Important Tour and Cleanup

On July 28, 2020, CNRE Dean Dr. Paul Winistorfer and SBIO Department Head Dr. Ching-Hsun Huang led a tour of the Brooks Forest Products Center and its labs for Dwayne Pinkney, Virginia Tech’s Senior Vice President for Operations and Administration, Bryan Garey, VT’s Vice President for Human Resources, and Blane Harding, VT’s Director of Diversity Engagement, Office of Inclusion and Diversity and the university’s liaison to CNRE on July 28, 2020.

The purpose of the visit was to show the new VT leadership SBIO’s unique facilities and the various programs that can only be found at the Brooks Center. Pinkney (2018), Garey (2018), and Harding (2020) are all new to Virginia Tech within the last couple years and none of them had the opportunity to visit the SBIO facilities before the tour in July. Our faculty contributed to the success of the tour by meeting with the visitors in their respective labs and showcasing the teaching and research efforts that are conducted in each space. All of the new, hi-tech equipment as well as the good, old fashioned, hands-on, experiential learning that happens in Brooks Center laboratories were highlighted by Drs’ Hindman, Bush, Kline, Hammett, Mr. Molina and others during their presentations.

Paul Winistorfer, Dwayne Pinkney, Blane Harding, and Bryan Garey

Photo: In the William H. Sardo Jr. Pallet and Container Research Laboratory (commonly called “the pallet lab”),  taken in front of the unit load tester and the incline impact tester, left-to-right, Paul Winistorfer, Dwayne Pinkney, Blane Harding, & Bryan Garey.

To prepare for their visit, a major clean-up of the 45-year-old building and labs were required. Two huge dumpster loads of trash were removed, numerous bee hives disturbed, and 5 bee stings were received - all while working in the extreme heat (remember we had that record-breaking streak of thirty-plus 90degree days over the summer!). Matt Hixon, Nathan Dalton, and David Jones (with assistance from a few faculty members and one helpful graduate student) were able to complete the major feat of making the Brooks Center presentable in less than two weeks. 

David Jones cleaning the floor

Photo: Here is David Jones, working hard to clean the floor in one of the labs.

It should be noted that the package testing labs in the Brooks Center already practice routine organization and cleaning in their laboratories so no major preparation was needed on their part for this tour. Because those labs exist in a constant state of preparation and cleanliness, clean-up efforts were able to be focused on other problem areas of the building. And, the entire building was tour-ready for our visiting dignitaries prior to that Tuesday morning visit.

The SBIO staff is always working hard to maintain and create an inviting learning environment. Even prior to the tour, there were new student-centered spaces being created for studying and use in attending virtual classes. There are new study nooks like the one under Wonjung Jung’s “Goodness and Mercy” painting. Another of the spaces highlighted on the tour was the new patio furniture on the deck by the little pond in the back courtyard of the Brooks Center. 

Picture painted by Ms. Wonjung Jung, Instructor, SBIO

Photos: Brooks study nook created with a view of the courtyard and livened up with Wonjung Jung’s painting of a fold-out packaging design with “Goodness and Mercy” worked into the flaps.

Julia Barbosa, undergraduate student
Angela Rara

Photos: Brooks Center also is offering a new study space for our students!  In these pictures, Julia Barbosa (Packaging undergraduate) and Angela Rara (Graduate Student) are enjoying our new outdoor patio furniture.

We are proud of the SBIO department’s ability to work together as a cohesive team to achieve the polishing of the Brooks Center for this important tour. A huge pat on the back and thank you goes out to everyone involved in helping to clean and organize the building. This effort proved that, even while everything is consumed with COVID, we can have unity in working towards a common goal.  It was due to everyone’s combined efforts that the day was a success and was even called the ‘highlight of his summer’ by our college’s dean!

Here are only some of the things achieved prior to the tour:

·         Dan Hindman led the clean-up of the Engineering Lab with the help of graduate student Angela Rara. 

·         Earl Kline and Bob Bush cleaned the Innovation Lab.

·         Matt Hixon and Nathan Dalton pressure washed the front and back decks of the Brooks Center building.

·         David Jones and Nathan Dalton cleaned up the Metal Shop and the Wood Shop.

The tour took the group through all of the main labs in the Brooks Center:

Bob Bush, Blane Harding, Dwayne Pinkney, & Bryan Garey
Paul Winistorfer, Earl Kline, Dwayne Pinkney, and Blane Harding
Dwayne Pinkney, Dan Hindman, and Blane Harding
Paul Winistorfer, Earl Kline, , Dwayne Pinkney, Blane Harding,, & Bryan Garey
Bryan Garey, Paul Winistorfer, Blane Harding, Dan Hindman, and Dwayne Pinkney, & Bryan Garey
Dwayne Pinkney, Bryan Garey, and Eduardo Molina

Below are compliments that Dr. Huang received from our visitors:

From Dwayne:


I very much appreciate the warm reception that you, Dean Winistorfer, and the team provided us earlier today.  I expected to be impressed by what I would see but my expectations were exceeded.  It’s so encouraging to see what our faculty colleagues are doing and how students are incorporated into the work. 

I look forward to staying abreast of developments in the College and the exciting work at the Brooks Center and Center Woods facilities.

Many thanks,


From Blane:

Thank you very much and the visit was awesome!  Much appreciated.

From Bryan:

Paul, Ching, and Joel - Many thanks for a great morning.  This morning was a real treat and I am inspired by your great work.

From Paul:

The tour was the highlight of my summer.   We had an excellent tour of the labs. Our guests were impressed.

Picture of bottle refill station

Photo: We are very pleased to have drinking water at the Brooks Center.  A big thank you to Dr. Huang for all of your efforts in getting us water again!

Engineering lab after cleanup

Photo: Thanks to Dan Hindman, Angela Rara, Matt Hixon, and Nathan Dalton the Engineering Lab looks amazing! But don’t let all the empty space whet your appetite - all of that free space will be used again with various timber engineering projects already in the works.

Wood shop after cleanup
Wood shop after cleanup 2
Metal shop after cleanup

Photos: Thanks to David Jones and Nathan Dalton the wood shop and metal shop look awesome!  Enjoy the organization of these labs while you can though! As you know, these are both spaces that are very hard to maintain order in because of the nature of the business!

Back of Brooks picture 1
Back of Brooks picture 2
Back of Brooks picture 3

Photos:  Clean spaces outside of the Brooks Center.  It may be hard to appreciate the improvements to the back of the building, if you hadn’t been out there in a while; however, there were a lot of old pallets and other unit load debris.  These pictures show huge improvements!