Virginia Tech appoints head of business engagement center

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Brandy Salmon, a former director and program lead at RTI International, has joined Virginia Tech as executive director of the university’s new business engagement center.

Her appointment was effective June 13, following a nationwide search.

As executive director of the center, Salmon will build a team of business development directors who will serve as primary points of contact for companies interested in partnership opportunities with Virginia Tech.

At RTI, Salmon guided teams through more than 100 projects between researchers and industry with Fortune 500 firms.

Plans to create Virginia Tech’s business engagement center were announced in January. It is a major part of the university’s strategic push to expand and integrate corporate partnerships.

“I’ve been interested in what’s going on at Virginia Tech for some time, and am excited by its commitment to building a best-in-class model for industry engagement,” Salmon said in a statement. “There’s an emphasis at Tech on thinking comprehensively about how to engage industry with a university community. There is tremendous opportunity to bring value to both sides.”

RTI is a nonprofit research institute jointly founded by Duke University, the University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State University to help apply and commercialize research.

Before joining RTI, Salmon served as associate director for the Office of Licensing and Ventures at Duke.

She also previously worked in marketing at Merck & Company and in business development at a startup, Divergence LLC, which was later acquired by Monsanto.

Salmon has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Virginia, a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Cornell University, and an MBA from Duke.

The business engagement center has been created to make it easier for companies to partner with Virginia Tech in a variety of areas, including research and philanthropy.

Salmon will be responsible for developing the center and hiring business development directors, who together with industry partners will find new ways to create value. Some of the team members will be based in Blacksburg and others will be in the National Capital Region, where Virginia Tech has multiple research and graduate education facilities.

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