Can Silver Lining live up to its name in education IT offerings?

Silver Lining, a startup company in Shepherdstown, W.Va., is taking advantage of the growing use of tablet computing to launch a consulting and mobility solutions practice that will offer Windows-based tablet computing solutions to school systems, heath care providers and government organizations.

“By taking advantage of the convergence of tablet devices, wireless broadband and cloud computing, we can offer customers innovative, cost effective tools that can transform how we live, work and learn,” CEO Carolyn Brubaker said in a news release announcing the formal launch of the company earlier this month.

Brubaker founded Silver Lining with her husband, company president and COO Paul Brubaker, because of their strong backgrounds in technology, her self-described passion for expanding knowledge and their experiences with public education programs, she told Washington Technology.

Brubaker left Microsoft Corp. in 2009 to form Brubaker Consulting Services and assist small to midsize IT companies become more innovative and expand their footprint in the government market.

“Seeing the capability of technology to change the lives of people, especially students, and help enable learning really is what sparked the interest” in rebranding Brubaker Consulting Services into Silver Lining, she said.

Having two children with special needs, Brubaker founded a nonprofit education and advocacy organization and worked with education authorities in West Virginia and Virginia to help them find services that would particularly help autistic children.

“So many of that population are drawn to – and actually excel in – very technical environments,” she said, citing the new iPad tablet as being particularly useful in aiding special-needs students, many of whom react well to tactile stimuli.

“We are just starting off and right now we’re reaching out to school districts where we either have deep relationships or we know that they’re in the process of reinventing their curricula,” added Brubaker, who also now serves on a statewide disabilities board in West Virginia.

Ideally, the company wants to win contracts from statewide educational systems. To make those inroads, Silver Lining is offering some pilot concepts to Jefferson County, W.Va., and Fairfax County, Va.

The six-person company is “looking across the education spectrum for those [systems] that are interested in integrating technology, particularly iPads, into their curricula,” she said.

Brubaker said she believes Silver Lining’s technical expertise also will help win clients that are seeking mobility solutions in such government areas as inspections and investigations.

In fact, Silver Lining recently worked out a partnering arrangement with digitized health care solutions provider Agilex to gain a foothold in the federal market space.

“They’re doing some cutting-edge innovative deployments at the [Veterans Affairs Department] on iPads,” she said.

“We will do state and local education and then share resources [with Agilex]. We really are trying to be a public sector company,” Brubaker added.

To accommodate Silver Lining’s planned growth, Brubaker is using her ties to local Shepherd University in West Virginia to recruit a few more developers who will work along the company’s current developers and its two education specialists who are experienced teachers.

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