STRAC Institute
Formerly known as VAe
Call Us! 888-754-1383

Are you an unemployed veteran without VA educational benefits? If so, your tuition may be covered under the newly passed VRRAP. Please call 888 754-1383 or click here for details.


John Shepard


John Shepard started his career in sales with IBM and has over 35 years of executive management experience in the technology industry. Prior to starting VAe/STRAC Institute in 2009, Mr. Shepard co-founded a network firewall company and founded an early biometric authentication company that pioneered a new form factor and price point to replace traditional passwords. Mr. Shepard served with the 101st Airborne Division, is a Vietnam combat veteran, and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island. 

Michael Videira


Michael Videira joined STRAC Institute in 2017 as the Chief Financial Officer and today serves as the President. He drives the vision for the company to create energy, engage talent, and deliver results.

Before joining STRAC Institute, Michael was a Manager at Ernst & Young working with both large publicly traded companies and small, closely held businesses in the assurance practice. With over 8 years in public accounting and transaction advisory services, Michael has a broad perspective on the challenges companies face and solutions to overcome them.

Michael received his Accounting degree with Honors from the University of Rhode Island, magna cum laude. In the summer of 2008, he studied at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Wuhan, China. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Rhode Island Society of CPAs. Outside of the office, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife and four kids biking, fishing, and golfing.

Lisa Smith


Lisa Smith is the Director of Administration for STRAC Institute. Her responsibilities include ensuring compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws as well as state and federal licensures. Lisa also oversees all enrollment practices, human resource functions, and operational effectiveness strategies.

Before joining STRAC in 2018 as the Human Resources Manager, Lisa served as a Human Resources Leader at Target Corporation. Outside of the office, she loves to spend time with her husband and two sons, and enjoys a competitive game night and visiting local coffee shops. Lisa holds a B.S. in Business Management from Providence College.

Zachary Barrett


Along with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Rhode Island, Zach Barrett has a background in several electromechanical fields. Mr. Barrett served as the lead engineer and subject matter expert for the modernization of weapon subassemblies under STRAC Institute’s contract with the U.S. DoD. In addition, Zach designed, manufactured, and validated multiple test sets for this contract.

Following completion of the contract, Zach began work as the Director of Curriculum Development for STRAC Institute, which remains his primary focus today. Mr. Barrett coordinates with numerous employers in the electronics field to determine, evaluate, and incorporate into the curriculum changes that represent the evolving demands of today’s high-tech industries; during this process, Zach expands the scope of training by adding new industry certifications and hands-on skills to our electronics career training program.