For more than three decades, John Beach has dedicated his professional career to serving the students, faculty, and staff of Virginia Tech in a variety of key operational capacities. Beach, currently the university’s director of utilities, will officially retire on Aug. 1.

During his career, he has also served in a host of critical roles supporting campus operations, infrastructure, and facilities. These roles included assistant director of building maintenance, associate director of buildings and grounds, director of physical plant operations, interim director of Emergency Management, director of utilities and strategic initiatives, and chief of staff for facilities operations.

In his current assignment, Beach is responsible for the Virginia Tech Power Plant, Virginia Tech Electric Service, and for central utility distribution on the Blacksburg campus. Under his leadership, he has inspired a vision of and commitment to exceptionally responsive, consistent, safe, and transparent service delivery for all campus constituents. 

“Consistent, confident, and committed to the university’s mission of extraordinary service, John models – daily – the most tangible spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve),” said Chris Kiwus, vice president for campus planning, infrastructure, and facilities.

“With considerable skill as both an engineer and a leader, John is well known on campus for his unwavering reliability and responsiveness when complex or significant events develop,” Kiwus said.  

Beach is frequently asked to support planning and logistical efforts during emergency response actions that have enterprise-wide impact. 

John Beach
John Beach. Sarah Myers for Virginia Tech.

“John’s entire career is exemplified by his commitment to service and to others. He has been a mentor, teacher, and trusted colleague. I am a better emergency manager and person from working with John, and I am privileged to consider him my friend," said Mike Mulhare, assistant vice president for emergency management.

Beach also serves as the weather contact for the university when it is necessary to keep an eye on weather conditions during periods when these may adversely affect campus operations and events.  

John Beach monitoring weather during the 2019 commencement at lane stadium
Beach monitors the weather during the 2019 Spring Commencement ceremonies at Lane Stadium. The start of the main ceremony was delayed because of a thunderstorm that Beach tracked.

“For years, John has served as a cornerstone for the administrative enterprise at Virginia Tech. His behind-the-scenes support of athletic and other large-scale campus events have positively affected thousands. He is a true Hokie. We wish him the best in retirement,” said Tom Gabbard, senior associate director of athletics for facilities and operations.

Beach has had an interesting parallel volunteer and professional career within the emergency medical services and emergency management fields. He first served on the student-operated Virginia Tech Rescue Squad as a graduate student. Later, he rose through the training ranks as a volunteer member of the Salem, Virginia, Rescue Squad to achieve certification as a Nationally Registered Paramedic from 1992-98. He retired from active service and running emergency calls in 2001. He is a life member of both the Virginia Tech and Salem rescue squads.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech in a staff role in 1988, he worked for a major forest products company for seven years, most of this within a large paper mill in the maintenance department, interacting with power and utilities, the pulp mill, and paper machine maintenance.

A Hokie through and through, Beach is a four-time Virginia Tech graduate, holding a bachelor’s and a master’s in agricultural engineering. He completed his MBA at Virginia Tech following his return to a staff role at the university and most recently finished work on a bachelor’s in meteorology in 2017. Beach also holds a master’s in theology from St. Leo University.

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