James Bock Jr., a plant health care specialist with Virginia Tech’s building maintenance and grounds unit in the Facilities Department, has received the university’s 2018 President's Award for Excellence.

The President’s Award for Excellence is presented annually to up to five Virginia Tech 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.

Bock is currently enrolled as a student at Virginia Tech, where he is pursuing a degree in the College of Natural Resources and Environment while working full time with the Facilities Department. He identifies diseased trees on campus and works with his supervisor to acquire resources to treat and save the infected trees. In addition, he is working on campus forestry mapping, which keeps the inventory of trees up-to-date.

“James was cited in The Roanoke Times along with Dr. Eric Wiseman when the emerald ash borer showed up on campus. This one species of insect is a huge pest in the landscaping industry and cost our campus many ash trees, but luckily the outbreak was thwarted by James and other members of the grounds department. Several other pest outbreaks on campus include hemlock wooly adelgid, Japanese beetles, needle cast of spruce and pine, all of which James identifies and handles accordingly,” wrote Robert Perfater, beautification and pesticide app supervisor with Virginia Tech grounds, in a letter of nomination.

Bock also cares a great deal for his co-workers and their well-being. When an employee in his area was behaving in a manner outside of the parameters of the Principles of Community, Bock was the first to alert facilities operations of the situation. This was done out of concern for his fellow employees, not himself.

In June 2017, Bock was awarded Employee of the Month for his hard work and willingness to communicate and help other members of the university.

Written by Lindsey Grooms, Class of 2019