The Forest Products Society (FPS), an internationally recognized organization, has elected an MSU sustainable bioproducts faculty member to an executive position.
Frank Owens, associate professor in the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, is now the society's vice president. Owens has been a member of FPS since 2016 when he was a Ph.D. student in MSU's Forest Resources program.
The Forest Products Society's executive board has four officers—vice president, president-elect, president and past president. Traditionally, leadership for FPS is a four-year commitment, with elected officers moving through the positions.
In his role as vice president, Owens plans to increase membership and conference participation.
"I want to increase the number of organizational and individual members across both industry and academia. We've seen a lot of student organizations like MSU's FPS student chapter increase their membership, and we want to continue to encourage that. Students are the future of the industry, and we want to make sure they're involved in the community," Owens said.
One of the main responsibilities of FPS leadership is the society's annual international conference. Owens noted the benefit of the annual event, especially for students.
"People from both academic and industry backgrounds attend, network and collaborate, so it's a way to disseminate your research results at the conferences, and it even opens opportunities to find employment with forest products companies. You can gain access to journal subscriptions and webinars and become a part of technical interest groups where you can interact with more experienced people in your specific area of interest. It's a great way to supplement education from the classroom," he said.
Rubin Shmulsky, professor and head of the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, applauds Owens's leadership undertaking.
"I applaud Dr. Owens's recent election to this international leadership position. His ability to weave together the interests of student development, industry expansion and state and federal research highlights both the mission of the Forest Products Society as well as that of the land grant university system," Shmulsky said. "He's the fourth departmental faculty member to serve in this capacity in the last 40 years, which demonstrates the stature and reputation of our department and the College of Forest Resources at MSU."