The Ever-Expanding Controlled Environment Agriculture Industry
Moving Southern Virginia Towards a Better Understanding and the Opportunities that Await
On July 8th, 2021 Dr. Michael Evans curated a presentation on the ever-growing agriculture sector known as controlled environmental agriculture which includes hydroponics, soilless culture and vertical farming.
He shared his expertise, explained the meaning of these terms and how they are similar and different, and then took the audience on a tour of examples of controlled environment agriculture operations from around the world.
What resulted was an inspired discussion on the efforts in controlled environment agriculture currently being conducted at IALR and the vison for these efforts moving forward
Averett University Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Averett Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation serves as an academic-learning lab and entrepreneurial gateway for students, connecting them with the region’s economic environment while accelerating and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in southern Virginia.
At the Center, John Vigouroux, Chief Entrepreneurship and Innovation Officer, and Averett faculty members work to create new multidisciplinary learning methods with an intense entrepreneurship focus and feature hands-on work with businesses, organizations and other regional partners.
On May 13th, John Vigouroux shared an overview of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and discussed how it will benefit their students and our region.
In 2020, Mid-Atlantic Broadband created the SOVA Innovation Hub non-profit in partnership with Microsoft TechSpark. The Innovation Hub brings together business and education partners to offer innovative programs that inspire people to pursue digital careers and entrepreneurship. Digital skill programs include: Linkedin Learning, Gener8tor Upskilling, Career Boost, and skills for teachers and families.
On March 11th Lauren Mathena, Mid-Atlantic Broadband; Jeremy Satterfield, Microsoft; and Rebecca Stimson, SOVA Innovation Hub discussed the exciting opportunities that the Innovation Hub will provide for our region. They also provided a virtual tour of their 15,000 state-of-the-art facility in South Boston which includes a co-working space, training centers, and a Microsoft Experience Center.
The Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers
The Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers program, also known as GO TEC, is a collaborative project that aims to develop the regional workforce in order to meet changing industry demands. The program is engaging students starting in middle school and continuing through high school dual enrollment and post-secondary programs. On February 11th, Dr. Tammy Hurt and Jacob Taylor gave an overview of this exciting program that is training our future workforce and will provide a virtual tour of the new state-of-the-art training lab housed at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.
Cybersecurity: Response, Remediation And Recovery
While we could not hold the CyberUp Summit this October due to COVID-19, the Southern Piedmont Technology Council in conjunction with Averett University brought together cybersecurity experts to discuss cyber attacks and provide guidance on how to prevent them, in honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness month.
- Cybersecurity fundamentals
- Emerging threats to business and industries
- Steps needed to take to protect your business
- Real life example of how to respond, remediate and recover from a ransomware cyber-attack
About the Speakers
Allen Jenkins, CISO/Vice President of Cybersecurity Consulting, SyCom Technologies
Allen Jenkins has over 25 years of experience in the Information Technology field. He has worked in a wide range of positions covering systems administration, systems engineering, management, and consulting. Allen’s primary focus over the years has been on Information Technology Infrastructure solutions. Working with businesses in varying capacities, he helps assess, plan, design, deploy and support their IT needs. Most recently, he has been primarily helping customers reduce risks to their environments through assessment methodologies that center on a top-down approach—working with executives and business leaders on policy and procedure then evaluating the technology in place to support those business initiatives.
Greg Manson, Vice President of Security, Audit and Compliance, Logically
Greg has 18 years’ experience as an IT Director for organizations in compliant environments including healthcare, medical device, and pharmaceuticals. He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems from Indiana University and an MBA from UNC-Wilmington. Greg is an ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor, passing his exam in the 90th percentile. Greg’s initiative led to the creation of our Security Audit and Compliance team, which now focuses on framework-based assessments (NIST, HIPAA, ISO), Internal Audit as a Service (IAaaS), Penetration Testing and Virtual CISO offerings.
Update From The Commonwealth’s Chief Broadband Advisor
Virginia’s Chief Broadband Advisor, Evan Feinman, serves as Virginia’s single point of contact and integration for broadband issues, efforts, and initiatives and to increase the availability and affordability of broadband throughout all regions of the Commonwealth. Even provided a broadband update for Southern Virginia.
About the Speaker
Evan Feinman is both the Executive Director of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and Governor Northam’s Chief Broadband Advisor. He has previously served in multiple roles within government, on political campaigns, and in the private sector. Evan received his bachelors degree from UVA, his law degree from Washington and Lee, and spent time on a public policy fellowship as well as with the Sorensen Institute.
Online Recruiting And Talent Attraction
Recruiting employees without the help of technology is almost unthinkable these days. With new recruitment solutions popping up almost every day, recruiters and their teams might find themselves feeling lost and overwhelmed when selecting digital solutions.
Steve Youll, Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Managing Director, Talent Acquisition, discussed what free resources are available, tips on understanding job board logic, metrics and analytics you should be tracking and audience target messaging to help you utilize technology to reach the right candidates.
About the Speaker
Steve Youll, Managing Director, Talent Acquisition Services, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, leads customized strategic human resources services thru the Virginia Talent Accelerator
Program. The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program directly engages businesses, within a defined economic development project, by providing services for talent acquisition and recruitment, pre-screening, media development, and an array of new/post-hire training for companies in Virginia.
Professionally, Steve has 20+ years of HR/OD experience with both public and private sector organizations with his most recent experiences in economic development with JobsOhio in the role of Senior Manager, Client Talent Strategies and prior to that with Honda Logistics, in the role of Senior Manager, North American Human Resources and Administration. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science, Secondary Education, from Kent State University and a Master of Arts, Organizational Development and Leadership, from Duquesne University, plus multiple HR certifications and he is a Certified LinkedIn Recruiter. When not working, Steve enjoys reading classic literature (it’s the inner English teacher in him), watching ridiculous amounts of baseball and soccer and perfecting the best homemade pizza crust, a lifelong endeavor.
How Online Banking Can Benefit Your Small Business
Online banking can be very efficient for your business and has been critical to many businesses and organizations especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Matthew Speare, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Carter Bank & Trust provided an overview of online banking and Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment processing. When Matt joined Carter Bank & Trust in 2017 there was no online or mobile banking available, now in 2020 they are leveraging artificial intelligence and providing leading banking technology to manage finances.
Matt discussed the following topics:
- What is Automated Clearing House (ACH) and how does it work?
- What are the advantages of ACH payments for small businesses?
- How did COVID-19 impact businesses and the use of automated banking?
- How did Carter Bank & Trust respond to the needs of banking changes and how will this alter the future of your B2B transactions for your customers?
- How do automation tools and benefits of artificial intelligence drive these changes?
About the Speaker
Matthew M. Speare, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Carter Bank & Trust. Prior to joining Carter Bank & Trust, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Regions Bank from 2013 to 2017. When Matt Speare, joined Carter Bank & Trust’s executive team in 2017, the customer and employee experience at Carter Bank & Trust looked somewhat different. There was no online or mobile banking available and many simple processes were still being performed manually and were paper-based. Fast forward to 2020, Carter Bank & Trust is leveraging artificial intelligence to drive processes and efficiencies internally and customers are taking advantage of leading banking technology to manage their finances – all thanks to the guidance of Speare’s expertise.
What is SEO ? Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.
Dustin Slightham, CEO at 434 Marketing, provided an overview of what SEO is, how it works and what are the benefits for your business.
- Overview of how search engines index context
- Aligning with what Google cares most about
- Defining your audience’s search needs
- Matching your audience to search behavior
- Backlinks and Keywords
- Key differences between B2B, B2C, and Local Search
Delivering Productive Online Meetings
In today’s workplace online meetings allow you to collaborate without physical boundaries, but how do you ensure that you maximize efficiency? Connie Long , President & CEO of Association Builders, will address how to successfully setup and lead a meeting and provide insight on how your business can benefit from this offering.
Topics to include:
- When online meetings are effective
- Planning and preparation for your meeting
- Choosing the right platform
- Tips for presenting
- Linking attendees to presentation materials
- How to interact with participants
- Technical considerations
About the Speaker Connie Long
Connie Long has more than 33 years of direct association management experience in addition to two years in marketing and public relations. She has served as the Executive Director for the Virginia Economic Developers Association since July 2000. During her tenure with VEDA, the organization has grown in membership and added additional events and programming to meet the needs of its 530+ members. In addition, Connie is President & CEO of Association Builders, assisting not-for-profit professional associations with their association management needs. Connie received a BS degree in Communications with a Public Relations Concentration and a minor in Marketing from Virginia Tech.