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A Harrisonburg FIRST Lego League (FLL) Team to Compete at World Championship, April 2015, St. Louis, Missouri


Virginia's FIRST Lego League (FLL) VA-DC FLL (a non-profit organization) is the largest FLL group in the world with over 600 teams and more than 20 regional qualifying tournaments and events in Virginia and Washington D.C. On December 6 & 7, 2014 VA-DC FLL hosted the state championship in Harrisonburg, VA (VA-DC FLL State Competition ) at Memorial Hall and Harrisonburg High School. 

Besides two insanely busy days and many happy visitors and competitors, who came from all over Virginia to compete ( and filled up hotel rooms and shopped, too) the excellent news is: a Harrisonburg team, the Brick Dawgs, won and were offered a slot at the World Festival in April 2015! Congratulations to this Shenandoah Valley team!

You might want to check out the Brick Dawgs site,  they have some excellent videos  -- home made stop motion animation --on GATE logichttp://www.brickdawgs.com/the-binaryville-blog.html 

The two FLL teams from Virginia going to the World Festival in St. Louis are:

  • Brick Dawgs, Team 3142 from Harrisonburg
  • Geared Up, Team 168 from Ashburn

There are also 3 teams that have been invited to the North American Open at LEGOLand, California, one team has been invited to the Razorback Invitational in Arkansas and another team has been invited to the South Pacific Invitational in Sydney Australia.

It's noteworthy that the national organization that is the brains behind all of these actvities ( FIRST, aka For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has grown the annual championship event for the three major FIRST programs, incl. FLL, to such proportions over the last 25 years that in 2015 the championship will be held in three separate venues in St. Louis to accommodate the sheer number of attendees. Yes, this is a major "sports for the mind" event.

We are so proud of our Virginia FLL teams!! [But especially proud of the Valley teams, of course :-) ]

About the FIRST Championship: The FIRST Championship is the culmination of the season's FIRST programs, bringing together three separate robotics competitions for the ultimate Sport for the Mind™. The event includes the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Championship, the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship, and the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) World Festival. Also featured is the JuniorFIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) World Festival Expo. | Our high-tech spectator events combine the excitement of sport with science and technology. 


Innovate LIVE | April 24-26, 2015 | Staunton, VA

Innovate LIVE is a crowd-sourced, energy-packed, festive convergence of local innovators, visionaries, and entrepreneurs.

Over two days, social enterprises, community organizers, and artistic creators will converge in coffee shops, patios, and classrooms to explore the next wave of innovative ideas that are transforming our local communities. Sustainability, cooperation, the new economy, and arts and music will be the lenses through which we explore local opportunities for change and evolution. Together, we will develop and share the tools to build more vibrant communities, more creative lives, and more meaningful entrepreneurial opportunities.

The open-air format includes interactive workshops hosted by successful entrepreneurs, keynotes from leading change-makers, funding forums for new projects, and laid-back evenings for odd minds and young ideas to mingle.

Conceived as a small city interpretation of the wave of “Start-Up weekends” being held around the state and country, this weekend will connect entrepreneurs with the peers, tools, and resources needed to spark new innovation, while maintaining a creative and community-centered celebratory design that mirrors the character of the City of Staunton and our commitment to placed-based and small-city community development.

To find out more, visit innovatelive.org.




SourceLink Virginia

SourceLink Virginia is a project of the Virginia Community Economic Network. This online portal It is designed to connect aspiring, emerging, and established entrepreneurs to business assistance providers who can help them grow and succeed. SourceLink Virginia provides entrepreneurs with free and easy access to the resources they need- when they need it. 

How do we accomplish this?

SourceLink Virginia connects a large network of business assistance organizations who offer a wide variety of business-building services for small businesses and entrepreneurs. We facilitate the linking of these resource providers to one another and to established, emerging and start-up enterprises throughout the Commonwealth.
Our network's resource partners provide a wide range of business-related services, including:

  • Business Planning
  • Loans/Financing
  • Marketing/Sales
  • Licenses/Permits
  • Startups
  • Product Development
  • Training Classes
  • Government Contracts
  • Operations
Check out SourceLink at http://sourcelinkvirginia.org/

Member News:

RICHMOND, VA (12/10/14) --- PBMares, LLP – a Virginia-based accounting and business consulting firm - has been named to Inside Public Accounting’s (IPA) 2014 Top 200 Firms. This is Inside Public Accounting’s fifth annual ranking of the 200 largest accounting firms in the nation.

Ranked by U.S. net revenue, PBMares is the 110 largest accounting firm in the U.S. and grew 1.6% to $28, 964, 442 in the past year.

"We are proud that our firm has been named to Inside Public Accounting’s prestigious Top 200 Firms," said Alan Witt, CPA, CEO of PBMares. “Most importantly, inclusion in this ranking demonstrates our commitment to understanding the needs of our clients and then following through with innovative strategies to meet their goals.”

The IPA Top 200 looked at the financial and operations health of the profession. The rankings were compiled by net revenues, using data gathered from IPA’s survey and analysis of firms, which attracted 540 entries, a record number for IPA.

IPA 200 firms range in size from $14 million to $31 million and between 60 to 235 employees. IPA 200 firms have been in business for an average of 50 years, account for more than 12,000 staff across 300 offices, generate $2.1 billion in revenue, and serve more than 250 publicly traded companies.



CIT and MACH37™ Cyber Accelerator Hold 3rd Demo Day for Cyber Startups: 12 entrepreneurs of cybersecurity startups presented to investors, industry leaders 


December 2, 2014 (HERNDON, Va.) - The Center for Innovative Technology and the MACH37™ Cyber Accelerator hosted over 100 investors today at its third Demo Day to hear pitches from entrepreneurs of 12 cybersecurity startups. Guests included accredited investors representing top-tier venture capital firms, leading edge technology companies and angel groups from the Washington, D.C. region and east coast.


Rick Gordon, Managing Partner of MACH37™, said, “The Fall 2014 cohort is an outstanding representation of the creativity and deep domain expertise that is nationally attracted to participate in MACH37. This is a testimony to not only the strong mentor support assets we have in this area, but also to the excellent program we have developed by leveraging those assets to rapidly create new companies that deliver disruptive innovations to this growing market.”


Today’s presenters included seven startups that graduated from the MACH37™ Fall Cohort. They are creating innovations in several critical areas of security, including messaging cryptography, cloud-based security, encryption, incident response and simulation. Below are the companies that comprise the Fall Cohort:

•          Joshua Marpet, Co-Founder/CEO, BiJoTi

•          Ryan Lester, Co-Founder/CEO, and Josh Boehm, Co-Founder, Cyph

•          Eric Whittleton, Co-Founder/CEO, iAspire

•          Karthik Bhat, Founder/CEO, SecureDB

•          JP Bourget, Co-Founder/CEO, Syncurity Networks

•          Michael W. Wellman, Co-Founder/CEO, Virgil Security

•          Marcus Carey, Founder/CEO, vThreat


Others presenting at today’s Demo Day graduated from earlier MACH37™ Cyber Accelerator programs:

•          Joe Klein, CEO, Disrupt6

•          Nick Duan, CEO, IDentia, Inc.

•          Shawn Key, CEO, Key Cybersecurity

•          Roy Stephan, CEO, PierceGTI

•          Ethan Allen, CEO, and Roderick Flores, Founder, Sikernes


For more information on the presenting companies, please visit: https://www.mach37.com/explore/cohort-companies/.


Pete Jobse, CIT President and CEO and MACH37™ Executive Chairman, said, “MACH37™ reduces barriers to cyber security product company formation by delivering customer, investor and management relationships and guidance that enable next generation technology to be more rapidly deployed while reducing investor risk. MACH37 has created an ecosystem that is globally unique and will serve as the creative center for cyber security products.”


The application period for the MACH37™ Spring 2015 (S15) Cohort is now open.  Entrepreneurs with emerging products and companies are encouraged to apply by visiting www.mach37.com and filling out the online application.  The program is open to startups from any geography whose founders are ready to engage in a rigorous mentorship program designed to produce the next generation of leading security product companies. 


About MACH37™

MACH37™ is the premier accelerator for information security entrepreneurs and startups.  We go beyond the traditional model of typical business accelerators by bringing our innovators focused mentorship and support from our extensive network of visionaries, practitioners, and successful entrepreneurs in security.  Our Spring and Fall sessions are designed to propel graduating companies into the marketplace, equipped with the skills to grow and compete for funding and market share. MACH37™ was launched in 2013 by the Center for Innovative Technology, in Herndon, Virginia.  To learn more, please visit www.mach37.com and follow @MACH37cyber on Twitter.


About the Center for Innovative Technology

Since 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been Virginia’s primary driver of innovation and entrepreneurship.  To learn more, please visit www.cit.org.  Follow CIT on Twitter @CITorg and add the Center for Innovative Technology on LinkedIn and Facebook.




Hap Connors

(703) 689-3048(703) 689-3048 



Michelle Schafer

Merritt Group for MACH37™

(703) 403-6377(703) 403-6377 




Cadence, Inc. Acquires New Capabilities, Expands Internationally

Staunton, VA - August 1, 2014 

Precision Plastic Injection Molding, Metal Stamping and Nearshore Operations

Cadence, Inc., a leading contract manufacturer and maker of complex components and sub-assemblies for medical device and life sciences companies, today announced that it has acquired three operating business units of Plainfield Precision Holdings. The operating units are Plainfield Precision – Sturgeon Bay, WI; Plainfield Precision – Plymouth, MA; and Plainfield Precision – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  Plainfield Precision Holdings is a highly specialized solutions provider of assembled products that integrate stamped metal and molded plastic components. This acquisition firmly positions Cadence within the top global providers of technologies and services used in Advanced Surgical products. 


“Plainfield Precision Holding’s unique portfolio of Precision Plastic Injection Molding and Metal Stamping Capabilities provides key building blocks for our supply chain integration strategy,” said Alan Connor, CEO. “Our customers are increasingly looking to more strategic partners to fulfill their supply chain requirements. With our broad base of capabilities, including plastics and metals, Cadence is well positioned to meet these evolving contract manufacturing needs.”


“We focus on minimally invasive surgical tools and this drives continued expansion of the capabilities of our trusted platform.  Having nearshore operations located strategically in the Dominican Republic provides additional flexibility for our customers.”


"Our success is a direct result of the hard work, innovation, adaptability, and integrity of our people. I am excited to welcome our new team members from the Plainfield family and look forward to their contributions to our on-going success,” Connor added.

Link to PDF of full press release



Verizon Announces Innovative App Challenge
For High School and Middle School Students and Classrooms
Registration opens on August 4 with the submission deadline being November 11, 2014.


The Verizon Innovative App Challenge provides the opportunity for middle school and high school students, working with a faculty adviser, to apply their STEM knowledge, ingenuity, and creativity to develop an original mobile app concept that incorporates STEM and addresses a need or problem in their school or community.  No mobile device or coding experience is required to enter.  Community education groups are encouraged to apply.  This could be a great hands on project for media, technology as well as social studies, math and language arts classrooms.

The Verizon Innovative App Challenge is an exciting, creative and collaborative competition that offers $20,000 grants for winning middle schools and high schools and Samsung Galaxy Tabs for students on the winning teams. Designed to ignite students’ interest in STEM. The Challenge

a unique opportunity for students around the country to participate in a rich, project-based learning experience that fosters teamwork and encourages them to explore new ideas and consider future careers in STEM. Grants are given at the state, regional and national level as the competition progresses.  Winning teams will learn coding in-person and online from MIT experts to turn their idea into a mobile app.
Working with a faculty adviser in teams of 5 - 7, students develop an original concept for a mobile app that incorporates STEM principles and content and addresses a real need or problem in their school or community. While designing their apps, students consider marketplace need, usefulness, audience and viability and align their app concept with one of the three Verizon Foundation focus areas of Education, Energy Management or Healthcare. | Teams submit their design concepts online through a App Concept Overview and Summary, a three-to-five minute Video and Essay Responses.

Help Assess Virginia's Workforce Needs by Particpating in this Survey

The Virginia General Assembly has directed staff of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to evaluate the success of the state’s workforce development programs in equipping Virginia workers with the skills and credentials that employers need. To incorporate the perspective of the business community, JLARC researchers are conducting an online survey of Virginia employers. 

Please take the time to complete this important survey. The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Participating in the survey is important for several reasons: 

  • The effectiveness of workforce development programs cannot be assessed without the input of the business community.
  • Your input could improve the quality of Virginia’s workforce.
  • Your input could increase the number of Virginians that possess the skills and credentials most valuable to your company. 
  • Your input could improve the quality and effectiveness of Virginia’s publicly-provided recruitment and training services, which can be economical resources for businesses.

Please participate by clicking on the link below:


Please complete this survey by Friday, July 11th, 2014.

Questions about this survey can be directed to Chris Duncombe at (804) 371-4578 or jlarcworkforcestudy@jlarc.virginia.gov. Alternatively, contact the project leader Tracey Smith at (804) 371-4567

Some important information about this survey:

  • Your responses are confidential. Survey results will be presented only in aggregate form and will not be attributed to specific individuals or companies. 
  • The survey is intended for private sector companies (both for-profit and not-for-profit) that have operations in Virginia and employ Virginians.
  •  Executive leaders and human resources staff will generally be best suited to answer the survey questions. Respondents are encouraged to seek the input of colleagues when needed. However, JLARC can only accept one response per company.

Posted 06/27/2014


CIT and VDOE Announce 2014 Winners of Apps4VA JMU Challenge
Twenty-three student teams at JMU develop educational apps using data from VLDS

May 28, 2014 (HERNDON, VA.) – The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced the winners of the 2014 Apps4VA JMU software application (app) development competition. The competition is part of a joint CIT and Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) initiative to engage the public in the development of new tools to analyze and report education data.

More than 85 James Madison University students participated in the semester-long competition. Students in three Computer Science sections worked in teams to develop data-analysis and reporting tools for parents, teachers, school administrators and policy makers. The teams were given access to cell-suppressed aggregate data maintained by VDOE for use by researchers. The data sets included information on enrollment, performance on state assessments, graduation and dropout rates, career and technical education programs, and postsecondary enrollment and achievement.

Chris Mayfield, Assistant Professor, and Nancy Harris, Lecturer, in JMU’s Computer Science Department, said, “This type of application development has the potential to impact students and local communities in many positive ways. In our experience, students were motivated to develop successful, high-quality projects because the data was about them and the future of their educational system.”Winners of the Apps4VA JMU challenge will be highlighted at the 2014 Insights Conference on June 24, 2014.

Full press release



MACH37™ Seeks Security Start-ups for Fall Cohort


May 1, 2014 (HERNDON, Va.) – The MACH37™ Cyber Accelerator has officially opened the application period for its “F14” Fall Cohort, which will begin September 2, 2014 in its Herndon, Virginia headquarters.  The program consists of an intense 90-day program in which the selected startups are coached in all aspects of creating a sustainable and successful business.  Participants receive a $50,000 investment to develop and launch their ideas into the market.

Meeting the challenges of the global cybersecurity threat requires continuous innovation and the skills to bring fresh products into the mainstream.  MACH37™ looks for entrepreneurs with solutions that address the drivers of this demand for innovation, including:

  •   New mainstream demand for advanced capabilities
  •  Porous network perimeters that are making traditional solutions less relevant 
  • Opportunities created from software defined networking; and
  • Challenges of a hyper-connected world with an Internet-of-everything.

MACH37™ encourages entrepreneurs with emerging products and companies to apply for the F14 Cohort, which will be limited to 8 companies.  The program is open to startups from any geography whose founders are ready to immerse themselves in a mentorship program designed to produce the next generation of leading security product companies.  To apply, visit www.mach37.com and fill-out the online application.  Evaluation of applications will begin in June, with final selections announced in August.

MACH37™ is the only business accelerator focused exclusively on information security innovations and startups. It brings together domain experts, successful cybersecurity entrepreneurs, and investors to create a platform for innovators and their startups to rapidly develop themselves into promising companies prepared for financing.

About MACH37™

MACH37™ is the premier accelerator for information security entrepreneurs and startups.  We go beyond the traditional model of typical business accelerators by bringing our innovators focused mentorship and support from our extensive network of visionaries, practitioners, and successful entrepreneurs in security.  Our Spring and Fall sessions are designed to propel graduating companies into the marketplace, equipped with the skills to grow and compete for funding and market share. MACH37™ was launched in 2013 by the Center for Innovative Technology, in Herndon, Virginia.  To learn more, please visit www.mach37.com and follow @MACH37cyber on Twitter.

About the Center for Innovative Technology

Since 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been Virginia’s primary driver of innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, please visit www.cit.org.  Follow CIT on Twitter @CITorg and add the Center for Innovative Technology on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Announcing Tech Nite 14 Keynote Speaker:

Karen Jackson, Secretary of Technology, Commonwealth of VirginiaKaren Jackson, Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia

Karen Jackson previously served as the Deputy Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In this capacity, she served as a senior advisor to the Governor on technology matters including modeling and simulation, telecommunications, telework, and unmanned aerial systems. In these areas, she was responsible for policy and legislative initiatives as well as developing programs to facilitate innovation, collaborations, technology development and adoption. Ms. Jackson serves as the Virginia lead for the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership with New Jersey (MAAP). Prior to her current appointment, she served as Deputy Secretary of Technology and director of the Commonwealth's Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance for the Kaine Administration.

 Ms. Jackson has been actively engaged in the federal policy initiatives including the development of the National Broadband Plan. She received a 2009 IP3 award from Public Knowledge for her work in information policy and was named to Government Technology's 2010 list of the top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers.

 Ms. Jackson serves on a number of Boards including the Virginia Telehealth Network, the Information Technology Advisory Council, the Policy Committee of the National Modeling and Simulation Coalition, and the National Center for Collaboration in Medical Modeling and Simulation. She holds a bachelor's of science in business management from Christopher Newport University and a master's of business administration from The College of William and Mary.

Posted 4/14



CIT Announces 2014 Mid-Atlantic SBIR/STTR Funding Strategies Symposium

Symposium will help Virginia entrepreneurs with SBIR/STTR application and other funding opportunities

March 18, 2014 (HERNDON, Va.) – The Center for Innovative Technology announced today the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Funding Strategies Symposium on April 22-23 at the CIT building in Herndon, Virginia.    

The event features introductory and advanced discussions of federal SBIR/STTR programs that provide $2.5 billion set aside for small technology firms engaged in early research and development.  Experts will discuss unique agency requirements, best practices used by successful proposals, recent and upcoming program changes, and commercialization planning to improve phase I and phase II submissions. 

Kent Murphy, co-founder and CEO of Axon Connected and serial entrepreneur, will discuss the keys to successful SBIR/STTR participation learned through receiving multiple SBIR awards.  Stephen Chen, of Blu Venture Investors, will discuss tips to secure SBIR awards and angel funding.  Key representatives of SBIR offices, prime contractors and business support services will also be attending and available to attendees.

Confirmed federal agencies include the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, ARMY, DARPA, NAVY, NIST, NASA, Department of Homeland Security, USDA and NOAA.  Other participating organizations include Northrop Grumman, BASF, Lockheed Martin, SRI International, The Boeing Company, NeoSystems, Cherry Bekaert, LLP, Miles & Stockbridge, CSC Leasing, Access National Bank, GenEdge Alliance, Prototype Productions, Inc., Virginia SBDC network, Fairfax County Economic Development, Loudoun County Economic Development, Prince William County Economic Development, SBIR Resource Center and others.    

Workshop fees are:   

  •  $95 per person for small technology firms, includes both days
  •  $60 per person for small technology firms, only one day
  •  $200 per person for all others (service providers, consultants, contractors, etc.)

To register for this event, visit http://www.cit.org/events/2014-mid-atlantic-sbirsttr-strategies-symposium/. Please direct any questions to Robert Brooke, at robert.brooke@cit.org  or (703) 689-3080(703) 689-3080 .

These and other workshops are managed by the CIT Entrepreneur service line, which provides valuable funding opportunities for Virginia’s emerging technology entrepreneurs through the CIT GAP Funds and CIT Federal Funding Assistance Program.  The Federal Funding Assistance Program provides training, mentoring, funding support and other key programs to help Virginia’s SBIR/STTR community. 

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

Since 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been the Commonwealth’s primary driver in developing innovation-based economic development strategies and opportunities.  CIT accelerates the next generation of technology and technology companies through commercialization, 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 startup companies and advanced technology consumers.


International Women’s Hackathon 2014

April 25–27, 2014 | Worldwide on university campuses and live at the USA Science & Engineering Festival, Washington DC


International Women's Hackathon


The International Women’s Hackathon is a crowdsourcing event to empower young women leaders in computer science. By providing a fun and safe environment in which to explore computing, the hackathon encourages and supports university women around the world to become producers of future innovations in technology and help solve challenges in the world today. After much success last year and many requests to hold the event again this year, we are pleased to announce that the next event is planned for the weekend of April 25 to 27, 2014, on university campuses all over the world. We will connect via Skype from our live event at the USA Science & Engineering Festival with all worldwide sites during the hackathon.


MODSIM World 2014 Entrepreneur Competition I Competion opens March 1, 2014 I Convention will be April 15-17 in Hampton, VA
Introducing MODSIM World 2014 Entrepreneur Competition, a first of its kind platform for innovative start up ideas in Modeling and Simulation field.

  • Are you an entrepreneur using ModSim tools to solve problems in Manufacturing, Energy, Finance, Transportation, Retail, Serious Gaming, or other industry? Does your new approach create opportunities for non-experts to use ModSim tools to solve new and important problems? Would you like to help the world see how ModSim makes a difference in unexpected places?
  • Competition: The competition will begin on March 1st 2014 and will consist of two phases. The first round of the competition will be held online via MODSIM World Conference website. Public will be asked to vote on their favorite ideas. The finalists with the most votes will be invited to participate in the finals at MODSIM World Conference on April 16th, 2014 and pitch their idea live to a panel of distinguished subject matter experts for a chance to win a cash prize.
  • Social media: Every week MODSIM World Conference Facebook page will showcase a new contestant and their idea. The contestant with the most “likes” will have a guaranteed spot in the finals.
  • Who is eligible: We’re looking for individuals, small teams, and existing small businesses who believe their new product or service has the potential to grow to significant size and value! Teams may include a large business in a form of a mentor, where cash winnings will go to the individual/small business.
  • How to enter: To enter submit a short pitch of your idea here. The contest kicks off on March 1st. Do not delay, enter now!
  • How to sponsor: We invite leaders in innovative thinking interested in sponsoring the cash prize for this event to contact Debbie Langelier at ddyson@ndia.org or 703-247-9480 

PDF of press release


Congressman Goodlatte's Office announces "House App Contest"

Registration open for High School Students

February 1, 2014- April 30, 2014

"STEM education is of increasing importance in the United States. As the technology industry continues to grow, so does the demand for those skilled in these fields.  Through the House App Contest, we hope to give students the opportunity to learn about STEM fields as well as develop and highlight their technology skills."


The Congressional STEM Competition was authorized by H.Res 77 to encourage student participation in STEM fields. Initially the competition will be in the field of computer science. Participating students in the district will develop an app on a platform of their choice and submit a video of the functioning app to Challenge.GOV.   The contest opens on February 1, 2014. Students will develop their app for submission in February and March. The final submission deadline is April 30, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. The overall winner from each district will be featured on House.GOV. There will be a display in the Capitol to honor all of the district winners. 

Contest FAQs PDF I Contest RulesPDF



More News..

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