Instructors

BenchMark-0031-450x675.jpg

David Jones currently serves as Managing Director, Project Services at Benchmark International. He is a distinguished academic in forestry and wood science who contributed immensely to his field during his tenure as an associate professor and extension specialist at Mississippi State University. Some of his most notable contributions to-date include a formal forest products outreach program for the state of Mississippi, co-authoring the only published introductory book to wood science and forest products, and the co-creation of a national program on wood efficiency education to help manufacturers improve productivity.

His time in academia included expert research in forest practices, manufacturing, research and development, and creation of educational material for the industry and public clients. Additionally, David has presented informational courses on wood anatomy, identifying wood species, wood and water relationships, and basic wood courses for universities and various organizations. He earned his undergraduate degree in forest resource management from Clemson University and his Masters in forestry from Stephen F. Austin University. He then attained his doctorate in forest resources and wood science from the University of Georgia.

For Benchmark, David updates clients on projects, examines compliance with the Lacey Act, and stays on top of emerging issues related to compliance and forest resources including sustainability and manufacturing.

Chris Knowles

Chris Knowles is an assistant professor, forest products marketing with the College of Forestry, Department of Wood Science & Engineering at Oregon State University (OSU). With degrees from Stephen F. Austin University and Oregon State, he works with the Oregon Wood Innovation Center (OWIC) at Oregon State University where his role is to help improve the competitiveness of the Oregon forest products industry. The function of WOIC is to be the key link to innovation related resources for people in the forest products industry. Chris’ main focus is on providing professionals in the forest products industry with technical assistance, especially in the area of marketing. Chris’ current research is in the area of green building with a focus on material selection, purchasing, and specification.

Henry.jpg

Henry Quesada, is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech. A 2002 and 2004 alumni of Purdue University, Henry works in the areas of Supply Chain Management, Operations Research, International Marketing, Lean Thinking and Environmental Impact applied to the Forest Products industry. He has been awarded over $3.5 million in grants and contracts as principal and co-principal investigator and has published over 45 peer-reviewed articles. Henry also has served as a consultant for private and public organizations such as USDA-FAS, USAID, Peacework, and Faber Castell.    

Zbierski Color PK Headshot.jpg

Robb Zbierski - A professional speaker, trainer and coach with Freedom Personal Development. Working with companies across a broad spectrum of industries, Robb helps clients develop professional skills and positive mindsets that let them discover their potential and maximize their results. Robb's purpose is to inject excitement into everything he does. This purpose provides Robb the means to guide others (and himself) to become more effective in what they do while enjoying every minute of doing it. Because when you can more effectively accomplish the things you feel like you NEED to do, it lets you have way more fun when it comes time to doing the things you WANT to do!With a history of success in Product Management, Sales and Marketing roles within the Outdoor, Bicycle and Fitness (aka "Passion Pursuit") industries, Robb was notorious for bringing fun to the forefront while also encouraging people to embrace their passion and energy to get the job done. An avid endurance athlete, fisherman and beer enthusiast, Robb has completed the infamous Triple Bypass bike ride, the Chicago Marathon and is in the midst of a multiple decade run of never getting skunked on his annual fishing trip. Robb currently lives with his wife (Kate) and their twins (Effie and Charlie) in Arlington Heights, IL.