Celebrate Small Business Saturday in Maryland

Maryland Business News - Thu, Nov 16, 2017

In conjunction with Small Business Saturday on November 26th, the Maryland Department of Commerce encourages Maryland residents to explore their neighborhoods and support local businesses. Show us how you shop small on Twitter with #ShopSmall and #BuyLocalMD @MDBiz.

It’s never too early to start your holiday shopping! With Small Business Saturday quickly approaching, let Maryland’s small towns and local businesses help ease you into the gift-giving season.

No matter where you live, each Maryland region has a plethora of neighborhoods participating in the #ShopSmall trend. In fact, the Kauffman Index recently ranked Maryland’s Main Street entrepreneurship sixth among the top 25 larger states – meaning the number of small businesses established and thriving in Maryland is growing.

Here are our top picks for Small Business Saturday around Maryland.

Capital Region
More than 40 small businesses are participating in a local community fair at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. Admission is free and includes access to arts and crafts, face painting for the kids, a gift-wrapping station, and more. Bring the kids to the shops along Bethesda Row, where a Kidville play area will be set up for children ages 6 and under. A holiday vendor fair is also taking place at the Mall at Prince George’s from 10AM – 8PM.

Central Maryland
Drive to Maryland’s capital and attend the opening day of HERE, a holiday pop-up shop in Annapolis. Local designers are ready to show off their unique collections to the Small Business Saturday shoppers. The Sykesville Holiday Marketplace also takes place on Saturday, with nearly 200 vendors at the Carroll County Farm Museum. Or, head north to the small businesses of downtown Bel Air, where dozens of shops are celebrating the unofficial holiday. Tip: prepare for your shopping spree by participating in a Charm City Run – taking place in Frederick, Fells Point, and everywhere in-between.

Eastern Shore
Grab a bite by the water in St. Michaels, where you can shop, eat, play, and stay all day long. Downtown Chestertown is helping shoppers by handing out shopping passports with special store offers. Princess Anne in Somerset County is also getting into the mix – the transformative town participated in Small Business Saturday for the first time last year, and plans to host specials again next week. Tip: fun for the entire family can be found at Salisbury’s City Park ice skating rink!

Southern Maryland
One of the region’s strongest Small Business Saturday showings comes from the La Plata Business Association. Now an annual tradition, it’s the town’s favorite shopping day of the year. In St. Mary’s County, the Flat Iron Farm Christmas Village kicks off next week. Located in Great Mills, there’s plenty to see and buy, including a petting zoo, candy cane house, country stores, handmade crafts, and jellies and jams. Finish the night off with the annual tree lighting ceremony in Leonardtown.

Western Maryland
Cumberland’s holiday market is kicking off with local artisans and handmade items in the galleries on Centre Street. Washington County’s artisan market – featuring local farmers and crafters – is taking place at the Premium Outlets of Hagerstown. Frostburg’s citywide promotion offers prizes, freebies, and special discounts throughout the downtown shops. Finish the night off with Lights by the Lake at Rocky Gap State Park, a synchronized music and light show with more than 150,000 lights!

For previous years and even more suggestions, read through our Small Business Saturday archive.

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Categories: Maryland News

Sinclair Broadcast Group to add nearly 400 new jobs

Maryland Business News - Wed, Nov 15, 2017

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country, announced today that it is retaining its Hunt Valley headquarters and investing $12 million to accommodate its Baltimore County operations.

The company, which has 333 employees in Maryland, plans to add 367 full-time employees, targeting 700 full-time employees by the end of 2023.

“Sinclair has been growing and has tripled in size in the last six years. Now, our momentum continues as we roll out our plans to double that growth and our size over the coming five years. This is an exciting time for Sinclair as we work toward the completion of our acquisition of Tribune Media Company,” said Chris Ripley, president & CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Sinclair, through its portfolio of television broadcast stations, is the leading local news provider in the country, as well as a producer of live sports content, and owner of multiple emerging networks, four radio stations and the Tennis Channel.

“Companies, like Sinclair, that choose to grow their business in our great state, further demonstrate our administration’s commitment to ensuring Maryland remains open for business. This is tremendous news for Baltimore County and our state,” said Governor Larry Hogan.


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Categories: Maryland News

Amazon selects Tradepoint Atlantic for new distribution center

Maryland Business News - Wed, Nov 8, 2017

Amazon has officially announced plans to construct an 855,000 square-foot fulfillment center at Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore County and bring 1,500 new jobs to the region.

The company currently employs more than 5,000 full-time associates at three existing facilities in Baltimore City and Cecil County. Associates at the new facility will pick, pack, and ship customer items such as electronics, books, housewares, and toys.

“We’re excited to open a new, state-of-the-art fulfillment center in historic Sparrows Point and to continue innovating in a state committed to providing great opportunities for jobs and customer experience. Maryland has an incredible workforce, and we are happy to add to the more than 5,000 associates already serving customers in the state,” said Sanjay Shah, Amazon’s vice president of North America Customer Fulfillment.

“Amazon’s decision to open a fourth facility in our state is tremendous news for this local community and for Maryland as a whole,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Successfully delivering this project and these 1,500 new jobs has been a top priority of our administration and another example of how Maryland is and will continue to be open for business.”

To assist with project costs, the Maryland Department of Commerce has approved a $2 million conditional loan through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF). Additionally, Baltimore County has approved a $200,000 conditional loan to assist with development costs at the new facility. The company is also eligible for various state and local tax credits, including Maryland’s Job Creation Tax Credit.

Read more.

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Categories: Maryland News

Maryland promotes computer science, STEM workforce

Maryland Business News - Wed, Nov 8, 2017

Last week, Governor Larry Hogan announced a new plan called the ACCESS Initiative – or Achieving Computer Science Collaborations for Employing Students Statewide – to boost education and workforce development in the field throughout Maryland.

The ACCESS Initiative fulfills the governor’s commitment to strengthening computer science education throughout Maryland, which will help meet workforce demands of the 21st century. According to the recent announcement, there is an estimated 500,000 open computing jobs in the country, and more than 115,000 open computer-science related jobs in Maryland.

“For nearly three years, our administration has worked tirelessly to build an unrivaled ecosystem of innovation and economic growth in Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “We want to make sure that Marylanders have the tools and the skills they need to compete for 21st century jobs.”

“In this rapidly-evolving job landscape, states that have access to a highly trained workforce will have a major advantage. Maryland simply must continue to lead the way, and closing this skills gap begins with a focus on education. We must spark the interest of students – particularly girls – beginning at an even younger age, and we must inspire high school and college students to pursue careers in computer science,” the governor continued.

The governor also signed an Executive Order that will direct the Task Force on Cybersecurity and Information Technology to study opportunities on how to grow the number of computer science graduates from local universities, as well as growing diversity within the sector. Read more about the announcement here.

The governor’s announcement arrives as the third annual Maryland STEM Festival takes place throughout the state. The festival encourages students to take an interest in STEM and learn about future job opportunities in the field. From the mountains of Garrett County to the Eastern Shore’s “friendliest town” of Pocomoke, there is an event happening for every type of student. Learn more about the festival on marylandstemfestival.org.

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Categories: Maryland News

Celebrate Maryland entrepreneurs this Veterans Day

Maryland Business News - Tue, Nov 7, 2017

As we celebrate Veterans Appreciation Month, we recognize our local veteran-owned businesses and entrepreneurs throughout Maryland. Here at Maryland Commerce, we proudly support veterans in a number of ways, including managing two specific programs targeted towards hiring veterans and veteran-owned businesses.

The Military Personnel and Veteran-Owned Small Business Loan Program provides no-interest loans to veterans, National Guard personnel, military reservists, and more to help offset financing costs for one to eight years. Additionally, the Hire Our Veterans Tax Credit provides small businesses with a state income tax credit for hiring qualified veterans after January 1, 2017.

Over the past year, a variety of businesses have taken advantage of our veteran-based programs to add office space and new jobs across the state.

Thel Moore Sr. (left) and Thel Moore Jr. (right)

Based in Baltimore County, Moore’s Income Tax Service looked to the veteran loan program to grow its company and expand to a new location. Founded in 1976, the Moore’s family-owned business is now run by its second generation and has grown from the family’s basement to an office space in Randallstown. By being able to cover expenses for the new location – including equipment, computer systems, and furniture – Moore’s has expanded its reach and landed new clients in Baltimore and Carroll Counties.

“I am grateful to have served in uniform for this country and now I am humbled to have the opportunity to grow the family business my father started as a veteran,” said president Thel Moore Jr., a veteran of the United States Army. “If you have the passion to run your own business, go for it and make a difference. Try to use all the veteran assistance programs available to you – it can be a great help.”

Scooter Equipment Inc., a personal mobility company that sells, rents, and repairs equipment, believes working hard and doing the right thing will carry businesses to success. Located in Elkridge, the company is run by husband and wife Brian and Susanna Taylor and focuses the majority of its service on in-home repairs and installations, such as fixing power chairs and scooters and installing chairlifts. The veteran-owned business is proud to be living the American dream and appreciates servicing those in need in the local community and beyond.

“Knowledge is a big thing. Know your business, know what you’re doing, and have a good financial person that can keep things going,” said Brian, a Navy veteran and owner and president of Scooter Equipment. “You can’t wait for the business to come to you – you have to go out there and get it, and you have to work hard at it.”

If you are a veteran interested in doing business in Maryland, or you want to learn about veteran-specific programs, visit commerce.maryland.gov. For even more veteran information, visit the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Categories: Maryland News

Celebrate Maryland Veterans Appreciation Month

Maryland Business News - Tue, Oct 31, 2017

The State of Maryland is celebrating Veterans Appreciation Month and honoring military veterans during the month of November with a series of programs, exhibits, and special offers at attractions and businesses throughout the state. The initiative is a joint effort between the Maryland Office of Tourism, Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, Maryland Public Television (MPT), and the U.S. Naval Academy.

“Maryland’s veterans are an integral part of the fabric of our great state, and they deserve to be respected and remembered. During Maryland’s Veterans Appreciation Month, there are many ways to pay tribute to the great heroes who sacrificed so much for our state and our nation,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “We encourage everyone to visit Maryland’s veterans’ memorials and Welcome Centers to learn their stories and thank them for their selfless service.”

The “MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans” exhibit will be featured at all eight state-operated Welcome Centers simultaneously and showcase current-day and wartime images of 16 men and women along with their recollections of incidents from the war. Also included is an opportunity for children to color pages to thank veterans as well as stationery for visitors to craft messages to veterans or share their own stories.

Also at the Welcome Centers, the Maryland State Highway Administration’s “Fallen Heroes” exhibit will feature a picture of the service member, a brief write-up about their service and sacrifice, and location information on the road sign erected in their honor. SHA has also created an online map created to help visitors plan stops at Maryland’s veteran memorials. The interactive map features markers denoting memorials across the state, from Sideling Hill in Hancock to Veterans Memorial Park in Ocean Pines.

In addition, veterans will also be able to get new Veterans Appreciation Month Passports at the Welcome Centers. The Veterans Passport offers special discounts during November at a number of Maryland businesses, including: Arundel Mills Mall, Hagerstown Premium Outlets, Tanger Outlets at National Harbor, SoldierFit, Six Flags Maryland, Route 1 Apparel, and more.

The Office of Tourism’s website features special events that will be taking place throughout the month. Visit www.visitmaryland.org/veterans-month for details.


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Categories: Maryland News

Frey flips the script on laundry products and users

Maryland Business News - Mon, Oct 30, 2017

In today’s on-demand society, there’s a subscription service to meet your every need. From razors and electric toothbrush heads to pre-packaged meals, there’s a company out there that promises to take the hassle out of your shopping experience. Frey, born in the basement of an Annapolis home, saw an opportunity to do the same thing with laundry products but decided to target an unexpected audience – men.

“The industry is missing the male aspect of laundry,” said co-founder Leif Frey. “We’re breaking down traditional gender roles because the reality is that men are doing laundry too.”

Leif and his brother Erin Frey saw a niche they could fill that traditional laundry products didn’t. The brothers knew they could create a product with a cologne-like scent that wasn’t harmful to apparel or the environment.

“The products in today’s market have bottles and caps that encourage over-usage and filling along with harsh chemicals and fillers to give the appearance of more product,” Leif said. “We designed a bottle that was easy to dispense and store with a concentrated formula to eliminate unnecessary waste. Our formulations are primarily natural content to help your garments look better, longer.”

The company launched two years ago in September of 2015 with the first bottles being hand-filled in the brothers’ Annapolis residence. After appearing on Steve Harvey’s show Funderdome and receiving coverage on The Ellen Degeneres Show, GQ magazine, ELLE magazine, Good Morning America. and BBC News, Frey has grown from their Annapolis home basement to a Baltimore warehouse to a supply chain running up and down the east coast. Leif attributes much of their success to timing the launch in a market that was ripe for change.

“The research is clear that menswear is slowly outgrowing womenswear in a variety of areas including fashion, skin care, and fragrance,” Leif said.

With its rapid success, Frey has lofty goals of becoming the go-to online source for the laundry industry. Leif says the company ultimately wants to break the grip that the giant companies have on the laundry business.

“We want to be the brand that turns the laundry game on its head.”

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Categories: Maryland News

Fall agri-tourism in full swing

Maryland Business News - Mon, Oct 23, 2017

Guest feature: Julie Oberg is the Communications Director for the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Follow along with MDA @MdAgDept and Maryland’s Best @MdsBest.

Crisp, autumn days are here and Maryland’s fall agri-tourism season has started. Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder encourages all Marylanders to get out on a farm to experience first- hand the state’s rich selection of agricultural recreational opportunities.

Maryland’s farmers offer a variety of fall activities as a low-cost way for families to spend time together outdoors. October is the perfect time to experience the fun of selecting your own pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns, getting lost in a corn maze, taking a hayride, or attending a fall festival. Depending on the farm, visitors may be able to enjoy a variety of other activities including farm stands, scarecrow-making, petting farms, pony rides, live music, decorations, fresh apple cider, home baked goods and more.

“The fall is a wonderful time for families and friends to get outside and onto a farm,” said Secretary Bartenfelder. “Agritourism is a booming industry here in Maryland. Visiting a farm is great fun for all ages and supports our family farmers too. On-farm tourism operations look great and are ready for visitors with their fresh products and lively activities.”

According to the most recent agricultural census completed in 2012 by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, there are 33,161 agri-tourism farms nationally with revenues totaling $704 million. In Maryland, there are 307 agri-tourism farms with revenues of $7.2 million.

For a list of farms offering fall activities, visit marylandsbest.net.

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Categories: Maryland News

Fall back into Maryland’s Civil War history

Maryland Business News - Thu, Oct 19, 2017

As the leaves change color and the weather starts to turn, fall becomes the perfect time to explore Maryland’s role in the Civil War. Here at Maryland Commerce, we encourage visitors to take a weekend trip to one of our state’s local Civil War sites and learn more about the history and significance in our nation’s history.

Last month, the National Park Service commemorated the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam and the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Antietam National Cemetery. Known as the bloodiest single day of battle in all of American History, Antietam was one of the turning points in the Civil War, leading to President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation announcement and the freeing of more than three million slaves.

After experiencing the Antietam National Battlefield, explore the surrounding small towns and local recreational stops. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is close by in neighboring Frederick County, and the newly-expanded Antietam Brewery is just a 25 minute drive north of the battlefield. Brewery owner Bill Skomski says that they “name most beers after the Civil War” and include American history stories on the cans.

Another milestone taking place this year is the 15th anniversary of the Civil War driving trails, including: Antietam Campaign: Lee Invades Maryland Trail, Baltimore Riot Trail, Gettysburg Campaign Trail, John Wilkes Booth: Escape of an Assassin Trail, and The Attack on Washington: The Last Invasion Trail. The five trails – all unique from one another – span the state and give a glimpse into the soldiers’ journey through Maryland.

Plan your trip in advance by downloading the Civil War Trails app, available in both the App Store and Google Play Store. Since launching, the app has been downloaded more than 10,000 times.

For more information on the trails or to order a free map guide, go to www.visitmaryland.org or call 800-719-5900.

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Categories: Maryland News

Pitch Your Agriculture Idea in Annapolis

Maryland Business News - Wed, Oct 18, 2017

Are you looking to get a new agricultural business or technology up-and-running? Do you think you have what it takes to change the agriculture industry? The MidAtlantic Farm Credit is looking for innovative idea-makers and entrepreneurs for its upcoming #AgPitch17 contest.

#AgPitch17 is a Shark Tank inspired competition featuring a panel of four judges and numerous prizes. Applicants are asked to submit concepts online by November 1 and finalists will be notified by November 15 – click here for more information.

Five finalists will be chosen to pitch their ideas at the Rural Maryland Council Summit, being held this December in Annapolis. Each finalist will receive cash prizes and one lucky winner will be chosen by the audience and judges to receive $7,500 and a number of business services through local organizations.

The MidAtlantic Farm Credit finances loans for construction, operations, equipment, farms, homes, and more throughout Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Learn more on www.mafc.com.

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Categories: Maryland News

This is Economic Development

Maryland Business News - Tue, Oct 17, 2017

Guest feature: Pam Ruff is the Executive Director of the the Maryland Economic Development Association. Follow MEDA on Facebook and Twitter.

On October 22, we kick off Economic Development Week in Maryland to highlight the positive impact that is made every day in the name of job creation and investment in our future.

Maryland’s community of economic developers, businesses and government leaders usher dreams that build business into the pipeline. At this very moment, economic and community development professionals throughout the state are providing start-up support, gap funding, workforce training, and location assistance, among other services, to help businesses fuel forward motion. These public and private sector partners transform our communities, one passion project at a time.

When a business owner needs more space, more training, or more capital, they call on our economic development community to assist them with their needs. Entrepreneurs with innovative ideas turn to economic developers to help move the needle forward on their professional goals. If a building is renovated downtown, a groundbreaking takes place on a property that will employ residents in the area, or a restaurant gets new equipment to expand their services to customers…you can bet an economic developer was involved in making it happen.

As Executive Director of the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA), I watch economic development professionals, our members, attract and expand businesses, revitalize Main Streets, beautify neighborhoods and improve infrastructure all the time. From raising your home value to cutting your commute, economic development touches every aspect of your life.

Economic development transforms lives by creating opportunities, inspiring innovation, and enriching communities. Get to know more about what economic developers do and who they are by joining our statewide celebration of Economic Development Week from October 22-28. This week provides jurisdictions an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of business development within their communities. It also gives citizens the forum to ask good questions about projects in the works within your town or city.

To engage in the dialogue:

  • Go to medamd.com for a list of local Economic Development Week activities
  • Visit your local economic development office website for news, resources and programs
  • Join a civic or neighborhood association to make your mark
  • Attend a conference or program to network with the economic developers in your community, city, state, or region

Whether you float a new idea, attend a workshop or meet an inspiring entrepreneur, Economic Development Week is your chance to participate in progress.

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Categories: Maryland News

To improve user health, ICmed harnesses power of friends and family

Maryland Business News - Mon, Oct 16, 2017

Like many companies in the health care technology sector, ICmed wants to empower its users to improve their health. But the team behind the Baltimore tech startup is focusing its efforts on something it feels other systems have largely forgotten: family.

ICmed’s platform, which the company describes as “a mobile patient and family engagement solution,” allows users to track and share information about their own health and medical histories as well as those of family members. Access to information from family members can not only help patients and their doctors identify health risks, but also gives loved ones a more active role in patient care.

“The essence of what we do and the key to improving health outcomes is leveraging the power of friends and family to influence what you do,” said Jeff Mason, senior advisor to the company. The ubiquity of smartphones has made this possible, he said.

An example of ICmed in action might look like this: an older patient neglects to take his medicine in the morning. When he doesn’t tell the app that he took the medicine, the patient’s son gets a message so he can call his father to check in on him. The patient also gets a message reminding him to take the medicine and explaining the dangers of not doing so.

They system can also elicit feedback from patients in real time, such as by asking survey questions, said Anil Kshepakaran, ICmed’s founder and CEO. If a patient isn’t taking his medicine because it makes him sick, the platform can ask him about that and send the answer to his doctor immediately, rather than have the doctor find out at the patient’s next appointment, which could be weeks or months later, Kshepakaran said.

But the need to get doctors information quickly is balanced by the need to keep them from being inundated with data, which is why not every alert is sent to health-care providers.

Anil Kshepakaran, founder and CEO.

“We’ve done something unique. We activate the family care team first, then notify the provider care team,” Kshepakaran said. “The system creates a tremendous amount of efficiency, which ultimately reduces costs. Providers can focus on high-risk patients and on situations where they need to intervene in real time.”

And the users can control how much information they share, and with whom. For instance, you might want your spouse to see all of your medical information, but your second cousin to see less.

Initially launched in 2011, ICmed retooled its platform 2014 to focus on connectivity and sharing information among family members. In the past few months, the company has been focusing on rolling out an enterprise version of the platform aimed at organizations, such as health systems or self-insured businesses, which want to improve the quality of care for their patients and employees and keep costs down.

Traditionally, employers can learn about the health of their employee population through claims data, but if employees use ICmed that data is available in real time.

ICmed has also been awarded a $200,000 grant to undertake a two-year study through the University of Maryland’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program, which connects Maryland businesses with university researchers. ICmed plans to work with a principal investigator from the University of Maryland School of Medicine to test its enterprise application in an environment with a population of both patients and family members, such as a retirement community.

For Kshepakaran, they key is promoting engagement and active participation.

“In every industry today, the only way to make a change is to put the power in the hands of the consumer,” he said. “Why can’t health care be like that?”

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Categories: Maryland News

Tech Gap returns to Western Maryland for 2017

Maryland Business News - Tue, Oct 10, 2017

Guest feature: Autumn Becker works with the Allegany College of Maryland. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

The Western Maryland IT Center of Excellence invites you to visit the picturesque autumn mountains in Allegany County for Tech at the Gap ’17: Leading the Charge on October 24, 2017.

Tech at the Gap is a one-day conference for web developers, system admins, network and security specialists, managers, and others in or around the IT industry. Now an annual conference, the day will build off the momentum of last year’s event, which hosted more than 50 regional technology companies with attendees coming from Baltimore, Morgantown, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Northern Virginia.

Governor Larry Hogan kicked off last year’s event with opening remarks.

“Maryland is absolutely leading the way in Information Technology, and Western Maryland truly is the next frontier,” said Governor Hogan. “Our state, county, and municipal leaders are working tirelessly to develop tangible incentives to encourage more IT businesses to locate in Western Maryland. We are fully committed to creating a culture here, and throughout our state, where these companies can continue to grow and thrive.”

Our morning keynote speakers will motive and inspire attendees to be leaders in the IT industry. Jeff Smith (Oracle) will present on the internal and external challenges Oracle faced to not only successfully transition the company to a new business model, but to become stronger in the marketplace as a result. Jean White (Franklin Covey) will provide insight into proactive leadership and guide attendees to discover the mindset and skills needed to build a foundation for effective leadership and develop practices to positively influence the actions, as well as the results, of a team.

The afternoon will offer a variety of breakout sessions in three separate tracks, including Innovation, Development, and Systems Admin/Networking. Breakout presenters include Luke Cooper, founder of Fixt; Ryan Hamerski, Synergist Computing president; and Joseph Muniz, security researcher with Cisco.

Guests will also have the opportunity to network with other professionals and vendors as they learn about the latest tools and processes in the industry and how to apply them at the workplace. Find the full lineup and sponsor information on the event website.

The conference is being held at the Rocky Gap Casino Resort, which is nestled in the mountains of Western Maryland where you’ll find spectacular scenery and recreational activities at Rocky Gap State Park. The resort is a AAA 4-Diamond Award® and TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence-winning resort featuring a casino, hotel, spa, and conference center.

Tech at the Gap is presented by The Western Maryland IT Center of Excellence. The center, managed by Allegany College of Maryland, is funded in part by the state of Maryland’s EARN Maryland Grant Program administered by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.

For more information on the conference and to register, visit www.techgap2017.com.

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Categories: Maryland News

Secretary Gill: Celebrating Customer Experience Day

Maryland Business News - Thu, Oct 5, 2017

This week, businesses around the world celebrated Customer Experience Day, which focuses on customer appreciation and strategies to deliver the best possible customer experience. I want to thank you – all of our customers – for allowing us the opportunity to work with you, and do our best to help your business grow and thrive in Maryland.

Customer service is a priority of the Hogan-Rutherford Administration, which a little more than a year ago committed to making improvements throughout Maryland state government by placing a renewed focus on customer service, improving training for team members, and creating new performance metrics to better track our progress.

This week, to recognize Customer Experience Day, Governor Hogan’s office released its first annual Governor’s Customer Service Initiative report, which details the steps that have been taken to improve customer service throughout state government, and our progress thus far.

Maryland Commerce also released its report, which speaks to how we’ve been working hard to create a culture that embraces customer service, and truly make Maryland “Open for Business.” Among our efforts has been expanding of our team of regional representatives so we can better connect with businesses throughout the state; celebrating special anniversaries and milestones with our customers; and increasing our procurement outreach to small and minority businesses.

Once again, thank you for being our customers and we look forward to working with you to continue to make Maryland the best place to live, work and do business.


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Categories: Maryland News

Maryland launches new tourism initiative

Maryland Business News - Wed, Oct 4, 2017

Governor Larry Hogan has announced a new initiative focused on promoting Maryland’s outstanding seafood to domestic and international travelers. The Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail, which kicks off this month in celebration of National Seafood Month, features a virtual tour highlighting more than 100 of the state’s seafood restaurants, as well as seafood festivals held throughout the state during October.

“Maryland has a proud history of harvesting some of the world’s best seafood from the Chesapeake Bay, and this trail gives us a great opportunity to highlight our great state as a destination for seafood lovers,” said Governor Hogan. “Residents and visitors alike can plan a trip to the more than 100 destinations serving freshly harvested crabs and oysters, as well as the many seafood festivals taking place this month.”

The trail map is divided into five regional excursions. More than 100 markers denote restaurants across the state that serve steamed crabs, soft shell crabs, and fresh local oysters. The trail also features attractions that showcase the state’s heritage and history in connection with the seafood of the Chesapeake Bay and watershed.

Seafood fans can also get their fill at a number of festivals taking place during the month, including the Community Crab Feast at Wilmer Park in Chestertown and the Oyster Stroll in Westminster, both on October 14; Tilghman Island Day on Tilghman Island on October 21; the U.S. Oyster Festival in Leonardtown taking place October 21-22; and OysterFest at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels on October 28.

Visitors are encouraged to share their Maryland seafood experiences on social media using the hashtags #VisitMaryland and #MDinFocus.​

For more information about the Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail or seafood festivals, visit www.visitmaryland.org​ or call 1-800-719-5900.

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Categories: Maryland News

Students wrap up summer with inaugural intern tech competition

Maryland Business News - Tue, Oct 3, 2017

Engineering Solutions, Inc. (ESI) saw something special in the pool of interns working at a variety of companies in Central Maryland this summer, and decided it was a great opportunity to showcase and reward some of the state’s best and brightest young minds.

The Hanover-based company brought the idea to the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association of Central Maryland (AFCEA CMD) and they agreed to sponsor the Summer Internship Presentation Showcase (SIPS), where students showed off their presentation skills and technical prowess in front of a panel of experts.

The talented college students participating in summer internships at AFCEA Central Maryland businesses made for a competitive event. ESI President Gary Rosen said the response to the event was better than he could have imagined.

“I wanted to have a competition for the interns with the potential for scholarship money,” Rosen said. “We would have been delighted with half the turn out that we had. With 25 interns from 10 different companies, it was really well received.”

AFCEA CMD awarded two cash prizes for Best Presentation and Best Technical Project to be used as college scholarships. The students also received valuable instruction from renowned presentation coach, David Greenberg of Simply Speaking, Inc., the day before the showcase. Jake Gluck, ESI intern and member of the three-man-team that won the Best Presentation prize of $1,500, said the event made for a more meaningful internship this summer.

“SIPS gave us something to work toward throughout the summer,” said Gluck. “It allowed us to gain presentation skills and not only show off our own work but also see what our peers at similar companies did this summer.”

Gluck, along with interns Michael Chirico and Colin Mason, presented their project called AlexaSense, a modified Amazon Alexa equipped with infrared and Bluetooth detection to monitor a user’s presence therefore reducing the need for voice commands. Chirico said the experience has sparked his interest in delving further into the computer science field.

“My time and experience at ESI has certainly encouraged me to pursue a career in the government contracting industry,” said Chirico. “Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be exploring my post-grad options related to the field. The SIPS event was a phenomenal idea.”

AFCEA CMD is seeking to make SIPS an annual event, expand the training portion, and raise even larger scholarship prizes for participants. Best Technical Project winner Anna Blendermann, an intern at Nteligen, said the competition was a valuable networking opportunity.

“I honestly can’t say enough about how incredible it was to add 30 other young engineers to my network,” said Blendermann. “I’ll be looking forward to seeing everyone back next year and possibly participating on the judging panel.”

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Categories: Maryland News

Manufacturing Month: What’s Driving Success in Maryland

Maryland Business News - Mon, Oct 2, 2017

October is Manufacturing Month—a time to honor and celebrate the industry and its contributors. In Maryland, there’s a lot to celebrate in manufacturing. In 2017 alone, several companies have announced manufacturing expansions. So what’s helping companies like Nammo Group, Toroid, Iron World, EVAPCO, DWE, Strouse, Knorr Brake, United Foods International, and Lanco Dairy Farms grow and succeed in Maryland? Keep reading to find out.

  1. The right mix of programs. In addition to funding programs like the Partnership for Workforce Quality and Maryland Economic Adjustment Fund, Governor Hogan recently introduced More Jobs for Marylanders, which offers new and existing manufacturing businesses lucrative benefits for job creation and workforce training. A webinar on October 18 will provide more insight into the program.
  2. A strong workforce. Maryland ranks first in the percentage of professional and technical workers, providing manufacturers with a built-in base of skilled employees. Additionally, programs like WorkSmart are designed to deliver tailored workforce training solutions to Maryland employers by tapping into the state’s network of community colleges.
  3.  Initiatives to engage future manufacturers. Organizations like the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland (RMI) and MD Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) are on a mission to keep Maryland millennials engaged in manufacturing careers. Both organizations are behind Maryland Manufacturing Day, an event that will connect students from local university and college technology teams with local advanced manufacturing companies. Maryland Manufacturing Day is October 6.
  4. Global connections. Maryland manufacturers that need to get products overseas benefit from having access to the Port of Baltimore, the top port in the country for container productivity. Companies going global also have a partner in Maryland’s Office of International Investment and Trade, which offers a variety of programs to help companies succeed overseas.
  5. Spaces to support manufacturing startups. Manufacturers just getting started can tap into Maryland’s network of makerspaces and incubators to meet their needs. You can find more than 30 incubators in Maryland, and a network of makerspaces, including OpenWorks and The Foundery in Baltimore, Ting Makerspace in Westminster, and PaxSpace in Southern Maryland.

Have questions about manufacturing in Maryland? Contact Todd Sabin, Manufacturing Program Manager to learn more.

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Categories: Maryland News

Baltimore is the #1 City for Women in Business

Maryland Business News - Fri, Sep 29, 2017

Baltimore is the top city in the U.S. for businesswomen, according to a new report by ShareFile, a cloud-based file sharing and collaboration service. Analyzing several ranking factors for the 50 largest U.S. cities, ShareFile created the Businesswomen Power City Index, which determines the best cities for women to achieve business success.

The index ranks cities based on the following factors:

  • Buying power of women, which is based on the cost of living and the average wages earned by women (Baltimore: 123.4, 1st overall)
  • % of women-owned businesses (Baltimore: 23.3%, 10th overall)
  •  % of women business executives (Baltimore: 31.3%, 10th overall)
  • Wage gap between women and men (Baltimore: 18.2%, 26th overall)

Heather Garner, owner of Garnering Change Psychotherapy, told Citrix some reasons why Baltimore is a great city in which to work, referencing its size, location, and supportive business community.

“With a smaller population than cities close by, and so many unique communities and groups here in Baltimore, networking is super easy, and word-of-mouth referrals are often the bread and butter of small businesses,” Garner said. “We don’t call it ‘Smalltimore’ for nothing! The business communities here in Baltimore are very active and are often willing to help out newcomers.”

See the full Businesswomen Power City Index by Citrix.

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Categories: Maryland News

Eastern Shore Innovation Center adds wet lab to incubator space

Maryland Business News - Wed, Sep 13, 2017

When Marylanders think of the state’s Eastern Shore, a few things come to mind: fun-filled beach vacations, sprawling farm land, and precious blue crabs. That’s why the announcement of a new wet lab in the Eastern Shore Innovation Center at the Dorchester Regional Technology Park may come as a surprise for aspiring startups looking for affordable space and resources in the state.

Innovation Center manager, Steve Dolbow, said he was approached by SunX Analytical chemist Barry Pritchard with the idea of a wet lab co-op space within the center.

“Barry came to me after hearing about the space the Innovation Center had and pitched the idea to have a lab that could support the startup process,” said Dolbow. “We worked together to find the funds and, along with Barry’s contribution, we were able to build out the wet lab that is already drawing interest both in and out of state.”

Wet labs are commonly used for chemical analysis of well water and residential lead contamination, as well as agriceutical product development, chemical and biological quality assurance, and life science research and product development. SunX Analytical, the operator of the new wet lab space, is working on new product technology to extract oil from agricultural hemp.

“I saw the Innovation Center as an opportunity to pursue my interests and assist other entrepreneurs who needed similar space,” said Pritchard. “This is truly a ‘build it and they will come’ scenario. The money the wet lab generates through leases will go directly back into funding its resources.”

The Innovation Center was launched in 2016 through collaboration with the Dorchester County Economic Development, the Maryland Department of Commerce, and the Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO). Since that date, the center has already reached 90 percent capacity and added over 40 jobs in the first year, according to Dolbow.

“The center has proven itself to be an effective economic engine in the community with a million dollar economic impact,” said Dolbow. “The wet lab further allows us to put businesses on the shore on equal footing with those in the rest of the state.”

Ultimately, the Innovation Center expects the demand for its facilities to increase to the point that new infrastructure is needed, growing the scale and scope of the Dorchester Regional Technology Park.

For more information about the Eastern Shore Innovation Center visit choosedorchester.org.

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Categories: Maryland News

Baltimore biopharm business growing as fast as the field

Maryland Business News - Wed, Sep 6, 2017

In just three years, Paragon Bioservices has more than doubled its employee count as it explores the latest in biopharmaceutical development at its Baltimore City location. The company – founded nearly 30 years ago – received institutional funding in 2014 and started a growth spurt as it restructured its executive management team to capitalize on Paragon’s expertise in the rare disease and gene therapy space. Located in the University of Maryland BioPark, Paragon has increased its workforce from 100 to 225 employees.

The company’s CEO, Pete Buzy, credits much of that growth to funding and incentives like the One Maryland Tax Credit, which allows businesses that invest in economic development projects in select areas to receive state income tax credits, project tax credits, and start-up tax credits. Those credits in combination with funding from two major regional private equity firms, Camden Partners and NewSpring Capital, have allowed Paragon to experience rapid growth.

Paragon Bioservices CEO Pete Buzy

“A big milestone for us was when we became a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) facility, meaning the drug products we produced could immediately be used on people,” said Buzy. “Being part of the biotech ecosystem in Maryland played a huge role in that achievement due to the proximity of research talent at institutions like Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland. Those resources – combined with tax incentives – have allowed us to thrive as a company.”

Paragon is heavily involved in rare diseases and gene therapy, but also touches many other crucial areas in biopharm including vaccine production, oncology, microbiome, microbial control, and a wide array of therapeutic proteins. Looking forward, the company strives to grow exponentially to conduct Phase III/ commercial manufacturing, which involves a significantly more robust quality system to support large patient population trials for a potentially marketable product. These studies could involve hundreds to thousands of patients to prove the safety and efficacy of new drugs.

“Right now our facility is functioning as a Phase I & Phase II site,” Buzy said. “Phase III/commercial manufacturing would dramatically increase our employee number and be a huge milestone for the company. We are already looking towards a 300-man workforce by the end of 2018 into 2019.”
For more information about the company, visit paragonbioservices.com.

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Categories: Maryland News