Vice President and Executive Director
Donald J. Leo, Ph.D.
As vice president and executive director in the National Capital Region, Donald J. Leo works with the university’s president and provost to develop and implement new strategic directions for Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region. He and his team are also responsible for helping to coordinate services and program initiatives for the university's six sites in the region.
Previously, as associate vice president for research in the National Capital Region, Leo was responsible for developing and implementing a strategic direction for research throughout the region by integrating the university and its community of researchers in the Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington with government agencies as well as private firms in the region.
Leo is a professor of mechanical engineering and has been at Virginia Tech since 1998, serving as the associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering from 2007 to 2011. From 2005 to 2007 he was a program manager in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency.
During his time as associate dean, Leo oversaw several initiatives in research and graduate studies for the College of Engineering. He was the lead at Virginia Tech for creation of the Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems and the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing as part of a five-year, $14.6 million investment by the state. These funds will be used to support students, faculty, faculty hiring, and the development of new laboratories dedicated to aerospace and manufacturing research.
As associate dean, Leo also instituted several mentoring programs for junior faculty for early career awards, and worked with the departments to develop the first fall recruiting event in the college for prospective graduate students. Research expenditures grew from $107 million to $134 million over the four year period that he was associate dean in the College of Engineering.
His research expertise is the synthesis, modeling, and control of active material systems, with particular interest in the field of electroactive polymers. In 2007 he authored the textbook "Engineering Analysis of Smart Material Systems," published by John Wiley and Sons. He is also the author of more than 200 papers, 80 of which have been published in archival publications.
Leo is Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and is past chair for the ASME Adaptive Structures and Material Systems Technical Committee. He was the recipient of the 2004 Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award from the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he received the 2008 Dean's Award for Excellence in Research from the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.
Leo earned a bachelor of science in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and both a master of science degree and a doctor of philosophy in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Buffalo.
Office: (571) 858-3002
- Vice President and Executive Director
- Deputy Director
- Associate Director for Business Operations
- Associate Dean of the Graduate School in the National Capital Region and Director of the Northern Virginia Center
- Director of Federal Government Relations
- Director of Information Technology
- Public Relations and Marketing Manager
- Program Specialist