College Locator
If you are in Virginia, you are just 30 miles from a community college.
Here are the community colleges closest to
Home > About > Where We Are > Newsroom > Annual Valley Proteins Award will modernize BRCC Commercial Driving School equipment – 1.16.13

Annual Valley Proteins Award will modernize BRCC Commercial Driving School equipment – 1.16.13

Annual Valley Proteins Award will modernize BRCC Commercial Driving School equipment

Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) will soon update the safety equipment on much of its Commercial Driving School truck fleet thanks to an award funded by Valley Proteins and administered by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE).

The $10,000 gift will supply electronic driver logs and collision warning systems to more than one-third of the program’s big rig trucks. Both safety systems are increasingly common throughout the trucking industry. The upgrades will bolster the program’s reputation for producing graduates with the most up-to-date knowledge and skills.

The BRCC Commercial Driving School has produced more than 1,800 graduates over the last 21 years with a nearly 98 percent successful licensure rate. The driving school also provides customized training for companies, having served employers like ComSonics, Inc., Northrop Grumman and the United States Navy.

The Valley Proteins Endowment Fund is awarded annually to support workforce development programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges in the areas of environmental science, commercial truck driving, heating and air conditioning, and office technology in regions where the company conducts its rendering operations.

“We are both honored and excited to receive the Valley Proteins Award,” said Dr. John Downey, president of Blue Ridge Community College. “Everyone who lives in the I-81 corridor knows how important the trucking industry, and especially safe trucking, is to our economy and our community. It is not too much to suggest that the equipment this money will purchase and the training that it will provide our graduates might just someday save lives – and we’re grateful for that.”

“You don’t have to be a transportation expert to know how important safety is on our increasingly crowded roadways,” said Michael A. Smith, vice president of Valley Proteins and chair of the VFCCE. “Congratulations to Blue Ridge Community College on putting together a wonderful proposal! We are excited to think what this could mean for the truck drivers who will be sharing the roads with us and our families.”

“The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education is dedicated to expanding opportunities through creative partnerships,” said Jennifer Gentry, executive director of the VFCCE. “This endowment is a great example of the synergy that comes from joining together employers who are vested in the quality of tomorrow’s Virginia workforce and the community colleges that elevate it every day.”

Valley Proteins is committed to supporting the workforce, particularly in the areas in which it has a business presence. The 60-year-old firm, headquartered in Winchester, operates 14 plants in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Its processing facilities recycle food waste materials into usable products and bio fuels for feed and industrial applications.

This is the first time Blue Ridge Community College has earned the award. Previous recipients of the annual award include John Tyler Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College and Southside Virginia Community College.

About the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education:  Working hand in hand with Virginia’s 23 community colleges, the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education seeks to guarantee financial assistance to all students who dream of attending college.  The foundation is building an endowment that is already generating interest to provide full scholarships to selected community college students.  Donors to the fund are invited to endow a single scholarship in their name and designate it to any of Virginia’s community colleges or regions.  For more information, please visit

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Created more than 40 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 405,000 students each year. For more information, please visit