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2013-14 Alumni Award Recipients

Horsley family - 2013-2014 Hall of Fame Award winner
Horsley family

All four members of the Horsley family of Land of Promise Farms in Virginia Beach, Va., were honored on March 21 at the Inn at Virginia Tech and at the Skelton Conference Center as the 2013-2014 inductees into the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Hall of Fame.

Donald and Diane Horsley, in addition to their two sons Shane and Ryan, received the award for their longstanding commitment to agriculture in the state and at Virginia Tech.

“We value the strong relationship the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has with the Horsley family,” said Alan Grant, dean of the college. “The Horsley’s have been great supporters of Virginia Tech and they continue to have a positive impact on our academic, research, and Extension programs.”

The Horsley’s operate Land of Promise Farms, a successful farming operation in Virginia Beach that produces soybeans, corn, wheat, swine, and beef cattle. The family also has local agricultural enterprises that include sweet corn and pecans. Their swine enterprise supplies project pigs to Virginia Cooperative Extension 4-Hers around the state and beyond. 

The Horsleys have been continuously active members of agricultural and civic engagement in the city of Virginia Beach for decades and have received numerous awards for stewardship of agricultural endeavors throughout the state. Most recently, in 2011 Don Horsley was recognized as the Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year for Virginia, and collectively the entire family was awarded the Virginia Beach Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2013. The same year the Horsleys hosted the Virginia Agricultural Expo on their farm in conjunction with Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Donald received his B.S. in animal science in 1970. Sons Shane and Ryan also had successful academic careers at Virginia Tech. Both received B.S. and M.S. degrees in animal and poultry sciences from the university and have also served as key players at the university’s numerous agricultural events and in myriad initiatives. The two sons’ have been extensively involved in the teaching, research, and Extension missions of Virginia Tech as guest lecturers for animal and poultry sciences classes, on-farm research trials with college researchers, livestock judging, and other Extension programs.

Kimberly Lane Tabor Kreitlow - Outstanding Recent Alumna in the College winner
Kimberly Lane Tabor Kreitlow

Kimberly Lane Tabor Kreitlow of Apex, N.C., received the Outstanding Recent Alumni award during the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences recent award ceremony.

Lane earned her Ph.D. in entomology in 2004 from Virginia Tech and received the award for her extensive research and forensic work in the field.

“We are pleased to present this award to Dr. Kreitlow for her significant achievements,” said Alan Grant, dean of the College. “Her work has had a lasting impact on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, and she continues to make significant contributions to the field of forensic entomology.”

She began her journey in entomology by studying bees and beekeeping, managing hives at North Carolina State University and organizing many exhibits throughout the state, as well as volunteering with at-risk youth to introduce them to agriculture.

As a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech, Lane’s academic focus turned to forensic entomology and she became the first person to earn a degree in the subject area from the university. Today she is considered a pioneer for women in the field, and garnered a prestigious award from the Philanthropic Educational Organization in 2003 for her scholarship.

“Kimberly Lane has demonstrated leadership in her field and provided useful service to our department and to the society at large,” said Carlyle Brewster, professor of entomology. “We are grateful to her for helping to make our department a leader in forensic entomology and feel that she is truly deserving of recognition.”

In addition, Lane authored a chapter in one of the most respected books in the field of forensic entomology in 2010. The book, “Forensic Entomology: The Utility of Arthropods in Legal Investigations” has become a premiere reference on forensic entomology for both professionals and students.

She currently teaches at North Carolina State University as an adjunct assistant professor and has served as an expert witness in forensic entomology in 17 civil and criminal cases.

Olivia Ellis - Outstanding Ambassador Award winner
Olivia Ellis
Olivia Ellis, a senior majoring in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, from McLean, Va., was recognized as the 2013-14 Outstanding Ambassador for her leadership and service to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ambassador program and to the college. Olivia’s mission statement on her resume states, “Enhancing lives by encouraging healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition”.  A long list of activities to carry out that mission statement are on her resume as well - from interning at a spa in Mexico to the many roles she has held in the university’s recreational sports program.  But the contributions we are here to celebrate today are those of an unparalleled passion for Virginia Tech and a dedication to new students and their families. Olivia has been a college ambassador since 2011 and currently serves as the representative to the alumni organization board of directors.  She has served as a Hokie Ambassador since 2012, as a mentor for the Freshman Leadership  Experience, and as a peer leader in our college.  Recently she became student director of the university’s extended orientation program, assisting in hiring and training over 100 students to represent the school and welcome approximately 1000 incoming Hokies to campus – if you want to know all about Hokie Camp, visit with Olivia and share in her passion and enthusiasm for the Hokie Nation.  Students like Olivia lead by example every day, showing us all how to embrace our motto, Ut Prosim.
Vernon Meacham- Outstanding Faculty Service Award Winner
Vernon Meacham
Vernon Meacham (B.S ’83, M.S. ’87 Animal Science) of Blacksburg, Va., was recognized with the 2013-14 Outstanding Faculty Service Award for his outstanding contributions to the college.  Vernon returned to the college in 2005 as Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations.  His responsibilities included increasing corporate and foundation support for faculty endowments, student scholarships, building and improving facilities, and cultivating sponsored research. As current Director of Development for CALS, Vernon provides leadership for the college’s fund-raising and donor relations efforts.  In his role, he works closely with individual donors, corporations, and foundations to build relationships with the college and administers the development office.  Under his leadership, the CALS fundraising team exceeded the college’s $52.4M goal in the seven year, Campaign for Virginia Tech – Invent the Future capital campaign which concluded in 2011.  Since that time the development staff has consistently increased giving for the college to provide critical philanthropic support for Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station as well as the college’s teaching and research missions. Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, Vernon worked in agribusiness as an animal nutritionist and as an executive in the fertilizer industry. He worked in developing consulting programs and nutritional products for horse, beef cattle, and swine markets and later with the creation of a novel slow-release, organic-based, fertilizer- manufacturing process. He currently serves on the CALS Alumni Organization Board, the Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results (VALOR) Advisory Council and has served on the Alpha Gamma Rho Alumni Board.
Jackline Bonabana-Wabbi - Outstanding Alumni in International Programs Award winner
Jackline Bonabana-Wabbi

Jackline Bonabana-Wabbi, ’03, ‘08 of Kampala, Uganda, was selected as the 2013-14 Outstanding Alumna in International Programs.  Jackline received both of her graduate degrees from the department of agricultural and applied economics and then returned to Uganda where she has been active educator, researcher, and friend to Virginia Tech.  She currently is a lecturer in the department of agribusiness and natural resource economics at Makerere University in Kampala Uganda.  Jackie also serves as her department’s graduate program coordinator, the chairperson of the research and publications committee, a member of the research and higher degrees committee, and has served as acting department head.  With extensive involvement in externally funded research projects, she is the economist working on climate change modeling in the region funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Jackie has continued to be extensively involved with Virginia Tech research efforts in East Africa since her graduation.  She is principal investigator on Virginia Tech’s Integrated Pest Management Collaboration Research Support Program and collaborates both with Virginia Tech faculty and graduate students on project research efforts in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.  Her participation in this program has been a key factor in our university’s ability to obtain sustained funding for this research in East Africa.  Jackie has facilitated research efforts of other Virginia Tech projects in Uganda including activities of Virginia Tech’s Office of International Research, Education, and Development.  Jackline is always ready to assist Virginia Tech faculty, students, and alumni when they are in Uganda, even when she does not have formal responsibilities in their research projects.

James Pearson - Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award winner
James Pearson
James Pearson ’87 agricultural and applied economics, of Lavonia, GA., was recognized with the 2013-14 Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award for his leadership and service to the department of agricultural and applied economics, the college, and the university.  J Pearson’s career is defined by perseverance, service, hard work, and a philosophy that “you can’t do it alone”.  He founded Carry-On Trailer in 1996 where he served as president/CEO until the business was acquired by American Trailer Works. He now serves as CEO of American Trailer Works, which is North America’s largest utility trailer manufacturer with more than 1000 employees in the US. J frequently returns to campus to provide guest lecturers to Ag Econ courses and to mentor students in business development. This fall he was a guest speaker for “Innovate”, the newest living and learning community on campus which gives 35 students the chance to immerse themselves in the many facets of entrepreneurship. A member of the Ut Prosim Society, he is a key-contributor to the Kohl Centre, which provides experiential learning opportunities for agribusiness students and he supports leadership training for members of the Corps of the Cadets through the Rice Center for Leader Development. He has recently been named a Professor of Practice in the department working with the Kohl Centre. He is also a member of the Corps of Cadets alumni board and the Virginia Tech Foundation board.
Outstanding Departmental Alumni Award Winners
Outstanding Departmental Alumni Award Winners


Agricultural and Applied EconomicsAdam ShiflettB.S. 1996Staunton, VA
Agricultural and Extension EducationRegina Smick-AttisanoEd.D. 1988Lee, NH
Agricultural TechnologyChad JonesA.AG. 1993Blacksburg, VA
Animal and Poultry SciencesW. Norman VincelB.S. 1973Salem, VA
BiochemistryGlorida MudayB.S. 1984Winston-Salem, NC
Biological Systems EngineeringAndrew SoutherlyB.S. 1993Wichita, KS
Crop and Soil Environmental SciencesJodie ClarkeB.S. 1999, M.S. 2001Richmond, VA
Dairy ScienceRalph WardB.S. 1980Hagerstown, MD
EntomologyRobert HallM.S. 1975, Ph.D. 1977Columbia, MO
Food Science and TechnologyTatiana LorcaB.S. 1995, M.S. 2000, Ph.D. 2002Christiansburg, VA
HorticultureMichael HildebrandB.S. 1974Ashland, VA
Human Nutrition, Foods and ExerciseNancy RodriquezB.S. 1978Somers, CT
Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed ScienceJia LiPh.D. 1995Lanzhou, China
Outstanding Departmental Recent Alumni Award Winners
Outstanding Departmental Recent Alumni Award Winners


Agricultural and Applied EconomicsAlicia MorrisB.S. 2002, M.S. 2004Newport, VA
Agricultural and Extension EducationEdward McCannB.S. 2007, M.S.Ed. 2008Appomattox, VA
Agricultural TechnologyMark TavaresA.A. 2008Rockville, VA
Animal and Poultry SciencesRandy BorgM.S. 2004, Ph.D. 2007Siloam Springs, AR
Biological Systems EngineeringKathy DeBuskB.S. 2007, M.S. 2008Blackstone, VA
Crop and Soil Environmental SciencesHolly CannonB.S. 2006Blacksburg, VA
Dairy ScienceBeverly CoxB.S. 2005, M.S. 2007Boones Mill, VA
EntomologyKimberly Lane KreitlowPh.D. 2004Apex, NC
Food Science and TechnologyVanessa TeterB.S. 2004, M.S. 2006Naugatuck, CT
HorticulturePhillip WadlB.S. 2003, M.S. 2005Knoxville, TN
Human Nutrition, Food and ExerciseCourtney PinardPh.D. 2010Omaha, NE
Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed ScienceJohn WillisPh.D. 2008Hanson, KY