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Cyber Security Forum: 5 Security Controls – December 4

Take part in our final Cyber Security Forum of 2018! During this forum, we will be hosting a discussion about security controls that can enhance your company’s security.

Is your company struggling to keep up with the latest security threats? Does your company spend more on the coffee budget than the security budget? Come to our next meeting where we discuss 5 free things you can do to enhance your company’s security posture. In this session, local security leaders will analyze and break down standard recommendations and talk about ways to implement these security controls in any size organization or budget.

Topics of discussion

  1. Blocking all free domains at your web filter, huge wins against drive-by malware and phishing
  2. Setting password required length to 15 characters, helps defend against password cracking
  3. Account segregation, moving away from multiple domain admins
  4. Inventory Hardware and Software and be able to align to vulnerabilities.
  5. Secure configurations and system patching

Panelists

Jimmy Carter | IT Director, Discovery Education, Formerly at Rackspace and Microsoft

Jimmy Carter is the IT Director for Discovery Education, a Software-as-a-Service company headquartered in Charlotte.  In this role, Jimmy is responsible for all aspects of IT, inclusive of security, but also the everyday ins-and-outs of service monitoring, computer management, software updates, purchasing and more.   In almost 20 years in the industry, Jimmy has served Norfolk Southern, Virginia Tech, Babcock and Wilcox, Areva (now Orano), Microsoft and until October of this year, led an Infrastructure and Security team at Rackspace.   Jimmy attended Virginia Tech and resides in the beautiful Ellett Valley near Blacksburg.

 

Robert Garbee | Information Security Engineer, Carilion Clinic Technology Services Group

Robert Garbee is an Information Security professional working for a large medical services provider that is headquartered in the Roanoke Valley.  In this role, Robert is responsible for performing threat analysis and network assessments for enterprise network systems located in various locations across Virginia.   He has more than 20 years of experience in information technology and during that time has held positions in information security, information technology and industrial security.   His certifications have included Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and most recently Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).  Robert is also a graduate of Liberty University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management Information Security.

 

Nathaniel Sykes | Executive Vice President for IT and Operations at R&K Solutions

Nate Sykes is the Executive Vice President for IT and Operations at R&K Solutions, and one of the founding members of RISE. Nate has worked in all areas of system and network administration. He has been involved in different aspects of security for the last 6 years, mostly involving prevention and detection. He holds GSEC, GMON, and GSLC certifications.

 

Moderated by Tweeks Director, Technology Futures and Community Advocacy Division of Information Technology, Virginia Tech

 

Event Details

When: Tuesday, December 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Where: Gill Memorial Building – 2nd Floor Classroom |
709 S Jefferson Street Roanoke, VA 24016

Cost: Members $15.00 |  Future Members $25.00 | Students $5.00

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Tech & Toast: Tech Showcase – February 22

Join us for a new kind of Tech & Toast where we meet after work and raise a glass to toast our region’s technology sector! Our first evening Tech & Toast will be a Tech Showcase featuring 10 RBTC member presenting in a PechaKucha format. This event is designed to allow you the opportunity to get to know more about your technology peers throughout the region. You will not want to miss our first evening Tech & Toast! Our presenters will be:

  • Aeroprobe
  • ACI
  • Card Isle
  • FluxTeq
  • Inorganic Ventures
  • MOVA
  • Pervida
  • Polymer Solutions
  • Qualtrax
  • Rackspace

Date: Thursday, February 22, 2018

Time: 5:30- 8:00pm

Event Schedule:

  • 5:30 pm – Registration, Happy Hour, Dinner
  • 6:15 pm – Program Begins
  • 7:15 pm – Program Concludes – Networking Resumes
  • 8:00 pm – Event Ends

Location: Holiday Inn Valley View – Grand Ballroom | 3315 Ordway Drive NW, Roanoke, VA 24017

Fee*: $35.00 Member before 2/17/2018 | $45.00 after 2/17/2018
$55.00 Future Member before 2/17/2018 | $65.00 after 2/17/2018
$15 Students

*Dinner is included with your registration.

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Ask the Cohort: DESA

DESA is a health care analytics and Telehealth company led by Jonathan Briganti, Dr. Anne Brown, Brian Elliott and David Trinkle, MD. They are developing a way for assessments, that are normally done inside a doctor’s office, to be done remotely on a digital medium in order to add data and communication for doctors and physicians to better support the diagnosis of health issues such as dementia, depression, anxiety, etc.


What is the biggest challenge your company has had to face so far? How did you overcome it?

Jonathan Briganti: Our biggest challenge would be that we are not business-centered people. We all came from the science world where we know how to get grants for academic trials that run for several years on end but do not move very fast. When we transitioned to the business world we had to figure out how to adjust to the fast pace style. We had to learn about Patent Protection, forming LLC’s, getting office space, and forming connections. It is an entirely different side of life that we never really considered entering until we had this idea. Once we entered the business world, we had to move very quickly and the RAMP program has been very helpful with moving us in the right direction.

What are you hoping to get out of RAMP?

Dr. Anne Brown: We are hoping to get a more robust business plan and conceptual model for actually selling our product to multiple venues like, larger hospital systems, nursing home systems, school systems, etc. In order to do that we are hoping to get more guidance in what kind of models we need to set up for each of those.

Jonathan Briganti: I think connections are a very big thing as well. We have been very fortunate to have Victor Ianello as a mentor and to have been introduced to some very influential people in the area. It is great having those people that can open doors and help us get our name out there further than we thought was possible.

What do you like about the Roanoke area? Why do you want to be here and grow your company here?

Dr. Anne Brown: I grew up in Roanoke, went to Roanoke College for my undergrad, and attended Virginia Tech for graduate school. I think the area has a lot of potential for growth and many aspects that make the quality of life high. I think it is a great place for us, especially with the ability to tap into undergraduates at Virginia Tech as we grow and need more individuals in the engineering STEM fields. I think there is a great talent pool at Virginia Tech. From what I understand, students also enjoy the area due to the accessibility of nature in a metropolitan setting that still provides an affordability of living.  There is also a lot of movement and growth in the health care field through the Virginia Tech Carilion partnership.

Jonathan Briganti: I have really seen a big push from business owners, especially the ones involved in RAMP, for start ups to grow and succeed. We have had nothing but positive connections in Roanoke. Everyone wants to help us and see us succeed. Everyone we have connected with in Roanoke has been very thoughtful and helpful.

What advice would you give to those interested in starting a business?

Jonathan Briganti: If you have an idea, go for it. When this idea began, I was an undergraduate at Virginia Tech and never thought I would have my own office a year later. We never thought the idea we had for a hackathon last April would last more than that weekend. We all joke that this has been the longest weekend of our lives. If you see a need in the world there is no reason you cannot be the one to solve that issue. Never decide not to pursue a particular field because you think you do not know enough about it, because you can learn.

Has your company done something exciting recently?  

Dr. Anne Brown: We are still exploring all the many channels and usability of this kind of app platform. Pretty much on almost a daily or weekly basis we learn about a different area that is interested or think they could use this kind of product in a certain way. Finding those things out though various market surveys is very interesting and exciting.

Jonathan Briganti: We just finished a beta version of the app so we are able to get focus testers out. The app is not connected with medical records at all, but for the first time we are having people use our app. It is exciting to have it in the hands of individuals out there and get their feedback.

So you’re working with a mentor, tell me about that experience.

Dr. Anne Brown: It is a wonderful experience. We need mentorship and we are fully open to that kind of guidance. I think it would be silly for us to not take the advice of someone who has been there before and has learned from experience, especially when it can help us get over different bumps along the road.

Jonathan Briganti: Coming into this we knew that there are a million things we should do in order for our business to succeed. It has been helpful to talk to someone who is so connected in the community and have them tell us that there are a million things that we can do, but these three things are the most important things to do right now. It has really allowed us to focus down and make a stronger business.

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Common Wealth Growth Group invests millions in Blacksburg’s Qualtrax

Roanoke’s newest investing firm is betting millions on its first local company: a 23-year-old software firm with a swanky new office and plans to finally shed its low profile.

Qualtrax only became a standalone business last year, after two decades inside Christiansburg’s CCS Inc. (now FoxGuard Solutions), which had made compliance software since the 1980s.

Qualtrax is preparing to make its public debut with a $3 million cash infusion.

The funding was led by Common Wealth Growth Group, the investing firm launched last year by Roanoke’s former Interactive Achievement CEO Jon Hagmaier. Other investors include San Francisco venture capital firm Lyden Capital and CCS executives Marty Muscatello and Tim Lawson.

With the investment announced Tuesday, Qualtrax President Amy Ankrum said she hopes to see things take off with more employees and better brand exposure right in Virginia Tech’s back yard.

Read the full story at The Roanoke Times website >>>

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RBTC Seeks RAMP Accelerator Director

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) is seeking a talented individual to serve as the Director of the RAMP Accelerator. RAMP is located in downtown Roanoke in a historic building under renovation through a public-private partnership, in close proximity to the Virginia Tech Carilion Health Sciences and Technology Campus and located in the Roanoke Health Sciences and Technology Innovation Corridor. RAMP and its Director will play an integral part in accelerating three to five technology or life science focused companies per year to a venture fundable stage. The position will report to the CEO of the RBTC. With support of the RAMP Advisory Board, the RAMP Director will make an important contribution to a growing regional business community.

RESPONSIBILITIES: 

  • Manage and coordinate overall day to day operations of the accelerator program and key program initiatives including mentoring, financial management, funding, networking, and education.
  • Work with the RBTC CEO and RAMP Advisory Board to establish a five-year RAMP strategic plan, focus on established priorities, and keep the CEO and Board informed about progress towards plan milestones.
  • Support the RBTC CEO in leading and collaborating on regional start-up and accelerator efforts to strengthen the regional ecosystem.
  • Coordinate with partners to develop RAMP programming and to support regional start-up and innovation programming.
  • Manage the accelerator recruitment and screening process including marketing to potential members, selection criteria development, initial screening, competetive selection process, and review of candidates.
  • Manage the mentor recruitment and screening process including indentifying potential mentors, selection criteria development, initial screening, selection process, and review of mentors.
  • Insure appropriate services and support are provided to assist venture fundable startups participating in the accelerator program.
  • Assist with grant applications and report out on required grant metrics.

VIEW FULL JOB DESCRIPTION

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Established Blacksburg web design firms ACI and IDD merge to grow capabilities in Southwest Virginia

Automation Creations, Inc. (ACI) has just completed the acquisition of Interactive Design and Development, Inc, (IDD) growing their total workforce to 22 full-time employees in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. Both companies benefit from the merger, increasing their capabilities and skillsets with a long history of software and multimedia development, for both regional and global customers. ACI develops web and mobile software for businesses with a focus on computer and database programming. IDD develops interactive web and kiosk experiences, focusing on user experience and multimedia.

Henry Bass, founder and president of ACI, says the merger made perfect sense from the beginning: IDD operates in a complimentary space, and the two companies have worked together on multiple projects over the last two years. ACI has senior software developers and database expertise, which combines well with IDD’s project managers, business development and software programming talent.

“We are delighted to formalize our ongoing relationship with the talented staff of IDD” said ACI President Henry Bass. “The result is a stronger web, mobile and kiosk development team. We’re very proud of the tremendous employee experience from both companies.” ACI celebrated its 20th anniversary this June, while IDD celebrated their 25th anniversary in July.

The combined company, operating as ACI, has retained all employees in the acquisition and boasts a merged workforce of 22, with no layoffs and the potential to grow in size with the new capabilities. Dr. Mary Miller, IDD’s President, said, “IDD brings an exceptional kiosk development team, leveraging a content management system we developed for cloud-based kiosk updates, maintenance and monitoring.” The IDD team has been working on a project for the Smithsonian museum since the beginning of this year.

ACI adds its web hosting capability to IDD’s offerings. Jim Wyers, CEO of ACI noted “Over 250 local customers enjoy the fact that their web, email and applications are hosted locally. If a customer has trouble, we are the only call they need to make.” noting that other firms or hosting environments may require a customer to contact multiple services to track down a problem with email or website issues between the designer, the domain name server, the web site host and email host.

ACI pursued this merger as part of a growth strategy, augmenting a strong data-driven web programming team with user experience expertise from IDD, their software development talent in .Net content management, and the cloud-kiosk market. Dr. Miller’s business development talent combined with educational technology is another key component to the expanded company’s growth plans.
“From a customer perspective, both companies have a strong brand, and continue to offer the services our customers value.” Said Laureen Fleming, commercial projects director. Dr. Miller is an engaging speaker with a wealth of multimedia and web experience. She represents the first technical marketing director of ACI. “We have increased capacity to handle the exciting projects both companies have lined up, and can offer faster response to both existing customer needs and new projects Mary brings” said Fleming.

Both companies have been active in the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council, serving in leadership positions. Dr. Miller was president of the RBTC from 2009 through 2010, is a member of the RBTC Hall of Fame, and is active in 4H leadership. Henry Bass chairs the RBTC member development committee, serving as an advocate for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) development among the future workforce of the Roanoke Blacksburg region. He also serves as the STEM co-chair on the board of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. Henry is the Vice President of New River Robotics Association, a volunteer in the non-profit, where he is an assistant coach for the Tuxedo Pandas competitive robotics team and head judge for the Roanoke Blacksburg FIRST Lego League competition in November. Both Miller and Bass agree that giving back to the community is fundamental to corporate and regional success.


 

Contact:
Henry Bass, President
Automation Creations, Inc.

Phone 540-552-7670, ext 3101
Fax 540-552-1657
Henry.Bass@aciwebs.com

2020 Kraft Drive, Ste 3000
Blacksburg, VA 24060

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Take Five with Dr. Vinod Chachra, Founder of VTLS Inc

Dr. Vinod Chachra, Ph.D. is the Founder of VTLS Inc. a library automation company that did business in 43 countries. Beginning in 1975, Chachra designed the original software that in 1980 became Virginia Tech Library System and in 1985 became VTLS Inc. All the products of VTLS Inc. were made in Blacksburg VA. VTLS Inc. was the first spinoff corporation from Virginia Tech (VT) and the first tenant of the VT-Corporate Research Center. Dr. Chachra ran the company from 1985 to 2014 as its President and CEO. In addition to the Blacksburg offices, the company had a global presence with offices in Spain, Switzerland, Brazil, Malaysia, India and Australia. The company was sold to III in 2014. He served as Vice President of Global Expansion of III.

Dr. Chachra has been active in the library profession for more than 30 years. He represented Virginia in the White House Conference on Library and Information Sciences in 1979, served on the legislative committee for library networking in Virginia, and is a former member of the White House Conference on Library and Information Services Task Force. He has worked with several countries in the design and implementation of their national bibliographic information resources and union catalogs.

Dr. Chachra is an internationally recognized lecturer and consultant in the field of information system planning. For several years he served as the Senior Consultant for NCHEMS (National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.) In this capacity he helped many US Institutions of Higher Education in the planning of their IT resources.

From 1972 to 1985, he successively assumed roles of Director of Software Development, Director of Computing and Information Systems, Vice Provost and then Vice President for Computing and Information Systems at Virginia Tech. He left the VP position at VT to start VTLS Inc.

In 1992, he was invited to be a member of the ALA delegation to Romania and to serve on the ALA International Relations Committee’s Bibliotheca Alexandrina subcommittee. In 1994, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) elected Dr. Chachra to serve on its Board of Directors. In 2007, Dr. Chachra chaired the NISO Working Group on RFID in U. S. Libraries, and he represented the USA in international meetings regarding RFID standards.

During his career, Dr. Chachra has received many honors, including the Distinguished Information Sciences Award from Data Processing Management Association, the CAUSE Award for Exemplary Leadership, and the Blacksburg Jaycees Man of the Year Award. He was inducted into the VT Faculty Entrepreneur Hall of Fame (2012), the RBTC Technology Hall of Fame (2013) and Academy of Engineering Excellence (2015).

Dr. Chachra has written two books, a chapter in a third book, and numerous journal articles. He earned his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Virginia Tech. He taught graduate classes in Engineering and Computer Science.



RBTC: What are some of the regional resources that have contributed to your success?

Vinod Chachra: VTLS, the company I founded with Virginia Tech (VT) in 1985, was, the first spinoff company from Virginia Tech. So VT, through VTIP was a major key player in the success of the company. At that time the Commonwealth of Virginia had no laws or regulations governing Intellectual Property (IP) produced at Virginia Universities. Virginia Tech played a key role in helping the legislature develop and articulate the policies that govern intellectual property rights in Virginia. This opened the doors for many other businesses that were based on IP.

Our employees came from Engineering, Computer Science and IT programs from VT and Radford University. Without this resource, it would be impossible to serve the global community we worked with. VTLS provided products and services in 43 countries from the Roanoke Blacksburg region.

The regional economic development agencies were extremely helpful in supporting us our export efforts and helping us participate in international trade missions organized by the State.

VTLS was the very first tenant at the VT Corporate Research Center. Both the CRC and the RBTC helped create a strong and vibrant environment for employees to learn and grow. Their recognition programs, mentoring programs and informal exchanges helped create a vibrant in which to live and work. As a result we were able to enjoy unprecedented retention rates for our IT staff.

RBTC: What makes the Roanoke-Blacksburg region such a good fit for your company?

Vinod Chachra: There are four important factors that make this region attractive.

First, the enormous talent pool available from the many Universities in the region. VT, RU and NRCC all play an important role in providing trained potential employees for us. We regularly participated in job fairs and campus visits. We sponsored student internships and other on the job training activities.

Second, the advanced Research and Development activities of Virginia Tech help the growth of businesses on the cutting edge of technology.

Third, quality of life is enhanced by the scenic beauty of the region and the outdoor activities it offers.

Fourth, over time, there are greater opportunities for cultural activities both in Roanoke and in Blacksburg. The Moss Center of the Arts in Blacksburg offers tremendous opportunities for young professionals. The sports activities in the region are a great draw for the young at heart among us.

RBTC: If you could give one piece of advice to a fellow entrepreneur, what would it be?

Vinod Chachra: I would say one word or acronym — VIVA.
Viva, long live to your company. May it live long!

As an acronym –
V is for vision which brings direction and focus to the business
I is for integrity which is an essential building block for a long and honorable future
V is for value which brings customers coming back and
A is for action that keeps employees and customers moving and motivated.

RBTC: What is one lesson you have learned over time that has made an impact on your business’ day-to-day operations?

Vinod Chachra: Open door policy – it is amazing what you learn from employees and customers alike. Remember that most of employees take great pride in doing a good job and if they are not then it is a problem of incomplete expectations, inadequate training or wrong information. The same is true of customers – they selected your products because they thought you provided the greatest value or best services. So, our day to day business is governed by focusing on keeping employees happy and customers satisfied.

RBTC: How would you like to see the Roanoke-Blacksburg region develop over the next 5 years?

Vinod Chachra: The Roanoke Blacksburg region needs better transportation systems – more flights from Roanoke Blacksburg Regional airport; train connection to Washington DC; truck lanes for interstate 81. These problems are being discussed but our region needs faster solutions. The Broadband Internet Service remains inadequate, inaccessible and expensive. Once this area was the envy of the nation but today (except for VT and CRC) we are underserved and falling behind. Access to capital, though improving, remains a great barrier to entrepreneurial success. Retention of educated young professionals remains an issue as many still prefer to graduate and leave rather than stay here. Job availability is low and growth rate in jobs is also slow.

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RAMP Business Accelerator to Foster Growth of Region’s High-potential Startups (Press Release)

Propelling high-potential startups to expand and create jobs is the goal of RAMP, a new technology business accelerator program set to launch in early 2017 in downtown Roanoke.

Entrepreneurs who seek to scale up their companies will apply to participate in RAMP, which stands for “Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program”. The program will be housed in the historic Gill Memorial Hospital building at 709 S. Jefferson St., along the recently announced downtown Health Sciences and Technology Innovation District.
Support for RAMP comes from a broad public/private partnership that draws on leaders in higher education, government, and the region’s growing technology community. RAMP founding partners include:

  • The City of Roanoke, which won a $600,000 state grant approved by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to renovate the Gill building as an accelerator;
  • Virginia Western Community College, which will provide business education classes and faculty support;
  • The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, whose members lead the RAMP Advisory Board and will develop the accelerator’s mentorship and networking initiatives;

“The breadth of this partnership demonstrates that many people recognize the need for a business accelerator in the Roanoke-Blacksburg region,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western Community College and a Roanoke-Blacksburg Innovation Network (RBIN) director. “We believe we can grow and keep our talent, whether it’s in information technology, advanced manufacturing, biosciences or other entrepreneurial efforts.”

While the region has seen business incubators and similar efforts to foster startups, RAMP stands apart because it is “an intentional and highly focused program,” said Jonathan Whitt, President and CEO of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC). “Too many times, we have seen startups leave our region because they lacked what the accelerator program will offer – structured mentorships between entrepreneurs and experienced individuals in their field, access to funding that will get them beyond early stage, and business education specifically targeted to launching technology-based start-ups.”

The program’s model, based on best practices garnered from existing successful business accelerators, will initially focus on accelerating three to five technology- or life science-focused companies per year, Whitt said. Companies accepted into RAMP will work closely with multiple mentors during an intensive three- to four-month “boot camp for founders” designed to focus on building, testing, improving, validating product-market fit, and launching their product for the market.

“RAMP represents the next logical step in the enhancement of the Roanoke-Blacksburg entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Marc Nelson, special projects coordinator for Roanoke’s Department of Economic Development and a RAMP Advisory Board member said. “The City and the EDA recognize the benefits of assisting the region’s established educators and entrepreneurs in their efforts to help emerging companies realize their goals and further grow that ecosystem.”

RAMP expects to play a different but complementary role in that entrepreneurial ecosystem. For example, the CoLab, with more than 140 members, functions as an inclusive co-working space in Roanoke appropriate for entry-level entrepreneurs. RAMP, by contrast, will select companies through a competitive application process open to the region’s technology entrepreneurs, serving up to five high-growth enterprises that have demonstrated they have developed a minimum viable product to serve a large market opportunity…

READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE

Ceremony to kick off renovations to the Gill Memorial Building took place Wednesday, June 29.
For more information visit: http://www.ramprb.tech/

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