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Next generation of senior leaders graduate from Executive Development Institute


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 14, 2013 – Earlier this month, 21 of Virginia Tech’s up and coming leaders were recognized as graduates of the 2013 Executive Development Institute in an event held at The Inn at Virginia Tech.

“You have been chosen as the next generation of leaders at Virginia Tech and we’re going to count on you to make sure the progress we've seen in the past can be sustained in the future," said President Charles W. Steger in congratulating the graduates.

Keynote speaker Patty Perillo, vice president of student affairs, challenged the graduates to be their best selves and to create environments for other Virginia Tech employees to do the same.

The Executive Development Institute was created in 2007 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.

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

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 2013 graduates are:

  • Reza Barkhi, department head, Accounting and Information Systems
  • Steven Blank, department head, Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Jaime Camelio, assistant department head, Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Steven Clark, assistant vice president for gift planning, University Development
  • Jay Crone, department chair, Music
  • Martin Daniel, associate vice president for research operations, Office of the Vice President for Research
  • Ellen Douglas, associate director, Risk Management
  • Srinath Ekkad, professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Deborah Fulton, associate vice president for enterprise systems, Enterprise Systems Management
  • Guru Ghosh, associate vice president, international affairs, Office of Outreach and International Affairs
  • Sonia Hirt, department chair, Urban Affairs and Planning
  • Elizabeth Hooper, state legislative liaison, Virginia Tech - Richmond office
  • April Hylton, director of Human Resources, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
  • John Jackson, director of Web communications, University Relations
  • Peggy Layne, director, Advance VT and faculty projects, Office of the Provost
  • Jamie Lucero, director of alumni relations, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Alumni Association
  • Peter Macedo, director, Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning
  • Robert Stephens, principal of the Honors Residential College at East Ambler Johnston Hall and associate professor of History
  • Charlotte Waggoner, university biosafety officer, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Janet Webster, associate director of finance and administration, Fralin Life Science Institute
  • Kenneth Wong, interim associate dean of the graduate school and director of the Northern Virginia Center

Since the institute was established, nine of the participants have been promoted into leadership positions at Virginia Tech. During this year’s cohort, Don Leo and Guru Ghosh were promoted. Leo is now the vice president and executive director of National Capital Region Operations. Ghosh is now the vice president for Outreach and International Affairs.

Proof, says Keisha Williams, executive director of University Organizational and Professional Development, that the Executive Development Institute is truly exceeding  initial expectations.

University Organizational and Professional Development will begin accepting applications for the next cohort of participants in June. More information about the eligibility criteria and application process is available online.

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.