Jerry J. Stump of Christiansburg, Va., senior equipment repair technician in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, recently received the university's 2008 President's Award for Excellence for his dedication to and care of the Kentland Research Farm in Blacksburg, Va.

The President’s Award for Excellence is presented annually to up to five Virginia Tech staff employees who have made extraordinary contributions by consistent excellence in the performance of their job or a single incident, contribution, or heroic act. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.

For more than three years, Stump has brought his skills in carpentry, plumbing, masonry, and mechanics to the research farm. He has repaired, modified, and fabricated farm and research equipment for numerous departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering.

“In a nutshell, Jerry has raised the bar of what we feel like we can accomplish with the Kentland farm operation,” Jon Wooge, agricultural program coordinator at the research farm, wrote in his nominating letter. “The job duties of his position have become more technical and sophisticated because of the skills that he possesses. His strong work ethic and positive attitude are admirable. Anyone who has worked with Jerry has been inspired by his attitude and impressed with his abilities.”

Described by his colleagues as the “man behind the scenes,” Stump has offered his hard work and expertise to the university’s benefit – often without personal credit. He has performed duties ranging from installing the electrical infrastructure and hardware needed for wireless Internet access at the research farm, to completely rebuilding a termite-damaged bathroom from the ground-up, to refurbishing seed threshers for harvesting small lots of soybean seed from the fields at Kentland. The latter saved Virginia Tech’s soybean breeding and genetics program an estimated $1,200 plus the cost of labor.

Prior to joining the staff at Virginia Tech, Stump worked in the dairy equipment service industry. He also gained professional experience in the operation, maintenance, and repair of silos, grain elevators, unloaders, and all the equipment needed for the storage of grain and silage. His experience in these areas gives Virginia Tech an in-house expert who can make proper and safe repairs without the expense of hiring an outside contractor.