D.C. Area Operations Team

900 N. Glebe Road, Arlington

7054 Haycock Road, Falls Church

Nicholas D. Stone, Ph.D.
Interim Senior Director, NCR Operations

Nick Stone is the interim senior director of Virginia Tech's National Capital Region Operations, overseeing operations in the Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington. Stone also represents the Provost's Office within the greater Washington area and helps with transition planning and change-management initiatives, working collaboratively with others across the university.

Stone joined Virginia Tech in 1988 as associate professor in entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). In the mid-1990s, he envisioned and created the Agricultural and Natural Resources Information Technology program (now AHNR-IT) in CALS, and he moved to northern Virginia in 2002 to help found Virginia Tech's International Institute for Information Technology, acting as the director of education and outreach, developing IT-based research collaborations, building Virginia Tech's IT research programs in the region, and helping to establish Virginia Tech international IT programs in India. He served as deputy director in the NCR from 2004 to 2014, helping develop strong collaborations with local government and promoting a vision of the NCR as Virginia Tech's urban living laboratory.

Stone holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked on biological control in the College of Natural Resources. As a faculty member at Texas A&M University and Virginia Tech, he developed research programs focusing on simulation, artificial intelligence, planning, and decision support systems. As an assistant professor, Stone co-founded the Knowledge Engineering Laboratory at Texas A&M University. He has authored more than 80 scholarly publications and co-authored (with Richard Plant) the book, Knowledge-Based Systems in Agriculture.

Software developed in Stone's laboratory at Virginia Tech has won awards from the American Distance Education Consortium, the American Society of Agronomy and Virginia Tech. Since 1994, The Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation has used Stone's software as a key part of its Nutrient Management Planning program, and he has developed other tools for organizations including US EPA, the UN's FAO, USDA/NRCS. Stone also founded and heads ISIS Labs, LLC, a company that develops and consults on environmental planning software.

Office: (571) 858-3004

Justin A. Davenport
Director of Information Technology

Serving as director of information technology for the National Capital Region, Justin Davenport has integrated university Information Technology services across the region. As the university's first ITIL Expert, he has focused on implementing IT service management best-practices, working in partnership with internal and external university stakeholders.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 2000, Davenport worked at The Weinberg Group, where he supported information technology throughout the company's international operations.

Davenport is an alumnus of Virginia Tech. In addition to holding an Environmental Science undergraduate degree from the university, he completed his Masters of Information Technology in 2005.

Office: (571) 858-3052

Dianka Curtis
Associate Director for Business Management

As associate director for business management, Dianka Curtis is responsible for National Capital Region Operations’ fiscal management, human resource oversight, diversity and inclusion efforts, and special project coordination.

Curtis has previously worked in both private and non-profit arenas. Prior to joining the National Capital Region, Curtis’ work experience included positions at Bloomberg BNA, the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute, Children’s National Health System, and METRIC, Inc. Her expertise includes business, administration, operations, and financial management.

Curtis earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Howard University. In addition, she holds an MBA and graduate certificate in human resource management from University of Maryland University College, and a professional in human resources certification (PHR).

Office: (571) 858-3016

Ryan Evans
Manager of Facilities Operations

Ryan Evans is facilities operations manager for the Virginia Tech Research Center - Arlington. He serves as point of contact for Virginia Tech personnel in regard to property management issues to help ensure smooth day-to-day operation and security of the building. Evans is also responsible for coordinating event scheduling within the facility.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech National Capital Region Operations in January 2016, he was a member of the Virginia Emergency Support Team at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management in Richmond. There he was responsible for facilitating and supporting efficient operations of tasks for the Virginia Emergency Operations Center during four federally-declared disasters.

Evans received a bachelor’s degree in homeland security and emergency preparedness from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Office: (571) 858-3009

Steven H. McKnight, Ph.D.
Vice President, Office of Strategic Alliances

Steve McKnight serves as the vice president for the new Office of Strategic Alliances, facilitating university-wide collaborations and engagement with faculty and staff throughout the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, and with colleges and units across the institution to advance strategic alliances and partnerships.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech in March 2014, McKnight served as director of the Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation Division (CMMI) within the Directorate for Engineering at the National Science Foundation (NSF), a position he held since 2009. At CMMI, he continued the division’s support of fundamental research activities directed at advances in civil, mechanical, industrial, materials design, and manufacturing engineering, has been instrumental in promoting greater emphasis on interdisciplinary and collaborative research endeavors and ensured CMMI participation in cross-foundational initiatives and interagency partnerships, and has represented NSF on several Office of Science and Technology Policy committees, subcommittees, and interagency working groups. Notably McKnight has led NSF’s efforts in advanced manufacturing and played a key role in the Administration’s advanced manufacturing initiatives and partnership efforts.

Before joining NSF, McKnight served in a number of leadership programs at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. He led the Army Research Laboratory’s (ARL) Materials Division, where he directed a comprehensive advanced materials and manufacturing intramural research program largely conducted and in collaboration with academic and industrial partners. He was instrumental to establishing the Army's nanotechnology research program and twice co-chaired the Army's Nanotechnology Integrated Product Team.

His personal research focuses on advanced polymer composite materials and polymer adhesion science, including innovative composites manufacturing techniques. McKnight has advised graduate and post-graduate researchers at the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials, where he holds a visiting scientist appointment. He has twice won Army R&D Achievement Awards as well as the Paul A. Siple Memorial Award for outstanding research presented at the U.S. Army Science Conference. McKnight earned a B.S. in materials engineering from Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Delaware. In 2009 he was recognized by the University of Delaware with the College of Engineering Outstanding Alumni Award.

Office: (571) 858-3000

Chris Yianilos, J.D.
Executive Director, Government Relations

Chris Yianilos joined Virginia Tech in 2009 as the university’s first director of Federal Government Relations. In 2013, Yianilos was named Virginia Tech’s executive director of Government Relations, overseeing all state and federal government priorities for the university.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Yianilos worked for more than a decade with United States Senator John Warner as his deputy chief of staff, legislative director, and legislative counsel. He also worked for Congressman Robert Wittman and the Honorable David A. Faber, U.S. District Judge in the southern district of West Virginia.

While working on Capitol Hill, Yianilos earned the respect of those on both sides of the aisle and a reputation as someone with a strong portfolio of legislative accomplishments. Legislative highlights of his work include: The Teacher Tax Relief Act (Public Law 107-47); The 21st Century GI Bill of Rights (Public Law 110-252); The Gang of 14 “Agreement on Judicial Nominations;” Preserving and Implementing the $5 billion rail to Dulles Airport project; the Lifespan Respite Care Act (Public Law 109-442); and The Virginia Ridge and Valley Wilderness Act (Public Law 111-11).

In addition to promoting the university’s federal priorities with members of Congress, staff, and federal agencies, Yianilos was also tasked by President Charles Steger with establishing a Virginia Tech Capitol Hill-focused internship program, Hokies on the Hill. Assisted by Professor Richard Rich, the program was launched in the 2010 spring semester and has offered students a unique opportunity to gain a full semester’s worth of academic credit while interning on Capitol Hill and participating in small classroom seminars focusing on real world, timely policy topics and including guest lecturers like United States Senator John Warner; United States Senator Mark Warner; Congressman Tom Davis; Congressman Robert Wittman; and Ambassador David Abshire.

Yianilos graduated from Washington & Lee University’s School of Law in 1997 and served as a member of the Law Review there. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1994 with a double major of political science and history. A member of the Virginia State Bar, Yianilos is author of The Law School Breakthrough: Graduate in the Top 10% of Your Class, Even If You’re Not a First-Rate Student.

Office: (571) 858-3005

Lauren Bulka
Director for Strategic Projects and Initiatives, Division of Business Affairs

As director for strategic projects and initiatives in the Division of Business Affairs, Lauren Bulka provides a leadership role in planning, developing, overseeing and assisting with the implementation of programs and projects supporting the university’s vision and plans in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Previously, Bulka worked as a research associate at Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute with a project portfolio that included program evaluation for the White House’s Strong Cities and Strong Communities Fellowship Program; case study research for the Ford Foundation funded Vacant Property Research Network; qualitative research for IBM Business of Government study focused on federal government innovation; and embedded research focused on developing meaningful economic development metrics with local government.

Prior to her work at Virginia Tech, Bulka worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Research Utilization Division and with the Charlottesville Community Design Center.

Bulka earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Virginia Tech, as well as a bachelor’s degree in urban and environmental planning and a minor in architecture from the University of Virginia.

Office: (571) 858-3108

Patty Tatro
Associate Director for Continuing and Professional Education

As associate director for Continuing and Professional Education, Patty Tatro is responsible for developing and delivering a program portfolio that extends the assets of the university and complements Virginia Tech’s destination areas and research interests in the National Capital Region.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Tatro served as assistant director of Administration and Program Development at Texas A&M University. She created, designed, and implemented dozens of new programs for the university, while managing the financial performance of a multi-million dollar portfolio. She also served as program manager for Global Health Care Education at Houston Methodist Hospital, where she developed programs for international hospitals and institutions in the Middle East and Mexico and built strategic partnerships with several universities and healthcare associations.

Tatro also worked at Baylor College of Medicine as a senior project manager and at the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University as a program specialist. She began her career in the Department of External Affairs at the World Bank.

A native Washingtonian, Tatro earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Florida Atlantic University.

Office: (571) 858-3006

Afroze Mohammed
Associate Director of Strategic Alliances, Office of Economic Development

Afroze Mohammed joined Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development in December, 2011. Her role focuses on building partnerships between Virginia Tech and companies in the DC area, with the goal of expanding research ties as well as opportunities for students. She manages the Virginia Tech Science and Engineering Regional Growth Enterprise (VT-SERGE), an advisory group of executives from the DC area. Mohammed works closely with county and state economic development organizations. These initiatives include helping counties to recruit international companies by showcasing Tech’s relevant research strengths. She is also active in developing Tech’s capabilities in entrepreneurship, through partnering with faculty on new courses and funding opportunities, and building advisory networks. Mohammed is active with the international science and diplomatic community, with the goal of showcasing Tech’s research capabilities. She is currently working with the embassies of Canada and Finland to arrange visits to Blacksburg to discuss common research interests.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Mohammed worked in both industry and academia. As director of Channels and Alliances at the CURRENT Group LLC, an innovative smart grid company, Mohammed developed a partnership program with complementary technology providers. While working as director of product marketing at Blackboard Inc., she led marketing initiatives for the company’s flagship e-learning products and managed partnerships with industry associations to increase Blackboard’s market penetration and reputation. At Lucent Technologies, Mohammed ran product marketing and alliance programs for business intelligence software products. Earlier in her career, she was a research associate at Harvard Business School, collaborating with faculty to conduct research on leading business issues.

Mohammed earned an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management and a bachelor's degree in economics, summa cum laude, from Georgetown University. A resident of Washington, D.C., Mohammed is active in non-profits focusing on international development and advocacy for individuals with disabilities.

Office: (571) 858-3070

Kerone Wetter
Assistant Director of Communications

As assistant director of communications for the National Capital Region, Kerone Wetter works with University Relations and campus communications offices to evaluate and develop a comprehensive communications and marketing program to raise the awareness of Virginia Tech in the region.

Wetter previously served in digital marketing and communications roles for the College of Science at George Mason University where she managed the college’s screative services team, marketing operations, and digital communications. She led the creation and direction of the college’s science communication scholarship competition, content strategy, web redesign projects and various additional university initiatives, including George Mason’s coordinated 2018 exhibition at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C.

Wetter earned a Bachelor of Science degree in design and environmental analysis from Cornell University and an MBA and graduate certificate in business analytics from George Mason University.

Office: (571) 858-3254

Larissa LaCour
Manager of Executive Briefing Center

Larissa LaCour joined Virginia Tech in September of 2013 as the Executive Briefing Center (EBC) manager. In this role, Larissa oversees all aspects of the EBC from client development and sales to coordinating event logistics and onsite support.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, LaCour worked for the University of North Carolina Wilmington for nine years in their Division of Student Affairs. During her time at UNCW, she served in roles spanning from the administration of multiple student centers, including facility management and event coordination, to oversight of university registered student organizations and their leadership development.

LaCour earned both a B.S. in business administration and a M.Ed. in higher education – student affairs administration from the University at Buffalo.

Office: (571) 858-3044

Kenneth Wong, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of the Graduate School in the National Capital Region and Director of the Northern Virginia Center

Kenneth Wong, assistant professor of physics and director of the Biomedical Technology Development and Management program, serves as associate dean of the Virginia Tech Graduate School in the National Capital Region and director of the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, Va. As associate dean, Wong is responsible for developing recruitment and marketing strategies, and strengthening and enhancing the overall student experience and the relationship between the university and the broader community. In his role as director of the Northern Virginia Center, he works closely with assistant director Philip Skomra, who manages the daily operations of the facility.

Wong joined Virginia Tech in March 2009 from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he was an assistant professor of radiology at the Imaging Science and Information Systems (ISIS) Center.

Wong received a B.A. in physics from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of California San Francisco and the University of California Berkeley. His primary area of expertise is medical imaging, and he has applied this knowledge over several fields including proton radiotherapy, prostate cancer staging, CyberKnife radiosurgery, interventional oncology, military working dogs, and ultrasound for combat casualty care. He also directs the Biomedical Technology Development and Management program, an executive-format master of science degree offered by Virginia Tech. Wong continues to pursue his current research interests in sleep neuroimaging and mobile health.

Office: (703) 538-8312