The relationship between forest products companies and academia is vital to ensuring the success of the entire industry. When graduating students seek employment, the forest products industry needs to be on their radar for career consideration. The marketing department of Timber Products knows this well.
In February 2020, both Chris Knowles, our Marketing Director, and Kassandra Stout, our Marketing Associate, visited colleges with forest products programs to talk with students about the company.
On February 17, Knowles visited the Department of Renewable Materials at Oregon State University to speak with undergraduate students in the Introduction to Renewable Materials class.
The subject of his lecture was plywood manufacturing – the perfect topic to help introduce what materials Timber manufactures on a daily basis. Knowles provided an overview and brief history of the company to the students.
“The class had 15 freshmen present which was great because they are an important audience to engage with,” said Knowles. “Many of the students indicated they plan to pursue careers in forest products.”
Then, on February 21, Stout visited the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts at Mississippi State University, where she was once a graduate student. She spoke to a group of undergraduate and graduate students who are a part of the Mississippi State Forest Products Society Chapter.
“It was wonderful to speak with the students,” said Stout. “I’ve always believed fostering relationships between forest product companies and academic departments is critical for our industry’s success.”
In her presentation, Stout explained the history of Timber Products, what it does as an organization, the variety of products manufactured, and current employment opportunities.
“We loved the opportunity to host Kassandra as our guest speaker!” said Guangmei Cao, president of the MSU FPS chapter. “Our members learned a lot about Timber Products that we otherwise did not know.”
Stout expressed that most of the students had not heard of Timber before her visit. They were surprised to discover we have a manufacturing facility located in Corinth, Miss., only two hours north of Starkville, Miss., where the college is based.
“It didn’t surprise me that the students were unaware of Timber, but it further emphasizes how important it is for not only our company, but others, to have a greater presence on college campuses,” said Stout. “When students are looking for employment, our name should be included in that list.”
The students echoed their thanks to Stout in taking the time to visit and talk to them about their concerns about life after graduation.
“Seeing Kassy employed at a forest products company, in the line of work she wanted, is inspiring to a lot of us,” said Laurice Spinelli, a current doctoral student. “It is what we all want to happen after graduation.”
Knowles and Stout send their thanks to both academic institutions for allowing them time to visit with students.