Virginia Western Dean of STEM Garners Regional Leadership Award

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Amy Ankrum and Amy White (right)

Virginia Western Community College’s Amy White, Dean of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, was honored recently with the Regional Leadership Award at The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council’s TechNite program at The Inn at Virginia Tech. TechNite is an annual celebration of the local technology community.

The Regional Leadership Award recognizes an RBTC member who succeeds in the workplace, but also leads by example by contributing significantly to the RBTC community. In addition to being the Dean of STEM at Virginia Western, White serves on the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors, representing the Buchanan District, and she was recently appointed to Gov. Ralph Northam’s Virginia STEM Education Advisory Board.

“I am thrilled and humbled to receive this award, but it genuinely represents the entire STEM team at VWCC,” White said. “I am honored to work beside colleagues who value innovation and excellence, and who have a deep commitment to this region. I also value the support of the VWCC administration for their trust in our team and support of our ideas.”

White began at Virginia Western as a biology professor and her passion for educating continues as she ascended to the role of dean. She continues to teach along with her other duties. White also serves on the Virginia State Manufacturing Development Commission, the board of directors of RAMP, a regional economic development accelerator, and in leadership positions with Buchanan Presbyterian Church and the Botetourt County Fair.

“We are thrilled that Dean White has been honored for all she does for our community and for the growth of STEM education. She is a fantastic leader and deserves all the accolades she receives,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western. “The recent opening of our $37-million, 72,000-square foot STEM Building could not have happened without Dean White’s dedication and persistence, and it has become a cutting-edge hub for both students and community collaborators to learn and innovate.”

TechNite was full of networking, celebrating accomplishments, and recognizing innovative companies and people in the Roanoke and Blacksburg area. The keynote speaker was VT alumnus Michael Rihani, current product manager at Tesla, former product manager at Apple, and co-creator of Koofers.

“TechNite 2021 was a celebration of resiliency and accomplishments in innovation throughout our vibrant tech community,” said Erin Burcham, Executive Director of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. “It was an honor to host Michael Rihani, a former TechNite Entrepreneur of the Year winner, and to share his passions and accomplishments with our community. We are so proud of all the TechNite award winners and stand amazed at all that this community offers to the world of technology.”

In addition to White, the following entrepreneurs and companies were honored during the awards ceremony at TechNite.

  • Micro Harmonics, Rising Star of the Year, which recognizes a local technology company whose “star is rising.” Micro Harmonics produces millimeter wave products in military applications such as compact range radar, imaging, covert communication, and chemical and bio-agent detection, as well as in scientific instrumentation for chemical spectroscopy, biomaterial analysis, radio astronomy, biomedical systems, portal security scanners, and high-frequency data links.
  • Sonu Singh, Entrepreneur of the Year, which recognizes a leader who exemplifies what it means to be a risk-taker in the technology field. Singh is President and CEO at the 1901 Group, a company transforming the delivery of IT services through the use of enterprise managed services leveraging the cloud to securely monitor, manage, and optimize complex IT environments.
  • Daniel Smith and Matt Welborn, Entos, Inc., Innovator of the Year, which recognizes an individual, a team, or an organization that has blazed new trails in the areas of research and innovation. Entos, Inc. offers breakthrough AI-driven chemistry for medicine.
  • Amy Ankrum, Regional Leadership Award, which recognizes a member who succeeds in the workplace, but also leads by example by contributing significantly to the RBTC community. Ankrum was president and CEO of Qualtrax before its acquisition earlier this year by U.K.-based Ideagen, for which she now works as senior vice-president North America.
  • FoxGuard Solutions, Company of the Year, which recognizes a Roanoke or New River Valley company committed to advancing our region’s technology community and can demonstrate excellence in its people, programs, and projects within its industry. FoxGuard designs, manufactures, and integrates innovative cybersecurity, computing, and regulatory compliance solutions used in critical infrastructure markets.
  • Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and Carilion Clinic, Ruby Award, which recognizes an outstanding member that has proven to be a brilliant and valuable asset to the Roanoke-Blacksburg region. Both companies were honored for their mission of protecting the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Doug Juanerena, RBTC Hall of Fame. Juanerena was founder and CEO of three technology startups over a 35-year career, as well as Valleys Innovation Council board co-chair, and mentor to three successful RAMP technology startups.

TechNite was a highlight of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center’s “Game Changer Week,” which brought together industry disruptors through a variety of events held virtually and in person across the region. The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council is an affiliate of Verge, a collaborative strategic alliance established to grow the region’s innovation economy. To learn more, visit vergeva.org.