Research Associate, Packaging

Virginia Tech   Blacksburg, VA   Full-time     Research
Posted on September 14, 2021
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Job Description

About Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design:
More than four decades ago, William H. Sardo, Jr. Pallet and Container Laboratory was constructed to develop state-of-the-art technologies to improve the efficiency of the global distribution by optimizing the unit load and packaging systems. Since its establishment, with industry and government support, Virginia Tech researchers have developed a reliability-based design and analysis methodology related to pallets and unit loads. We are always in the forefront of the innovation; therefore, we are one of the few laboratories who are represented in various committees to develop the new version of ASTM, ISO, ISTA, and ANSI standards. Being part of an academic institution, education of future packaging professionals is one of our main missions. To fulfill this mission, we provide training to many undergraduate and graduate students to gain valuable industrial experience through incoming industrial projects; meanwhile, we organize short courses to members of the packaging industry.

Position Summary:
The Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design is looking for a person with strong leadership skills and technical knowledge on package and pallet evaluation techniques.  If applying for this position, please include a resume/curriculum vita and a cover letter detailing your skills that you can bring to the lab and outlining your interest in the position.

The individual will be responsible for:
• Evaluating packages, pallets, and unit loads based on ISTA, ASTM, AIAG, ISO standards, and custom testing protocols
• Developing test setups and experimental designs
• Planning, organizing, setting up, and supervising standardized and customized tests
• Conducting data analysis and writing final reports
• Presenting research and testing information in industry and/or scientific conferences
• Ensuring that testing is completed in a timely manner
• Troubleshooting and investigating problems affecting the testing operation
• Assisting in developing and implementing policies and procedures that ensure effective completion of area functions,
• Assigning, training, and directing personnel
• Coordinating equipment maintenance
• Attaining and maintaining laboratory accreditations
• Fostering collaboration between the different laboratories of the Center
• Teaching an experiential learning class

Required Qualifications

• Possess a positive outlook and enthusiasm for the mission of the Center
• Master’s degree in wood science, engineering, packaging or related field by date of hire
• Experience with mechanical testing, data acquisition, and data processing
• Ability to analyze testing data and write testing reports
• Ability to conduct standardized and customized testing related to packaging, pallets, and unit loads
• Laboratory experience or experience in a closely-related work environment or wood working experience
• Ability to use powered hand tools and wood shop tools
• Good communication and interpersonal skills
• Ability to supervise, train, and work directly with students

Preferred Qualifications

• Multiple years of work experience in pallet or packaging design and testing
• Demonstrated experience with interacting with and attracting new clients
• Certified Packaging Laboratory Professional certification
• Working knowledge in Lean manufacturing or other continuous improvement methods
• Demonstrated management skills
• Experience with implementing and monitoring lab safety protocols
• Experience advising graduate students or being involved in research projects

Appointment Type


Review Date

October 20, 2021

Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check as well as documentation of COVID-19 vaccination.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Laszlo Horvath at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.