Do you know SPIA alumni who should be recognized for their achievements and service?
Nomination submissions for outstanding undergraduate alum and outstanding graduate alum for the VT SPIA Hall of Fame have been extended to March 30, 2020. The criteria on which SPIA's Alumni Council will evaluate the nominations can be found on the form to nominate.
Alumni Hall of Fame: Past Awardees
Barry Matherly is a Hokie who embodies the *Ut Prosim motto, That I May Serve *in his personal and professional life contributing to the betterment of local economies in Virginia and the nation.
Throughout his time at Virginia Tech he worked at the Economic Development Assistance Center leading projects that had a direct impact on improving the economy and quality of life in Southwestern Virginia.
Barry led economic development efforts in Pulaski and Goochland Counties in Virginia. He then moved to North Carolina to become the Executive Director of the Lincoln (County) Economic Development Association, a position that brought him public respect and recognition in the county and throughout the Charlotte, NC Region.
His success in Lincoln positioned him to be first a Senior Vice President and later President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, an economic development nonprofit that attracts businesses to build regional prosperity. When Barry announced his departure, the board chair of
the Greater Richmond Partnership said: “Barry joined the Greater Richmond Partnership during a critical time and has made a tremendous economic impact with more than $1 billion in wealth creation, $643 million in wages and 10,962 jobs.”
Barry currently is leading a new, 11-county regional partnership to attract new businesses to Southwest Michigan. He stepped into this novel challenge as he has the others in his past – by going community to the community to understand its economic needs and begin to strategize ways to attract new businesses to build the economy.
Throughout his career, Barry also found time to build the economic development field and continue his professional education. In the late 1990s, he attended the three-year program at the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma, where he received the prestigious Robert B. Cassell Leadership Award. Later in his career, he was invited to teach and also advise on the curriculum for EDI.
He served on the International Economic Development Board for ten years, chairing a number of committees during that time, culminating in his appointment as Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors in 2016.
Over the years, Barry helped community after community, in Virginia, North Carolina, and now Michigan build their economies and provide jobs bettering the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, while also building his profession, and being a committed husband and parent.
A graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond, Barry was named one of the 40 Leaders Under 40 (2002) by the Charlotte Business Journal, recognized as a North Carolina Main Street Champion, designated as a Fellow Member and Honorary Life Member by IEDC and is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum.
We thank Barry for his lifelong service and honor him with the induction in the SPIA Hall of Fame, 2019. Congratulations!
Matthew Worner is an accomplished professional with a history of public service that spans over 20 years. Matthew embodies the *Ut Prosim* motto, *That I May Serve* in his professional work experience; his service to the City of Alexandria, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State of North Dakota; and his service to Virginia Tech.
In his professional life at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office, Matt oversaw the implementation of contracts supporting the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, a federal student loan program that saves money for taxpayers.
In 2005, Matthew served his country at Embassy Baghdad, Iraq and was honored with a Meritorious Award for his service.
At the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, he performed cybersecurity audits and evaluations of homeland security facilities around the United States. His findings and recommendations helped strengthen the information system controls for national continuity and immigration programs, international airports, and DHS facilities.
At the DoD OIG, Matthew was part of the DoD OIG team who twice received audit and evaluation “Team of the Year.” Matthew’s audit and
evaluation findings and recommendations have strengthened information assurance and security controls for some of the most sensitive DoD Programs.
The State Department, DHS, and DoD Auditees consistently concurred with 99.9% percent of Matthew’s team’s audit findings and recommendations.
Matthew cares about and is loyal to the communities that he has served. In Virginia, Matthew regularly volunteers with local, state, and federal political candidates in their pursuit of a public office. He is loyal to his undergraduate alma mater, Mayville State University (MSU) in Mayville, ND. Matthew was chosen as the 2008 MSU alumnus of the year – and served on the MSU Alumni Board for half a decade.
Matthew’s service to Virginia Tech is exemplified by his tenure on the SPIA Alumni Board from November 2014 to the present. He spoke on multiple occasions to the Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP) classes on careers with the federal government. He participated in the annual Virginia Tech CPAP High Table and Capitol Praxis events, including High Table and Capitol Praxis. Matthew presented to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors in August 2015 on the mission of SPIA in the National Capital Region. He is also a member of the Virginia Tech Pylon Society, which recognizes donors who demonstrate consistent philanthropic support to academic areas for multiple years. Finally, Matthew is a multiple-year donor of the Hokie Club, the athletic fundraising arm for Virginia Tech Athletics.
We thank Matthew for his lifelong service and honor him with the induction in the SPIA Hall of Fame, 2019. Congratulations!
Brent Blevins is a three-time graduate of Virginia Tech, with bachelor’s degrees in History and Political Science in 2003 and a master’s degree in Public Administration in 2005.
While at Virginia Tech, Blevins served as manager of the men’s basketball team, opinions editor of the Collegiate Times, SGA Senator, and President of the Miles Hall Residence Hall Federation. After college, Blevins has served more than a decade on Capitol Hill, as a staffer for the House Committees on Agriculture and Natural Resources and most recently for Senator Luther Strange and U.S. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn. Blevins served as president of the National Capital Region chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and now serves on the board of directors of the Alumni Association. Blevins was appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to serve on the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation Board of Trustees and the Alexandria Historic Preservation and Restoration Commission. He recently completed the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. He is a native of Wythe County.
The reason Blevins was selected to be inducted in the Hall of Fame for the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) Hall of Fame was because of his overall student involvement at Virginia Tech, his professional work experience, his service to the City of Alexandria and his service to Virginia Tech.
Kelly Clements is a two-time graduate of Virginia Tech, with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies in 1988 and a master’s degree in Urban Affairs and Planning in 1990.
Clements joined (United Nations High Commission on Refugees. UNHCR as Deputy High Commissioner in 2015. She has been closely involved with refugee and displacement issues throughout her 25-year career. Before joining UNHCR, Clements served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) since 2010 where she was responsible for humanitarian issues in Asia and the Middle East. She previously led the Bureau’s strategic planning, policy development and financial management to protect and assist refugees, conflict victims and vulnerable migrants worldwide. In 2014, she was Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. From 1993 to 1996, Clements served at the U.S. Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on a Foreign Service appointment. She was Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs in 1997-1998. Clements served as a Senior Emergency Officer for Europe, the Newly Independent States, and the Americas, and later as Balkans Assistance Coordinator; she was deployed to Albania in 1999. She worked for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Bangladesh in 1992.
The reason Clements was selected to be inducted in the Hall of Fame for the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) Hall of Fame was because of her showing enthusiasm and commitment continuing to serve SPIA and Virginia Tech, her role and service in the UNHCR, her distinguished 23-year career in service to people who were forcibly displaced from their homes, and her exceptional work that demonstrated her being a leader.
Ryan Eargle is currently with the US Department of State- Office of Real Property Management. He is mainly responsible for real estate transactions to support the mission of the US State Department. Eargle received his Bachelors in Public and Urban Affairs (PUA) and Political Science (PSCI) in 2006. His undergraduate degree was interdisciplinary in nature (Political Science double major and earned a history minor) and was crucial in shaping his future career. “Studio courses in UAP (some working with Virginia communities as part of the University’s land grant mission) gave me the technical skills necessary to differentiate me from others in the eyes of employers, while I’m certain my courses in history and political science helped me land an internship at the State Department after graduation”, says Eargle. The successful combination of technical skills and critical thinking training received at SPIA is what greatly benefited him in his career.
Eargle participated in a number of studio courses and spent time on projects or problems that served as a vehicle for targeted learning outcomes. According to Eargle, studio courses provided an opportunity to work on a “real world” problem, to work against a real deadline, and also provided the space for creative thinking. The high quality work delivered during these studios as well as the work being actually used to inform decision-makers in business and government is what motivated Eargle to return to Tech at multiple points in his career to sponsor studio projects. “I was able to source excellent quality work for organizations such as the US Army Corps of Engineers and MassMutual Financial Group at a low cost and bring the same kind of real world project back to Tech that I loved as a student. I believe that opportunities like this are a crucial advantage of SPIA”, says Eargle.
The reason Eargle was selected to be inducted in the Hall of Fame for the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) Hall of Fame was because of his commitment to continuing to serve Virginia Tech (VT), College of Architecture and Urban studies (CAUS), and SPIA while also becoming a very accomplished professional in his industry.
William Murray is currently the senior policy director at Dominion, an energy holding company operating across the US, headquartered in Richmond. He is responsible for managing the company’s positions and policies on key state and local issues. Among his previous positions, Murray served as deputy director of policy for Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and as a vice president with the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Murray was also the legislative director for Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.
Murray received his Masters in Public Administration (MPA) at Virginia Tech’s Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP) in 1991 when he was a full-time student. Later in 1996, he got his Ph.D. while working full time. His masters thesis focused on ways of reading the constitution; and his doctoral dissertation was on political appointees in Virginia state government. “Both degrees have been critical in my career by teaching me to think analytically, to always consider the policy and stakeholder context, and to focus on deliverables”, says Murray. His time as a student is what forms the foundation at his work place and helps him stay grounded in our constitutional norms, helps him understand the role of career administrators, and the importance of sound public policy.
One fun story Murray wanted to share about his Virginia Tech time as a student, was when he attended John Rohr’s class, the same evening of his wedding, with his wife and they were scolded for sharing a book in class. Murray told John “that wasn’t all we were sharing as we’d just been married”.
The reason Murray was selected to be inducted in the Hall of Fame for the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) Hall of Fame was because his work demonstrated him being a servant leader, showing enthusiasm and commitment to serving the Virginia Tech community.