October 9, 2020

Bobby Vance Profiled by Virginia Tech Daily

Bobby Vance, a proud Virginia Tech alum, and his work to design COVID Shield is profiled extensively in a new piece from Virginia Tech Daily.

The article does an excellent job of capturing Bobby’s energy, passion and optimism.

“I do not believe the future is grim at all,” Bobby says in the piece. “Though there has been a tragic human toll, I believe COVID is an opportunity to meaningfully change the way we live, work, and play.”

Just five weeks into his role with CannonDesign when the pandemic struck, Bobby focused on how he could help and was key in the creation of our COVID Shield, a modular, scalable, customizable testing solution that can be located essentially anywhere to increase access and reduce stigma around testing for the virus. The product has been profiled by Fast Company, Architect, Business Insider and more to date.

As the Virginia Tech piece notes, “When (CannonDesign’s Chicago) office closed for telework, Vance drove to his parent’ log home in the mountains of West Virginia to seek a familiar and inspiring setting. Over the new two months, with a team of the firm’s architecture, engineering, and healthcare colleagues connecting via Microsoft Teams – and the input of his retired engineer dad, Tom – Vance developed the Shield. He assembled it using materials that could be readily found at home improvement stores for around $3,000.

“Think about it as a big face shield, if you will,” he says. “We wanted to create the least complicated solution to a complex problem. It needed to be an adaptable system that could be easily set up, dismantled, and moved from place to place by anyone. My dad and I prototyped the entire thing in the garage in under two hours. It took just five minutes to put it together.

The full Virginia Tech profile is available online. Below is an additional excerpt:

On his role at CannonDesign

During a Thanksgiving visit to Chicago in 2019, Vance met up with his former Virginia Tech instructor Andrew Balster, now office practice leader in CannonDesign’s Chicago office. Vance left Chicago with an offer to join the firm that he couldn’t refuse.

Now a member of CannonDesign’s health care studio, Vance works on a range of projects, including supportive housing for the homeless in the City of Chicago, an outpatient care center for Northwestern Medicine, mentoring interns, and serving on CannonDesign’s NEXT Council, a young advisory group to the firm’s leaders.

“The COVID Shield and my current architecture projects at CannonDesign Chicago are being realized based on the education, experiences, and relationships I cultivated while at Virginia Tech,” he said. “I believe COVID is our opportunity as architects to make a positive change.”

Learn more about our COVID Shield >