Chris Kiwus named vice president for campus planning, infrastructure, and facilities
June 17, 2020
Christopher H. Kiwus has been named vice president for campus planning, infrastructure, and facilities at Virginia Tech following a national search. He officially began in this new role on June 10.
Kiwus, who has served as Virginia Tech’s associate vice president and chief facilities officer since 2014, will lead the newly organized Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities Division, which will focus on the care, maintenance, and expansion of Virginia Tech’s campuses in Blacksburg, Roanoke, and the greater Washington, D.C., metro area; the university’s extensive research and agricultural facilities located throughout the commonwealth; and the Steger Center for International Scholarship in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.
“Wherever he’s served – Virginia Tech or during his 30-year career in the U.S. Navy – Chris has established a partner-centric, cooperative, and transparent culture that is in strong alignment with our charge to provide responsive, nimble, and best-in-class services to support the mission of the university,” said Dwayne Pinkney, senior vice president and chief business officer.
In his new role, created as part of Pinkney’s administrative transformation initiative, Kiwus will serve as a key member of the administrative enterprise leadership team. He will collaborate with university leadership around strategic campus planning, infrastructure, and operational efforts in support of the university’s mission and Beyond Boundaries strategic vision.
Overseeing a team of more than 500 employees dedicated to serving the university community and advancing Virginia Tech’s physical sense of place, Kiwus will provide strategic direction and supervision around capital planning and construction, university planning, sustainability, energy management, buildings and grounds, renovations, engineering operations, real estate and leasing, and campus utilities, including the Virginia Tech Electric Service.
In support of the expected campus growth highlighted throughout Virginia Tech’s visionary 2018 master plan for the Blacksburg campus, Kiwus will lead the university's ambitious six-year capital outlay plan for 2020-26, including approximately 30 projects and totaling nearly $3 billion. He will also be intimately engaged in the planning, construction, and operational efforts of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. He will also be at the forefront of bolstering strategic priorities in support of accessibility, inclusion, environmental stewardship, sustainability, energy management, agricultural investment, and a host of other institutional excellence initiatives.
“Chris brings broad-based facilities planning and operational experience and a record of leading change, implementing innovative solutions to complex problems, streamlining processes and systems, and creating and delivering large-scale strategic plans and projects,” said Scott Midkiff, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. Midkiff chaired the search committee for the position.
Kiwus will also serve as a strategic ambassador for Virginia Tech, representing the university on numerous local and regional authorities and commissions as well as working with a multitude of stakeholders to advance shared initiatives. He will be administratively responsible for the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and provide administrative oversight to the university building official who has a direct reporting relationship to the governing board.
“Partnerships with university stakeholders – students, faculty, staff, alumni, as well as governmental and industry leaders – are at the heart of this role,” said C.T. Hill, chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. “Chris’ collaborative spirit will serve him tremendously well as he strengthens existing partnerships and forges new ones on campus and beyond.”
A retired captain of the U.S. Navy, Kiwus served over three decades as a strategic leader, advocate, and engineer responsible for facilities planning, public works and infrastructure, sustainability, real estate, and construction, among a host of other core operational functions.
Kiwus came to Virginia Tech in 2014, after serving as commanding officer of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida, where he led more than 1,800 employees at 15 Navy bases across the southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean. His responsibilities included maintenance of 20,000 facilities and 170,000 acres and managing a multibillion dollar budget. Immediately prior to that assignment, he served as chief engineer at U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
Kiwus earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Union College and a bachelor's degree in economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He earned a master's degree in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College, and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Rutgers University. He completed the Advanced Executive Program at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Florida.
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