Done Deal: BWCC, WCC Merger Is Confirmed
The board of directors for the West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce (WCC) and the board of directors for the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber (BWCC) have officially voted to merge the two organizations into a single, new regional chamber. The combined organization will be the largest chamber in a rapidly growing region.
Raj Kudchadkar, president and CEO of the new, yet-to-be-named chamber, said the focus moving forward is to promote economic growth, increase business connections and better coordinate the region’s marketing message and business networking activities to support the growth of business members. The leadership team will include Nancy LaJoice as the membership director and Kim Wirt as the operations director.
“The board of directors for both chambers are confident the new organization will be of tremendous value for regional businesses,” said Eric Harris, BWCC chair. “This will create economies of scale and efficiencies, enhance member benefits, increase legislative leverage, create a large base of 650 member businesses and provide enhanced staffing to support member needs. It’s all about adding value to the membership; these two successful organizations joining together is a huge asset to current members and future members who want to get engaged with the largest chamber in the region and one of the largest in the state.”
“Raj’s previous involvement with Fort Meade through the Base Business Initiative, his governmental experience through Howard County, as well as his vast contacts throughout the region position him well to take the helm of the new organization and guide it into new territory,” said Randy Fisher, WCC chair. “With over 15 years of membership experience and a passion for connecting people and engaging members to ensure a strong return on their investment, Nancy will make sure the new chamber is poised to better serve the members and the region as a whole. And after over six years of directing operations for the WCC, Kim will ensure that the two organizations seamlessly operate as one regional chamber.”
A strategic planning effort will help determine an official name, board structure and location for the new chamber. Immediate next steps include establishing a transition timeline and outlining the logistical requirements for gradually completing the merger. Some benefits of the merger will be seen early in the new year, such as joint events and increased marketing exposure.
Startup Maryland Announces Winners forSTRT1UP Roadshow,Pitch Across Maryland
Startup Maryland has announced the winners for the Great Eight and Rural Innovations Challenge from the 2016 STRT1UP Road Show and Pitch Across Maryland, the annual statewide celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Nearly 150 video pitches from Maryland entrepreneurs were assembled during the 2016 STRT1UP Roadshow, with each becoming candidates for various Pitch Across Maryland competitions. This year the Pitch Across Maryland added a Rural Innovation Challenge, CyberSecurity Challenge and the Champions’ Choice categories to the existing Fan Favorites and Overall Great 8.
Quidient and Gunbail were winner/runner-up for the Great 8 competition, with Chord and Real Flexi being honored as winner/runner-up for the Rural Innovation Challenge. The companies join Efflux Systems and SecuLore as winner/runner-up of the Cyber Security Challenge; 5Pop, Picklehead-TipTough and ION Massage as Fan Favorites; as well as Dhremo Therapy, Asli and Elderbird Restoration as Champions’ Choices.
Pitch Across Maryland candidates, finalists and winners were distilled by two separate review panels of serial entrepreneurs, investors and economic development officers during three months and two rounds of judging. Finalists presented their ventures and opportunities during MDCyberDay on Oct. 5, the TEDCO Entrepreneur Expo on Nov. 14 and the STRT1UP Showcase on Dec. 13. In the coming months, Startup Maryland will be kicking off its annual Raise Your Game Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs – the primary program under the Startup Maryland Coaching initiative.
“As we reflect back on five years of celebrating entrepreneurs and innovation, we are humbled by the fact that we have engaged with more than 1,500 high-growth tech ventures and proud that our startup density places Maryland No. 2 for U.S. regions launched as part of Startup America,” said Michael Binko, founder of Startup Maryland.
MedStar Health, MED-IQ Announce Partnership
The Med-IQ Quality Improvement Institute has joined forces with Columbia-based MedStar Health, the largest health care provider in Maryland and Washington, D.C., to address unrecognized chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among the baby boomer population. Expanding Success: Improving Alignment With Birth Cohort-Based HCV Testing and Linkage to Care is an expansion of an award-winning quality improvement (QI) initiative designed to facilitate the identification of HCV infection in alignment with current clinical practice guidelines.
Although the CDC issued guidance in 2012 for a one-time HCV test for all persons born between 1945 and 1965, numerous barriers to timely identification exist. In response, Med-IQ launched its first HCV QI initiative in 2013 in partnership with Duke University to evaluate testing patterns among baby boomer patients. This led to the development of a framework for continual evaluation of HCV testing patterns and facilitation of better alignment with guidelines related to identifying patients and linking patients with initial positive screening test results to appropriate care. This initiative demonstrated a statistically significant increase in HCV antibody testing among baby boomers.
This initiative has now been expanded into 15 primary care centers in the greater Washington-Baltimore area. It will conduct continual, focused reviews of current practice patterns; offer a series of electronic and live educational activities; and distribute patient education resources developed by nationally recognized public health agencies.
Lenzer to Create UMD Innovation-Based Economic Development Efforts
University of Maryland (UMD) has announced the appointment of Julie Lenzer, former executive director of the Howard County Economic Development Authority’s Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, as associate vice president for economic development. She also will serve as director of UM Ventures-College Park, in the university’s Division of Research.
Lenzer joins UMD after a two-year appointment at the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, where she was director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. She launched the Regional Innovation Strategies program, recently recognized as one of President Barack Obama’s Top 10 Actions to Accelerate American Entrepreneurship. Additionally, Lenzer led the successful reorganization and institutionalization of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship within the Economic Development Administration, and as a result was named the U.S. lead for the G20 Innovation Task Force.
Lenzer is also a founding co-chair of Startup Maryland. Recently, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan appointed her to the Maryland Economic Development Commission.
In her new role, she will foster and support the development that is currently underway in the UMD Research Park and Greater College Park, and also will promote and facilitate productive, university-wide collaboration to launch startup ventures based upon UMD intellectual property, as well as maximize synergies between UMD and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to encourage technology commercialization.
J.D. Power Surveys Rates Baltimore-Washington Airports in Top 20
The three major Baltimore-Washington area airports ranked in the Top 20 in the recently released J.D. Power 2016 North America Airport Satisfaction Study, with Washington Reagan National Airport at No. 9, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport at No. 15 – up from No. 22 last year – and Washington Dulles Airport staying at No. 20 for the second consecutive year.
The rise in the listing by BWI Marshall is attributed to upgrades in infrastructure and retail offerings. Portland International Airport, in Oregon, topped the list for large airports. Now in its 11th year, the study measures overall traveler satisfaction with large and medium-sized North American airports by examining six factors: terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.
State Honors Victims of Impaired Driving Crashes, Intros Breath Testing Mobile Unit
Remembering and honoring victims of impaired driving crashes in Maryland, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford recently joined Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. William Pallozzi, Motor Vehicle Administrator Christine Nizer, highway safety advocates and Rich Leotta – father of late Montgomery County police officer Noah Leotta – at the 13th Annual Maryland Remembers event.
The annual memorial honors the lives of the hundreds of Maryland citizens killed at the hands of impaired drivers. Between 2011 and 2015, an average of 160 people died in impaired driving-related (alcohol and drug) crashes on Maryland’s roads, and hundreds more are seriously injured.
Gov. Larry Hogan supported and signed the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016 (Noah’s Law), which went into effect Oct. 1, 2016. The law will save lives by requiring ignition interlock for all convicted drunk drivers. Hogan also recently announced more than $12.5 million in federal highway safety funds for more than 80 agencies and organizations across Maryland to help strengthen and expand the state’s efforts to save lives. This includes funds targeted to impaired driving enforcement.
Prior to the Maryland Remembers event, Rahn, Pallozzi, Nizer and representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving gathered to officially introduce the state’s latest tool in the fight to end drunk driving: the Mobile Breath Alcohol Testing Truck. The truck is an initiative between the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office and the Maryland State Police. Paid for with federal funds, the cost of the vehicle was $430,425, plus $21,549 for three Intoximeters (Evidential Breath Testing Instruments) for dedicated use on the truck.
Arundel Development Council Community Grant Application Period Open
Anne Arundel County’s Grants Office has announced the Local Development Council (LDC) community grant application period is open until Jan. 31, 2017. Applications can be downloaded from www.aacounty.org/LDC; grant awards will be distributed in August 2017.
The LDC is established under the authority of state law in those counties in which a video lottery terminal facility or casino is located. The LDC’s sole purpose is to advise the county executive on the needs and priorities of the communities in the three-mile radius surrounding the Maryland Live! Casino and the expenditure of video lottery terminal funds.
Anne Arundel County receives 4.51% of total revenues generated by video lottery terminals at Maryland Live! These monies are distributed by the county in the form of local impact grants and must be used for improvements primarily in the communities in immediate proximity to the casino. Last year, the county and Maryland Live! awarded $18 million in local impact grants to various grant recipients as recommended by the LDC, of which $380,000 went to community support grants.
UMD SAFE Center Awarded Grant to Assist Human Trafficking Victims
The University of Maryland Support, Advocacy, Freedom and Empowerment (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors has received a two-year, $382,408 grant from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) Victims of Crime Assistance (VOCA) Program to provide direct legal and social services to human trafficking victims in Maryland.
The center’s services are particularly targeted to underserved trafficking victims in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. The funds enable the SAFE Center to hire critical staff to help trafficking survivors access legal services, mental health counseling, primary medical care, economic empowerment services, victim advocacy and safety planning, and meet basic emergency needs.
From MarylandReporter.com …
Knight Foundation will match gifts to MarylandReporter.com:
MarylandReporter.com is one of 57 nonprofit news organizations from around the country that will receive matching grants, via Knight News Match, for any donations received over the next month until Jan. 19. Any donation of any size for the program – of up to $1,000 – will be matched dollar for dollar by the Knight Foundation, a major funder of nonprofit journalism. Donations are tax deductible, as MarylandReporter.com is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/2016/12/19/knight-foundation-will-match-gifts-to-marylandreporter-com
Maryland struggles to retain young, qualified teachers:
In nine years of teaching elementary school, Robin Beers has always felt the profession never came easy. Beers did not decide she wanted to teach until after she received her master’s degree in special education. Ever since entering teaching, she said she has felt as if she has not had enough time or support to consistently succeed. Now that she is settled at an Anne Arundel elementary school teaching third grade, Beers has overcome many of the struggles young teachers face when first entering the profession. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/2016/12/13/maryland-struggles-to-retain-young-qualified-teachers
MarylandReporter.com is a news site for government and politics in Maryland that is published and edited by Len Lazarick. For more information or to sign up for the daily e-news, visit www.marylandreporter.com.