Robert L. (Bob) Smith is a professor and associate dean for engagement for the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech. He is also the director of the Center for Forest Products Business. Smith is the first associate dean for engagement for the college and within the university.
As associate dean, Smith coordinates the engagement activities of the college, which includes its Cooperative Extension, outreach, economic development, and international programs. Under his tenure, the college has won the university’s Engaged Department Award and the Silver Award from the southern regional Extension forester for the college’s Extension and outreach newsletter, Engagement Matters.
Prior to joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1994, Smith spent eight years as a sales representative for a major supplier of treated wood products in the Midwest, and six years as a production manager at a wood treating plant.
Smith has authored over 200 articles in the areas of forest products, marketing, and sales. His current research efforts focus on industrial marketing and international trade of forest products. He teaches forest products marketing and sales workshops across North America, as well as internationally, and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of forest products marketing and business management. He has provided technical assistance to major U.S. corporations, trade associations, and government agencies, and has participated in over $6 million of research funding and managed over $1.7 million in funding. Major areas of focus include marketing and management issues, industrial perceptions of wood, decision modeling, certified wood products, and the adoption of new products.
Smith is a member of the Forest Products Society, the Society of Wood Science and Technology, and the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals. He serves on the USDA Forest Research Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C. He also taught in Austria for an extended period as a Fulbright Senior Fellow.
Smith holds a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in forest products marketing, an M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and a B.S. in wood science from Michigan Technological University.
Bob and his wife, Barbara, live in Christiansburg, Va.