New River Community College’s Lab Tech Program

I have been thinking about regional technology development.

What has given me a feast for thought has been the regional economic initiatives represented by the visit of Google CEO Eric Schmidt to Blacksburg, Virginia, Radford University's Entrepreneurial Summit, comments on regionalism by Stuart Mease and Dan Smith, and the upcoming VT KnowledgeWorks Technology Showcase.

And then this:

The director of a Virginia association of biotech companies has started to follow Handshake 2.0 on Twitter.

I feel part of a regio-techno-econo-connecto extravaganza.

The new Laboratory Technology Program at New River Valley Community College plays a part in the show.

I had the privilege of visiting a  session of Biotechnology Applications, the first course in a series leading to certification in the Laboratory Technician Program offered through New River Community College’s Center for Workforce Development at its New River Valley Mall location in Christiansburg, Virginia. 

A member of the adjunct faculty at New River Community College (NRCC), instructor Richard J. Obiso, Jr., Ph.D., is President of The Microbe Company, a biotech consulting firm, President of Eclipse Winery, LLC, a start-up winery in Christiansburg, Virginia, and a Principal Scientist for an international research institute.

Richard Obiso teaches for the Lab Tech Program at New River Community College

Richard Obiso teaches for the Lab Tech Program
at New River Community College
Photograph by Rebecca Stotler

Why I was impressed:

  • New River Community College's teaching and learning equipment for both students and faculty was state-of-the-art.

  • The instructor, Richard Obiso, brought subject area expertise and business savvy to his classroom.  Part of the students’ coursework is to contact companies in the local biotech industry to learn about their research.

  • I expected to observe a lesson on “How to Hold a Test Tube.”  The students were engaged in an online group project cutting DNA sequences.

I felt proud of the attentive students, the earnest instructor, and the boldness of NRCC to start such a cutting edge–literally–and forward-looking program.

I felt inspired by my community for not only envisioning regional technology development, but for taking action now to make it happen.

And I’ll feel excited when I send out a tweet about our regio-techno-econo-connecto extravaganza.  A director of an association of biotech companies following Handshake 2.0 on Twitter and seeking qualified lab techs will get good news.

High Five: High-Tech Bear
Valley Business FRONT Post - Regionalism


  1. I did feel excited when I sent out a tweet on Twitter this AM. NRCC has evolved into an awing source of skill to power our local economy.

  2. When I moved here three and a half years ago, I really had no idea of the entrepreneurial spirit of this area. Today, I’m happy and proud to be a part of the budding technology center here in Southwest Virginia and you’re right, it is a good feeling.

  3. NRCC has proven to be very innovative in how they deliver programming… with the program mentioned above to having a campus in a mall. They are doing their part in showing the importance of lifelong learning…

  4. Interesting timing on this, Anne – I was just learning about NRCC’s Lab Tech program late last week, and then you go posting about it today. What a great program – here we are talking about “creative class” jobs, and the entrepreneurial spirit (, and NRCC is a step ahead by putting it in action. They’re thinking outside the box, once again, and both the students and the community benefit.

    Very cool!

  5. Read this on Slashdot and thought of NRCC’s Lab Tech Program:

    First whole cancer genome sequenced:

Speak Your Mind