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College Brings Expertise to CIbM

Aug. 15, 2011 – The college is teaming up with the Center for Innovation-based Manufacturing (CIbM), based in Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, to research the future of innovation and lean engineering. Henry Quesada, assistant professor of business and manufacturing processes in the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, is leading the center’s Wood Innovation Research Group. “The idea for the group came after we conducted qualitative research around Virginia and found there was little knowledge about innovation,” Quesada explained. “We saw an opportunity to increase our contribution by providing more Extension activities and creating more research to benefit the industry.” Quesada’s team of five students — Scott Lyon, Johanna Madrigal, Scarlett Sanchez, Bryan Stinnett, and Chao Wang — conducts research in five areas of manufacturing. “By linking our group with the center, we now have access to other students and faculty who can provide expertise that we would other- wise lack. This gives us an interdisciplinary approach,” Quesada added.

One of the studies has already gained national attention. EnerNOC, a leader in energy management applications for the smart grid, partnered with the group on its “lean energy” project. The Boston-based company specializes in data-driven programs that advance energy efficiency. “Working with EnerNOC allows us to monitor real-time energy consumption and analyze energy usage trends in the wood industry in order to improve energy efficiency,” Quesada said.

The goal of the CIbM is to help university researchers commercialize new innovative technologies. “There is a lack of consistency in making innovation translate into practical applications,” said Quesada. “Our hope is to provide applications for use in every industry and to bridge the gap between theory and practice.”

    CNRE Newsmagazine Summer 2011 Cover

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