Longtime faculty member Dan Seale is the inaugural James R. Moreton Endowed Fellow in the College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State University.
The James R. Moreton Fellow in Sustainable Bioproducts was established through a gift from James Reginald Moreton, a 1956 mechanical engineering alumnus. After a career in banking as founder and CEO of First Federal Savings and Loan, Moreton moved into the industrial access mat business.
Access mats provide temporary roadways and work platforms during the construction of powerlines, roads and bridges, pipelines, oil fields and for other heavy industrial settings. The Moreton family had a long history in the timber business, making access mats made from large pieces of wood a natural fit for Moreton.
"Mr. Moreton knew of Mississippi State University's work in research, development and technical assistance to this industrial wood products sector," said Rubin Shmulsky, sustainable bioproducts professor and department head. "Ultimately, Mr. Moreton provided the fellowship with the hope that the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts would continue its leadership role among land-grant universities in this discipline as a means of generating economic activity for the state and region."
Seale has spent his career committed to research and development of Mississippi's timber and lumber industries. He also is the Warren S. Thompson Professor of Wood Science and Technology.
Shmulsky pointed out that Seale has spent considerable time and effort developing ways and means of testing mat timbers and billets, including quantifying mat strength and stiffness and extending mat longevity.
"One of the first questions Dr. Seale asks before taking on a new challenge is, 'How will this potential activity impact our closest stakeholders?' If the answer is in a positive way, then he'll likely pursue the activity," Shmulsky said.
"Dr. Seale's research answers critical questions and finds innovative ways to positively impact the access mat industry. This support from the Moreton family will further enhance this important work. We are thankful for the opportunity to have worked with Jimmy Moreton, his daughter Kathy and son-in-law Drew St. John, all avid Bulldogs. It's a special situation when the MSU Bulldog connection can be made across multiple generations, multiple business sectors and multiple university facets," Shmulsky added.
Seale earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural economics from Mississippi State University. He earned a Ph.D. in applied economics from Clemson University.
Find out more about the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts in the College of Forest Resources at www.cfr.msstate.edu/bioproducts.