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John W. Montague, Jr.

John W. Montague, Jr.

Industrial Engineering
Class of 1967, BS

Where is your hometown?
Richmond, Virginia

How did what you learned at Virginia Tech impact your career? After graduation, I actually was able to work in nine different plants for Albemarle Paper Company and Continental Can implementing new scheduling techniques, cost control features, budgeting, and time management. When my wife and I started our own company, those same items were used every single day on every job.

Why did you choose your profession?
It initially chose me. I was asked to be the controller of a small residential construction company in Richmond. Because of its size, I learned every trade by spending my spare time working alongside of the different subcontractors. When the home was completed, I had a real sense of accomplishment looking at the finished product, and felt that I could improve on some of the older building techniques.

Why did you decide to come to Virginia Tech?
I had spent my first two years in college as a business major. I got a summer job at Reynolds Metals Company in Richmond in a product development and testing lab, and was fascinated with how things were built. My boss told me that I was in the wrong major, and talked me into starting over and he actually helped me apply to the Extension program in Richmond.

Who influenced you during your career and/or time at Virginia Tech?
Dr. Paul Torgersen was the most influential of my teachers, but the most influential person was my wife, Sue. She stayed in Richmond and worked for two years, and who raised my oldest son while I was 200 miles away. The job market in Blacksburg at the time was paying about one third of what she was earning. She and my son lived with her parents, and her mother took care of our child while she worked. We saw each other every other week.

What’s one of your favorite memories from Virginia Tech?
Coming back to my room after classes and getting on my motorcycle for a 30 to 60 minute ride in the mountains to clear my head before starting to study. Also, during my senior year, I passed my flight test to become a private pilot. The day before graduation, my wife and I flew from Roanoke up to Blacksburg and over the campus. In 2016, I traveled to my 50th state on a motorcycle, and I would not trade our campus and its surroundings for anything I have visited.

Founder and President, John W. Montague, Jr. Custom Homes, Inc. (1973-2004)
Builder of Richmond subdivision, “Randolph Square” (named Community of the Year, 1993)
Plant Engineer and Regional Manager, Continental Can Corp. (1970-1972)
Industrial Engineer, Albemarle Paper Company (1967-1968)

Board Member, W. E. Skelton 4-H Center (2009-present)
Advisory Board, Virginia Tech Industrial Engineering Department (2014-present)
Board Member and Chairman of Buildings and Grounds Committee (Board Member of the Year 2012), Virginia Home for Boys

Class of: 1967
Year Inducted into Academy: 2017