Virginia Tech will honor Ben J. Davenport Jr. of Chatham and David E. Lowe of Blacksburg with its Alumni Distinguished Service Awards for 2013.

The awards recognize individuals for their contributions to the university and are presented at spring commencement.

Ben J. Davenport Jr.

Davenport is chairman of First Piedmont Corporation, a regional waste-management company, as well as Davenport Energy, a supplier of petroleum products for an area encompassing a great portion of southern Virginia. He was a founding member of the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Corporation, which has built a network exceeding 1,500 miles of fiber connecting 26 counties and cities.

After earning his bachelor’s of business administration in 1964 from what is now Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business, Davenport joined the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves. Following his active duty commitment, he returned to a family business which was then known as Chatham Oil Company.

Davenport’s record of service to the university community includes membership on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, where he was rector for two years; the Virginia Tech Foundation Board; and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Board of Directors.

Davenport is highly active in his community, with service to the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, the board of directors for the Future of the Piedmont, the Danville Regional Foundation, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and the boards of Boxley Inc. and the American National Bank and Trust Company.

Davenport and his wife, Betty Davenport, are members of Chatham Baptist Church and have served as deacons of the fellowship. They are also members of the President’s Circle within Virginia Tech’s Ut Prosim Society, a select group of the university’s most generous donors.

David E. Lowe

Lowe’s record of service to the university began while he was working toward the bachelor’s of business administration he earned in 1963. He was president of his class and was regimental commander for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.

Lowe served five years in the U.S. Air Force after graduation, with tours in France and Germany. His career spanned 35 years in the telecommunications industry. Executive positions Lowe held with Bell-Atlantic (now Verizon) included president and CEO in West Virginia, assistant vice president for public relations and advertising in Washington, D.C., and vice president of operations in Virginia.

While in West Virginia, he developed and led a program of corporate support to public education, which resulted in the company receiving one of four national President's Volunteer Action Awards presented by President Ronald Reagan at the White House.

During his career, Lowe was involved in community and economic development activities as well as private sector support to education. He served on boards or held other leadership positions with many organizations, including One Valley Bank, NA (now BB&T), the Richmond Federal Bank’s Agriculture and Small Business Advisory Committee, and the National Foundation for Independent Colleges.

Lowe serves as chairman of the operating board for the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech. His involvement with the course began with the 2002 acquisition of the course by the Virginia Tech Foundation. Since then, Lowe has coordinated the reconstruction of the driving range, construction of the Turf Care Center and Golf Team Center, reconstruction of the golf course by Pete Dye, and a $5.5 million clubhouse that was completed in 2010.

Virginia Tech’s Class of 2013 honored Lowe as its class-ring namesake. He is past president and an honorary lifetime board member of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, and has served on the Pamplin College of Business Advisory Council and on the board of the Virginia Tech Foundation. Lowe serves on the board of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Alumni Inc. and the German Club Alumni Foundation. He and his wife, Sharon Lowe, are members of the Ut Prosim Society.

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.