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January 28,  2019
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SVTC Luncheon | Natural Language Processing: What is It and How Does it Affect Business? (2/21)
Save the Date for TechNite19! (4/29)
Governor Northam Announces 250 New Jobs in Frederick County
10% Off JMU Professional Development Courses for SVTC Members
Build Season is Open: FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) / Rocktown Robotics
Madison Network Event | Harrisonburg (1/31)
Maker City Boot Camps: Laser Cutting Level I & Level II (2/2, 2/16)
EngineerGirl Writing Contest for Grades 3rd-12th (deadline 2/1)
Cybersecurity: Don't Be the Next Headline | A Cyber Attack Seminar (2/4)
CXO CyberSecurity Conference (2/7)
Cybersecurity Basics for Managers (2/4-2/14)
Spring 2019 ICAP Lean Startup Course (deadline 2/25)
ProjectCSGIRLS Competition for Middle School Girls (register by 3/1)
Future Engineers: Weather Balloon Challenge for Grades K-8 (entries due 3/6)
Welcome Back Level III Member: PBMares, LLC
Welcome Back Level II Member: Lord Fairfax Community College
Shenandoah Valley Open Tech Jobs
February 21, 2019 | 11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Wood Grill Buffet, Harrisonburg
Natural language processing (NLP) is a technology that is becoming increasingly important for the business community. Given a text input, NLP systems can break the document into sentences and individual words, identify parts of speech (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.), and recognize names of people, places, organizations, etc. NLP also parses sentences to depict the dependency relationships between words, and attempts to recognize coreferences so that pronouns in a document can be associated with names that occur earlier in the document. NLP applications include analysis of twitter feeds, customer reviews, blogs, news stories, or any other corpus of text that may be relevant to an organization. This ability to impose structure on unstructured data promises to be very helpful to industry.

About the Speaker
Mike Mitri, a CIS professor at JMU, has developed an application called Story Analyzer that uses an NLP engine to extract information from a textual narrative and identify the main actions of the story, the people or entities that perform these actions, the people or entities affected by these actions, and other contexts (places, times, etc.). Story Analyzer then displays the results in a dashboard that includes interactive word clouds, geographical map, timeline, and other visualizations. He will discuss the mechanics of NLP and demonstrate the dashboard. A fun time will be had by all.

This year, Tech Nite will take place on  April 29, 2019 In the mean time, review the award categories.  Consider nominating yourself or someone else! 
Nominations will open on February 13th.

Nominations are most competitive when they are well coordinated between nominator and nominee, AND when they are accurate and complete. Self-nominations are welcome (no one knows who made what nomination for whom.) Get a head start: review the categories, conceive of a good nominee, start communicating with that potential nominee, and gather the details. Take a look at the guidelines (pdf) to anticipate questions in each category. Neither nominee or nominator need to be a member of the SVTC.  

Everything to get you started:  TechNite19 award categories and nomination guidelines
Want to know who's won before? Look at previous SVTC Tech Nite nominees & winners .

Award Categories for 2019:

JMU College of Integrated Science and Engineering (CISE)'s Innovation in Community Impact Award
The ICI is awarded to an individual, team, non-profit/civic organization, or company in the Shenandoah Valley that aspires to use its capabilities to help solve a social or environmental issue in a local community while using technology to amplify the impact of a service, mission, or project. - A metric or measurable result of the impact is desired. Collaborative efforts are welcome and encouraged.

JMU College of Business (COB)'s Innovation in Emerging Business Award
Awarded to a Shenandoah Valley start-up/emerging technology company or entrepreneur. Must have 1-25 employees.

JMU College of Education (CoE)'s & JMU College of Science and Mathematics (CSM)'s
Innovation in Education K-12
Awarded to the educator or program that provides exceptional technology leadership, innovative use, and/or development of technology, within the region's K-12 educational system or technology-training program while encouraging students to pursue higher education or training in science, technology, engineering or math.

Cadence's Innovation in Higher Education Award
Awarded to the educator or program that provides exceptional technology leadership, innovative use and/or development of technology in the Shenandoah Valley region's higher educational system or technology-training program, while encouraging students to pursue higher education or training in science, technology, engineering, or math.

Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)'s Innovation in Development
Awarded to a company or organization whose development of new technology applications and/or systems creates new processes, methodologies, and/or services for their own or others' benefit.

Interested in sponsoring this award? Contact us at

Innovation in Utilization
This award recognizes outstanding commercial growth and achievement by an established company that either produces or markets high tech products or services, or an established company or organization that produces/offers more traditional products and services (where technology itself is not the core business purpose).


Shentel's Dr. Noftsinger Leadership Award
Recipient's leadership has served as a catalyst for positive technology-related activity in the Shenandoah Valley.

Serco's People's Choice
Awarded to one nominee from the other categories. All nominees are candidates - and the company, organization, or individual with the most votes through social media before and during the event will win. Voting starts the day all nominees are publicized and continues during the gala. (A special hashtag will be used; look for the announcement)

 CareerBuilder investing $2.5 million to establish 20,000-square-foot call center and research facility

January 24, 2019 (Richmond, VA)

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that CareerBuilder, the leading provider of Hello To Hire™ HR technology solutions to global employers and candidates, will invest $2.5 million to establish a 20,000-square-foot call center and research facility in Frederick County, creating 250 new jobs.  
"CareerBuilder is a globally-recognized company that connects employers and job seekers, which is critically important in the 21st century job market," said Governor Northam. "By choosing Frederick County for a new, state-of-the-art call center and research facility, CareerBuilder is helping to diversify the opportunities available to our citizens in the northern Shenandoah Valley and adding 250 new jobs."  

CareerBuilder, headquartered in Chicago, has been a leader in the talent acquisition industry for nearly 25 years. Combining deep data and modern technology, CareerBuilder's end-to-end solutions help its more than 25,000 global customers find, hire, and onboard great talent-while helping job seekers build new skills and progressive careers as the modern world of work changes.  

"CareerBuilder has a nearly 25-year track record providing technology and services that result in a robust talent pipeline, and the Commonwealth is well-positioned to support its future growth," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. "CareerBuilder's new operation in Frederick County will benefit from access to the region's depth of talent and training opportunities, offering the company a competitive edge as it expands its footprint. We look forward to a successful corporate partnership between CareerBuilder and the Commonwealth, and thank the company for its investment in Frederick County."  

"We're thrilled to partner with Virginia to expand CareerBuilder's team and bring this cutting-edge facility to the state," said Mary W. Delaney, President, CareerBuilder Services, CareerBuilder. "A national search was conducted to find the best site for this center. Frederick County's unique mix of labor availability and diverse, world-class talent, coupled with strong support from the local economic development group, made the decision an easy one. We know our employees here will help us innovate and seamlessly deliver the impeccable solutions and support our clients have come to expect."

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Frederick County to secure the project for Virginia and will support CareerBuilder's job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change in order to support employee training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia's commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.  

"We appreciate CareerBuilder's decision to invest $2.5 million in establishing its newest call center and research facility in Frederick County, Virginia," said Chairman of the Frederick County Board of Supervisors Charles S. DeHaven, Jr. "The addition of CareerBuilder to our corporate roster generates a positive impact on the local economy and provides additional career paths for residents in the region."

"I am pleased with CareerBuilder's choice to invest in Frederick County and grateful for the economic development partnerships that have led to so much progress in our region," said Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel. "Thanks to its strong commitment to supporting economic development, Frederick County continues to rank as one of the best places to do business, find a well-trained workforce, and access superior education opportunities."

"The 29th District is excited for CareerBuilder's investment and job creation in Frederick County and for the opportunity that this project will bring to our citizens," said Delegate Chris Collins. "We are always thrilled to welcome new companies to Virginia's booming technology community and look forward to a successful partnership with CareerBuilder."  

About CareerBuilder®
CareerBuilder is a global technology company that provides end-to-end HR solutions that helps employers find, hire and onboard great talent, and job seekers build new skills and progressive careers as the modern world of work changes. A known disruptor for nearly 25 years, CareerBuilder is the only company that offers both software and services to cover every step of the Hello To Hire™ process, enabling its customers to free up valuable resources, save costs and speed time to fill. Specializing in talent acquisition, employment screening and sourcing services and HR software, CareerBuilder is the largest provider of AI-powered hiring solutions serving the majority of the Fortune 500 across five specialized markets. CareerBuilder is majority-owned by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC and operates in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit

10% Off JMU Professional Development
Courses for SVTC Members

10% off for SVTC members ANYTIME!

Quick reminder - as a partner with JMU's Professional Development program the SVTC is delighted to connect SVTC with these classes for 10% off! Classes that will start soon! If interested (now or after Jan. 31) send us a note ( and we'll verify your SVTC membership status, and then pass you on for registration with JMU Prof. Development. 

Rocktown Robotics is a community-based FIRST Robotics Competition team, in partnership with JMU X-Labs and open to all students in the area in grades 9-12.  

Working within a set of regulations, budgetary constraints, and with limited resources, groups of high school students work together in teams to design, construct, and program industrial-sized robots to play a challenging game against competitors on a field about the size of a basketball court.  It is a real-world engineering challenge in which the students learn teamwork, leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.  Roles incorporate every aspect of a real engineering project, including project and budget management, marketing, communication, and business planning, in addition to learning sophisticated software, programming, electrical, and technical skills. No prior technical skills are needed though to participate!!

The 2019 competition season has just begun and runs through April.  The team is currently recruiting new members. ALSO WANTED: mentors. Email for more details.   

Learn more about FIRST Robotics Competition:
January 31, 2019 |  7:30 am - 9:00 pm
JMU Leeolou Alumni Center, Harrisonburg
Looking to amplify your involvement in the local community? Then you won't want to miss this event! Join us for a networking breakfast followed by a panel of guest speakers from JMU and the local community, as they share how they have been able to create a wave of positive impact through meaningful and collaborative partnerships. This event is free to attend.

Maker City Boot Camps:
Laser Cutting Level I & Level II (2/2, 2/16)  
Jan. 26, 2019 |  10 am - 12 pm
Explore More Discovery Museum, Harrisonburg
Members: free; Non-members: $7

Boot camps are a great way to get started and to build your Maker City skills. You'll learn more about Maker City's specialized work zones and the Master Maker Badge Program. Sign up for one or all of the following: 

Laser Cutting Level I (previously 2D Design) - Saturday, February 2nd | 10 AM - 12 PM
Before you can produce a finished product, you must first learn Inkscape, a 2D Design program! After you've learned the design basics, take the Laser Cutting Level II Boot Camp and transform your designs into beautiful objects. Ages 8+

Laser Cutting II - Saturday, February 16th | 10 AM - 12 PM
Learn how the Museum's Laser Cutter works! Students will troubleshoot Inkscape designs and transfer them to the Laser Cutter so the computer renderings can be transformed into a physical object. Prerequisite: Completion of Laser Cutting Level I (previously called 2D Design) Ages 8+

Advance registration required. Free with your membership or paid admission.

Submit online by February 1, 2019 at 11:59 pm

Every year, the EngineerGirl website sponsors a contest dealing with engineering and its impact on our world. The EngineerGirl writing contest is, for the first time, asking students to submit works of creative fiction.  Intended to inspire children, especially girls, in the world of engineering, participants will create and submit an original piece of writing that celebrates engineering design and problem solving.   This year, they are asking for stories about women and girls saving the day with their wits, skill, and whatever resources they can find to solve the problem. Maybe they are working alone, maybe they are part of an elite team. Maybe they just find themselves in an unusual situation that requires some innovative thinking. They want stories that inspire EngineerGirl readers to think, "I want to be able to do that" or "I can do that." To enter this year's contest, write an original, fictional story in which the main character is a female who uses engineering skills to solve a problem. 

February 4, 2019 | 8:30 am - 10:00 am
Hotel Madison & Shen. Valley Conference Center, Harrisonburg

Learn To Protect Your Data, Your Reputation and Your Profitability

Is Your Business Safe from a Cyber Attack?
Cyber attacks and the resulting data breaches are too often headline news. Cyber criminals have moved past large corporations to focus their attention on small to medium-sized businesses and not-for-profits. With fewer resources and a false sense of security, it's no wonder these organizations are big targets. The unfortunate reality is cyber intrusion is no longer a question of if, but when.

With the cost of cyber crime expected to rise to $6 trillion by 2020, response and recovery costs will only increase. Organizations need to take a proactive stance rather than a reactive one. Don't miss this chance to learn how you can prevent and protect your organization from the embarrassment, legal liability, lost income and decreased productivity that result from a cyber breach.

What can you expect to learn during the presentation?
  • Current cyber trends and threats
  • Lessons learned from the Target breach
  • The true cost of a breach
  • Considerations when working with third party vendors
  • How to reduce your organization's risk
No organization wants to be a headline story for a cyber attack that resulted in a breach. Join us and learn how you can protect your data, your reputation and your organization's financial future. Seating is limited. Register today.

February 7, 2019 | 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Hotel Madison & Shen. Valley Conference Center, Harrisonburg

Join us at the CXO CyberSecurity Conference to find out why CyberSecurity is the CXOs new priority. Learn from, and network with, key players in cybersecurity during this exclusive conference geared for CXOs.
Cybercriminals are laughing all the way to the bank. Learn how to keep your business safe.

Interested in attending? C ontact Trina at  to receive a ticket invitation.
February 4 - 14, 2019 
February 4:   9:00am-4:30pm,  Downtown Harrisonburg
February 7:  9:00-11:00am, Online
February 11:  9:00am-4:30pm,  Downtown Roanoke
February 14:  9:00-11:00am, Online

10% off for SVTC members!  If interested send us a note ( and we will verify your SVTC membership status and pass you on for registration with JMU Prof. Development.  

Are you being asked to shape how your organization protects its customer data or email systems?  Are your customers relying on you to protect their payment information?  Do you need a place to start learning about fundamental cybersecurity concepts?

This two-week crash course is designed for leaders, professionals, and entrepreneurs who have a limited technical background related to cybersecurity, data security, and information technology.  The JMU Cybersecurity Basics for Managers noncredit certificate program is discussion-oriented and formatted for the working professional.

Participants will gain knowledge that can inform their strategies to mitigate cybersecurity risks, secure data and information, build secure infrastructure, and hire qualified personnel and vendors.

About the Instructor:
David Cafaro, CISSP/CCSP has been working in Information Technology for over two decades with a heavy focus on information security. Currently he is an Information Security Officer at Capital One where he leads a team providing security and risk management expertise on application, cloud, and on-prem technologies. Though currently working in the financial sector, his career has brought him through a variety of industries including environmental lab testing, government, telecommunications, and cancer research.  David holds a Masters in Computer Science from Georgetown University where he focused on security and privacy in the information age.  In addition to his careers focus on cyber security, David has also been active in sharing his knowledge through open source and community projects including working with the BSidesDC Security Conference to help organize the KidsCon section for the last 4 years.

Applications due February 25, 2019 @ 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.

Important Dates
  • February 25, 2019 - Applications are due by midnight.
  • March 1, 2019 - Acceptance notifications and communication with next steps and instructions, including how to prepare for the first session.
  • TBD (Early March)- 6:00pm - 8:00pm - Introductory Conference Call
  • March 15, 2019- 9:00am - 5:00pm - Initial Team Presentations
  • March 22, 2019 - Each team participates in a pre-scheduled telephone review of the team's Customer Discovery Progress over the first week
  • April 5, 2019- 9:00am - 2:00pm - 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, and co-director of the Fed Tech program, which uses Lean Startup methods to assist inventors from government labs to explore the commercial viability of their inventions.

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:


Register by March 1, 2019
Submit Project online by April 15th
The challenge is simple. Build something using computer science and technology that can help solve an imminent social problem under one of four themes - global health, a safer world, intelligent technology, and bridging inequalities. You can think of it as a virtual hackathon for middle school girls.

Participants will embark on an exciting journey over the next few months while they're building their project. After they pick a theme and finalize a project idea, they'll be ready to get started with building. Building can mean anything from physically putting together machine parts for a robot to writing code for a mobile app to prototyping a new prosthetic device. The possibilities are endless. After an initial build, they will want to test it to make sure everything works the way they want it to. And after multiple retests and rebuilds, they'll finally end up with a product that they're not only proud of, but which can make a difference. More information on how to participate:

About ProjectCSGIRLS
ProjectCSGIRLS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to cultivate a love for technology and computer science in girls and encourage them to pursue their interests and careers in these fields. They believe that nurturing an interest in science, math, and technology during the critical middle school period will help girls to better see themselves as the future leaders of tomorrow. They aim to do this through a unique idea - the nation's largest computer science competition for middle school girls. ProjectCSGIRLS is run by high school and college students from around the country who are incredibly passionate about computer science and technology. 
Entries due online March 6, 2019 by 11:59 pm
The Challenge:  If you are a K-8 student in the United States, your challenge is to design a weather balloon payload for Future Engineers to launch in Los Angeles, CA. 

First: Using historical data, create 2-3 data visualizations that explain Los Angeles weather and/or climate, including average annual temperatures in Los Angeles for the past 20 years. 

Second: Using recycled materials and "paper and penny" mockup components, design a payload that can hang from a helium weather balloon and survive an 8 foot drop test. Your entry must include images (up to 6), a title, and a text description. Be sure to review the CONTEST RULES and DESIGN GUIDELINES for all challenge details and specifications. 

If you win, your design will be launched and you will also get a weather balloon supply kit!
Welcome Back Level III Member!
PBMares, LLC

PBMares is a mid-Atlantic top 100 Certified Public Accounting and consulting firm focused on serving the audit, tax, accounting and consulting needs of companies and individuals across Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC including Hampton Roads, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia Peninsula, Tidewater, DC Beltway, Metro DC and Central Virginia. We focus on serving construction/real estate, financial institutions, government contracting, healthcare organizations, not-for-profit and state and local governments. Beyond this, we have specialties in cybersecurity, cloud accounting and transaction advisory services.
Welcome Back Level II Member!
Lord Fairfax Community College

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is a comprehensive, multi-campus public institution of higher education. Through its four locations - the Fauquier and Middletown Campuses and the Luray-Page County and Vint Hill Centers - the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. LFCC offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. LFCC also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. LFCC serves more than 7,600 unduplicated credit students and more than 10,450 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
  • Bridgewater College Art Department (Practitioner in Residence: Visual Designer)

  • SV Electric Cooperative, Harrisonburg (PC Technician, Application Specialist)

  • Jenzabar, Harrisonburg (Software Developer, Senior Software Developer, UX Designer, etc) 

  • Budget Referee, Harrisonburg (Full Stack Developer with front end web development focus)
  • IT Decisions, Harrisonburg (Level 2 Technician / Systems Engineer)
  • Immerge, Harrisonburg (Digital Marketing Specialist & Content Writer)
  • Harrisonburg IT Department (Technology Support Specialist)
  • Chiedo, Harrisonburg (Web Development Intern) -- No experience required!
Participate in the local tech conversation: Rocktown Tech (Slack)

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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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