The Legacy of LDDI

08 July, 2024

How Bohler’s Virginia Tech Alumni Mentor the Next Generation of Land Development Professionals


Virginia Tech’s motto “Ut Prosim” is Latin for “That I May Serve.” To Hokies past and present, giving back to others is meaningful. One way that Bohler employees who are also alumni of the university continue to serve is through our partnership with the school’s Land Development Design Initiative (LDDI).

For nearly two decades, Bohler has partnered with Virginia Tech, where alumni employees engage as mentors and lecturers in the LDDI program. This initiative, focused on civil engineering with a specialization in land development, exposes students to real industry projects and fosters invaluable connections between academia and professional practice.

Ryan Yauger, P.E., Richmond Branch Manager and Virginia Tech alum, reflects on the impact of his alma mater’s motto in his career and life.

One of the missions is to use the platform and opportunities that I have to serve and empower others in the hope that I can provide opportunities, experiences and similar blessings that I’ve had in my career and my life.

— Ryan Yauger, Richmond Branch Manager

Forming the Partnership

In alignment with the The Bohler Way principle of building relationships, the collaboration with Virginia Tech began in 2006, driven by shared values of raising career awareness and empowering students through growth opportunities. Over the years, this partnership has grown to include teaching roles, committee participation, and program sponsorship, fostering strong bonds between Bohler and LDDI students.

According to Ryan and other alumni like Zack McIntyre, P.E., Project Engineer in Herndon, VA, the program’s success hinges on alumni dedication. Zack values the opportunity to spark “lightbulb moments” among students, providing them with real-world insights into land development.

My favorite part of working at Bohler is the opportunities to teach the younger staff. Being able to do that with LDDI students is so fulfilling because they are exposed to land development and get a real taste of the industry.

— Zack McIntyre, P.E., Project Engineer 

Covering the Gamut

During the program, students gain hands-on experience in land development, especially through the unique Senior Design Course. This course pairs students with professionals from engineering firms like Bohler, who provide invaluable industry knowledge and mentorship as students tackle real projects.

Through practical instruction, students navigate project stages from due diligence to final approval, honing skills such as technical drawing — offering a glimpse into professional expectations and career opportunities.

However, the program isn’t just technical, and also emphasizes essential soft skills. Ryan dedicates over half of his lectures to topics like relationship-building and effective communication, crucial for everyday professional life.

Ryan teaches these skills in part through modeling the behavior himself. He takes time to build a rapport with the students and show support for the students in a challenging major. Ryan notes that as a student, especially at Virginia Tech, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the demands of a rigorous engineering program. He fondly remembers Principal Charlie Yowell’s guidance during his time in the LDDI program.

LDDI provides a different perspective, and you see a different side of the profession.

— Ryan Yauger, Richmond Branch Manager

Building Connections

The comprehensive nature of the LDDI program ensures that its graduates emerge with a solid understanding of land development, a specialized area within civil engineering. This benefits both the graduates and Bohler: graduates gain a competitive edge in the job market, and Bohler benefits from new hires who are well-prepared and ready to contribute from day one.

With numerous Virginia Tech alumni at Bohler, building relationships across the firm is seamless. Zack notes that having shared the LDDI experience with colleagues across different offices, then returning to Virginia Tech as mentors, has significantly expanded his professional network. This connection fosters easy collaboration and a strong sense of community within the company.

It’s really expanded my network, and I know I can easily reach out and collaborate with so many more Bohler employees because of this connection and community we share.”

— Zack McIntyre, P.E., Project Engineer

Zack and Ryan appreciate Bohler’s continued support of the LDDI partnership, which allows them to embody Virginia Tech’s motto in a meaningful way. Ryan encourages others to bridge their alma mater and Bohler, emphasizing the unique fulfillment that comes from giving back.

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