Brandy Salmon, the university’s associate vice president for innovation and partnerships, will serve as the founding chief operating officer of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. Working closely with Sands, Clarke, and other senior leaders, Salmon will launch plans for the campus effective immediately.

“The rigorous programs we launch and the powerful research we generate will help drive the innovation economy,” Salmon said. “Together with partners in industry, government, and education, we will cement Virginia as a world leader for the information age. We will be agile and respond to changes in economic forces. As the technology industry evolves, so too will we.”

Since arriving at Virginia Tech, Salmon has led efforts at the university’s LINK: Center for Industry Partnerships, which helped secure multimillion-dollar agreements with companies like aerospace giant Boeing and blockchain pioneer Block.one, adding momentum to the university's already strong reputation for forging comprehensive industry partnerships.

Salmon joined Virginia Tech in June 2017 after serving as director for RTI International, where she led consulting engagements for federal and corporate clients and directed a global technology accelerator on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, she served as associate director for the Office of Licensing and Ventures at Duke University, where she led a full spectrum of commercialization and technology transfer activities.

Salmon will lead an international search to hire an academic leader for the campus, who will report to the executive vice president and provost and work closely with Virginia Tech’s deans and the university’s National Capital Region leaders.

Virginia Tech will recruit the world’s best faculty, researchers, staff, and students to the new campus; sustain high-quality, innovative programs and approaches that are responsive to industry and societal needs; and cultivate a culture of invention, discovery, and innovation. Other responsibilities will be to  advance the campus’s relationship with Northern Virginia and the broader region and to play a key role in championing the college externally with industry partners, federal agencies, collaborative peers in higher education, public and private researchers, state and national leaders, and Virginia Tech alumni.

The academic leader will work closely with the chief operating officer and industry leaders from top technology companies to drive continuous innovation and to push technology teaching and research to the forefront in order to meet the future needs of the region and the broader society. 

The expanded footprint in Northern Virginia will allow the university to build upon its existing commitment to inclusion and diversity — on a global stage, adjacent to a global capital, alongside world-leading companies like Amazon — to better prepare students for the diverse world in which they will live and work, said Menah Pratt-Clarke, the university’s vice president for strategic affairs and diversity. “In light of InclusiveVT – our institutional and individual commitment to the university motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence, the Innovation Campus is a phenomenal opportunity for Virginia Tech to ensure that inclusive excellence remains at the core of all of our initiatives,” Pratt-Clarke said.