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Ed Shore '88, '07

Ed Shore stands in front of his brewing station

Ed Shore

Class of ‘88, ‘07
Brewer and Co-Founder of Solstice Farm Brewery

I am currently the brewer and co-founder of Solstice Farm Brewery in Catawba, Virginia, just half an hour outside of Blacksburg near the Appalachian Trail and local cycling routes. Brewing beer has been a hobby for me and my wife, Anna, for close to 30 years. Upon retirement from Dominion Energy in 2019, she and I started looking for opportunities to turn my hobby into a second career. We have worked the past two years to create a welcoming, relaxing location to enjoy a beverage and the beauty of the surroundings. After 32 rewarding years working in nuclear power as an engineer, operator, training instructor, supervisor, and manager, this adventure has been an exciting new chapter in my life. As a co-founder of the brewery, I am constantly learning, whether it be the building and business development phases or, finally, full operation. Upcoming projects include the incorporation of solar power into our water heating and building power at the brewery.


How did the college equip you for the “real world”?
The technical knowledge and regimented problem solving skills I learned in the engineering program prepared me for various roles in nuclear power. The education I received at Virginia Tech truly prepared me to be a valuable resource and develop as an engineer and a manager.

Mechanical engineering also helped prepare me for my current brewing career. The background of heat transfer and fluid dynamics came in handy when setting up the brewing system, the glycol chiller, and the keg washing system. My master's degree dove deeper into pump hydraulics, which was useful with the well specification reviews. Anna's background in biochemistry from Virginia Tech has been very helpful with water chemistry and yeast propagation.  

The guiding principle for my work is to…
Ensure that a solution is technically correct and have the flexibility to listen to others’ ideas for solving problems. There are many solutions. By listening and collaborating, a better solution is possible.

My fondest memories from my time in the College of Engineering are…
The lasting friendships (foremost my wife!) made in the classroom and across campus were tremendous. However, watching the ring dance fireworks over the Drillfield with my wife is one of my fondest memories.

Being a Virginia Tech alumnus means...
Being appreciative of what Virginia Tech provided me. It also means helping the next generation of Virginia Tech students thrive and benefit from their time at the university. The sense of community and hearing “Go Hokies” across the world (hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, walking down the street in Chicago, and in the British Virgin Islands, just to provide a few examples) brings a smile to my face every time.

What advice would you share with your college self?
Get engaged, ask questions, seek out help, and work with professors and classmates from day one. The more you get involved, the more you will get out of your education. I was hesitant in this area initially, but benefited greatly as my college career progressed.

Why is it important to you to give back to Virginia Tech?
I have an appreciation for my personal development through my years at Virginia Tech. The insights I received from my parents, who helped me be able to attend school; faculty; visiting engineers at American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) meetings; and the professionals I worked with through the co-op program made me realize that education is much more than lectures, homework, and exams. Community support is important, and I would like to re-pay the contributions I was provided to the next generations of Hokies.

A project I worked on while at Virginia Tech was…
The development of a battery testing program at North Anna Power Station as a co-op student. This project taught me the use of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards, which led to use of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and ASME standards later in my career. I also used some computer hardware, including a 10MB, 8.5″ by 11″ cartridge that had huge memory capabilities at the time! The project served me well once I became a full-time engineer because I better understood the multidiscipline needs in engineering. 


Education

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1988
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2007