New members expected at quarterly meeting of Virginia Tech Board of Visitors

New members of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors

Left to right, top row: William Holtzman, Suzanne Obenshain, Michael Quillen, and John Rocovich Jr. Left to right, bottom row: Shane McCarty, Deepu George, Maxine Lyons, and Mike Ellerbrock.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 27, 2010 – Four members of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors who recently were appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell are expected at the quarterly gathering of the board scheduled for Aug. 29-30.

Joining the board for the first time are William Holtzman of Mount Jackson, Suzanne Obenshain of Harrisonburg, and Michael Quillen of Bristol. Appointee John Rocovich Jr., of Roanoke, also served from 1997 to 2005.

Four others are joining the board as non-voting representatives of the university’s undergraduate student body, graduate student body, staff, and faculty. They are, respectively, Shane McCarty, Deepu George, Maxine Lyons, and Mike Ellerbrock.

William Holtzman, a member of the class of 1959, is the president and owner of Holtzman Corporation, which includes Holtzman Oil Company and a number of divisions in industries ranging from food to equipment to construction to fuel transport. In 1972, he began Holtzman Oil Company, which now owns 60 convenience stores and service stations, and is one of the largest employers in Shenandoah County.

Holtzman was named an Ernst & Young Retail Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001. Over the years, he has been a major donor who is actively engaged in numerous aspects of the university. He served on the Virginia Tech Foundation Board, and the Holtzman Alumni Center was named in his honor.

Suzanne Obenshain earned a bachelor’s in history from Virginia Tech in 1984. After years working as a licensed nursing-home administrator for Sunnyside Presbyterian Retirement Communities, she turned her attention to her family, local philanthropy, and community affairs. Obenshain has served on the Commonwealth Council on Aging; the Valley Program for Aging Board; and Generations Crossing, an intergenerational adult and childcare facility, where she was a founding board member. She co-chaired the Generations Crossing Capital Campaign in 2007 and personally raised more than $1 million.

Obenshain has served on the Sunnyside Presbyterian Retirement Community’s corporate board and regional board, and as an elder of First Presbyterian Church. Obenshain also serves as secretary of the Harrisonburg Electoral Board.

Michael Quillen earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering in 1970 and master’s in that subject in 1971, both from Virginia Tech. He is chairman of the board of Alpha Natural Resources in Abingdon, where he formerly served as president and CEO. Prior to joining Alpha in 2002, Quillen served for four years as executive vice president for operations at AMCI Metals and Coal International Inc., where he was also responsible for AMCI’s Australian properties.

Quillen has more than 30 years experience in the coal industry, beginning as an engineer and rising to the senior executive level. He has held positions as vice president for operations of Pittston Coal Company, president of Pittston Coal Sales Corporation, vice president of AMVEST Corporation, vice president for operations of NERCO Coal Corporation, and president and CEO of Addington Inc. He currently serves on the board of Martin Marietta Materials Inc.

John Rocovich Jr. is a member of Virginia Tech’s Class of 1966, having earned a bachelor’s with honors in business. He went on to earn a juris doctorate from the University of Richmond and a LL.M (master of laws) degree in taxation from New York University. Rocovich is serving his third four-year term on the board of visitors. He was elected rector in 2002 and held that position for two years.

Rocovich has served his alma mater in myriad ways, including as a director and president of both the Virginia Tech Foundation Inc. and the Virginia Tech Alumni Association. He currently is a member of the National Campaign Steering Committee for The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future. Rocovich’s involvement in higher education extends beyond the bounds of Virginia Tech. From 1999 to 2000, he served on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education. Rocovich was also the driving force behind the creation of the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which has campuses in Blacksburg and Spartanburg, S.C. He has a long record of community involvement, having served on the boards of numerous non-profit, for-profit, and religious organizations in the region.

Arlington native Shane McCarty is a senior majoring in marketing in the Pamplin College of Business. He is extensively involved in leadership, research, and volunteer activities at Virginia Tech. McCarty has served as vice president of Pritchard Hall, resident advisor, Big Event community outreach volunteer, and Student Government Association vice president. In addition, he is a research assistant in Virginia Tech’s Center for Applied Behavior Systems, where he promotes the concept of actively caring in schools by researching both bullying behavior and altruism.

For the past two years, McCarty has spent summer and winter breaks developing social media marketing strategies for Arlington County’s Division of Transportation. His honors and awards include the Virginia Tech Student of the Month Award for Community Service, the Wachovia Leadership Scholarship, and the Ryan C. Clark Award.

Deepu George is a Ph.D. candidate in marriage and family therapy in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. He earned his master’s in counseling psychology from Montfort College in Bangalore, India, and his bachelor’s in psychology from St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, India. George’s doctoral work focuses on community development, civic engagement, and community change processes. Through an interdisciplinary effort that involved local community artists, he organized “Connections: A community arts project,” an exhibit based on an ancient Indian fable.

George is one of six scholars representing Virginia Tech in the Global Dialogue for Response-Ability. These scholars work with global leaders on issues of community change, ethics of leadership, sustainability, and the role of systems in change mechanism. In addition, George volunteers at WUVT- FM as a radio show host. On his show, “Indian Connections,” he promotes India’s diverse culture and music, and interviews guests about different community experiences.

Maxine Lyons has a bachelor’s from Radford University and has worked for Virginia Tech for more than 10 years. In the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, she is office manager of the Community Design Assistance Center. Lyons became involved in governance at Virginia Tech in 2000, when she was elected president of the college's Staff Association. She was re-elected to that post in 2006. Lyons has also served on the Virginia Tech Staff Senate, University Council, and the council’s Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity. She was elected secretary of the Staff Senate in 2006.

Lyons has served on several planning committees -- most recently one for the Employee Advisory Committee. She also sat on one of the initial focus test groups set up in response to the Higher Education Restructuring Act. An artist with a degree in commercial art, Lyons teaches painting and has used her art skills to design many promotional pieces.

Mike Ellerbrock is a professor of agricultural and applied economics within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He also directs the Center for Economic Education and is an Extension specialist. Ellerbrock earned a bachelor’s from Texas A&M University in 1974, and a master’s (1975) and Ph.D. (1980) from Clemson University. He is the only agricultural economist on the international faculty cohort of the Foundation for Teaching Economics, which teaches week-long workshops on capitalism for high school teachers in Bulgaria, Hungary, Puerto Rico, Romania, and Slovakia.

Ellerbrock’s most recent service activities have benefitted the Kellogg Leadership Program on Environmental Conflict Resolution, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 4-H National Task Force on Youth Entrepreneurship, and the U.S. Water Pollution Control Federation. He has received numerous teaching awards, including Virginia Tech’s Wine (2010), Sporn (1998), and Students’ Choice awards (2008 and 2004). In addition, Ellerbrock received the USDA National Award for Teaching Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, Human and Veterinary Sciences (2002) and the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association (1997).

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 225 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $496 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Photograph of William Holtzman

Photograph of William Holtzman

Photograph of Suzanne Obenshain

Photograph of Suzanne Obenshain

Photograph of Michael Quillen

Photograph of Michael Quillen

Photograph of John Rocovich Jr.

Photograph of John Rocovich Jr.

Photograph of Shane McCarty

Photograph of Shane McCarty

Photograph of Deepu George

Photograph of Deepu George

Photograph of Maxine Lyons

Photograph of Maxine Lyons

Photograph of Mike Ellerbrock

Photograph of Mike Ellerbrock