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The Shenandoah Valley Connection top 
August 9, 2 019
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Annual SVTC Program Activities Survey
Biosciences Center Opens at BRCC
Free Technology College Courses for High School Students
Only 3 Dates Left: JMU X-Labs Informational Tours (8/9, 8/16, 8/23)
Business After Hours: Staunton Innovation Hub (8/15)
SVTC Luncheon | Building Useful Conversational Software (9/12)
Valley TechCon.19 | Early Bird Registration OPEN (9/25)
Shenandoah Valley Open Tech Jobs
Rocktown Tech Slack Channel Link
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: 

Biosciences Center Opens at BRCC 

Blue Ridge Community College officially opened the doors to the newest building on its Weyers Cave campus, the Biosciences Center. A crowd of more than 100 gathered to celebrate and tour the building, which took 15-months to construct, at the ribbon cutting and open house today, August 6.
Dr. John Downey, President of BRCC, commented that he hoped the new building would be an economic development driver for the Shenandoah Valley, and add to the "campus that is impactful in this community."
The 40,166 square-foot facility includes labs, classrooms, offices and collaborative spaces and is home to programs and classes in: nursing and health care, biology and microbiology, EMS and paramedic, and bioprocessing. Allen Hale, COO of SFCS, the architects for the building, noted in his remarks that the time they, along with faculty and staff from BRCC, spent with local business and industry, "lead to the establishment of many of the components in the building."
Dignitaries in attendance and making remarks during the ceremony were: Congressman Ben Cline, Senator Mark Obenshain, Delegate Steve Landes, and Delegate Tony Wilt.

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 3 Dates Left: 
JMU X-Labs Informational Tours (8/9, 8/16, 8/23)
August 9, 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

Business After Hours: Staunton Innovation Hub (8/15)
August 15, 2019 | 5:30 am - 7:00 pm
Staunton Innovation Hub

FREE to members  | 
$10.00 Non-Members
At the Door: 
$10 for Members & Non-Members

Brought to you by the Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce, join us on August 15 for Business After Hours at the Staunton Innovation Hub. Business After Hours gives you the opportunity to network with many local businesses in a casual, after-hours environment!

Networking is the most affordable way of marketing yourself which results in personal referrals and word-of-mouth advertising. Rise above today's multitude of advertising white noise, set yourself apart and make those personal relationships. Grab a stack of your business cards and come prepared to make big connections. Don't delay and register today! 

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

  • 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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