Sherwood Wilson to retire from Virginia Tech next year
November 11, 2019
Sherwood Wilson, who has served Virginia Tech in a variety of administrative capacities for more than 18 years, will retire from the university in 2020.
Wilson, who returned to Virginia Tech in 2007 to become vice president for administrative services after serving as vice chancellor for finance and administrative affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has served in his current role as vice president for operations since 2017. He will step down from that post and will serve in a special projects role for the next year under Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer Dwayne Pinkney.
“With ambitious plans for operations and an aggressive schedule to move forward with capital projects in Blacksburg, Roanoke, and Northern Virginia, we are fortunate to have Sherwood available to us for the year as we transition to our new model for operational excellence,” Pinkney said.
“Sherwood’s impact on the growth and development of the infrastructure that undergirds Virginia Tech and its academic enterprise has been transformative, in Blacksburg and across the commonwealth,” added university President Tim Sands. “Along with building and maintaining world-class campus facilities, he instilled a culture of safety and security throughout our community. I am deeply grateful for Sherwood’s many contributions to Virginia Tech.”
Wilson’s career has spanned more than 40 years, during which he led facilities, construction, business, human resources, safety and security, and financial operations in both private and higher education sectors.
As vice president at Virginia Tech, Wilson presided over more than 40 major capital construction projects totaling more than $1.1 billion and encompassing more than 2.4 million square feet, as well as scores of campus renovation projects and a half dozen solicited and unsolicited public-private partnership proposals and projects.
He also oversaw the development of the university’s current Campus Master Plan, which was adopted by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors in 2018 and honored with the Society for College and University Planning Excellence in Planning for an Existing Campus Merit Award for its innovative, collaborative, multidisciplinary, and integrated approach to planning and design.
In response to student interest, Wilson commissioned the subcommittee that developed the university’s Climate Action Commitment, created the Office of Sustainability, and chartered and chaired the Energy and Sustainability Committee. In support of the Climate Action Commitment, Wilson and his team also identified and implemented numerous energy and utility modernization, automation, and efficiency projects, ranging from manual process revisions to enterprise system implementations, and a Five-Year Energy Action Plan projected to save the university $6 million annually in utility costs.
Wilson has been a strong advocate for using the Blacksburg campus as a living laboratory and specialized in breaking down operational barriers and building community support for research projects on a variety of topics such as Drillfield acoustics, pedestrian pathway materials, autonomous aviation, and personal transportation devices. He was also instrumental in developing and creating experiential learning opportunities for students in the architecture and building construction programs at Virginia Tech through innovative partnerships between Facilities, building occupants, and the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.
In addition, he restructured the University Safety and Security Policy Committee and strengthened the central entity responsible for ensuring the safety and welfare of the university community. He also established a robust framework for supporting this body’s critical work, which included the formation and operation of a regional 911 emergency services dispatch center with the institution’s neighboring localities.
Wilson was instrumental in creating a culture of emergency preparedness across the university, despite its many locations across the commonwealth. He established the Office of Emergency Management in 2007 and commissioned the university’s first Emergency Notification System protocols, which have since been used as a model for similar procedures at many other educational institutions.
In 2014, Virginia Tech was the first college or university in the country to receive accreditation by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, an independent nonprofit organization that has established rigorous national standards for emergency planning.
Wilson also secured combined funding of approximately $46.7 million in federal, state, and local grant funding to construct a new signature entranceway — the 460 Southgate Interchange — for the university, the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and the Virginia Tech/Montgomery Regional Airport, which opened in 2017. His efforts were also critical to aligning this major construction project with the timelines and needs of the myriad agencies and stakeholders for the airport’s runway expansion project, the initial infrastructure preparation for Phase III of the Corporate Research Center, and the relocation of the Huckleberry Trail.
“As a proud alumnus of this university, I have watched Virginia Tech expand its physical footprint and create a strategic Campus Master Plan that is in keeping with the campus beauty and style and has moved this great university forward,” said John Lawson, former rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. “I am proud of the growth and planning of this campus, and I am also proud that we have established architectural guidelines that will retain our collegiate gothic campus architecture. I thank Sherwood for his commitment to this and for his able oversight of the multiple projects that will meet the future needs of our students, our faculty, and the greater community.”
As a member of the Virginia Tech/Montgomery Regional Airport Authority Board of Directors, Wilson has promoted efforts to modernize the facility and respond to the anticipated growth in customer base through the runway expansion project. These efforts include long-range planning initiatives, such as branding, construction of additional hangar spaces, and contracting for aviation repair and training services.
“I have always considered Virginia Tech and the New River Valley home and am grateful for the opportunity I had to serve this special community,” said Wilson. “I am particularly appreciative of the support I received from my leadership team and many other colleagues throughout the institution and region who exhibited a deep commitment to improving the educational environment and opportunities available to our students and employees.
“We made significant progress in modernizing the university’s facilities and safety and security enterprises and in enhancing the quality of regional transportation and public services over the last 12 years,” he added. “I am now looking forward to dedicating more time to my family and continuing to help other communities build capacity and resiliency through consulting.”
Wilson also worked at Virginia Tech from 1989 to 1995 as director of facilities management and as assistant director of physical plant. He also served as associate vice president for finance and administration at Ohio University, and chief facilities officer at Alderson Broaddus College in Philippi, West Virginia.
Wilson received his bachelor’s degree in engineering technology from Fairmont State College, a master’s degree in architecture/construction management from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Ohio University.