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Extension highlights

March 18, 2014 – 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.

SBIO Extension Faculty visits sawmills in Southside Virginia 

Drs. Brian Bond, Henry Quesada, John Bouldin, Elias Severo, and Jianfang Yu visited Hopkins Lumber Contractors and Griffith Lumber Company located in Southside Virginia in middle February. The visit was an opportunity for SBIO faculty to interact with VA entrepreneurs and introduce visiting professors Severo from Brazil and Yu from China to the lumber industry in Virginia. Hopkins Lumber Contractors has recently expanded operations into a new facility in Ridgeway, VA. Soon the company will be able to integrate this new operation with its current location in Critz, VA. Griffith Lumber was in the news about 5 years ago when its facility caught on fire. Today, the company looks renewed and ready to continue to grow and support economic development in the region.

Reducing Energy Consumption Through Lean Thinking:

Presentations and Article Practitioners and academicians can access now pre-recorded presentations on a recently concluded research project led by SBIO extension faculty to demonstrate the impact of lean thinking strategies on energy consumption in wood products industries.


Upcoming Events

Wood Industry Week @ WERC


11 March – 13 March, 2014 - Princeton, WV

Today, given the fierce competition in the marketplace, negotiating power is firmly in buyers’ hands, requiring organizations to execute well to assure business success. This workshop is intended as a refresher course to improve woodworking companies’ effectiveness and efficiency to help them be and remain profitable. This workshop will teach manufacturing managers’ knowledge of proven techniques to analyze their operations, find weaknesses, develop and implement solutions, and to continuously improve their operations to remain competitive. A short refreshing session about the nature of wood will be followed by in-depth material on statistical process control and plant optimization. The workshop discusses how world-class manufacturers achieve their success and how they continuously improve what they do to stay ahead of their competitors. In addition, it offers guidance through the jungle of management buzzwords and discusses the fundamentals of Pareto Analysis, flowcharts, cause-and-effect diagrams, design of experiments (DOE), the Theory of Constraints (TOC), Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and others. In collaboration, these methods help organizations of any kind, any size, and any type to achieve world-class business excellence.

This workshop will prove helpful for management and production personnel from organizations, trade associations, consultants, research and training specialists, educators, and government representatives. For more information please see or contact Urs Buehlmann at or (540) 231-9759.

Category-12 Wood Preservation Re-certification Workshops

Two workshops for those needing category-12, wood preservation, recertification will be held this April. The first will be held in Lexington, VA at the Rockbridge County extension office from 9:00-12:00 the morning of April 1st, the second will be held at Madison Wood Preservers in Madison, VA from 9:00-12:00 on April 2nd. Pre-registration is required, please contact Dr. Bond at (540) 231-8752

Educational Sessions offered for the 2014 Richmond Expo

The Department of Sustainable Biomaterials (SBIO) at Virginia Tech in conjunction with the Virginia Forest Products Association (VFPA) and Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) is offering an educational session on May 15, 2014 as part of the 2014 Richmond Expo organized by VFPA. The educational session is divided in two tracks. The morning track will focus on drying operations and the afternoon track will focus on financial management principles for forest products industries. For more information and registration:

Workshop for Drying Lumber with a Solar Kiln

A course designed to introduce solar lumber drying to the small scale woodworking facility or hobby woodworker will be held on May 30th at Virginia Tech. Information about how to design, modify, build and operate a solar based on the Virginia Tech design will be presented. Solar lumber drying provides a safe and economical way to dry lumber given limited knowledge and experience. For more information or to register:  



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