Ken Smith, chief operating officer for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, will become the chief operating officer of the Virginia Tech Foundation (VTF) on Aug. 15.

“The depth of knowledge and strong network of relationships Ken has built over his impressive career will serve the foundation’s role as steward of the university’s assets,” CEO Elizabeth A. McClanahan said. “The foundation has been deeply involved in supporting Virginia Tech’s growing presence in the D.C. area, through the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center in Alexandria’s Old Town, and the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard. Ken’s leadership at the Innovation Campus and his nearly two decades of service in the provost’s office have prepared him well for the opportunities VTF has in enhancing the university’s real estate portfolio and aligning to support Virginia Tech’s strategic initiatives.”

Smith has been part of the Innovation Campus team in Alexandria since moving there in October 2020. He has led the establishment of its overall enrollment, staffing and financial plan, the programming of its 300,000-square-foot new building, the hiring of more than 30 faculty and staff, and the overall integration of the Innovation Campus into the administrative structure of Virginia Tech in the D.C. area. The Innovation Campus has grown from one employee to more than 30 in three years. He has also led successful efforts to improve university services for students and faculty living and working in the region.

“Ken’s unwavering dedication and his creative planning have positioned the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus for success,” said Lance Collins, vice president and executive director of the Innovation Campus. “Thanks to Ken’s foundational leadership, we are poised to continue our growth as we head into our official opening in 2024.”

Smith has been a member of the Virginia Tech community since 1997. Prior to his appointment to the Innovation Campus, Smith served as vice provost for academic resource management and led budget and financial planning for three provosts over 18 years. He was the principal planner of the New Classroom Building, the developer of the university’s academic performance budgeting model, and he led the creation of a nationally recognized management data system. 

“I am thrilled for this opportunity to work with Elizabeth McClanahan, the Virginia Tech Foundation executive group, and the operations team to shape the future of the foundation as it serves the university and its stakeholders,” Smith said. “I could not pass up the chance to continue my career in the Hokie Nation. I’m beyond excited for the opening of the Innovation Campus’ first building next year, a project that would not have happened without the close collaboration between the foundation and the university. We will continue with that productive partnership, and I look forward to the new initiatives we will build together.”

A search for a new assistant vice president for finance and operations at the Innovation Campus will commence this summer. Regional realignments initiated by the leadership of the university will continue under the shared leadership of Collins and Executive Vice Provost Don Taylor.  

“The reorganization of administrative services in the D.C. area remains essential to supporting the alignment of our academic programs,” Taylor said.

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