David A. Baker has joined Virginia Tech as assistant director of government and community affairs, a new position that will be based in Alexandria.

He will support Brandy Salmon, managing director of the Innovation Campus, and Chris Yianilos, executive director of government relations, in working with Alexandria residents and key stakeholders to successfully launch the new $1 billion Innovation Campus.

Baker joins Virginia Tech from George Washington University where he’s served as the director of Virginia Government Relations since 2014.

“I’m so excited to welcome David. It makes total sense that he was our first hire for the campus because we are so committed to engaging with the community and being a model partner,” Salmon said. “His office will be on Prince Street but I expect he will spend most of his time out and about in the community.”

The Innovation Campus was announced in November as part of a comprehensive higher-education package that was cited as a key reason Amazon selected Northern Virginia for a new headquarters site. It will bolster the region’s technology workforce and ignite the region’s economy.

“It was a highly selective search process, and David emerged from many outstanding candidates,” Yianilos said. “He brings to the position deep Alexandria roots, great listening and communication skills, higher education experience, and he is someone who has a proven track record of forming a higher education partnership with the Alexandria City Public Schools. He will hit the ground running.”  

While at The George Washington University, Baker developed the first GW in Virginia Economic Impact Study, quantifying the university’s investments across four communities in Virginia.  In addition, he partnered with the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Alexandria City Public Schools to develop the first public-private, dual-enrollment partnership in Virginia.  The health sciences partnership was recognized as a Governor’s Health Sciences Academy in 2018. 

Prior to that position, Baker worked in federal and state government affairs for several organizations in Northern Virginia, including the Northern Virginia Technology Council. 

“The Innovation Campus is a game-changer for Northern Virginia and the Commonwealth. It will provide a pipeline for high-demand, high-skilled talent that is vital to our growing economy,” Baker said.  “Having the chance to help Virginia Tech build a new campus from the ground up is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I look forward to engaging with the Alexandria community to ensure the Innovation Campus provides a lasting, positive effect. “

Baker graduated from The University of Mary Washington with a bachelor’s in business administration.  He earned his master’s of public policy from The George Washington University. 

At scale, the Innovation Campus will enroll 750 master’s degree candidates and train hundreds of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. The university plans to hire dozens of new faculty members who will drive research, partnerships and investment in the region.

The new campus will increase Virginia Tech’s already strong, existing footprint in Northern Virginia. Approximately 60,000 alumni live in the region, and Virginia Tech maintains seven facilities with operations in Old Town Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Leesburg, Manassas, and Middleburg.