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Fall 2016 SBIO Newsletter

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Download SBIO Newsletter Fall 2016
COVER: 2016 WEI Entrepreneurial Scholarship recipients. From left to right the students are: Jalen Hill, Steven Morrissette, Danitza Rodriguez, William Bagby, Landon Holbert, Alex Keith, Jonathan Stutesman, Ethan Blye. Photo by Earl Kline.

Hello from your department

By Bob Smith
It is hard to believe that another year has passed and we just welcomed 140 students back to our department. We currently have the largest undergraduate enrollment in the department’s 37 year history and the largest incoming freshman enrollment at 18.  We graduated over 25 students in May, with most of them finding employment within the profession.  Many of the students had summer internships with our industry partners.  The department remains committed to have our students prepared to “hit the road running” when they graduate, and internships are vital for them getting experience in the industry.

Packaging students gain national recognition

By Robert Bush
A group of Packaging Systems & Design students have been recognized by the Paperboard Packaging Alliance for their entry into the 2016 Student Design Challenge.  The student entry placed in the top three among 72 entries from packaging and design programs across North America.

SBIO delivers summer camp training for various High School groups in Bioenergy

By Henry Quesada
August, 2016. Blacksburg, VA. The Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech participated in the delivery of hands-on educational activities to over 150 High School students of various High School programs during Summer 2016. A total of 100 Governor ́s School for Agriculture students visited the Brooks Forest Products Laboratory from June 27-30, 2016 to learn about bioenergy and solar energy. SBIO owns and operates a small-scale syngas power plant capable of producing 10,000 watts/hour. The power plant feeds on biomass, specifically hardwood and soft- wood chips.

Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc. (AHMI) Summer Conference.

By Audrey Zink-Sharp
This year’s AHMI summer conference was held at the Greenbrier, White Sulphur Spring, West Virginia, on July 25 and 26.  In addition to AHMI members, several forest products industry association leaders were in attendance including the National Hardwood Lumber Association, the American Hardwood Export Council, Wood Component Manufacturers Association, Hardwood Manufacturers Association, Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, and the Hardwood Federation.

SBIO at IWF Atlanta, 2016

By Gaurav Kakkar
The International Woodworking Fair (IWF), 2016 hosted at Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia from August 24- 27 was a perfect venue showcasing the industry. Scheduled every two years, it is one of the top woodworking trade shows in the world for the furniture manufacturing, architectural woodworking, and custom and general woodworking industries with over 1000 exhibitors. This was a perfect venue for suppliers, manufactures, innovators and entrepreneurs to see the latest advancements in the industry.

2016 Fall Semester Starts with SBIO welcome party and Gobblertfest

By Young Kim
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016 a Sustainable Biomaterials BBQ was held outside of Cheatham Hall. The SBIO and Packaging Systems and Design Club provided the main entrees and lawn games as students provided side dishes and drinks. Many forward to this coming semester. Exciting events this semester that were discussed are hiking trips, ice cream socials, and especially Pack Expo.


Department receives grant to evaluate the production of eco-friendly surfactants from biofuel manufacturing side streams

By Maren Roman
A team of researchers, led by Prof. Maren Roman, of the Virginia Tech Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, and including Prof. Joseph Bozell, of The University of Tennessee’s Center for Renewable Carbon, and Dr. Edward Bilek, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory, was recently awarded a grant by the Southeastern Sun Grant Center to explore the potential technological and economic benefits of the production of high-value surfactants from biofuel manufacturing side streams.

D. Earl Kline named Charles Blakeslee Nettleton Faculty Fellow

By Lynn Davis
D. Earl Kline, professor of wood process control in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech, has been named the Charles Blakeslee Nettleton Faculty Fellow in Forest Products by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Professor was awarded an August-Wilhelm Scheer visiting professorship at the Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM), Germany

By Barry Goodell
Professor Barry Goodell was awarded an August-Wilhelm Scheer Visiting Professorship at theTechnische Universität München (TUM), Germany this year.  Professor Klaus Richter at TUM nominated Goodell, and also served as an excellent and friendly host for Goodell’s visit.

Richard Bonsi accepts faculty position

By Tom Hammett
One of Dr. Tom Hammett’s PHD students, Richard Bonsi, has been working in his native Ghana as Managing Director, Bonstech Sustainability and Management Experts (BSME), and serving as the Regional Director for West Africa with Scienti c Certi cation Systems (SCS) Global Services in Accra.

The 2016 Wood Enterprise Institute Entrepreneurial Scholarship Recipients

By Earl Kline
The vision of the Wood Enterprise Institute (WEI) is to be recognized as a leading student learning environment for entrepreneurship.  To achieve this vision, the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Sustainable Biomaterials and the Whitehurst family instituted the WEI Entrepreneurial Scholarship program in 2015.

Students Give New Life to Grove White Oak

By Earl Kline
The 2015-2016 Wood Enterprise Institute (WEI) team found a way that allows the Grove tree and its historical significance to live on as a custom hand-crafted table.

Meet our new students for the Fall Semester

By Angela Riegel
We are very happy to welcome five new graduate students to the department this semester.

New staff member

By Angela Riegel 

    Matt Hixon
We are pleased to announce that Matt Hixon has joined our department as a lab and maintenance technician. Matt Hixon joined the department on July 11 as a Lab Technician. Matt was born and raised in the New River Valley. He is a United States Marine Corps veteran with two combat deployments. He lives in Pilot, Virginia with his wife and young daughter. Matt is excited about his position at the university and looks forward to all the opportunities that come his way.

SBIO Extension

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.



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