Layne D. Ricketts of Blacksburg, Virginia, retired information technology professional for the Division of Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech, has received the university’s 2015 Staff Career Achievement Award.

Ricketts retired from his position in 2014 after 32 years of service.

Created in 2011 to recognize retiring Virginia Tech staff members, the Staff Career Achievement Award is presented annually to as many as five individuals who have distinguished themselves through exemplary performance and service during their university careers. Nominees must have served a minimum of 10 years at Virginia Tech. Each recipient is awarded a $1,000 cash prize.

During the early years of his Virginia Tech career, Ricketts provided information technology (IT) support for both the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center and for Continuing and Professional Education. Over time, Ricketts' responsibilities expanded to providing IT support for the Office of the Vice President of Outreach and International Affairs and the critical space management, lodging, restaurant sales, and security systems at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

By the end of his career, Ricketts provided IT support for 13 Virginia Tech departments.

“Layne had to have great tenacity and problem-solving skills due to the unique and complex nature of these systems,” Guru Ghosh, vice president for outreach and international affairs, wrote in his nomination letter. “Though answers were not always obvious, Layne had the talent to resolve urgent technology problems quickly, while still managing other tasks across a busy organization. He consistently applied these traits to all of his work and went above and beyond the call of duty.”

“Layne’s response time and follow-up was exceptional; he never missed a beat,” noted Tom Shaver, general manager of The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. “He was reliable and loyal; it didn’t matter if it was 3 p.m. or 3 a.m., you could always count on his support. Layne was a man of few words, but his work ethic was remarkable.”

Rickets had a deep commitment to service during his career at Virginia Tech. He oversaw many technology projects that would not have succeeded without his direct contributions.

To illustrate, several years ago, more than 50 university computers were infected by a virus that destroyed critical parts of hard drives. Ricketts worked almost 96 hours, starting on a Saturday morning and taking just two short sleep breaks, to get all the machines online before users even knew there was a problem.

Ricketts was frequently nominated for the President’s Award for Excellence, and he received many awards within Outreach and International Affairs.

“His work brought him in contact with most employees within Outreach and International Affairs, and touched all of them,” added Ghosh. “Beyond that, he regularly worked with guests at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center and the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center before that, aiding in everything from technology for conferences and meetings to hotel guests' technology needs.

“Layne was always available, prompt, effective, problem-solving, knowledgeable and resourceful, results oriented, modest and professional,” added Ghosh. “His commitment to service was not limited to the day-to-day requirements of his job. He frequently contributed leave to other Virginia Tech personnel experiencing health or other problems, who would otherwise have had to take unpaid leave. He was always accessible and generous with his wealth of knowledge and was very much appreciated by everyone with whom he worked.”

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.