February 1, 2024
If you’ve driven on the roads in the last 24 years, it is very likely that Billy Hobbs has helped keep you safe.
Starting at VTTI in December of 2000, Billy has had many roles ranging from lab technician to managing a team of full-time and student employees. He was brought to VTTI by a recommendation to set up an asphalt lab. After completing the setup, he began testing the materials that were used on the newly constructed Virginia Smart Roads.
Now, 24 years later, his leadership is enabling researchers in the institute’s Center for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure to conduct life-saving research as the Technical Support Service Leader. He is currently responsible for maintaining and organizing all the field testing, managing a functioning asphalt testing lab and, and maintaining the Heavy Vehicle Simulator for the Accelerated Pavement Testing Facility that is located at VTTI, among many other critical responsibilities.
Pavement friction field tests conducted by Billy and his team are increasingly important as they are providing hard data to state transportation agencies to keep their roads safe. Planning the field tests can take up months and end with 3,000 miles (about the width of the United States) of data being collected by the Sideway-force Coefficient Routine Investigation Machine (SCRIM) around the country. Recently, one of their field tests saw a road trip across 15 states!
Outside of the office, you can find Billy outside! Born and raised in southwest Virginia, he loves to spend his time grilling, riding his motorcycle, and tending to his garden, among other outdoor activities. You can also catch him spending time with his wife, two daughters, and three grandbabies. Billy considers VTTI a family because of the support he has received and because this is where his daughter met her husband!
Billy is also a proud Air Force veteran of four years where he was a crew chief on the F-16 Fighting Falcon for the 363rd tactical fighter wing.
“I started here when we were just a small family, and I mean really small,” Billy said. “This is such a family-oriented place that you enjoy getting up to come to work.”
Billy is a continuous driving force behind the Center for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and the roads that you drive on every day. Next time you hit the road, be sure to thank Billy for keeping you safe!