National Capital Region | Virginia Tech

Business Networks

Virginia Tech is reaching out to the business community in the National Capital Region to create a series of networks that will further enhance the university's research profile in the National Capital Region. The networks are informal but active and have engaged departments, institutes, and faculty both in Blacksburg and in the National Capital Region in assisting the private sector through research, education and training.

Examples of the support provided by these business networks include:

  • Funding the Hume Center in Electrical and Computer Engineering through a gift from a network member
  • Co-sponsoring the Meet the Scientists event in the new research building
  • Providing internships to students and hiring students in specific firms
  • Developing joint research proposals seeking federal funding
  • Sponsoring faculty research supportive for industry growth
  • Developing joint research proposals seeking federal funding
  • Assisting in planning and implementing a discovery and innovation exhibit space jointly with the university

Working closely with these business networks, three strategic directions have been developed for the Virginia Tech/business collaborations

Strategic Direction 1: Capacity Building

  • Establish research collaborations that lead to major research programs
    1. Leverage the unique technology capacities of the new Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington to bring high performance computing applications to business.
    2. Implement communication processes that regularly inform potential partners of research activities and interests of faculty.
  • Invest in high potential professional programs in the region:
    1. Regularly assess and analyze market needs for certificate and professional development programs.
    2. Work with local business and government agencies to develop and deliver professional development programs customized for the specific needs of the company/agency.

Strategic Direction 2: Institutional Embedding

  • Establish strong network relations with federal agencies to promote research opportunities, graduate enrollments, and outreach programs
    1. Develop and deliver regular webinars to address technical needs of the technology sectors.
  • Create outreach programs that serve private and government sectors with high value added programs.
    1. In partnership with local governments, create and implement a center for innovation and development.
    2. Leverage Virginia Tech’s broad international interests and presence to create more international business/research opportunities.

Strategic Direction 3: Identity Enhancement

  • Change brand for the region to be consistent with our geographic scope and tripartite mission
    1. Conduct at least one major event annually focused on a highly visible topic of joint interest.
  • Market the university’s presence in the region and its connectivity to Blacksburg
    1. Utilize the rich networks represented by members to communicate the university’s activities in the NCR.

Two different networks have been actively working with Virginia Tech for the past three years.

VT SERGE (Science and Engineering Region Growth Enterprise)

SERGE is comprised of senior administrators (CEOs, COOs, and VPs) for major companies in the National Capital Region. The group meets quarterly with senior Virginia Tech officials including the president, vice president for Research, vice president for Outreach, and vice president for the National Capital Region. The group has co-sponsored several events in the National Capital Region and in Blacksburg aimed at linking faculty with research opportunities in their companies. The chairman of SERGE is Tom Kirchmaier, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Intelligence Solutions Division, General Dynamics Information Technology. The point of contact for SERGE at the university is Afroze Mohammed, Associate Director, Strategic Alliances, in the Office of Economic Development division of Outreach.

Mohammed can be contacted at: and 571-858-3007

VT IDEA (Intelligence and Defense Executive Alumni)

IDEA is comprised of alumni from Virginia Tech who have executive positions in government or industry related to national security and intelligence. The network self-formed three years ago and has been actively engaged with the university community in numerous ways. One of its members is responsible for the endowment for the Hume Center. The group also recently sponsored an event entitled – entitled Lady Hokies in National Security – that featured for women who have or currently hold senior positions in national security agencies or in the private sector. The network members assist in establishing contacts within the national security agencies for Tech faculty and programs. The “head’ of the network is Pack Fancher. Information about IDEA and contact information for Fancher can be found at:

These groups welcome any new alumni members in the national security field to join them as active members helping Virginia Tech improve its portfolio in the critical sector of research.