John D. Nichols of Blacksburg, retired information technology manager for Communications Network Services at Virginia Tech, has received the university’s 2014 Staff Career Achievement award.

Nichols retired from the university in 2013 after 38 years of service.

Created in 2011 to recognize retiring staff members, the Staff Career Achievement Award is presented annually to as many as five individuals who have distinguished themselves through exemplary performance and service during their university career. Nominees must have served a minimum of 10 years at Virginia Tech. Each recipient is awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

Nichols was an advocate for technological advancements across the university. Known for his curiosity, aptitude, and loyalty, he was an integral part of the transformation that made Virginia Tech a leader in advanced computing and communications technology. 

He also led a major effort to develop technical and implementation strategies for a ground breaking, fully integrated voice and data communication system in the 1980’s.

Nichols’ also served as the technical lead for design, engineering, and development of the highly successful NetworkVirginia program. In the late 1990’s, NetworkVirginia extended broadband Internet access to more than 1.4 million Virginia citizens. In 2012, he served as the principal investigator for a program providing research and development of the latest Software Defined Network technology on a regional and national level.

According to his colleagues, Nichols’ contributions have been essential to many successful Virginia Tech information technology projects across the state. He was a member of the Network Infrastructure and Services Advisory Committee and served as a technical resource for countless research and network projects across the university.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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