Our Staff2018-05-17T16:19:30+00:00

SVAM Center of Excellence Staff 

Executive Director

Stephanie Muncy Surrett is the Executive Director of the Southwest Virginia Advanced...

Manufacturing Center of Excellence (SVAM-CoE). As the Director, Ms. Surrett provides leadership in developing, promoting and sustaining SVAM-CoE as a recognizable and highly valuable component in southwest Virginia’s economic and workforce development initiatives.

As a Southwest Virginia native with broad experience working with the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Ms. Surrett has 25 years of experience in strategic planning, program and project management, employee development and organizational leadership. In addition to working in the private sector, Ms. Surrett has gained experience in the non-profit sector by developing and implementing programs focused on workforce and community development.

Prior to joining the SVAM-CoE, Ms. Surrett provided consulting and training services to businesses and organizations throughout the region through her own consulting firm. Before managing her own consulting firm full time, she served as a project manager with the Virginia Department of Business Assistance (VDBA). She served at the pleasure of the Governor in a special assignment during two years of her time with VDBA. Her role was to coordinate state, regional and local efforts to implement a Regional Strategic Preparedness Plan.

Ms. Surrett holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Jones International University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Business Administration from University of Virginia’s College at Wise with honors. She resides in Abingdon with her husband, Michael, and children, Presley and TJ.

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Administrative/Project Assistant
Kim Hamilton currently serves as the Administrative/Project Assistant for the Southwest Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center...

of Excellence. Kim has extensive business experience in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts previously working in retail management, real estate development and marketing, and healthcare management and marketing. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Professional Communication from Old Dominion University where she was a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, and she is also a nurse.

Kim returned to work at SVAM-CoE after a career sabbatical during which she chose to be at home with her daughters during their formative years due to her husband’s travel with his work for CSX Transportation.

Her professional aspiration is to now use her knowledge, skills, and abilities to contribute to the mission of SVAM-CoE in delivering curricula and training programs for regional workforce development in advanced manufacturing thereby enhancing economic development in the area and demonstrating the often undiscovered appeal of what manufacturing jobs have to offer the current and future workforce.

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Facilities/ATF Technical Manager

Gerald Austin is a welding professional who has been involved in the trade for over 37...

years. He has worked as a welder, welding inspector, supervisor, manager, customer support technician and educator. His passion related to the trade is evident in his achievements that encompass a wide range of positions, responsibilities, and work environments. His desire to share his experience and knowledge is unmatched in the region.

His welding and inspection experience includes welding of boilers, pressure vessels, piping systems, US Navy submarine hull and nuclear power plant components, structural steel, TEMA heat exchangers and manufactured products.

Gerald 1st certified as an AWS Certified Welding Inspector in 1990 and has made the transition back and forth from welding to inspecting over the years with ease. His knowledge about the trade and ability to apply that knowledge coupled with welding abilities makes him a rare commodity in the welding industry.

In addition to his welding related skills, Gerald is very capable of utilizing technology to increase his productivity in the welding field. His ability to use technology has provided him with opportunities to provide customer support for a welding software company, develop database applications for tracking welding information, and share information online through multiple types of media.

As an instructor, Gerald has provided training for various community colleges in the southeast and is unmatched in his passion to share information about his trade.

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Executive Assistant to the Ctr Director

Jennifer Ketchum joined SVAM-CoE as the Executive Assistant to the Center Director...

Jennifer Ketchum joined SVAM-CoE as the Executive Assistant to the Center Director in January 2017. Jennifer brings with her 20+ years of working experience not only with administration duties but customer service skills from a background in Corporate and Higher Education fields. Jennifer has supported contract customers and sales representatives across the United States with contract reporting, event organization, payment processing and reimbursements, trade shows, and business presentations. She has certifications in QPI Team Management, Principles of Measurement I & II, and Facilitation Skills Training. While in Higher Education, Jennifer was in a high traffic office where multitasking was a necessity. She has experience with maintaining student records and working with different departments that include students, faculty and staff members.

Jennifer is a lifelong resident of Southwest Virginia. She grew up in a household that was supported by manufacturing careers.  She understands first-hand how important manufacturing is to this region.  Jennifer graduated from Virginia Highlands Community College on the Dean’s List with an Associate Degree in Applied Science, Specializing in Legal Assisting.

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Project Manager

Amy Ball Braswell joined SVAM-CoE in March 2017 as a Project Manager for the...

newly awarded ARC POWER Grant for the Heart of Appalachia Economic Transition Project (Heart Project). Amy is a native of Southwest Virginia. She has a B.S. from Virginia Tech and a M.A.L.S. from Hollins University. Amy has worked throughout Virginia in a variety of positions from public relations and theatre, to retail sales and in education. She has worked on several regional initiatives including GearUp (education), Spotlight Southwest Virginia (performing arts) and the inaugural Mountains of Music Homecoming (tourism). She is married to actor and musician Gill Braswell.

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