DAFVM Spotlight Employee: David Butler

Working at Mississippi State was a goal David Butler set for himself when he was still in college, and once he met it, he didn’t change his mind.

David grew up farming in Sturgis, and his dad suggested he take the machine shop course at East Mississippi Community College. David enjoyed the work, and once he graduated, he took a job at Taylor Machine Works in Louisville. After seven years there, he worked at Starkville Tool & Die for two years before getting a job in the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center.

“I’ve been here 19 years and haven’t regretted it,” David said.

He enjoys the variety in his job as a machinist/instrument maker. He works primarily with faculty and staff testing lumber and wood products.

“We fabricate testing fixtures. One of our jobs is to test lumber by breaking it. So we create the fixtures we put the lumber in to do the breaking,” he explained. “There are all different types of machines. Sometimes they have blueprints for the fixtures they want me to make, and sometimes they tell me what they need to test and I build the fixture. I do a lot of repair on stuff that gets broken. Some of our equipment is obsolete, and you can’t get parts for it. So I make the parts.”

David’s skill with machines carries over into other duties. He oversees the vehicle fleet, operates the Wood Mizer sawmill to saw logs into lumber, and welds. He also conducts all of the boiler maintenance for the dry kilns and presses.

“I enjoy the interaction with faculty, staff, and students. I love having new challenges every day. I don’t have a set schedule for what I’m going to do each day – sometimes it changes every 15 minutes so the variety keeps it interesting,” he said.

David stays busy farming, gardening, and volunteering when he’s not at work. He is on the board of the Wake Forest Water Association and a member at Sturgis Baptist Church.

He and his wife of 28 years, Marsha, have four children, Lamar (26), Apryl (24), Ashley (12) and Daniel (9), and two grandsons, Bentley (5) and Jackson (1).

Editor's note: The Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Spotlight Employee profiles are provided by the Office of Agricultural Communications at Mississippi State. For more information, please click here.

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