Robert L. “Bob” Smith of Christiansburg, Va., associate dean of engagement in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, has been appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack to the Forestry Research Advisory Council, representing the interest area of forestry schools and state agricultural experiment stations.

“It is an honor to be chosen,” said Smith. “The committee assists the agriculture secretary in deciding forest research policy for the nation. As research funding becomes reduced and more targeted, having an input on the direction of future research efforts is important for our educational community.”

The council consists of between 16 and 20 voting members who represent a broad spectrum of interests and expertise; council members are selected from federal and state agencies, forestry schools and institutions, and volunteer public groups across the country. Smith will serve a three-year term on the council.

As well as being the first associate dean of engagement for the college, Smith is director of the Center for Forest Products Business, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Industry Studies Center. The center, a cooperative effort between the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, government agencies, and industry partners, helps companies remain competitive by offering training programs in personnel and production management and forest products marketing.

Smith, a professor of forest products marketing and business management, has authored over 200 articles on forest products, marketing, and sales. He received a bachelor of science from Michigan Tech University, a master of business administration from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, and a doctorate from Virginia Tech. Smith spent 14 years in the forest products industry prior to joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1994.

Written by Neel Patel of Fairfax, Va., a senior majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science.