September 2021
Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council celebrates innovation and community at TechNite
The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) recently held its annual TechNite at The Inn at Virginia Tech. TechNite is an annual celebration of the local technology community. The night was full of networking, celebrating accomplishments, and recognizing innovative companies and people in the Roanoke and Blacksburg areas.
The keynote speaker was VT alumnus Michael Rihani, current product manager at Tesla, former product manager at Apple, and co-creator of Koofers. Rihani shared with the crowd his passion for community, especially positive and innovative people, as well as his passion for Bitcoin technology. During his reunion with the Virginia Tech community this week, Rihani generously donated to every library and school in Roanoke and Blacksburg the book, The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking

“TechNite 2021 was a celebration of resiliency and accomplishments in innovation throughout our vibrant tech community,” said Erin Burcham, Executive Director of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. "It was an honor to host Michael Rihani, a former TechNite Entrepreneur of the Year winner, and to share his passions and accomplishments with our community. We are so proud of all the TechNite award winners and stand amazed at all that this community offers to the world of technology.” 
The following entrepreneurs and companies were honored during the awards ceremony at TechNite. 
  • Micro HarmonicsRising Star of the Year, which recognizes a local technology company whose “star is rising.” Micro Harmonics produces millimeter wave products in military applications such as compact range radar, imaging, covert communication, and chemical and bio-agent detection, as well as in scientific instrumentation for chemical spectroscopy, biomaterial analysis, radio astronomy, biomedical systems, portal security scanners, and high-frequency data links. 
  • Sonu Singh, Entrepreneur of the Year, which recognizes a leader who exemplifies what it means to be a risk-taker in the technology field. Singh is President and CEO at the 1901 Group, a company transforming the delivery of IT services through the use of enterprise managed services leveraging the cloud to securely monitor, manage, and optimize complex IT environments. 
  • Daniel Smith and Matt Welborn, Entos, Inc., Innovator of the Year, which recognizes an individual, a team, or an organization that has blazed new trails in the areas of research and innovation. Entos, Inc. offers breakthrough AI-driven chemistry for medicine. 
  • Amy Ankrum and Amy White (co-recipients), Regional Leadership Award, which recognizes a member who succeeds in the workplace, but also leads by example by contributing significantly to the RBTC community. Ankrum was president and CEO of Qualtrax before its acquisition earlier this year by U.K.-based Ideagen, for which she now works as senior vice-president North America. White is dean of Virginia Western Community College’s STEM program. 
  • FoxGuard Solutions, Company of the Year, which recognizes a Roanoke or New River Valley company committed to advancing our region’s technology community and can demonstrate excellence in its people, programs, and projects within its industry. FoxGuard designs, manufactures, and integrates innovative cybersecurity, computing, and regulatory compliance solutions used in critical infrastructure markets.  
  • Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and Carilion ClinicRuby Award, which recognizes an outstanding member that has proven to be a brilliant and valuable asset to the Roanoke-Blacksburg region. Both companies were honored for their mission of protecting the region during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Doug JuanerenaRBTC Hall of Fame. Juanerena was founder and CEO of three technology startups over a 35-year career, as well as Valleys Innovation Council board co-chair, and mentor to three successful RAMP technology startups. 

TechNite was a highlight of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center’s “Game Changer Week,” which brought together industry disruptors through a variety of events held virtually and in person across the region. The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council is an affiliate of Verge, a collaborative strategic alliance established to grow the region’s innovation economy.
Inspired to Enhance Opens at Valley View Mall
Inspired to Enhance Owner Allyson Davoll (center), celebrates grand opening & ribbon-cutting of her new shop at Valley View Mall. Joining Allyson in the ribbon-cutting are (from left to right) Council Member Stephanie Moon, Advancement Foundation President Annette Patterson, Vice-Mayor Trish White-Boyd and Inspired to Enhance employees.
Inspired to Enhance Salon recently celebrated a new location with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the shop which is located on the lower level of Valley View Mall.

Owner Allyson Davoll was honored this summer as the 2021 recipient of the VASH “Champions Among Us" Women-Owned Business Achievement Award for her stellar business excellence including strategy, operations, problem solving, overcoming adversity and giving back to her community. 

Congratulations to you, Allyson on this great honor and the opening of your new business, Inspired to Enhance at Valley View Mall in the City of Roanoke!
Learn more about Allyson Davoll and Inspired to Enhance below!
RAMP Welcomes Startups to Fall 2021 Technology Cohort
Four Blacksburg- and Roanoke-based entrepreneurs working with machine intelligence, drone docking stations, healthcare credentialing, and thermal sensing have been chosen to RAMP’s Fall 2021 Cohort focused on technology startups.

The companies were selected in a rigorous application and interview process by RAMP, the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program for Southwest Virginia, to receive mentoring and other resources in the intensive 13-week program starting September 13.

  • ArchiveCore (Lennox McNeary) has created a cloud-based software that uses distributed ledger technology to simplify healthcare credentialing.
  • Corvus Labs (Spencer Leamy) utilizes machine intelligence to augment and enhance human performance.
  • ThermaSENSE (Ali Roghani) provides real-time, accurate, and non-invasive measurements of internal temperature and properties of almost any object.
  • Cowden Technologies (Mickey Cowden) has designed a smart docking station for drones, enabling remote environment management without requiring human supervision.

“Our team was thrilled to discover such a wealth of technology talent right here in our backyard,” said RAMP director Dr. Mary Miller. “The real-world education many of them received from Virginia Tech is truly inspiring and we look forward to helping them define and grow their entrepreneurial vision and their company mission in the weeks ahead."
Cardinal Press to Take Flight in Southwest and Southside Virginia
Nonprofit digital news agency to cover politics, economics and culture names inaugural editor
Cardinal Productions, a newly formed nonprofit, announced it has created Cardinal Press, a digital news service to provide substantive, in-depth coverage of political, economic and cultural stories from Southwest and Southside Virginia. The news organization will begin publishing stories in late September.

Dwayne Yancey has been named the inaugural editor of Cardinal Press.
Roanoke Selects Lauren Waldron as
Community Engagement Manager
Lauren H. Waldron
The City of Roanoke has named Lauren H. Waldron as its new Community Engagement Manager, effective Aug. 30. In this role, she will manage the function of the Office of Community Engagement, which includes citizen engagement, public communications, neighborhood services, social media management, website management, research, data tracking, special community projects, media relations, FOIA requests, and public outreach. Waldron was selected from a pool of more than 30 applicants for the position. 
Roanoke continues to receive kudos capturing the many benefits of the Roanoke Region. Enjoy these recent articles by accessing the links below to learn more about what writers say about our fine city!
Spotlight on Business
Cello Coffee House & Cafe
Cello Coffee House & Cafe is a family-owned coffee shop and Mediterranean café. Owner Joe Migdadi serves international coffees and teas, ice cream, milkshakes and smoothies. And he is known for his Chai Latte!!

Located in the heart of Downtown Roanoke at 118 Campbell Avenue, SE, this gem is known for the falafel, gyros, baklava (14 different flavors!), hummus (9 different flavors - all homemade), shawarma, bagels, salads, soups, spanakopita and vegetarian specialities.

What are folks saying about Cello Cafe & Coffee House?

5 Stars - "Best falafel sandwich I've had yet!! So much flavor and the owner even said that they make the pita bread themselves, which you can totally tell by how soft and great it is. Even the pickle that came with it was so good! I was super impressed and so very happy to eat here. Will absolutely come back again in a heart beat! Owner was incredibly nice as well. Do not skip out on this Cafe, its worth the stop. Also don't skip out on their baklava, very good and not too sweet!"
-Dilpreet K

5 Stars - "What a gem! We just happened upon this eatery and I'm so glad we stopped in! The Iced Turkish coffee and falafel was amazing. We want to come back for more!"
-Amber S

5 Stars - "The chai latte was very good. The flavor was very balanced. The walnut baklava was so good. Highly recommend it."
-Andrea S

Learn more about Cello Coffee & Cafe below!
Worn down: Expert to discuss health impacts of stress of being Black at Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture
David Williams, a Harvard University social scientist, will explain in a September 16 virtual talk how the everyday indignities and disrespect experienced by Black Americans erode their health, leading to more than 200 premature deaths each day.
Imagine a jumbo jet packed with 220 people crashing every single day. It’s an unfathomable tragedy, yet it represents the number of Black people who die prematurely each day in the United States, says David Williams, a Harvard University social scientist focused on social influences on health.

For an individual, the health impact of racial disparities is not as sudden as a plane crash, said Williams, the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard University, in a "60 Minutes" interview in April. It’s more like stone wearing away from repeated drips of water – the sum of small indignities and disrespect Black people experience every day.
July 2021 traffic increases 8% at ROA versus June 2021
As the result of a rebound in leisure travel, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport saw an 8% increase in July 2021 traffic versus June 2021, an increase of 3,892 passengers or 125 more passengers flying each day.

The airport saw an increase in July 2021 traffic of 140% on a year-over-year basis; however, when compared to July 2019, traffic decreased 17%. July 2021 saw 50,546 passengers fly via ROA compared to 61,627 in July 2019, a decrease of 11,081 passengers from pre-pandemic traffic levels.

"Passengers are more comfortable with the measures taken by the airports and airlines to ensure their safety," stated David Jeavons, interim executive director of the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission. "Lower overall airfare has stimulated leisure demand, and as airlines rebuild their schedules, it is critical to use our current service not only to keep it but also to have more restored and help our regional economy recover. Air service will be even more important when our business customers return to the sky. We continue to appreciate the community support for choosing ROA and not driving out of the market to fly."

The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization is seeking public input on amendments to its transportation plan. Amendment #4 includes four priority transportation needs and ten projects identified as priorities to pursue for the Roanoke Valley, adding new projects to the budget list which have received funding, projects with updated costs greater than 10% over original costs, and adding new priority projects to the vision list. An interactive map and more information are available at
Get Ready for Downtown Putt-Putt! 
There’s no time like tee time! Downtown Roanoke, Inc. has announced a brand-new entertainment option coming to Downtown Roanoke!

Downtown Putt Around, a new 9-hole mini-golf course will pop up at different locations in the central business district and will be a great opportunity for people of all ages to get out and have fun! Your first chance to play will be at Century Plaza starting September 23rd.

Putt-putt details:
Open September 23rd to October 14th, 2021
Location: Century Plaza – 14 Church Ave SE, Roanoke, VA 24011
Hours: 4 - 9 pm Thursday – Saturday, 1- 5 pm Sunday
Admission: $5 per person, children 6 and under are free
Schedule your time slot in advance at
Limited walk-up spaces available
For more information on this fun-filled event, visit
This project is being supported by WFIR, WSLQ, WXLK, and Roanoke Parks and Recreation. 
Mast Store Celebrates Friends Day September 11
Donates 10% of Sales to Friends of the Blue Ridge 
The Mast Store celebrates Friends Day on Saturday, September 11, 2021, by choosing a nonprofit partner to promote during this important day. This year, Mast is pleased to count the FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge (FRIENDS) in its circle of friends. On Friends Day, Mast will give 10% of the day’s sales to FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge. Guests may also “round-up” their purchases between September 10 – 12 to benefit FRIENDS. 
Mast encourages employees and guests to volunteer their time with FRIENDS. As the old Tennessee Williams quote goes, "Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose." Mast Store's philosophy believes we live our best life when we support our friends and work together. 
Interested in a new job?

Virginia Tech is actively searching for essential positions. To learn more about available career opportunities, click below.
Don't forget...BizRoanoke is on RVTV Channel 3!
BizRoanoke is a monthly television program highlighting economic activity, business highlights and programs within the City of Roanoke.

Tune into RVTV Channel 3 to learn more or access it through our website at
The City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development is on Facebook and Instagram! Please "like" or "follow" us today!
Check it Out!

City Owned Available Property
The City of Roanoke has a variety of properties available for acquisition, including existing buildings (as available) and buildable sites. Proposals for these properties must be approved by Council and must be submitted to the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development. 

For more information on available properties and the proposal process, please visit the links below:

Upcoming Training and Events
National Small Business Week 2021 Virtual Summit Announced September 13-15
SBA to Host Three-Day Live Summit of Learning and Online Education Sessions for Small Businesses
The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced its 2021 National Small Business Week Virtual Summit for September 13-15, 2021. This year’s events will spotlight the resilience of America’s entrepreneurs and the renewal of the small business economy as they build back better from the economic crisis brought on by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. The virtual summit will honor the nation’s 30 million small businesses for their perseverance, ingenuity, triumphs, and creativity.
For additional events, workshops and resources, click here!
Workforce Solution's Event
Connecting for Success
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
5:00 - 8:00 PM
Build Smart Institute
701 Gainsboro Road, NW
Roanoke, VA

October is Careers in Construction month. AGCVA in conjunction with Build Smart Institute invite you to an evening of Networking and Workforce Opportunity Presentations. Refreshments will be served.

(Please call us for sponsorship opportunities - (540-900-3340)

AGCVA Roanoke Purpose Statement: “To connect the community and the workforce with AGCVA Members to create opportunities for integration into Member Organizations and the Construction Industry as a whole”. 
Build Smart Institute Mission"To educate and train individuals to become career-ready and advance within construction industry occupations."