Team Spotlight - Dr. Richard Kobe

Meet Dr. Richard Kobe, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Forestry. In this week's spotlight feature, learn more about Dr. Kobe and his experience with mass timber as apart of our team.

Tell us about the work you do related to mass timber: 
"I want MSU to be a leader in mass timber research, education, and outreach. I've led two efforts to accomplish this. First, working with a very talented team, we supported MSU leadership with the information they needed to fairly consider mass timber as a construction option for the STEM Facility. I'm happy to report that the MSU Stem Facility is the first contemporary mass timber building in the state of Michigan, which means that it is incorporating cross laminated timber. Second, I secured funding for mass timber outreach, leveraging the fantastic STEM Facility. These two elements – the building and base funding for outreach – provided a foundation for developing MassTimber@MSU, which our amazing team is taking to new heights."
What impact do you hope your work will have?
"I am a forest ecologist by training and see the tremendous benefits of mass timber as part of a multi- pronged strategy of combating climate change. Mass timber, derived from sustainable forestry practices, can contribute greatly to carbon storage and avoided emissions. So my hope is that our work will promote greater sustainability with ecological, economic, and social benefits for Michigan and beyond. And I hope that the state of Michigan and MSU become important centers of activity and knowledge in mass timber."
How does your Mass Timber work fit into your broader research or teaching?
"I love to introduce students in my freshman seminar, Contemporary Issues in Forests and the Environment, to mass timber. Here’s a tangible example of how humans can interact with nature in a sustainable way. Mass timber is outside of my direct research –I focus on the factors that influence the regeneration of forests, which of course includes climate change. And forests obviously need to be regenerated to keep providing wood for mass timber construction."
What do you love most about your work?
"I get great satisfaction from projects that have the potential to make the world a better place. And I like to approach this by providing a few key building blocks and empowering amazing people to accomplish great things. This approach certainly applies to our MassTimber@MSU team. Similarly, I get great satisfaction when students in my courses see how forestry knowledge can be applied in so many positive ways."

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