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Old beam meets high-tech engraving in South Boston

The inside of Destination Downtown South Boston Executive Director Tamyra Vest’s office will now be more decorative thanks to the Research & Development Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston.

After deciding to renovate her office and getting advice from her friends, Vest said she couldn’t think of anyone who might design a big logo for display in her downtown office.

That’s when Mickey Wilkerson suggested the idea of checking into the program at Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.

Although Vest had done grants for them in the past, she simply had never considered they could solve her dilemma.

Pleased to do it, they used reclaimed old antique heart pine from the beams in the American Tobacco Warehouse — wood dating back almost 200 years.

Clint Johnson, instructor for the Product Design & Development Program, and William Cherry, Research & Development technician and Product Design & Development student, explained Wednesday how they used the laser engraver to make the unique logo onto the wood.

The downtown South Boston sign only took 45 minutes to produce using the laser engraver, according to Johnson, who noted products of different size will take different amounts of time to produce.

The new sign now can be seen hanging from the Destination Downtown South Boston executive director’s office.

“I think this program is a well-kept secret. The community needs to know the great things these guys are doing,” said Vest.