Brian Calhoun of Blacksburg has been named the associate director of community viability for Virginia Cooperative Extension.

In this role, Calhoun will serve as state program leader for the development and delivery of innovative programs that enable citizens and local governments to respond to local issues.

“I am excited to welcome back Dr. Calhoun to the Extension family,” said Rick Rudd, interim associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and interim director of Virginia Cooperative Extension. “The specialists in community viability serve as catalysts for solving complex problems faced by citizens of the commonwealth that require collective efforts by existing programs in agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H, as well as engaging other state agencies and university programs at Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. Dr. Calhoun is a talented professional, uniquely qualified to lead this important effort.”

Calhoun will direct the development of curriculum to address emerging issues within communities and guide the curriculum development process for the interdisciplinary community viability program. When commenting on his appointment, Calhoun said, “It is a tremendous honor and pleasure to serve Virginia Cooperative Extension and the citizens of the commonwealth again. I look forward to leading efforts to vitalize Virginia’s communities by reaching out to community, industry, and government partners and working shoulder to shoulder with my colleagues in Extension.”

Extension’s community viability program delivers expertise in the areas of entrepreneurship/small business development, community leadership, agriculture marketing, local government leadership, and community development to stakeholders throughout Virginia. “The commonwealth offers a tremendous amount of resources in the form of people’s ingenuity and resourcefulness, and our community viability efforts utilize these existing assets and build the foundation for future prosperity, particularly in rural areas with the help of multiple partners,” said Calhoun.

Prior to rejoining Virginia Tech, Calhoun was as an assistant professor in public relations and advertising at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, where he focused on business and organizational communication.

He previously served Extension in numerous roles for more than 16 years and was the associate director for community viability prior to his departure from Extension. In his role as the executive director of the Virginia 4-H Foundation, he administered the foundation’s endowed and program funds, totaling $3.3 million, and developed a public relations program for Virginia 4-H. He was recognized for his service to the Virginia 4-H youth program on multiple occasions, including the Achievement in Service Award from the Virginia Association of Extension 4-H Agents and the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents. Calhoun was also an Extension specialist in resource management and community development, the precursor of today’s community viability program.

He is a former vice chair and founding member of the Council/Center for Rural Virginia and serves on the executive boards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Rural Development Partnership and the Partnership for Rural America.

Calhoun earned his Ph.D. in resource management and master’s degree in education, both from Virginia Tech, and his bachelor’s degree in business and public administration from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.


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