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BWI Marshall Prepares for Holidays, Eases Roadway Congestion
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport announced several changes to prevent traffic congestion along the terminal roadway during the holiday season. Through Jan. 15, it will offer customers the first hour of parking in the Hourly Garage for free. It makes use of the BWI Smart Park system, an automated parking guidance system that directs customers to open parking spaces.
During holidays, hotel shuttles, off-airport parking shuttles and transportation network companies will be required to use the upper level/departures level roadway to drop off and pick up customers. BWI Marshall will add about 50 additional spaces to the Cell Phone Lot during this time, as it adds a free, convenient location for motorists to wait away from the terminal until contact is made with arriving passengers.
To help ensure the safety and security of travelers, local motorists are reminded that parking along the terminal curbside and I-195 is dangerous and strictly prohibited. Information on all parking options, including directions, is available at www.BWIairport.com.

ReFirm Announces $1.5M in Funding From DataTribe, Launches Platform
ReFirm Labs, of Maple Lawn, has received $1.5 million in initial funding and is launching its Centrifuge Platform, which automatically detects security vulnerabilities in the firmware that runs billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, consumer electronics and other connected enterprise machines.
ReFirm Labs is backed by DataTribe, which contributed the funding in seed stage capital. DataTribe is a startup studio, also in Maple Lawn, specializing in co-building cybersecurity, analytics and big data product companies coming out of intelligence agencies and government research labs.
“Manufacturers often have little visibility or control over the firmware of third-party components that are integrated into their devices,” said ReFirm Labs CEO and Co-Founder Terry Dunlap, an NSA veteran. “ReFirm Labs’ Centrifuge Platform makes it possible to rapidly assess the security posture of a device at any point in the lifecycle chain, identifying backdoor accounts, hard-coded passwords and potential zero-day threats.”

JPB Capital Partners, Salis Holdings Acquire Ted’s Bulletin
JPB Capital Partners, a Columbia-based middle-market private equity investor, announced what was termed “a significant investment” in Ted’s Bulletin, a modern American diner. JPB partnered with Salis Holdings to acquire the company from Matchbox Food Group. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Ted’s Bulletin, with five locations across Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, has been offering guests a classic American dining experience since 2010. Known for its neighborhood atmosphere and featuring an array of comfort foods, the restaurant was a 2011 RAMMY award winner for the best Neighborhood Gathering Place in the Washington metropolitan area.
This investment, through JPB Capital’s third fund, continues to expand its investment strategy in the food and beverage industry and is its third platform investment in the Washington, D.C./Maryland region, including ZIPS Drycleaners and South Moon Under.

Hogan Administration Announces Industry Forum for Traffic Relief
The Hogan Administration announced plans for an international industry forum to be held by the Maryland Department of Transportation on Dec. 13 at the BWI Airport Marriott about Maryland’s Traffic Relief Plan (TRP), unveiled in mid-September. Registration is required for the forum, scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and is open to industry professionals.
“The transformational project will deliver congestion relief for the Baltimore-Washington region, which has been choked in traffic for years,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn. “Maryland is thrilled to engage the most innovative thinkers in private industry to help us deliver traffic relief for hundreds of thousands of drivers every day.”
The forum presentations will include an overview of the $7.6 billion public-private partnership plan to add four express lanes (two in each direction) to I-495 (Capital Beltway) and I-270 in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, as well as specifics concerning Maryland’s P3 (public-private partnership) laws and process. Those interested in attending the forum should visit www.MDTrafficReliefP3.com.

Rothstein Running for Carroll Commissioner in District 5
Ed Rothstein, former garrison commander of Fort Meade from 2011–14 and most recently head of ERA Advisory, has decided to run for county commissioner in Carroll County’s fifth district.
“Since enlisting in the Army in 1983, [the Rothstein family has] gone through many different slogans to represent our service; however, the latest one, ‘Soldiers for Life,’ resonates the most. Being a soldier for life, to me, means continuing to serve regardless if the uniform is still being worn or not,” said Rothstein. “From a specific experience, serving in Afghanistan from 2010–11, I take it one step further by saying that the family and soldiers serving receive their strength from the community that surrounds them.
“Running the installation through dedication and teamwork resulted in the estimated 55,000 that lived and/or worked on Fort Meade did so in a healthy, safe and secure environment. Bringing that focus and commitment to Carroll County, and more specifically to our friends and neighbors in District 5 (which includes Carroll County’s largest unincorporated area), just makes sense.”

New Rental Car Shuttle Buses Debut at BWI Marshall
The first of 20 new buses that provide transportation between the passenger terminal and the airport’s consolidated rental car facility have been put into service at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. The 60-foot, articulated, compressed natural gas buses will provide around-the-clock service.
The new buses, which are manufactured by New Flyer of America, offer many customer service amenities, including Wi-Fi, USB charging ports, infotainment screens, plush seats, three sets of wide doors and large windows. The articulated buses provide about a 50% increase in capacity over the older rental car shuttle fleet, as well as the distinctive colors of the Maryland state flag.
In December 2016, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved the contract to procure the 20 buses. The $15 million purchase is funded through the Customer Facility Charge (CFC) fee on airport rental car transactions. The new buses replace a fleet of 40-foot, transit-style rental car shuttle buses that were manufactured in 2004. All buses will be delivered to the airport and put into service before the end of the year.

Online Platform for E-Commerce Distribution, Zentail, Expands From the MCE
Zentail, an e-commerce insights platform, has graduated from the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE) into its own office space in Columbia, on Alexander Bell Drive.
Zentail aspires to raise a Series A investment in the next year, and service $1 billon in e-commerce in 2018. It has grown its workforce from eight to 11 employees during its time at the MCE and plans to meet heightened demand in its new location, which has “a floor plan of 4,000 square feet,” said CEO Daniel Sugarman.
The MCE is a 26,000-square-foot business incubator run by the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA), in Columbia. It is home to 23 resident companies and provides a menu of client services for small businesses in the community.

USRA Supporting Arecibo Observatory After Hurricane Maria
The Columbia-based Universities Space Research Association (USRA), one of the entities that manages Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, has taken action to support observatory staff as they recover from Hurricane Maria. USRA donated from its corporate resources twenty 2000-watt portable generators to USRA staff who were in the greatest need for electricity at their homes. These generators were shipped from Columbia to Puerto Rico.
USRA also set up a “gofundme” site for donations to help all staff at the observatory. USRA collected approximately $40,000, and a committee was set up to evaluate applications and distribute the funds. It received 75 applications, and all employees who were in need, irrespective of their employers, applied for these funds.

HCGH Receives ‘A’ for Patient Safety in Leapfrog Safety Grade
Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) received an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care ratings organization, which released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. The Safety Grade assigns letter grades of A, B, C, D and F to hospitals nationwide based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms.
HCGH was one of 832 facilities in the U.S. and the only hospital in Maryland to be awarded an A for its commitment to keeping patients safe and meeting the highest safety standards.
Developed under the guidance of a Blue Ribbon National Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.

WOW to Expand Schedule
From BWI Marshall
WOW air will expand its schedule from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport during summer 2018. During that peak season, WOW will offer twice-daily service on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, between May 18 and Sept. 16. As part of the announcement, the airline is offering special, limited fares for BWI Marshall travelers.
Once daily service will continue on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. WOW operates service between BWI Marshall and Reykjavik, Iceland, with connections available to several markets across Europe. The airline currently operates daily service from BWI Marshall.

MediaPost Names Merkle Search Agency of the Year
Columbia-based Merkle has been named the 2017 Search Agency of the Year by the editorial board of MediaPost. The accolade adds to recent citations for the search marketing and addressable media company. In October 2017, Merkle was named a Leader in The Forrester Wave: Search Marketing Agencies, Q4 2017, which evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the top 12 search marketing agency vendors across 25 criteria. Merkle received the highest possible scores in market research, media, collaboration and revenue. For paid search and overall strategy, Merkle scored in the highest range overall.
In addition to these honors, Merkle was named Best Large SEO agency by the U.S. Search Awards and won an additional two awards at that event: Best Use of Search, Finance, for MetLife; and Best SEO Campaign, for ShoppersChoice.com. Finally, Merkle received a 2017 Search Engine Land “Landy” Award in October for the Best Enterprise SEM Initiative-Financial Services category for its work with MetLife.

$1M in Improvements Slated for North Arundel Aquatic Center
Anne Arundel County will invest more than $1 million to improve the North Arundel Aquatic Center, on Crain Highway in Glen Burnie. The improvements will include replacing the air exchange pool packs, renovating the existing water slide and other overhauls.
The center offers an eight-lane, 25-yard competition pool and a leisure pool. The leisure pool is a zero-depth entry pool with three 20-yard lap lanes and indoor water features. The water features include a 134-foot water slide, splashdown area, water buckets, preschool water slide, vortex area and poolside spa for adults.
This project was made possible through the JumpStart Anne Arundel capital project financing program. Enacted in 2015, the capital plan embraces a 30-year bond financing option. This reform has allowed Anne Arundel County to expand its capital funding program and make critical school, public safety, road and quality of life infrastructure improvements.

SECU Launches Own Your Money
To help consumers build their financial knowledge and more effectively manage their money, Linthicum-based SECU is launching Own Your Money, a free, interactive, financial education program. Easily accessible through a computer, tablet or mobile device, Own Your Money uses short, on-demand learning modules — including videos, animations and other interactive tools — to guide users through more than 20 critical personal finance topics.
Own Your Money is the latest in a series of programs offered by SECU to help its members better understand and manage their finances. Other programs include Retirement Central, Accel Financial Counseling and Homebuying 360; for more information about Own Your Money and SECU’s other personal finance programs, visit www.secumd.org.

HCGH to Move ER Entrance During Construction
As the hospital and its emergency room undergo renovation, Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) has temporarily moved the emergency entrance to the hospital’s main entrance. ER patients and visitors should enter the campus using the Cedar Lane entrance and park in designated lots adjacent to the hospital’s main entrance. Ambulances and helicopters will still use their existing entrance.
The temporary change is part of HCGH’s campus construction project, building a two-story addition to the hospital and renovating existing space. The addition and renovation will meet growing community needs for emergency care, general medical and surgical care and behavioral health services. For more information and to view a video guide of the entrance relocation, visit hcghoftomorrow.org.

Joint Venture Buys Columbia North Portfolio
A joint venture partnership between Feldman Bergin Development and Fortified Property Group has acquired a three-building portfolio in the Columbia North submarket. Located at 8970, 8980 and 8990 Route 108, the assets compose approximately 85,000 square feet of single-story, flex/office space, of which 74% is currently leased to multiple tenants.
All three buildings are located in Oakland Ridge Center, located directly off Route 108 at Red Branch Road. 8970 Route 108 is best suited to support the commercial office requirements of end-users, while 8980 and 8990 Route 108 offer 16-foot ceiling heights, as well as loading dock amenities.

Alex. Brown to Open Annapolis Office
A year after becoming a division of Raymond James, Alex. Brown is re-establishing an office in Annapolis, 20 years after Deutsche Bank closed the original location.
The office, located on Somerville Road, will be a new addition to the Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, a mixed-use development. In 2016, Raymond James acquired Deutsche Bank’s U.S. Wealth Services division and relaunched the Alex. Brown brand.

Ribbon Cut on Howard County’s First TOD
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Residences at Annapolis Junction on Nov. 27 marked the delivery of Howard County’s first Transit Oriented Development project. Contained within the Annapolis Junction Town Center and developed by St. John Properties, The Residences is an ultra-luxury, five-story, 416-unit apartment community managed by Armada Hoffler Properties real estate investment trust.
Earlier this summer, residents initiated occupancy on The Residences, which is composed of 123 two-bedroom units, 248 one-bedroom units and 45 studio units ranging from 520 square feet to 1,629 square feet of living space.
Amenities include a saltwater swimming pool with sunning decks; cabanas; multiple grills and fountains; and a 700-vehicle garage. It also features a 3,200-square-foot, two-story community room, state-of-the-art fitness center with locker rooms, a media center, kitchen, bar, billiards room and business center, among other amenities.

Anne Arundel Honored for Drinking Water Utilities Management Excellence
The Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works’ (DPW) Bureau of Utility Operations (BUO) is one of only 14 public drinking water systems in the United States to be awarded a top utility management award from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA).  The 2017 Platinum Award for Utility Excellence recognizes the county’s 10-year capital improvement program to end reliance on the City of Baltimore for 25% of the county’s drinking water supply.
Coordinated efforts of the Bureau of Utilities and Bureau of Engineering enabled the county to complete vital capital projects within the strategic plan providing the infrastructure needed to produce enough water to serve areas of the county previously served by the City of Baltimore. These capital projects were completed in September and enabled the county to become an independent and self-sufficient water system, and have saved the county $8.5 million during the last 10 years; resulting in an annual savings of $1.5 million.

ICC Emerges as Second Busiest Toll Facility in Maryland
The Inter-County Connector (ICC/Maryland Route 200) Corridor emerged as the second busiest toll facility in Maryland during 2016, with motorists racking up a combined total of 30 million trips on the all-electronic tollway.
Motorists are expected to take 32.5 million trips cumulatively at entry points and exits points along the ICC during 2017, its sixth year of operation. For perspective, the number of trips on the ICC is five times the population of Maryland. Historical traffic trends reveal vehicular traffic more than doubled on key ICC segments from 2012 to 2016. The ICC’s traffic spiked 24.3%, and its toll revenue increased 6% in 2016, as many drivers have reduced travel on the east-west route.
“The first leg of the [ICC] debuted to the motoring public in 2011. Now, it is outpacing the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, the Bay Bridge, the Nice Bridge [in Southern Maryland] and I-95 Express Toll Lanes near Baltimore in traffic volume. It is only eclipsed by the Fort McHenry Tunnel. It is a remarkable feat for a roadway first planned in 1955, then derided, and finally built amid opposition,” said John Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic manager of public and government affairs.
Motorists took 29.98 million trips on the ICC in 2016, compared to the 24.12 million trips they undertook on the tollway in 2015, according to a May 2017 report. The number of trips on the ICC is expected to grow to 32.49 million in 2017, a projected 8.4% growth in trips.