The Institute for Furniture Manufacturing and Management is Mississippi State's newest public service center and forestry professor Steven H. Bullard is its first director.
A university faculty member since 1983, Bullard heads a multidisciplinary research unit drawing on the expertise of faculty and staff in MSU's Forest and Wildlife Research Center, colleges of Business and Industry and of Engineering, School of Architecture, and the MSU Extension Service's Food and Fiber Center.
Development and testing of furniture frames and other components, as well as product testing and other research and support activities for the furniture industry, are among the institute's focus areas.
"The institute's primary goal is to secure the future of the furniture industry in the state and region by increasing its international competitiveness," said Sam Foster, director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center.
"Dr. Bullard and his staff will accomplish this by using the university's existing resources and capabilities to effectively work with industrial and other groups to meet the furniture industry's current and future needs," Foster added.
Bullard holds bachelor and master's degrees in forestry from MSU and a doctorate in forest management/economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
He has worked with the MSU-based Furniture Research Unit since its creation by the Legislature in 1987. His specific research areas include evaluations of forestry investments and furniture industry resources, manufacturing and marketing.
Mississippi's furniture industry annually contributes $3.2 billion in total output, provides almost 50,000 jobs and pays $1 billion in wages.