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The Shenandoah Valley Connection top 
January 8, 2016
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SVTC Luncheon: Tom Richardson on Vehicle Hacking (Jan. 21)
SVTC Members Invited: AXON AI Open House @ Their New Downtown Location (1/27)
Open Source Staunton: Terabytes and Tacos
J. Burden Lunch Seminar: Three Legal Issues for Independent Contractors
Registration open: Saturday Morning Physics (6 sessions for high schoolers; 1/30-3/5)
WAW HOSTS: Active Shooters in the Workplace: Prevention and Response (1/19)
Member News: Serco featured in the Daily News-Record
Member News: WAW welcomes new partner
Member News: PBMares Names Three New Partners
SVTC's Jan. Bits & Grits (1/19)
Upcoming SBIR/STTR Training in Virginia (Jan, Feb)
Hold The Date: BizBlitz 2016 (3/18-3/20)
SVTC Luncheon: Tom Richardson on Cyber Vehicle Hacking
Thu., Jan. 21, 2016,  11:30am-1:00pm

Recent model cars and trucks have a significant number of computerized modules and networks running throughout them, and future 'traffic control' methods may take advantage of automated vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication paths to assist drivers in the safe operation of these vehicles. But are there cyberhacking scenarios to worry about here?
Dr. Tom Richardson, a researcher at UVa, will give a short synopsis of the research performed this past summer by an all-star industry team led by the Virginia State Police, the University of Virginia (UVa), and the MITRE Corporation on this topic.

Over a 3-4 month period, the team examined potential vulnerabilities in two of the most commonly used patrol cars in the State Police inventory, a Ford Taurus at UVa and a Chevy Impala at MITRE's McLean Headquarters. And althouh Tom cannot release specific findings on this effort, this research highlighted issues that should concern everyone who drives a car (isn't that nearly every adult?!) and will talk about some of the other research that has been performed in other locations around the country, as well as how this dovetails into the whole 'internet of things' (IoT) topic.
Networking begins at 11:30am. Dutch treat. Membership not required. Registering will enable us to bring you a pre-printed nametag.

SVTC Members Invited To: AXON AI Open House @ Their New Downtown Location
Wed., Jan. 27, 2016,  4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

SVTC Members are invited to get an exclusive look at project demos, to meet the AXON AI staff, to network, look at a poster sessions, and eat some hors d'oeuvres  (wine and beer served from 5:30- 8pm)

On December 1, 2015 AxonAI, Inc., moved into new office space located on Court Square (2 South Main Street, Suite 501, Harrisonburg).  With support from the City of Harrisonburg and the Commonwealth Opportunity Fund, the new location provides needed growth space and also strengthens AxonAI's presence and partnership with the local technology community in Harrisonburg.  We are excited about our new space and look forward to sharing our excitement, our progress and our vision for the future with you at the open house.

At AxonAI, we overcome the limitations of current approaches to analysis, decision-making, and operations by deploying swarms of simple software processes on massively parallel computing architectures that continuously assess new information, collectively contribute to the required analytic products, and learn from human input and real-world observations.

Open Source Staunton: Terabytes and Tacos
Weds. January 13, 12pm; Baja Bean, Staunton

Come enjoy lunch* with other tech enthusiasts at the Baja Bean. No agenda, just a casual meal to catch up with the folks you know and meet new people who are involved in technology. Please RSVP so that we can give an accurate count to the restaurant. We'll make it clear where we are sitting for anyone who hasn't attended an Open Source Staunton event.

*Fine print - each lunch participant pays for his/her own lunch.

This is inspired by Bits & Grits, a tech breakfast meeting that takes place at 8am on the third Tuesday of each month at Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant. 

Jared Burden Lunch Seminar: Three Legal Issues for Independent Contractors
Thurs. January 28, 12pm; The Hub Coworking, Harrisonburg

Somewhere between 25% and 35% of the US workforce is made up of independent contractors -- more than 40 million people. They are the "free agent nation." If you earn your livelihood on a contract basis, there are important legal issues to account for in your business plan.

In this short lunch discussion Jared Burden will touch on some of the the most important ones. And companies that use contractors are invited as well -- and he'll touch on a couple of issues important to them, such as how the keep contractors from being categorized as employees.

Lunch is provided.

JMU Saturday Morning Physics, back in 2016
January 30 - March 5, 9am-12pm;  JMU Miller Hall
(6 sessions for high schoolers; pre-registration required)

From the subatomic to galactic scales! Explore fascinating science and cutting-edge research topics in physics and astronomy. 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 fourth 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 6 easy-to-follow scientific exploration events.

Activities Include:
  • Solar Observing! Making use of JMU's solar telescope you will be able to see the Sun as never before. That boring yellow ball up in the sky is really a very dynamic place. Once Galileo first pointed his telescope towards the Sun, scientist began to understand our nearest neighboring star. With JMU's solar telescopes, you will be able to see sunspots, prominences, and the Sun's granulation. You will be able to take a photograph of the Sun similar to the one seen at the right. You'll earn about how the Sun works. We will be tracking sunspots as they traverse the Sun and determine its rotation rate and the length of a day
  • Build your own telescope! The first telescope ever built was a refractor telescope, that is one that uses two lenses. Lenses were discovered roughly 700 years ago. They were mostly used as magnifying glasses, or for visual aids. It took humanity roughly another 300 years to figure out that if you combine two lenses in a particular fashion, you obtain a telescope. The first scientist to point his telescope towards the heavens was Galileo. Galileo heard about this new magnifying glass, and was told that it consisted of two lenses inside a tube. Apparently, he then went home, played with some lenses and by the next morning had built his telescope. In this activity we'll do something similar. First we will analyze the properties of lenses. Then, we will somehow (you'll figure this out) combine two lenses and rediscover the telescope. You'll get to keep the telescope that you build!
  • The JMU Planetarium! James Madison University transformed its John C. Wells Planetarium facility in Miller Hall first with a million dollar renovation in the Fall of 2008 and also a recent upgrade in the summer of 2013. The planetarium is outfitted with digital projectors, a hybrid projection system that combines a high quality star projector with an all-dome video system, a state of the art lighting system at the bottom edge of the dome to permit impressive sunrise and sunset simulations (along with many other effects), and a Dolby 5.1 channel sound system. You'll see a full dome movie followed by a "star talk" that will provide you with updates about the night sky, including constellations, planets and any comets that might be visible. Visit the John C. Wells Planetarium site for more information about the facility.
  • Physics is Phun Science Show! Students and faculty of the physics and astronomy will provide for you a PHYSICS IS PHUN science show. Physics majors and faculty will run through a host of demonstrations that illustrate principles of science that range from the basic forces of nature like electricity to the way matter behaves and changes.

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WAW Seminar Invitation: 
Active Shooters in the Workplace | 
Prevention & Response
Jan. 19, 11:30am - 1:30 pm;  BRCC Plecker Workforce Center

Wharton Aldhizer & Weaver will sponsor Wayne Freeman, a Special Agent with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, to present and discuss strategies to prevent and respond to active shooters in the workplace.
Mr. Freeman's approach to effective response is based on nearly a decade as an active shooter instructor. He has trained with personnel across the country, including Columbine, San Ysidro, Virginia Tech, Greenwood South Carolina Oakland Elementary School shooting, and many others. Mr. Freeman has trained more than 10,000 students in active shooter response and is the author of the South Carolina active shooter training manual. | Lunch is provided.


Contact Attorney Tom Ullrich for seminar questions or follow up:

Member News featured in the Daily News Record
Article by Vic Bradshaw

Serco Lands $95 Million Contract 

HARRISONBURG - A company that's been a fixture in the city since 2008 recently landed a new contract with its federal government client.

Serco Inc. announced Nov. 30 that it was awarded a con- tract to analyze and classify patent applications or reclassify existing patents for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Those activities are performed at the Reston- based company's PGPubs Classification Services offices on Technology Drive just in side Harrisonburg's northern border.

The deal, which calls for a one-year base period with four yearlong renewal options, could pay Serco as much as $95 million.

Serco has been handling initial utility patent classification and research work for the Patent and Trademark Office since it bought SI International in 2008, said Mike Goertzen, program manager at the site. SI International was fulfilling the early years of a 10-year contract for classification services when Serco bought the  company and took over those operations.

He said Serco competed against six other finalists to land the contract, and he credited the work of its 190 local employees with making the new deal possible. They have exceeded the contract's quality requirement for 37 consecutive months and achieved greater than 99 percent classification accuracy in two of the last eight months.
"I think the contract speaks volumes to the great work our staff has done," said Goertzen. "Winning or renewing the contract was based on our excellent performance on our current contract."

Brian Shull, the city's economic development director, welcomed word of the new contract.

"This is great news for Harrisonburg," he said. "Those are well-paid jobs, scientifically based jobs. This is a great employer to have."

420,000 Choices
Goertzen said although the new contract will replace the previous deal, they will overlap. It could take as long 
as six months for the transition to the new contract to be  complete.

The vast majority of Serco's patent-classification work,  he said, will continue to be analyzing and making initial classification of utility patent applications and providing applicable research to help Patent and Trademark Office officials make their determinations.

However, the new contract provides an opportunity for Serco employees to classify plants or designs for the first time. It also includes some work to reclassification existing patents, which must be done as technology changes lead to the addition of classification categories.

"The classification system is a dynamic entity," Goertzen said. "It changes and adapts to technology."

The scientists and engineers Serco employs have about 260,000 classification symbols to choose from in the inter- national system and 160,000 in the U.S. system, he said.

A single application could be placed into anywhere from one to 50 classifications, and about 40 percent are reviewed by more than one expert because they cross multiple areas of expertise. One word, Goertzen said, can change the way an application is classified.

The United States is transitioning to the international classification system, he said. Serco is helping with that process. Goertzen said the local office is on track to process 415,000 applications this year. The company plans to add 20 to 25 employees in February to handle the increased volume of applications it's receiving. 

Member News from WAW:  Matthew Von Schuch Elected Partner

Wharton Aldhizer & Weaver PLC proudly announces the election to partnership of Matthew Von Schuch as of January 1, 2016.

Matt joined the firm in 2012 after working in the U.S. Justice Department's tax division for nearly five years.  He earned his bachelor's degree from James Madison University in accounting and finance in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  He was recently recognized by Blue Ridge Legal Services for his pro bono work and was selected as a Top 10 Under 40 Business Professional.  He is admitted to practice in Virginia and the District of Columbia.  Matt resides in Harrisonburg with his wife, Sarah, and their two sons.  In the community, he is a member of the Bridgewater Rotary Club and is active with the Harrisonburg Education Foundation. 

Matt has developed a deep knowledge of tax and business issues as both a lawyer and a Certified Public Accountant.  He applies this knowledge and his experience as a lawyer in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to find creative solutions to his clients' business-oriented problems. He advises clients on tax, corporate, and estate planning matters.

Wharton Aldhizer & Weaver PLC is a full-service law firm with offices in Harrisonburg and Staunton. The firm serves individuals and businesses in the Shenandoah Valley and the Mid-Atlantic states in the areas of: bankruptcy, commercial and civil litigation, corporate finance, criminal law, domestic relations, employment law, health care law, intellectual property matters, personal injury, plaintiffs medical malpractice, real estate and land use, tax planning, wills, estate planning, and administration.  For more information, please visit  

Member News: 
PBMares Names Three New Partners

NEWPORT NEWS, VA (1/4/16) - PBMares, LLP - a leading accounting and business-consulting firm serving clients nationally and internationally - has named three new partners.  Jennifer French, CPA, a Tax Manager in the Williamsburg, VA office; Todd Swisher, CPA, CGMA, a Senior Assurance Manager in the firm's Richmond, VA office; and Dan Chenoweth, CPA, a Tax Manager in the Newport News, VA office will become partners, effective January 1, 2016. 
"The existing partners at PBMares are all very excited to welcome Jennifer, Todd, and Dan to the partner group," said Alan Witt, CPA, CEO of PBMares, LLP.  "All three individuals have distinguished themselves in the areas of leadership, practice growth, and technical excellence."
French has more than 20 years of public accounting experience. For the past 15 years, she has focused on assisting land developers, contractors, not-for-profit organizations and real estate rental property owners.  In her role of assisting not-for-profit clients, she is a resource for Form 990 and Form 990PF preparation and review, as well as the application process for tax-exempt status.  She serves on the Board of Directors for the Tidewater Chapter of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.  French received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from James Madison University.
Swisher has over 20 years of public and private accounting experience. He is the firm's Hospitality Niche Leader and is also an experienced member of the employee benefit plan and not-for-profit teams.  He serves as Vice President, Treasurer, and Membership Committee Chair for the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals - Central Virginia Chapter. He graduated from Radford University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. 
Chenoweth has more than 12 years of public accounting experience where he specializes in entity tax matters.  In addition, he has developed a high level of expertise with consolidated corporations and S-corporations, along with extensive experience in the construction and oil and gas industries.  He also has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the collegiate level, including courses on basic accounting, finance, oil and gas taxation, oil and gas due diligence, and forensic investigations.  He serves on the Executive Committee and is Treasurer for the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.  In 2012 and 2013, he was a recipient of Virginia Business magazine's "Super CPA" recognition in the Small Business Consulting category.  Chenoweth received his Bachelor of Arts degree, Master's of Professional Accountancy (MPA), and Certificate of Forensic Accounting from West Virginia University.
All three of the new partners are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA).
About PBMares, LLP
PBMares, LLP is an accounting and business consulting firm serving U.S. and international clients, with offices in the Mid-Atlantic. The firm unlocks opportunity for clients using the right balance of industry, specialty and general business services in the areas of audit and accounting, tax planning and preparation, pension plan design/administration, and owner-managed/corporate financial consulting.
In addition, the firm provides additional services through its affiliates: Artifice Forensic Financial Services, LLC, a financial consulting division specializing in fraud investigations and forensic accounting; PBMares Wealth Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor; and TMDG, LLC, a national healthcare consulting firm specializing in medical claims audits.
More information is available online at

Dan Chenoweth

Jennifer French

Todd Swisher

SVTC's Bits and Grits
January 19, 8-9am;  Mrs. Rowes, Staunton, VA

Come get together for great breakfast and to talk some tech. Dutch treat. No reservations required. 


This is where our technology users and creators get together to connect about various topics (while eating some good food!). This occurs on the 3rd Tuesday of every month. Look for Kurt Plowman.  


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Upcoming SBIR/STTR Training in Virginia

"NSF SBIR/STTR Program Overview" WEBINAR
Jan. 21, 2016, 11AM-12:30PM
Details and REGISTER 

"NSF SBIR/STTR Program Details & Project Planning" WEBINAR 
Jan. 28, 2016, 11AM-12:30PM
Details and REGISTER

"NSF SBIR/STTR Proposal Preparation Essentials" WEBINAR 
Feb. 4, 2016, 11AM-12:30PM
Details and REGISTER 

"NSF Forms, Budget & Electronic Submission"  
Feb. 11, 2016, 11AM-12:30PM
Pre-Recorded SBIR/STTR Training Sessions
Most of these sessions are FREE for Virginia based companies and Virginia based university researchers.  

Questions about any of these events:
Robert Brooke, -- 703-689-3080

Registration is open| more info 

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Shenandoah Valley Technology Council
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