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Smart Cities - About the Speakers


Dave Ihrie
Center for Innovative Technology
Dave is leading the Virginia Smart Communities Initiative. He will share what is a Smart City, why it is important to all in a community, what are the benefits, and how we move our communities forward with examples from across the State.
Dr. Celen Pasalar
North Carolina State University
Dr. Pasalar will discuss creating human-centered Smart Cities with emerging technologies and their effect on user experience. Dr. Pasalar’s expertise involves organizing and promoting numerous design and planning projects for the benefit of communities primarily throughout North Carolina. Pasalar’s research interest involves architectural design, urban design, the relationships between human behavior and the built environment, such as urban streets; public spaces; and educational settings.


Jim Haskins
Jim Haskins leads Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities Business Development for the Eastern U.S. Jim works with leaders in State and Local Government, as well as Education to develop strategies and solutions to improve transportation, safety, resilience and drive economic, social and environmental sustainability. Prior to his role in US Public Sector, Jim lead Sales and Marketing for a Cisco Partner serving large retail and financial services customers. 
Chris Andruszkiewicz
Chris leads an emerging business unit inside AT&T’s Internet of Things (IoT) Division. The business unit is responsible for AT&T’s Smart Cities solutions designed for local and state government, higher education campuses, and metro regions to drive sustainability, improve public safety, engage citizens, and promote innovation and economic development.

Rachael Meleney
RIoT Program Director

Rachael will moderate the panel "Local Smart City Initiatives Currently in Place" and share insights RIoT has experienced. RIoT is an IoT industry connector and represents a network of technologists, engineers, business leaders, academics, policy makers, and entrepreneurs, all of whom have a stake in the Internet of Things industry.

Inez Rodenburg Hasson, City of Danville
John Harrison, Franklin County
Jason Grey, City of Danville



Innovative Stars Awards Presented to Awards to Technology Innovators

The SPTC announced winners of the Innovative Stars Awards and featured keynote speaker Courtney Dozier, Chief Deputy of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and Governor Northam’s Deputy Broadband Advisor.
Robby Demeria, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Technology delivered a message from Governor Northam’s Cabinet on the importance of technology councils and recognition of technology achievements across various sectors. Prior to his appointment, Robby Demeria served as Executive Director of the Richmond Technology Council.
The banquet attendees celebrated Southern Piedmont’s technology community and honored the contributions of individuals and organizations that promote the importance of technology. STPC’s service region and award nominations encompass Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg counties and Danville and Martinsville cities.
Awards were presented in seven categories.
Chairman’s Award Winner-  Karl Stauber
Danville Regional Foundation′s first President/CEO, Karl Stauber, leads the DRF in promoting innovation and long-term transformation to enhance economic development, education and wellness in Virginia and North Carolina′s Dan River Region.
A published author, frequent speaker, renowned thinker, and known for his work in rural communities, Stauber was the first Senate-confirmed Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics with the United States Department of Agriculture, and has worked for the Northwest Area Foundation, the Needmor Fund, and the Babcock Foundation.
Karl Stauber has led the Danville Regional Foundation since its inception wherein the organization has provided $116M of funding in more than 400 grant awards across Danville, Pittsylvania and Caswell County.  While the award submissions did not span the entire SPTC service area, the impacts of the funding and dissemination of the ideas have impacted the entire region and many of the technology programs are for organizations that serve the region. In addition, Karl has invested leadership in the evolution of the GoVirginia model that continues to expand thought leadership for funding programs that drive positive impacts for a region.
So what has this to do with technology?  We would like to share some examples of key projects that show the commitment to technology in regional funded projects including:
  • A research building for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR)
  • Danville Community College’s Health Sciences Building
  • Danville Science Center’s Digital Dome Building
  • An Internship Program that has supported the region with student projects
  • Averett University’s Nursing Program
  • A master plan for the Danville River District that has supported technology, research and entrepreneurship
  • The creation of the Launch Place
  • The Ramsey Memorial Medical Center
  • Pittsylvania County Stem Academy
  • Danville Community College and IALR’s Capstone Partnership
  • Precision Machining Factory Expansion
The Innovation in Education and Community Outreach Award Winner - Averett University’s Aerospace Management Program.
Few professions require more responsibility and technical knowledge than aviation.  The Aviation Management Program at Averett is a partnership between Averett University and the Danville Regional Airport.  They have well qualified faculty instructors, planes and hangars at the airport and manage a program that provides concentrations for those interested in aviation business or flight operations.  They also have a joint aerospace management/criminal justice degree. 
In addition Averett recently announced a partnership with the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and Liberty University to host Pathways Flight Academy in Danville, a no-cost academy for selected high school students to take their first solo flight following a two-week residential academy introducing young people to aviation opportunities. 
Coincidentally, it is wonderful to see our Averett University President Dr. Tiffany Franks flown to and from meetings in the blue and gold trimmed aircraft by her well qualified student pilots and to see Averett pilots flying in the cockpits of major airlines around the world truly keeping our region on the map!
The Innovation in Community Award Winner - Mid Atlantic Broadband
In January of this year, MBC celebrated its 15th anniversary of inspiring innovation in Southern Virginia.  MBC provides broadband services enabling over 450 buildings and 160 cell towers.  MBC’s fiber optic network supports companies with network capabilities with a line system capacity of 1.2 Tbps,. 
MBC is actively involved in Governor Northam’s statewide initiative to bring broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the state. Tad Deriso, MBC President & CEO, serves on the state broadband advisory committee.
MBC establishes relationships with technology companies through the high capacity broadband network and works to bring jobs and investment to the region through the Invest Southern Virginia marketing initiative. Their first lead resulted in a 2018 announcement by U.K. - based Harlow Group of 49 jobs and $8 million in investment to Danville and Pittsylvania.
MBC has invested over $435,000 to high school FIRST Robotics teams to ensure students are receiving skills that are highly desirable to companies, like programming, electronics, pneumatics, communication, and teamwork.  MBC also sponsors middle school FIRST Tech Challenge teams to work on filling the tech talent pipeline with STEM skills. 
MBC also provides funding to Danville, Patrick Henry, Southside and Central Virginia Community Colleges to benefit STEM students.  This year, PHCC used the funding to start an eSports gaming team designed to get students excited to study in IT fields. After 15 years, MBC continues commitment to attract jobs and investment to the region and to prepare the students of today to be the talented, qualified workforce of tomorrow through the operation of their technologically advanced fiber network in Southern Virginia.
Innovation in Technology Small Business Award Winner - TMI AutoTech
Last year, TMI AutoTech celebrated its 10th year in Halifax County where they serve as the exclusive manufacturer and distributor in the Americas for the Ariel Atom and Ariel Nomad. Since landing in Halifax, in 2008 they have grown from 3 people with plans to produce 20 cars (1 model) a year, to 22 people making 70 cars (2 models) a year. TMI has also added machining of precision engineered components for other OEMs, and a composites molding line as they tripled their size to a 60,000SF space in Halifax County. 
With a focus on manufacturing and a passion for motorsports, TMI AutoTech is well equipped to manufacture both specialty components as well as complete vehicles. Two of the main products they produce, under license from Ariel Motors UK, are the Ariel Atom Supercar and Ariel Nomad Urban Assault Vehicle. Both of these vehicles are built from the ground up. TMI employs interns and engineering students - when you walk through their facility you see technically skilled welders, CNC operators and mechanical technicians showing their programming, technical skills and the difference they make in creating a custom made vehicle.  Their machinery department creates proprietary components to support other local businesses.  Cars are shipped around the world with the Halifax, Virginia logo visibly showing the technology and craftsman that makes our region special.
Innovation in Technology Large Business Winner - BGF Industries.
BGF Industries is a US manufacturer of innovative technical fiber materials for global markets with facilities that employ workers from the SPTC region in South Hill, Altavista and more recently Danville, Va. Their fiber based products deliver high strength, high temperature, lightweight solutions that provide structural integrity, thermal, environmental and ballistic protection, or decorative appeal in countless everyday products from circuit boards to surf boards, from mufflers to snowmobiles, airplanes to armor and everything in between.
A long term member of our region, they have had a presence in South Hill and Altavista for decades, but recently made a new commitment to our region by relocating their corporate and research and development headquarters to the Cyber Park in Danville for their US east coast headquarters for the BGF subsidiary of French Based Porcher Industries.
They have successfully transitioned from a textile company that specializing in textile materials to a company that also deals with some of the most sophisticated fibers in the world inclusive of fiberglass, Kevlar, and many others - making components that are used in electronics, in the airplanes in which we fly, the cars we ride in and on sporting equipment that we utilize every day.  The integration of science to link chemistry, electronics, and advanced materials with the most sophisticated of equipment and technology is the textile company of the future.  BGF and Porcher Industries are exemplifying the excellence that results when a legacy of dedication and hard work meet innovation and technological opportunity.
Student Innovator Award Winner - Brionna Ashworth 
Brionna Ashworth demonstrates to the region and the nation the power of female technologists in the precision machining field.  Brionna was the first female student in instructor Justin Owen’s program at the Pittsylvania County Career and Technical Center. Brionna earned a precision machining technology diploma from Danville Community College in 2017, then continued her studies in the capstone program at the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining.  She also put her education in practice, working part-time at Brown Machine Works before continuing her education this fall in DCC's engineering program.
Following in the footsteps of DCC instructor Dylan Hardy, who garners a Gold Medal from CNC Machining at Skills USA Championships, last summer Ashworth represented Danville Community College at Skills USA competition, where she was recognized as one of the nation’s top five awardees in CNC turning. 
The Rising Star Award Winner - Jeremiah Williams
A graduate of Danville Community College’s precision machining technology program, Jeremiah Williams was hired immediately after graduation by one of the Commonwealth’s premier technology employers, Rolls-Royce Crosspointe. But his love for our region helped DCC in the attraction of Jeremiah to his current leadership position where he has played a critical role in developing the third-year Capstone program at the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining at IALR where he serves as DCC’s Director of Integrated Machine Technology.
In the summer of 2018 Williams was elected to the national Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC) Council. Williams is one of 15 HTEC Council members serving around the nation for the 2018-2019 term. Williams serves as one of the community college representatives on the HTEC Council and was elected by HTEC Network members during the 2018 HTEC Americas Computer Numerical Control Educators Conference, hosted by DCC at IALR. Williams continues to inspire students with his love for technology, precision machining and his love for our Southern Virginia Home.



Speaker Series

The SPTC is launching a speaker series this year where will we bring together professionals to share the latest trends and information on key topics.
Our first speaker series will be on May 16th with the focus on Smart Cities. Everywhere cities and communities are deploying innovative new technologies that rely on sensors, AI, IoT, and beyond to improve transportation, public safety, energy infrastructure, environmental management, and more.
Smart Cities
May 16th  |  12:00 PM
Everywhere cities are deploying innovative new technologies that rely on sensors, AI, IoT, and beyond to improve transportation, public safety, energy infrastructure, environmental management, and more.
Dave Ihrie, Chief Technology Officer at the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) will share what is a Smart City, why is it important to everyone in a community, what are the benefits, how do we move our communities forward, as well as share examples across the state of Virginia. We will also hear from local governments about current Smart Cities technologies already in place as well as future plans. Additional panels will be about sensors and other technologies available. And we are hoping our friends in North Carolina will come and share what they are doing in their communities. The national Smart City movement is not only for government. Oftentimes, when you hear smart cities you think it is for the government to handle. That is not the case. Technological advances are changing the way citizens engage with their community. Increased use of mobile and internet has made sure that consumers have a high volume of data at their fingertips and they value timeliness and accessibility above all else.  The SPTC wants to engage our community so that these Smart City technologies are built with, not for communities.
About the Speaker Mr. David Ihrie, CTO, Center for Innovative Technology
Mr. Ihrie has over 35 years industry experience as a direct innovator in the fields of satellite and terrestrial communication, computing, and information science, and has been a principal in seven startup companies. In addition to his entrepreneurial activities, Mr. Ihrie has helped build four national scale business accelerators for the Intelligence Community, for DHS, and in the areas of cybersecurity and smart cities. Currently he is leading the Virginia Smart Communities Initiatives, and along with CIT Broadband is helping bring this new generation of capability to all Virginians. Mr. Ihrie has a Master of Science degree in Business from MIT, specializing in the Management of Technological Innovation, and a B.S. from MIT in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science.



Innovative Stars Awards Banquet


The Innovative Stars Awards Banquet is a celebration of Southern Piedmont’s technology community. The Southern Piedmont Technology Council honors the contributions of individuals and organizations that promote the importance of technology throughout our service region (Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax, and Mecklenburg counties and Danville and Martinsville cities).
April 10th
The Institute for Advanced Learning & Research
Reception: 5:00pm
Awards Dinner: 6:00pm
Evan Feinman, Executive Director of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and Governor Northam's Chief Broadband Advisor, will be our keynote speaker and address broadband initiatives in the Commonwealth. We will recognize award winners in the following categories: Chairman's Award, Innovation in Technology (Large and Small Business), Innovation in Education or Community Outreach, Innovation in Community, Rising Star, and Student Innovator. 
Keynote Speaker - Evan Feinman
Evan Feinman is the Executive Director of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and Governor Northam's Chief Broadband Advisor. He previously served as Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources, and as the Policy Director for the McAuliffe campaign. Evan has worked on multiple transition teams and campaigns at the state and federal level, and at the Commonwealth Institute, a budget and fiscal policy think tank in Richmond. 
Purchase a sponsorship 
Most sponsorships include a reserved table for 8, and recognition during the event and in the program.










Friends of the SPTC


Governor Northam Announces Microsoft Corporation’s Sixth Expansion in Mecklenburg County

Microsoft investment and expansion will create more than 100 new jobs
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Microsoft Corporation, one of the largest and most influential companies in the world, will inject significant capital investment to expand its enterprise data center in Mecklenburg County. The project is Microsoft’s sixth expansion at the facility since 2010 and will allow the company to further enhance its ability to serve customers in the U.S. and across the globe. Virginia successfully competed against multiple states for this significant investment, which will create more than 100 new jobs.
“When Microsoft established its new enterprise data center in 2010, it represented the largest economic investment in southern Virginia history, and we have been thrilled to see the company continue expanding in the Commonwealth ever since,” said Governor Northam. “Microsoft’s sustained investment in Virginia has created hundreds of new jobs for our citizens and advanced our position as a leader in information technology. We thank Microsoft for its tremendous contribution to the economies of Mecklenburg County and to the Commonwealth as a whole.” 
Microsoft is a publicly held corporation, established in 1975, and headquartered in Redmond, Washington, with revenues surpassing $100 billion and more than 134,000 employees worldwide. Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft has created nearly 1,800 jobs in Virginia, with approximately 300 jobs at Microsoft locations in Mecklenburg County.
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Thu Apr 18 @ 5:30PM - 06:30PM
Tech on Tap
Thu May 16 @12:00PM - 03:00PM
Speaker Series - Smart Cities
Thu May 16 @ 5:30PM - 06:30PM
Tech on Tap

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