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Extension highlights

April 26, 2016 –  

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 and BSE extension specialists joined efforts to support education and vocational training in Nicaragua


Students at the TVET school in Wawashang, Nicaragua explain to USAID mission employees how they produce organic fertilizer using composting techniques. Students at the TVET school in Wawashang, Nicaragua explain to USAID mission employees how they produce organic fertilizer using composting techniques.

Extension specialists John Ignosh from the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Henry Quesada from the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials both at Virginia Tech traveled to Nicaragua last October 2015 to document efforts on technical and vocational education and training (TVET). The project is funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the grant Innovation for Agricultural Training and Education (InnovATE) that is led by the Office for International Research, Education and Development (OIRED) at Virginia Tech.

Ignosh and Quesada visited a TVET school located in Wawashang in the Atlantic Coast in Nicaragua. The TVET program is managed by FADCANIC, a non-profit Nicaraguan organization funded mostly through the Norwegian Agency for Development and Cooperation (NORAD) and USAID. The goal of this project to developed a case study of the TVET school. During a previous visit to the TVET school, Quesada realized that the school model could be expanded to other countries where agroforestry education is much needed. In addition, Quesada and Ignosh are conducting an alumni survey of the TVET school to understand better the long-term impacts of TVET education.

Upcoming Events

Educational Session at the 2016 Expo Richmond

Taking Advantage of Current Trends, Market Opportunities and Improvements

Thursday, May 12, 2016
Richmond, VA

8:00-9:00am -The Housing Market, its impact on the Wood Products Industry, and opportunities- Urs Buehlmann

This session will focus on the current state of the housing market and discuss its future. The U.S. private construction market generates, with roughly $750 billion per year, approximately 5% of U.S. GDP and if housing services are included it accounts for about 18 percent of U.S. GDP.  An estimated $360 billion is spent on residential construction, four-fifths (on a Dollar basis) on single-family homes (700,000 units/year) and one-fifth on multi-family homes (350,000 units/year).  The residential building market is of outmost importance to the U.S. wood industry, with an estimated 70 percent of softwood and more than 50 percent of the appearance hardwood harvest going to this market.  

9:00am – Building Bigger :  New Market Opportunities in Massive Timber– Dan Hindman

Massive timber is a new class of wooden building materials including cross laminated timber and nail laminated timber.  Current production in the United States is limited, but growth and interest in the engineering and architecture community continues to grow.  This presentation will discuss what massive timber is and what market opportunities for softwood and hardwood lumber are available

10:00:10-15 Break

10:15-11:15 - Hardwood Exports: Current State and Opportunities – Mike Snow (TBD)

11:15-12:00: The Pallet Story – Hardwood and Softwood Use, Recovery/Repair/Recycling, and Greenness Opportunities – Phil Araman

This session will cover information on wood material use and pallet production and will focus on ways to minimize production waste from pallet cants and parts while producing better pallets. Pallet recovery, repair, and recycling techniques and numbers will be discussed. Ways to to be certified by an international environmental group for recycled pallets will be covered.

1:00- 3:00 - Identifying and measuring waste in your supply chain- Henry Quesada

Measuring waste in your manufacturing process is a critical activity to increase production efficiencies and customer satisfaction levels. However, little has been developed to adopt lean management tools to the entire supply chain. In this presentation we will explain how to use value-stream mapping, a key tool in lean management, to quantify and analyze waste in your supply chain in wood products industries.

3:30- 3:45- Break

3:45- 5:00 – Meeting Your Customer’s Needs: Improving Your Lumber Drying Quality – Brian Bond

Regardless of your position in the value chain, logger, sawmill, drying facility or secondary producer, many aspects of wood quality and customer satisfaction are related to the drying process. This session will focus on achieving the best final moisture content, proper moisture content spread, prevention of warp,  stain, and other drying quality issues.

For more information and registration please visit the web page:


2016 Spring Newsletter cover


Spring 2016

Upcoming Events

Current Trends, Market Opportunities and Improvements for Wood Products Industries
Thursday, May 12, 2016 Richmond, VA

For more information and registration please visit the Center for Forest Products Business website.



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To help you explore your interest in any of the degrees, we recommend trying some of our introductory courses:

Packaging Science

Sustainable Biomaterials


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