The forest products industry is one of the largest economic contributors to Mississippi, as well as in the United States. Employment in the furniture, lumber, wood products, composites, and paper sectors of the economy far exceeds the employment of any other manufacturing sector in the state. Mississippi's forest products industry recognizes the need for well-trained employees to help increase the conversion efficiencies and alter manufacturing processes to allow compatibility with a changing raw material base. While the industry is very large in terms of employment, value-added processing facilities number only a few thousand nationwide and a few hundred in Mississippi. Forest Products students are in demand with relatively high starting salaries and excellent opportunities for advancement. Currently, forest products students receive up to two job offers after graduation.
The mission of the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts is to enhance the intellectual, cultural, social, and professional development of its students by providing them with knowledge and skills needed to utilize and conserve diverse forest resources effectively. In this regard, the department's primary teaching responsibility is to provide high quality educational opportunities necessary to adequately prepare students for professional and scientific careers in forest products and wood science.
Mr. Kurt Liebich, President of Winston Plywood & Veneer, LLC and Mr. Mr. Jon Pierce, partner of Atlas Holdings met with Mississippi State University Student Chapter of the Forest Products Society and Xi Sigma Pi members. They spoke about the forest products industry and its future workforce needs. During the meeting, Mr. Liebich encouraged students to consider how their academic and research programs fit into the larger overall societal picture. Mr. Pierce encouraged students to augment their experience and knowledge via internships or additional non-academic opportunities. Mr. Liebich and Dr. Shmulsky, the department head of DSB also presented three awards to the first Winston Plywood & Veneer Assistantship competition winners: Ms. Yan Wang, Mr. Ming Liu and Mr. Kelly Magee.