Virginia Tech's College of Engineering recently inducted seven new members into the Academy of Engineering Excellence.

The 2021 inductees were selected from among approximately 74,000 living Virginia Tech engineering alumni. The academy will now consist of 168 members. Academy members have made sustained contributions in engineering and leadership throughout their accomplished careers. 

The inductees are Courtney A. Beamon of Midlothian, Virginia; Robert J. Hanley of Hughesville, Maryland; David R. Lohr of Moneta, Virginia; Ronnie Marcum of Blacksburg, Virginia; Matthew J. Mulherin of Williamsburg, Virginia; Lisa M. Price of Nashville, Tennessee; and Joseph H. Timko of Far Hills, New Jersey.

“Our academy inductees exemplify the spirit of Ut Prosim and have made outstanding contributions to their profession, the university, and society,” said Julia M. Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Dean of Engineering. “It’s an honor to recognize this year’s group of distinguished alumni. They embody the vast potential of what’s possible through a strong engineering foundation at Virginia Tech.”

The College of Engineering established the academy in 1999 under the direction of dean emeritus F. William Stephenson and the college's advisory board.

2021 Academy of Engineering Excellence inductees

Courtney A. Beamon
Courtney A. Beamon. Photo by Peter Means for Virginia Tech.

Courtney A. Beamon
M.S., Civil Engineering, 1996
B.S., Civil Engineering, 1995

Beamon’s interest in the built environment and aviation took root at an early age. She’d visit her father, also a Virginia Tech civil engineering alumnus, in his office as he worked in design, construction, and development. There, she’d play with drafting tools and at projects. For her interest in aviation, she credits her mother, who worked previously as a travel agent. 

“Ultimately, these seeds of enthusiasm germinated while I was at Virginia Tech and learned that airport development was actually a career path,” Beamon said. “Engineers are behind the scenes of the great airports in this world.”

Since graduating, Beamon has spent her career at Delta Airport Consultants, serving in multiple roles over the years and as the company’s president since 2012. She has served on numerous boards and committees, with leadership roles for organizations like the AXA-XL Design Professionals Risk Control Group, Airport Consultants Council, Sabot at Stony Point School, and Special Olympics Virginia. Beamon also served as chair of the Virginia Tech engineering advisory board from 2012 to 2013.

She cites her time at the university as a strong foundation for her career journey. “Virginia Tech taught me technical skills, problem solving skills, communication skills, and money skills,” Beamon said. “Ultimately, I learned about myself and built the confidence to set my goals high and work to achieve them.”

Robert J. Hanley
Robert J. Hanley. Photo by Peter Means for Virginia Tech.

Robert J. Hanley
B.S., Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, 1979

Hanley always loved airplanes as a kid growing up in New York, he said, particularly the F-4 Phantom and the Boeing 747. After studying aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech, he decided to work on fighter aircraft for the Navy, beginning a career in the Department of Defense and U.S. Navy that would span nearly four decades, the last of which Hanley spent as director for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Airworthiness and Cyberspace Directorate. Hanley now serves as the vice president of cyber and engineering systems at Sabre Systems.

Hanley described his time at Virginia Tech as “immensely” impactful. “I used what I learned — and still do — every day in my career working in the Department of Defense and Navy aviation,” he said. “Because of my degree, I eventually became the guy who certified the flight safety and airworthiness of all 4,000-plus Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.”

Hanley has served on the boards of organizations including the National Airworthiness Council and the Joint Academic, Industry, and Government Cyber Focus Group, as chair for both groups. A personal highlight for Hanley was receiving the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, their highest honor for a civilian, in 2009. He has also served as a member of the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering advisory board at Virginia Tech since 1996.

David R. Lohr
David R. Lohr. Photo by Peter Means for Virginia Tech.

David R. Lohr
B.S., Chemical Engineering, 1976

David Lohr sees four areas of impact made by his time at Virginia Tech on his career and personal life: the ways his engineering education prepared him for work in industry through hands-on learning in labs and co-op experiences; how he learned the importance of personal relationships and “treating people like you’d want to be treated” from mentors like Jim Godfrey in the co-op office and professors like Gerry Beyer, his advisor; the start of his growing commitment to service, ingrained in him by Ut Prosim (That I May Serve); and his belonging to the Hokie Nation, “the most loyal and passionate alumni network in the country,” Lohr said.

“Throughout my career, I have met so many inspiring Hokies through both my professional and family activities,” Lohr said. “Along the way, I learned from them the power of giving back. And the opportunity to give back to this great university was the driving force for me to add an unexpected ‘encore’ to my professional career teaching in the Pamplin College of Business, and sharing my mistakes and successes with the next generation of Hokie Nation.”

Lohr’s career began at DuPont in 1972, in the company’s fibers, organic, and specialty chemical businesses. By 1990, he was general manager of DuPont’s DCV Biologics and vice president of business development of the company’s Medisorb Technologies. He later served in numerous leadership roles, including as vice president of development and executive director of the Virginia Biosciences Development Center and Dominion Resources GreenTech Incubator at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park. Lohr is currently an adjunct professor of management at the Pamplin College of Business and president and CEO of Navigation Point Advisors.

Lohr has served on multiple boards and committees, including his leadership roles for the Virginia and National Business Incubation Associations, the RichTech Regional Technology Council, the MathScience Innovation Center, and the GENEDGE - A.L. Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Lohr was also a founding member and past chair of the chemical engineering department’s advisory board at Virginia Tech, on which he continues to serve.

Ronnie Marcum
Ronnie Marcum. Photo by Peter Means for Virginia Tech.

Ronnie Marcum
B.S., Mining Engineering, 1970

Of his time at Virginia Tech, Marcum remembers the basic but important principles he learned. “The classes I took taught me the principles of many engineering fields; how to solve problems, and how to learn on the job,” he said. “All of what I learned as a student helped me excel as a mining engineer.”

After graduating from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering in 1970, Marcum began a career that included service in the U.S. Navy. From 1974 to 1999, he had multiple roles at the Consolidation Coal Company, the largest underground producer of coal in the United States. He served as vice president of the company’s Illinois operations from 1989 to 1995 and led four groups focused on reclamation work through sustainable design of wetlands, lakes and wildlife preserves of over 100,000 acres, which he views as some of the most satisfying work of his career.  

Marcum went on to become vice president of its western and non-mining operations from 1995 to 1999. His career concluded with his role as executive vice president of engineering for PinnOak Resources from 2003 to 2007.

Marcum has served as chair of the advisory board of the Virginia Tech mining and minerals engineering department, president of the Virginia Tech greater Pittsburgh alumni chapter, and president of the Blacksburg Sports Club.

Matthew J. Mulherin
Matthew J. Mulherin. Photo by Peter Means for Virginia Tech.

Matthew J. Mulherin
B.S., Civil Engineering, 1981

When Mulherin applied to Virginia Tech, he was drawn to its size as a big school and the social and educational opportunities it presented. While there, he studied civil engineering because he felt it would lead him to work in projects that were “big, bold, and larger than myself,” he said.

From his time at the university, he remembers “an education based upon solid engineering fundamentals, coupled with the commitment to service” that helped him endure the challenges of a nuclear shipbuilding career, Mulherin said. He cited the overall sense of community, camaraderie, and belonging as his favorite memory of Virginia Tech.

Upon graduating, Mulherin spent the entirety of his career at Newport News Shipbuilding, starting as a test engineer in 1981 and going on to take multiple leadership roles at the company. There, he worked on the design of the CVN78 Ford Class Nuclear Aircraft Carrier, which at the time was the first U.S. Navy aircraft carrier design undertaken in over 50 years. He led the project from concept to design, through to its $8 billion construction and eventual delivery to the U.S. Navy.

Mulherin served as the company’s president from 2011 until he retired in 2017, leading Newport News Shipbuilding in building the most complex ships in the world: nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines. Mulherin also served as a member of the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority.

Lisa M. Price
Lisa M. Price. Photo by Peter Means for Virginia Tech.

Lisa M. Price
B.S., Chemical Engineering, 1981

Price knew early in her study of chemical engineering that the subject would be a foundation, she said, as she would dive straight into strategy and management. “I found my engineering background to be differentiating throughout my career, particularly in investment banking and in my business development roles at GE,” Price said.

Price began her career at Freeport-McMoRan and held roles at Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank from 1995 to 2005. She then embarked on a 14-year career in business development at General Electric, ascending to the role of General Manager of Business Development, in which she drove global business development activities in power conversion, steam, nuclear, and gas franchises, generating more than $33 billion in global business and transactions. She now serves as managing director of the North America Corporate Restructuring Group at Alvarez & Marsal. 

Price remains active in her involvement as an alumna, as a member of the Virginia Tech Engineering International Programs Board, the Department of Chemical Engineering advisory board, and the Virginia Tech engineering advisory board.

Joe Timko
Joe Timko. Photo by Peter Means for Virginia Tech.

Joe Timko
B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1982

Timko found electrical and computer engineering to be an easy pick for his major, given the “exciting opportunities that were unfolding in hardware and software at the time and continue to this day,” he said.

Upon graduating, Timko began his career at Bell Laboratories, where he worked in multiple positions until 1996, followed by 14 years at McKinsey & Company, where he became a partner. He led strategy and technology initiatives of Pitney Bowes and Automatic Data Process, and served as a managing director of the Advisory Strategy Practice for Ernst & Young. Timko currently serves as an executive-in-residence and associate adjunct professor at Columbia Business School. He sits on the boards of Navicore Solutions, PlanetiQ, and VUV Analytics. 

Throughout his career, Timko has remained committed to engaging emerging leaders by providing lectures, serving as an executive-in-residence, and mentoring more than 300 students at multiple universities.

“Virginia Tech engineering taught me how to think,” Timko said. “Period. I always brought the engineering way of thinking with me even after I got my MBA and it was a big advantage for me. The combination of engineering and business education served me well. In fact, both CEOs who hired me to report to them told me the reason they did so was the combination of my technical knowledge and business judgment. So, thank you Virginia Tech.”

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