Annual Board of Directors Election

The SVTC’s Board of Directors is administratively divided into two groups, called classes, for governance purposes. Each year, the term of one of the classes expires. To prepare, the council (the members) holds elections in the spring of each year so that a new class of directors is elected and can be appointed by the board of directors before the end of the term on June 30th.

The spring 2022 Board of Directors’ election concerns class II of directors. The SVTC manages the nomination and election process via its Governance and Organization Committee, and all members who are in good standing will be invited to vote in May 2022. The term for the to-be-elected class II of directors will begin on July 1 and is 2 years long. 

A summary of the process:

  • The SVTC Organization & Governance Committee received suggestions for a class II of directors from April 12 to April 19, 2022 and the committee, together with the Executive Committee and the board, evaluated the suggestions and then decided on a slate of candidates, at the end of April 2022.
  • The approved slate of eleven class II candidates and their biographies will be posted below by May 16, 2022.
  • Eligible SVTC members will be invited to vote -using a special one-time link- which will be sent to each member by email. Each member, whether individual or corporate, receives one vote per membership.
  • The process concludes at the Annual Meeting of members (May 26, 2022 luncheon @ the Wood Grill, Harrisonburg, 11:45 am).
  • The SVTC BoD meets before June 30, 2022 to review the election and to appoint directors to the 2-year term (which starts July 1, 2022).

Listing of the full board of directors, and executive committee, 2021-22 (by class) (pdf)

Class II Candidates | Spring Board of Directors Election 2022

(* new to the board)

Eleven candidates’ mini-bios will be posted by May 16, 2022

Michael Bender | Valley UAV Services | Harrisonburg (*)

Michael Bender established Valley UAV Services LLC in October 2020. The company was organized to expand the use of unmanned aircraft systems (also known as UAS, more commonly referred to as drones) for the emerging precision agriculture market. Valley UAV Services was formed to provide the precision aerial application of pesticides as a service. Through the use of drones, Valley UAV Services will precisely treat crops while minimizing the amount of product used and reducing the cost. This method of application will also reduce the environmental impact while increasing crop yield and bottom line return on investment. Michael was raised in the Shenandoah Valley on his family’s row crop farm. While attending Eastern Mennonite High School, Michael worked alongside his father during his time outside of classes helping raise corn and soybean crops. Following high school graduation, he attended Blue Ridge Community College and Longwood University before realizing he preferred the hands-on, in-person learning experiences he gained on the farm to his classroom studies. Through his continued work on the family farm, Michael came to value the efficiencies that new agricultural technologies could provide to an operation. Advances in UAV technology coupled with Michael’s passion for agriculture led him to form Valley UAV Services.

Karen Bowman | Rockingham Insurance | Harrisonburg

Karen Bowman has been a part of Rockingham Insurance and its technology ecosystem since 1998 when she entered the world of insurance and technology after a career in education. She has been a part of the continual improvement of the systems and applications that support property and casualty insurance at Rockingham, serving in various roles in IT, Project Management, and Administration. As a long-time member of the Board of Directors of SVTC, she has served as Secretary, Vice-President, and President of SVTC and will always be a champion of technology and innovation in the Shenandoah Valley.

Joseph Brown | Tiber Creek Consulting | Harrisonburg (*)

Joseph is a Cyber Security Analyst with Tiber Creek Consulting. Tiber Creek is a software company based in Fairfax, Virginia with a remote office in Waynesboro, VA. He works on the IntelliGRC team. IntelliGRC is an intelligence governance, risk management, and compliance platform that makes compliance attainable and manageable.

Sarah Cheverton | James Madison University | Harrisonburg

Sarah E. Cheverton is the State Authorization and Compliance Officer for Online & Distance Learning at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and a current board member of SVTC. At JMU, Sarah works in University Studies and reports to the Associate Provost for Online Learning Strategy. She collaborates with people from a wide variety of areas across the University as well as other institutions, state agencies, and national organizations in efforts to build and improve the online teaching and learning environment for today’s and tomorrow’s students. Prior to this position, for 17 years, Sarah led a central JMU unit responsible for acquiring, managing, and supporting various online learning technologies and faculty development services. She also teaches 2-3 sections per year of Using Computer Information Systems for the College of Business and is the current Vice-President of the Networked Learning Collaborative of Virginia. Sarah has been active with SVTC for several years. She has served as a Board member since 2014 and as Secretary, Vice-President, and President on the Executive Committee. She attends numerous events and will talk with anyone about technology needs and interests in the area. Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from Lynchburg College in 1982 and a Master of Arts in Psychology/Industrial and Organizational Behavior from James Madison University in 1995.

Kai Degner | JMU Professional and Continuing Education | Harrisonburg

Kai serves as the Director of Professional Development in JMU Professional & Continuing Education (PCE), administering programs such as the JMU Project Management Certificate, JMU Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belt Certificate, and human resources certification preparation. Kai’s focus at PCE is noncredit professional skills and leadership development. Kai is enrolled in a doctoral program at James Madison University’s School of Strategic Leadership Studies, in the Organizational Science concentration. His studies focus on communications and listening within organizations, and by leaders. He is a double-graduate of JMU, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Science and Technology (’03) and a Master’s in Business Administration (’05). He served on Harrisonburg City Council from 2009-16, and as mayor 2009-10. Through that role and others, he has served on numerous community and local government boards and commissions. He has attended many SVTC events over the years and has been an active participant. His previous employment includes 7 years as a full-time real estate agent, two years as executive director of the Arts Council of the Valley, and two years as a trainer with the Fairfield Center. Kai’s personal entrepreneurial efforts focus on listening training for leaders and teams offered through his consultancy, Listening Campaign LLC.

Kathleen Gass | Blue Ridge Community College | Rockingham

Kathleen Gass began as the newly created Regional Manufacturing Liaison role in January 2020. She is working to ensure that Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University are providing curriculum and graduates that meet Merck, Elkton’s ever-growing workforce needs. Now that the framework has been set to fulfill Merck’s needs, Kathleen’s work is extending to other manufacturing companies in the Valley. Prior to joining BRCC, Kathleen worked at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA for 6 years and Merck and Company at the West Point, PA, Cramlington, UK, and Elkton, VA sites for 12 years. Kathleen’s pharmaceutical experience ranges from Research, Quality Operations, Technical Operations, and Manufacturing. The majority of her experience was working on scaling up new products from research-scale to large-scale manufacturing equipment across North American and European sites and then ongoing process troubleshooting. Kathleen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Kathleen serves on the board of directors for the Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP), Shenandoah Valley Technology Council (SVTC), and Rockingham Educational Foundation, Inc. (REFI).

Mike Goertzen | Serco Inc. | Harrisonburg

Mike serves Serco Inc as Senior Program Manager within the Civilian Services Business Unit, providing leadership to Intellectual Property Services (IPS) and Department of Homeland Security lines of business. This currently includes domestic and international customers within both government and commercial enterprises. Prior to his current position, Mike served in numerous roles within IP Services contracts, including Patent Classifier, Operations Analyst, and Operations Manager. Mike has over 15 years of service in a variety of Operations, Customer Relations, Transition, and Project Management related roles. Prior to joining the first joining the IPS team in 2006, Mike was a tenured lead teacher of Science and Technology focused on Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics. He currently serves on a variety of regional boards in addition to the SVTC, including Explore More Discovery Museum Advisory, and the Go Virginia Region 8 Council. Mike holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from James Madison University and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Natural Science from Bethel College, KS (#GoStones) with additional graduate coursework completed at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana University, and Pittsburg State University. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) as well as a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and Golden Key International Honor Societies. In his spare time, Mike enjoys a variety of outdoor pursuits including mountain biking, golfing, backpacking, and alpine skiing.

Conaway Haskins | Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation | Richmond (*)

Conaway Haskins has spent nearly 20 years helping public and private sector organizations navigate economic development, public policy, and strategic management challenges and opportunities at the local, state, and national levels. He currently serves as Vice President for Entrepreneurial Ecosystems at the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) where he provides strategic vision and operational results for the organization’s new Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Division. In this role, he advises, supports, and funds statewide and regional technology-based and innovation-led economic development initiatives. Prior to joining VIPC, he served as Associate Director of the Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation and as the State Economic Development Specialist for the university’s Virginia Cooperative Extension division. He was responsible for leading and executing technical assistance, applied research, and public engagement efforts serving communities and regions across the Commonwealth. Before that, Conaway led a variety of efforts for the Virginia Community Economic Network, Virginia State University, Council on Foundations, US Senator Jim Webb, and the Cameron Foundation. He began his career as an economic and workforce development researcher at the Aspen Institute. Conaway is an Adjunct Professor at the Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability and is an active member of the Virginia Economic Developers Association and International Economic Development Council. He earned a Master of Regional Planning degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. with honors & distinction in Government and Politics from George Mason University.

Kurt Plowman | City of Staunton | Staunton

Kurt is the City of Staunton’s Chief Technology Officer for the City. As CTO for over 24 years, he manages the City’s use of technology. Recent projects include migration to NG911, the implementation of a new telephone system, and a regional public safety radio system. He serves as a Staunton Police Department Reserve Officer, Secretary of the Wildlife Center of Virginia Board, and Chair of the Wildlife Center of Virginia Foundation.

Craig Short | Laurel Ridge Community College | Middletown (*)

Craig Short serves as the Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services at Laurel Ridge Community College where he oversees the Business Office, Auxiliaries, Facilities Management, Planning and Construction, Police, and Information Technology Departments. Formerly known as Lord Fairfax Community College and founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College has three locations in Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray serving eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and Northern Piedmont regions. Overall, 9,000 unduplicated credit students and 11,000 individuals in professional development and business & industry courses are served annually by the college in more than seventy-five associate degree and certificate programs. Prior to his current role, he most recently served as the Vice President of Facilities and Business Services at Tennessee Tech University and as the Executive Director of Facilities and Construction at James Madison University. Having transferred from Southern West Virginia Community College, he earned a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from JMU. Craig, along with his wife and four kids reside in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Brent Wilson | Sproutly | New Market

Brent Wilson hails from Page County, Virginia. Apart from four years spent getting a business degree at Pacific Union College, the Shenandoah Valley has always been home. He has worked for Sproutly for over three years in both business development and finance, now serving as Controller. Outside of work, Brent enjoys writing, technology, snow skiing, and raising three daughters with his wife, Rebecca. Sproutly was founded in 2017 and offers a range of services including software development, media marketing, and video production.

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