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Sound Mind in a Sound Body

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 2:46 PM on July 29, 2008:

Handshake 2.0 High-Tech Athlete Profile

Gordie Zeigler, 40

For what high-tech company do you work, what is your area of expertise, what is your position, and what specifically do you do in your position? 

I am an Account Manager for SyCom Technologies. We are a network integration firm. We specialize in designing, building, and maintaining stable and secure network infrastructures for voice, data, and video. Our customers include private and public sector clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic. My specific area of expertise lies in my business experience and my ability to bridge the gap between technology and business processes by really taking the time to learn about my customers and their business, and then working with our engineering team to leverage the right technology for our customers’ benefit. Ultimately, my job is to sell.Gordieziegler_2

What is your sport, how long have you been doing it, and how did you get started?

I first ran in junior high school, but did not run my first competitive race until I was 34 years old in 2002. Running is my first love but through a desire to cross-train I have become quite fond of cycling as well. I also compete in 3-4 triathlons per year as well. Notice I did not say I have become fond of swimming too.

Why aren’t you playing Wii instead?

I prefer to play in traffic.

What is your favorite equipment and why?  (Please limit to 100 words!)

A bicycle can be so sexy in so many ways whether it is a state-of-the-art carbon frame with the latest technology or a steel framed classic. But for my money, I like my running shoes. The bike is freedom on two wheels, but my running shoes will carry me anywhere, limited only by my own legs and not subject to mechanical failures. They never flat; they never need an adjustment, I never suffer road rash or saddle sores from running.  This is more than 100 words but… well worth it I think.

I am so much more than a running shoe;
I am the wind beneath your feet.
I am the hurdling of what humbles you
I am the overcoming of defeat

I am what makes you the Prince(ss) of Strides
I keep at bay the years' advancing tides
I am the path to happy exhaustion
I am darting by cars with no caution
I am the feeding of your addiction
I am a better defense against affliction

I am so much more than a running shoe
I am the wind always in back of you
I am a ticket to mile by mile freedom
I tell your demons you will beat 'em

I am your partner who will never quit
I am the guilt you hear when you sit
I am the vehicle to a leaner frame
I am a smaller swimsuit without shame
I am the breathless view from the top of the hill,
I am better living - without a pill

I am so much more than a running shoe
I am your friend and load-bearer too.
I am a negative split, a new personal best,
Another met challenge, another passed test.
I am your transformation to a cuter back-side,
I am the one to whom you swear and even confide.

I am long runs on Sundays and up before the sun,
When you scream I listen, and I'm the only one.
Yes I am so much more than a running shoe
Just lace me up to see all this come true.

             - Zig 2004

What was your greatest high--your peak experience--in high-tech?

In 2003 while I was head of the NCTC, I had an opportunity to help lead the effort to launch Roanoke’s Free Downtown WiFi zone. It was the very first free wifi zone of its scale in Virginia and one of the first in the entire country. It brought attention to Roanoke on a wide scale. Helping to bring the pieces together to make that happen was something that I am proud of to this day.

What was your greatest high--your peak experience--in your sport?

I have several that mean a great deal to me for different reasons and I could never pick a “#1”.

  • The 29 minute 5K I ran with my 10-year-old daughter.
  • The 5:24 marathon I completed with my sister even though her knee cracked at the halfway mark and we had to walk much of the last half
  • Completing my first Half Iron distance triathlon despite a bout of gastroenteritis
  • Running a 3:22 marathon

If applicable, does your significant other understand your passion for your sport?  If yes, how do you know?  If no, how do you handle this?

My wife knows that I do nothing halfway. Whether she understands that from the standpoint of relatability as an athlete, I doubt. But she knows how I am and we temper each other in that regard. She knows when I appear stressed that I need a run or a ride and she encourages me to seek that. Most days, we provide each other with a nice balance.

How has what you know about high-tech helped you in your sport?

I think probably the reverse is more applicable – how has my sport helped my career? Training at a high level for hours-long events has required me to find better ways to manage my time both at home and on the job. The confidence that I have gained through meeting physical challenges has made me more confident in my work. I find I relish the competition in the marketplace as well. I refuse to be out-sprinted within sight of the finish line.  My circle of contacts has also expanded as a result of the connections I have made through my athletic endeavors. As a person who is trying to get introductions and gain acceptance, being visible throughout the community has helped immensely in my career. My athletic pursuits augment and complement my career nicely.

What question would you most like to answer about the relationship between your high-tech work and your athleticism?

"What IS the relationship between your work and your athletic pursuits?”

What is the answer to that question?

Life is stressful. Work and family pressures can take an incredible toll on the mind and body. Things are moving ever faster in the world of business. We expect instant access today in the age of instant communications, email, and cell phones. I do not know what I would do without the opportunity to zone out for 30-60 minutes a day and just let my own breathing be the pace that controls my life. It is my balance. I do not solve the world’s problems in a 2-hour run, but I can make great headway on my own – if I so choose to devote the energy to them while I run. I run in ASICS shoes not because of this but the name is derived from the Latin phrase: “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” – “Sound Mind in a Sound Body."

Get Exposed @ Tech Expo

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 2:20 PM on July 27, 2008:

When:  Friday, September 5, 2008
WhereRoanoke Civic Center,
Special Events Center

The NewVa region is large and diverse, not only because of our landscape, but also with regard to the size, structure, and industry of our technology companies. The NewVa Corridor Technology Expo offers regional technology companies an opportunity to generate awareness for their business, products, capabilities, and needs. This event also provides an informal atmosphere to facilitate discovery and dialogue among local technology leaders including:
  • Investment Opportunities
  • Employment
  • Business and Production Partnerships
  • Research Opportunities
  • Sales and Marketing Alliances
  • Technology Business Management
The NewVa Corridor Technology Expo will be open to registered attendees from 3-6pm. A portion of the afternoon, 1-3pm, will be reserved for NCTC members-only networking.
The NewVa Corridor Technology Council organizes the Tech Expo on behalf of our membership. NCTC members are invited to reserve a space at the Tech Expo. Exhibitor Registration is $100, add $50 for a power outlet.
  • Large companies seeking new products
  • Angel and Institutional Investors
  • Inventors and Researchers
  • Business Development Professionals
  • Job seekers
  • Economic Development Professionals
After the Tech Expo, the City of Roanoke will host a Pep Rally for the Virginia Tech football team, which plays its first home game of the season on Saturday, September 6th. The pep rally will begin at 7pm and will be held just next door to the Tech Expo at the Civic Center. Admission is FREE.
The information above is from The NewVa Corridor Technology Council

Keraderm, a Partner of GenTek Ventures

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 7:00 AM on July 26, 2008:

The text of this post originally appeared on Inside VT KnowledgeWorks, 6/27/08.

Doug Juanarena of GenTek Ventures, entrepreneur-in-residence at business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, mentioned to me that one of his clients is Keraderm. Keraderm has created a phototherapy device for nail infections.  It uses ultraviolet light to inactivate organisms that cause the infections.


Nail infections. Like a pair of over-priced, never-worn shoes hidden in the back of the closet, everybody's got 'em. They just don't talk about 'em.

I know of...I mean people have whispered to me about, two treatments for nail infections. One is a toxic-smelling liquid painted on the nails for what seems like a decade. Doug me told that's effective for 1 in 10 who use it. Great.

The other treatment is a pill that has all kinds of warnings about liver function on the bottle. Doug is an engineer. Doug told me so many details, graphic ones, about the liver topic that I got light-headed and needed to put my head between my knees. Engineers and their details are good. Really.

The antidote to my distress was Doug showing me the prototype of the Keraderm device, a calming white, the size of two dish pans on top of each other like a clam.  p>Doug did a demo of how it works, so reassuring and so charming that it absolutely must some day be put on YouTube. One word: "Handsies."

I have a friend who trains for triathlons. I spend...I mean, she spends a lot of time in hot, damp running shoes, an environment conducive to the formation of nail infections. I hear nail infections are hard on the gents as well.

The friend I mentioned so misses her pink nail polish. Three to four treatments in the Keraderm device? I know...I mean she knows a lot of triathletes with hot shoes and some at-risk "toesies."

I understand the Keraderm device is investigational and is not for sale in the United States. But when it is, we can YouTube the line that forms for treatment. I get...I mean my friend, gets to be first.

GenTek Ventures partners with startups and early stage companies to guide them from concept to shareholder wealth creation.  GenTek Ventures offers entrepreneur-in-residence services to member companies of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.

News from

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:59 AM on July 26, 2008:

This post originally appeared on Inside VT KnowledgeWorks, 6/3/08.

News from Michael Rihani, co-founder of

Here’s a quick description of our website, just so you know some more: provides an interactive community that serves the academic needs of college students through information sharing.  Students benefit from collaboration with their peers and the experiences of former students.  Many helpful services span the entire academic calendar from course selection through final exams, and include collaborative note-taking, course and instructor ratings/grade distributions, and an online library for sharing past exams and study materials.

We started at Virginia Tech and have over 14,000 VT students using the website within our first year and a half in operation.

We just launched at the end of the school year at the University of Maryland, College Park and were featured on the front page of their school newspaper or you can see the newspaper article in "real newspaper" .pdf format.

In the first week, we received over 1,000 UMD students registering/using our service! is a member company of high-tech business accelerator VT KnowledgeWorks, located at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Nanotechnology Safety

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:58 AM on July 26, 2008:

The text of this post originally appeared on Inside VT KnowledgeWorks, 3/31/08.

At the cocktail parties I've attended lately, "Look at my new nanotechnology!" has not been said. But it may soon be.

If you google "nanotechnology next industrial revolution," the results are pages and pages of links to government papers, academic sites, and unknown others. Nanotechnology involves messing around with things on the atomic level.  How can the average person make sense of it?

According to How Stuff Works, "Nanotechnology is so new, no one is really sure what will come of it. Even so, predictions range from the ability to reproduce things like diamonds and food to the world being devoured by self-replicating nanorobots."

If a bit sensational, the nanorobot image invokes some of humankind's greatest fears: of the unknown, of the uncontrollable, of powerlessness of any kind.

For Matthew Hull, president of NanoSafe, Inc., helping companies harness the power of nanotechnology in accord with human and environmental health concerns is an area of both expertise and passion.

Hull believes research and development in nanotechnology have outpaced knowledge of environmental health and safety concerns. NanoSafe, Inc., one of the newest Member Companies of high-tech accelerator VT KnowledgeWorks, provides consulting, services, and products designed to bridge the gap between the known and the unknown.

On a recent visit to a friend's house, I watched her four-year-old son drop his snack bar on the floor. He reached for it, but she swooped for it, rinsed it, and returned it to her son before he had a moment to think whether he wanted his snack bar soggy or not. To protect her child from the unknown effects of the detritus created by two adults, three children, and two dogs, a mother's timing was in nanoseconds.

Matthew Hull and his company NanoSafe, Inc. seem equally timely. Whether it's adults or children exclaiming, "Look at my new nanotoy!", we need to know companies who created it did so safely.

VT KnowledgeWorks - A Missive from Concept Camp

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 5:57 AM on July 26, 2008:

This is an excerpt from a post that orignally appeared on Inside VT KnowledgeWorks, 3/13/08.

When I attended the February 2008 session of high-tech business incubator VT KnowledgeWorks's Concept Camp, I met Benjamin Lepene.  In a 3/7/08 e-mail, he wrote:

Concept Camp was a great opportunity for me to discuss my business goals and objectives with a group of people going through similar challenges.  Jim Flowers facilitated these discussions and provided valuable insight and constructive feedback on a wide range of topics ranging from our motivations to investment opportunities to accounting fundamentals.  I found that most of us had a good grasp on the technical components of our business concepts, but many of us may not have thoroughly considered the non-technical aspects associated with starting and running a business.

I think Concept Camp reaffirmed my desire to advance my business concept into the next phase.  Jim and the other campers also helped me refine my commitments for the upcoming months to ensure a successful launch.

I'm currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences at Virginia Tech.  I am developing a nanoscale antioxidant drug delivery system that actively targets specific cells within the body under oxidative stress and inflammation.  This technology has therapeutic implications for disease states and conditions ranging from human asthma to neurological and cardiovascular diseases.

I should have exciting news in the near future...

Ben Lepene
[email protected]

P.S.  Here is an interesting technology blog from my home state of NH:  Granite Geek.

Benjamin Lepene joined VT KnowledgeWorks as member company Safe NanoMaterials.