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August 16, 2 019
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Annual SVTC Program Activities Survey
ICAP Available in Multiple Virginia Locations During Fall 2019
ICAP Lean Startup Introductory Course | Charlottesville (applications due 8/21)
CRCF FY2020 Solicitation: Take a Sneak Peek at the Upcoming Round
Free Technology College Courses for High School Students
Only a Few Dates Left: JMU X-Labs Informational Tours (8/16, 8/23)
SVTC Luncheon | Building Useful Conversational Software (9/12)
Valley TechCon.19 | Early Bird Registration OPEN (9/25)
Valley Women in Tech Lunch (10/29)
Innovate | Shenandoah: Strategic Doing Day (10/30)
Welcome New SVTC Member: Dick Shimp
Welcome Back Level I Member: Friendship Industries
Welcome Back Level I Member: Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport
Welcome Back Individual Level Member: Patrick Barker
Shenandoah Valley Open Tech Jobs
Annual SVTC Program Activities Survey
*What topics make your heart skip a beat?* 
Take our super-short survey.
Suggest topics for events and luncheons,
or interesting locations you would like to visit.

Suggest topics for events and luncheons. Is there an organization, program, team, or business location you'd like to hear from or visit? Use the link below to take a super short survey to let us know which topics you're interested in. 

We're thinking ...... (Follow the link below and click on the ones you like) 

  • Augmented and virtual reality (eg. uses in education and training, risks of AR/VR, utilization in phone apps)
  • Cryptocurrencies (eg. future of cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency and security, Facebook's Libra)
  • Data privacy (eg. social media privacy, transparency among data controllers, selling of consumer data)
  • Job automation (eg. benefits/risks, how it's reshaping the workforce)
  • Artificial intelligence (eg. in-depth discussion on machine learning, robotic process automation, application in industry)
  • Drones (eg. ethics/security, integration and current uses, future application)
  • Technology's role in workplace safety (e.g. cataloguing systems, digital training, wearable tech)
  • Cybersecurity (eg. protecting against cyberattacks, role of AI in cybersecurity, improving employee implementation of security protocols)
  • Autonomous vehicles (eg. safety/dangers, local implementation, technology/software behind self-driving cars)
  • Game development (e.g. how to get started in it, game design, technologies utilized in game development)
  • eSports (e.g. overview of the industry, role in education)
  • <and others>
To know what topics we covered in the past, take a look: 

ICAP Available in Multiple Virginia Locations
Fall 2019

The Virginia SBDC is once again hosting the Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP) across the Commonwealth this fall.  See the link for the flyer and the dates/locations below.  Full schedules, Registration, or requests for more info can be found at or email
This program will be available in:
  • Charlottesville: Applications due Aug 19 (email ICAP to discuss)
  • Roanoke: Applications due Aug 19 (email ICAP to discuss)
  • Hampton Roads: Applications due Sept 1
  • Loudoun County: Applications due Sept 3
  • Arlington: Applications due Sept 3

ICAP Lean Startup Introductory Course -
Charlottesville (applications due 8/21)
Applications due August 21, 2019 by midnight

Based on the National Science Foundation's I-Corps™ program for Lean Startups, ICAP helps inventors and entrepreneurs take the right first steps in bringing new technologies and innovations to market.

ICAP includes FREE introductory training programs and counseling services offered through ICAP instructors and local SBDC counselors. ICAP helps startups identify potential customers and develop successful business models based on that knowledge. It is an ideal program for early-stage companies trying to prepare for eventual venture investment. Apply for ICAP Lean Startup Course at

Important Dates
  • August 21, 2019 - Applications are due by midnight; see the link below.
  • August 28, 2019 - Acceptance notifications and communication with next steps and instructions, including how to prepare for the first session.
  • TBD - 6:00pm - 8:00pm - Introductory Conference Call
  • September 11, 2019 - 9:00am - 5:00pm - Initial Team Presentations
  • September 18, 2019 - Each team participates in a pre-scheduled telephone review of the team's Customer Discovery Progress over the first week
  • September 25, 2019 - 9:00am - 1:00pm - Final Team Presentations
During this introductory 2-week program, there is extensive work done outside the classroom. In addition to the class meetings and webinar, participants should expect to spend another 10-15 hours per week on customer discovery and course assignments. At the conclusion of the program, you will remain connected with your ICAP trainers and SBDC Business Advisors to continue your progress on the Five Steps to Startup Success over the following 12 months.

The introductory program is designed to generate a maximum impact over a relatively short duration and should be considered a required first step for anyone interested in commercializing a technology or product, whether through a startup or licensing arrangement. Some graduates of this cohort may be eligible to apply to NSF's full National Seven-week I-Corps Program, which includes non-dilutive grants for customer discovery and prototype development. Additionally, this program can help teams develop better submissions for SBIR and CRCF grants from Virginia's Center for Innovative Technologies.

Your ICAP Instructor
Bob Smith is currently the Director of the Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP), a program funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by George Mason University and the  Virginia Small Business Development Center Network (VSBDC). Here he helps researchers, inventors, and technology startups develop their technology commercialization and technology business startup efforts. He's also an instructor with the  NSF's DC I-Corp Node.

Bob has 30+ years' experience in innovation and entrepreneurship. He is the Chairman of, a leading college rankings website. He's held senior management positions at Congressional Quarterly and America Online in sales, marketing, and new product development and was the founder and CEO of the first nation-wide online city guide, Digital City. As an executive, angel investor, and advisor he has helped companies in e-commerce, e-government, identity management, content publishing, geospatial analytics, data science, and local media go from launch through to favorable exits.
Bob received a BA from USC and his MBA from GWU. He is a veteran of the US Navy.

For more information email:   

Apply for ICAP Lean Startup Introductory Course
(app. deadline August 21 by midnight)

CRCF FY2020 Solicitation:
Take a Sneak Peek at the Upcoming Round
Are you commercializing an early-stage, high-potential technology in Virginia?
CRCF may be for you!

CIT is excited to preview the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) FY2020 solicitation. Approximately $2.5 million is available to award to Virginia's private sector, higher education, federal research facilities, and other research organizations through five programs: Commercialization, SBIR Matching Funds, STTR Matching Funds, Matching Funds, and Eminent Researcher Recruitment. Award caps range from $75,000 to $250,000.

CRCF accelerates innovation and drives economic growth in Virginia by advancing solutions to important state, national, and global problems through technology research, development, and commercialization.

CRCF will invite technology development projects in five targeted industries:
  • Clean energy
  • Cyber security
  • Data analytics
  • Life sciences
  • Unmanned systems
Visit  for high-level program information, including eligibility criteria for organizations and qualified technologies, key submission dates, and upcoming briefings. Be on the lookout for information on the Letter of Intent (LOI) in late August, followed by the RFP in late September. Program-specific guidelines and other application resources, including webinars will be available with the RFP. A curated list of  FAQs  is available now. The CRCF team can be reached at and will begin fielding questions about the round with the release of LOI details.

Free Technology College Courses 
for High School Students 

BRCC has partnered with the University of Virginia to offer free college courses to high school seniors who wish to explore the fields of electronics, computer programming and mechanical operations.  One course per semester is being offered and will meet one day per week.  The fall 2019 course is a software design course and the spring course covers mechanical design together with electronics. 

Interested students should contact Velma Bryant at 540-453-2582.

Only a Few Dates Left: 
JMU X-Labs Informational Tours (8/16, 8/23)
August 16 & 23 | 9 am - 10  am
JMU X-Labs, Harrisonburg

Have you heard of JMU X-Labs and want to learn more? Interested in what the lab offers and how to get involved? JMU X-Labs will offer informational tours once a week on Fridays from 9:00-10:00am during the summer.

Tours include:
  • Overview of JMU X-Labs
  • Descriptions of academic classes offered
  • Explanations about Open Lab
  • Sneak peeks at Pop-Up workshops
Tours will  not include making or using equipment.

Tour registrations will close one week before tour sessions. If you are interested in attending a tour that is less than a week away, or attending a tour with a group of 30+ people, please email

September 12, 2019 | 11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Wood Grill Buffet, Harrisonburg

It's easy to build a bot; it's hard to build a useful bot. Chatbots have been circulating the buzzword bins for the last two years, and a day doesn't go by where you don't hear about some new chatbot being launched to support customers or processes. Now, look at your phone. How many chatbots are you using? Go ahead. I'll wait. With chatbots, you can easily build a novelty, but without a clear plan and intuitive design, you might build something that works, but that nobody wants to use. For this luncheon, we'll discuss what it takes to build a useful and compelling chatbot, as well as how to design and prototype bots before you build them. We will then go over a "useful" chatbot application, and how it was built from end-to-end

About the Speaker
Michael Szul has spent two decades in software engineering in industries as diverse as insurance, energy, travel, and higher education, including consulting with companies such as AIG and Conde Naste. He has worked in both application and product development, as well as framework creation, code generation, API building, and machine learning. Szul is a speaker, blogger, podcaster, Microsoft MVP in AI and Developer Technologies, and author of Building Chatbots in TypeScript with the Microsoft Bot Framework. Currently, he is the manager of undergraduate medical education applications for the  University of Virginia's Health System.

Thank you luncheon sponsor:

ValleyTechCon19 | Early Bird Registration (9/25)
September 25, 2019 | 7:30 am - 4:00 pm
Hotel Madison & Shenandoah Valley Conference Center

** Early Bird Tickets (ends 8/31): $100 (+ $7.72 fee)  **
Regular Admission: $125 (+ $9.24 fee)
Student Rate: $50 (+4.67 fee)

Now in its second year, Valley TechCon brings together technology enthusiasts, practitioners, researchers, and business leaders to facilitate idea sharing, collaboration, and innovation. This year there will be three tracks to choose from for the breakout sessions: Technical Topics for Practitioners, The Business Impact of Technology, and Growing Your Technology Business. Within each track,  sessions will cover a broad spectrum of topics. The goal is to inspire new ideas, improve business efficiency with emerging technologies, springboard new ventures, and expand networking opportunities.

Check out all that Valley TechCon.19 has to offer this year!
Ticket Includes
  • Breakfast, morning snack, lunch.
  • 14 breakout sessions.
  • 3 featured speaker sessions.
  • Post-event networking event at Pale Fire Brewing Company (shuttle and first drink included)*.

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
Individuals of all ages are encouraged to attend, from high school age upwards, through college years, those in a professional career, and those looking to keep up to date in retirement.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?
Hotel Madison & Shenandoah Valley Conference Center is conveniently located close to exit 245 on Interstate 81 at 710 S. Main St., Harrisonburg VA, 22801.  Directions. Once you arrive, you will find a multi-storey parking deck towards the rear of the hotel. The entrance is located on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (Historical Cantrell Ave.). Valet parking is also available.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Contact via email

What's the refund policy?
Refunds can be requested up until 7 days before the event.

*After conference networking session occurs 3:30-5:30 PM at Pale Fire Brewery in downtown Harrisonburg; one beer ticket per non-student conference attendee

October 29, 2019 | 11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Wood Grill Buffet, Harrisonburg

Gathering women "in tech" on October 29 for an informal gathering from around the Valley to connect, network, and share ideas. This is a first meeting to get acquainted  - let's see what, if anything, we want to do. From students to professionals, we welcome all those who identify as women or girls interested in or associated with technology.

Take a look at an organization in Charlottesville, Charlottesville Women in Tech (, we are keeping them in mind as we start a conversation among women who are in tech, in the Valley. As always, that's anywhere on the range from tech user to tech creator. Elaine Cheng, Chief Information Officer, Shentel and Nicky Swayne, CEO, Shen. Valley Technology Council will facilitate the meeting.

Please pre-register to attend so that we can bring pre-printed nametags for attendees.

Teams meet October 30, 2019 | 9am - 5pm
Innovate | Shenandoah in an initiative sponsored by SCCF and the VA Department of Housing and Community Development. They are hosting a Strategic Doing Day. What is Strategic Doing? Strategic Doing is a framework developed by Purdue University that helps loosely connected groups, collaborate quickly and effectively. Communities within the Shenandoah Valley are invited to build teams that will work through the Strategic Doing Process to develop projects that highlight entrepreneurship and economic vibrancy in your community. 

Want to be a part of a team? Complete the form in the link below and you will get you connected to the appropriate organizer within your region. Please note, some teams may already be full.

Register for the October 30, 2019 Strategic Doing Day
and you will be connected within your region

Welcome New SVTC Member!
Dick Shimp

Dick recently retired from ComSonics after nearly 49 years. During that time, he witnessed a fledgling cable TV industry become today's telecommunications giant. Throughout his career he has developed or contributed to the development of many electronic products, primarily test equipment needed by system engineers to maintain delivery of high-quality video, telephone and high-speed data content over fiber optic and coaxial cable media. He is the named inventor on a number of U. S. and foreign patents. During his career, Dick's position required membership within the industry's top engineering societies, namely the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Internet and Television Association, (NCTA), and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), chairing a number of high-profile subcommittees in the latter two. Dick has represented ComSonics with several JMU departments and, between travel adventures, looks to continue volunteering time with JMU.
Welcome Back Level I Member!
Friendship Industries

Friendship Industries is an exceptional contract packager with a social mission, making a difference in the lives of our community members and our commercial customers. With over 50 years of contract packaging experience, Friendship Industries develops long-term relationships with customers from diverse industries such as food processors, medical suppliers, book printers, and education. Along with our affiliate company, Able Solutions, we deliver highly scalable and agile contract packaging solutions to a global clientele. Our work is fueled by our social mission - Packaging with Purpose - transforming lives with jobs that open doors to a better future for citizens facing obstacles to employment.

Welcome Back Level I Member!
Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport

Shenandoah Valley Airport (SHD) offers the Valley convenient access to United's global network of flights through two major hubs - Washington Dulles (IAD) and Chicago O'Hare (ORD). Both routes are operated by United's regional partner, SkyWest Airlines, utilizing a 50-seat seat Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ200). With just one stop, passengers have access to hundreds of domestic and international destinations while enjoying a hassle-free travel experience.

All flights to/from Shenandoah Valley Airport can be booked on from beginning to final destination in one simple transaction. On the day of your flight enjoy FREE parking close to the terminal, a quick check-in process and not touching your checked luggage again until you reach your final destination. Members of United's Mileage Plus loyalty program will accrue Mileage Plus Miles for every flight segment from start to finish of their trip. Travel from the Shenandoah Valley Airport is a far more convenient and cost effective option than driving to a larger airport to catch a flight!

Welcome Back Individual Level Member!
Patrick Barker

Patrick Barker is the Executive Director of the Frederick County Economic Development Authority located in Winchester, Virginia.  
  • Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave (Computer Programming Boot
    Camp Instructor)
  • Ryzing Technologies, Staunton (Engineering Technician)
  • Vision Technology Group, Harrisonburg (Tier III Network Engineer)
  • Budget Referee, Harrisonburg (Full Stack Developer with front end web development focus)
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The Shenandoah Valley Technology Council does not endorse the companies, organizations, teams, or events mentioned, or take a stand on any of the articles or notices or events included.

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