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As we embrace the significance of Black History Month, the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC) takes immense pride in spotlighting some outstanding individuals who have made remarkable contributions to the science, technology, and community-building realms within our organization.

Vonetta Moore-Williams: A Journey of Dedication and Growth

Vonetta, a Production Assistant in TechLab, Inc.’s Biological Materials division, stands as a testament to dedication and perseverance. 12 years ago, she began as a manufacturing technician at TechLab. Today, she holds a pivotal role within the science staff at TechLab. Responsible for the culture and processing of protozoan parasites, as well as the production of raw materials crucial to our diagnostic kits, Vonetta exemplifies excellence in the field. Her journey within the company is not just a personal triumph but an inspiration for those aspiring to climb the professional ladder in the science and technology community.

Dr. James C. Turner, Jr.: Pioneering Mathematics and Entrepreneurship

Dr. James C. Turner, Jr., a retired mathematician, earned his Ph.D. during a time when Black Ph.D.s in STEM were rare. His illustrious career spanned projects for the Navy, NASA, and the federal government of South Africa. The founder of iCubed Tech, LLC, a 3D modeling software company, Dr. Turner dedicated 19 years to teaching at Virginia Tech before retiring emeritus in 2022. His legacy continues to inspire generations, marking a trailblazing path in the world of mathematics and entrepreneurship.

Harvey Brookins: A Community Connector and Mentor

Harvey Brookins exemplifies unwavering dedication to serving our community. In 2016, he pioneered the Roanoke Loan Production Office for the National Bank of Blacksburg (NBB). This venture proved highly successful, leading to the upcoming establishment of NBB’s first full-service branch in Roanoke, scheduled to open in the fall of 2024. Harvey has been committed to aiding the under-served, holding key roles such as board member and DEI committee co-chair of VERGE (RBTC and RAMP). Harvey played a pivotal role in launching a new chapter of Blacks in Technology (BIT) in southwest Virginia. BIT is a global organization dedicated to setting standards for technical excellence and fostering inclusivity through community, media, and mentorship.

Harvey also serves on the board of the Western Virginia Water Authority, currently chairing the organization. Here, he spearheaded the formation of a DEI committee within the Water Authority, focusing on enhancing the well-being and quality of life for the regional community. This addresses employee recruitment and retention of under-represented ethnic groups and reviewing policies that may adversely impact the under-served. Harvey acknowledges that his success is rooted in his faith in God and the unwavering support of his family and friends, including his wife, Martina, and their four adult children.

Angela Pope Dickerson: A Transformative Leader and Catalyst for Change

Angela, a founding member of Blacks in Technology Southwest Virginia (BIT SWVA), has been a transformative leader in various spaces. Her dedication to launching BIT has resulted in new jobs and learning opportunities in the tech space, making BIT SWVA the fastest-growing chapter in Virginia. Angela’s entrepreneurial spirit, eloquence as a public speaker, and commitment to the region are evident in her numerous accolades. Her tireless efforts have brought a sense of pride and achievement to the community, reflecting the true spirit of Black excellence.

As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s recognize the invaluable contributions of these individuals, and many others, who enrich the diverse tapestry of our community. Their stories inspire us to strive for excellence, foster inclusivity, and celebrate the achievements of every individual. Happy Black History Month!

Thank you to those who nominated these individuals. If you would like to nominate someone for inclusion in the next Black History Month blog, please complete this FORM.