Archive for March, 2011

Member Spotlight: TEK Systems & Virtual IT

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Our Member Spotlight this month is a doubleheader as we interview Cameron Martin, Lynchburg Account Manager for TEKsystems and Becky Gibbs, Senior Vice President for Virtual IT, Inc.


TEK Systems
(An interview with Cameron Martin, Lynchburg Account Manager)

R2KTC: Tell us about TEKsystems

TEKsystems: TEKsystems is the nation’s leading technology staffing and services company. We combine a proven track record of superior performance, a quality-focused approach to service delivery, and the highest-caliber technical professionals in the market and we help our clients successfully plan, build, and run their critical technology initiatives. We have more than 25 years of experience and annually deploy 70,000 technical professionals from 90 locations throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

R2KTC: What do you see trending in your industry?

TEKsystems: IT unemployment is going down so companies need to be more competitive. 85% of IT professionals are passively looking for new opportunities and 64% are actively looking. The jobs most in demand include: software developers, network architects, systems/network administrators, project managers and business analysts.

R2KTC: How has your industry changed in the last year or two?

TEKsystems: There’s a recommitment to quality and relationships. People are buying more services, statements of work and deliverables. It’s frustrating to hear companies say “we can’t find the talent” when the talent is out there, it just takes time. It takes an average of 52 days to hire a full-time staff level employee within CIO departments and a full month longer to hire manager-level positions.

R2KTC: What do you like about working in Region 2000?

TEKsystems: We have been working in Region 2000 for more than 15 years and have had a regional office in Roanoke for 4 years. The types of people in Region 2000 make it a very special place for us as they genuinely care about each other and their businesses. The amount of business in Region 2000 and its sustained growth has been impressive to us.

For more information about TEKsystems, please visit their website at: http://www.teksystems.com/


Virtual IT
(An interview with Becky Gibbs, Senior Vice President)

R2KTC: What does Virtual IT do?

Virtual IT: We are a technology consultancy with vast experience in energy and government, local and federal and other select industries. We offer agile and personalized solutions for IT strategy, security and cloud computing. We founded the business in Region 2000 in March 2000. We currently have offices in Roanoke, North Carolina and Northern Virginia.

R2KTC: What has changed for you in the past 5 to 10 years?

Virtual IT: Every year we stand back and re-evaluate the technology and business marketplace because it changes year to year. Our clients drive what we do because their business requirements and purchasing interests change year to year.

R2KTC: What do you see trending in your industry?

Virtual IT: Cloud computing for business and the Pay-As-You-Go model for IT solutions. There is an increased focus on cloud computing and virtualization right now as well as analytics.

R2KTC: What is your specialty?

Virtual IT: Strategic IT Planning and Disaster Recovery. We have been technology agnostic since day one so we always look for the best solutions to meet our customer’s needs.

R2KTC: What do you like about living and working in Region 2000?

Virtual IT: The amount of diverse technology in Region 2000 is amazing. There is so much to do here that most people will never get to do it all. We love the quality of life and balanced lifestyle – the mountains, the lake, the arts…and the train to DC!

For more information about Virtual IT, please visit their website at: http://www.virtualitinc.com/


Bedford County Schools Introduces STEM Robotics Course, Seeks Instructor

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Robotics Course

STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, math) education is a growing focus within American schools. This year Bedford County high schools are joining the movement. The Robotics course at Bedford Science and Technology Center (BSTC) is the first of a two-year course sequence encouraging student interest in the real world application of science and technology and related careers.

The course will provide instruction in basic computer programming, electronics, motor control, and feedback systems used in assembly and manufacturing settings. In addition, students will learn how to program a microcontroller for robotic manipulation.

Students and parents are encouraged to contact their school guidance counselor for more information on registration details and additional information.

Bedford County Seeks Robotics/Engineering Instructor

As a part of this new STEM course offering Bedford County Schools is seeking a qualified ‘High School – Robotics/Engineering Instructor’ who will be directing student instruction for the Robotics/Engineering program. For more details on this job opening go to the Bedford County Public Schools website.

For additional inquiries about this new course please contact: Fred Conner

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Related links and video:

BEST: “Middle and high school robotics competition whose mission is to engage and excite students about engineering, science, and technology as well as inspire them to pursue careers in these fields…”

FIRST: Their mission is to “mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership…”

VEX Robotics: “VEX Education is dedicated to providing engaging and fun student experiences that enable individuals to reach their full potential while they develop the knowledge and skills vital to success in the 21st Century.

Given today’s global challenges compared to the rest of recorded history, there has never been an age with a greater need for new scientists, engineers and problem solving leaders. Recent breakthroughs in chemistry, medicine and physics have revealed a new set of challenges and created even greater opportunity for problem solving through technology. This underscores a dramatic challenge: there are not enough students choosing related paths to meet that global demand.

Recognizing this dilemma, scores of governments and organizations are turning toward programs that integrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as a means to meaningfully engage and develop the next generation. VEX Education exists to help schools focus on practical, affordable and accessible ways of delivering dynamic hands-on STEM educational experiences to as many students as possible.”


(video of 2011 Lynchburg VEX tournament by RoboDesigners)

Virginia Lawmakers Dedicate Additional Funding for TBED, Higher Ed

Monday, March 28th, 2011

“Lawmakers approved many of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposals aimed at growing Virginia’s technology and life sciences industries by dedicating about half of the funding requested by the governor to support R&D, commercialization, SBIR matching grants, and funding for early stage equity investments. To help reach a goal of adding 100,000 college graduates to the state over the next 15 years, lawmakers also passed the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011, providing enrollment-based funding to increase access to higher education and enhancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields of study.

The legislation and amendments to the 2010-12 budget approved by the General Assembly for attracting tech companies closely mirror components of the governor’s economic development agenda presented to lawmakers earlier this year (see the Jan. 5, 2011 issue of the Digest). Specifically, lawmakers approved $10 million for an Economic Development Incentive payment, which includes:

  • $6 million for the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) to authorize grants to technology firms, loans to construct wet-labs and for the SBIR matching program. Of this amount, $2 million is earmarked for matching grants for winners of Phase I SBIR awards from the National Institutes of Health; and,
  • $4 million in new funding for the Center for Innovative Technology Gap Fund to provide seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology and science firms.

The governor’s proposal, while similar, called for a $25 million Research and Technology Fund to provide grants and loans to be distributed among three funds: a commercialization fund, a research and matching fund, and Eminent Scholars fund.

Another $5 million was appropriated to seed a new R&D tax credit program approved by lawmakers earlier in the session. Under the bill, companies can claim a 15 percent credit for qualified research, increasing to 20 percent if the research is done in partnership with a Virginia university. The program is capped at $5 million per year.

Lawmakers also passed a measure (HB2324/SB1485) amending the code governing the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority to expand its board membership, create a Research and Technology Investment Advisory Committee to review applications for awards from the CRCF, and develop a comprehensive research and technology strategic roadmap for the state. The bill also strengthens the Eminent Scholar Researcher Recruitment program to acquire and enhance superiority at public qualifying institutions.

A measure to repeal an existing solar manufacturing grant program and biofuels production incentive grant program and create a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant (CEMIG) was passed with broad bi-partisan support. The new program will provide incentives to companies that manufacture or assemble equipment, systems or products used to produce renewable or nuclear energy or products used for energy conservation. The goal was to streamline the state’s energy incentives and provide a better return on investment. Eligibility is restricted to manufacturers who make a capital investment of at least $50 million and create at least 200 full-time jobs. Wind suppliers are required to make a $10 million investment and create 30 full-time jobs.

The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 (SB1459/HB2510) passed by the General Assembly, provides a roadmap for achieving an additional 100,000 undergraduate degrees over the next 15 years, according to the governor’s office. When enacted, the bill will provide a new higher education funding policy, targeted economic and innovation incentives, and the creation of a STEM public-private partnership.

The budget bill (HB1500), providing appropriations for the 2010-12 biennium, awaits action by Gov. McDonnell. Virginia lawmakers will reconvene April 6 to consider any vetoes.” (via SSTI.org (State Science & Technology Institute))

Bob Stolle to Head CIT Regional Growth Programs

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Former Va. Secretary of Commerce Bob Stolle to Head CIT Regional Growth Programs

March 21, 2011 (HERNDON, Va.) – The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced today the appointment of Bob Stolle as the new Vice President for Regional Growth Programs, where he will be responsible for the establishment and operation of strategic programs designed to maximize the growth of Virginia’s regional technology industries.

In making the announcement, Pete Jobse, CIT President and CEO, said, “I am honored to have Bob Stolle join the CIT team as a senior executive. He brings a wealth of experience in technology, innovation, economic development and the unique strengths of each region of the Commonwealth that will help CIT advance new ideas in an ever-changing marketplace.”

In his role at CIT, Stolle will design and oversee the development of a statewide technology roadmap and growth programs specific to regional technology priorities, including expanding existing CIT programs to underserved areas. CIT’s Roadmap Project will serve as the foundation for research and company formation programs funded by the Commonwealth.

Stolle comes to CIT after four years as Executive Vice President and COO of Richmond-based Core Consulting and ten years as Executive Director of the Greater Richmond Technology Council.

Prior to that, he served in several key positions for the Commonwealth of Virginia during the Allen administration, including Secretary of Commerce and Trade where he was responsible for 15 state agencies and promoting economic and community development in the Commonwealth.

Stolle’s private sector experience includes service as engineering director and executive management for the world’s leading manufacturer of military and space simulation and training systems. He has served on the Commission on Information Technology and the Virginia Research and Technology Advisory Commission where he chaired the Intellectual Property Committee.

Stolle has served on the Technology Transition teams for Governors Warner, Kaine and McDonnell, and he served on Governor Warner’s Higher Education Task Force and the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Task Force, and Youth Internet Safety Task Force.

Other appointments include membership on Virginia Commonwealth University’s Information Systems Advisory Board and on the Executive Advisory Committee at the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business. Stolle is also Vice Chair of Virginia FIRST’s Robotics Program and serves on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Technology Alliance.

A graduate of the US Naval Academy, Stolle served on active duty and in the Reserves as a Navy pilot and retired with the rank of Commander.

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About the Center for Innovative Technology | www.cit.org

CIT is a nonprofit corporation that accelerates the next generation of technology and technology companies. CIT creates new technology companies through capital formation, market development and revenue generation services. To facilitate national innovation leadership and accelerate the rate of technology adoption, CIT creates partnerships between innovative technology start-up companies and advanced technology consumers. CIT is now listed on the GSA MOBIS Schedule, Special Item Numbers (SINs) SIN 874-1 for Consulting Services and SIN 894-2 for Facilitation Services. Its CAGE Code is 1UP71.

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View this press release as a PDF from the CIT website: here.

Region 2000 Junior FIRST LEGO Expo | April 30

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The Region 2000 Junior FIRST LEGO Expo is coming up April 30, 2011 in Lynchburg, Virginia and will be featuring 25 teams of 6-9 year old children who will present their projects on the theme “Body Forward” for judging and will participate in a number of hands-on science and technology activities. A little more about Jr.FIRST LEGO from their website:

The newest program in FIRST introduces the youngest students to the exciting worlds of science and technology. Just like FLL, this program features a real-world challenge, to be solved by research, critical thinking and imagination. Guided by adult coaches, students work with LEGO elements and moving parts to create solutions and present them for review.

Younger elementary school students get to:

  • Design and build challenge solutions using LEGO elements.
  • Apply real-world math and science concept.
  • Research challenges facing today’s scientists.
  • Learn team-building and presentation skills.
  • Develop Show-Me posters”.

This year’s sponsors include Verizon, Wells Fargo Wachovia, Greater Lynchburg Community Trust, and AREVA

Details:
Location: Timberlake Christian Schools
Date: April 30, 2011
Time: 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

We still need volunteers. If you are interested please contact Janet Walton


LU to Host VEX Robotics Competition March 26

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

The Liberty University School of Engineering and Computational Sciences (SECS) will host a VEX Robotics Competition on Saturday, March 26, 2011 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the LCA (Liberty Christian Academy) gym. The event will feature teams of high school students in Region 2000, including all high school aged students from public and private, home school students, and community organizations. Family, friends and the general public are welcome to attend and see the region’s students compete in the “Round Up” robotics competition.

VEX Robotics is a program for high school students geared toward instilling an interest in engineering and robotics in an exciting environment.

Contact SECS at (434) 592-7150 or kmhalsey [at] liberty [dot] edu with any questions or to request more information.

(video from last year’s VEX competition)

10th Annual Awards Night: Registration & Nominations Now Open

Monday, March 21st, 2011

This year’s Awards Night on May 17th is going to be an incredible spotlight on our region’s technology award winners and a premier networking opportunity that only comes once a year. With keynote speaker and entrepreneur Cameron Johnson and other special activities planned for this evening it will be our most exciting technology banquet to date.

Registration and awards nominations are now open so take a few moments to:

When: Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 – 6-9 PM

Where: Holiday Inn, Main St. – Downtown Lynchburg, VA

Cost: Tickets: $60 per person, $50 each for parties of two or more. Special registration pricing is available for educators and full-time students for $25 each.

View the event flyer and registration information and view the awards nomination information.

View the official video and press release below or from the source.

Wired Wednesday: Mobile Computing For Business & Education | April 27

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Our upcoming Wired Wednesday luncheon will be held on April 27, 2011 from Noon until 1:30 p.m. at the City of Lynchburg Information Technology Center. We’re excited to bring you, “Mobile Computing For Business & Education”, as we explore the use of mobile computing technologies for business and educational applications. We’ll be looking at handheld devices, smart phones, tablet PCs and what these new options in computing may mean for your organization. There will be demonstrations, audience participation and Lynchburg City Schools will be sharing on how they are integrating mobile technologies into the school system.

Our presentation will include:

  • Pros & Cons of handheld devices/phones…Android vs. iPhone vs. Blackberry.
  • The rising use of tablet PCs.
  • How tablet PCs can integrate into your IT plan/work environment.
  • A look at the various players in the tablet PCs market.
  • Hands-on demonstration of tablet PCs in a work environment.

Where: City of Lynchburg Information Technology Center |  3150 Young Place Lynchburg, VA 24501 (NOTE: different location)
When: April 27, 2011, noon until 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 for Tech Council Members, $15 for non-members

Wired Wednesdays are a great opportunity for networking and an excellent way to get involved in the regional technology community. Come join us and bring a friend!

RSVP using the form below. You can also pay online by clicking the Shopping Cart link.

Download Event Flyer (PDF)

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Member Spotlight: Advanced Logic Industries

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

(Welcome to our new Member Spotlight series where we highlight Technology Council members each month in an interview format. If you are interested in being featured please contact us.)

(An interview with Parker Pearson, Vice President – Marketing & Business Development)

R2KTC: Tell us a little bit about Advanced Logic

ALI: Advanced Logic is an IT services company providing IT products, support, integration and software development solutions in Virginia and beyond. We specialize in a few specific technologies in addition to providing software and hardware. Our solutions can be seen solving problems like:

  • How to save energy and money with Virtualization technology.
  • Helping companies leverage new communications technologies like conferencing via the web, accessing their business via smartphones and wireless devices (iPad for example). These solutions help companies respond faster, be more competitive, lower travel expenses and engage workers and clients with personal technology.
  • Helping companies pull better decision making data so they can monitor their business performance metrics in real time with faster decisions.
  • Deploying collaboration solutions that help companies get their employees communicating and working together in real time with people anywhere, anytime. It helps them preserve knowledge assets and be more competitive.
  • Managing network support for clients who would prefer to focus their resources and time on their core business and proactively plan and manage IT expenditures.

This year will mark our 20th year in business, a milestone for sure in an industry that is not much older than that! We have roughly 32 full time employees plus another 20 some contract employees providing a variety of services for clients throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Our clients vary widely in size, scope of need and geography. Some rely on us for special projects where expertise and additional resources are needed. Others rely on us on a regular basis. We have particular expertise in the Financial/Insurance, Academic, Government, and Commercial verticals. As a minority owned and Hubzone certified business, we are also moving into more business with the Federal Government.

R2KTC: What are the key trends you are seeing in IT?

ALI: For the types of project we work on, we are seeing three major trends: Virtualization, Collaboration and Mobility.

  • Virtualization: This technology enables organizations to run more services and applications on less equipment saving on support, hardware and power consumption. Not only can servers be virtualized, but desktops and also applications. It enables companies to achieve significant IT cost reductions, something that no organization can afford to overlook. In addition to the cost savings opportunities, virtualization enables organizations to roll out applications faster with fewer complications.
  • Collaboration: As companies pared down their staffing over the past few years, the reality is that today’s workforce is leaner with a greater need to work closely with people in distant locations and outside the home network. The need has really increased to organize, store and share information. Executives want faster, streamlined access to the key performance metrics for their organization and key projects. Additionally, more people need to be able to use web-based technologies for meetings, as well as being able to be accessible through the whole range of communications technologies currently in use: from instant messaging to single number reach with voicemail accessible from all devices. Collaboration technology is not a “nice to have” it is now a means to manage knowledge assets and speed responsiveness to close new business, driving more business to the bottom line along with cost savings.
  • Mobility: No doubt the iPad and smartphones are having a significant impact on how people expect to use technology in all areas of their work and personal lives. Making it possible for people to access the full spectrum of applications and services to run their lives while moving through a variety of access methods are a growing challenge for today’s businesses. With the introduction of popular lightweight tablet devices, we expect to see a lot of growth in the area of secure high performance web-accessible applications.

R2KTC: What do you like about Region 2000?

ALI: Advanced Logic was founded because it was believed that organizations in this part of Virginia would have a need for good local IT services, and not have to bring them in from the major metropolitan areas. The region provides a wonderful quality of life that is very attractive to our employees. Often people are really surprised that they can find great technology jobs without being in a major market. We have had people relocate from major metro areas who want to keep developing their career in an environment that is more conducive to raising families and enjoying all that Region 2000 has to offer.

For more information about Advanced Logic Industries, please visit their website at http://www.ali-inc.com.

©2011 Virginia's Region 2000 Technology Council. All rights reserved. a member of Virginia's Region 2000 Partnership.

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