Job Posting: Assistant Farm Manager, Dining Services Farm

The Dining Services Farm at Kentland Farm is a farm-to-campus program at Virginia Tech that provides hands-on education for students and produces vegetables, fruit, and herbs on six acres for campus dining centers.  The Assistant Farm Manager will provide technical support in crop production at the Dining Services Farm and in a high tunnel at the Urban Horticulture Center.  This position will also be responsible for managing a pilot hydroponic project located in Owens Dining Hall.  This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to a unique and growing program that advances the sustainability of the food and farming system of Virginia Tech and the surrounding community.  Please follow the link below for more details of the position responsibilities and qualifications, and to apply.


Hort Hokies at the 2017 National Collegiate Landscape Competition

Written by John James

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) 2017 National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC) at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT was a big success for fifteen Virginia Tech students and their sponsors.  Students from the Dept of Horticulture, the Agricultural Technology Program, Landscape Architecture, and even the Mathematics Dept traveled to Provo on March 14 thru 19 to compete in 29 events against over 60 schools and universities from across the country and Canada.  While Blacksburg was suffering through a resurgence of winter, Utah was experiencing one of its mildest months of March on record… the over 650 students in attendance were greeted with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70’s for our entire stay!

Several notable performances from this year’s event propelled the VT Team, smaller than usual in numbers and HUGE in Hokie Spirit, to a 19th Place finish.  Congratulations to Justice Schlemmer (HORT 2017) for finishing 4th in the Super Star competition for overall NCLC student performer!  This is the third year in a row that VT has placed a student seventh or better in the overall event!

Here are other great performances:

  • Justice Schlemmer, 1st  Place – Construction Cost Estimating; 10th Skid Steer Loader Operation
  • Maddie Pequigney, 6th – Sales Presentation  “She sold the job!”
  • Alysha Lawless, 6th –Computer Aided Landscape Design
  • Alysha also won a $500 award for designing the 2017 NCLC T-shirt worn by all 672 competitors at this year’s event!  She also won this contest in 2015!
  • Joseph Mills, 9th – Maintenance Cost Estimating
  • Harley Curran, 11th – 3D Landscape Design
  • Daniel Milihram & William Shelburne, 3rd –Truck & Trailer Operation
  • Joseph Mills & Daniel Milihram, 5th –Landscape Maintenance Operation
  • Kevin Osborne, Maddie Pequigney & Justice Schlemmer, 9th – Landscape Plant Installation
  • Joseph Mills & Justice Schlemmer, 14th – Hardscape Installation

Laura Yuhase, William Shelburne, and Justice Schlemmer each received $1000 Scholarship Awards at the NALP Student Scholarship Reception on Wednesday night at the Bean Life Science Museum on BYU campus.

Students had many opportunities to speak with companies and sponsors throughout the week, including at Industry sponsored Workshops and the NALP Scholarship Reception on Wednesday, the large Career Fair and Trade Show and Event Briefings on Thursday, and informally in Convention center hallways, hotel lobbies, and all across campus.  Students have related many instances of follow-up job interviews and internship offers as a result of their interactions.

We would like thank all of the wonderful Industry leaders and individuals who donated funding toward this year’s trip!  Without your GENEROUS support the NCLC Provo experience for our team would not have been possible.  Thank you also to Ruppert Landscape for hosting the entire team along with team members from 3 other universities for a meal and social on our final night in Provo.

Thank you to Mark Maslow and his team from Southern Landscape Group for hosting the VT NCLC 2017 team for a social at PK’s Restaurant in Blacksburg after our return.

We can’t wait to begin planning for the 2018 NCLC Event at Alamance Community College in North Carolina!

Barbara Leshyn, Tom Martin, John James


2011 PLANET Competition

After a 3 year hiatus from PLANET Student Career Days, the Hort Hokies returned to their old form last weekend by placing among the top ten teams from across the country. Over 850 students participated in the four-day conference held near Chicago at Joliet Junior College. Virginia Tech was the top ACC school (7th), with NSCU (11th), University of Maryland (14th) and Clemson (15th) also placing high in the competition. WVU finished 29th.

Eight students won individual honors placing in the top four in their respective events. Tish Poteet placed 2nd in the Annual & Perennial ID event, Samantha Hugo placed 3rd in the 3D Exterior Landscape Design event, JB Snelson placed 3rd in Irrigation Troubleshooting, Travis Jowers placed 3rd in the Tractor Loader Backhoe Operations event, and Jake Shreckhise place 3rd in Woody Ornamental Plant ID. The team of Billy Yuhase and Paul Hutcheson placed 4th in the Arboriculture Techniques event and Anne Howell placed 4th (with a perfect score) in Maintenance Cost Estimating.

Also notable were:

  • The team of Laura Shields and Paul Hutcheson placed 8th in Personnel Management
  • The team of Wesley Chiles and Zebulon Ethier placed 9th in Truck & Trailer Operation
  • Andrew Ransone placed 10th in Compact Excavator Operation
  • Tish Poteet placed 10th in Interior Landscape Design
  • The team of David Fetchko and Andrew Ransone placed 11th in Paver Installation
  • Daniel King placed 11th in Maintenance Cost Estimating
  • Anthony Piselli placed 12th in Exterior Landscape DesignEvery student who attended contributed to our success. Even if a student doesn’t place high in an event, his/her points are added to the team’s total. While the team officially was sponsored by the Horticulture Department, there were students from the Ag Tech program, Ag Econ, Mechanical Engineering and Landscape Architecture.