VACE 2022 Conference

Virginia Association of Colleges and Employers (VACE)
Strengthening relationships between colleges and employers in Virginia and neighboring areas.

The mission of VACE is to facilitate career development and growth among career services and employer members and promote the accomplishment of professional goals by providing opportunities for relationship building and professional development activities.

Registration Deadline:  April 6th, 11:59 PM
Members: $300
Non-Members: $385
Students: $115*
One-day (Wed. or Thurs. only): $150

Tentative Schedule At A Glance: Overview
Wednesday, April 20
10:30 am                          Registration Begins
11:30 am -12:30 pm       Box Lunches available for pick up
12:30 pm                          Opening Keynote
1:45-3:00 pm                  Breakout Sessions/Think Tanks*
3- 4:15 pm                       Employer/College Panel
5:00-6:00 pm                 Newcomers Reception
5:30-6:30 pm                 Presidents Reception
6:30 pm                          Awards Dinner

Thursday, April 21
8:30-9:30 am                Breakfast Available
9:00 am                          Business Meeting and Breakfast
10:15-Noon                    Breakout Sessions/Think Tanks*
Noon:                              Lunch with Employer/College panel
1-3:00 pm                      Breakout Sessions/Think Tanks*
3:00 pm                         Closing Keynote from NACE President Dave Ong
4:30 pm                         Conclusion of formal conference
Dinner                           on own

Friday, April 22
Optional Site Visits: Available for both employers and college members (Registration will be required. More information to follow)

TechStars StartUp Weekend Harrisonburg

The Shenandoah Community Capital Fund is calling on all hopeful entrepreneurs to sign up for Techstars Startup Weekend Harrisonburg.

Anyone from students with just an idea, to entrepreneurs who have been in the entrepreneur space for years, are encouraged to register and participate in the April 8-10 event.

Techstars Startup Weekend is a 54-hour educational weekend that helps to educate, support, and empower people to become entrepreneurs. Valley-area entrepreneurs will practice their entrepreneurial skills over the course of the weekend by creating and presenting a startup business concept.

SCCF is partnering with James Madison University’s Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship to sponsor the event. Startup Weekend Harrisonburg marks the second in a series of Startup Weekend events that will occur throughout the Valley. Participants will form teams and work together to share business ideas, mentors will validate their ideas and provide guidance, and judges will evaluate each team’s business pitch.

The winning team will receive a prize package valued at $2,000 that includes a three-month team membership at the Perch coworking space, a spot in the next SCCF Bootcamp, and mentoring around startup law and patents.

“Having received the Build to Scale program grant through the Economic Development Administration, SCCF is especially poised to support the launch of scalable tech startups,” says Debbie Irwin, executive director for the SCCF. “The Techstars Startup Weekend Harrisonburg event will be one of many that will help us identify tomorrow’s tech stars.”

“This will be the 16th Startup Weekend that I’ve been involved with, and I am so excited,” says Suzanne Bergmeister, executive director of the James Madison University Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship. “In the past, students have said that attending a SUW ‘changed their life!’ This weekend event is a fun, energizing, hands-on way to learn about the entrepreneurial process, whether you have an idea or not. You will meet lots of new people, gain insight into how to build a start-up, and share a unique experience with lots of innovative, like-minded people.”

Startup Weekend is one among several startup programs operated by Techstars, an international platform for innovation and investment. Techstars connects with and convenes entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, investors, community, and corporate leaders to help businesses grow. Organizer Contact Email: with questions

Event Registration 

Coffee With Virginia Venture Partners

Join us for Coffee with Virginia Venture Partners

Date: March 18, 2022
Time: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Registration Required: RSVP HERE
Join host Jen O’Daniel, Virginia Venture Partner for a Fireside Chat with Tom Weithman, Virginia Venture Partners, & Ashish Kachru, Co-founder & President of Altruista Health.

SVTC March Luncheon | How Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) Helps Entrepreneurs and Startups

How Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation | VIPC Helps Entrepreneurs and Startups
VIPC is Virginia’s state-funded grant-making and investment organization that supports emerging entrepreneurs and scalable technology-based startups. Sean Mallon, VP of Commercialization, will talk about VIPC’s funding and entrepreneurial support programs. (There are many, e.g. Virginia Venture Partners (formerly CIT GAP Funds);  Virginia Founders Fund; Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF); VIPC’s Federal Funding Assistance Program called Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR); and the Regional Innovation Fund (RIF). VIPC Market Development focuses on Smart Communities, Unmanned Systems, and Cybersecurity. 

About Sean Mallon
Sean Mallon serves as Vice President of Commercialization. In this role, he provides strategic vision for the Commercialization Division’s mission, and he oversees the Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF), a grant program that supports the commercialization of Virginia-based high-potential research and technology.
About VIPC
VIPC accelerates early commercialization & funding support for Virginia innovations, entrepreneurs, startups & market development initiatives. VIPC concentrates on the early commercialization and seed funding stages of innovation, helping innovators and tech entrepreneurs launch and grow new companies, create high-paying jobs, and accelerate economic growth throughout the entire state of Virginia. You can visit their website at

(If this sounds familiar, you’re on to something. CIT, the Center for Innovative Technology, rebranded at the end of 2021. CIT was known for its efforts to grow and diversify Virginia’s economy by investing in and accelerating innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship for more than 35 years became the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) and will function as the nonprofit operating arm of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA). CIT’s name and brand change to VIPC reflects a new era in the prioritization of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth. The new Authority consolidates and builds on an existing foundation of successful programs and regional ecosystems that are key elements in Virginia’s strategy to nurture emerging technologies and create high-tech startups and jobs.)


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 Use the form below, then meet us at the Wood Grill at 11:40 or so on March 24, 2022

SVTC February Luncheon | What it’s like to build a global remote-first tech startup? (Q&A session)

Ask a Practitioner | What it’s like to build a global remote-first tech startup? (Q&A session)

Rachael Harnish, Chief of Staff, Shogun, has experience in the operational side of venture-backed tech startups, having formerly been responsible for HR, Legal, Accounting, Business Operations, and more as a Director of Operations at both hybrid remote/in-person and fully remote companies. On February 24, she will answer questions (pre-submitted) about life in a 100% distributed tech startup.

Register for the Luncheon (Zoom)

Help Rachael prepare: submit your question(s) by February 24, 2022!

About Shogun:

Shogun is an e-commerce experience platform empowering brands to drive higher conversions and revenue. Shogun Page Builder and Shogun Frontend help teams build and optimize their online stores to deliver exceptional experiences. The Shogun team is fully remote and distributed to over 20+ countries. Get a glimpse now and read the blog:


(If you’d like hands-on guides that help manage remote or hybrid teams, there are some excellent resources available from Workplaceless, of Winchester, VA, such as Proven Practices for Leading Hybrid Teams; Async vs Sync: Balancing Remote Team Communication, Tips, and Training for Async-First Slack. Start here: )


Thank You to Our Luncheon Sponsors!

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SCCF Open Coffee

Introducing Open Coffee, supported by SCCF! These monthly (virtual) events look to spark energized moments of inspiration, insight, and connection among entrepreneurs, creatives, developers, marketers, supporters, business owners, and all other move-and-shakers from across our region!

Register for the event

Caffeinate Innovate with Chris Jackson, Blue Sprocket








Caffeinate Innovate with Chris Jackson, Blue Sprocket

We’re super stoked to kick off this series with Chris Jackson, co-owner and chief “technical dude” of Blue Sprocket and Blue Sprocket Sound.

Chris learned the ins and outs of the music industry while living in Nashville from some of the biggest names in the game, seeing how chart-topping records got made, and what it took to keep professional facilities running.

Chris found himself back in Harrisonburg just before the 2008 financial recession and decided he would stick around a while. He started a small residential studio called Blue Sprocket. Blue Sprocket has grown into a commercial recording studio (currently being rebuilt following a fire in Oct 2020), and in 2017 Blue Sprocket Pressing was born out of a vision to be able to provide top-quality vinyl records to indie bands and labels. In addition to servicing the indie artists and small labels they set out to help, Blue Sprocket Pressing now manufactures records for Grammy-winning artists and clients around the world.

Come hear his story, lessons learned, and the always-popular Q&A!


SVTC Luncheon 1/20: Continually Assessing and Managing a Security Posture

Continually Assessing and Managing a Security Posture

“There’s always a new cyber crisis!”

Dan Bowden, CISO, Sentara Healthcare, has worked in cybersecurity for the past 30 years, incl in the military, retail, banking, higher education, and for the past 15 years in healthcare. Dan is looking forward to talking with the SVTC about the latest threats and vulnerabilities, and how organizations should continually assess and manage their security posture.






This luncheon will now be held 100% remotely via Zoom.
Please register to attend:
 Registration | Jan. 20, 2022 remote/attendance (Zoom)

See you around 11:45 am for some networking, the luncheon will start at 12 noon.  



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SVTC Luncheon 12/16: Bitcoin Mining and the fundamentals of Digital Gold

Exploring Bitcoin Mining and the fundamentals of Digital Gold

Renewable energy, hedging against fiat currenciesHODL’ing, Proof of Work (POW), and preventing wasted flare energy from hurting the environment. These topics tend to be some of the most popular narratives surrounding the controversial topic of Cryptocurrency Mining. Join Scott Hancock, co-founder, and chairman of the board of Specter Mining, a leading distributor of blockchain and cryptocurrency mining computers headquartered in Harrisonburg, Virginia to get deeper into this fascinating topic.

About Scott Hancock: With more than 15 years of experience in driving revenue for high-tech start-up businesses and technology resellers, and after 4 years of being in the cryptocurrency mining industry, Scott Hancock believes he figured it all out.  Upon graduating from Christopher Newport University with a Political Science degree in 2006, he randomly pivoted into selling traditional data center equipment and services in Orange County, CA.  Scott learned of Blockchain and Bitcoin in 2011 but did not develop a significant interest in them for a few more years.  In 2017, Scott first began to think of coins like Ether and Bitcoin as a possible investment strategy.  As his interest continued to grow, he realized he had the fundamental skill set to begin selling these more exciting computers and related services.  Some have compared this new frontier to the Wild Wild West, and Scott found out for himself that’s exactly what it is.

Scott moved to the Valley from downtown Denver about 2 years ago to be closer to his (6-year-old) daughter Adeline and is excited to share his experiences and knowledge from the Crypto Mining industry with the Shenandoah Valley tech community.





  • Remote: Register to receive your unique-to-you attendance link (via Zoom)
    The meeting will start at 12 noon
    and will be hosted by Ashton Young from the Wood Grill. You will be able to hear and see the speaker, network a bit as time allows with the other virtual attendees, and post your questions in the Zoom chatbox. Ashton will convey them to the speaker.
  • In-person: use the form below, then meet us at the Wood Grill at 11:40 or so on December 16, 2021. 


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Legislative Pre-Session Forum

Register for the joint annual SVTC & HRCC annual pre-legislative forum as we discuss the recent election results and what that means for the upcoming Virginia legislative session. Our area’s legislators have been invited, and we will hear from two well-informed speakers, Nicole Riley, Virginia director of the Small Business Association, and Kyle Shreve, Executive Director, of the Virginia Agribusiness Council

Nicole Riley: NFIB Virginia State Director

Nicole Riley is a native of Augusta County and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Roanoke College.

She was appointed state director for NFIB Virginia in 2011.  As State Director, Riley represents the interests of NFIB Virginia members before the General Assembly, the Governor’s Office, and state agencies as well as serving as the organization’s media spokesperson.  Riley oversees NFIB’s grassroots activism, political involvement, and member development efforts throughout the Commonwealth.

Prior to her appointment, she previously worked as a contract lobbyist in the Richmond office of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC.

She also served as Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs for former Attorney Generals Jerry Kilgore and Bob McDonnell.  She began her career as a Legislative Assistant to Delegate Steve Landes.

In 2011, Governor McDonnell appointed her to serve as a member of the Virginia Small Business Commission.  Currently, she volunteers as Immediate Past Chairman of the Board for the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), the Board for the Virginia 4-H Foundation, and the board for 2810 – A Community Gathering Place established by her church, Area 10 Faith Community.


Kyle Shreve: Executive Director of the Virginia Agribusiness Council

Kyle Shreve currently serves as the Executive Director for the Virginia Agribusiness Council, where he represents the Council’s diverse membership of businesses in both the agriculture and forestry industries. He holds a decade of trade association experience including representing the International Dairy Foods Association, Virginia Retail Merchants Association, and the Virginia Association of Health Plans.Kyle is originally from Pennsylvania and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from The Pennsylvania State University. He moved to Northern Virginia in 2008 to begin his six-year tenure at the International Dairy Foods Association, focusing on legislative affairs at the federal level.Soon after receiving his Master of Professional Studies in Political Management from George Washington University, Kyle moved to Richmond to work with the Virginia Retail Merchants Association as the Director of Government Affairs. He served in the role of Director of Policy at the Virginia Association of Health Plans prior to transitioning to the Virginia Agribusiness Council in May of 2018.  Kyle lives in Midlothian with his wife Christie and their sons, Bennett and Connor.

Directions and Parking:
Use JMU’s large parking lot (near the football stadium). (Should it be full, choose P lot.) JMU Parking map: From F lot, walk 1 minute to Hartman Hall, 421 Bluestone Dr, it looks like this: Hartman Hall). Hartman Hall is next to Showker Hall; the Forum (rm #2021) is a large room on the 2nd floor.

Direct link to register and pay (via the HRCC)


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Thank you, event sponsors!