For Immediate Release:
December 11, 2018
Primary Media Contact:
Public Relations Specialist
Through a unique partnership, four Laurel Ridge students and one graduate are gaining valuable experience with a Luray technology firm.
Students Harvey Ruth, Johnathan Choat, Jerry Lackovitch and Dedric Smith, as well as Laurel Ridge alumnus Shilo Parlett, work in the Luray office of Falls Church-based Syntelligent Analytic Solutions LLC.
All of the young men, except Smith, work full time in support of a government contract that provides remote support for a military help desk. Smith is working part time while his security clearance is finalized and he obtains the required certification.
“They have all been excellent employees,” says Syntelligent President and CEO Stephen Synnott. “The education they’ve received at Laurel Ridge has helped with their knowledge of day-to-day operations.”
He noted they all started part time while awaiting their clearances.
“Syntelligent covers the cost of their certification exam,” Synnott says. “Once they pass the exam and receive their clearance, we hire them full time with benefits. The students end up with a full-time job in the technology field, and we end up with trained employees to fill a government contract.”
Front Royal resident Lackovitch has been working at Syntelligent since February. After his graduation in May with an associate of applied science degree in cybersecurity, he plans to go to George Mason University to get his bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity.
Laurel Ridge’s associate of applied science degree in cybersecurity easily transfers into cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs at GMU and Old Dominion University.
Lackovitch plans to continue working at Syntelligent while furthering his education.
“Lord Fairfax is close to my house, and I was trying to get out of school with as little debt as possible,“ he says. “Laurel Ridge has a great cybersecurity program that’s a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education as designated by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, and you can easily transfer to George Mason University.
Syntelligent has been very pleased with the Laurel Ridge employees, program manager Neka Thornton says.
“They’re eager to learn,” she says. “Going through Lord Fairfax, they’re getting the training and education, and we’re giving them the hands-on experience, so it’s a win-win. They’re absolutely fantastic. We’ve gotten nothing but rave reviews for what they’ve done here.”
Smith is studying information systems technology at Laurel Ridge, and working part time on Syntelligent’s internal help desk.
“I’m learning a lot,” he says. “Eventually, I want to get into web design and app development.”
Choat, studying cybersecurity, is excited about the program’s growth, and its transfer agreements with four-year universities.
“This job is interesting,” he says. “It invites new challenges, and I like servicing the military community because I grew up in a military family. It’s good to give back to the ones who always give.”
Not only is his position with Syntelligent teaching him, it’s fulfilling, Ruth says. He, too, plans to continue studying cybersecurity at George Mason after his Laurel Ridge graduation.
“I’m looking into cyber forensics as my field of focus,” he says.
Synnott hopes his Laurel Ridge employees will continue working for him while they pursue bachelor’s degrees.
“Once they earn their degrees, we hope to be able to put them to work on cybersecurity projects throughout Northern Virginia, and hopefully in the Page County area, either with us or another area company,” he says. “It’s not all about Syntelligent. It’s about supporting the community.”
Page County qualifies as a historically under-utilized business (HUB) zone, a designation under the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small businesses in HUB zones get contracting assistance.
Syntelligent set up an office in Luray in 2012 with six people. Now, the company has 31 full- and part-time employees.
Synnott is on the board of directors for the HUBZone Contractors National Council, as well as the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce.
Synnott would love to hire more Laurel Ridge students – and they don’t have to be studying in the computer field as long as they are computer literate and able to get a security clearance and certification. While earning their degrees, they’ll also be gaining valuable field experience. To apply or learn more, visit www.syntelligent.com.
Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.