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The Shenandoah Valley Connection top 
September 7,  2018
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SVTC Luncheon: Online Marketing and the Offhand Selling of Identity (9/13)
Member News: JMU X-Labs Wins Governor's Technology Award (Innovative Use of Technology in Education)
CRCF FY2019 Solicitation Preview -- Funding Tech Commercialization to Drive Economic Growth in VA
Broaden Your Horizons: A Small Business Symposium (9/26)
Registration Now Open: SVTC's Fall Tech Mixer (9/27)
Valley TechCon (9/28) -- Sponsorship Opportunities Available
ICAP Lean Startup Course (applications due 8/3)
edUi Conference | Charlottesville (10/8 - 10/10)
DIGITAL Women in Computing | For Middle and High School Girls (10/13)
FIRST LEGO League Regional Tournament (11.3) -- Volunteers Needed | Start-Up Grants Available
SAVE THE DATE: Techsters (11/3)
Welcome New SVTC Member: Hermilo Garcia
Highlighting Renewing Level III Member: ComSonics
Highlighting Renewing Level I Member: Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce
Shenandoah Valley Open Tech Jobs
SVTC Luncheon: 
Online Marketing and the Offhand Selling of Identity (9/13)

September 13, 2018 | 11:45 am - 1 pm
Wood Grill Buffet, Harrisonburg

The Shenandoah Valley Technology Council is excited to announce that Michele Strano from Bridgewater College will be joining us for our September luncheon. Her talk will focus on the key characteristics of digital media that have revolutionized the way marketers and consumers interact. While the idea of targeting an audience can be traced back to early newspaper advertising, Web 2.0 enables marketers to gather data about consumer preferences easily and often invisibly. In addition to describing some of the key processes involved in online marketing, Michele will touch on some of the potential concerns we might have in a system that trades privacy for individualized content and convenience.
Michele Strano is an Associate Professor in the Communication, Technology and Culture major at Bridgewater College. Her research and teaching interests focus on the creation of online identity, the cultural impact of the digital age and the collection of data in the interest of effective message design. Strano is the director of Bridgewater's Master of Arts in Digital Media Strategy, scheduled for launch in January 2019, pending accreditation approval.

Thank you to our luncheon sponsor!


Member News:
JMU Wins Governor's Technology Award
(Innovative Use of Technology in Education)
for the X-Labs Autonomous Vehicles Course

JMU X-Labs' autonomous vehicle class was a winner of the award for innovative use of technology in educating students.

For the second consecutive year, JMU X-Labs received high praise from the governor's office Wednesday, Sept. 5 in winning a Governor's Technology Award. 

JMU X-Labs' autonomous vehicle class was a winner of the award for innovative use of technology in educating students. The award was announced in Richmond at the annual Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium. 

In the first offering of the class in spring 2018, 22 students from various majors and two faculty members - none with any prior autonomous technology experience - successfully retrofitted a golf cart to navigate on its own in 15 weeks. In addition to being able to maneuver a course on its own, the cart could sense pedestrians and other obstacles in its path and safely stop without hitting them. The class will be offered again so students can improve on what the first class accomplished, and they will get a helping hand from a partner in the industry, Crozet-based Perrone Robotics. 

In its application for the award, JMU X-Labs staff stated, "The autonomous vehicles course developed at JMU X-Labs is a first of its kind in Virginia to offer undergraduate students the opportunity to work in multidisciplinary teams to build a self-driving vehicle. The course was designed to take the autonomous vehicle concept out of simulation and provide hands-on experience at the intersection of design, engineering, systems, software, controls and project management. Students successfully transformed a golf cart into a self-driving vehicle in 15 weeks-something that has not been done before with exclusively undergraduate students." 

To accomplish the project, the students used a combination of LIDAR, GPS and a high-resolution camera to make the golf cart drive completely on its own. They replaced the mechanical steering, brake and accelerator with stepper motors and linear actuators. 

In a congratulatory letter announcing the award, Jack Mortimer, national conference director for Government Technology magazine, stated, "This is no small achievement because the competition was even fiercer than usual. The panel of 12 judges from state, county, city and education faced a difficult challenge but your entry stood out as being clearly praiseworthy." 

JMU X-Labs, which is housed in Lakeview Hall, received the award in 2017 for facilitating cross-disciplinary courses where students address real world problems using a variety of technology.
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Congratulations to our member, JMU X-Labs, SVTC board member Nick Swayne, and all JMU faculty and staff who had a hand in the creating and teaching of the class.  

CRCF FY2019 Solicitation Preview
Funding Technology Commercialization to Drive Economic Growth in Virginia


CIT is pleased to preview the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) FY2019 solicitation. Approximately $2.4 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 $50,000 to $250,000. The RFP will be issued in early October.
CRCF will invite technology development projects in five targeted industries:
  • Cyber security - with particular interest in applications for autonomous systems, identity management, cloud infrastructure, and Internet of Things
  • Energy - specifically clean energy
  • Information technology - specifically data analytics
  • Life sciences - with particular interest in precision medicine, neuroscience, and medtech
  • Unmanned systems
Visit for high-level program information, including eligibility criteria, key submission dates, and upcoming briefings. The RFP will include program-specific guidelines and other application resources. CRCF staff will host webinars and field questions about this round with the release of the RFP; a curated list of  FAQs is available now.

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. Industry sectors eligible for CRCF funding are drawn from the Commonwealth Research and Technology Strategic Roadmap, which identifies research areas worthy of economic development and institutional focus in Virginia.

Interested in learning about previous solicitations? Visit for a complete list of awardees and access to CRCF Annual Reports. Interest piqued? We invite you to forward this announcement to others engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship in Virginia. Add yourself to the listserv:

The CRCF team can be reached at

Broaden Your Horizons: A Small Business Symposium (9/26)

September 26, 2018 |  7:30 am - 12:30 pm
VMI Hall of Valor Marshall Center, Lexington

This small business symposium includes an exhibit hall of small business resources; breakout sessions regarding marketing, finances, accounting and doing business with local, state and federal government agencies; and networking opportunity for small business owners to think outside their walls.

This event is organized by the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity in partnership with Virginia Military Institute. 

Parking: T here should be directional signs for parking in a lot adjacent to the building. If reserved spaces are unavailable, however, then there should be parking on the streets near the building.

Register for September 26, 2018 symposium

Registration Now Open: SVTC's Fall Tech Mixer (9/27)
September 27, 2018 | 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Beyond Restaurant, Harrisonburg

Join the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council on September 27th for our annual Fall Tech Mixer. Hosted by the SVTC's Board of Directors, this is our fall networking event.

Come and find out what the SVTC is doing as an organization, and what our members are doing individually. This is our second biggest event of the year (only Tech Nite is bigger). This is where the growing technology community goes in the fall to catch up. SVTC members are corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, coders, programmers and more. Membership is not required to participate in the Fall Tech Mixer nor many SVTC events. Feel free to invite a co-worker, customer, friend or spouse (please register each).

Come out and join current and potential members as they mingle and network. Appetizers are 'on us'! Drinks are Dutch treat.

Valley TechCon (9/28)
Sponsorship Opportunities Available

September 28, 2018 | 7:30 am - 4:00 pm
Hotel Madison, Harrisonburg
(Networking event @ Pale Fire after 4pm)

Ticket Information
Regular Ticket: $125
Student (high school or college): $50

The inaugural Valley TechCon brings together technology enthusiasts, practitioners, researchers, and business leaders to facilitate idea sharing, collaboration, and innovation. Sessions will cover a broad spectrum of topics from autonomous vehicles to artificial intelligence. The goal is to inspire new ideas, improve business efficiency with emerging technologies, springboard new ventures, and expand networking opportunities.

Breakout Sessions
Beyond the keynote and featured speakers, guests will have the opportunity to attend five breakout sessions. Each session is composed of three different topics so you can choose the information most relevant to you.

Networking Event
Following the conference, you will be shuttled to Pale Fire Brewing company in bustling downtown Harrisonburg for a post-conference networking event. Meet peers, entrepreneurs, and influencers from the tech industry. 

Incredible Speakers
ValleyTechCon18 has attracted presenters from private industry, government, and higher education to present on a broad spectrum of leading-edge technology and business development topics.

Sponsorship Opportunities are still available!
Please see the following pdf for sponsorship opportunities and descriptions:  TechCon Sponsorship Opportunities (docx). Please note that bronze sponsorships are SOLD OUT and only ONE silver sponsorship remains!

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 and counseling offered by ICAP instructors and local SBDC business advisors. 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
October 3, 2018 - Applications are due by midnight;  go to the ICAP application form.

October 10, 2018 - Acceptance notifications and communication with next steps and instructions, including how to prepare for the first session.

October 19, 2018 - 9:00am - 5:00pm - Introductory Classroom Session

October 26, 2018 - Each team participates in a pre-scheduled Telephone Review of the team's Customer Discovery Progress over the first week

November 2, 2018 - 9:00am - 2:00pm - Final Team Presentations

During this 2-week program, there is extensive work done outside the classroom. In addition to the two class meetings, 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.

This 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 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:

Apply for the ICAP Lean Startup Course  (applications due Oct. 3 by midnight)

edUi Conference | Charlottesville (10/8 - 10/10)

October 8 - 10, 2018 | Charlottesville | See schedule for times

Join us on October 8 - 10 for edUi! edUi is a 3-day conference for web professionals working at institutions of learning-colleges, universities, libraries, and museums. Presented by Virginia Humanities. The event will take place at a variety of venues on the scenic pedestrian mall in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia (view map).

For more information, visit:

Register for October 8-10 edUi Conference (discount code ROCKTOWN has been applied to this link for $100 off your ticket -- thanks to the edUi Planning Team!)

DIGITAL Women in Computing
for Middle and High School Girls (10/13)

October 13, 2018 | 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
JMU ISAT/CS Building, Harrisonburg

Come celebrate CS Education Week at DIGITAL with JMU Women in Technology (WIT). Learn Python programming, program Finch and Hummingbird Robots, create art with Chibitronics, get a chance to fly a drone and then form a team to design and implement your own project with what you learned. DIGITAL is an event open to middle school and high school girls interested in technology. College students from JMU Women in Technology (JMU WIT) lead girls through hands-on activities to help them engage with new technologies. JMU WIT strives to support and celebrate girls and women interested in STEM fields from the classroom to the workforce.

Registration is  FREE. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. 

Questions? Contact Melissa Heatwole at or 540-568-4226

Register for October 13, 2018 DIGITAL event

November 3, 2018 | JMU ISAT-CS Building
Volunteers are currently needed!

This event is free and open to the public! Come see what it's all about. Prepare for excitement, robotics, and LEGOS! Better yet -- volunteer. Just a few hours of your time can have a huge impact! To sign up as a volunteer, please complete the following form: Harrisonburg Regional FLL Tournament Volunteers

2018 Challenge: Into Orbit
Join FLL's mission into the 30 th season of FIRST ®! Prepare for blast off, break out of your earthly constraints and go INTO ORBIT SM. The 2018/2019 FIRST ® LEGO ® League season will transport your team into space, where you'll explore, challenge, and innovate in the vast expanse of space.

FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the INTO ORBIT season, teams will choose and solve a real-world problem in the Project. They will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO ® MINDSTORMS ® technology to solve a set of missions in the Robot Game. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under the FIRST signature set of Core Values, celebrating discovery, teamwork, and Gracious Professionalism ®

For more information, visit

Team Start-Up Grants Available
Each year, the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council sponsors three new FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams from the Shenandoah Valley. Approximately half of the start-up cost of a new team is reimbursed, up to $350.

Teams must be located in the footprint of the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council's area of operation and intend to participate in the FLL competition within one year of receiving the grant. This grant can be used towards any equipment required for competition in FIRST LEGO League, including one or more LEGO robotics kits, a competition practice table, and an FLL field setup kit.

If you are interested in applying for the FLL Start-Up Grant, please complete the following form, and follow the steps as indicated on the form:  FLL Reimbursement Grant Application (pdf)

SAVE THE DATE | TECHSTERS| November 3, 2018

Formed in 2013, TECHSTERS is an after-school program for middle school aged girls dedicated to inspiring young women to pursue their interests in STEM fields. Since the program's first day event with robotic balls called Spheros, TECHSTERS has served over 1,100 students in the greater Richmond region. In 2017, Capital One used the TECHSTERS model to host ten regional coding programs for middle school girls all across the Commonwealth. The outcome was spectacular as they reached over 900 students in two days.

This year, using the best practices and lessons learned from Capital One in conjunction with the long-standing TECHSTERS  program, the many technology and innovation business councils of the Commonwealth will work together to host a statewide "Capture the Flag" event on Saturday, September 8 that will expose the girls to the cybersecurity industry in a fun and interactive game style.

Be on the lookout for more information soon!

Welcome New SVTC Member! 
Hermilo is student at Blue Ridge Community College. He is currently working towards his degree in information systems. Hermilo became a member of the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council to network with other people in the industry.

Highlighting Renewing Level III Member:
ComSonics is an electronic telecommunications firm headquartered locally in Harrisonburg, Virginia. We are the global leader in proactive plant maintenance solutions, ensuring cable plant integrity through innovative products as well as electronic and fiber optic repair services. ComSonics Product Solutions provides a powerful and easy-to-use set of products to help broadband providers with leakage detection, installation, and system integrity. Our leakage detectors provide a full range of solutions for every need, while the GPS-active Genacis® solutions enhance the ability to manage the cable plant efficiently and effectively. ComSonics Repair Services applies our uncompromising quality, technical expertise and customer service to cable Distribution, Headend, Test, Power Supply and Fiber Optic equipment. ComSonics compliments our depot services with an onsite calibration service throughout the contiguous U.S. We offer world class electronic manufacturing solutions (EMS) and cable harness assembly solutions through subsidiaries, ComSonics Manufacturing Solutions (CMS) and Cable Connections. From circuit board design to complete builds our customers are in experienced manufacturing hands. Some of the industries served include; Aerospace, Medical, Meteorological, Military, Power Management, Printing, Rail, Security and Sanitation. ComSonics also sells, services and calibrates (depot & onsite) technology products used in the Public Safety industry. From license plate recognition to speed detection and computing, we are a trusted resource to the police, fire and rescue community. The Employee Owners of ComSonics have been quality focused and committed to exceeding customer expectations since 1968!

Highlighting Renewing Level I Member:
Serving Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County, since 1999, the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber welcomes all businesses, from small entrepreneurs to large industrial complexes. We are a non-profit 501(c) 6 organization utilizing the membership investment to support business advocacy, community development, education, transportation, tourism and agriculture. Our team assists area businesses by helping them streamline operations, facilitating partnerships, working with local government on behalf of business, offering seminars and training programs, and serving as a clearinghouse of information to create new opportunities for our community.

  • Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative, Hinton (
    Application Support Specialist)
  • Ryzing Technologies, Staunton (Mechanical Engineer)
  • Harrisonburg IT Department (Technology Support Specialist)
  • Harrisonburg Fire Department (Systems Analyst)
  • Chiedo, Harrisonburg (Web Development Intern) -- No experience required!
  • Harrisonburg Rockingham Community Services Board, Harrisonburg (IT Manager)
  • Jenzabar, Harrisonburg (Software Engineer, Senior Software Developer, UX Designer, etc) 
Participate in the local tech conversation: Rocktown Tech (Slack)

Currently there are 18 channels and over 250 members. Please join in! 
Sign-up link:

Membership Badge Available 
Use our new graphic on your own website (and remember to link back to our website www. !) 

Choose the graphic file of your choice:

Let us know when you incorporate this graphic and we'll mention your site in return!

See how our Level I Members  grep Innovation, LLC displayed our membership badge on their  website!

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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