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Meet an Enterprise Hokie

Each month, the administrative enterprise e-Newsletter features the segment, "Meet an Enterprise Hokie," where enterprise employees are highlighted. Learn about how these Hokies serve the university community and some fun facts you might not know about them. Have an idea for an enterprise Hokie that would be great to highlight? Submit here.

Meet an Enterprise Hokie: June 2021

Gennelle Chatman headshot

Gennelle Chatman, equity manager, Office for Equity and Accessibility

Q: What year did you join Virginia Tech?

A: 2021.

Q: Your role is brand new at Virginia Tech. Can you describe what you do?

A: I provide equity, diversity, and inclusion services to members of the university community in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area. I strive to build a bridge between the Office for Equity and Accessibility in Blacksburg and all the D.C. region to create a safer and more equitable environment for students, faculty, and staff.

Q: Where are you originally from? What drew you to Virginia Tech?

A:
I am a Florida girl through and through. Born in Miami, raised in Orlando, and went to college in Tampa. I am passionate about equity and inclusion work, so the opportunity at Virginia Tech called out to me. I have also always had an interest in living in the D.C. region, so those stars certainly aligned.

Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?

A:
I enjoy cooking and watching and playing any kind of sports. I’ll watch curling if that’s all that’s available. Curling is actually really entertaining, though, once you understand the rules. I’m also trying to get back into traveling.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

A:
 My mom gives the best advice. I’m sure she heard this somewhere else, but she told me once, “If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.”

Q: What type of music do you enjoy? Do you have a favorite musician or band?

A: 
My musical tastes are truly eclectic. Right now, though, I’m on a strong R&B kick. Top of my now playing list these days are H.E.R, Jazmine Sullivan, Kiana Lede, Megan Thee Stallion, and Lil Baby. I do consider myself a budding playlist curator, so if you need sounds for your function or your mood — I’m likely your girl.

Q: What’s your favorite place you’ve visited? Why did you like it so much?

A: My favorite trip was to the UAE. I got to see the other side of the world with my mom, who is a fantastic travel partner. She’s down to try almost anything, so we align there. I saw new world opulence pressed right up against old world tradition and that was amazing to me. Not to mention the food, sightseeing, and shopping. I could talk all day about the things we did and saw. In short, everyone should go if they get the chance.

Q: What TV show(s) are you currently watching that others need to check out?

A: Top of my list is Wentworth. Super gritty, a real gratifying slow-burn. But if you’d rather laugh, I’d go with Dead to Me. Both are on Netflix and Dead to Me has a third season on the way.

Jarrod Alls, quality control assistant and pest control specialist, Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities

Alls was a 2021 President's Award recipient.

Q: What year did you join Virginia Tech?

A: 2010 in a part-time capacity; 2018 full time.

Q: Can you describe your role?

A: I execute quality control inspections and review policies and procedures in regard to contractual housekeeping. I also assist in the planning and operations of our in-house floor care team,  perform pest control within Blacksburg campus buildings, and provide oversight around contractual pest control processes.

Jarrod Alls headshot

Q: What’s one project you’re working on now? What’s interesting or challenging about it?

A: I am currently working on policies and procedures around integrated pest management on the Blacksburg campus. The challenge is adapting the policies and procedures to every unique building on campus for which we oversee housing, grounds, and maintenance.

Q: Where are you originally from and what drew you to Virginia Tech and Blacksburg?

A: I was born in Princeton, W.Va. Moved to Giles County in seventh grade when my mom started working at Virginia Tech. From that point on, this has felt like the right place for me.

Q: What is your favorite spot on campus? 

A: The Drillfield. My brother and I enjoy throwing frisbee there when the majority of students are away for the summer.

Q: Have you ever met anyone famous?

A: I met Rudy Ruetigger at Burruss Hall in 10th-grade after a motivational speech he gave. It was great because my dad got to meet him too.

Q: Do you have pets?

A: I have two cats. Polly is 18 years old and Petey just turned 1.

Q: What’s your favorite place you’ve visited? Why did you like it so much?

A: St. Martin is my favorite place in the world so far. White beaches, clear ocean, and great times. One day when I was on the beach there, I looked over and saw a man wearing a Virginia Tech hat. Special.

Dane Sheely photographed next to American flag with the Ronald Reagan quote, "Evil is powerless...if the good are unafraid."

Corporal Dane Sheely, Virginia Tech Police Department

Sheely was a Hokie Highlight recipient.

Q: When did you join Virginia Tech?

A: 2017.

Q: Can you describe your role?

A: 
My role at the Virginia Tech Police Department is to enhance the safety and quality of life for students, faculty, staff, and visitors through effective law enforcement and proactive crime prevention in partnership with the university community. I answer calls for service and love to interact with the community. I'm passionate about helping my fellow officer with questions and being a part of the VTPD team. I am engaged in field training of new recruits and participate in student and faculty/staff police academies. 

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about working at Virginia Tech?

A: I have the opportunity to educate the community in which we serve. I believe education is the key to assisting our community in growing towards a common goal of being civil to our neighbors and having the willingness to help people.

Q: What’s one project you’re working on now? What’s interesting or challenging about it?

A: I am currently training a new recruit. I love assisting people when they are new and growing at the beginning of their careers. I find the field training process to be a positive challenge in showing our recruits how to interact with the public and learn the nuts and bolts of the job.

Q: Favorite food?

A: German food would have to be my favorite. I love Spaetzle with beef gravy.

Q: What is your favorite spot on campus? Why?

A: My favorite spot on campus is the Smithfield Police Barn. I love this spot because the new foals are born in the facility, and I enjoy interacting with all the new animals.

Q: Where are you originally from and what drew you to Virginia Tech and Blacksburg?

A: I am originally from North Lima, Ohio, and I came to the Blacksburg area when my wife obtained a position in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences.

Q: What TV show(s) are you currently watching that others need to check out?

A: I enjoy watching Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel. I think everyone that watches the weather would find it much more entertaining if they gave good old Jim a chance. YouTube clips of thundersnow are my favorite.


Meet an Enterprise Hokie: Previous Editions

Jim Murphy posed with the Hokie Bird

Jim Murphy, distance learning specialist, Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS), Division of Information Technology

Q: What year did you join Virginia Tech?

A: 1995.

Q: Can you describe your role?

A: I create protocols, train, and support faculty and students using TLOS' services at the Northern Virginia Graduate Center. I supervise a team, including a dozen international graduate students, in supporting remote learning.

Q: What’s one project you’re working on now? What’s interesting or challenging about it?

A: 
Today’s challenge is getting instructors and students back to the classrooms safely ahead of the coming fall semester. The dedicated TLOS team supports a large number of courses offered in the region and is committed to implementing all safety precautions. Classrooms are used several times a day. The TLOS team is here to provide our community with confidence that all safety precautions are being taken.

Q: Where are you originally from and what drew you to Virginia Tech?

A: I am from University of Virginia terrority. I attended NCI&S training at Virginia Tech and left a Hokie. I will always cherish my time at University of Virginia, though - and my season football tickets. 

Q: What was one of your first jobs? 

A: National Railroad Passenger Corp./Amtrak. I was an onboard service attendant and a bartender working Montreal, Boston, New York City, Cincinnati, and New Orleans routes. My favorite route was the Southern Crescent to New Orleans. We had dining cars with linen tables and a bar car with leather seats and a piano. Every trip was an adventure and each city second home. It really was the opportunity of a lifetime; I loved it.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about working at Virginia Tech?

A: The community. The Northern Virginia Graduate Center is located in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area. Many students arrive here with little guidance on housing and the region. It is always important to take the extra effort to engage with them. I am in a unique position to engage daily with students and leverage my team to create community among the graduate programs offered at the Northern Virginia Graduate Center. One special event we hosted was on International Women's Day with over 40 international female graduate students participating. Each told their story of their journey to Virginia Tech, and openly shared about their personal and family sacrifices.

Q: Have you ever met anyone famous? Who?

A: I am fortunate enough to have had many exciting opportunities to visit the White House and attend NFL and MLB games, and countless concerts. Throughout them all, I crossed paths with many memorable people. Two stand out:

  • Mohmand Ali; met at Joe Louis' memorial service at Arlington Cemetery. 
  • Willie Nelson; traveled with Willie Nelson and family on the “Who will Pay my Taxes?" tour.


Q: What type of music do you enjoy? Do you have a favorite musician or band?

A: I enjoy all types of music, especially live music. When traveling is safer, I am heading to Austin.

Q: What are your favorite foods?

A: Barbeque, fresh fruits, and veggies. I've always loved the saying, “Two things money can’t buy are true love and home-grown tomato.”

Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: A head coach in the NFL or an NYPD detective.

Four women posing at International Women's Day event
Photo from the International Women's Day celebration Murphy helped host in 2021.

Doug Epps, Mail Services Manager

Doug Epps headshot

Q: What year did you join Virginia Tech?

A:
2007.

Q: Can you describe your role?

A: I oversee the handling of student mail and packages, and departmental mail for the university, on-campus, and throughout the state.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about working at Virginia Tech? 

A: 
For me, this is twofold. It’s very compelling and rewarding to work with other university staff that are quality professionals in their respective fields. Equally so, is seeing the heart and dedication our staff put into their positions on a daily basis – it's simply amazing.

Q: What’s one project you’re working on now? What’s interesting or challenging about it?

A: My top project is guiding the installation of our new package lockers for student use by their return in August. It’s a large undertaking that poses daily challenges. It requires the “It Takes a Village” approach to solve, which is one of the parts I enjoy most.

Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?

A: My hobbies include gardening with a light green thumb for moderate success, my never-ending home improvement project, and a myriad of volunteer and community service projects – all truly enjoyable!

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

A: My father was a Marine. He instilled the concept of “plan for the worst and hope for the best.” My take on this is to plan for every conceivable issue, and never give up hope that the solution lays in the top 30 percent of quality planning.

Q: Where are you originally from and what drew you to Virginia Tech and Blacksburg?

A: I’m originally from upstate New York - the Buffalo to Rochester region. My folks retired to this area and I followed shortly thereafter to work for their newly-acquired sign shop in Roanoke. I have lived in Virginia for 35 years now and despite constant ribbing, consider myself officially transplanted.

Q: What was your first job?

A: My first job ever was pulling hay on New York farms at age 14. This helped instill the work ethic I’ve carried all my life and supported my love of the outdoors.

Q: Do you have pets?

A: My best sidekick is Rosie the pretty pitty, the sweetest pitbull gal you could ever meet. She’s a favorite on walks as “everyone must pet Rosie,” and at the dog park where she’s quickly acquiring other fur-faced friends. She is truly a joy!

Q: What type of music do you enjoy? Do you have a favorite musician or band?

A: Music will take some time to cover. I love 80s rock, country, and bluegrass most of all. This is one of the many things that keeps me in this area; music is the lifeblood of these hills. We have an incredible group of pickers on the campus, many of whom play at our operations events and countless local events as well.

Q: Have you ever met anyone famous?

A: I was fortunate enough to meet Jimmy Carter at one of his Habitat for Humanity builds in Texas. We were working in the area many years ago and pitched in for a day. I found his commitment to the cause and the people he serves truly inspirational.

Q: Do you have a favorite food?

A: Mexican – mic drop!

Doug Epps posed with his dog
Doug and his pitbull Rosie.

The following enterprise Hokies were selected to be featured based on their Hokie Highlights and key roles in keeping university operations moving forward during COVID-19.



 

 

Juliet Dadras

Occupational health nurse Environmental Health & Safety
Administrative & Business Services Portfolio

Juliet Dadras posed with the HokieBird.

Q: What year did you join Virginia Tech?

A: 2017.

Q: Can you describe your role? 

A: I am the manager for the Virginia Tech Environmental Health & Safety Occupational Health Clinic. Our clinic serves every Virginia Tech employee that may have a work-related risk exposure and we offer them the protection they need with respirator clearance and fit testing, hearing conservation, and vaccination referrals. This year, my main role has been providing COVID-19 case management for every employee, student wage employee and graduate student impacted by COVID-19. Fortunately, the program has grown, and we now have a team of case managers that I supervise that provide this outreach.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about working at Virginia Tech? 

A: 
Meeting people from all different departments, not just in Blacksburg but across the state in our offsite locations. During the pandemic, this outreach helped build networking opportunities and resource utilization.  

Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work? 

A: I love the beach and I collect sea turtle memorabilia and artwork.  If you have ever been to my office, you know every time I go to the beach I come back with a sea turtle something.

Q: What TV show(s) are you currently watching that others need to check out? 

A: I am currently watching Outlander. Why did I wait so long to start?

Q: What type of music do you enjoy? Do you have a favorite musician or band? 

A: I love all kinds of music, but my favorite genre is 1990s alternative. That might surprise people, but I love to crank it up with the windows down!

Q: What’s one thing on your bucket list? 

A: Traveling to Iran to meet my relatives!

Q: What is your favorite food? 

A: Sushi and soba noodles!

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Or, is there a favorite quote or saying you’ve heard that sticks with you?

A:
My favorite quote is "Well behaved women rarely make history." 

Q: What was your first job?

A:
My first job out of nursing school was with CHIP in Roanoke as a community health nurse.  I knew from the beginning I wanted to work in public health. In that role, I served uninsured and underinsured children with case management, and helped them meet their childhood development goals.

Q: What’s your favorite place you’ve visited? 

A: Longboat Key, Fla. Every year (prior to the pandemic), my college girlfriends and I go for a long weekend. The water is warm, beach is almost empty, the sand is so soft, and water clear blue. Is it summer yet?  I'm ready!



 

 

 

Jim Tibbs

Systems engineer
Network Infrastructure & Services (NI&S)
Division of Information Technology

Jim Tibbs, IT

Q: What year did you join Virginia Tech?

A: 2012.

Q: Can you describe your role?

A: I support central IT services at the university. My specialty is Linux operating systems.

Q: Where are you originally from and what drew you to Virginia Tech and Blacksburg?

A: I grew up in southern Arizona, the desert. What drew me to Virginia Tech is the opportunity to learn and work on high performance computing (HPC) systems. It was after I moved here that I learned what an awesome place the New River Valley is to call home.

Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?

A: Fitness - particularly biking - live music, and enjoying the outdoors.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Or, is there a favorite quote or saying you’ve heard that sticks with you?

A:
Advice: Never make an important decision or respond to a situation when upset.

Q: What was your first job?

A: My first job was building cabinets and furniture for a custom builder. I did this all through high school and university. I like working with my hands and the job schedule dovetailed nicely with my school work.

Q: What is your favorite spot on campus? 

A:
It is hard to pick between Land Stadium and Hahn Gardens. I have had such a good a good time attending football games at Lane and hope in-person attendance returns in the Fall. Hahn is my favorite pit stop on bike rides.

Q: What type of music do you enjoy? Do you have a favorite musician or band?

A:
My musical tastes span a wide spectrum. I particularly enjoy live music. If I had to pick a favorite band it would be London Grammar. I plan to fly to Perth Australia next year to see them.

Q: What’s your favorite place you’ve visited?

A:
New Zealand: The scenery is magical and I was with someone who is very special to me.

Q: What TV show(s) are you currently watching that others need to check out?

A
: I recently started watching Doc Martin out of the UK. Another good UK-based series is All Things Great & Small.

Q: What is your favorite movie or book? 

A:
I've always liked the movie Patton. My Dad served in Patton’s army during WWII. Plus, I've always loved European history. One funny aspect about this movie is that George C. Scott, the actor who played Patton, seemed to actually think he was Patton.

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: Tamales. At times my physique has resembled a tamale because I like them so much.

Q: What’s one thing on your bucket list?

A: Ride a bike for 100 miles.