Business and organizations

These alumni are recognized for their work in business and organizations.


Vahan Janjigian

Vahan Janjigian (MBA 1982; Ph.D. finance 1985) is vice president and executive director of the Forbes Investors Advisory Institute and Forbes’ chief investment strategist. He is editor of the Forbes Growth Investor and Forbes Special Situation Survey newsletters and a regular contributor to Forbes magazine and He is the author of Even Buffet Isn't Perfect: What You Can -- and Can't -- Learn from the World's Greatest Investor.

Trish Cox

Trish Cox (marketing 1990; M.B.A. 1993) is chief operating officer of Schwab Advisor Services, a division of Charles Schwab & Co. Cox oversees the development and delivery of custodial, operational, and trading support services to some 6,000 independent, fee-based investment advisor firms.

Lynne Doughtie

Lynne Doughtie (accounting 1985) is national managing partner of KPMG's U.S. advisory services. She is a member of the firm's management committee and helps develop strategy, training, and risk management initiatives. She was named to Consulting magazine’s 2009 list of "Women Leaders in Consulting" -- one of only eight women honored and one of only two named in the leadership category. Doughtie was also recognized by Diversity Journal ("Women Worth Watching") and Accounting Today ("Women in Accounting").

Jim Buckmaster

Jim Buckmaster (biochemistry 1984) is CEO of Craigslist, a centralized network of online urban communities that features free classified ads and forums on multiple topics. In January 2000, Buckmaster was hired by the then-5-year-old company as lead programmer. He was promoted to CEO in November 2000.

Terry Blevins

Terry Blevins (accounting 1983; master's 1985) is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Landmark Media Enterprises. She helped lead the successful sale of one of Landmark's most lucrative assets -- The Weather Channel -- to NBC Universal and private-equity firms just before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Brad Casper

Brad Casper (finance 1982) is president of the Phoenix Suns, one of the winningest franchises in National Basketball Association history. Casper is the former president and chief executive officer of Dial Corp., maker of Dial soap, Purex laundry detergent, Renuzit air freshener, and other consumer products. Under his leadership, the company has grown, improved its score on a national consumer satisfaction index, and built a state-of-the-art headquarters and research-and-development center that represents the largest new-facility investment worldwide by its parent company, German multinational Henkel.

Bridget Ryan Berman

Bridget Ryan Berman (business administration 1982) is the retired chief executive officer of Giorgio Armani Corporation, the wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Giorgio Armani S.p.A. A 20-year veteran of department and designer store retailing, Berman returned to the fashion industry following a stint as vice president and chief operating officer of retails stores for Apple Computer. Previously, Berman worked at Polo Ralph Lauren for 12 years, ultimately as group president of retail.

Doug Fritz

Doug Fritz (marketing 1982) is president of Richmond International Raceway. He is also on the board of directors at the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation, and the Richmond Sports Backers. In April 2005, Fritz was named Henrico County Business Leader of the Year.

David Calhoun

David Calhoun (accounting 1979) is chairman and CEO of The Nielsen Company. Previously, Calhoun, who joined GE upon graduation, served as president and CEO of GE Aircraft Engines; president and CEO of Employers Reinsurance Corporation; president and CEO of GE Lighting; and president and CEO of GE Transportation Systems.

George Nolen

George Nolen (marketing 1978) is the retired president and CEO of Siemens Corp., an electronics and engineering giant with worldwide sales of $96 billion in 2010. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, Siemens AG has 460,000 employees in more than 190 countries. He now serves on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Phil Thompson

Phil Thompson (M.S. systems engineering 1977) retired from IBM in 2005 as vice president of emerging markets. In 2002, Thompson received the Pinnacle Award during the third annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology symposium, recognizing his professional, policy, and technical contributions to technology. He was named one of the 50 Top Blacks in Technology in 2003 during the annual Black Family Technology Awareness Week.

Ed Clark 

Ed Clark (horticulture 1977) is president and general manager of the Atlanta Motor Speedway and executive vice president of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns NASCAR tracks in Atlanta, Charlotte, Bristol, Fort Worth, Las Vegas, and Sonoma, Calif.

Stephen K. Bannon

Stephen K. Bannon (urban affairs 1976) is chairman of the board of Genius Products, a leading independent home entertainment distribution company. Prior to joining Genius, Bannon sold Bannon & Co., an investment-banking boutique he formed in 1990, to Société Générale. He is also the former CEO of Biosphere 2.

William J. Madia

William J. Madia (Ph.D. chemistry 1975) is vice president for the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Previously he was director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, serving also as CEO of laboratory contractor UT-Battelle LLC and executive vice president for Battelle’s business with the U.S. Department of Energy. In 1999, Madia was named Laboratory Director of the Year by the Federal Laboratory Consortium.

John R. Lawson II

John R. Lawson II (geophysics 1975) is president and chief executive officer of W.M. Jordan Co. Inc., the largest construction company based in Virginia with nearly 400 employees. Under Lawson’s leadership, W.M. Jordan Co. has achieved annual revenues exceeding $360 million. Lawson received the Ernst and Young Virginia Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2004. The Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech was named for Lawson and his former classmate, Ross Myers.

C.E. Andrews

C.E. Andrews (accounting 1974) is president and chief operating officer of RSM McGladrey, a subsidiary of H&R Block. He is the former president and chief financial officer of SLM Corp. -- commonly known as Sallie Mae -- the nation’s leading provider of student loans and administrator of college savings plans. Andrews joined Sallie Mae in 2003 as executive vice president of accounting and risk management. Before joining Sallie Mae, Andrews worked at Arthur Andersen for 29 years, ultimately serving as global managing partner for Andersen’s audit and advisory services.

Catherine Woteki

Catherine Woteki (human nutrition and foods M.S. 1972, Ph.D. 1975) is undersecretary for research, education, and economics in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). She also has served as the global director of scientific affairs for Mars Inc., the first female dean of the College of Agriculture at Iowa State University, and the first undersecretary of food safety for the USDA from July 1997 until January 2001.

Charles Pryor Jr.

Charles Pryor Jr. (civil engineering 1966; M.S. 1968; Ph.D. 1970) is chairman of Urenco Investments Inc., a global provider of services and technology to the nuclear-generation industry. He also served as president and CEO of electric appliances giant Westinghouse and former president and CEO of Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Service Co. In 1991, President Francois Mitterand of France presented Pryor with the prestigious Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Merite for developing cooperative business relationships between the United States and France.

Jack Guynn

Jack Guynn (industrial engineering 1964) was president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank -- one of 13 people who set the nation’s economic policy with former reserve chairman Alan Greenspan -- from January 1996 until he retired in October 2006. He joined the Atlanta bank in 1964.

William H. Goodwin Jr.

William H. Goodwin Jr. (mechanical engineering 1962) began his career with IBM and later started Commonwealth Computer Advisors, a computer-leasing company known today as CCA Financial Inc. Over the years, Goodwin increased his business portfolio by purchasing and selling various companies, and he is now chairman of the board of CCA Industries Inc., a diversified holding company. Goodwin and his wife, Alice, created the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research.

Denman Zirkle

Denman Zirkle (business administration 1960) is executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. A former investment manager who worked at Morgan Stanley and Franklin Templeton Investments among others, Zirkle now leads the effort to protect, manage, and interpret Civil War battlegrounds.

James E. Turner Jr.

James E. Turner Jr. (agricultural engineering 1956) retired in 2000 as the executive president and chief operating officer of General Dynamics, the nation's largest nuclear submarine builder. Turner had a successful and distinguished 40-year career in management positions with Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Westinghouse, and General Dynamics.

William C. Latham

William C. Latham (general agriculture 1955) is the president and CEO of Budget Motels Inc., which he established in 1973 to launch one of the very first Days Inn franchises in the United States. Budget Motels, which provides economy-priced hotels, currently owns and operates eight Days Inns and one Comfort Inn. In 2006, the university dedicated the William C. and Elizabeth H. Latham Agriculture and Life Sciences Building to honor Latham and his wife.

William D. Wampler

William D. Wampler (poultry science 1950) is the former president and CEO of Wampler Foods. He served as the president of the National Turkey Federation, the Virginia Angus Association, the Virginia Poultry Federation, and the Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association.

Willis S. "Pete" White Jr.

Willis S. "Pete" White Jr. (electrical engineering 1947) was chairman of the board of Appalachian Power Co., which serves 929,000 customers in West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee and is part of the American Electric Power system.

Thomas L. Phillips

Thomas L. Phillips (electrical engineering 1947; M.S. 1947) retired as CEO, president, and chairman of the board of Raytheon Co. Under his leadership, Raytheon developed and marketed the first commercial home microwave. Phillips also played a role in the development of two of the company’s guided-missile programs.

Henry J. Dekker

Henry J. Dekker (accounting 1947) served as an officer in the Pacific during World War II, then returned to Blacksburg, Va., to complete his degree, after which he went to work for the university. After a two-year stint as university treasurer, Dekker launched a 36-year career in the textile industry. He was founder and president of the North American operations of French couturier Louis Feraud. He retired as vice chairman in 1991 and returned to Blacksburg. Dekker served on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors from 1989 to 1997, including a term as rector. He died in June 2011 at age 90.

Robert B. Delano

Robert B. Delano (animal science 1945) retired as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization that works to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities.

Clifford A. Cutchins III

Clifford A. Cutchins III (accounting 1944) was a member of the Virginia Tech class slated to graduate in 1944 but whose members were called to serve in World War II. After serving as a captain in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater, Cutchins returned to Virginia Tech. He later began working in the banking industry and rose in the ranks to become chairman and CEO of Sovran Financial Corporation (now part of Bank of America).

Clifton C. Garvin

Clifton C. Garvin (chemical engineering 1943; M.S. 1947) served with the U.S. Corps of Engineers in the South Pacific for three years before returning to Blacksburg, Va., to earn his master's degree in 1947. Afterward, Garvin went to work for Exxon Corp., where he worked his way up from process engineer in the refineries to president in 1972. He was selected as its chairman and chief executive officer in 1975 and remained CEO until his retirement in 1986. During Garvin’s tenure, Exxon was the world’s most profitable company.

Alexander Giacco

Alexander Giacco (chemical engineering 1942) was CEO and chairman of the board of Hercules Inc., which manufactures and markets chemical specialties used in making products for home, office, and industrial markets. In the 1980s, Giacco was recognized for his leadership role in the chemical industry, including being named twice as one of the 10 Outstanding Chief Executive Officers in United States Industry by The Financial World.

William C. Bixby

William C. Bixby (electrical engineering 1942) was editor of Look magazine, a weekly general interest magazine published in the United States from 1937 to 1971. It was widely viewed as a competitor to Life magazine.

Alfred E. Knobler

Alfred E. Knobler (ceramic engineering 1937) was the founder, chairman, and CEO of Pilgrim Glass, a company widely known for its cranberry glass and the only maker of American Cameo Glass in the country. Although the company closed in 2002, the glass remains a highly desired collector’s item.

W. Thomas Rice

William Thomas Rice was born in 1913 in Hague, Va. In 1930, at the beginning of the Great Depression, an Episcopal minister recommended to Mrs. Alfred I. DuPont that she provide a college scholarship for a young man from rural Virginia. To prove to the minister and Mrs. DuPont that they were wise in their decision, Tom Rice graduated from Virginia Tech in 1934 with the highest academic average in his civil engineering class and was one of only two seniors in his class of 200 to be offered a job upon graduation.

Rice began a long railroad career with that job with the Pennsylvania Railroad as a track supervisor. He left that job to serve the Army in World War II, directing overseas operations of the Military Railway Service in both the European and Pacific Theaters. He was was awarded the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters. He continued to serve in the Army Reserve and rose to the rank of major general. In 1999, Rice was inducted into the Army Transportation Corps Hall of Fame.

After the war, Rice resumed his railroad career, going to work for the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac (RF&P) Railroad in 1946. He was elected president of that line in 1955, and two years later was appointed the president of the Atlantic Coast Line (ACL) Railroad Company. In that capacity, he worked with John W. Smith, president of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, to effect a merger of the two railroads, which took place on July 1, 1967. Rice was elected president of the new Seaboard Coast Line Railroad and in 1970, he was elected chairman and CEO of the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Co. (SCL) of Richmond and its holding company, Seaboard Coast Line Industries. He retired in 1977 but was still active in the railroad industry. Rice worked with Hays T. Watkins to merge the SCL and the Chessie System to form CSX Corporation on Nov. 1, 1980. Rice served on CSX's original Board of Directors.

Rice was also on the board of trustees for many business and philanthropic organizations, including: Borden, Inc., Florida Rock Industries, Bank of America and the Chemical Bank of New York. He served as a trustee of the Virginia Episcopal Seminary and of the American Association of Homes for the Aging, and was a member of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Advisory Board of The Citadel, and Virginia Military Institute's Board of Visitors. He was awarded honorary doctorates in military science from The Citadel and in laws from Stetson University.

At Virginia Tech, Rice served on the board of visitors from 1961 to 1968 and was rector from 1962 to 1964. He endowed three scholarships for members of the Corps of Cadets who major in engineering, served as Director of the Virginia Tech Foundation, President of the Alumni Association, was a charter member of the Rowe Fellow Program, and a member of the College of Engineering Committee of 100, Ut Prosim Society, Corps of Cadets Alumni Board, William Preston Society, and several other university organizations. In recognition of his contributions, Virginia Tech presented Rice with the Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1973, the Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award in 1980, and the William Ruffner Medal in 1981.

Rice died Sunday, February 5, 2006, at the age of 93 in Richmond. He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Jacqueline Johnston Rice, and a son, John Rice.

Robert B. Pamplin Sr.

Robert B. Pamplin Sr. (business administration 1933) was chairman of the board and CEO of the Georgia-Pacific Corp. After “retiring” at age 65, he built R.B. Pamplin Corp. into a multimillion-dollar business, along with his son, Robert B. Pamplin Jr., who also attended Virginia Tech. The American Academy of Achievement selected Pamplin as “one of 40 giants of accomplishments from the nation’s great fields of endeavor.” In 1969, Virginia Tech’s Pamplin Hall was named for him and in 1986, the Pamplin College of Business was renamed to honor the father and son. Pamplin Sr. died in June 2009 at age 97.

Julian Cheatham

Julian Cheatham (business administration 1933) went to work immediately after graduation for the Georgia Hardwood Lumber Co. that his brother Owen had started in 1928. Cheatham rose to the ranks of executive vice president and director before retiring in 1975 from the family company, which had grown into one of America's largest corporations, the Georgia-Pacific Corp. Tech’s Cheatham Hall was named in his honor in 1972.

H.C. Groseclose

H.C. Groseclose (agricultural education 1923) and W.S. Newman (M.S. agriculture 1919) founded the Future Farmers of Virginia in 1926, which evolved into the Future Farmers of America.

Benjamin McKelway

Benjamin McKelway (general agriculture 1917) was editor of the Washington Evening Star and president of The Associated Press. (Did not graduate.)

Edward Hudson Lane

Edward Hudson Lane (electrical engineering 1910) and his father founded the Standard Red Cedar Chest Co., later known as Lane Furniture, in 1912. He played a significant role in the success of the Student Aid Association at Virginia Tech. Lane Stadium bears his name. (Did not graduate.)

J.M. Bland

J.M. Bland (general science 1902) was the first president of Ruritan National, a civic service organization founded in 1928 that today has about 30,000 members across the nation.

Lawrence Priddy

Lawrence Priddy (general science 1897) served as president of the National Association of Life Underwriters. A June 30, 1917, story in the Saturday Evening Post called him one of the world’s greatest insurance salesmen. He led the fundraising campaign for the World War I Memorial Gymnasium at Virginia Tech.