Delivery of the 2021 Tech Nite Award Pillars

Face to Face Networking at Our Annual Fall Tech Mixer: We Distributed 5 of 8 Tech Nite Award Pillars in Person

This fall, we had the opportunity to gather in person, outside, network, and catch up, and best of all, we were able to deliver 5 of 8 Tech Nite award pillars. Of course, Tech Nite had been held in June 2021, virtually, but it was so nice to present five of them in one fell swoop and have people be there in person. (Three of the awards had been delivered over the summer.) 

The Valley’s annual Tech Nite highlights and honors local technology achievement and innovation.
For *all* the details, visit our Tech Nite pages.

The JMU CISE Innovation in Community Impact Award

The Community Impact Award is given to an individual, team, nonprofit/civic organization, or company in the Shenandoah Valley that aspires to use its capabilities to help solve a social or environmental issue in a local community while using technology to amplify the impact of a service, mission, or project. 

Dr. Bob Kolvoord, Dean, JMU CISE, presented the Innovation in Community Impact Award to James Carter and Tim Brady (who represent the group that powered Pale Fire Helps).

The project was a collaborative partnership between Sysco Foods, Digital Minerva, the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, and many hard-working volunteers to assist in the distribution of food to restaurant workers during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All the details about this nomination: Tech Nite 21 Narratives (pg. 4) (PDF) 





The GreeneHurlcoker Innovation in Emerging Business Award

Awarded to a Shenandoah Valley start-up/emerging technology company or entrepreneur.

Jared Burden, with GreeneHurlocker, presented the Innovation in Emerging Business Award to Traipse Inc.

Traipse created a digital currency/payment platform, called My Local Token, that replaces plastic gift cards, introduces a flexible loyalty program for local businesses, reduces merchant transaction fees, promotes “shop local” and improves customer engagement. 

All the details about this nomination: Tech Nite 21 Narratives (pg. 9) (PDF) 

The Rockingham Circuit Court Innovation in Education K-12 Award

Awarded to the educator or program in K-12 that provides exceptional technology leadership, innovative use, and/or development of technology while encouraging students to pursue higher education or training in science, technology, engineering, or math.

Over the summer, Chaz Haywood, Clerk of Court, Rockingham Circuit Court, presented the Innovation in Education K-12 Award to Shenandoah County Public Schools.

The team of six Instructional Technology Resource Coaches (ITRC’s) at Shenandoah County Public Schools are responsible for assisting staff and students with the effective integration of instructional technology in teaching and learning to enhance student achievement. When the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic meant that teachers had to learn how to teach virtually, the ITRC helped the staff learn and understand new content management systems, navigate virtual learning through Zoom, and introduce new digital tools to support the learning process.

All the details about this nomination: Tech Nite 21 Narratives (pg. 11) (PDF) 






The Shenandoah Valley Technology Council Innovation In Higher Education Award

Awarded to the educator or program in higher education that provides exceptional technology leadership, innovative use, and/or development of technology while encouraging students to pursue higher education or training in science, technology, engineering or math.

Over the summer, Nicky Swayne, representing the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council, delivered the Innovation in Higher Education Award to Shenandoah University ESports.

The academic Esports programs at Shenandoah University provide skills in STEM fields through the lens of esports and gaming while focusing on technology-driven solutions and content with components of business, management, media, and computer science to prepare students to enter into the Esports industry or related fields upon graduation.

All the details about this nomination: Tech Nite 21 Narratives (pg. 14) (PDF)

The CIT Innovation in Development Award

Awarded to a company or organization whose development of new technology applications and/or systems creates new processes, methodologies, and/or services for their own or others’ benefit.

Nicky Swayne, representing CIT, presented the Innovation in Development Award to withSimplicity (Irinia and Mary) and JMU X-Labs.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, withSimplicity saw an immediate reduction in sales because customers weren’t entering brick-and mortar stores to shop. withSimplicity partnered with students at JMU X-Labs to develop Augmented Reality (AR) filters on Instagram to showcase most of its makeup products.The AR app allows withSimplicity to provide a virtual experience to customers so they can “play” with the products and try them before they buy them online.

All the details about this nomination: Tech Nite 21 Narratives (pg. 15) (PDF) 




The Dynamic Aviation Innovation in Utilization Award 

This award recognizes outstanding commercial growth and achievement by an established company that either produces or markets high tech products or services, or an established company or organization that produces/offers more traditional products and services (where technology itself is not the core business purpose).

Over the summer, Nicky Swayne, SVTC, and Douglas Pascarella Dynamic Aviation presented the Innovation in Utilization Award to Virginia Eagle Distribution.

In 2018, Virginia Eagle started looking for digital and e-commerce solutions to satisfy the expected need in the industry for B2B selling platforms. Vermont Information Processing (VIP), Virginia Eagle’s route accounting software provider, uses a program called the Retailer Portal that provided simple ordering capabilities for retailers. Virginia Eagle had implemented the Retailer Portal when the beverage industry was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic in Spring 2020. As a result, Virginia Eagle had $4.7MM in gross sales through the Retailer Portal. 

All the details about this nomination: Tech Nite 21 Narratives (pg. 19) (PDF) 





The Shentel Dr. John Noftsinger Leadership Award

The recipient’s leadership has served as a catalyst for positive technology-related activity in the Shenandoah Valley. 

James Funkhouser, with Shentel, presented the Dr. Noftsinger Leadership Award to Pam Carter, BoS Augusta County.

During Pam Carter’s campaign for a seat on the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, she pledged to expand broadband coverage and has worked hard to understand the issues prohibiting widespread access to broadband across the county while simultaneously searching out various solutions. Augusta County has received funding from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan, and, due to Carter’s strong and trusted relationships with Internet service providers, more than 1,000 businesses and individuals are now eligible for broadband service.

All the details about this nomination: Tech Nite 21 Narratives (pg. 21) (PDF) 






The Serco People’s Choice Award

Awarded to one nominee from the other categories. All nominees are candidates — and the company, organization, or individual with the most votes through social media *before* and *during* the event will win.

Mike Goertzen, with Serco, presented the People’s Choice Award to Caf2Code.

In 2021, Caf2Code launched an initiative to expand into the independent solution vendors space within Dynamic 365. They believe that there is a current need for a supplemental solution that can be paired with Dynamic 365 software that creates better user experience and accessibility, both ways that a business can save money and time on their product. 

All the details about this nomination: Tech Nite 21 Narratives (pg. 7) (PDF) 

Virginia ICAP’s Lean Launchpad Short Course | Shenandoah Valley Cohort

Business Model Development for Technology Start-Ups

[The application deadline has passed. The organizers have judged the applications received and communications have gone out to each applicant on Dec. 22, 2017.  The cohort will meet on Jan. 26, 2018 for the first time.]

ICAP is a statewide technology-commercialization program offered by the Virginia Network of Small Business Development Centers, George Mason University, and local sponsors (SVTC, SBDC, JMU X-Labs).

Based on the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps™ program for Lean Startups, ICAP 2.0 helps inventors and entrepreneurs take the right first steps in bringing new technologies and innovations to market.

During this FREE 3-week program, you will work with ICAP instructors and your teammates to learn techniques that will help you identify potential customers, learn their needs and how you can build a successful business model from that knowledge.

The Short Course is the beginning of an ICAP process that guides companies through the Five Steps to Startup Success:

  • Validate your business model
  • Build the right team of three or more members
  • Develop a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Create early sales traction
  • Establish distribution channels and key partnerships

Who is Eligible?
All Virginia early-stage technology innovators and entrepreneurs (faculty, students, or the community at large) who are seeking to explore the commercial prospects for their innovations are encouraged to participate in this regional cohort.

Important Dates

  • December 15, 2017 – Applications due by midnight
  • December 22, 2017 – Acceptance notifications and communication from Bob Smith, a seasoned advisor, with next steps and instructions, including how to prepare for the first session.
  • January 26, 2018, 9:00am-3:00pm – Kick-off Classroom Introductory Session.
    We meet in JMU’s Lakeview Hall, Harrisonburg. (Location | Google Maps)
  • February 2, 2018 – Each team participates in a pre-scheduled telephone review of the team’s Customer Discovery Progress over the first week
  • February 9, 2018, 9:00am-Noon – Final Team Presentations at JMU’s Lakeview Hall

During this 3-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.

The 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 in which includes non-dilutive grants for customer discovery and prototype development. Additionally, this program can help teams develop better submissions for SBIRs and CRCF grants from Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technologies.

For more information email:

This Cohort is hosted by the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development CenterJMU X-Labs, and the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council.