Dianne Bourne, lab and research specialist for the Department of Food Science and Technology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2013 President's Award for Excellence.

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.

Bourne has worked as a laboratory staff member at the university since 1966, first in poultry science, then in the anaerobe lab, and finally in food science since 1996. During that time, her colleagues say her work has been rigorous and thorough.

“Dianne has made many significant contributions that are not customary for laboratory personnel,” said George Flick, University Distinguished Professor of Food Science and Technology. Flick said her leadership in the past four years has resulted in a potential new industry for Southside Virginia, an improved method for cooling clams, and prevention of a million dollar product loss for a lobster company.

Bourne has shown herself to be an excellent leader. In the years that she has supervised the lab, none of the reports, manuscripts, or presentations has been questioned or received negative critique. She is frequently consulted on research design, methods, and interpretation of results not only by members of the seafood and aquaculture research group, but also by faculty, staff, and students within the department and across campus.

Bourne has identified potential projects for external funding, and several have been funded with her as a co-principal investigator. She had provided valuable input on grant proposals and significant effort into creating research presentations. Due to her close mentorship of numerous graduate students and her continuing research work, Bourne has been a co-author of numerous publications.

“As a result of Dianne’s lab work, food safety has been increased as well as firm profitability and new enterprises developed,” Flick said. “The impact of her lab work is remarkable, and the professionalism with which she carries it out is exceptional.”

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 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 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.

Written by Catherine Doss.