Gift from Local Couple Creates a Successful Program at Va. Tech

September 24, 2019

Bruce and Debbie HollandA gift by a local couple has allowed dozens of students over the last 7 years to learn and participate in the commodities market.   COINS at Virginia Tech is one of the nation’s only student-led commodity investment groups. It invests more than $500,000 in three commodity sectors.

The program started with an idea and gift from Bruce and Debbie Holland of Duncan Farms in Miona.   COINS now has nearly 50 members and gives students the opportunity to learn and perform fundamental and technical analysis of commodity markets while managing an investment portfolio.   Bruce graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in agriculture and applied economics in 1970 and is a former Board of Visitors member.

When the Hollands envisioned students gaining hands-on commodity trading experience at Virginia Tech, they reached out to the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and got the faculty and the Virginia Tech administration on board. In 2012 the Virginia Tech Foundation created a fund for students to manage, and COINS was born.

The impact of the program came home a few years later when Bruce and Debbie’s  grandson, Logan Holland, son of Jeff and Penny Holland would become a member of COINS and reap the benefits of his grandparents’ vision and the opportunity they created at Virginia Tech.   Ironically the benefits of the program really came home when  Logan returned to the Eastern Shore after graduating and now works with is grandfather at Duncan Farms.

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After five years in operation, the group continues to boast 100 percent job placement with COINS alumni working in financial, agricultural and consulting sectors for prominent firms like Smithfield Foods, Citibank, Merill Lynch, Deloitte and Monsanto.

Chris Eyestone of Blacksburg who served as CEO for the 2016 year term said, “Because we trade 13 different commodities with very different production make-ups supplying very different markets, we get to leverage diverse and vast talents across campus.   We get to marry dreams for a lot of people who want to work in commodities and trade on Wall Street or who want to grow commodities and live in the bread basket of America”.

Of course another unanticipated benefit of the program revealed itself when Logan came home to help at the farm which allowed his grandfather to spend a little more time fishing.

Source VT news



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