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Governor Announces Appointments, Reappointments to VMI Board

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’81 appointed three new members to the VMI Board of Visitors and reappointed two members, all for four-year terms. Two members left the board, after eight years of service.—Photo courtesy VMI Communications & Marketing.

In June 2021, Gov. Ralph Northam ’81 appointed J. Conrad Garcia, Gussie Lord ’01, and Damon Williams ’90 to four-year terms on the VMI Board of Visitors.

Garcia is chair of the tax law section at Williams Mullen, a mid-Atlantic law firm based in Richmond. He advises businesses and individuals on domestic and international tax planning, including complex business and investment transactions. Garcia is the current chair of the board of directors of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Virginia and a member of the St. Christopher’s School Board of Governors, among many other leadership positions. He is a graduate of New Mexico State University and the Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Lord is managing attorney of tribal partnerships at Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization. Prior to that, she worked in private practice, primarily representing Indigenous peoples, nonprofits, and public housing authorities. At VMI, Lord majored in English, with a concentration in writing, and graduated with distinction. She was also a member of the Institute’s NCAA cross-country and track teams. Lord is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin.

Williams is a regional Community Reinvestment Act officer at First Citizens Bank in Roanoke, Virginia. In addition, he is co-founder and vice-chairman of Youth Sports Inc., a 501(c)3 organization that combines sports and education to foster character development, self-esteem, competitive spirit, and teamwork. He is currently chairman of the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Virginia and a member of the board of directors of Carilion Clinic. Williams graduated from VMI with a major in economics and was a member of the Keydet basketball team, the Promaji Club, the New Cadet Retention Committee, and the Young Economists Society.

Reappointed to the board were Hugh M. Fain III ’80 and Thomas “Tom” Watjen ’76. Watjen began serving as president of the board July 1. After eight years of service, leaving the board are John William “Bill” Boland ’73 and Lt. Gen. Frances C. Wilson.

  • VMI Communications & Marketing