Board of Visitors welcomes new, reappointed members
August 17, 2020
One new appointee is set to join Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors at its Aug. 23-25 meeting after being named to a four-year term by Gov. Ralph Northam earlier this summer.
The new appointee is Carrie Chenery, of Staunton, Virginia, founder and principal of Valley Pike Partners, an economic development and government relations consulting firm with a statewide mission to help companies, communities and organizations grow in Virginia.
Northam also reappointed Greta Harris, of Richmond, Virginia, president and CEO of the Better Housing Coalition; L. Chris Petersen, of McLean, Virginia, principal at Arbor Strategies, LLC; and Jeff Veatch, of Alexandria, Virginia, a successful entrepreneur, businessman, community leader, and philanthropist. Each will serve a second four-year term.
Joining the board for one-year terms are two student representatives, Camellia Pastore and Sabrina Sturgeon, and Eric Kaufman, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who now serves as the faculty representative. Tamarah Smith, business operations specialist with the Office of Summer and Winter Sessions, will serve her second one-year term as the staff representative to the board.
Prior to her role at Valley Pike Partners, Chenery was the executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, the region’s economic development marketing organization, and served as Virginia’s assistant secretary of agriculture and forestry, where she was responsible for the oversight and advancement of economic development efforts related to the commonwealth’s largest private industries of agriculture and forestry.
Before serving in the Governor's Office, Chenery was the manager of legislation and policy at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and served as director of government affairs with the law firm Williams Mullen.
A graduate of Virginia Tech, Chenery received her bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and planning and agricultural and applied economics. She is also a graduate of the Political Leaders Program through the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. She currently serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority Board of Directors.
Chenery has been recognized as one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers by Consultant Connect; one of the Top 10 under 40 emerging business leaders in the Shenandoah Valley by the Daily News-Record Business Journal; one of the Most Influential Virginians “On the Move” by Virginia Business magazine; and a Recent Outstanding Alumna by the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Before joining the Better Housing Coalition, Harris was vice president for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a national nonprofit community and economic development corporation. Prior to that role, she was the senior program director for the Richmond-based Virginia LISC, which supported local organizations in developing more than $250 million in real estate in Central Virginia.
Harris was appointed to the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors in 2016 and also serves on the Board of the Virginia Housing Alliance. She has served on the boards of the City of Richmond's Economic Development Authority, the Federal Reserve Bank's Board of Governors' Consumer Advisory Council, the Virginia Housing Coalition, the Richmond Community Development Alliance, and Seven Hills Boys Middle School.
A member of Leadership Metro Richmond's Class of 1995, Harris was named the Virginia Tech Black Alumni Association's 2016 Philanthropist of the Year and was recognized as a 2014 Outstanding Virginian by Equality Virginia. Harris received her bachelor's degree in architecture from Virginia Tech and holds a master's degree in architecture and urban design from Columbia University.
L. Chris Petersen
Petersen is a principal at Arbor Strategies LLC. His practice concentrates in legal and compliance services relating to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, privacy, state small-group and individual insurance reform regulation, and the interaction between state and federal law. He also advises clients on legal matters pertaining to minimum standards for supplemental and individual insurance products, association business, managed care, as well as other compliance issues. He also assists his clients before state insurance departments and provides representation before the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Congress, and federal agencies.
Petersen previously served as vice president of the state affairs/legal department of the Health Insurance Association of America. He has spoken extensively on insurance reform matters and also has testified before Congress on insurance reform and privacy issues. He is a member of the Virginia Bar Association, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Insurance Marketing Association and received their President's Distinguished Service Award.
He received his bachelor's degree from Washington University and holds a juris doctor degree from Georgetown University.
Veatch co-founded Apex Systems, a billion-dollar business primarily in the field of IT staff augmentation. Apex Systems has more than a 1,200 full-time employees, with more than 60 offices, employs close to 30,000 IT consultants a year, and is now a division of the largest publicly traded IT staffing and services firm in America.
Over the course of his career, Veatch has been recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, selected to the Philanthropic 50 by Washington Life magazine, is a member of the board for On Assignment, served as a founding member of the effort to bring the Olympics to the Washington, D.C., region, and holds board positions with Inova Health System as well as other leadership and board positions throughout the community. As an active philanthropic investor, he formed the Veatch Charitable Fund, which focuses on education, health care, and the community.
Veatch, along with the other Apex Systems founders, established the Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business. He received a bachelor's degree in finance from Virginia Tech in 1993.