Computer Scientist, Dept of Defense Manager Joins ITA

Tom HendricksThis fall, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s (SVHEC)
IT Academy (ITA) will expand its advanced training courses with its first cybersecurity course. The course will be taught by new ITA instructor Thomas Hendricks, computer scientist and retired US Department of Defense manager.

Hendricks worked as a computer scientist and manager with the U.S. Department of Defense for over 32 years until his retirement in 2013.  In this capacity, he worked with many cutting-edge technologies including large scale, high speed networking, information assurance, cyber security defense, vulnerability assessments, cyber security education, and related areas of technology.

Hendricks also has an extensive record of teaching in the computer science and cyber security disciplines for several different universities, including Johns Hopkins University, James Madison University, and Norwich University. From 2001 to 2006, Mr. Hendricks’ served as the NSA Visiting Professor to the US Naval Academy.

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Trainees Successfully Complete Welding@SVHEC Program

welding cohort 6  welding cohort7

Trainees in Welding@SVHEC Cohorts 6 and 7 have successfully completed the training program, and taken their place as Southern Virginia’s newest certified welders. Tara Bailey, Clarence Crews, Eric Ford, James Holt, Stacy Morris, Justin Overby, William Ridgeway, Chris Terry, Jordan Wagstaff, and Ernest Womack successfully completed the 13-month training program, and obtained several certifications including the nationally recognized NCCER welding certification.
“Welding@SVHEC is a hands-on training program designed to give our trainees the skills and knowledge needed to begin a successful career in the in-demand field of welding,” said Scarlett Brandon, Program/Marketing Coordinator for the SoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence.

After completing the program, program completers receive job placement assistance. Currently, 70% of cohort 6 and 7 have been successfully placed in welding positions. “Our trainees have worked diligently during the course of their training program, and we look forward to seeing their continued success as they start their new careers as certified welders,”Brandon stated.

Individuals in Welding@SVHEC receive instruction in MIG, TIG, Stick, and Pipe welding, and earn a portfolio of stackable, industry-recognized credentials. Successful Welding@SVHEC program completers will be invited to participate in the SVHEC’s Workforce Completion Ceremony on August 10th.

To learn more about the Welding@SVHEC program, contact Scarlett Brandon at 434-572-5473 or email

Comer Earns Welding Inspector Certification

troycomerTroy Comer, SoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence (SoVA CME) Welding Program Leader, has earned the internationally recognized Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) credential through the American Welding Society (AWS). Comer previously earned the AWS Certified Welding Educator credential in 2016.

“Obtaining the CWI credential is a real credit to Troy. The certification exam is quite challenging, and more fail than pass,” said David Kenealy, SoVA CME Director of Programming. “The CWI is a predominant credential that will expand our ability to do meaningful work in welding and workforce training as we move forward,” Kenealy continued.

As an AWS certified welding inspector, Comer can now test and certify welders and construction-related welding projects. According to the AWS website “CWIs are responsible to the public for the quality of the things they help produce. Bridges, elevators, buildings, vehicles, it’s the CWI’s job to ensure that these things are assembled correctly and okay for public use.”

To obtain the CWI credential, Comer underwent a rigorous certification process including a vision test, attending an intensive weeklong seminar in Atlanta, Georgia, and completing a difficult three-part, six-hour assessment. As a testament to Comer’s welding experience and abilities, he passed all parts of the assessment on the first try.

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Welding Basics for the At Home Welder

Would you like to learn the basics of welding, but you don't want a complete program or certification? If you answered YES, then the At Home Welder Short Course is for YOU. Class meets 2 nights a week for six weeks, and provides you with the knowledge and skills to do small projects at your home or farm. Call 434-572-5473 or email to get started!

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