technology, new river valley, Virginia

Blocksburg Summit: Block Chain and Beyond

Blacksburg, VA – For nearly 150 years, Virginia Tech has served as a connection hub of diverse-minded thinkers, leaders, technologists and inventors. In keeping with this tradition, Blocksburg Summit 2019 will bring blockchain thought leaders from around the world to the Virginia Tech Campus to engage in conversations at the intersection of technology, research, regulation, policy, and economics in commercial enterprises, government, and education.

Blockchain innovators, academic experts, and policy makers from across the globe will:

  • Lead and facilitate panel forums
  • Host fireside chats
  • Support breakout sessions to discuss the political, economic, and social implications of this disruptive technology
  • Attendees will hear from blockchain thought leaders while participating in an extraordinary networking event aimed at understanding the challenges and opportunities of a blockchain future.

    This event, part of the Virginia Tech Blockchain Initiative led by Computer Science, is designed to catalyze commonwealth, federal, and private collaboration on blockchain technologies in service to the international community. Early registration deadline is October 4th; with the final registration deadline on November 4.

    Speaker Lineup:
    Hester Peirce, Commissioner on the Securities and Exchange Commission
    Amy Davine Kim, Global Policy Director and General Counsel at the Chamber of Digital Commerce
    Dan Larimer, Chief Technology Officer of Block.one

    REGISTER TODAY

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Blacksburg is 13th Best College Town to Start a Career

    Blacksburg, VA – According to Business Insider, Blacksburg is the 13th best college town in America to start your career in 2019.

    Grand Canyon University conducted a study to identify the best college towns for starting a career. They collected data from the US Census, Yelp, Indeed, official government climate data, and more for all the cities included in the study. Six categories were used to compare the cities and included, similar state of life population, job market, climate, culture, city infrastructure, and financial. Cities were ranked on a scale of 1 – 10 in each category and then added together for a final score between 1 and 60; the higher the better.

    In the 13th spot, Blacksburg scored an overall 36.05, falling just short of the 11th spot which Auburn, Alabama and Oxford, Mississippi tied for at 36.15. Notre Dame, Indiana, the top college town to start a career came in at 42.5.

    Check out the full list of the top 20 schools here.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    cybersecurity

    Commonwealth Cyber Initiative’s Network Certified

    New River Valley – The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative’s (CCI) statewide network was certified this week by the Virginia Research Investment Committee. The goal of the CCI is to bring together the strengths of Virginia’s higher education institutions, industries, and government to collectively develop technologies and train talent in order to prevent cyber crimes.

    cybersecurity

    Four, university-led nodes were established engaging 320 faculty members across 39 higher education institutions, as well as 65 private companies, four federal partners, and 45 other regional partners. This platform will position Virginia to be a leader in the intersection of cybersecurity and data analytics, machine learning, and autonomous systems. Starting in 2020, Virginia has budgeted $20 million annually to support creating an ecosystem to generate cyber-related research, education, and statewide engagement.

    “CCI is here to differentiate Virginia as a leader in cybersecurity education, research, and business startups – especially commercial startups,”

    – Jeff Reed, Interim Executive Director, CCI

    The program will establish two initiatives within the network, the CCI Fellows Program and a 5G test bed. The Fellows Program will focus on research and program development among faculty from across the state. This collaboration will also support the development and utilization of the 5G test bed. The test bed will provide the opportunity to develop and demonstrate cybersecurity technologies and solutions in order to get in front of potential security threats.

    Now that the nodes have been certified, the next steps are to engage with the Virginia Research Investment Committee’s working group, regional leaders, and the broader network community to establish each node’s strategic plan. With Virginia Tech heading the southwest Virginia node, exciting opportunities lie ahead for the information technology and unmanned systems industries in the New River Valley.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    VTTI Shuttle

    New Autonomous Shuttle Serves VTTI

    BLACKSBURG, VA – More autonomous vehicles are now operating in Virginia’s New River Valley with the addition of the autonomous shuttle at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

    The shuttle, which only goes 12 mph, takes students and employees just a half mile down the road from the BT bus stop to the front of the building.

    The normal path people usually have to walk on is hilly and contains no sidewalk. The shuttle solves the problem of “last mile transportation” that many autonomous researchers are working to fix.

    VTTI purchased the shuttle from EasyMile, a French company, and is conducting new research on how both passengers and other drivers respond to the shuttle.

    This project is another great announced that will bring visibility for the Unmanned Systems industry in Virginia’s New River Valley.

    For more information, read Jacob Demmitt’s article for the Roanoke Times.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Amazon HQ2

    Amazon HQ2’s Effect on the NRV

    VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – While Northern Virginia may feel far away, Amazon’s new HQ2 locating in Crystal City will have a major effect on Blacksburg and the entire New River Valley.

    Not only will Virginia Tech increase undergraduate enrollment, but it will also add over 100 jobs in Blacksburg.

    The entire Commonwealth of Virginia will be affected as the General Assembly looks to increase the “tech talent pipeline” by increasing computer science undergraduate degrees by 25,000 across Virginia by 2039.

    Radford University is slated to help in this initiative as well, especially with the IMPACT program, which is part of the Artis College of Science and Technology.

    Read the full coverage of Amazon’s impact from Robby Korth at the Roanoke Times: https://www.roanoke.com/news/education/higher_education/virginia_tech/amazon-s-impact-hundreds-of-new-jobs-higher-enrollment-at/article_103e28e5-e03c-5a24-b28f-5a7e5479e320.html

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Virginia Tech Bowl Game Streak

    Virginia Tech Secures America’s Longest Active Bowl Streak

    BLACKSBURG, VA – The Virginia Tech Hokies officially hold the longest active bowl streak in America with 26 straight bowl game appearances.

    The Hokies beat Virginia last month, which led to a conditional game with Marshall. After sealing the victory of 41-20, the Hokies will officially keep playing in the postseason.

    Virginia Tech Bowl Game Streak Graphic from Virginia Tech Football Twitter.

    The Florida State Seminoles have appeared in bowl games for the last 36 consecutive seasons, but their streak ended after losing to Florida. That puts Virginia Tech at the top of the list for active bowl game streaks.

    College Football Bowl Game Streak Leaderboard:

    1. Virginia Tech – 26 years
    2. Georgia – 21 years
    3. Oklahoma – 19 years
    4. Louisiana State – 18 years
    5. Wisconsin – 16 years & Boise State – 16 years
    7. Alabama – 14 years
    8. Clemson – 13 years
    9. Oklahoma State – 12 years
    10. Stanford – 9 years & Texas A&M – 9 years

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    VTCRC Media Day Onward NRV

    PharmExec: Southeast Biotech Rising Tall in the Valley

    ~ A look at the booming life sciences scene in southwest Virginia and Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem, North Carolina—and the region’s advantages in location, talent, and funding compared to the more glamour spots up north by Michelle Maskaly ~

    What the [hell] are you guys doing in southwest Virginia?”

    That’s the response Josep Bassaganya-Riera, chairman and CEO of Landos Biopharma, which produces first-in-class oral therapeutics for autoimmune disorders, says he typically gets when he pitches his Blacksburg, Va.-based biotech to investors in hot spots like San Francisco and New York.

    But Bassaganya-Riera, who grew up in Europe and has lived in various places around the world, wouldn’t think about headquartering his company anywhere else.

    “There are beautiful mountains and it’s a great place to raise a family,” he says.

    Southeast Biotech VTCRC Blacksburg

    The area, surrounded by lush green valleys and sky-high mountain peaks, is also home to what some might call the region’s secret weapon when it comes to many industries, especially biotech: Virginia Tech, where Bassaganya-Riera is the director of the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory at the school’s Biocomplexity Institute.

    If you consider the university’s long history of standout engineering and science-related student programs in human and animal health, add in the abundance of resources being made available to professors and students to commercialize research, as well as the cultural collision of the data and science worlds, you have a breeding ground for biotech innovation.

    To help foster that innovation, the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech was conceived in response to a major policy initiative that established biotechnology as a central area of economic growth for the state. Building on early successes in genomic sequencing, the institute quickly established itself as a leader in another emerging scientific field, the simulation of complex systems. According to its website, “today, the Biocomplexity Institute is answering challenges to human health, habitat, and well-being at a scale that would have been inconceivable only a decade ago.”

    Fostering an ecosystem

    Without the correct ecosystem, however, it could all be lost. That’s where the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC) comes into play. The 230-acre park is located adjacent to the Virginia Tech campus and within close proximity to Route 81, a main thoroughfare that makes desirable healthcare-related cities in North Carolina, as well as the nation’s capital, just hours away.

    Created in July of 1985, the first building was completed in 1988, and is now home to 33 single-and multi-tenant structures. An expansion on the northwest side of the park provides enough land to construct 16 additional buildings. VTCRC is a for-profit, wholly-owned, private subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Foundation.

    The center has the ability to work closely with the university’s teaching mission by identifying opportunities for classes to use VTCRC and its companies for projects, special studies, internships, cooperative education experiences, and on-site instruction.

    VTCRC also assists with university research programs and initiatives that facilitate economic development activities throughout the university by matching the needs of VTCRC businesses, facilities, and programs with the research and professional capabilities of Virginia Tech, helping to increase the level of industry-sponsored research at the school.

    Much of the credit for the research park’s success is given to Joe Meredith, president and CEO of VTCRC. He, and his staff, work closely with each of the businesses to provide as many resources as possible. In fact, one of the most touted attributes mentioned during a recent media day event was VTCRC’s flexibility, especially when it comes to space, whether it be wet lab or office space. Meredith is known to “tear up leases” and start from scratch to help companies adjust to their needs and keep them in the VTCRC, according to a number of entrepreneurs Pharm Exec spoke with.

    Many of the businesses located in the park have roots that trace back to Virginia Tech, such as CELLINK, a 3D bioprinting company; CytoRecovery, a licensed technology that enables the recovery and testing of subpopulations of cancer cells in tumor biopsies; and TechLab, a full-service in vitrodiagnostic product manufacturer.

    The fact these companies have been encouraged to stay local has had a direct impact on the economic development in the region by helping to keep talent in the area and also recruit new talent to the region. Rob Day, chief operations officer of Blacksburg-based TechLab, is a prime example. Day, who has been with the medical diagnostics company since 2000, grew up about an hour from VTCRC, and was faced with a tough choice when he first entered the workforce—leave the region for a job in his field or do something completely different.

    “After graduating from Virginia Tech, I had limited opportunities in the area at the time,” Day told Pharm Exec. “I worked for about five years locally with a cosmetics factory and was able to then find employment at TechLab. It was quite unusual at the time to be employed in microbiology and immunology in southwest Virginia. However, over the last 20 years or so, we have seen an incredible morph of the area and the biotech industry. …I feel quite lucky to have found employment and been able to stay in this beautiful area.”

    Location dollars

    Southwest Virginia is visually about as far away from Kendall Square as you can get, and the people who live and work there are okay with that. In fact, area business development leaders are very transparent that the type of C-suite level executive you find in Blacksburg or the New River Valley would likely not be happy long-term in a San Francisco or Boston lifestyle.

    The region gives those executives looking for a better quality of life access to world-class talent in a place they can do business without making a compromise. It’s why, no matter the pushback he may initially get from investors, Bassaganya-Riera has no plans of moving his biotech, especially in the early years. “When a company starts out they are usually in bootstrapping mode and budgets are lean,” he says, a consideration that also makes southwest Virginia an appealing location due to its much lower costs to rent and buy space compared to Boston, for example.

    Bassaganya-Riera finds that fundraising and networking is not impeded by being outside of the major biotech hubs, and that current-day technology allows him to bring and supply the resources he needs virtually.

    But not everyone shares his opinion. Ed Champion, president of Roanoke-based Altede, a biotech whose work centers around food allergy-testing technology that was developed at Virginia Tech, and others toldPharm Execthat raising capital is an issue for them, because it is the one missing piece of the biotech ecosystem puzzle.

    Local economic leaders, such as Brian Hamilton, economic development director for the Montgomery County Economic Development, and Charlie Jewell, executive director of Onward New River Valley, both acknowledge that the southwest Virginia area doesn’t have the same financial ecosystem for biopharma companies as it does for technology companies, but that it can be looked at as a chicken and egg situation. As biotech companies become successful and are acquired, it will naturally create a financial ecosystem as the founders decide to invest in other local companies.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Virginia Tech Football Entrance

    Virginia Tech Ranked the #1 Most Electric Entrance in College Football

    VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – Locals know how rowdy Lane Stadium gets, but the news has gotten out. The Virginia Tech Hokies stadium entrance to Metallica’s Enter Sandman was ranked the #1 Most Electric Entrance in College Football by Fanbuzz.

    The entire stadium, from the band, to the student section, to people who are probably too old to do it, jump in unison to as the song builds to its climax. The Hokies’ football team walks from their locker room to the stadium, files into the narrow tunnel, and bursts onto the Lane Stadium field. It’s electric, it’s crazy, and it’s our favorite entrance in all of college football.

    Other universities mentioned include Miami, South Carolina, and Clemson, but Virginia Tech took home the number one spot.

    To see the full ranking, visit Fanbuzz.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    NRV number 17 best college town

    NRV Named #17 Best College Town by AIER

    VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA (known as the New River Valley) was ranked the number 17 best college town in America (2017) by the American Institute for Economic Research. The NRV is home to over 40,000 students thanks to Virginia Tech, Radford University, and New River Community College.

    NRV best college town
    “It should come as no surprise that Virginia Tech supplies Blacksburg with high levels of innovation. In terms of bars and restaurants, ask any Tech student and they’ll tell you to head downtown to T.O.T.S., Gillie’s, or Sharkey’s for some amazing brews and grub. The MSA of Blacksburg also includes Radford University, a key player in the regional economy.”

    AIER compiled the Best College Town results based on economic, demographic, and quality of life data points. Each “college town” has a population of less than 250,000.

    AIER also gave the NRV the number 3 ranking for bars and restaurants.

    Virginia Tech and Radford University often receive accolades and top rankings for their academic programs and fun atmospheres. Most recently, Virginia was ranked as the #15 Best College Tailgate in the U.S.

    For more info about the other college rankings, visit AIER.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    roam nrv bike share launches

    NRV Bike Share Launches in Blacksburg and Christiansburg

    VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY – The NRV’s new bike share program, Roam NRV, has officially launched. Powered by Gotcha, the bikes are located in Blacksburg and Christiansburg and on the Virginia Tech Campus. Bikes can be found at “hubs,” which are detailed on the Roam NRV website.

    According to the Roanoke Times, there is consideration to expand the program in the future. Some of the hubs may also change location depending on use or the potential for businesses to sponsor them.

    Riders can reserve bikes through the Social Bicycles (SoBi) mobile app for Apple and Android.

    For more information visit the Roam NRV website and start roaming the NRV today!

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.