WOOD 465–Syllabus

Instructors: Chris Gaston ( and Jennifer DeBoer (

Teaching Assistant:  Vilbert Vabi (

Office Hours:  Chris and/or Jennifer, the hour immediately before the lecture and tutorial time slots; Vilbert, 10:00 a.m. to noon on Fridays.

Class Meeting Times:  Mondays, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, FSC 1221

Tutorial / Guest Lecture Meeting Times: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm, FSC 1221

Course Objectives: WOOD 465 is an introduction to fundamental business management practices used in the wood industry. Students will be exposed to a wide range of important business management concepts, most notably marketing, business plan development, strategic management, sustainability, innovation and new product development. To complement the theories and principles introduced in this course, a special emphasis is placed on bringing industry examples to the classroom through case studies, guest speakers, and applied assignments.

Selected readings will be made available on the course website throughout the term.  There is no required textbook.

Draft lecture schedule:

Week  Date Day Topic Lecturer/ Speaker Activities 
1 Jan 4 Thursday Course Introduction Chris and Jen Course Overview;                                               Introduce Dragon’s Den
2 Jan 8 Monday Canadian Forest Products Industry Chris Lecture
Jan 9 Tuesday Research Methods Chris Discuss research methods and resources
Jan 11 Thursday Dragon’s Den Assignment Chris and Jen Assign Groups, Schedule Elevator Pitch and Final Presentations
3 Jan 15 Monday Value Propositions (NABC) Chris Lecture
Jan 16 Tuesday Innovation in the Forest Sector Ian de la Roche Guest Presentation
Jan 18 Thursday Dragon’s Den Assignment Group Work
4 Jan 22 Monday Trade and other sources of forest products market information Chris Demonstration / Group Work
Jan 23 Tuesday Marketing I Jen Lecture
Jan 25 Thursday Dragon’s Den Assignment Group Work
5 Jan 29 Monday Marketing II Jen Lecture
Jan 30 Tuesday
Innovation & Bio-economy Trevor Stuthridge Guest Presentation
Feb 1 Thursday Dragon’s Den Assignment Group Work
6 Feb 5 Monday Financial Management I
Haris Gilani Lecture
Feb 6 Tuesday Globalization in forest products Dave Cohen Guest Presentation
Feb 8 Thursday Dragon’s Den Assignment Group Work
7 Feb 12 Monday Family Day – No Class
Feb 13 Tuesday Elevator Pitches *Student Presentations*
Feb 15 Thursday
8 Feb 19 Monday Reading Break – No Class or tutorial sessions
Feb 20 Tuesday
Feb 22 Thursday
9 Feb 26 Monday Financial Management II
Chris & Jen Lecture
Feb 27 Tuesday T.B.D Guest presentation
Mar 1 Thursday Dragon’s Den Assignment Group Work
10 Mar 5 Monday Environmental Sustainability Jen Lecture
Mar 6 Tuesday ChopValue Felix Böck Guest Presentation
Mar 8 Tuesday Dragon’s Den Assignment Group Work
11 Mar 12 Monday Introduction to Business Strategy Maria Murcia Lecture
Mar 13 Tuesday Corporate forestry Alan Potter Guest Presentation
Mar 15 Thursday Dragon’s Den Assignment Group Work
12 Mar 19 Monday Social Sustainability
 Chris  Lecture
Mar 20 Tuesday Dragon’s Den Assignment Group Work
Mar 22 Thursday Dragon’s Den Student Groups *Student Presentations*
13 Mar 26 Monday Dragon’s Den Student Groups *Student Presentations*
Mar 27 Tuesday
Mar 29 Thursday
14 Apr 2 Monday Easter Monday – No Class
Apr 3 Tuesday Dragon’s Den Student Groups *Student Presentations*
Apr 5 Tuesday


Final Exam,   APR 13,  3:30 PM. location t.b.a.




Individual written assignments (from lectures / guest lectures)  20%

Group elevator Pitch  

Presentation = 5 points

Peer feedback = 5 points

Group Dragon’s Den
Presentation = 10 pointsQ&A = 10 pointsPeer feedback = 5 pointsGroup feedback = 5 pointsFinal report = 10 points
Final exam   30
100 points


Lecturer bios:

Chris Gaston is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia and a Senior Scientist in Markets & Economics at FPInnovations in Vancouver, British Columbia.  He has degrees in Forestry Economics (Ph.D.) and Agricultural Economics & Business (B.Sc., M.Sc.) from the University of British Columbia and the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Chris has worked in both academics (teaching and research) and industry (management, consulting, research), with over 35 years’ experience in agribusiness and forestry.  His research and consulting have focused on price risk management strategies, market research, econometrics, and trade modeling.  Recent research efforts have included value chain optimization and product development for Canada, the United States, Japan, China, and Europe, including for Aboriginal communities.

Chris has co-supervised many M.Sc. and Ph.D. students, as well as managing a national staff of markets and economics researchers for nearly two decades.  He is also past Chairperson and active member of the “Team of Specialists for Forest Products Marketing” for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.  He has published widely, and has spoken at conferences throughout the world.

Jennifer DeBoer is a Ph.D. student studying sustainable management at the Faculty of Forestry, UBC.  Her research bridges strategic management and forestry to investigate the environmental orientations of managers in the US forest industry.  Her background includes an MBA in Sustainability from Humboldt State University and a BA in Business Management Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Her professional background includes administrative positions in two US national parks, Yosemite NP and Yellowstone NP, as well as two international wineries, E&J Gallo Winery and Fetzer Vineyards.