Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Randy Kiah – Facilities ManagerReynolds Facilities Management & Planning

Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in the Hampton Roads City of Portsmouth. I came up in a time where I had several mother figures in my life. My mom, aunt and next door neighbor were all mom to my brother and me. My dad worked for the school system in Facilities Management as a plumber so skipping school wasn’t an option because any given day he could have a work order at my school. Growing up in Portsmouth was filled with sailors and shipyards. Every evening you knew when it was 9:00 because there was a loud artillery blast each night that took place in the shipyard. As a teenager, you had to be home before or return home some time shortly after the blast, failure to do so, would often lead to a grim ending to your evening; that never happened to me! 

How long have you worked for Reynolds?
I’ll have 6 years working at Reynolds this coming June.

What is your typical day like as Facilities Manager?
There’re all types of request coming in every day but the beauty of my role is, no two days are ever alike, so there’s never a boring moment. Some days the flood gates for requests pour in while other days we make sure we address the every day needs of the facilities and our customers.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
I would say the most challenging part of my job is trying to meet the daily demands that are many and trying to accommodate each customer as quickly as we possibly can.

Someone told me you are a minister. Would you tell us something about your ministry?
I’m the pastor of a church in Petersburg where I was assigned to last July. I’m a people person and I genuinely care about the needs of those who don’t have. My ministerial focus is feeding people, not just spiritual food but physical food as well. At the church where I am, we are in the process of establishing a food pantry for the people in the community. I must admit, when Dr. Pando announced that Reynolds would be establishing a food pantry, I got excited about the school’s outreach efforts.

What is your favorite activity outside of your work at Reynolds?
Spending time with family, especially my grandchildren who live in Denver and are some of the funniest kids I know. I have three granddaughters and one grandson who’s my Mini-Me and his dad hates it. 

What do like most about Richmond?
This is my second time living in the local area and I didn’t appreciate all that Richmond offered until I left. What I like about Richmond is, there’s lots to do here, it’s centrally located, and is basically a two hour drive of everything, the mountains to the west, the beach to the east and all of the cultural events that DC to the north has to offer (getting there within two hours might be a stretch, traffic dictates the time). 

If you won $100 Million in the Mega Millions lottery what would you do with the money?
I would invest most, set up a business in real estate to provide affordable housing, travel, leave a financial legacy to my grands and then establish food networks for those who don’t have enough to eat.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Called Up to the Big Leagues

Reynolds Honors Students Get Their Shot

NASA is the Big Leagues. For STEM and STEAM students, it’s the NFL, the NBA, and the NLB all rolled in to one.

NASA offers a galaxy of student programs and, as the agency greys, it admits aggressively seeking its next generation of space junkies. Still, getting accepted into a NASA program is akin to being called up to the Big Leagues. Literally thousands of students apply for each internship, fellowship, workshop or competition. And, the chance of being chosen to participate is only slightly greater than getting a big league contract.

Given these odds, it’s all the more impressive that two Reynolds Honors students have been accepted into separate NASA programs for the spring and summer of 2019. Another Reynolds student, Emily Krause, was also accepted into a NASA program.

In January Reynolds Computer Science student Emily Krause was accepted in to NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCCAS) program.

In mid-February Reynolds Business Administration and Honors student Ryan Lingo was accepted into a NASA Internship program AND an Internship with VSGC (Virginia Space Grant Consortium). Ryan has accepted both, and will be working both this coming summer.

At the beginning of February Reynolds Geology and Honors student Joe Kreisa was accepted into NASA’s L’SPACE (Lucy Mission) Virtual Academy. This is the second time Joe has been accepted into a NASA program.

Ryan Lingo and Joe Kreisa’s stories are here.

Ryan Lingo

Ryan Lingo is as sure as the sunrise that he wants to work for NASA. He has set his sights on playing for the NASA team. And that’s that. He follows the “work hard” advice given to all pursuing a dream, but Ryan is no dreamer. Ryan is a worker. Consider what he has done already:

May 2017: Fresh out of high school Ryan is offered and accepts a summer internship* at NASA’s Langley Research Center. He is the only high schooler among the group of undergraduate and graduate college students, and he says, “I had to work hard to catch up.”

February 2018: Ryan serves as an advocate for NASA at an Aerospace Conference held at the State Capitol in Richmond. At the time he was in his second semester at Reynolds and had just been accepted into the Honors program. He was (and still is) an active Eagle Scout, and an active volunteer with NASA Langley, VSGC, and the Science Museum.

July 2018: Ryan serves as a Student Coordinator at NASA’s International Space Station Downlink Event held at the Virginia Air and Space Museum. A big responsibility.

March 2019: Ryan earned himself not one, but two space-related summer internships. He doesn’t expect to get any sleep during those three months.

Ryan Lingo, right, at NASA event.
Ryan is thoughtfully focused, but has sought advice on his direction. “Everyone wants Analytics,” a NASA contact instructed him. Ryan made a course correction and is now headed for William & Mary’s Business School and a major and minor in Analytics. 

“That’s what I want to do at NASA,” says Ryan. He sees himself in a position where he can use his talents in both analysis and communications. “I’d be involved with everything – marketing, outreach, communications, event management, legislative representation, public relations, and more – everything that isn’t hard science. I love working with people. I love working with kids.”

Ryan credits the Honors program with helping him reach his goal. “The skills I have acquired through the Reynolds Honors program, such as communication and research skills, have helped me get these opportunities and be successful in them. Had I not had the strong networking skills honed by participating in the Honors program, NASA likely would not have chosen me for these positions. Being in the Honors program changes the perspective. The more you participate, the better off you are. The classes are simply a different experience. They are fun and challenging, a great way to learn.”

What advice does Ryan have for incoming Reynolds students? “Learn how to network in the classroom - "classroom networking". Making yourself known to the Professor and other students can drastically raise your chances of success in that class. It also helps prepare you to network in the professional world as well.”

We expect to see Ryan conducting a live broadcast from Mars in the future.

* NASA Internships are paid educational, hands-on experiences that give students the opportunity to work at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Interns conduct research and work on projects side-by-side with NASA’s finest scientists, researchers, engineers and mission support teams. After the program, interns are encouraged to visit schools and other science venues to talk about their experience interning at NASA, and become NASA ambassadors.

Joe Kreisa

“I’d love to be at NASA, but I understand I cannot always get what I want,” says Joe Kreisa. Joe is a realist. A hard-working realist with just the right amount of “dreamer” to make him a perfect NASA candidate. Being diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic has forced him to be realistic but, it hasn’t stopped him. “I look at what I can do, what I can commit to do, not what I can’t do.”

Joe’s participation in L’SPACE Virtual Academy* is his second acceptance into a NASA program. His first online project lasted four weeks in the fall of 2017. 

Joe participated in the same NASA National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCCAS) program as Emily Krause. "I drove to Kennedy Space Center and spent four days participating with a team of peers on project tasks. I also got to visit parts of the KSC that a normal tourist would not get to see."

He was such a stand out in the program he was invited into another project onsite at the Kennedy Space Station. At Kennedy he was part of a team that built "a purpose drive, computer coded Lego Mindstorm robot". He pulls out his phone to present the pictorial evidence: a gigantic room with intent students gathered around a test launch pad. “I was the execution guy. I got to push the buttons when it came time to give the rover instructions. I do not need to emphasize my role, I was more excited about the teamwork and networking with some of the coolest and smartest people I know.”

In the Virtual Academy Joe is working online on a PDR – a Preliminary Design Review – with 400 other students around the country. Joe is on a team with eight other students that compete with about 50 other teams in the program. Each team is challenged to make the best PDR, in this case a report about a Lander that has to make it to Mars to find potential landing sites for astronauts. A PDR is one step in determining if a proposed plan is viable. The work includes all aspects of project management such as scheduling and budgeting, all the way down to the tiniest details. The team uses a robust project management tool to keep up with the thousands of details, documents and assignments. Should Joe be successful in this Level 1, he will be eligible to continue to Level 2.

"Until last semester I wanted to experiment in Applied Physics. But, through my experience of an Honors Contract Geology Course with Professor Layou I found a passion to understand the Earth's processes." Joe is headed for graduation from Reynolds in the fall of 2019, then like Ryan Lingo, he is off to William & Mary to pursue his bachelor’s degree.

“Reynolds Honors classes are AWESOME,” Joe beamed, “They are better than any other college class I’ve had [Joe attended George Mason University before coming home to Reynolds]. Classes are small allowing them to focus on understanding and discussing class topics. These classes have given me more tools to tackle my college experience.So far, I have used the tools I have developed in order to succeed. I recognize and record my success in tattoos. Tattoos earned by receiving all A's in a semester. I have six tattoos so far and I look forward to earning my seventh at the end of this semester.' ”

What advice does Joe have for incoming Reynolds students: “Do not be afraid to take chances. I took a chance applying to the Honors Program and it has quite literally paid off.”

*The Academy is funded by The Lucy Mission which is NASA’s first spacecraft to explore the outer Solar System asteroids known as the Jupiter Trojan Asteroids.  The mission is named after a fossil discovered by Donald Johanson and Tom Gray in the 70s. Just like that fossil, Jupiter Trojan Asteroids are the fossil remnants of the early Solar System and will provide important keys to understanding the formation and early evolution of our Solar System. Lucy will launch in October 2021 on a 12-year trip. “No other space mission in history has been launched to as many different destinations in independent orbits around our sun.”

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Kitchens at Reynolds will open its doors at 2500 Nine Mile Road during the 2019-2020 academic year. But the new building will be home to more than just a culinary school. For East End residents it will also serve as the front door to an amazing menu of workforce training and academic opportunities. Follow The Kitchens Timer for the latest countdown news, facility sneak peeks, enrollment information, interviews, and events.

Where Can We Go From Here?

“There is more to the food business than food.”
Ryan Evans, Reynolds Culinary Arts Graduate, Kitchen Operations Manager, Hatch Kitchen RVA

Employment in the food industry is expected to grow by 14%
(twice the average growth rate) from 2016 to 2026.
The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.*

Executive Chef. Pastry Chef. Sous Chef. Line Cooks.

Or: Food Batch Maker. Food Science Technologist. Food Technician. Kitchen Operations Manager. Cookbook Author. Cookbook Editor. Food Manufacturing. Food Festival Organizer. Taste Tester. Food Photographer. Culinary Device Tester. Food Truck Event Organizer. American’s Test Kitchen. Curator of Culinary Libraries. Food Forager. Research Chef. Food Journalist. Food Monger. Packaged Food Producer. Aguaponics Production Manager. Food Science Documenter. Food Truck Designer. Restaurant Publicist. And the list goes on.

The Kitchens at Reynolds is the starting place for a culinary education, but the paths students can take after graduation vary as greatly as a well-stocked spice cabinet. “Chef Miller told us we didn’t have to be a chef,” says Ryan Evans of Hatch Kitchen RVA.  “In fact, he encouraged us to think bigger. He brought in speakers and took us places to show us what was possible. At first I said, that’s not me, I wanted to be the chef. But, I began to realize how valuable that perspective really is.”

Ryan graduated from Reynolds in 2011 and soon after had his first “non-chef” job as a Cheese Monger, aka Cheese Purveyor. He had to learn everything about cheese to sell it globally. But, perhaps more important, he had to learn everything about buying cycles, government import and export regulations, and distribution methods. Soon after he came back to Richmond he became Kitchen Operations Manager for Hatch Richmond RVA, where he ventured down another road of food education and ultimately another food industry career.

Time and again the consensus of those in the food business – including graduates of Reynolds Culinary Arts program – is if you have the desire, there’s no end to the jobs, quirky or traditional, in the field. The key word here is “desire.”

Consider Reynolds Culinary Arts graduate Denton Taylor. “I started following Momofuku when I started in Reynolds culinary program,” Denton explained. “I idolized David Chang, the Chef who started Momofuku. I loved his style and his outlook on food and how it affects the world, and our connections with one another. It was another level of thinking about food. Kind of a punk rock style. And, I wanted to be part of it.”

When he graduated from Reynolds, Denton sent three resumes to Momofuku, and never got a response. But, he knew what he wanted, and “no” was not an option. So he got in his car, drove to DC, walked in to Momofuku, and said: “I want to work here.” The Chef that day told him simply, “Show up tomorrow.” Denton did show up. Aced his interview, and is now living his dream. With Momofuku he now has opportunities to travel the world, learn about food and food practices, and continue his education.

What will the educational experience be like at The Kitchens at Reynolds?

One look at the modern building says it all. In addition to state of the art, fully equipped kitchens, The Kitchens at Reynolds will have a full service CafĂ©, onsite greenhouses, and a demo kitchen. Plans call for students to prepare three-course, donation-based community dinners. An Internship portal will be used to link students with food businesses or industries. Once they graduate, students transition to the status of “job seeker” and Reynolds continues to play a role in their career. They can use the database throughout their career to track their work and accomplishments.

To learn more about the culinary educational experience at Reynolds, read these profiles of four Reynolds graduates.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers, on the Internet at (visited February 25, 2019).