Upcoming Technology & Toast

Technology & Toast is a monthly meeting of our membership. It's an opportunity to meet other regional technology leaders to exchange ideas and information to help grow your business! View the Technology & Toast Archive to view video or slides from previous presentations.


APRIL Tech & Toast

Telling the Technology Story

Arrive early for networking!


The RBTC has partnered with the Public Relations Society of America Blue Ridge Chapter to explore the role of communications, including public relations and online marketing, in the technology world. From small entrepreneurial startups to established firms, our region is a growing technology powerhouse. How can strategic, thoughtful communications programs support this continued growth? 

A panel of local experts will be discussing what trends will most impact your company's communications success, how to work with members of the media and key strategies and tactics that can be implemented immediately.

Have questions for the panel? Email them by April 7 to



Thomas Becher
Senior Vice President
Neathawk Dubuque and Packett

Thomas leads the public relations, strategic communications and crisis communications practice with extensive experience in issues management, corporate communications, media relations, speech writing, special events and more. He has helped many technology companies achieve results.
This former journalist loves deadlines and understands what it takes to stand out in today’s wide variety of communication channels.
Prior to owning his own agency, The Becher Agency (tba), and joining ND&P through a merger, this self-described aviation buff led media relations, employee communications and corporate communications at aviation industry icons Pratt & Whitney, Atlas Air and Northwest Airlines. Today, he’s helping businesses of all sizes and industries, non-profit organizations and government agencies pursue strategic, results-driven, award-winning campaigns in public relations and advertising.

Thomas is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in newspaper administration. He has earned a Certificate of Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America, a distinction demonstrating competency in knowledge, skills and abilities in public relations. He has won numerous awards for excellence in public relations and routinely achieves national media coverage for clients.
He is a former reporter and editor for the Associated Press, where he learned to love deadlines and understand how the media work. He began his PR career at the University of Connecticut before embarking in corporate communications.


David Kaplan

David Kaplan is a General Assignment reporter for WDBJ7. He's been with the station since August of 2012.  During his time at the station, he's covered some of the biggest stories in Virginia: Hannah Graham's disappearance, Ed Gillespie's near shocking upset of Mark Warner, a shooting at New River Community College and the fallout at UVA from the recent Rolling Stone article.
David prides himself on being an objective reporter; finding the facts and telling a complete story.  David does his best to incorporate many social media platforms in his reporting and news gathering on top of the many new and innovative broadcasting technologies used at WDBJ7.
David is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a 2008 graduate of Cave Spring High School in Roanoke County.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Syracuse University in 2012, double majoring in Broadcast and Digital Journalism and Political Science.


Dr. Mary Miller

Dr. Mary Guy Miller is president and founder of Interactive Design and Development, Inc. (IDD), an award-winning information technology firm in Blacksburg. Under her leadership and guidance, IDD has created multimedia products, web design and development, interactive touch screen kiosks, and custom information technology solutions for a wide range of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, such as Dow Chemical, Hewlett-Packard, Citibank, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Dole Food Company. Other clients include the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), The Smithsonian Institution, The Library of Congress, the American Federation of Teachers, Science Museum of Virginia, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture and a number of departments at Virginia Tech. In addition, IDD has developed its own web content management system, INTELLIGEN, which gives website administrators the power to update content on their own websites. IDD has grown into a full-service digital agency, offering the complete digital marketing package such as marketing strategy design, social media management, Search Engine Optimization, marketing consulting, and so much more.  
She has served on many boards and advisory committees, including Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering’s Committee of 100, the Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s Advisory Board and the Dean’s Advisory Council, the Advisory Board for the Department of Computer Science, the Virginia 4-H Foundation’s Board and will be its next president.
Dr. Miller received her master's of information science (MIS), as well as her doctorate in instructional design from Virginia Tech. Her dedication to her Alma Mater and to the field of information technology was recognized at the 75th Anniversary of Women at Virginia Tech, when she was chosen as an outstanding woman alumna. She was recently inducted into Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering Academy of Excellence, joining an elite group of 97 individuals out of 55,000 living engineering alumni. Last May, Dr. Miller was named the Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s Distinguished Alumna. 
Recognized in 1996 as one of the Top 100 Multimedia Developers in the United States, Dr. Miller is a sought after speaker and consultant in the area of Instructional Design and Leadership. Mary was recently presented with the 2014 Business Woman of the Year Award.


Tony Pearman
Chief Creative Officer and CEO


Tony Pearman co-founded Access in 1996 and has worked to make it one of the region’s most successful and enduring agencies. During this time, Pearman has collected more than 400 advertising awards at the local, regional, and national levels. Outside of work, his passion for the arts and community-related causes is varied and includes terms on many boards.  Pearman served two terms as National ADDY Chair on the Board of Directors of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and has also served on the boards of The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Children’s Trust. He currently serves on the boards of Downtown Roanoke, Inc. and The Market Building Foundation. Tony is a husband, a dad, and a stepdad. He loves to cook, landscape, and build and design furniture with his dad. He loves architecture, books and movies, and is addicted to CrossFit.

Chris West
Digital Advertising Manager
The Roanoke Times

As the Digital Advertising Manager for The Roanoke Times, Chris West works with local businesses to expand their web presence, reputation and lead generation.  Having served in numerous management capacities in the newspaper industry over the last ten years, he has seen both the development of media and of the digital services model and how it affects business in the digital age.  At The Roanoke Times, he manages a team of designers and product developers who work with clients from start to finish.  Whether building websites, optimizing digital campaigns or increasing search and social visibility, this team prides itself on an agency approach to businesses of all scales and types.

Thursday, April 16, 2015
7:15 to 9 a.m.

Holiday Inn Valley View
3315 Ordway Drive
Roanoke, VA 24017

$25 for RBTC and PRSA members; $48 for non-members
Price includes breakfast.

The deadline to register is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14.

A partnership with: 

Sponsored by:

Spectrum's Edge


Annual Sponsors - If you are an RBTC Annual Sponsor and you would like to use your two complimentary tickets for Tech & Toast please contact Heather Baum at heather@thetechnologycouncil.com or (540) 443-9232 ext. 2 to register.

Reservations are transferable and are $25 per person for RBTC members and $48 for non-members. Price includes breakfast. Registrations paid at the door are $48 regardless of membership status. Non-attendance does not alleviate balance due. Event registration will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, 2015. For information about sponsoring future RBTC events, call (540) 443-9232 ext. 2.