In an innovative move to enhance its fundraising and partnership development, Virginia Tech’s Advancement Division is refining its team focused on working with individuals, companies, and foundations that have the means to support transformative, strategic initiatives at the university.

Following up on a record performance in fiscal 2021-22, Advancement established a Principal Partnerships Office this fiscal year devoted to intensive fundraising and partnership building. The new office coordinates high level projects that involve Advancement’s principal gifts team and LINK: The Center for Advancing Partnerships, founded in partnership with the Office of Research and Innovation.

Vice President for Advancement Charlie Phlegar said the Principal Partnerships Office was created to help continue a trajectory of fundraising growth that has seen new gifts and commitments rise from $100 million in fiscal 2015-16 to more than $200 million a year in fiscal 2020-21 and 2021-22.

The Principal Partnerships Office is co-led by Associate Vice President of Advancement Natalie Hart, who has been at Virginia Tech since 2002, and Associate Vice President for Innovation and Partnerships Brandy Salmon, who joined the university in 2017.

“Natalie and Brandy both have great records of engaging partners to make major initiatives possible at Virginia Tech,” Phlegar said. “We appreciate their willingness to step forward for this important effort to consolidate our approach to people and organizations with transformative philanthropic capacity. This office offers a new model in our approach and one that matches the momentum of Virginia Tech’s success. As we continue to show strong results, we envision other universities following our example.”

Leaders of the new team also include Kim Carlson, director of programs for the Principal Partnerships Office, and Brad Soucy, who effective March 10, in a realignment against priorities, will serve as senior director of communications and marketing for the Principal Partnerships Office.

As director of programs, Carlson, who has served Virginia Tech since 2005, coordinates and oversees multiple projects designed to establish or strengthen individual, corporate, and foundation investments.

“Kim brings a wealth of administrative and academic experience to our team and has already demonstrated her skill at connecting people to get important projects done,” Hart said of Carlson. “Previously, she has helped launch several university-level projects such as the Moss Arts Center, the Presidential Global Scholars, and the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program, and she serves as an associate professor of practice in management in the Pamplin College of Business. Kim is skilled at bringing the right people to the table at the right time, and she has a real talent for collaborating internally with faculty and students — as well as with external partners.”

As senior director of communications and marketing, Soucy will lead a team devoted to supporting work by principal gifts officers, colleagues in LINK, and other colleagues within the university’s growing Principal Partnerships Office. Soucy currently serves as senior director of the digital project development team in Communications and Marketing.

“Brad is an ideal leader with a palpable creative energy that will help us convey the energy of this university to our many stakeholders,” Salmon said. “We’re only beginning to tap into the interest and excitement that partners have shown for Virginia Tech, especially as they see how we are uniquely positioned to meet a range of their needs, from talent development to research and philanthropy. It’s our role to celebrate the amazing work underway while highlighting new ways to become engaged, and we are strategically building out the team it takes to do just that.”

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