Extension highlights The wood products industry in Virginia is a critical contributor to the economy of the state, an industry represented by more than 1,000 primary and secondary industries and over $25 billion in economic impact. The Department of Sustainable Biomaterials (SBIO) at Virginia Tech is one of the leading U.S. academic programs in the … Continue reading “SBIO Newsletter. Volume 3, Number 1.”
The wood products industry in Virginia is a critical contributor to the economy of the state, an industry represented by more than 1,000 primary and secondary industries and over $25 billion in economic impact.
The Department of Sustainable Biomaterials (SBIO) at Virginia Tech is one of the leading U.S. academic programs in the field of renewable materials with a focus on cellulosic materials such as wood products. Besides research and teaching efforts, SBIO has an important role in dissemination of new knowledge in the area of renewable materials through SBIO’s three extension specialists.
Click here to download the most recent SBIO newsletter.
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 email@example.com
From June 30 to July 7, 2013 Dr. Henry Quesada, assistant professor at the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech, traveled to China to attend the 2013 International Furniture Fair in Chengdu. The trip is part of the research project “Analysis of Factors Impacting the International Value Chain of Hardwood Products: A Comparison between Asia and Western Europe” funded by the U.S Department of Agriculture. The goal of the project is to examine value chains in mature markets for American hardwoods. In many of these markets there is a high demand for low-valued added products such as hardwood logs and only a small portion of higher value-added products such as kiln-dried lumber, dimension lumber, veneer, and furniture is imported fro the U.S. The research specifically is looking into cultural, technical, logistics, and economic aspects that drive importers to prefer low value-added rather than high-valued added products.
Chengdu is located about 1,100 miles west of Shanghai and it is considered the most important city in Western China with a total population of 14 million people (fourth largest city in China). The city has developed into a friendly and welcoming investing destination for international companies. Already an important furniture cluster, local producers are focusing more on the production of solid wooden furniture for the local market given the increasing economic power of the middle class in China. The biggest problem for local furniture producers continues to be the lack of local supply of high quality hardwoods, hence; producers have turned their eyes to American hardwoods as a reliable source of raw materials.
During his trip to Chengdu, China, Dr. Quesada had the opportunity to interview local furniture manufacturers and lumber brokers and ask fundamental questions related to the importation of American hardwoods and other species from other countries. Current importers of American hardwood products indicated that the most important factor when selecting a new supplier from the U.S. is consistent quality and second factor is the price. Other important aspects that Chinese importers consider when buying from American hardwoods suppliers are packaging, availability of species, and customer support. Most importers also indicated that more information about American hardwoods is needed, as local furniture producers know little about American species properties, dimensions, and grading systems.
If you would like to learn more about international marketing opportunities for Appalachian hardwood producers, please contact Dr. Henry Quesada at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blacksburg, VA. May 31, 2013. Dr Henry Quesada from the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech and Dr. Eva Haviarova from the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University jointly organized a workshop in International Marketing for Forest Products Industry. The workshop was delivered in May 28, 2013 at the Vincennes University campus in Jasper, IN with a total attendance of 18 participants from the furniture industry and state and government agencies.
Jasper is located in southern Indiana, a place where manufacturing is the key economic development driver for the region. There are many furniture industries that have manufacturing operations in Jasper, most of them kitchen cabinet and office furniture. Although this particular industry places most its production in the local market, there is a growing interest in exploring possibilities in international markets.
As a way to educate and provide leads on international opportunities, this workshop brought together an outstanding pool of experts from industry, goverment, and the academic sectors. Mr. Mike Cooper, from the US Commercial Service, provided participants with directions on how to conduct a succesfull international marketing plan. Mr. Mike Seidl, from the IDNR, gave insights and leads on main international markets for kitchen cabinets and office furniture, and Mr. Steve Klinger, from Cargo services, provided critical information on logistics issues. Dr. Henry Quesada also presented and focused on main principles governing international marketing. The workshop was introduced by Dr. Eva Haviarova who reviewed the connection between the housing market and the furniture industry.
Thirty four percent of the participants evaluated the workshop as excellent and 66% as good. If you wish to have more information on current research on international marketing for forest products industry, please contact Dr. Henry Quesada at email@example.com