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The Shenandoah Valley Connection top 
January 4,  2019
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Focusing on technology, tech-based business creation, and helping create the future Valley workforce
Attention past attendees of the SVTC Members-Only Event at IIHS: We have the group photo!
Member News (Staunton Innovation Hub & JMU X-Labs): GO Virginia Grant Awarded for Tech-Lab Feasibility Study
SVTC Luncheon | What to Do a Year After the FCC's Repeal of Net Neutrality Regulations? (1/17)
Cybersecurity Basics for Managers (1/7-1/17)
College for Kids for Grades 1st - 8th (1/12 - 2/16)
Saturday Morning Physics for High School Students (1/26 - 2/23)
EngineerGirl Writing Contest for Grades 3rd-12th (deadline 2/1)
Welcome New SVTC Member: BreakthruLX
Welcome New SVTC Member: Secure Futures Solar
Welcome New SVTC Member: Trevor Elliot
Welcome Back Level I Member: Rockingham County Public Schools
Shenandoah Valley Open Tech Jobs
Rocktown Tech Slack Channel Link
What has the SVTC been doing this fall?
Focusing on technology, tech-based business creation, and helping to create the future Valley tech workforce!


The Shenandoah Valley Technology Council has worked hard this fall to help GROW the Valley's future tech workforce, help CREATE new tech-based businesses, and connect grant seekers/ researchers with those that have the resources. We continued to strengthening the tech "fabric" of the Shenandoah Valley. We've had a blast facilitating and connecting people, projects, and ventures. 

Sometimes we're asked, "What do you do?". So, here's a recap of the fall 2018 activities. Many of them are annual events and you may want to participate next year, as an attendee or sponsor. (For example, a sponsorship enabled us to award 4 iPads to the winning girls team at Techsters, pictured above.)

We'd also like to like to thank our members for supporting us. With your support, via your membership, we were able to continue hosting events like the ones below (plus fun outings to places like the crash test track in Ruckersville). Thank you!

Virginia ICAP Lean Start-Up Course | Shen Valley Cohort
Together with local partners, the SVTC hosted the 2nd course of ICAP. ICAP helps inventors and entrepreneurs take the right first steps in bringing their new technologies and innovations to market. This program included free introductory training and counseling. Through in-person classes at the Ice House in Harrisonburg and follow-up phone reviews, 6 local startups were able to identify potential customers and develop successful business models based on that knowledge. We are aiming to collaborate for a third installment in spring 2019. ( Details)

Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) Information Session
A information session for the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) was held regarding funding for technology research or commercialization available through the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF), a program managed by CIT. During the session Jennifer Hiltwine, a CRCF staff member, explained the program, the application process, and answered questions from prospective applicants. ( Details )

TECHSTERS | A Cybersecurity Competition for Girls
The call went out to middle school girls in the Shenandoah Valley and on Nov. 3, we (and other tech councils) hosted TECHSTERS. Ours was held at JMU and two more were hosted elsewhere in the state. Techsters was a capture-the-flag (CTF) event intended to introduce middle-school girls to the cybersecurity industry in a fun and interactive game style. Twenty-five girls from the Shen. Valley competed their hearts out (with mentors along side them to help) as they utilized their resources, attacked problems with their problem-solving skills, and used their team knowledge, together with education from mentors, to score points. In the end, our teams were in the top 10 (with 7 of the top 10 from the Shen. Valley)! ( Details )

FIRST LEGO League Regional Competition
I n early December, the VA-DC FLL league hosted their state competition in town and it was the BIGGEST one in the world (102 teams from across the state came)! FIRST LEGO League (FLL) challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the INTO ORBIT season teams built, tested, and programmed an autonomous robot using LEGO┬« MINDSTORMS┬« technology to solve a set of missions in the robot game tournament. Teams also created and presented a project by  choosing and solving a real-world problem. The Shen. Valley Tech Council sponsored a Valley team and volunteered on both days of the competition.
Be part of it all and get involved with these and similar activities. How? Connect with and support the local tech ecosystem. Attend luncheons, learn about & discuss tech trends! Become a member and get an online profile. Grab some visibility at our premier event for tech users and creators, Tech Nite, in late spring and help highlight tech, innovators, educators, and leaders.
Attention attendees of the SVTC Members-Only Event |
We have the group photo!

On October 25, 2018, our members were able to join us at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in Ruckersville. SVTC members toured the facility, saw a live car crash test, and had a wonderful lunch! A group photograph was taken after the crash, and here it is! A full version of the photograph will be sent to the attendees of this event.

Want to join us at other exciting member-exclusive events? Consider becoming a member!

Thanks again to Rockingham Insurance for facilitating this event!

Member News:   SVTC Members 
Staunton Innovatio
n Hub and JMU X-Labs Receive Good News
GO Virginia Grant Awarded for Tech-Lab Feasibility Study

Staunton Innovation Hub
December 24, 2018 (Staunton, VA)

The Staunton Innovation Hub (SIH) has been awarded a $23,000 grant from the GO Virginia Region 8 Council to complete a feasibility study. This intensive study will determine if area students and entrepreneurs will benefit from access to a "Tech-Lab" with its specialized capabilities by starting new companies or gaining skills for higher paying jobs.  The feasibility study will be used as a vehicle to determine what is important for the next generation to learn, and what gaps in access to technology exist that are not currently being filled. The study will also help them determine the need, benefit, and cost of the equipment and programs of the Tech-Lab. The results from this study will help identify the funding and the support needed to build the brick-and-mortar Tech-Lab in the SIH, determine the funding needed for a mobile Tech-Bus, and identify the associated educational programming that brings it all together. 
The SIH team is initially working with Mary Baldwin University, James Madison University, Valley Career and Technical Center, the City of Staunton and Page County on this venture. The Tech-Lab is a student-entrepreneur-technology initiative with a focus on student education, instructor training, and workforce development. The goal is to lower barriers to success and prepare students to become innovators, be it via an entrepreneurial path or within current employers.  SIH believes in the power of bringing people together in a shared workspace and teaching creative and collaborative ways to use technology such as laser cutters, 3D printers, robotics, and electronics, to develop new products and acquire new skills.
Due to the large and rural geographic footprint and of Region 8, keeping people connected and gaining access to modern technology is often difficult.  The Staunton Innovation Hub believes that an effective way to address this challenge is to build and deploy a mobile Tech-Lab, initially termed the Tech Bus.
The preliminary vision for the Tech Bus is to convert a full-size, decommissioned school bus into a rolling STEM lab.  Imagine an exciting exterior design, a sleek interior with lab tables instead of seats, all filled with 3D printers, augmented reality/virtual reality stations, robotics and more!  This bus will have an accompanying lesson plan for teaching these technologies to both end users and other instructors.  Such an idea is revolutionary to the region. The bus will physically and virtually close the gap between stakeholders. More importantly, this will be a cooperative resource of otherwise unattainable equipment and training for teachers and students in rural areas.

Staunton Mayor Carolyn Dull stated, "I am delighted that the Staunton Innovation Hub has received the GO Virginia grant for a feasibility study. These funds will support a 21st-century educational lab featuring laser cutters, 3D printers, robotics, and electronics, which will encourage creativity and innovation and fuel our city's entrepreneur ecosystem."
"Page County is committed to helping SIH figure out what our "young" entrepreneurs are capable of once giving the right resources. We are excited to explore entrepreneur readiness and the positive impact this "out of the box" initiative will have on local workforce development and small business education. We know it will create a more confident small business conversation in Page County." says Liz Lewis, Economic Development for Page County.
"At the core mission is reducing barriers to innovation.  This study will map the best collaborative path to accomplish this mission for the younger residents of the Shenandoah Valley by complementing the hard work our area schools already put forth.  This entire project is all about bringing cutting-edge resources to those who might otherwise be unable to access such technology.  It will complement the ongoing workforce development efforts and make otherwise out-of-reach opportunities, technologies, and mindsets available to anyone with curiosity and a desire to learn!"  says Peter Denbigh, Catalyst at the Staunton Innovation Hub.
The impact of this study will forge a foundational paradigm shift in the entrepreneurial and innovation landscape in the region.  Knowledge gained will impact multiple socioeconomic groups, population segments, business industries, and business sizes.  We will change the future of this region and be a fantastic case study for rural areas not just in Virginia, but across the country.

January 17, 2019 |  11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Wood Grill Buffet, Harrisonburg

The FCC repealed net neutrality rules just over a year ago, but not much has changed for the average business and home user.  ISPs, large businesses, and state legislatures are all actively debating how to regulate ISPs ability to selectively throttle specific vendors and types of services delivered via the Internet. Dr. Reif will explore issues underlying both sides of net neutrality arguments as they affect Valley businesses and residents.

About the speaker:
Harry Reif, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Information Systems and Business Analytics at James Madison University.  In addition to teaching, Reif served as JMU's first Chief Information Officer during the period that JMU established campus connectivity to the Internet. Previous to JMU, he spent his career planning and administering computing centers at universities throughout the US.  Dr. Reif is actively involved in computing degree program accreditation worldwide as an ABET Commissioner.

Thank you to our luncheon sponsor!

February 2019

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.

Grades 1st - 8th (1/12 - 2/16)

January 12 - February 16, 2019
Saturdays, 9 am - 12 pm | JMU  Memorial Hall
$140 per Student

College for Kids is an enrichment program for children in grades 1-8. Children will work with James Madison University faculty and graduate students, as well as experts from the community and surrounding area, to try new things, explore and discover talents they never knew they had! College for Kids is being held on 6 Saturdays from 9-12pm on campus in Memorial Hall. Students will participate in one course selection for the duration of the 6 consecutive weeks. Technology-related courses are available, as well as many other courses. You can check them out on the event page

Technology-related courses include:
  • Lego Engineering (1st - 5th grades) (In partnership with Explore More Childrens Museum)
  • Out of this world- Science, Technology and Engineering (2nd - 4th grades)  
  • Scratch Programming (4th - 6th grades) 
  • Python Programming (6th - 8th grades) 
  • Tinker with Arduino (6th - 8th grades)
  • App Inventor (6th - 8th grades) 
  • KidWind Challenge Team Prep (5th - 8th grades) 
  • Engineering a Brighter Future (5th-8th grades)
For more information, please contact Melissa Heatwole at or call 540-568-4226.

January 26 - February 23, 2019
Saturdays, 9 am - 12 pm | JMU  Physics/Chem Building
$50 per Student

Come and explore the amazing properties of waves as scientists use them in music, nanotechnology, astronomy, and nuclear physics. JMU Physics and Astronomy presents an educational event series designed especially for high school students and teachers but one parents will enjoy, too: Saturday Morning Physics. For the eighth year running, the Physics and Astronomy Department in collaboration with the Office of Outreach and Engagement at James Madison University cordially invite high-school students and science teachers to take part in an engaging enrichment program developed in a sequence of 5 easy-to-follow scientific exploration events.

Juniors and Seniors have the option of receiving 1 Physics College Credit from JMU. This is an additional fee of $123.00. 4/5 of the program sessions must be attended to receive credit. 

For more information, please contact Melissa Heatwole at or call 540-568-4226.

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. 

Welcome New SVTC Member!

BreakthruLX is a learner experience design company that creates high-return, human-centered, goal-oriented learning experiences for small business, public, and corporate sector clients at the intersection of design, technology and education.

Welcome New SVTC Member!
Secure Futures Solar

Headquartered in Staunton, Virginia, Secure Futures combines state-of-the-art solar technology with an innovative business model to make commercial scale solar readily affordable in Virginia, helping customers to realize the economic, environmental and community benefits of solar energy.

Secure Futures designs, develops, finances, owns and operates on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) solutions for schools, hospitals, governments as well as businesses to enhance their sustainability goals and to reduce their electricity costs.

Our solar energy systems protect against future electricity price increases through 20-year solar service agreements. We pass along tax savings to our tax-exempt customers and provide opportunities to purchase on-site solar arrays at fair market value after an initial period. We use Made-in-America solar panels and other equipment while seeking to source labor and professional services locally.

We are also a leader in helping Virginia to implement public policy that encourages solar power.

Welcome New SVTC Member!
Trevor Elliot

Trevor Elliott, an experienced business leader versed in change management, finds
fulfillment, pride and success achieved best in leading a team and growing its members. Skilled in sustainability initiatives, strategic leadership and using design thinking to innovate while solving challenges realized in leadership and management roles. Spare time is spent truly enjoying life through the best child's eyes, enjoying the outdoors with family, philanthropy and pursuing an MBA with a focus in Innovation.

Welcome Back Level I Member!
Rockingham County Public Schools

Rockingham County Public Schools is committed to educating today's learner, and developing tomorrows' future.Our division has approximately 11, 000 students that are supported by approximately 2,000 full-time employees. Rockingham County students attend 15 elementary, 4 middle, 4 high, a regional governor's school, a technical center, and an alternative education center. Our four high schools offer students a variety of opportunities to earn college credit while in high school, including dual enrollment classes, Advanced Placement (AP) classes, and virtual learning courses in all major content areas. We have outstanding fine arts, technical, and vocational programs.

In the late spring of 2014, the Rockingham County School Board and Rockingham County Board of Supervisors agreed to begin a five year project, "Digital Conversion" which has resulted in digital devises to all students. The focus of this initiative is not the technology itself but the enhancement of learning. We recognize and emphasize that many learning situations do not require technology. At the same time, the impact of technology on our world is only increasing, and it is critical that students can live and learn responsibly in the digital world.

We are blessed to have a supportive local community where our parents, businesses, and leaders all value the importance of educating children and providing them the experiences and resources needed to be successful learners.

Ultimately, the question that matters most, and the one that drives our decisions is "what is best for students as learners, and as responsible, caring members of our community". Dr. Oskar Scheikl, is the Division Superintendent.

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