Forest Products Development Center College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment

Dr. Brian Via is Regions Bank Professor and Director of the Forest Products Development Center (FPDC) since 2012. This Center is the hub for scholarly and industrial research and economic development in the forest products industry. Dr. Via earned his B.S. in Forest Products and his M.S. in Wood Mechanics at Virginia Tech.  He obtained his Ph.D. in at Louisiana State University within the Agricultural and Mechanical College where he connected forestry genetics to forest product improvement.  Dr. Via has 24 years in industry engagement and experience, including 14 years working for 3 Corporations across an entire supply chain; including, International Paper R&D (Forestry, Packaging, and Lumber), Louisiana Pacific R&D (Wood Engineered Materials and Biobased Adhesives) and K-Mart (Retail).

Research: Dr. Via’s research area is currently focused on the development of sustainable adhesives to be used in wood composites like OSB, particleboard, and CLT. To achieve this goal, Dr. Via & the FPDC plug into a pipeline across campus.  For example, the College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Environment provides forests that are managed to impact product quality.  Biosystems Engineering  further process this wood and agricultural residues into chemical feedstocks for adhesives.  Chemical Engineering then takes these chemical feedstocks to develop sustainable adhesives and polymers.  Finally our Center develops and incorporates nanocellulose and these sustainable adhesives into the wood composite.  We then work with Architecture to implement these products into the built environment.

Industrial Research, Economic Development & Outreach: Currently, the FPDC serves the 2nd largest industry in the state in various critical areas of business engagement such as philanthropy, intellectual property, corporate partnerships & research, specialized equipment and talent.  The Center and Director fields most forest products extension questions from across the state.  The Center has created an advisory board of industry and government stakeholders.  The Center is able to utilize this Advisory Board to obtain input about research directions and also to deliver key findings that are industrially relevant.  The advisory board also provides input about career talent needs from both the undergraduate and graduate level in the areas of research, internships, and talent transition.

Education: Dr. Via has worked closely with the Deans, faculty, and industrial stakeholders to create a multidisciplinary undergraduate curriculum called Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging.  This curriculum is unique in that it has collaborators from the College of Engineering, College of Architecture, College of Business, College of Agriculture, and will be housed in the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. Dr. Via has also worked closely with development and industry to create unique research and educational products.


Last modified: July 19, 2022