Rubin Shmulsky (Faculty)

Rubin Shmulsky

For as long as he can remember, Rubin Shmulsky has been a wood worker.

As a youth, the Massachusetts native’s free time often was spent cutting, drilling and hammering nails into wood scraps. Before he had a baseball bat, he owned a handsaw. His father, a housing contractor, even made him a woodworking bench.

As a young adult, Shmulsky’s continuing love for wood working led him south to enroll at Mississippi State, where he earned master’s and doctoral degrees in what today is the College of Forest Resources’ sustainable bioproducts department. Not surprisingly, he now is the department head.

“I remember working as a student with Professor Fred Taylor to make drumsticks better for a musical instrument company,” Shmulsky said, in describing an early collaborative campus project.

During an extensive career at the land-grant institution, Shmulsky has dealt with everything from large-scale lumber, poles and railroad ties to small-scale fiberboards and particleboards. He and others in the department work regularly with colleagues in the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Architecture, Art and Design, and the Bagley College of Engineering, among others.

Recently, Shmulsky helped advise engineering and sustainable bioproducts majors taking part in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ National Timber Bridge Competition. In 2013, an MSU team won first place in both overall design and most practical design.

Rubin Shmulsky

Shmulsky also is a committed researcher. “My passion is trying to increase the value of lumber,” he said, adding that better sawing, drying and valuation techniques can create more valuable yields from each tree.

As both an alumnus and employee, he expresses great pride for the international reputation MSU has earned through its longstanding focus on forestry and forest products. “Our research contributes to the viability of wood products in perpetuity; we address the environmental, social and economic aspects of the discipline,” he emphasized.

Every tree has a true center called the pith and, like tree rings, Shmulsky’s career path clearly indicates how he found his true center at MSU.

“I think (we) faculty stay, in part, because students bring new energy and ideas; that makes us all feel young,” he said.