SVTC Luncheon: What is 5G and Why Should I Care?

NOTE: This luncheon has been rescheduled to remote access for April 15, 2020 and will be accessed via Google Hangouts Meet. This platform is operating system independent. We will email you the Google Hangouts Meet link after you’ve registered. (We will also use a waiting room and admit you from there.) For any questions, please contact (If accessing the meeting via desktop the link will open in a browser; Chrome recommended but not necessary. If accessing the link from a mobile device, we recommend pre-installing the Hangouts app.) 

5G is the next generation of mobile phone radio technology. Deployment of 5G by wireless phone providers has already begun, and it will ramp up in 2020. In this talk, we’ll explain 5G in simple terms and lay out how it will impact you today and in the next decade.

Scott Robohn headshot - 5G talk

About the Speaker
Scott Robohn is Chief Architect of IP and Optical Networks art Nokia. He is an experienced technology leader with expertise in Mobile Networking, Cloud, IP networking, and related technologies. He has over 25 years experience building and leading teams in technical sales, customer service, and product development.

Thank you luncheon sponsors!

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SVTC Luncheon Sign-up | April 15, 2020

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What is TechNite20?
Once a year, the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council highlights local tech innovation. We celebrate the successes of technology firms, organizations and programs in the region — and the entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders, and educators behind those successes. This is the council’s biggest to-do of the year. At this premier dinner, the networking opportunities are unparalleled. Tech Nite is the largest annual technology event in the Valley

Nomination Season IS OPEN! Make a nomination!
Do you know a leader, educator, entrepreneur, innovator, company, and/or organization that has impacted your local community using technology? If so, then consider submitting a TechNite20 award nomination! Hosted by the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council, Tech Nite is the Valley’s largest technology celebration of the year. With more than 250 people attending annually, this premier dinner honors and recognizes the technology innovators of the Shenandoah Valley.

We are currently taking nominations until March 31, 2020 in the following categories:

• Innovation in Community Impact
• Innovation in Emerging Business Award
• Innovation in Education K-12 Award
• Innovation In Higher Education Award
• Innovation in Development Award
• Innovation in Utilization Award
• Dr. John Noftsinger Leadership Award

(Neither nominee nor nominator need to be a member of the SVTC to be nominated.)

Why make a nomination? Tech Nite attendees witness the successes of those nominated. This recognition helps organizations and individuals immensely — the winning organization is able to expand its network, attract employees, and obtain publicity inside and often outside of the local region.

More information on nominations:
More information on Tech Nite:

NOTE: Self nominations ARE accepted. In fact, WE LIKE THEM A LOT. These types of nominations are usually the most complete and accurate. We also greatly value close coordination between nominator and nominee, so please don’t surprise someone with a nomination. We do not share or publish who made a nomination.

More information/submit a TechNite20 nomination!

POSTPONED | SVTC Luncheon: What is 5G and Why Should I Care?


A new registration form will be posted here:

5G is the next generation of mobile phone radio technology. Deployment of 5G by wireless phone providers has already begun, and it will ramp up in 2020. In this talk, we’ll explain 5G in simple terms and lay out how it will impact you today and in the next decade.

Scott Robohn headshot - 5G talk

About the Speaker
Scott Robohn is Chief Architect of IP and Optical Networks art Nokia. He is an experienced technology leader with expertise in Mobile Networking, Cloud, IP networking, and related technologies. He has over 25 years experience building and leading teams in technical sales, customer service, and product development.



Thank you luncheon sponsors!

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Valley Women in Tech Lunch: Navigating the Technology Job Market

Registration now open for the February
Valley Women in Tech Lunch.
See form below!

Equal pay for equal work, #metoo, gender equality, there’s been a lot of media coverage for real workplace issues that continue to occur for women in the workplace. As we celebrate the 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage, so much has changed for how women’s lives have changed for the better. With that said the global gender pay gap will take 257 years to close, according to the World Economic Forum report published in December 2019. That’s even worse than the prior year, when the organization estimated it would take 202 years to close the gap.

But we don’t have 200 plus years to wait for the world to get its act together and treat us fairly. So what can we do today to put our best foots forward to have a better outcome as we navigate the job market and ask the right questions when it comes to our prospective opportunities?

This session is meant to be an open dialogue of tips and tricks gleaned from over 25 years of experience in diversified industries, from the lens of someone who has been a technical professional, an HR professional, an executive who has a seat at the table.

About the Speaker: Heather Banks, Chief Human Resources Officer, Shentel

Heather Banks HeadshotMs. Banks has twenty-three years of progressive leadership experience and a strong background in leading and managing strategic HR initiatives, having served in a variety of senior human resources management roles with both publicly-traded and privately-held organizations across a range of industries.  She has experience working closely with all levels of employees, from the front line to executive leadership, and with Boards of Directors.

Ms. Banks most recently served as the Chief Human Resources Officer of American Woodmark, headquartered in Winchester, Virginia.  Prior to joining American Woodmark, she served as Vice President, Human Resources with Carlisle FoodService Products, a division of Carlisle Companies; and as Director of Human Resources with UTC Aerospace Systems and Goodrich Corporation.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Florida State University and a Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the University of New Haven.

SVTC Luncheon: Protecting Small & Medium-Size Businesses From Cyber Attacks

Protecting small and medium-size businesses from cyber attacks.
Lessons learned from the GO Virginia cybersecurity program at BRCC.

Dan O'Brien HeadshotDan O’Brien – current GO Virginia cybersecurity program manager, a former cybersecurity analyst with the US Department of Justice, and also an instructor at Blue Ridge Community College – will talk about best methods for businesses to protect themselves from losses due to cyber-attacks. From BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies to backups, from business impact analyses to cybersecurity assessments, and from ransomware to spearfishing protection, the presentation will help to raise cybersecurity maturity organizations and companies. O’Brien will cover new forms of hacking and attacking to keep you up-to-date.

How can you be sure that your vendors are cyber secure? Many attacks these days originate from cyber-insecure companies that share networks with bigger companies such as yours, so their open doors to hackers are yours as well. Also, learn how the GO Virginia cybersecurity program is being used to assist the US Congress with their upcoming Cyber Ready Workforce Act.

Thank you luncheon sponsors:


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ICAP Lean Startup Introductory Course

Accepting applications for ICAP 2020!

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 17, 2020 – Applications are due by midnight; see the link below.
  • February 19, 2020 – Acceptance notifications and communication with next steps and instructions, including how to prepare for the first session.
  • TBD – 6:00pm – 8:00pm – Introductory Conference Call
  • March 2, 2020 – 9:00am – 5:00pm – Initial Team Presentations
  • March 16, 2020 – Each team participates in a pre-scheduled telephone review of the team’s Customer Discovery Progress over the first week
  • March 23, 2020 – 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.

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:

This cohort is hosted by the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center, Shenandoah Valley Technology Council, and the Center for Innovative Technology.

Apply: Apply for ICAP Lean Startup Introductory Course in Harrisonburg (deadline 2/17)

You Be the Chemist (Grades 5-8)

JMU’s Professional and Continuing Education is teaming up with the Chemical Educational Foundation ® (CEF) to run the You Be The Chemist Challenge® in the Shenandoah Valley! You Be The Chemist Challenge is an interactive academic contest that uses the drama of competition to excite grade 5–8 students about science. The Challenge tests students’ knowledge of chemistry concepts, their real-world applications, and other topics that are included in standard science curriculum, such as:

  • the scientific method
  • properties of matter
  • chemical formulas & equations
  • chemistry in the human body

Participating schools and students have an opportunity to receive national recognition, prizes, and scholarships. The winner and one educator from each state even receive an expenses-paid trip to the national competition in Philadelphia in June! There is no cost to participate, and participation requires a minimal time commitment from schools. Study materials are provided free online to help students prepare for the competition. The local challenge for the Shenandoah Valley will be held on February 29, 2020 at James Madison University.

If you are interested in registering your school to participate in the Shenandoah Valley Challenge, please visit All participating schools must register by December 6, 2019.

The Challenge was created by the Chemical Educational Foundation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing science education for our youth. The competition involved 30 states and almost 25,000 students during the last school year and it continues to grow—we hope to get your school involved!

For more information about participating in future events, please contact Melissa Heatwole at or 540-568-4226 or visit

FIRST LEGO League Harrisonburg Regional Tournament

Volunteers needed for FIRST LEGO League Harrisonburg Regional Tournament!

The FIRST LEGO League Harrisonburg Regional Tournament is free to attend 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:

2019 Challenge: CITY SHAPER
What if you could build a better world? Where would you begin?

More than ever, we must come together to innovate and solve problems. In FIRST®, you are part of a thriving community brimming with inspiration, creativity, and hope for a stronger, more sustainable future-one that’s built better together. You have the power to help the cities, towns, and places you call home reach new heights. With the support of the FIRST community, this is your opportunity to lead our future forward-and up.
FIRST LEGO League challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. During the CITY SHAPER season, teams will choose and solve a real-world problem in the Innovation 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 about FLL, visit

Fall Tech Mixer – New Date in October

This event has been rescheduled from September 24 to OCTOBER 15. Anyone who previously registered for Sept. 24 has been contacted and is now registered for October 15. Please call (540) 568-5058 or email with any questions.

The new registration page can be found here: