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Robert Archer '69

Alumni Leader Spotlight

Robert Archer '69

Chairman and CEO, Blue Ridge Beverage Co., Inc. 

I’m from Saltville, Virginia, and now a resident of Salem, Virginia. Graduated from Virginia Tech in 1969 in business administration and was a member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. My wife, Sandra Archer, and I have three daughters (Michelle, Lori, and Jill) and enjoy 6 grandchildren. After graduating from Virginia Tech, I served on active duty with the U.S. Army (82nd Airborne and in Vietnam) and then completed a 30-year Army Reserve career retiring as a colonel. I returned to our family business in 1972, Blue Ridge Beverage Co., Inc. and have been blessed with consistent growth and success. We have four locations and over 475 employees. I’ve been involved with various civic and charitable organizations over the years and currently am serving as Rector of the Radford University Board of Visitors.


Fondest Virginia Tech memory or tradition...
Ring Dance 1968

How Virginia Tech prepared me for the 'real world'....
The combination of my academic degree and leadership skills gained from the Virginia Tech Cadet Corps and ROTC [Reserve Officer Training Corps] training is a combination that has served me well in whatever endeavor I have been involved with.

Best part of being a Virginia Tech alum...
Being part of a "big family" to include the many, many friendships made while at Virginia Tech and over the years since.

Words of encouragement to a current Virginia Tech student...
What you are doing today will set you up for success for years to come - have fun, but make your academic work your primary goal.

Best advice I've gotten...
Work on competence, but never underestimate the importance of character.

Most formative experience I've had...
Probably my experience in Vietnam (at least from the perspective of the impact on families and our soldiers when you commit them to war or similar conflict).

A key habit, practice, or skill, that's important for success in my industry...
Writing skills.

This excites me the most about the future of my industry...
Ever changing, innovation......

Biggest misconception about my job or industry...
My industry is often viewed as "fun," but carries with it the reality of moderation and public health issues - our products are regulated for a reason.

The last time I ventured out of my comfort zone....
Any time I get up in front of a large audience to make a presentation!

A person who has inspired me....
General Colin Powell

Last book I read...
The 60's - The Story of a Decade - The New Yorker

Top of my bucket list...
Take off in a plane from an aircraft carrier!!

My favorite quote...
"It pays to be ignorant, if you are smart, you already know it can't be done!"


Media Contact:
Lindsey Haugh (540) 231-6959
lhaugh@vt.edu