The work of Virginia Tech's Glen Acord at the university's Central Steam Plant goes largely unnoticed, but it is absolutely essential to daily operations of the Blacksburg campus.

Acord, who has worked at Virginia Tech for more than 20 years, is one of only seven Virginia Tech employees nominated in 2014 to represent the university in the state-wide Governor's Award program. He was nominated in the career achievement category.

As the instrumentation and electrical supervisor at the steam plant, Acord and his team of technicians maintain the electrical and instrument systems for the boilers and turbine generator, including automation controls and emission control systems, making sure that hundreds of seemingly small components are operating normally. Failure of any one of those components could lead to a loss of lighting, heating, or cooling on campus.

“Besides being a joy to work with, Glen is a take-charge person who is able to present creative ideas and communicate the benefits of them,” said Billy Dudding, plant maintenance manager. “He always completes them efficiently and effectively. He leads by example and many people here at the power plant find his enthusiasm and dedication both inspiring and motivating.”

Recently, Acord had been instrumental in updating compressed air operated controls at the plant to modern electronic based components, said John Beach, director or utilities and strategic initiatives.

Acord also led the effort to replace electrical controls and motors in an effort to allow the Central Steam Plant to continue to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while using less electricity in the process. Remarkably, he implemented the new systems without any interruptions to steam service to the campus, ensuring the continuous operations of services across campus.

This investment in a new control system cost approximately $2.8 million and is expected to save $340,000 annually.

While working at Virginia Tech, Acord completed his associate's degree in applied science in instrumentation technology. Prior to his current position, he was a shift supervisors and instrumentation mechanic. He also served four years in the U.S. Navy.

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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