David A. Christian
Class of 1976, BS
Where is your hometown?
Born in Staunton, Virginia; raised in Fairfax, Virginia.
How did what you learned at Virginia Tech impact your career?
Virginia Tech gave me the knowledge, skill, and ability to succeed in nuclear power generation. Dr. J.B. Jones encouraged us to be continuous lifelong learners. Coming out of Virginia Tech, I was able to ask the right questions.
Why did you choose your profession?
It seemed to me that based on climate change (called the greenhouse effect when I was in school) and given limitations of other resources, that the country and the world was going to need nuclear energy.
Why did you decide to come to Virginia Tech?
It was either Virginia Tech or the University of Virginia (where I considered pre-med). The campus visit was love at first sight at Virginia Tech.
Who influenced you during your career and/or time at Virginia Tech?
Dr. J.B. Jones, or JB as he is known, was our thermodynamics professor and head of the department. He instilled the importance of attention to detail and high standards. (I still remember getting my first thermo test back with marks off for punctuation!) He also stressed estimating ability and to ask the question, “now, does this seem right?” as a final check. He also stressed the importance of being a continuous learner (he ran a book club - we read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) and he urged Professional Registration.
What’s one of your favorite memories from Virginia Tech?
Hard to pick just one, so a few of my favorite memories from Virginia Tech include: the 1973 NIT basketball championship; our senior capstone project which was a HTGR combined cycle evaluation; the camaraderie of the class of 1976 MEs; the pastoral beauty of the campus; canoeing on the New River; and playing Bridge with my friend Julie Wesel (who still works for Virginia Tech) until all hours of the morning.
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Option in Nuclear Science and Engineering), Virginia Tech, 1976; M.B.A., Averette College, 1997; Executive Program graduate, the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, 1997.
Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Dominion Resource (2017-present); Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Dominion Resource’s national power generation group (2009-2016); Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, Virginia Electric and Power Company (2000-2009); Vice President of Nuclear Operations, Virginia Electric and Power Company (1998-2000); Station Manager of the Surry Power Station, Virginia Electric and Power Company (1994-1998); Assistant Station Manager of the Surry Power Station, Virginia Electric and Power Company (1989-1994); Superintendent, Virginia Electric and Power Company (1983-1989); Supervisor, Virginia Electric and Power Company (1979-1983); Assistant Engineer, Virginia Electric and Power Company (1976-1979).
ADVISORY BOARDS, COMMITTEES
Chair, Virginia Tech College of Engineering Advisory Board (former); Member, Virginia Commonwealth University, Nuclear Engineering Advisory Board (present); Member, Board of Directors of the Nuclear Energy Institute (present); Board Member, the Foundation for Nuclear Studies (present); Board Member, CultureWorks (formerly Richmond Arts Council) (present); Board Member, Dominion Foundation (present); Member, Virginia Tech College of Engineering Committee of 100 (present); Member, Boy Scouts of America Executive Board (present); Incoming Chair, Board of Directors of the Virginia War Memorial Foundation (present); Chairman, Board of Directors of Nuclear Energy Insurance Ltd.
Class of: 1976
Year Inducted into Academy: 2017