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University To Reorganize Business Functions; Raymond Smoot To Head Virginia Tech Foundation


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 18, 2003 – Raymond Smoot, vice president for administration and treasurer, will assume a new role as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Virginia Tech Foundation. Concurrent with this move, the university business and administrative functions will be reorganized.

"This is another step in repositioning the university to identify and maximize funding from non-governmental sources and to fully utilize the university related corporations in support of university initiatives. We need to have one person giving unified leadership and daily attention to our considerable affiliated organizations to maximize revenues and advantages for the university," said Charles Steger, president of Virginia Tech.

Smoot now will have the lead responsibility for the university's relationship with its related corporations with particular attention to business and financial affairs. Those corporations are the Virginia Tech Foundation, Virginia Tech Services, VT Corporate Research Center, VT Intellectual Properties, Hotel Roanoke Foundation, VT Real Estate Foundation, VT Athletic Fund, The River Course LLC, VT Alumni Association, VT Corps of Cadets Alumni Association, WPI, and the Olivio Ferrari Foundation in support of the European Studies Center. He will also work with various governmental commissions and authorities of which the university is a member.

On the scope of the operation and the need for full time oversight, Smoot notes, "Our allied businesses alone are equivalent to those of a medium sized university with assets in excess of $700 million including the university's $320 million endowment. Their efficient operation and growth is critical to the success of the university and the overall university infrastructure."

Executive Vice President and COO Minnis Ridenour says, "This new emphasis will allow Ray to devote more time to the growth and development of our related corporations, give attention to the business and financial management of the corporations, and ensure the corporations are generating support that will benefit the university. With this organizational structure and Ray's strong leadership skills, we will further advance the strategic agenda of the university. Just as important are organization changes in business affairs, administration, and finance."

Ridenour says that many of the university's non-academic ventures have required the leadership or involvement of affiliated corporations. "The most visible and successful venture is probably the Corporate Research Center," said Ridenour.

"It is clear that these affiliated corporations and unique partnerships play a significant and increasingly important role as we continue implementing the strategic plan and climb to our goal to be one of the nation's leading research universities. Their growth, development, and management support our mission of teaching, research, and outreach," concluded Steger.

The business and administrative reorganization and creation of full time executive leadership at VTF, bolsters institutional efforts to find major new sources of revenue through the related corporations, new business development, and increased involvement at the state and federal levels. According to Ridenour, "These changes establish an organizational structure with strong leadership that will enhance funding for the university and to help to position the University for continued growth toward the top 30. Strong and effective leadership in these areas will have a significant influence on the funding for this university over the next several years."

Smoot begins full time at the Foundation and other entities July 1. Ridenour has begun a search for a vice president for business affairs overseeing Environmental Health and Safety; University Architect; Facilities; Capital Projects; University Police; Real Estate Management, and Transportation and Parking. Personnel Services also moves to this vice presidency enabling executive leadership on human resource and management development. The search for the vice president for business affairs is expected to be completed by late summer.