Melissa Farmer Richards has been named director of marketing and strategic communications at Virginia Tech. She started her position March 9.

As director of marketing and strategic communications at Virginia Tech, Richards will manage the university’s marketing and branding plans, oversee licensing and trademarks, and aid in content development for the university’s web communications.

Richards brings to Virginia Tech more than 15 years of global experience in corporate communications, public relations, integrated marketing strategy, business development and strategic alliances. She has held senior marketing positions in start-up and global software and professional services organizations, including rPath, FormScape (now Bottomline Technologies) and Cedar Enterprise Solutions (now CedarCrestone). Most recently, she was founder and president of iMarketingMix offering boutique marketing consulting services and an online community for connecting best-in-class marketing freelancers and executives for contract projects.

A Virginia native, Richards received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia where she majored in rhetoric and communication studies. She also completed graduate-level coursework at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

“We are delighted to have someone of Melissa’s experience and expertise here at Virginia Tech,” said Larry Hincker, associate vice president of university relations. “With her background in marketing communications and experience with marketing initiatives, she will work to strengthen a strong Virginia Tech brand and ensure consistent and clear communications.”