Virginia Tech has named Donald J. Leo vice president and executive director of National Capital Region Operations, effective Jan. 1, 2012. He succeeds James R. Bohland, who will step down from that position after 10 years.
Currently, as associate vice president for research in the National Capital Region, Leo is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic direction for research throughout the National Capital Region by integrating the university and its community of researchers in the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington with government agencies as well as private firms in the region.
In his new role, Leo will work with the university’s president and provost to develop and implement new strategic directions for Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region. He and his team will also be responsible for helping to coordinate services and program initiatives for the university's six sites in the region.
“Having served as associate vice president in the National Capital Region, Don Leo has demonstrated his experience and leadership ability in establishing relationships with federal and private partners and moving the National Capital Region's research agenda forward,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee. “We are fortunate that Don has agreed to follow Jim Bohland's outstanding leadership and we are confident that he will bring continued growth and recognition to our programs.”
Leo, a professor of mechanical engineering, has been at Virginia Tech since 1998. From 2005 to 2007 he was a program manager in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. He served as the associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering from 2007 to 2011. During that time, Leo began a research and development partnership with Rolls Royce and other companies through the founding of the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, was the lead at Virginia Tech for creation of the Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems, and oversaw several initiatives in research and graduate studies for the College of Engineering. He joined National Capital Region Operations in June of this year.
“It has been a great pleasure to work with Jim Bohland over the past several months on the development of our research programs in the new Virginia Tech research center in Arlington,” said Leo. “I thank the president and provost for this opportunity to build on Jim’s success and look forward to continued growth in our research, educational, and outreach programs in the National Capital Region.”
Leo is Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and is past chair for the ASME Adaptive Structures and Material Systems Technical Committee. He was the recipient of the 2004 Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award from the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he received the 2008 Dean's Award for Excellence in Research from the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.
Leo earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and both a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Buffalo.