
I want to thank you for your continued support of our programs. I hope you will contact us with your needs for employees or summer interns. Many of our classes have projects and if you need a short specific project investigated, please contact me and I will see if we can work it into a class. Please feel free to contact me with any comments or suggestions to improve the program (firstname.lastname@example.org). Again, thanks for your support of our students and I wish you a successful year.
2019 Annual report of the Center for Products Business
from your Center,
It is hard to believe that another year has passed and we will soon be welcoming 175 students back to our department. Many of you have hired them for summer internships and I want to thank you for helping us with their education. The department remains committed to have our students prepared to “hit the road running” when they graduate, and your internships are vital for them getting experience in the forest products industry. We currently have one of the largest undergraduate enrollment in the department’s 40 year history. We graduated over 50 students last May, with most of them finding employment within the industry.
As you are probably aware, the new
generation of student (and future employee) is somewhat different than when I
started in the industry in 1974. While
the baby boomer generation was interested in finding a long-term career and
moving up the ladder, students today have different goals (and maybe
better). They are more concerned about
social responsibility, sustainability, serving society, and participating in
decision making, than the bottom line on the balance sheet. They tend to stay with companies for less
time and are more mobile than my generation.
To help meet this changing need, the department hired a new faculty in
the area of the circular economy that started this August. She will be focusing on the life-cycle
analysis and recycling as it applies to the biomaterials’ industry. I share this with you to let you know we are
adjusting our departments’ instructional techniques and classes to meet this
new student. Our classes focus on
hands-on learning techniques and team building skills so they know how to
effectively work with others in a job environment. Repeatedly, when we ask employers what do
students need to be successful, it is their social, leadership, communication,
and organizational skills that rate higher than their technical skills to be
successful in your organizations.
On a personal note, in preparation for my retirement in 2021, I am stepping down at Department Head the end of this year. There is currently a job search being conducted to find my replacement. We hope to have someone in place by January. It has been an honor to serve in this role for seven years, and now I must plan for my next adventure in life. I want to thank you for your continued support of our programs. I hope you will contact us with your needs for employees or summer interns. Many of our classes have projects and if you need a short specific project investigated, please contact me and I will see if we can work it into a class. Please feel free to contact me with any comments or suggestions to improve the program (email@example.com). Again, thanks for your support of our students and I wish you a successful year.
By Henry Quesada, firstname.lastname@example.org Sustainable housing is one of the fundamental necessities for socio-economic development. Yet a considerable population of the developing world is living in substandard houses. On the other hand, developed countries like the United States have substantially improved the residential construction sector by engineering new materials and developing efficient systems. This study … Continue reading “FSMIP/USDA project report on wooden social housing in Latin America”
By Henry Quesada, email@example.com
Sustainable housing is one of the fundamental necessities for socio-economic development. Yet a considerable population of the developing world is living in substandard houses. On the other hand, developed countries like the United States have substantially improved the residential construction sector by engineering new materials and developing efficient systems.
This study attempts to link this supply capacity of the system built wood construction sector in the United States to urban low-income housing markets in the Latin-American region. Expansion to new markets and diversification to new products can rejuvenate this industry in the U.S. Linking the manufacturer with potential buyers overseas would need efficient production, logistics and marketing systems. This research is focused on product development for bottom-of-the pyramid buyers to give them an affordable yet sustainable alternative to traditional systems. Interviews and survey tools were used to assess key aspects of housing deficits in target demographics of the South and Central American regions. System built wood construction manufacturers in the U.S. were assessed to identify barriers and incentives for internationalization and how they differ from exporting to non-exporting manufacturers within the same industry. Findings indicate that developing products for social housing programs can provide access to potential untapped markets. Lack of existing wood construction in some of the selected markets indicates the possibility of resistance to acceptance but also assures no local competition. The learnings can also contribute to opening of new markets for exports of prefabricated wooden buildings in other housing sectors.
Center Members and Friends: This year marks the 35th anniversary as an independent department in the College of Natural Resources and Environment that focuses on the efficient management and utilization of our natural resources. Established in 1979 as the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products with 4 faculty, our department has grown to 16 … Continue reading “2013-2014 Annual Center Report”
Center Members and Friends:
This year marks the 35th anniversary as an independent department in the College of Natural Resources and Environment that focuses on the efficient management and utilization of our natural resources. Established in 1979 as the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products with 4 faculty, our department has grown to 16 faculty and over 130 undergraduate and graduate students. In 2012 we changed our name to the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials to better reflect our faculty’s expertise and to broaden our appeal to a changing student population. In the past 35 years, the Commonwealth has moved from primarily a rural population to an ever expanding urban population. It is estimated that over 75% of our citizens and students now live in urban areas. Historically, a large portion of our departments’ students came from rural areas where they were regularly exposed to our natural resources and the importance of the forest products industry to Virginia. This is not necessarily true with today’s incoming students. We know that the forest products industry is the leader in the sustainable management of our natural resources. Our new name is meant to reflect that to our incoming students, and attract them to the great careers that this industry holds for them.
2014 also marks the establishment of two separate degree programs in the department. The Sustainable Biomaterials degree (which reflects our past Wood Science option) remains to focus on teaching the fundamentals of the processing, manufacturing, drying and marketing of wood and other biomaterials. These includes lumber manufacturing, secondary processing, wood based composites and other natural resource based chemical industries, wood engineering, domestic and international marketing of forest products and business management as it applies to our forest products industry. The second degree is in Packaging Systems and Design. Packaging and pallets remain the largest use of wood fiber in the country and this program is one of only six offered in the U.S. This program emphasizes the importance the sustainable use of packaging materials, how packaging can enhance product performance and markets, and how new uses of wood fiber can be used to replace petroleum based plastics. Our undergraduate program currently has over 90 students, with 15-20 graduating each spring. Nearly all students find jobs in manufacturing, quality control, research, marketing or sales.
Your center has had a good year. Our faculty accomplishments are listed later in this report. The Center is in its 22nd year thanks to your continued support. We awarded over $20,000 of scholarships in the fall of 2013 and will award nearly that amount again in fall of 2014. We remain one of the largest forest products program in the United States. We have updated our website to provide more information, so please visit us at http://www.cfpb.vt.edu I thank you for your continued support of our center. If there is anything I can do, please feel free to contact me at 540-231-7679 or firstname.lastname@example.org