New Head of Wood Materials Engineering Lab Appointed

Local News Brief, WSU Evergreen, May 21, 1997
The new director of the Wood Materials Engineering Laboratory at WSU will take over the position in June.
Don Bender, from Texas A&M University, will put his love of trees to the ultimate test — supervising an enterprise that has helped revolutionize the forest product industry. HE refers to his new role as “chief bird-dog” of the laboratory, building on the efforts of his predecessors George Marra, Tom Maloney, Roy Pellerin and Mike Wolcott.

The 50-year-old lab, which began as a pulp and paper lab and was well underway by the time Bender was climbing trees, w focuses on better utilization of forest resources. It deals with non-destructive evaluation of wood materials, composite building materials, minimizing waste byproducts, sustainable timber supplies, innovative housing systems, and conversion of recycled and virgin wood fiber into valuable wood composites.

Bender earned a doctorate in Agricultual engineering from Purdue University in 1984 and a master’s and bachelor’s from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1980 and 1979. He still loves forest recreation, which he and his family intend to explore to the fullest in the Pacific Northwest.