Save the date for TechNite19!

On April 29, 2019 the Valley’s tech users and creators will gather to highlight local tech innovation in 8 categories. We call it TechNite19. We’ll celebrate the successes of technology firms, organizations and programs in the region — and the entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders, and educators behind the scenes. Join us on April 29th as we gather for the 19th time to honor the Valley’s best and brightest.

SVTC February Luncheon

A registration form for this event will be available soon!

Natural language processing (NLP) is a technology that is becoming increasingly important for the business community. Given a text input, NLP systems can break the document into sentences and individual words, identify parts of speech (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.), and recognize names of people, places, organizations, etc. NLP also parses sentences to depict the dependency relationships between words, and attempts to recognize coreferences so that pronouns in a document can be associated with names that occur earlier in the document. NLP applications include analysis of twitter feeds, customer reviews, blogs, news stories, or any other corpus of text that may be relevant to an organization. This ability to impose structure on unstructured data promises to be very helpful to industry.

About the Speaker
Mike Mitri, a CIS professor at JMU, has developed an application called Story Analyzer that uses an NLP engine to extract information from a textual narrative and identify the main actions of the story, the people or entities that perform these actions, the people or entities affected by these actions, and other contexts (places, times, etc.). Story Analyzer then displays the results in a dashboard that includes interactive word clouds, geographical map, timeline, and other visualizations. He will discuss the mechanics of NLP and demonstrate the dashboard. A fun time will be had by all.

Accelerators: Driving Applications for Society

Jefferson Lab’s technology stewardship event offers a unique opportunity to hear the many ways that accelerators, originally developed for research, can now be used to address national and international priorities, including:

  • Environmental cleanup
  • Medicine and health
  • Isotope production
  • Advanced materials for industrial applications
  • Alternative energy
  • National security

Dr. Robert Hamm, keynote speaker, is the editor of Industrial Accelerators and Their Applications, and he will be giving his perspective on Worldwide Utilization of Industrial Accelerators.

The interactive panel discussion format will allow participants listen and engage with top experts from industry, universities, and from the entrepreneurial and venture capital communities, highlighting the applications of advanced accelerators beyond that of scientific research and how industry and national labs can work together to move these applications to market. A tour of Jefferson Lab’s research, testing and production facilities in the SRF Institute will be offered to registered attendees.

Register for this event by December 12, 2018!

Cybersecurity Basics for Managers

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.

Course Format

  • Monday, Jan. 7th: In-Person | 9:00 am – 4:30 pm | downtown Harrisonburg
  • Thursday, Jan. 10th: Online | 9:00 – 11:00 am
  • Monday, Jan. 14th: In-Person | 9:00 am – 4:30 pm | downtown Roanoke
  • Thursday, Jan. 17th: Online | 9:00 am – 11:00 am

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.

More information and registration for the January 7-17, 2019 cybersecurity course

SVTC January Luncheon

Join us as Dr. Harry Reif. professor emeritus JMU CoB,  discusses net neutrality.
Registration form and add’l details in Jan. 2019.

Grand Opening: Inventors & Innovators of Harrisonburg and Rockingham Exhibit

Come see the history of inventors & Innovators of Harrisonburg!

Inventors & Innovators Exhibit

This event was originally rescheduled from Nov. 15 (due to bad weather) and is now occurring Nov. 28.

Join us at the The Heritage Museum for a new exhibit opening on November 28th to celebrate the area’s history of ingenuity. Come learn about the history of Harrisonburg’s inventors and some beautiful patent art prints from the early nineteenth century on.

JMU X-Labs Innovation Summit

Join us at the JMU X-Labs Innovation Summit! Students from all eight courses will display and present their final projects to administrators, industry client partners, family and friends. You are invited to join us to connect with extraordinary students, watch presentations and explore an open symposium of demonstrations and displays of student solutions.

The 8 Courses:

  1. Augmented/Virtual Reality
  2. Autonomous Vehicles
  3. Blockchain
  4. Community Innovations
  5. Creativity and Innovation
  6. Hacking for Diplomacy
  7. Internet of Things
  8. Medical Innovations

Registration and parking information for December 7, 2018 X-Labs Innovation Summit

SVTC Luncheon | Deep Neural Networks: How They Work and When They Don’t


Over the last ten years, deep neural networks have been at the center of a machine learning boom that has seen hundreds of millions of dollars of investment from the tech industry, governments and academic institutions.  Dr. Sprague will briefly explain how deep neural networks work, why they’ve had such a big impact, and why they *won’t* solve all of our problems.

About neural networks:

Dr. Nathan SpragueAbout the Speaker
Nathan Sprague , Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at James Madison University and the Coordinator of the JMU Robotics Minor.  He teaches courses in AI, Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles.  His research interests are in the areas of machine learning and computer vision.



Thank you to our luncheon sponsors!

CISE Logo    ComSonics

Dynamic Aviation Logo      City of Harrisonburg Seal        Rockingham Insurance logo

Entrepreneurial Spark Speaker Series

Join us at the Fall 2018 Entrepreneurial Spark! Darrel Branch, Sandra Tran and Gilbert Welsford are JMU graduates who operate in very different sectors, but the principles of branding and marketing are the same.

Darrel Branch is the founder and CEO of the Branch Out Group LLC, a marketing consulting firm that applies traditional marketing principles to help build mid-sized companies and non-traditional brands such as entrepreneurs, entertainers and athletes. The firm primarily serves as an out sourced Chief Marketing Officer to emerging businesses and enterprises. Darrel has created global comprehensive marketing strategies for many billion dollar brands in the beverage industry such Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Gold Peak and NESTEA.

Sandra Tran and Gilbert Welsford are 2012 graduates who in 2013 launched Nicecream together. Before that, Sandra got her feet wet in the fast paced world of start ups at LivingSocial. She always had a passion for innovation, and began experimenting with a food concept that would grow into Nicecream, an innovative ice cream company that makes ice cream directly in front of customers using liquid nitrogen. There are now 4 Nicecream locations in Virginia and D.C.

Gilbert is an entrepreneur at heart. In addition to Nicecream, he has led multiple companies from the beginning stages of development to growth in multiple cities. Gilbert consults entrepreneurs and small businesses in start up and growth strategy. His passion is helping college aged students realize the benefits, risks, and lifestyle of a young business leader and entrepreneur, so that they might pursue their dreams of being creators.


5:00 – Doors open for networking

5:30 – Featured speakers

6:15 – Questions

6:30 – Stay around to continue the conversation or join us for dinner at Clementine

**Space is limited, please RSVP early.**

After the program, continue the discussion upstairs for dinner (Dutch treat) at Clementine. Please RSVP separately for the event and for the dinner.

Entrepreneurial Spark Speaker Series showcases the stories and lessons from the business and non-profit worlds that can only come from the people who have lived them.

Register for October 23, 2018 Entrepreneurial Spark Series

Tour and crash test at Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

 IIHS Logo


At times we are able to offer  —to our members— exclusive access to often non-public places and tours, and we are beyond delighted to offer a tour of the facility, and attendance at a crash test of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in Ruckersville. (

IIHS is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries, and property damage — from motor vehicle crashes. For decades, IIHS has been a leader in finding out what works and doesn’t work to prevent motor vehicle crashes from happening in the first place and to minimize injuries in the crashes that still occur.

Vehicle Research Center
In 1992, IIHS opened the VRC. Tucked in the foothills of central Virginia, this state-of-the-art facility is where IIHS performs the crash tests that form the basis of its widely consulted vehicle ratings.

Space is limited and once the available spots are gone, the sign-up form will stop accepting submissions. (Only 2 registrations per member organization, please.)

9:15 am meet in a parking lot (location tbd – we will send details by email the day before) – divide into several car-pools if we can.
(If you’re willing to drive, please indicate on the registration form.)

10:15 am, arrive; 10:30 – 11:30, Tour of facility; 11:30 – 12 noon, crash test

12 noon, lunch (sponsored by Rockingham Insurance, at IIHS)

Depart ~ 1 pm; arrive back in Harrisonburg ~ 2 pm

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We appreciate the sponsorship of Rockingham Insurance
who has facilitated this tour for us,
and is feeding us lunch!Rockingham Insurance logo

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Not a member but want to come along on Oct 25 and also gain all the other business and visibility benefits of membership – be part of the tech fabric of the Valley? Become a member today: SVTC Membership Options