John L. Koontz of Oak Park, Ill., recently received the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award from Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

A principal investigator and chemist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in Bedford Park, Ill., Koontz earned his bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctoral degree at Virginia Tech in food science and technology in 2000, 2003, and 2008, respectively. 

Koontz received the award for his professional and volunteer achievements. In addition to his research in food packaging safety, he also teaches training courses on packaging seal integrity to food industry professionals and FDA analysts. In 2010, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition recognized him with its Honor Award for outstanding service in developing a thermal processing specialist certificate program in collaboration with scientists at the Institute for Food Safety and Health, formerly the National Center for Food Safety and Technology.

“John has not only had an array of professional achievements since his time at Virginia Tech, he’s also been a great representative of our department, college, and university, “ said Joe Marcy, head of the Department of Food Science and Technology.

Koontz is active as communications chair with the Chicago Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, managing and updating the chapter Facebook page and website, which won the Virginia Tech Alumni Association’s 2010-2011 Outstanding Website Award. He also serves on the chapter’s scholarship selection committee and welcomes new Virginia Tech students and alumni in the Chicago area at chapter events.

He actively demonstrates the Virginia Tech spirit by participating in the Chicago Chapter’s Ut Prosim Service to the community. He volunteers by preparing dinners at Ronald McDonald House Charities. He also joined in and did fundraising for the 2012 C4 Miles: Making Strides for Mental Health.

He contributes annually to the Virginia Tech Annual Fund for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in support of the Department of Food Science and Technology.



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