Highlanders in the News: Week of January 15, 2024

Every other week, our Highlanders are using their education to do extraordinary things. Here, we’ll highlight some notable mentions from local, regional, national and international news media. Whether our students, alumni, faculty and staff are featured as subject matter experts in high-profile stories or simply helping make the world a better place, we’ll feature their stories.

Making the list

Roanoker Magazine

Indeed, at least 15% of this year’s list has some tartan in their background, including Nick Guachetá, whose portrait serves as the issue’s cover.

Another, Zachary Hurt, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the family nurse practitioner program at Radford and is due to graduate in May.

“Applicants were judged not only on their career achievements but also on other factors, such as volunteerism and community involvement, awards, certifications and more,” wrote the magazine’s editors in the introduction to the list. “With 128 incredible nominations, you can imagine how hard it was to narrow it down to only 40!”

Each of the half-dozen Highlanders boasts a wide range of activities and interests beyond their primary occupations, and you can read their individual profiles by clicking the links below.

Nick Guachetá, executive director of sales & development, Txtur.

Daniel Hart ’13, financial planning & analysis, NorthWinds Technology Solutions.

Zachary Hurt, naturopathic doctor/acupuncturist, Queenpin Acupuncture.

Tara Hutcheson ’06, M.S. ’08, clinical director, Hall Community Services Inc.

Mandy Lee, M.S.W. ’11, director, Marcus Alert & Crisis Intervention Team; crisis therapist, Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare.

Dani Poe ’07, assistant director of economic development, Roanoke County.

To view The Roanoker magazine’s “40 Under 40” Class of 2024 in its entirety, you can follow this link to the full list

What do six particular Roanoke Valley residents – in this case, a sales director, a financial planner, an acupuncturist, a clinical director, a crisis therapist and a county assistant director of economic development – all have in common?

Quite a bit, actually.

They’re all young professionals. Each was included in The Roanoker magazine’s “40 Under 40” Class of 2024. And all of them have attended Radford University. 


(Profile images: The Roanoker magazine)

There's a new sheriff in town.....

Actually, make that a pair of new sheriffs, in two separate counties, and they’re both Highlanders. 

Robert “Robby” Richardson ’06 (Paige Dingler/Lynchburg News and Advance)

Robert “Robby” Richardson ’06 was sworn in as Appomattox County sheriff on Dec. 15 – his 40th birthday, according to a story that ran last month in The Lynchburg News & Advance.

A 17-year veteran of the county sheriff’s department, he’s actually taking up a trail left by his father, James Eugene “Gene” Richardson, who, from 1971 until his retirement in 1995, spent just shy of a quarter century as county sheriff.

Those stats make the edler Richardson the sixth longest-serving sheriff in Virginia history, the News & Advance said.

“I love this community,” Robby Richardson told the newspaper.

“I always wanted to have a way I could give back, and this is the way I could," he added.

A few days after that, Mark Embrey ’99 took the oath of office and became sheriff of Nelson County.

He has two decades in law enforcement and, in a Jan. 1 article from the Nelson County Times, said that the field was “always a calling.”

Mark Embrey '99 (Paige Dingler/Nelson County Times)

Embrey told reporters he and his department hope to establish a distinct presence in patrolling such local highway corridors as Virginias 6, 29 and 151.

“I really want to focus on those, and I want to be visible in the community,” he said.

“I want the community to see our presence … and I want to be transparent with the community about what we’re doing,”

Embrey also proposed holding quarterly town hall meetings every four months.

Richardson and Embrey are just the latest Radford graduates to join the upper ranks of the state’s local law enforcement.

Over the summer, Chris Ramsey, M.S. ’97, ascended to the office of Christiansburg police chief.

In the months prior to that, Todd Brewster ’96 was tapped to head the Blacksburg Police Department and Christopher Settle ’97 became chief of the Culpeper (Virginia) Police Department. 

Jan 19, 2024
Neil Harvey