Employers representing high technology industries in Virginia have long recognized the talents and abilities of the graduates from the Virginia Tech College of Engineering. Eager and able students, first-rate instructional facilities, modern laboratories, and internationally recognized faculty members are essential elements to maintain that flow of high quality graduates. The Signature Engineering Building will provide the modern tools required for instruction and an environment that will help attract the best students and faculty.
Significant generous donations from our alumni and friends as well as the support of the Virginia General Assembly allowed the groundbreaking of the building in the early fall 2011. A particularly hard-working group who campaigned for the Signature Engineering Building is the College of Engineering alumni who are members of industry based in the Commonwealth or who have a significant business operation in Virginia. Since 2006, this committee has worked to make this state-of-the-art building a reality. I am among them. We are among the people who hire graduates from the college.
We strongly believe that the economic vitality of the Commonwealth is tied to the performance of our companies. Our companies can only succeed if we have employees with the skills, knowledge, and drive needed to compete in today’s technology-driven markets. The graduates of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech are a valuable source of skilled employees for us. To maintain the high caliber of graduates from the college, we considered the Signature Engineering Building at Virginia Tech a critical need to insure the supply of highly trained engineers who are U.S. citizens.
Investing in Virginia’s system of higher education, especially in the areas of technology and science, is critical to the economy of Virginia and the nation because we in industry need a large supply of bright, creative, hit-the-ground running graduate engineers. Virginia Tech is critical to fulfilling this need as it produces approximately one-half of all engineering graduates annually in the state.
I look forward to the day in 2014 that this building is occupied and begins to fulfill its mission. At the same time, we need to continue our efforts as the Signature Engineering Building represents the first of several academic buildings the engineering alumni and industry hope to see built in this new quadrant of the Virginia Tech campus.John Sparks is a three-time alumnus of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, earning bachelor’s (1974), master’s (1976), and doctorate (1981) degrees in mechanical engineering. He is now director of Engineering and Technology Programs at Gainesville, Va.-based Aerojet. He served as chairman of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering Advisory Board's Legislative Committee to help spur funding support for the Signature Engineering Building, and continues to serve the board and college in many ways.
For information about supporting the Signature Engineering Building contact Erin Edwards at (540) 231-4066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.