Julie Petruska, environmental laboratory supervisor with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has won the first-ever Virginia Tech Award for Safety Excellence.

The award, sponsored by Environmental Health and Safety, recognizes members of the university community whose safety efforts or initiatives have resulted in a safer work environment or substantially helped to eliminate or minimize loss or injury.

Petruska was one of eight individuals and two teams nominated for the award. All the nominees were recognized during a ceremony at the Inn at Virginia Tech.

“Julie’s diligence and attention to her job has enabled the entire department to work in an environment in which they have full confidence that safety is held paramount,” wrote W. Samuel Easterling, head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Montague-Betts Professor of Structural Steel Design in her nomination.

Nominees for the award included:

  • Catherine Carlson, laboratory specialist, Veterinary Medicine Experience Station
  • Allen Cochran II, research specialist, Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  • Linda Correll, director, research operations and compliance management, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
  • William Devenport, assistant department head for laboratory facilities, Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
  • Kelly Peeler, water quality laboratory manager, Biological Systems Engineering
  • Brian Squibb, facilities and safety manager, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Autumn Timpano, laboratory facilities manager, Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science
  • College of Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Animal Laboratory Services

“With the extensive research and other activities on campus, safety is always a priority. All of the nominees have a passion for safety. They work to protect their co-workers, students and the university and that is why it is critical to recognize the important contributions these individuals and teams make to our campus,” said Lance Franklin, director of environmental health and safety.

Highlighting the award ceremony was a presentation by Caryl Griffin from the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation. The non-profit works to make the world safe from global health threats posed by infectious diseases through high-quality training.

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.