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Leadership and Administration

Lance Collins
Lance Collins was introduced as the executive director and vice president of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus on Feb. 3, 2020.


Inaugural Vice President and Executive Director

Lance Collins is the inaugural vice president and executive director of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, which was announced by the university as part of the state’s successful effort to attract Amazon’s HQ2 to Northern Virginia. In this role, he provides strategic direction for the Innovation Campus (see the campus Strategic Plan), helping to build a campus that will impart a lasting influence on the region’s tech ecosystem.

Collins joined Virginia Tech in August 2020 from Cornell University where he served as the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering for 10 years. He was also part of the leadership team that successfully bid to partner with New York City to build Cornell Tech, which opened its Roosevelt Island campus in 2017. As the engineering dean at Cornell, Collins accelerated efforts to diversify the college’s faculty and student body, increasing the proportion of underrepresented minority students from 8 to 19 percent and undergraduate women from 33 to 50 percent.

Collins serves on the board of trustees of the MITRE Corporation, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Society for Science, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Foundation. He is a member of the board of directors of the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation and is a member of the Economic Club of Washington, DC. He has served on numerous academic advisory boards and visiting committees, including for the University of Michigan, Purdue University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University, among others.

Collins is professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech.  His research is focused on the application of direct numerical simulation to a broad range of turbulent processes. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 2021 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Ken Smith in the Innovation Campus headquaters

Ken Smith

Chief Operating Officer

Ken Smith joined the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus team as chief operating officer in October 2020. In his current role, Smith oversees and coordinates all aspects of administration and finance in the development of the new Innovation Campus organization and its related facilities.

Smith has been part of Virginia Tech since 1997. Prior to his appointment as COO, 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 developer of the university’s academic performance budgeting model and the data approaches that support it. Before coming to the Provost’s Office, Smith served as assistant director for budget operations in the Virginia Tech Office of Budget and Financial Planning and as a budget analyst in the Commerce, Resources and Trade section of the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget.

Smith holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech. He earned both a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University.

In his role as COO for the Innovation Campus, Smith collaborates with the offices of the Interim SVP and Chief Business Officer Chris Kiwus, and with finance leaders in that division including VP for Finance Ken Miller and AVP for Budget and Financial Planning Tim Hodge. He collaborates with staff in the office of the EVP and Provost Cyril Clarke, including Executive Vice Provost Don Taylor and Vice Provost for Academic Resource Management Jeff Earley. He also works closely with the staff in the Campus Planning and Infrastructure and Facilities Division on execution of the Innovation Campus Academic Building I capital project, including AVP for Campus Planning Capital Financing Bob Broyden, University Architect Liza Morris, Supervising Project Manager Travis Jesse and D.C. Project Manager Stephanie Rollow. 

David Baker is assistant director of government relations and community affairs.

David Baker

Director of Operations and Chief of Staff

David Baker is director of operations and chief of staff for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. He joined Virginia Tech in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area in 2018 as assistant director of government and community affairs, based in Alexandria. His focus has been on supporting campus leadership through important initiatives with the City of Alexandria and key local stakeholders. He assumed the new role with the Innovation Campus on July 25, 2022.

During his time with the Office of Government Relations, Baker served as a primary point of contact for City of Alexandria officials and the local community, including throughout the zoning and entitlement process for the Innovation Campus. He also led the effort to have the Virginia Tech name added to the new Potomac Yard Metro Station, which is set to open this fall.

Baker joined Virginia Tech from George Washington University where he served as director of Virginia Government Relations since 2014. He 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. He graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and he earned his master’s degree of public policy from George Washington University.

Franki Fitterer, Innovation Campus Headquarters

Franki Fitterer

Director, Communications and Marketing

Franki Fitterer, director of communications and marketing, brings more than two decades of experience in higher education external relations to the Innovation Campus. She oversees communications strategy, media relations, and marketing and branding for the Innovation Campus, including its website and social media.

Fitterer came to Virginia Tech from American University, where she was director of public relations and marketing at AU’s Washington College of Law for 13 years. Her experience at AU included leading the implementation of a new school-wide brand strategy and directing communications and marketing for the law school’s move to a new 8.5 acre, three-building campus in Northwest Washington, D.C. Fitterer’s work on the project started in 2013 with the promotion of the groundbreaking, and continued through the construction process, fundraising efforts, city-wide advertising campaign, final ribbon-cutting celebration, and promotion of the campus for student recruitment.

Prior to AU, Fitterer was the associate director for marketing and communications at California Western School of Law in San Diego. She has a B.A. in Communication (Journalism) from the University of San Francisco and an M.A. in Political Science from American University's School of Public Affairs.

Fitterer is part of the Virginia Tech Department of University Relations, headed by Associate Vice President Tracy Vosburgh. She works closely with Michael Stowe and Shannon Andrea on communications and media relations, and Heather Ducote on enrollment marketing and branding.


Delores Gibson

Delores Gibson

Executive Administrator

Delores Gibson serves as the executive assistant to the vice president and executive director, Dr. Lance Collins, as well as manages the day to day operations of the Innovation Campus. Prior to joining the Innovation Campus, she worked as assistant director of operations for the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (The I3P) at The George Washington University.

Gibson earned a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also supported the School of Engineering and Applied Science in various managerial roles.

Pamela Gilchrist

Pamela Gilchrist

Director, K-12 Programs

Pamela Gilchrist, director of K-12 Programs for the Innovation Campus, brings 20 years of experience in developing multidisciplinary K-12 programs across the United States and within the public schools of North Carolina. Through partnerships, including with the Alexandria City Public Schools, Gilchrist enhances the Innovation Campus mission to inspire young people to pursue STEM education.

Gilchrist is the former director of The Science House’s Anderson and Imhotep Academies at North Carolina State University. The programs she directed at North Carolina State were geared toward providing K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programming (STEM) for underrepresented and underserved populations. She was responsible for the oversight, development, and evaluation of synchronous and asynchronous STEM programs for students, teachers, and parents across the state of North Carolina.

Gilchrist is an advocate for equity and has served as a leader in multiple organizations, including as past president of both the North Carolina Science Leadership Association and the North Carolina Science Fair Foundation. She has also served internationally as a science and technology educator in the United Kingdom.

Her research interests are in STEM programs, equity, teacher professional development, curriculum development, workforce development, adoption of innovations, and multidisciplinary partnerships. Gilchrist has developed and presented workshops across North and Central America, Europe, and East Asia. She also has numerous publications that inform research and practice communities. Gilchrist has also garnered a number of grants for her programs from public agencies such as the National Science Foundation and from private foundations totaling in the millions of dollars.

Gilchrist holds a Ph.D. in educational research and policy analysis, an M.S. in instructional technology, and a B.S. in middle grades education.

At Virginia Tech, Gilchrist partners across the broader university and organizations to provide pathways in STEM and to higher learning with the School of Education, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity the Center for Educational Networks and Impacts, the College Access Collaborative, 4-H, the Department of Engineering Education, and Link-License-Launch.

David Baker is assistant director of government relations and community affairs.

DaNnette Gomez Beane

Assistant Vice Provost for Enrollment Management for Strategic Initiatives

Dannette Gomez Beane serves as assistant vice provost for enrollment management for strategic initiatives for Virginia Tech. Her work focuses on graduate enrollment and degree goals for the Tech Talent Investment Program, which includes the Innovation Campus.

Previously, Gomez Beane served as director of operations in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Virginia Tech. She has also worked as director of graduate recruiting and diversity initiatives for the Virginia Tech Graduate School and as career and outreach coordinator for the Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

Gomez Beane has held several positions in public service such as a presidentially appointed university inclusion coordinator, community counselor, and employment specialist for Total Action for Progress and the Department of Social Services, assistant director at College Summit, Inc. and program leader for the Boys and Girls Club of America. She began her career in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Hollins University.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Hollins University and master’s degree and a doctorate in counselor education from Virginia Tech.

As part of the Virginia Tech Graduate Enrollment Management team, Gomez Beane collaborates with the Graduate School, all Academic Colleges, the Office of the Executive Vice Provost, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Marketing and Communications, Continuing and Professional Education, and the Division of IT.

David Baker is assistant director of government relations and community affairs.

Robin Jones

Assistant Vice President for Innovation Campus Student Services

Robin Jones serves as assistant vice president for Innovation Campus student services. At the Innovation Campus, Jones collaborates with campus partners to expand and manage academic and student services for Virginia Tech students who are enrolled in the university’s graduate programs in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area.

Prior to joining the Innovation Campus, Jones worked as assistant provost for planning and resource management at Virginia Tech, and she held leadership positions within the Division of Student Affairs.

At the Innovation Campus, Jones collaborates with campus partners to expand and manage academic and student services for Virginia Tech students who are enrolled in the university’s graduate programs in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area.

Prior to Virginia Tech, Jones was assistant to the vice president for administration, operations, and assessment at Humboldt State University. She also previously worked in student affairs at the University of South Alabama and Armstrong Atlantic State University (now Georgia Southern University). 

Jones received a B.S. from the University of North Georgia and has graduate degrees from both Texas A&M- Central Texas and Georgia Southern University. She earned a doctorate from The University of Alabama.

In her role as AVP for student services, Jones collaborates with various Executive Vice President and Provost areas to include enrollment management, academic affairs, the Graduate School, and student affairs as well as the College of Engineering.

Andrea Koslow

Andrea Koslow

Principal Partnership Officer

Andrea Koslow joined Virginia Tech as the new principal partnership officer for the Innovation Campus in December 2021. She forms and executes highly strategic partnerships with industry and executive leaders to establish ongoing, mutually reinforcing programs across cutting-edge research, project-based learning, talent pipelines, and innovation.

Koslow previously served as vice president and executive director of the Washington Media Scholars Foundation where she partnered with America’s top media companies to provide job skills, mentorship, and scholarships to undergraduate students seeking to join the media industry. Her leadership in fundraising, high-level volunteer management, operations, and marketing/communications was instrumental to the organization’s 40 percent year-over-year growth.

Koslow was previously senior director of national brand strategy and marketing production for Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). At PBS, she pioneered a strategic brand health practice, developed a strategy for audience and donor targeting, and launched the organization’s rebranding in 2016. She also served as executive director, brand and creative marketing at the National American Red Cross for 10 years. Koslow earned a bachelor’s degree from Furman University and a master’s in film and video production at the American University School of Communication. She has served as an adjunct professor at American University since 2013, and at Georgetown University since 2016.

Koslow is an extension of Virginia Tech’s Link + License + Launch corporate relations team in Northern Virginia. She works closely with Brandy Salmon, associate vice president for innovation and partnerships, to support all aspects of corporate partnerships for the Innovation Campus.