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Class Notes, Spring 2023

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Alumni, we want to hear what you’ve been doing. Mail career, wedding, birth, and death news to Class Notes, Virginia Tech Alumni Association, Holtzman Alumni Center, 901 Prices Fork Rd., Blacksburg, VA 24061; email the news to; or submit the news online, where photos may also be uploaded for consideration.



Peter R. Kurzhals, Fountain Valley, Calif., retired as director of systems and software with Boeing Space Systems and is currently serving as president of the Sigma Xi Orange County Chapter and as programs chair for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’s Orange County Section.


Fred E. Sanford, Santa Barbara, Calif., recently completed building his fourth airplane and is starting on the fifth.


James “Tom” Roberts Jr., Savannah, Ga., who was awarded “rock star” status by the commanding general, 3rd Infantry Division, in recognition of service as a volunteer soldier mentor, was appointed to serve on the U.S. Army Retiree Council's Southeastern Region sub-council for a three-year term.


William F. Marley Jr., Troy, Va., published a book, “68th North Carolina State Troops: Guerillas and Bandits? Or State Defenders?,” describing the history of the regiment during the Civil War.


Michael E. Guy, Marion, Va., published a book of essays, “Standing on a Spinning Ball.”


Terry R. Rakes, Pearisburg, Va., the William C. and Alix C. Houchens Professor of Business Information Technology in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of William C. and Alix C. Houchens Professor Emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.


Gary E. Skaggs, Hardy, Va., professor of educational research and evaluation in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.


Christopher E. Mandel, College Grove, Tenn., was appointed adjunct professor in the George Mason University Executive Development’s Chief Risk Officer certificate program, a program he helped create. He also serves on its advisory board.

Jacob A. Lutz III, Midlothian, Va., was named to the Steger Center’s Ferrari Foundation Board in 2022.


Kay Payne Hunnings, Blacksburg, Va., former associate dean of administration in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of associate dean emerita by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Edwin J. Jones, Blacksburg, Va., professor of wildlife sciences, former associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, and former director of Virginia Cooperative Extension, has been conferred the title of professor, associate dean, and director emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Ruth Harry Lytton, Radford, Va., professor of financial planning in the Pamplin College of Business Department of Finance at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emerita by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Saad A. Ragab, Blacksburg, Va., has been conferred the title of professor emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.


George “Eddie” Adkins Jr., Annapolis, Md., received the American Institute of CPA's highest award in the area of tax service, given nationally to one CPA each year to recognize career-long, outstanding leadership in the profession.


Bevlee A. Watford, Blacksburg, Va., a Virginia Tech faculty member since 1992, has been selected by President Joe Biden to serve on the National Science Board.


J. W. “Bill” Austin, Morgantown, W.Va., has been elected to the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations 2023 board of directors.


Patricia Graham Amateis, Blacksburg, Va., associate professor of chemistry in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of associate professor emerita by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Scott B. Harrison, Lorton, Va., was inducted as a fellow by the International Concrete Repair Institute.


Christine M. Gagne-Werner, Maryville, Ill., professor, retired from the Saint Louis University Physician Assistant Program in January.


Matthew R. Heffernan, Spartanburg, S.C., is vice president, Broadcast Hub Services with Nexstar Media Group Inc.

John F. Ambrosone, Shawsville, Va., associate professor of lighting design and head of the Lighting Design and Technology Program at Virginia Tech, has been named the faculty chair of the Theatre and Cinema Program in the School of Performing Arts."


Jacqueline A. Porta Trischman, San Diego, Calif., is dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at California State University San Marcos.

Eileen Morton Van Aken, Blacksburg, Va., professor and department head in the College of Engineering's Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, is president-elect for the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers.


Kimberly Hillenburg Nelson, Raleigh, N.C., was inducted into the National Academy of Public Administration as a fellow.


Kelly C. Chambliss, Chicago, Ill., was recently named one of the 2022 Most Influential Women Executives in Corporate America in Women Inc.


Tom P. Shen, Falls Church, Va., who received Washington Business Journal's 2021 Diversity in Business Award, was appointed to serve on the Management Committee at Gensler in 2023.

Barrett F. “Bart” Warner, Bedford, Va., was elected to the Executive Board of the Virginia Local Government Management Association.


Kerry A. Newberry, Portland, Ore., recently co-authored “Oregon Wine + Food: The Cookbook,” which charts the history of the region's terroir through the stories of winemakers and recipes from chefs across the state.


John E. Whitley, Alexandria, Va., received the 2022 Larry D. Welch Award for Best External Publication from the Institute for Defense Analyses.

Caty B. Borum, Arlington, Va., published a book, “The Revolution Will be Hilarious: Comedy for Social Change and Civic Power."

Bret W. Hrbek, Front Royal, Va., was elected president of the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation. He is a previous president of the Delta Xi Chapter at Virginia Tech and has served Zeta Beta Tau in various volunteer positions since graduation.

George J. “Jim” Pfleger Jr., Tempe, Ariz., was promoted to associate fellow at Verizon.


Kendall Taney Cummings, Gaithersburg, Md., finished a rigorous two-year training program and examination to become an American Veterinary Dental College fellow in oral and maxillofacial surgery, a distinction held by fewer than 20 veterinarians worldwide.

Chad E. Duty, Loudon, Tenn., has been named CEO of IACMI, a leader in advanced composites design, manufacturing, technical innovation, and workforce development.

Corey D. Hall, Easton, Pa., is strategic planning lead in the Strategic Technology Investment Office at DEVCOM Armaments Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.


Matthew E. Hackworth, Oxford, Miss., was ordained to Christian ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA) with a call to serve in national leadership for the disabilities nonprofit, L'Arche USA.

John W. Ingram, Roanoke, Va., published a book about Old Dominion baseball, “Monarchs,” and all proceeds from its sale will benefit a scholarship.

Steven M. Sikes, Williamsburg, Va., named dean of students at Virginia Tech.


Nathan P. Tetlow, Pittsburgh, Pa., is vice president, corporate development and investor relations of Equitrans Midstream Corporation.


Feride Daku, Blacksburg, Va., was named director of finance and administration at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.

Todd T. Lowe, Blacksburg, Va., was named fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Michael D. Morgan II, Onley, Va., was awarded the Silver Snoopy Award, which is one of the highest honors a NASA employee can receive."


Lauren L. DeSomma, Burke, Va., is vice president for Knutson Companies, Brambleton, Va.


Katherine Wood LaForest, Pittsburgh, Pa., became a part owner of the architecture and interior design firm, mossArchitects.

Zakariah D. Miller and Shawna C. Miller, Napa, Calif., own Earthshine Wines, one of the top winemakers in the country.

Emily A. Sarver, Blacksburg, Va., was named Stonie Barker Professor of Mining and Minerals Engineering at Virginia Tech.


Carrie A. Meadows Davenport, Penhook, Va., was named to the Top 100 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry.

Wedding: Carrie A. Meadows Davenport, Penhook, Va., and Benjamin Davenport, 10/29/22.

Birth: Joseph Michael Derlaga and Anna Pearl Blevins Derlaga ‘09, Yorktown, Va., a son, 3/30/22.


Birth: Patricia Ricketts Walker, Alton, Virginia, a daughter, 5/7/22.


Birth: John Flores and Molly Flores, Ramsey, N.J., a daughter, 3/28/22.


Justin E. Lerner, Golden, Colo., counsel in the Denver office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, has been promoted to shareholder.

Birth: Jonathan A. Clifton, Chesterfield, Va., a son, 10/5/22.


Anna Pearl Blevins Derlaga, Yorktown, Va., graduated from University of North Texas with a Master of Science in library science in December.

Nathan R. Johnson, Fairfax, Va., was selected as Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Washington Project Manager of the Year.

Shannon M. Mury, Blacksburg, Va., was named First Steps 2022 Early Childhood Champion Awards in September.

Bruce W. Strickland Jr., Chesterfield, Va., is a senior project manager in Timmons Group's Water Infrastructure team and is a new shareholder at Timmons Group.


Harpreet Singh Dhillon, Blacksburg, Va., professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for his contributions to heterogeneous cellular networks.

Birth: Collins Mehfoud and Kathryn M. Slaughter Mehfoud ’13, Shepherdsville, Ky., a son, 8/10/22.


Nicholas J. Soucie, Henrico, Va., has more than a decade of experience leading project teams to deliver public and private transportation projects across the Richmond region and is a new shareholder at Timmons Group.

Michael A. Edwards, Richmond, Va., is a senior project manager on Timmons Group's Geospatial Technology Asset Management team and is a new shareholder at Timmons Group.


Paul L. Holloway, Roanoke, Va., recently joined the Raleigh office of Hanson Professional Services Inc.

Wedding: Liana C. Bayne-Lin and Daniel Lin, Rockingham, Va., 09/23/22.

Birth: Peter Stafford Firey and Lauren Lemieux Firey ’13, Arlington, Va., a son, 3/28/22.


Emily S. Mawyer White, Henrico, Va., was named events manager for Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia in Richmond, Va.

Birth: Gina L. Latimer, North Chesterfield, Va., a daughter, 03/27/22.

Birth: Sean C. Reid, North Chesterfield, Va., a daughter, 03/27/22.

Birth: Emily S. Mawyer White and Eric Alton White ’20, Henrico, Va., a son, 5/12/22.


Ursula R. Gerson, Coral Gables, Fla., was named to the Institute of Real Estate Management 30 Under 30. Gerson and her team also earned designation as Community of the Year Mid-High Rise and Best Community Amenities of the Year by the Southeast Florida Apartment Association for the Residences at Thesis.

Wedding: Elizabeth Mullins Baldwin, Luray, Va., and Benjamin Baldwin ‘20, 5/14/22.

Birth: Lindsay A. Steward Deely and Colin Michael Deely, Fairfax, Va., a son, 08/22.


Birth: Jacob D. Pilkins, Tazewell, Va., a son, 10/17/22.


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