Virginia Tech has named Paul Winistorfer as new dean of the College of Natural Resources.

Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee announced Wednesday that Winistorfer, who currently heads the college’s Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, will assume the duties of dean on Aug. 1, when Mike Kelly steps down after serving the college with great distinction as dean for the past five years.

“After a national search and a university process that yielded some excellent candidates, I am most pleased to appoint Paul Winistorfer as the new dean,” McNamee said. “Paul has a clear vision for taking the college to further growth and expansion. I have no doubt that his enthusiasm will indeed elevate this excellent college to new heights.”

Winistorfer came to the College of Natural Resources in 2001 from the Forest Products Center at the University of Tennessee to head up the wood science and forest products department. He moved the department forward through the creation of Wood Week at Virginia Tech and by co-leading a biomaterials faculty recruitment initiative with other departments and colleges on campus. He focused new hires in strategic areas, as well as guided curriculum reform.

Winistorfer provided vision and leadership on the department’s $20 million development initiative for new infrastructure as well as a statewide educational project to link the department to community colleges and higher education centers in the state for the benefit of workforce and economic development, and to create an educational pathway from high schools, through community colleges, and on to Virginia Tech.

Noting Winistorfer’s accomplishments, Dean Mike Kelly said, “I have found Paul to be a personable leader of considerable vision, so I feel confident that his vision and leadership will serve the college well in the future.” In outlining his vision for the college during his candidacy presentation, Winistorfer stressed that “the college must create its own future. We are home to integrated natural resources research on campus and in the commonwealth. Sustaining and utilizing our natural resources is of paramount importance to the commonwealth and the planet overall. We will continue to be internationally known as one of the finest programs with one of the very best faculty.” Winistorfer explained.

He went on to note that “because we are in a unique position being so close to Washington D.C., where the federal natural resources agencies and most of the non-profit groups are headquartered, I envision strategically increasing our presence and programs at our National Capital Region campus. I plan to work cooperatively with all agencies and constituent groups in the commonwealth on behalf of our interests in natural resources. Virginia is uniquely positioned nationwide in the fabric of natural resources issues, and we can and will continue to be leaders.”

The incoming dean pointed out that he “will build on the good work and leadership of Dr. Kelly in moving the college forward these past five years. The College of Natural Resources’ faculty, staff, and students are leaders in what they do. With its various leading-edge programs, our college is one of the very best in the country, so I am humbled, appreciative, and excited by this very special opportunity to work hand-in-hand with our college community and constituency.”

With many connections to industry, Winistorfer serves on the Board of Directors for Quintek Measurement Systems, a manufacturer of X-ray based equipment for the wood industry that he founded, and on the Board of Directors of WoodLINKS USA, where he is the outgoing president. WoodLINKS is an industry-education partnership to support manufacturing curricula in public schools, technical trade centers, communities, and universities. Winistorfer is the recipient of the Larry Hilchie Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to WoodLINKS USA 2008, and served as president of the Forest Products Society in 2003.

He was elected a Fellow in the International Academy of Wood Science in 2004, was coordinator of the forest products education unit of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials. Among his many other awards and accomplishments, he holds a U.S. patent for an optical device to measure thickness swell of wood-based composites.

Winistorfer is the author of more than 40 refereed publications, 20 other articles, 11 proceedings, and 13 abstracts and posters, and has made 65 professional presentations. He has held numerous offices and committee appointments with his professional organizations, in addition to international experiences in Ireland, Chile, England, and Australia.

From 1996 to 2001 Winistorfer was professor and director of the Forest Products Center, which he founded, at the University of Tennessee. In addition to his administrative duties, he continued to direct and fund his research program in composites, design, manufacture, and performance. He came to the University of Tennessee in 1985 as an assistant professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries and steadily moved up the ranks.

In 1984 he was a senior research coordinator and post-doctoral research associate at the University of Georgia. A native of Marion, Iowa, Winistorfer earned his bachelor’s of science at Iowa State University through the university honors program with emphasis in education and forest products, and his Ph.D. in wood science. Winistorfer and his wife, Jeanette, have twin sons, Jonah and Soren.

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