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Randy Marchany ('81)

Alumnus Randy Marchany

Randy Marchany 
University Information Security Officer and Director of the IT Security Lab at Virginia Tech
Class of ’81

Randy is one of the founding members of the US Cyber Challenge (USCC) Project, with a mission to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by serving as the premier program to identify, attract, recruit and place the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. 

In addition, he is one of the founders of the Virginia Alliance for Secure Computing and Networking, a consortium of security practitioners and researchers from Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, James Madison University, and George Mason University. He serves as an adjunct associate professor of practice in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. Randy has co-authored numerous documents, which can be found here.

He is acknowledged as one of the North American masters of the hammer dulcimer. He is the author of the original theme song of National Public Radio's nationally syndicated radio program, "World Cafe". His band, "No Strings Attached" was nominated for or won "Indie" awards (independent record label's version of the Grammy) for Best Album (String Music). He toured with the band playing in North America, Europe, Ireland and the UK. 

How did the department equip you for the ‘real world’...

Basically by teaching me how to solve problems. We were trained in problem-solving techniques whether they were operational or research. Because the department was small in the early-mid 1970s, we learned how to work as a team doing class assignments and projects. We learned the value of helping everyone. Both of these skills have been essential in my career progression.

Being a Virginia Tech alumnus means...

We become part of a worldwide network/community. I've been all over the world and haven't been on a continent yet where I didn't run into someone from Virginia Tech. 

My fondest memories from my time in the department is...

Getting late night subs or early morning donuts while working in the "lab" on the 1st floor of McBryde. I’ll also never forget the kindness of Dr. and Mrs. Gorsline, who made us part of their family, as well as professors like Tom Wesselkamper, Dave Ault, Dick Nance, Billy Claybrook, and Maddie Green who mentored us. 

I stayed at Virginia Tech because…

I have been in the IT department for 45 years. Virginia Tech was ahead of the times in a number of internet-related projects (connecting to the net in the early 80s, student computer requirements, network infrastructure, the Blacksburg Electronic Village, IT security, building the System X supercomputer, etc.) so it was/is an exciting place to be from an IT perspective.

The work project/initiative that I’m most excited about is...

Security data analytics and monitoring/defending against cyberattacks aimed at Virginia Tech. I’m able to provide opportunities for students to get real-world experience in those areas.