A group of 18 of Virginia Tech's up and coming leaders are being recognized today for successfully completing the university's 2014 Executive Development Institute in an event at Lane Stadium.

About 23 percent of university employees are expected to retire during the next five years, making the recruitment of new employees and the development of current employees critical.

The Executive Development Institute was created in 2007, under the direction of the President's Office, to identify and prepare current Virginia Tech employees to take on leadership roles at the university in the coming years, as current faculty and staff retire.

The institute is a cohort program that was developed by University Organizational and Professional Development in the Department of Human Resources. As part of the competitive program, each scholar is aligned with a team for the duration of the cohort program. Each team must choose an action learning case study topic pertaining to communication, finance, or human resources in relation to higher education.  The teams work on these projects throughout the seven month cohort experience. All case studies are presented at the final onsite session.

The 2014 graduates are

  • Julia Beamish, department head, apparel, housing and resource management
  • Yohna Chambers, assistant vice president, Human Resources
  • Candice Clemenz, associate dean for undergraduate programs, Pamplin College of Business
  • George "Al" Cooper, director of business and management systems, Office of the President
  • Francois Elvinger, department head, Department of Population Health Sciences
  • Randal Fullhart, commandant of cadets, military affairs
  • Melissa Lubin, director of Virginia Tech Richmond and Hampton Roads Centers, Outreach and International Affairs
  • Robert Parker, department head, mechanical engineering
  • Leo Piilonen, chair physics
  • Jill Sible, assistant vice president for undergraduate education, Undergraduate Programs
  • Edward Smith, director, animal and poultry sciences
  • Christie Thompson, associate director for administration, Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science
  • Theresa Thompson, assistant department head for undergraduate studies, biological systems engineering
  • Eileen Van Aken, associate department head, industrial and systems engineering
  • Brenda van Gelder, executive director, converged technologies for security, safety and resiliency, Office of the Vice President for Information Technology
  • Latanya Walker, director of alumni relations for Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Diversity and Inclusion/Alumni Relations
  • Melinda West, university bursar, Office of University Bursar
  • Susan Willis, director and senior research scientist, Center for Survey Research

A total of 121 scholars have completed the program, many of whom have been promoted and taken on new and expanding roles. 

“The 18 newest graduates are talented, poised to lead, and have attained a deeper understanding of  the intricate elements that make up Virginia Tech," said, Lori Baker-Lloyd, executive director of University Organizational and Professional Development. "They now join an elite pool of prior graduates who are all considered high potential leaders."

As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech has more than 13,000 full and part-time employees and is the largest employer in Montgomery County, Virginia. The Department of Human Resources is committed to supporting a high quality of work life for staff and faculty located at the main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, as well as those at off-campus educational facilities in six regions, a study-abroad site in Switzerland, and a 1,700-acre agriculture research farm near the main campus.

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