Archive for April, 2011

Hall of Fame Realtor

Steve Van Amburgh

Steve Van Amburgh '75

Steve Van Amburgh, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1975, will be inducted into the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors Hall of Fame next month. Steve is the chief executive officer of KDC Real Estate Development and Investments. He manages that firm’s strategic planning, coordinates all new business development efforts and oversees all acquisition and development activities for KDC’s regional offices.

Steve took over leadership of KDC in 2001, and since then the company has completed more than 100 corporate build-to-suit and speculative office and industrial projects valued at more than $2 billion and totaling more than 13 million square feet. The company had its best year ever in 2010.

“D Magazine” has just published a great conversation with Steve about his business philosophy. Among other secrets that he reveals is his belief in collaboration rather than combat. “We try to eliminate the combativeness the minute we start discussing the project. Our goal is to, as quickly as possible, sit on the client side of the table,” he told the magazine. “We don’t like to sit across the table and arm wrestle and negotiate with them. We like to state the economics, state what our fee and profit would be, and as quickly as we can, get to ‘Red rover, red rover, let KDC come over’.” Read the entire interview here.

The Preliminary Hearing

The eight students in Professor Toni Locy’s Journalism 280 course, Legal Reporting, put what they learned into practice last semester and created a website to show off their work.

The Preliminary Hearing showcases two separate investigations that the students undertook during the semester. As the description of the course says, “Courthouses make the best beats. Every day the curtain goes up and a drama is acted out. Criminal or civil, courts provide a window on what is important to the American people.”

One team of students — Brooke Sutherland, Tory Dickerson, Kelly Mae Ross and Stephen Peck — explored metamphetamine abuse and noted that “meth cases make up 50 percent of all drug arrests in the Rockbridge (County) area and 50 percent of all federal drug cases in southwest Virginia, according to law enforcement officials.” Through interviews with law enforcement and meth users, the students wove a fascinating story, which included both the written version and the video below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Meanwhile, a second team — Anne Vesoulis, Ben Petitto, Findley Merritt and Wit Robertson — examined dating violence, focusing on the alleged murder of a University of Virginia woman’s lacrosse player last year by a member of the school’s men’s lacrosse team. Their report included interviews with officials at U.Va., the Charlottesville court system and staff members of W&L’s Student Affairs. You can read their story here or watch their video below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In addition to Professor Locy, the students were assisted in their project by Michael Todd, manager of technical operations in the department of journalism and mass communications.

Fly Navy

Alvin Townley, a 1997 graduate of Washington and Lee, has traveled the world once before to produce books on the Boy Scouts, scouting and leadership. This month, Alvin’s newest book is out, and he has focused on the world of U.S. naval aviation as it celebrates its 100th year.

To write it, Alvin again went around the world, boarding five aircraft carriers in three oceans and on most major bases in the U.S. He met present-day Blue Angels, young crew chiefs and admirals, along with POWs and heroes from conflicts past. His vignettes illustrate what a former Top Gun instructor and Blue Angels commanding officer called “the colorful characters who share the common bond of gold wings and the excitement of aerial adventures from the sea. Fly Navy opens a window to this romantic, dedicated, and occasionally irreverent spirit.”

Tomorrow (April 28), Alvin will launch the book at the Naval Air Station (NAS) in Pensacola, Fla., where Jimmy Buffett will perform a private benefit concert for the National Museum of Naval Aviation. Buffett’s concert, along with Alvin’s book, are part of a larger year-long celebration taking place across the country.

Alvin will return to NAS Pensacola on May 5 to give the keynote address at a lunch at the Museum’s Centennial Symposium.

For more information, see Alvin’s own website, where you can also get copies of his two previous books, Spirit of Adventure  and Legacy of Honor.

Alvin will be in Lexington for reunion weekend and will signing books both Friday and Saturday around the lunch hour on Canaan Green.

Access to Justice

Members of the School of Law's Access to Justice Practicum lead a seminar in Liberia. Prof. Speedy Rice is seated at left, in partial profile. David Brooks is standing, and to the right are Simon Herr and Anna Katherine Moody.

Earlier this month, members of the Washington and Lee School of Law’s Access to Justice: Liberia Practicum provided a synopsis of its work during a trip to Monrovia, Liberia, with law professor Speedy Rice. Here is how the four W&L 3L students — Simon Herr, Massie Payne, Anna Katherine Moody, and David Brooks — described their work:

“Traveling and working here has been a great way to wrap up law school and has certainly been a learning experience and a challenge for all of us. It has been great to put some of our professional skills to use while helping a legal system rebuild and the rule of law develop.”

“The bulk of the Access to Justice Project involves preparing and running training sessions for various criminal justice actors here in Liberia. Liberia has been rebuilding since their devastating civil war,s and a lack of resources and corruption prevents the justice system from operating effectively and efficiently. Unfortunately, prisons are overcrowded and detainees can be held for years without trial. We focus on the rights of these citizens caught in the criminal justice system and try to give all involved the educational tools to work towards making systemic justice a reality. We have already held successful workshops with the Monrovia City Police and the Liberia National Police. Over the coming days, we will work with corrections officers from the Monrovia Central Prison and city solicitors, who serve as misdemeanor prosecutors. So far the police have been receptive to our ideas and have been open and active participants in our discussions and activities. While we know that real change in Liberia is going to take years of hard work, we take comfort in the fact that we are influencing the thoughts and work practices of the individuals we come in contact with and that we doing our small part to make a difference.”

“Our class is partnered with local students from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law here in Monrovia. They participate in our classes throughout the semester courtesy of the U.S. Embassy public library videoconferencing system and help us with all trainings. It is great to have a Liberian perspective in everything we do, and it makes people even more receptive to our ideas. We have had several opportunities to socialize with our Liberian colleagues, so it has been a pleasure to develop personal and professional relationships with these young lawyers, who represent the future of the profession in Liberia.”

“The trip hasn’t been all work, however. Liberia is a beautiful country and the people are warm and welcoming. Life and culture is radically different from Lexingto,n and it has been a blast to explore Monrovia. Since he has been working in Liberia for years, Professor Rice has been able to introduce us to many different people in Liberia who do a variety of jobs. We have been able to have drinks and informal chats with people from all over the world working in many different government departments. This helps us to really understand life in Liberia and the future of its institutions. We have also found time to enjoy the beach and several great restaurants in Monrovia. The trip here has been exhausting and exhilarating, but it has certainly been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!”

On Target

Isaiah Goodman '09

In the two years since he graduated from Washington and Lee, Isaiah Goodman has been establishing his career as a business analyst for Target at the company’s headquarters in Isaiah’s home state of Minnesota.

Isaiah’s video is prominent in a series on the Target website that features members of the Target team talking about their careers. In his case, Isaiah is focused on frozen meals. In the video spot, he says: “The biggest surprise to me since I came on as a full-time team member is really the influence that I have. Just straight out of college, I can actually make some decisions, and an international vendor will make decisions based on some things that I recommended.”

To watch Isaiah’s spot, click on the photo above or on this link.

Anyone who watched Isaiah, a business administration major, during his four years in the classroom and on the basketball court at W&L, will not be surprised at his fast start with Target, or with his poise in the video segment. In fact, as the chair of the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Isaiah described the benefits of playing on the Division III level in a video on the organization’s website. You can see it here.

Honoring Staff

The four retiring staff members in attendance at the Recognition Banquet were, from left, George Carras, Charles E. Ware, Carolyn W. Hammett and Jacqueline A. Davis.

Washington and Lee held its annual Employee Recognition Banquet on Thursday (April 21) and paid tribute to eight retiring staff members, plus those staffers who were celebrating employment anniversaries.

The retirees, who have a combined 230 years of service to W&L:

• George Carras, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations (1997-2011)

• Jacqueline A. Davis, Non-Book Manager, University Store (1971-2010)

• John P. Doyle, Associate Law Librarian (1986-2011)

• Leon W. Fields Sr., Custodian (1988-2011)

• Carolyn W. Hammett, Administrative Assistant, Williams School (1987-2011)

• Leonard J. Reiss Jr., Technical Services Specialist (1985-2010)

• Joan N. Robins, Director of Hillel (2001-2011)

• Thomas M. Sloan Jr., Custodian, Fraternities (1976-2011)

• Charles E. Ware, Utility Worker, Dining Services (1976-2011)

The service anniversaries:

35 Years

  • W. Scott Beebe
  • Darlene T. Moore
  • Granville T. Sweet
  • Thomas W. Tinsley

30 Years

  • Robert P. Bane
  • Jerry G. Clark
  • Patrick Hinely
  • Keith J. Irvine

25 Years

  • Mary B. Coffey
  • Scott Dittman
  • John P. Doyle
  • Ted D. Hickman
  • Betty Hickox
  • Sandra H. O’Connell
  • Jacqueline H. Sandidge
  • Beverly J. Shotwell
  • Scott M. Wines

20 Years

  • Trixie J. Acey
  • Jennifer J. Ashworth
  • David L. Copeland
  • Melissa G. Gualtieri
  • John N. Jacob
  • Russell S. Joynes
  • Beverly Tarpley Lorig
  • Dale Lyle
  • Robert W. H. Mish, III
  • Sidney A. Nicely
  • Arthur R. Perry
  • Jill Gilmore Straub
  • Sue D. Woodruff

15 Years

  • William R. Armstrong, Sr.
  • David L. Arthur
  • Kimberly S. Austin
  • Beverly N. Bowring
  • Wayne E. Bradley
  • Frances W. Brown
  • Diane H. Cochran
  • Lynn B. Fitch
  • W. Berkeley Harner
  • Calvin E. Higgins, Jr.
  • Henry M. Hostetter
  • William E. Kibler, II
  • Vernagail Mencer
  • Betty B. Moore
  • Michael S. Roberts
  • Leanne M. Shank
  • Rodney T. Smith
  • William C. Stroud
  • Sean E. Suggs
  • Gregory S. Tomlin
  • Susan E. Wager

10 Years

  • Stephanie J. Arbanas
  • Paul Burns
  • Rebecca Cooper
  • Mark Q. Craney
  • Latha B. Dawson
  • Sidney S. Evans
  • Laura E. Hewett
  • Jerry L. Hostetter
  • Andrea Hilton Howe
  • Peter T. Jetton
  • Janis G. Kaufman
  • Thomas D. Lovell
  • Joan N. Robins
  • Daniel J. Roland
  • Cree Sherrill
  • Joan E. Swisher