Millworks Business Resource Center Opens in Downtown Ellicott City
The Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) has opened the door on Millworks, a new business resource center and co-working space on Main Street Ellicott City, so named for the town’s legacy as a mill town. The center, located at 8098 Main Street, will provide a central location for businesses and property owners to gain access to business and recovery resources.
Organizations participating in the center include the HCEDA, Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center, Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development, Preservation Maryland, One EC Recovery Project and the Ellicott City Partnership (ECP).
“The property owners, business and residents of Main Street and the West End have made a remarkable recovery in the last six months, but we know there is still more to do,” said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman. “The presence of this resource center on Main Street is another commitment of our resolve to continue working with the community and rebuilding Ellicott City as a model resilient community.”
Co-working space and free Wi-Fi will be made available during business hours for individuals looking for a place to work for the day, along with space for special events and training. “We want this to be a place for the community,” said HCEDA CEO Larry Twele. “We want people to come into Ellicott City often to see what is going on here and to be a part of the rebuilding process.”
Two additional offices on the upper floor will be leased for business use. The ECP will take over one of the spaces; the other will be occupied by NextLOGiK, a resident company at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, which will be using the space as an additional location outside the incubator.
BGE Economic Impact Exceeds $5B in 2015
BGE, one of the 25 largest private employers in Maryland, with 3,200 employees, had an estimated economic impact of $5 billion of output, supported more than 9,500 jobs and produced more than $920 million in labor income in the company’s service area during 2015, according to the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB).
BGE’s total economic impact is comparable to the output of entire industries in its service area, such as legal services, employment services, and retail food and beverage. EAGB analyzed BGE’s 2015 general operations and measured the direct, indirect and induced economic impact using the IMPLAN economic impact model.
Based on 2015 data, EAGB found that BGE’s ongoing energy management programs and charitable giving have a positive economic impact on its communities.
● Energy management programs had an estimated economic impact of more than $227 million of output, nearly 800 jobs and nearly $50 million in labor income. BGE customers also saw more than $92 million in savings through these programs.
● Charitable contributions of $4.5 million supported approximately $8 million of output and $2 million in labor income.
In addition, the company’s Smart Energy Economic Development (SEED) Program has approved incentives for 23 businesses which are expected to contribute to the addition of more than 3,200 new jobs in Maryland. New and expanding businesses creating new, full-time employment can qualify for SEED discounts on natural gas and electric connection and usage costs.
Schuh Announces Procurement System Reforms
Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh has announced his administration has implemented a series of reforms to the procurement system to save taxpayers’ money and increase efficiency in county government. “We have changed fundamentally how government will do business with the private sector,” he said. “The reforms we implemented in 2016 will ensure a better, more efficient county government for our citizens.”
The procurement process is the process by which county government purchases goods and services needed to support police officers, firefighters and all other county employees delivering county services to citizens. Upon coming into office, the Schuh ordered an enterprise-wide review of county government to identify inefficiencies and cost savings. Among the reforms implemented in 2016 include the following.
● Identified $2 million in savings as a result of reducing costs for ongoing services
● Hired a new purchasing agent with a private sector background to lead the reform efforts
● Established metrics to track time to conduct major procurements that led to a reduction in procurement completion times by 18 days, from May to October
● Reorganized purchasing staff to better coordinate purchases across multiple county departments
● Prepared paperwork templates for various procurement types to reduce the time needed for document preparation
● Implemented a county-wide training program to improve the delivery of procurement services
● Started process for buying technology to further enhance efficiency in procurement process
Businesses interested in contracting with the county can learn more by visiting www.aacounty.org/departments/central-services/purchasing.
Grassroots Selects Holmes as New Executive Director
Board President Mary Lasky has announced the selection of Ellicott City resident Ayesha Holmes to replace the retiring Andrea Ingram as the new Grassroots executive director. Holmes is the founding partner of STRATIGIX Consulting, of Columbia, and has worked in the nonprofit sector for 15 years.
Holmes served on Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman’s transition team, and she took Maryland Choices, working with children with special needs and their families, from one county to a statewide program in eight years. She holds a Master of Science Education degree in Clinical Community Counseling from The Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UMBC.
Ingram is retiring after 27 years leading Howard County’s only 24-hour crisis intervention center and shelter for the homeless. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognition for her leadership and service to the community, including the Leadership Howard County Distinguished Alumni Award and the Association of Community Services’ Audrey Robbins Humanitarian Award. She was also inducted into the Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2004.
VOR Technology Acquires Sintel Group
Hanover-based cybersecurity firm VOR Technology has acquired Sintel Group, which is based in Columbia. VOR and Sintel provide defense intelligence and technology solutions to national security and private enterprise clients, and are Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs). Founded in 2012, VOR has rapidly expanded as a cyberintelligence innovator, earning inclusion on the Inc. 5000 list of the Fastest Growing Companies in America for 2016.
“The acquisition followed VOR Technology’s successful bid on a particular government contract, as was structured from the beginning to constitute a mutual benefit for both parties,” said VOR CEO Anthony Lawrence. “With the addition of Sintel’s 25-person staff of engineers and analysts to a leading partner for Maryland’s intelligence community, the arrangement bolsters VOR Technology’s ability to provide forward-thinking solutions in categories such as offensive cyberoperations, systems architecture and software development.”
PharmAthene, Altimmune Merge
PharmAthene, of Annapolis, and Altimmune, a privately-held immunotherapeutics company in Gaithersburg, have signed a definitive agreement for a merger in an all-stock transaction. Altimmune’s current investors include Novartis Venture Fund, HealthCap, Truffle Capital and Redmont Capital. The combined company will be a fully-integrated, diversified immunotherapeutics company with four clinical stage and one preclinical stage programs.
“A merger with Altimmune is an ideal strategic match. It fulfills our stated goal of continuing to build value for PharmAthene shareholders after we distribute the SIGA litigation proceeds on Feb. 3,” said John Gill, president and CEO of PharmAthene. “By combining forces, we will diversify our portfolio into attractive commercial product opportunities and leverage our capabilities for developing next generation anthrax vaccines.”
AAWDC Offering Training for Emerging Workforce
Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corp. (AAWDC) is offering a new initiative for eligible county young adults, ages 18-24, who are currently not in school. F.L.O.W., which stands for First Level of Work, offers career exploration, essential workplace skills training, job readiness assessments and consultation, occupational training and job placement assistance, at no cost.
After attending an information session, prospective participants will sign up for one of three career exploration sessions offered from late January to late February to identify their place in the workforce, identify career goals and determine a plan to achieve those goals. The F.L.O.W. initiative will run from March through May 2017, and will focus on careers in health care and information technology.
Participants will identify personal interests and strengths through assessments, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator; attend a week-long training on essential workplace skills and money management; develop self-marketing tools through job readiness consultation; and more. Information sessions will be held throughout the county. To make a reservation, visit AA-Workforce.eventbrite.com or call 410-766-5212.
Arundel Commission on Government Innovation Plans First Meeting, Launches Webpage
Anne Arundel’s Commission on Government Innovation and Effectiveness, a bipartisan effort to examine how government can better serve the citizens of Anne Arundel County, has scheduled its inaugural meeting for Thursday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m., in the Chesapeake Room, Second Floor, Heritage Office Complex, 2664 Riva Road, Annapolis.
Using County Executive Steve Schuh’s Transition Report as a starting point, the commission will examine certain functions currently handled by county agencies that could be successfully handled through public-private partnerships and private sector contracts, resulting in better service to constituents as well as cost savings. It also will examine how best to deploy technology to enhance services.
The commission’s webpage also has been launched, which contains information about commission members, meeting agendas and meeting schedules. It can be found at www.aacounty.org/boards-and-commissions/commission-government-innovation-and-effectiveness/index.html. The commission will meet monthly and will distribute an initial report in April 2017.
Downtown Columbia Partnership Seeks Executive Director
The Downtown Columbia Partnership is seeking an Executive Director to begin work in early 2017.
The Downtown Columbia Partnership leads the promotion and advances the growth of Downtown Columbia .Its functions include marketing and promoting Downtown and its businesses; supporting transportation initiatives; initiating and sponsoring cultural arts and sustainability programs; implementing downtown beautification and maintenance projects; and promoting public safety.
The Partnership expects to have a budget in excess of $1 million annually when it is fully operational.
The Downtown Columbia Partnership includes the master developer, the Howard Hughes Corporation; Howard County government; General Growth Properties, owner of The Mall in Columbia; and the Columbia Association.
Interested candidates are invited to send a resume to David Feehan, president, Civitas Consultants, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include three references. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but for best consideration, apply by Jan. 31.
Economic Development Day in Annapolis to be Held This Morning by MEDA
The Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) will hold its third annual Economic Development Day today, Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the Miller Senate Building in Annapolis.
The event, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., presents the opportunity for economic development leaders to connect and communicate with state elected and appointed officials about economic development initiatives throughout Maryland. The event will feature a dialogue between policymakers and economic developers that will delve into detailed priorities for continued growth of jobs and investment for Maryland.
Mike Gill, secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce, will kick off a series of presentations highlighting the important role that economic development plays in communities across Maryland. Additional featured speakers will be Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and Paul Nolan, vice president of tax and government affairs at McCormick & Co.
Howard County Office of Transportation to Host First BikeHoward Open House
Howard County Office of Transportation will host its first annual BikeHoward Open House on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the Miller Branch Library, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City. While there will be no formal presentation, the event will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn about the progress surrounding the implementation of the county’s Bicycle Master Plan, such as recent bike lane installations, new and upgraded pathways, the upcoming bikeshare system and programs for bike education, encouragement and enforcement.
Adopted in April 2016, the Bicycle Master Plan, also known as BikeHoward, provides a framework for Howard County to become a bicycle-friendly community. An interpreter for people who are deaf or hard of hearing will be available if requested seven working days prior to the meeting. Call the Department of Community Resources and Services at 410-313-6400 or use Relay at 7-1-1, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For questions or more information about the Bicycle Master Plan, visit www.bikehoward.com or contact the Office of Transportation at 410-313-3130.
Vendors Wanted for Howard County’s GreenFest
Vendor applications are now being accepted for Howard County’s annual GreenFest, back for its 10th consecutive year on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Howard Community College’s Burrill Galleria, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. Last year’s event drew more than 2,000 attendees and featured nearly 90 commercial and nonprofit vendors with information about how to live a more ecologically-sound lifestyle.
While the theme for 2017 is “Earth Day Every Day,” GreenFest is open to all vendors and exhibitors that highlight environmentally conscious products, services, activities and opportunities for community involvement. The vendor and sponsorship application is available on the GreenFest website at www.hcgreenfest.org. For more information and/or to have an application mailed to you, contact Alan Wilcom with the county’s Department of Public Works at 410-313-6433 or email email@example.com.
From MarylandReporter.com …
Hogan proposes ethics reform, more openness for legislature:
Seizing on bribery and conspiracy charges facing former Democratic lawmakers, Gov. Larry Hogan unleashed a handful of bills Thursday to rein in corruption and put an end to influence peddling in Annapolis. Hogan also proposed legislation to take some of the politics out of liquor board appointments, force the Maryland Senate and House to video stream their sessions, and set up an independent commission to draw lines for legislative and congressional districts. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/2017/01/19/hogan-proposes-ethics-reform-more-openness-for-legislature
Poll finds support for increased school aid and higher taxes to support it:
New polling results funded by the state teachers union finds broad bipartisan support for increased funding for public education, even if it means “closing corporate loopholes and raising income taxes on the state’s highest earners.” The poll taken late last month by Gonzales Research was part of the same survey that found 74% approval ratings for the job Gov. Larry Hogan is doing. But the results of the questions on education would seem to put the same voters at odds with Hogan’s strong opposition to new taxes and strong support of increased funding for private school scholarships. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/2017/01/17/poll-finds-support-for-increased-school-aid-and-higher-taxes-to-support-it