Archived Articles: April 2017

Hogan Pushing Legislation for Manufacturing Gains

 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan visited Baltimore-based Marlin Steel Wire Products on March 28 to promote his More Jobs for Maryland Act of 2017 (SB 317), and to discuss the administration’s efforts to invigorate the state’s manufacturing industry.
SB 317 has passed the Senate, and the House of Delegates was expected to vote on the legislation during the last week of March. A cross-filed House bill has not yet been considered.
A small group of manufacturing business owners joined Hogan for a tour of the factory, as did Howard Bank representatives and other banking industry officials interested in learning more about opportunities to assist manufacturers hoping to take advantage of the legislation if it succeeds.
“I’ve been focused on manufacturing because we particularly took a hit during the past eight years before I was governor,” Hogan said. “We had lost 27% of our entire manufacturing base and 30,000 jobs. I’m happy to say that we have created more manufacturing jobs in Maryland over the last two years than all of the states in the mid-Atlantic region added together.”

Growth, Incentives
According to Hogan, 2016 was the state’s best year for job growth in 15 years.
“[In February], we added 11,500 more jobs, and the past three months have been the best three months for job growth since The Great Recession,” he said. “We’ve gone from the previous administration losing 8,000 businesses and 100,000 jobs to gaining businesses, businesses expanding, and we’ve created 104,000 jobs in two years.”
Hogan’s legislation would provide specific incentives for businesses that locate within a qualified distressed county, entitling them to 10-year income tax credits for 100% of qualified income, 100% property tax credits, sales and use tax exemptions for specified purchases and an exemption from paying corporate filing fees.
The legislation specifically targets Baltimore City, western Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore.
As this issue of The Business Monthly went to press, senate amendments made to the legislation included a recommendation that the governor work toward an agreement with surrounding states, and North Carolina, to repeal laws providing tax subsidies intended to create new jobs or entice new jobs to an individual state.
“The General Assembly finds that the widespread adoption of tax subsidies intended to move jobs from one state to another reduces revenues in all participating states without increasing the total number and quality of jobs,” members of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee wrote.

Bullish Posture
Marlin Steel President Drew Greenblatt said one reason he supports the legislation is because it permits accelerated depreciation.
This consideration raises the current $25,000 write-off limit for expensive equipment purchases to $500,000 for all manufacturers in the state, an amount equal to the credits already provided in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
“It’ll give companies like [Marlin Steel] the testosterone to go out and buy more technology,” Greenblatt said, gesturing toward a 2,500-watt laser cutter on the production floor. “This machine’s from 2011; we want to go out and buy something that’s a 2017 version, but that’s a lot of money. I can’t even get the electricals for $25,000.”
Greenblatt said employee conditions have steadily improved since he acquired the company in 1998, a time when he was the only person in the factory who owned a car or had health insurance.
“More than half of our employees have homes, and two employees bought homes in January because we have more manufacturing in our city [paying their wages],” he said. “[Gov. Hogan] has created such a nice ecosystem that small business factories throughout our state are getting more confident, more bullish. We’re hiring more people [and] if we want more American companies to move to Baltimore and invest in our state, we have to have that legislation passed.”

Fighting for Growth
Another aspect of policy that may help manufacturers is the assistance they receive through apprenticeship, training and workforce development programs.
“They really look at connecting the business owners, how they are going to participate in the training of their employees so that we can provide jobs for the employees once they finalize that training,” said Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Kelly Schulz. “We have now been expanding into cybersecurity and green jobs, thanks to some of the funding we have received.”
Hogan stressed that employers are being included in the designing of this training.
“You in the private sector tell us what kind of skills you need and help us set it up,” he said. “Instead of training people for something where there’s no jobs existing, we work with the private sector and help you train your employees.”
The Department of Labor’s renewed focus on existing apprenticeship programs, some of which have stagnated for decades, have generated increases of up to 25% in the number of participants.
“That’s important because it doesn’t just provide a job for individuals, it creates a pathway for them to really start at a level where they can grow and expand into the future, just like they can do here [at Marlin Steel],” Schulz said. “Maryland is being considered the best practice in the United States in what we’re able to do and the [workforce development] models we’re able to provide. It’s very successful, and we’re very grateful for that.”
Hogan said he was hopeful that his More Jobs for Marylanders Act would pass the legislature, “but we’re not going to take anything for granted.
“We believe this legislation literally can help businesses grow all over the state and can help us create thousands of jobs,” he said. “We’re going to keep fighting for small businesses, and we’re going to do everything we can to help the manufacturing industry.”

APL Celebrates 75 Years of Defining Innovations

 

Thousands of staff members and guests gathered in North Laurel at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL)’s Kossiakoff Center on March 10 to mark the 75th anniversary of APL’s founding.
The day began with a breakfast reception and a technology expo showcasing nearly 20 of APL’s latest innovations, and ended with a behind-the-scenes tour for guests.
The formal celebration program opened with anniversary greetings from senior Navy officials from around the world and from celebrities, including Bill Nye the Science Guy. A short movie, which has been made available for viewing on the APL website, provided historical background on the Lab’s work.
“For 75 years, in war and peace, APL’s engineers and scientists have answered the nation’s call as they have tackled a complex array of scientific and technical challenges,” said Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels, addressing the capacity crowd. “APL has proven its ability not only to provide solutions to the problems of the day, but to help our nation’s leaders anticipate the challenges on the horizon.”
Other speakers included Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, former Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, County Council Chair Jon Weinstein and APL Director Ralph Semmel.
Three former APL directors, Gary Smith, Gene Hinman and Rich Roca, attended the event, while another former director, Carl Bostrom, watched from home.

Partnerships
Semmel stressed the importance of partnerships for APL’s longevity and, indeed, for its very existence.
“With government, the Navy and other services, NASA, the Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community,” he said, “these folks draw on our capabilities every day, and we live to provide capabilities to our sponsors.”
While those capabilities usually address very specific needs, Van Hollen noted that they also frequently register additional benefits. “What we do here inspires people around the world,” he said, citing the vast interest shown by the general public in APL’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. “I am confident that you have some young scientist out there whose imagination was sparked by seeing that Pluto fly-by.”
Having landed a spot on the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, Van Hollen said he looks forward to continuing Mikulski’s 30-year tradition as an advocate for national investments that will help enhance APL’s role in discovery and in the nation’s defense.
“We all ask those very basic questions, how did all of us get here, are we alone?” Van Hollen said. “[APL is] part of that exciting human enterprise, and along the way your work has spun off really important innovations for our Maryland economy and the national economy.”

Surprising Outcomes
APL’s history belies its discrete opening in the garage of a Silver Spring automobile dealership in 1942.
At that time, it had but one mission: create a proximity fuze for anti-aircraft use that could defend military forces from aircraft attack during World War II. Today, APL’s capabilities are distributed across 12 different mission areas, including civil space, cyberoperations and national security analysis.
Following the war, the laboratory’s focus shifted to designing and defending against supersonic missiles.
“What’s amazing are the results that still underpin much of the work we do today in missiles,” Semmel said.
Continually adapting to address new threats and exploit new areas of research, APL “has been focused very heavily on [the] notion of game-changing impact,” he said, with some surprising outcomes.
By working out how to track the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite using the Doppler effect associated with its transmitted signal, APL physicists William Guier and George Weiffenbach were eventually able to use the satellite’s orbit to determine the location of a receiver on the ground.
“As a result, satellite navigation was born, the Transit system was the first global satellite navigation system, and it was the precursor to GPS,” Semmel said.
Over the years, APL solved difficult problems that have included guiding friendly missiles in an intense electronic jamming environment, detecting increasingly quiet submarines at great distances, minimizing the number of launches to acquire missile testing data and tracking targets beyond the horizon.

Space Exploration
In the space arena, “No one thought you could develop low-cost spacecraft that could conduct good science exploration,” Semmel said.
APL’s Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous [NEAR] mission, however, put an end to that thought. “By the end of that [mission], APL returned a check for $3.6 million to the government and, in addition, landed the spacecraft on the asteroid Eros, which was not planned when the mission was first started,” Semmel said.
MESSENGER followed, redefining scientists’ understanding of Mercury, and then New Horizons provided the closest, most detailed look ever taken of Pluto.
To date, APL has been involved in 26 planetary and solar missions, building its own spacecraft and providing instruments flown aboard other agencies’ missions and expanding humanity’s knowledge of comets and asteroids, magnetospheres, energetic particles and other areas of scientific study.
One spacecraft — Voyager 1, launched in 1977 — has even reached interstellar space and continues to collect and return useful data.

New Frontiers
As much as APL does for the nation, it also does much for Howard County, Kittleman said.
“There are 6,000 employees, and 40% live in Howard County,” he said, many highly-educated individuals who help with charitable organizations and mentor students. “Our county is a much stronger county because of you and what you provide to us.”
APL’s work on prosthetic devices is also giving hope to wounded warriors and others with missing limbs who yearn to be more independent and productive.
“You make a difference in the lives of people and in the lives of a nation,” Mikulski said. “That’s why we always need to stand up for the opportunity in this country, so that this country can continue to be the greatest opportunity in the world.”
For 75 years, Semmel said, APL has been involved in “an incredible journey and an incredible number of defining innovations that have transformed our world,” and new frontiers continue to open — chief among them are the exploitation and defense of cyberspace, autonomous and robotic systems, and the field of medicine involved with restoring capacity.
“As excited as I am to be celebrating our 75th anniversary,” he said, “I’m even more excited to think about the things that we’re going to be achieving here in the future.”

CAMI Presents Inaugural Cybersecurity Award Winners

 

On March 22, the nonprofit Cybersecurity Association of Maryland Inc. (CAMI), in partnership with PNC Bank and Point3 Security, hosted the inaugural Maryland Cybersecurity Awards Celebration.
Before a sold-out crowd of 250 attendees at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum, CAMI presented 13 awards to Maryland companies, organizations and individuals judged to have outstanding cybersecurity products, services and programs, or who have made a substantial contribution to the state’s cybersecurity industry.
CAMI enlisted the participation of Digital Harbor Foundation students to design the awards, with the winning designs coming from two 13- and 15-year-old sisters, Aiyanah and N’Dera Muhammad.
“With almost 75 nominations for six awards, it was clear we needed top professionals with not only a deep understanding of cyber, but also the ability to make difficult decisions” for the judging, said PNC Bank Senior Vice President Jay Turakhia.
Awards judges came from a broad cross section of businesses, media and state government offices.

Regional Awards
In addition to specific award categories, awards were also presented to companies and organizations considered “Best Of” their respective jurisdictions.
“The counties represented are exceptionally proud of their homegrown talent and created their own judging processes to evaluate all of the award nominees and select one winner,” said Turakhia.
Winners of the regional “Best Of” category awards were SecuLore Solutions, Odenton; ZeroFOX, Baltimore City; bwtech@UMBC Cyber Incubator, Catonsville; Antietam Technologies, Frederick; Sealing Technologies, Columbia; and Cryptonite, Montgomery County.
According to Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. Senior Vice President Mary Burkholder, SecuLore Solutions’ flagship product, Paladin, sits outside the firewall to protect public safety organizations from ransomware attacks.
“CEO Tim Lorello spotted a national disaster in the making and established the first business in the nation to move swiftly to address it,” Burkholder said, noting that the product has already been used to mitigate the impact of an attack on a large Maryland public safety organization.
Patrick Wynn, vice president of cyber business development for the Howard County Economic Development Authority, discussed Sealing Technologies, noting that the company provides testing and evaluation, penetration testing, risk assessments and related services.
“In partnership with DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency), they developed and hosted a defensive cyberoperations exercise at Fort Meade that included security operations for all four services,” Wynn said.
Sealing Technologies team members designed and built simulated base and demilitarized zone infrastructure environments, integrating them with Joint Regional Security Stacks to allow operators to “fight like they train and train like they fight,” Wynn said. “This exercise was seen as a huge success, and our winner has been asked to conduct numerous additional events in 2017.”

Individual Awards
CAMI’s Innovator of the Year, Terbium Labs of Baltimore City, designed a fingerprinting technique that creates one-way digital signatures enabling them to quickly identify compromised client information on the dark web without a prerequisite need for a client to reveal the data.
Baltimore-based ZeroFOX, a social media security pioneer that can identify targeted attacks and enable prevention and threat blocking with its protection cloud, was named CAMI’s Defender of the Year.
Year Up Baltimore received CAMI’s Cybersecurity Diversity Trailblazer Award. Year Up provides urban young adults with cybersecurity, information technology and business operations experience and support to help advance their careers, and also provides internships with corporate partners.
Named CAMI’s Cybersecurity Company to Watch, SecuLore Solutions was recognized for its exceptional vision and its demonstrated plans for exponential future growth.
“They provide a cyberbenchmark based on FCC, DHS and NIST cyber guidelines for public safety,” said presenter Gina Abate, CEO of Edwards Performance Solutions. “That helps an agency put the appropriate procedures in place to protect their information. SecuLore is preparing to be the nation’s leading cybersecurity brand in public safety.”
The Cybersecurity Industry Resource Award was presented to the Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO), of Columbia.
“Over the past two years this organization has invested $1.6 million into 16 Maryland cybersecurity companies via its Cybersecurity Fund,” said presenter Michael Ryan, CEO of South River Technologies.
TEDCO’s Marketing Vice President Tammi Thomas said it was reassuring to see many of the organization’s portfolio companies in attendance and nominated for awards. “It’s great to see that we’re creating value in a way that we hoped to.”

Cyber Champions
Accepting the award for Cybersecurity Champion was Annapolis-based RedZone Technologies CEO Bill Murphy. The award honors an individual who has had a profoundly positive impact on the cybersecurity community.
“He has been leading industry collaboration with innovation since founding his company in 1991, is the host of the CIO and XO Mastermind Group and founder of the DC Chapter of the Singularity,” said presenter Britta Vander Linden, deputy chief of staff for the Maryland Governor’s Office. “He was one of the first to recognize the need for education to help C-suite executives better understand cybersecurity and improve defenses.”
Finalists in all six categories were eligible for CAMI’s People’s Choice Award, which was presented to Mansur Hasib, program chair of the Graduate Cybersecurity Technology program in The Graduate School at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), Anne Arundel County.
“When I was the CIO of Constellation Energy 30 years ago, I was helping one company,” Hasib said. “But when I teach, I’m helping thousands to become the next generation of cyberwarriors. I saw one of my students winning an award here, and one of my former employees works for Sealing Technologies. It’s a good feeling to know that what I’m doing has a bigger impact in this industry.”
CAMI Executive Director Stacey Smith said the award ceremony serves as a chance to reflect on Maryland’s great opportunity to lead the world in confronting what is becoming a multi-trillion-dollar challenge.
“I’m proud to say that CAMI is the nation’s only statewide cybersecurity trade group, and that we offer the nation’s only state cybersecurity company online directory,” she said. “CAMI is laser focused on helping our Maryland cybersecurity industry capture billions of sales dollars and bring thousands of new jobs to Maryland by becoming a recognized leading global brand.”

With Entertainment Tech Workers in Demand, Colleges Partner Up

 

When an audience settles in for a performance or a presentation — be it a theatrical production, a musical concert or a corporate event — the creatives playing to or speaking with the crowd can make their performances seem almost effortless, even if they’re sweating bullets beneath their cool, calm exteriors.
The reality, of course, is that most any performance is hard work and a group effort, with support from a sizable crew. But an issue in recent years, however, has been getting enough mid-level technical help to handle the video, the audio and the lighting duties, as well as other tasks that are key to any presentation.
That issue was the genesis for a new partnership between Howard Community College (HCC) and Carroll Community College (CCC) that received a boost in the form of a three-year, $427,583 joint award from the Arlington, Va.-based National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the Advanced Technical Entertainment (ATE) program. It’s billed as the only public associate degree program for multimedia and presentation technology in the mid-Atlantic, and is set up to train workers who are in high demand for every type of performance, from theatrical productions and musical concerts to church services and corporate events. The program will begin this fall.
“Everywhere we look around the entertainment industry,” said Bill Gillett, chair of theater and dance at HCC, “we’re finding that it’s hard to get [potential students] to understand that becoming a technician is a viable career path.”

The Inspiration
Gillett’s interest in founding the program was heightened after a visit to Lone Star Community College, in The Woodlands, Texas (near Houston). That’s where a colleague, Chase Waites, “went down this path before we did,” he said.
Lone Star calls its version of the major Live Entertainment Technology. “I recall an occasion when [former President Barack] Obama discussed the value of middle skill jobs, and that program supports that sector,” he said.
As it happened, the idea for the local partnership for ATE started when Gillett, who had been chair of performing arts at CCC, left for his current position at HCC just before the form for the NSF grant was submitted. The grant is turning out to be extra support, as the two local schools could have founded ATE anyway. “What the grant will do,” he said, “is make our program truly stellar by helping us fund equipment and staffing.”
NSF’s interest is in students gaining what it terms “advanced technical education. It’s specifically geared toward two-year schools that are training techs in a various fields,” said Gillett, including in various sciences, as well as entertainment.
“But the program isn’t to train the scientists,” he said. “It’s for the folks who run the equipment to support them.”
It’s hard to estimate what the technicians can make in the field, but the average salary “is about $41,000,” Gillett said, “though there is a range. It only takes two semesters to get a certificate. Our students will be able to take some of these courses and start working. Know that not everyone wants a four-year degree.”

Extra Boost
Seth Schwartz, director of production and theater management at CCC, said “a combination of things” spurred the college’s partnership with HCC.
“I was at a Production Management Forum [an affinity group in the theater production business] meeting two years ago, and the big problem had become finding trained personnel,” he said. “Then Bill [Gillett] was at a conference where he found out that Lone Star had gotten a grant for their program from NSF.”
Schwartz reiterated that the two local community colleges were going to start the ATE program anyway, “but we applied for the grant in October 2015 and won the award this past January.”
Another bonus is that some students already have some experience through volunteering. “Some young people are already working on the soundboard at their churches on Sundays, for instance, but we’re trying to get the point across to them that they can make a career out of this, or in video, lighting and even carpentry.
“No matter whether the audience is big or small,” said Schwartz, “it has to be able to see and hear the performance.”
As of today, HCC has been approved to offer the applied arts and science degree or a certificate by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, while CCC is still waiting on certificate approval. However, several classes at CCC are underway.

New Territory
Corby Hovis, program director for the NSF, said the Foundation’s program that funded the ATE project is called Advanced Technological Education and, as Gillett noted, “is aimed at virtually any kind of technologies,” including agricultural, bioscience, chemical, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and multi-media disciplines.
“The idea of the program is to boost sectors in the high tech area,” said Hovis. “It focuses on middle-skill jobs that require more than high school diploma, but less than four-year degree.
“That’s the context of the program, which is directed toward a profession that’s really upscaling and requires multiple skill sets,” he said, noting that it encompasses “electrical theory acoustics, audio engineering, computer and Internet technology, and optics [lighting], which need integration. It’s a heavy dose of computers, intelligent systems and connected systems.”
The motivation behind the ATE program, at its core, is the need for versatile employees.
“Today, you need to know much more than just how to work the soundboard or another single discipline,” Hovis said. “You can see this has happened in a number of fields since the Internet has advanced electronics into areas that were not part of the economy 15-to-20 years ago.”
And now the two colleges “can work collaboratively on something that would have been too expensive to work on individually,” he said, “due to cost of equipment and faculty resources.”
That point is key, said Schwartz.
“We met with NSF and found that we could offer the same classes at CCC and HCC,” he said. “So, if we have low enrollment at one school, students can take the course at the other, while we share equipment and get more opportunities to collaborate.”
Daniel Mori, theater production supervisor at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre
at Montgomery Community College, is on the advisory board for the theater programs at both colleges and offered another take on today’s market.
“The hole that we see is that, at two- and four-year schools, faculty are taught to train budding actors and designers,” Mori said. “So, you’ll see designers who come up with great organic lighting designs, for instance, but they don’t understand why the 17 lights can’t be plugged into three outlets. So, their practical implementation is on the art, not the science.”
What programs like ATE and a similar program that was recently established at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Va., do is “facilitate the implementation of the creative vision, but in a market where there is a desperate need for these types of workers,” said Mori, “not only in Central Maryland, but in the very active D.C. market.”

People Skills
While the program’s aim is to train a technical crew for the Baltimore-Washington region, there is also the element of acquiring soft skills, Mori said, like handling a crisis and “interacting in a professional manner” with other crew members and talent.
Also know, he added, that the D.C. market is unique, “in that we have a large amount of producing houses that create content, as well as the traveling shows that come through venues” like The National Theatre or the Kennedy Center [in D.C.], and Baltimore Center Stage and The Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric, in Baltimore. “The techs need to interact well with the touring shows, too.”
On that note, Rick Noble, director of production with Baltimore Center Stage, commented that some students from CCC soon will be coming to tour the theater and meet members of the production staff, noting that the venue is one of about 20 local businesses and organizations to offer students training opportunities that may lead to employment.
Noble also finds that not only are many theaters struggling to find mid-level technical talent, “but that issue is felt on the national level as well.”
And while students can opt for a more à la carte approach, the opportunity to get a full plate of experiences and make contacts is what the ATE program is all about.
“It’s the old adage about certain types of engineers being very good at what they do, but not as much with a variety of people,” said Schwartz. “When you’re working on a musical tour, for instance, you are working with a diverse group, and you need to operate with a reasonable amount of tact and a sense of humor.”
That combination can help a newly-trained tech “go a long way” in the business, he said.

It’s Back to the Future for Columbia Festival of the Arts

 

It’s back to the future this summer for the Columbia Festival of the Arts (CFA), as the nonprofit arts organization celebrates its 30th anniversary and salutes Columbia’s 50th birthday with a lineup of free and ticketed events and performances.
According to David Phillips, the CFA’s new executive director, the return to the Festival’s roots as an annual summer arts celebration was an easy decision.
“The community looks forward to starting their summer each year with the Columbia Festival of the Arts and our eclectic mix of international, national, regional and local talent,” he said. “This year promises to be the best Festival ever. We’re pulling out all the stops to salute Columbia’s 50th.”

The Kickoff
The 2017 summer Festival begins with the return of the iconic and popular LakeFest Free Weekend on June 16, 17 and 18. Headlining the weekend is the United Kingdom’s Architects of Air: Katena Luminarium, a soaring, 35-foot-high, lighted inflatable sculpture that has been wowing audiences worldwide. Festival-goers will enter the sculpture on foot and take a walk on the wild side through a surreal world, touring an array of visually stunning interiors.
Also returning to LakeFest is the Festival’s acclaimed Invitational Fine Arts & Crafts Show, featuring more than 60 artisans from around the region, displaying and selling original work including ceramics, painting, jewelry, mixed media, photography and more. New to the three-day free weekend will be the Taste of Columbia food festival, sponsored by Whole Foods Market and Howard On Tap, a beer pavilion sponsored by Clyde’s, of Columbia.
Throughout the opening weekend on the LakeStage, music lovers will hear live performances from the region’s top bands, including the Cynthia Marie Trio, Columbia Concert Band, Donegal Xpress, Elikeh, the Columbia Jazz Band, Nelly’s Echo, Laney Jones and the Spirits, the United States Navy Band Cruisers, Junkyard Saints, the Glenelg Jazz Ensemble and many more.
For many patrons, the LakeFest weekend is family fun time. There will be lots of activities just for the kids, including arts and crafts activities, presented in partnership with KidzArt Howard County. Children will explore the visual arts through activities in 45-minute sessions led by the staff of KidzArt.

Sounds of N’awlins
Following the LakeFest Free Weekend, the soaring falsetto sounds of Aaron Neville, the legendary ambassador of New Orleans Rhythm and Blues, will ring out in a concert at the Jim Rouse Theatre.
The Aaron Neville Duo concert on Sunday, June 18, kicks off seven days of ticketed events that offer something for everyone. For film aficionados, Sundance Shorts on Tour, the Sundance Film Festival’s acclaimed showcase of juried short films, is back again; also returning is the Sprout Film Festival, presented in partnership with The Arc of Howard County and Autism Howard County. It will feature films created by, for and about people with special needs.
For those who enjoy theatrical story-telling in a visually stunning multi-media experience, the Festival is presenting Manual Cinema: “The End of TV.” A Chicago-based performance collective, Manual Cinema uses a creative blend of handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques and innovative sound and music to create immersive visual stories for stage and screen. The New York Times’ Ben Brantley said, “This Chicago troupe is conjuring phantasms to die for ….”
“The End of TV” is a brand-new show, debuting at this year’s Festival, and tells the story of Detroit though the eyes of three women: a factory worker, a filmmaker and a talk show host. This engagement of the Manual Cinema is made possible through the Arts CONNECT program of the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Back for More
Back by popular demand this year is the Stoop Storytelling Series, a story-sharing event giving seven local people seven minutes each to tell a true, personal tale on a shared theme in front of a live audience. Since its founding in 2006, The Stoop has featured the stories of close to 1,000 Baltimoreans, guided by its motto that “Everyone has a story. What’s yours?”
As an exciting prelude to this year’s summer events in June, the Festival presented a concert on April 1 by iconic folk singer Judy Collins to a sold-out crowd at the Rouse Theatre.
Tickets are on sale now to the 2017 Columbia Festival of the Arts. Visit www.columbiafestival.org or call 410-715-3044 for more information.

Howard County Plans Behavioral Health Integration

 

Howard County has begun a series of public meetings to discuss strategies for behavioral health integration, exploring ways to connect and integrate mental health and substance abuse services. The meetings, which three of which were held in March and with one more set for April (see below), are being hosted by a workgroup composed of members from the Howard County Health Department and the Howard County Mental Health Advisory (HCMHA), with the Board of Health, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Advisory Board, the Mental Health Authority Board and various nonprofit organizations that operate in the county.
At the conclusion of the meetings, the workgroup will provide Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman with recommendations on an integration model.
The meetings mark the first formal step in forming a plan to meet the growing need for behavioral health services in Howard County, said Carl DeLorenzo, the county’s director of policy and programs.
“The county has taken a number of practical steps to integrate over the past few years, such as co-chairing workgroups and co-locating offices,” DeLorenzo said. “The workgroup’s task is to formally integrate our systems and develop a governance structure.”
By “systems,” DeLorenzo means the Core Service Agency (CSA), which oversees mental health; and the Local Addictions Authority (LAA), which oversees substance use disorders.

It’s Important
Systems integration is important from a service delivery standpoint, because research continues to show co-occurrence of mental health and substance use illnesses in individuals, DeLorenzo said. “The goal is to develop a systems integration model that achieves better health, increases care quality and reduces care costs for the individual.”
The workgroup is referring to this three-pronged goal as the “Triple Aim.” On a state level, Maryland began integrating its systems in 2013, and the Maryland General Assembly continues to monitor local jurisdictions’ efforts to follow suit.
Joan Webb Scornaienchi, executive director of HC DrugFree and chair of the Howard County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Advisory Board, said both entities she represents fully support integrating substance use disorder services and mental health services. “However,” she said, “we don’t yet know exactly what that integration will look like for Howard County.”
In numerous ways, HC DrugFree has been providing integrated behavioral health services for years, because substance use and mental health challenges, far too often, go hand-in-hand, said Scornaienchi.
“In our programs and through HC DrugFree resources, we routinely include topics that concern how to help youth and adults cope with stress; the dangers of self-medicating with legal or illegal drugs instead of receiving proper mental health treatment; and as youth tell us in focus groups, how to address the desire by many people in today’s busy world to escape for a while and just feel numb.”

Focused Agenda
The focus of the workgroup is twofold, said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County health officer: to select and recommend a behavioral health integration model for Howard County and to develop that model’s governance structure.
Rossman listed the following items as issues that will be discussed in the public meetings: rationale for integration, functions of the local authorities, the integration spectrum, integration options, which option best supports the desired functions, and model selection and governance structure.
To summarize, DeLorenzo said the group will discuss how integration can improve individuals’ access to care and quality of care received.
“We will analyze the work our local systems are currently doing and how merging those systems can improve outcomes for individuals,” he said. “We will review existing integration models, and fit our desired functions into them to determine which model best supports the principles we are trying to achieve.”
The group’s guiding principles include, among others, population health, disease prevention and health promotion — patient-centered and measurement/evidence-based, DeLorenzo said.

Integration Timeline
Currently, the LAA and the HCMHA are separate agencies that collaborate on common business and already work together to address identified behavioral health needs, said HCMHA Director Madeline Morey.
“The LAA is part of the health department, a state agency, and the HCMHA is a quasi-public entity known as the CSA, and is established in county code,” Morey said. “The HCMHA is currently working on its strategic plan as well, which will help inform the process underway for integration.”
In 2013, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a report providing Maryland jurisdictions with a model for integrating their mental health and substance abuse services. The state of Maryland has encouraged localities to move toward this integration, and it owes the legislature a report on the status of integration by November 2017.
Howard County is prepared to integrate these services, said Scornaienchi. “Integration of services is the way of the future, and counties across Maryland have moved or are moving in that direction,” she said. “We in Howard County knew this was coming for several years. We have watched other counties integrate, and we have been preparing.”

The last of four public meetings to discuss strategies for behavioral health integration is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Health Department, 8930 Stanford Boulevard, Barton Room, Columbia. For more information, contact Carl DeLorenzo at 410-313-2172 or email cdelorenzo@howardcountymd.gov.

Q&A With DARS Managing Partner Mike Davis

Mike Davis has been active in the Howard County legal community, and the community in general, since 1982. The senior partner at Columbia-based Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny (DARS), he addresses the complexities of estate planning and wealth management. He works with DARS’s Estate Planning and Probate Practice Group to assist clients as they seek to protect their interests, considering the changes both in clients’ needs, and in federal and state laws.

Davis creates plans to leave a legacy that reflect his clients’ values. He handles the sensitive issues that are inherent in the discipline, and has enabled thousands of clients in the Howard County area to plan for their business succession, create effective advance medical directives, establish wills and trusts and create long-term care plans.

He has been professionally acknowledged for his acumen, earning the AV (the highest rating) from Martindale-Hubbell; being named as a Super Lawyer from 2011–17; being named as one of Maryland’s Legal Elite by SmartCEO; and receiving the Leadership Legacy Award from Leadership Howard County.
Yet, when asked what his avocation really is, Davis says, “Columbia,” and backs that sentiment by serving many area organizations. They include the Howard Community College Education Foundation, First Maryland Disability Trust and the Howard County Estate Planning Council, among others.
Davis earned his undergraduate degree from Penn State University in 1977 and his law degree from The George Washington University’s National Law Center in 1981.

What’s your take on the progress of the Downtown Columbia Plan?

No one is more impatient than I am. On that point, know that the building where our office is located is still the newest office building occupied in Downtown Columbia — and it opened in 2001. There have only been four office buildings built in the Downtown since 1988. Some are coming online soon, but none of the new ones are finished yet.

The low-density housing between the ring road around The Mall in Columbia and Gov. Warfield Parkway was supposed to be the site of more office space, but The Rouse Co. converted that to housing when they developed Columbia Gateway Business Park. When Rouse wanted to build more low-density residential on the Crescent behind Merriweather Post Pavilion, the county put a stop to it.

Then came a five- or six-year process of creating the new downtown plan, plus another several years before a shovel hit the ground. So, in short, until you see it around here, it’s hard to believe it. It’s been a long time in coming, but maybe now we’ll get a taste of what a real downtown can be.

What were your thoughts on what needed to happen with Downtown when the master plan was first discussed, during the charrette?

One thing that was missing was a shared vision of what we were trying to accomplish. There was much back-and-forth about what Jim Rouse would want, and that was nuts. People were sticking to ideas Rouse articulated in the 1960s, not his ideas that would have evolved over time.

For instance, Rouse was asked in a 1987 video interview for Columbia’s 20th Birthday about what Columbia’s population level might reach by 2007, some 20 years later. Rouse said Columbia would not be just 100,000 [population], but would grow to between 300,000 and 500,000 residents. Of course, we never grew to that size, but we could.  Since he died in 1996, we don’t know what he would have thought of the debate swirling around what he would do in 2010. My bet is that he would chuckle and then say something like, “Think no small thoughts; make no small plans.”

One need that hasn’t been addressed in Downtown Columbia is for mass transportation. What needs to be done?

At least two things have to happen: We need to complete the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line from Downtown Columbia to Silver Spring. That’s in the works, and I think it’ll be up by 2020, or soon thereafter.

However, the real excitement will be in creating some kind of connectivity between Downtown Columbia and Columbia Gateway Business Park, then extending that connection, by rail, to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Baltimore and Washington. Gateway is larger than Downtown; from an acreage standpoint, Downtown involves 390 acres and Gateway encompasses about 884 acres. It has also just been named as an Innovation District. If the landowners can get together and work with the county and the community to rezone it to create a mix of office, retail and residential spaces in a walkable environment, we’ll have a winner.
Then, by connecting Gateway to Downtown with a BRT system, both the Downtown and Gateway can grow together into a truly dynamic city, while leaving most of Howard County much as it is today.

The arts community in Downtown is a differentiator for Columbia in the Corridor marketplace. What are your thoughts on recent developments?

Howard County has a rich tradition in the arts. What is exciting now is the Downtown Arts and Culture Commission now owns Merriweather and will be a source of support for other arts efforts in the community. The Columbia Festival of the Arts has a proven track record for finding and booking great performers. The Howard County Arts Council, hopefully, will be moving to the Downtown sometime in the next few years. We have the Inner Arbor Trust that has built the Chrysalis for smaller stages; and, we have Toby Orenstein and all that she can bring to our performing arts community.

Add in the Columbia Pro Cantare, the Columbia Chorus, Rep Stage at HCC and so many other local arts organizations, and it adds up to something really remarkable in Central Maryland — a true artists’ community that is already thriving. If we can harness just a bit of that energy, Columbia will, indeed, be unique in the Corridor.

What are your thoughts on the updates at Merriweather and the completion of the Chrysalis, the first phase of the Inner Arbor project in Symphony Woods?

I’m rooting strongly for Merriweather to succeed as a community venue. As it grows, I’d like to see more diverse offerings, such as a multi-night engagement of “Riverdance,” like they have at Wolf Trap. The shows that have been held in recent years have catered to the younger crowd.

As for Symphony Woods, the Inner Arbor Trust has an aggressive plan for more attractions. If they come to fruition, OK.  I just hope it can live up to the advance billing, because if it doesn’t, we’ll have a lime green elephant in the midst of our redevelopment.

What’s your take on the degree of giving by the business and residential communities to nonprofits?

I’d like to see the locals give more to local charities. From my daily work, I know they can. There was a study commissioned about 10 years ago by The Columbia Foundation that revealed that there are many [individuals and businesses] in Howard County who could give generously, but relatively little was directed to the nonprofit community.

Unfortunately, that situation hasn’t changed much. The Howard Hospital Foundation does the best and Howard Community College Education Foundation does pretty well, but that success is not the norm here. So, while there are exceptions, I don’t believe that local philanthropy is a strong value yet in Howard County.

 

What’s noteworthy to you about Session ’17?

The End-of-Life Options Act. Save that topic for a later discussion, like when the bill actually passes (laughing).

What do you consider to have been the biggest challenge in your career?

When I moved to Columbia at the end of 1981 I knew no one, other than a few attorneys with whom I had spoken about setting up my own law firm straight out of law school. Learning how to market myself confidently to others when I had little professional self-confidence was extremely difficult.

What do you think are your greatest triumphs?

I won some great trials earlier in my career. I have been a part of some incredible political campaigns, such as Chuck Ecker’s and Allan Kittleman’s campaigns, that most people thought were hopeless, but they won. And, I have played a role in founding and building some wonderful professional and civic organizations through the years.

But my greatest triumphs were the two honors that my wife, Joanne, and I shared together; we were awarded honorary degrees from Howard Community College in 2007 and the Leadership Howard County Legacy Award in 2012.

What were your plans for DARS when you founded the firm? Did you think it would grow to 15 attorneys?

With my own individual general practice no longer viable, I decided to emphasize estate planning. However, I had many clients who needed other kinds of legal assistance. Since one of my original visions in starting my practice was to provide legal services to the Howard County market so that people didn’t have to go to Baltimore or Washington, I needed other like-minded attorneys to join me so that we could serve all of our clients’ needs.

When Susan Rapaport and Paul Skalny agreed to merge with me and Jeff Agnor, we were well on the way to fulfilling that vision. The growth since that merger in 2003 is based on both the growing complexity of the law and the growth in the number of our clients.

 

Do you think the level of accomplishment, and the egos, of many Columbia residents hold up progress?

Somehow collaboration and compromise have become dirty words. Additionally, people often look for some kind of conspiracy when public officials don’t “listen” to their petitions. Instead of taking the time to understand positions of our public officials, the naysayers look to assign some kind of negative motivation.
The result often is a polarized community where there are only winner and losers. No one really wins when arguments devolve to this level of discourse.

Biz Roundup

I.M.P. Signs 40-Year Lease to Operate Merriweather
As Columbia’s Merriweather Post Pavilion is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, the nonprofit that acquired the venue last fall, has inked a 40-year lease with long-time promoter I.M.P.
In 2004, Howard County tapped I.M.P., the Bethesda-based company that owns the 9:30 Club, in Washington, D.C., to take over operations of Merriweather. Each year since, I.M.P. has made improvements, ranging from adding fanciful art to improving the food options to environmental sustainability. After the improvements, Rolling Stone magazine recognized the Pavilion as being among the best amphitheaters in the nation.
Today, I.M.P. is three years into a five-year, $55 million renovation plan. Already complete is the new box office, concessions, restrooms, stage expansion (to a 62-foot grid height, 82-foot-wide Brazilian Redwood floor, with 48-foot spinning turntable insert enabling five-minute set-changes), lighting and nearly 15,000 square feet of dressing rooms and backstage amenities.
The new backstage is designed to resemble a motel, complete with a pool, including a smaller private pool for the ever-increasing needs of touring artists’ for family time. Numerous rooms, lobby and lounging areas, plus multiple side-stage private viewing platforms, are also part of the upgrades.

Schuh Announces $5M Transfer to Avoid Teacher Furloughs
Continuing with his commitment to ensuring a stronger educational system in Anne Arundel County, County Executive Steve Schuh has announced a $5 million plan to keep Anne Arundel County Public School’s (AACPS) health care benefits fund solvent, avoiding possible teacher furloughs between now and June.
“As we work with the school system and the state of Maryland to address the structural deficit in AACPS’ health care benefits fund, this investment will ensure the fund can keep paying claims and ensure the AACPS can avoid teacher furloughs during the current fiscal year, which ends July 1,” said Schuh. “We committed last June to doing what we could to assist the school system if needed, and this is the next piece in a multi-step plan to ensure we can fix the school health care funding crisis once and for all.”
“We knew a year ago that restoring structural stability to our health care fund would be a complex process,” Board of Education President Stacy Korbelak said. “We did not get here on our own, nor can we fix this issue alone. In addition to our successful efforts to renegotiate our contract with our insurance provider, we need and value the persistent collaboration between the school system, our unions, the county executive, and the county council to ensure a healthy self-insured fund going forward.”
Last year, Schuh and the school system requested — and the Maryland State Department of Education and the county council approved — a plan to invest $10 million in non-recurring funds in fiscal 2017 to help ensure the school system’s health care fund remained solvent.
The plan also involved the county and AACPS agreeing to treat various one-time costs designated outside Maryland’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Requirement, a practice routinely used by other jurisdictions around the state. The Maryland State Board of Education approved Anne Arundel County’s MOE waiver in April 2016, and the county council approved the plan in its final budget adoption in June 2016.
The county and AACPS are working with the state to enact a multi-year plan to address the health care fund crisis in the fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019 budgets. The county executive’s $5 million fund transfer legislation is expected to be submitted to the county council in May.

Reed Cordish Among Senior White House Staff
Before taking office, President Donald Trump named Reed Cordish as assistant to the president for intragovernmental and technology initiatives. Cordish is a principal and partner of The Cordish Companies, the international real estate development and entertainment company that owns Maryland Live! Casino.
He is also president of Entertainment Consulting International, a national entertainment and restaurant operating company he co-founded. During Trump’s transition period, Cordish directed the Agency Beachhead teams for the president-elect.
In his current position, Cordish is responsible for presidential initiatives that require multi-agency collaboration. In addition, he will focus on technological innovation and modernization. He has been tasked with cooperating with Chris Liddell, who leads the Strategic Development Group that focuses on priority projects, to form and oversee a series of high impact task forces.
“I am humbled by the role and excited to work with the incredible people within the West Wing and the agencies to effect change,” Cordish said.

Merkle Cited at Adobe Summit, Subsidiary Recognized by IBM
Columbia-based Merkle, a technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, has been awarded the Adobe 2016 Emerging Partner of the Year, Americas. This honor was recently presented to Merkle during Partner Day at the Adobe Summit, in Las Vegas.
As an Adobe Global Alliance Partner with an industry vertical approach and specialized status in Adobe Campaign, Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Analytics, Merkle enables brands to turn their Adobe Marketing Cloud investments into precisely-tailored customer experiences.
Merkle recently launched the Merkle Innovation Cloud (MIC), a rapid prototyping environment that brings to life user experiences on the Adobe Marketing Cloud, targeted with Merkle people-based data.
In addition, Merkle announced that Comet Global Consulting, a Merkle company, has been recognized as the Outstanding Marketing Business Partner of the Year. The award was presented to Comet at the IBM Amplify 2017 conference at MGM Grand, also in Las Vegas. As an IBM partner since 2009, Comet Global Consulting was recognized for driving customer value from IBM’s marketing technologies.

Kittleman Announces FY 2018
Capital Budget
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has announced two important projects to be included in his proposed fiscal 2018 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget.
At a press conference in the Columbia Gateway Business Park, Kittleman outlined plans to create the Howard County Innovation Center in the county-owned Gateway Building. He also announced plans to create a Community Resources Campus to further consolidate human services.
Under Kittleman’s plan, the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE), which houses 24 startup companies, will relocate to the Gateway Building, which is home to the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA). HCEDA operates the MCE, now located six miles away in a facility isolated from other businesses and amenities.
Last month, Kittleman announced his plan to transform the 920-acre Gateway Business Park in the heart of Columbia into an Innovation District over the next decade. Relocating the MCE to Gateway is one of the first tangible steps in establishing the district, he said.
Kittleman’s second announcement involved moving four community-service- based agencies out of the Gateway Building to a new Community Resources Campus four miles away off Patuxent Woods Drive, accessible through public transportation.

Anne Arundel County Reaches
All-Time Jobs Record
According to recent data made available by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Anne Arundel County employers reported 270,103 jobs in the third quarter of 2016, an all-time high job count. Of that total, 223,844 were in the private sector (all industries), and 46,259 jobs were counted within the government sector. Compared to the third quarter of 2015, the overall number of jobs in Anne Arundel County is up by 7,636.
“Our tax and regulatory reforms continue to help create jobs and prosperity in our county,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh. “As we put together our next budget, we remain committed to enacting policies that will build upon this progress.”
The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program covers the quarterly count of employment and wages as reported by employers and covers 98% of U.S. jobs. The report showed that top sectors to add jobs include Trade/Transportation/Utilities (1,791), Professional & Business Services (1,696) and Education & Health Services (1,669).
At the height of the economic downturn in 2009, Anne Arundel County dropped to a low point of 226,404, a decrease of more than 7,500 jobs from the previous year. The county recovered from, and added to, the 2008 level when it hit 239,839 jobs in 2012. Since then, Anne Arundel County’s jobs number has averaged 2.9% growth per year.

Arundel P&Z Officer Tom to Retire
County Executive Steve Schuh has announced the retirement of long-time Anne Arundel County Planning and Zoning Officer Larry Tom. Tom has been Planning and Zoning officer since May 2007. During his time in office, he oversaw the preparation of the 2009 General Development Plan and worked with the county council to implement comprehensive rezoning legislation in 2011.
Other accomplishments during his tenure include the 2009 and 2016 updates of the Odenton Town Center Master Plan, and working with the county council to pass significant legislation to improve the county’s zoning code and subdivision regulations.
Since his re-appointment by Schuh in 2014, Tom has helped implement a series of land use reforms. These reforms include shifts in personnel between the Planning and Zoning and Inspections and Permits departments to increase efficiency and the implementation of the county’s Expedited Review Program.
Prior to his service with the county, Tom served as chief of community development for the city of Annapolis for nearly seven years, and also served as the senior project manager for facilities design and construction at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

Improvements Planned for Route 29 Pedestrian Bridge in Columbia
On March 8, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced county plans for improvements to the Route 29 pedestrian bridge linking East and West Columbia. The project will incorporate a geodesic spiral tube for a unique visual element and also will address safety issues, Kittleman said, including improved, upgraded lighting and a fiber-optic connection to monitoring cameras for improved public safety.
“While these improvements will assist in the short term, my administration will continue to work with Friends of Bridge Columbia, state officials and the community to evaluate long-term options to improve connections between downtown and Oakland Mills,” Kittleman said.
The Howard Hughes Corp. (HHC) will contribute $500,000 to the project, which is expected to cost a little more than $1 million. Work will commence this fall and should be complete by the spring of 2018.
“Connection is going to be a key theme of Columbia [redevelopment] as a whole,” said Greg Fitchitt, HHC vice president, development. “With this pathway we connect people to wellness at the hospital and to education at the community college, and recreation at Blandair Park and people to their community. With this design, it really will be transforming what is today kind of an eyesore into an icon.”

Colfax to Acquire Siemens Turbomachinery Equipment
GmbH for €195M
Annapolis Junction-based Colfax Corp., a global manufacturer of gas- and fluid-handling and fabrication technology products and services, has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Siemens Turbomachinery Equipment GmbH (STE) from Siemens AG for a cash consideration of approximately €195 million.
STE, an innovator in the international turbomachinery business, develops, produces and distributes single-stage compressors and small steam turbines for environmental and industrial applications. The acquisition will be integrated into Colfax’s Howden business platform, broadening Howden’s range of compression solutions and expanding its product offerings.
STE also diversifies Howden’s served end-markets and increases its presence in applications with attractive growth potential. For the fiscal year ended September 2016, STE had revenues of €146 million.
“Colfax, with its subsidiary, Howden, is the ideal purchaser to strengthen the business’s overall competitive position. The sale enables the business to successfully expand in its core business of compressor production for numerous applications, including small steam turbines and associated services,” said Christopher Rossi, CEO of the Dresser-Rand business, part of Siemens’ Power and Gas Division.

Historic Ellicott City’s River House Pizza to Open New Location
River House Pizza Co., a Historic Ellicott City wood-fired pizza company and outdoor courtyard dining restaurant, is set to open a second location in the Forest Green Shopping Center along Route 40 in Ellicott City this spring. The new location more than doubles its current kitchen and refrigeration space, offers plenty of room for company growth and provides its customers with some indoor seating.
The Courtyard Kitchen, River House Pizza’s 500-square-foot facility located in Historic Ellicott City’s Tonge Row, was originally intended to support off-site production at farmers markets, festivals and catering events. Soon, the location became a popular destination in its own right, offering on-site outdoor service on its large courtyard.
The Howard County Economic Development Authority provided Sowers with a $100,000 loan from the Catalyst Loan Fund to facilitate his expansion. Full repayment is scheduled in five years.

Columbia’s 50th Birthday Celebration Kicked Off at The Mall

The Mall in Columbia launched Columbia’s six-month 50th birthday celebration with great fanfare on Sunday, March 19. The opening ceremony featured brief remarks by elected officials and celebration organizers, while representatives of each of Columbia’s 10 villages participated in the pageantry celebrating this milestone anniversary for the community.
The Mistress of Ceremonies was Barb Nicklas, senior general manager of The Mall. Speakers and presenters included U.S. Congressmen Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, Howard County Council Vice Chair Calvin Ball, Howard County Council members Mary Kay Sigaty and Greg Fox, Maryland State Sen. Guy Guzzone, Maryland State Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, Columbia Association President Milton Matthews and Karen McManus, representing U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen.
The speakers cited Columbia’s many successes in the past 50 years: its public school system, natural environment, many amenities and continuing economic development, as witnessed by the revitalization of Downtown Columbia. Cummings, like the other speakers, praised Columbia for its values of openness and inclusion. In his remarks, he reminded the hundreds who had braved the cold that Columbia was the place he came to as a child to go swimming because he, as an African-American, was not welcome in the public pools in Baltimore. He received a standing ovation.
Before introducing the Young Columbians and students of the Columbia School of Theatrical Arts, who presented a rendition of “This Land Is My Land,” Sigaty praised Columbia residents for all they had given to realize founder Jim Rouse’s original expectations and vision of the city.
Entertainment for all ages continued all afternoon inside The Mall. Columbia officially opened on June 21, 1967, and has celebrated its birthday every year since. “Appreciating the Past. Imagining the Future” is the theme of the 27-week 50th birthday celebration. Community-wide events will be held weekly through Sept. 23.
For updated information and calendar of events, visit columbiamd50.com.

Howard’s Human Services Providers Coming Together Under One Roof

 

When nearly a dozen nonprofit organizations begin moving into 9770 Patuxent Woods Drive in Columbia this month, it will be the realization of a plan that began nearly two decades ago to create a Howard County nonprofit center to co-locate human services organizations under one roof.
The road to completion of this deal was long and winding, involved public and private entities, and included serious funding and commercial real estate challenges, said Joan Driessen, executive director of the Association of Community Services (ACS) of Howard County, who helped spearhead the effort.
“People have been talking about this in Howard County for 20 years,” said Driessen. “There was an earlier effort that almost had the doors open, but a financing piece fell through. The project picked up again about four years ago.
“Most of the human services in Howard County are provided by nonprofit organizations,” she said. “It’s a great model, efficient and effective. But agencies were spread all over the county, located in inexpensive or free space and often not near public transportation. It’s not always easy for the people who need our services to get to us.
“We knew that if we could co-locate our agencies in a place that was more accessible, that would be ideal,” said Driessen, “especially as our clients often interact with multiple providers.”

Moving In, Up
In mid-July 2016 the funding component fell into place, as Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman included $300,000 in his fiscal 2017 budget to cover the nonprofit center’s startup costs. That was in addition to a $2.4 million grant spread over 10 years to help defray lease payments.
Initial tenants at the nonprofit center include the Howard County Housing Commission, the master tenant; plus the Association of Community Services of Howard County; Bridges to Housing Stability; Camp Attaway; Compass Inc.; Heritage Housing Partners; HopeWorks Inc.; Howard County Autism Society; MakingChange; READY/Howard County EcoWorks; and United Way of Central Maryland.
Tenants are expected to begin moving into the 35,520-square-foot building this month. To date, 27,332 square feet has been leased to nonprofits. “We expect to have more tenants, making this a human services campus,” Driessen said.
In the end, creating a plan for the nonprofit center involved careful research and many partnerships.
“Through our nonprofit network we heard about a conference that focused on this topic, so we attended their boot camp and learned a lot about what we needed to do,” said Dreissen. “After that, we conducted a feasibility study, and that formed the basis for our plan to co-locate Howard County’s human services.”

Go With Abby
The Case Statement which Driessen helped create for the nonprofit center cited numerous advantages for a [multiple] location arrangement, including easier access to a “one-stop shop” for residents seeking services, greater coordination of service delivery among providers, increased collaboration among the providers and improved efficiency through shared services and space.
Another key, Driessen said, was engaging NAI KLNB commercial real estate broker Abby Glassberg to help identify a suitable property and help shepherd the complex deal through to completion.
“We met with many commercial real estate companies, and a number of them said you really need to talk with Abby Glassberg,” she said. “Abby identified about a dozen properties for us to consider, then we visited each and went down our checklist. The one we chose is truly ideal.” The property is located near Broken Land Parkway and Snowden River Parkway, convenient to a bus stop.
“Abby has been such an advocate every step of the way,” Driessen said. “Because she has done so much work with nonprofits in her career and personal life, Abby understands their needs — and they are very different from commercial enterprises. Without Abby’s dedication and determination, I am pretty sure there would be no nonprofit center.”

Carbo Was Key
The late Tom Carbo, who was executive director of the Howard County Housing Commission until his death last November, was another key resource in the nonprofit center project, Driessen said.
“Tom’s role in this was critical. We were not in a position to hold a lease of this size,” she said. “Tom was willing to step up and have the Housing Commission be our master tenant. Tom was a real linchpin, plus he provided the services of one of his project managers, Cynthia Newman-Lynch, to help me through this complicated process. We could never have done this without her.”
Kittleman has long been an advocate for the nonprofit center, as well.
“For two decades, Howard County’s nonprofit community has advocated for a centrally located, ‘one-stop’ facility to provide critical services for county residents,” he said. “Making this dream a reality was the result of the concerted efforts of Joan, Abby and other advocates in the public and private sectors. Howard County has always been a place that reaches out to help others, and this is the latest example of how we put our values into action.”
The center will include a significant amount of shared space, such as a conference room, a meeting room, training space, interview rooms, a computer room and more, in addition to a reception area, mailroom, Internet and phone service.
Howard County attorney Thomas Meachum, who was president of the ACS when the nonprofit co-location center became a reality, cited Driessen’s and Carbo’s efforts, “as well as those who supported the most recent phases of the project. The Horizon Foundation, Community Foundation and Kahlert Foundation all helped with startup costs.
“This was a great effort involving public and private sectors,” Meachum said, “with the goal to serve all constituencies efficiently and effectively.”

Al Cunniff is a writer and marketing consultant based in Baltimore. He can be reached at albert.cunniff@gmail.com.

Hogan Experiencing Smoother Ride During Session ’17

Gov. Larry Hogan may be having his most successful legislative session to date, succeeding with perhaps half of his largest package of fairly modest bills. The novice Republican governor has also been more sure-footed in dealing with the Democrat-dominated legislature, threatening to veto bills more than he did in his first two years.

Faced with a bleaker revenue picture, he has also bargained more successfully over budget issues, using his strong authority over spending to match the power of the Democratic majorities. The failure of Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare has also saved him from the huge loss of federal funding for Medicaid, forcing big cuts and loss of coverage for hundreds of thousands of citizens.

Democratic attempts to tie Hogan to Trump policies that are highly unpopular with Marylanders have also been at least partially successful. Last month, a Washington Post poll showed that Hogan’s approval rating had slipped 6 points to 65%, still a higher rating than the last three governors.

More troublesome, however, was the fact that 41% of registered voters said they would support him for a second term, and 37% preferred a Democrat. This has led to at least six prominent Democrats seriously exploring a race for governor next year.
If Congress approves proposals in Trump’s budget to cut funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, or chop other programs and staffing at many federal agencies, Hogan may have to face more budget and political problems later this year.

 

Defeat on Sick Leave
Hogan’s major defeat this session will likely come over the paid sick leave legislation that has passed both the House of Delegates and state Senate, but with different provisions that must be reconciled. Small-business groups, like the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Restaurant Association, among others, fought hard to make the bill more palatable.
Faced with broad public support that polls found for paid sick leave, Hogan proposed his own plan that provided sick leave benefits for employers of 50 or more people — which mostly offer sick days off already — and tax incentives for smaller firms. The House and Senate versions mandate the coverage for employers of 15 or more people, offering five to seven days a year off for full-time workers, and smaller amounts for part-time employees.
Hogan promised reporters at a mid-March press conference to veto the bills “immediately,” because they have the potential to kill thousands of jobs and “are disastrous for our economy.” The governor called the bills “partisan attempts to put points on the board and use them against me in the campaign” for his reelection next year.

If the Democratic leadership is able to pass the same version of paid sick leave by April 3, the legislators would force Hogan to act on the bill before the session ends on April 10.

 

Incentives for Some
Hogan’s sick leave bill never got serious consideration by lawmakers. It does not cover all small employers, only those which are “pass-through entities” such as sole proprietors, partnerships, Chapter S corporations and limited liability companies.

The Hogan bill does not offer incentives to small nonprofit corporations, small stock corporations or businesses that are losing money. And it does not offer tax breaks for business owners that make too much money — $200,000 for an individual or $250,000 for a couple.

Hogan’s tax incentives exempt the first $20,000 in income from Maryland taxes and potentially about $1,700 in tax breaks, according to a Hogan aide. This break would go even for small businesses that have long been offering paid sick leave to employees.

These tax breaks for pass-through entities proposed by Hogan were the top recommendation of the legislature’s Augustine Commission last year, Hogan’s aides have emphasized. The commission’s recommendation was an attempt to reduce Maryland’s high personal tax rates that make the state less competitive for business owners, and were unrelated to sick leave or employee benefits.

The tax incentives are estimated to cost the state $60 million a year in lost revenues.

The mandates in the House and Senate bill cost the state little but put an additional burden on employers who are not currently offering paid sick leave. Sen. Mac Middleton, the Senate Finance Committee chairman sponsoring the bill, pointed out that any employers offering more vacation or personal leave than the bills provide would already be in compliance and would not have to offer any additional benefits.

 

Fracking Ban
Hogan has been consistently pro-business in his policies. His sudden switch to support the ban on fracking, the underground hydraulic fracturing of rock formations to release natural gas, came as a surprise, particularly to his Republican allies in Western Maryland.

The Hogan administration had already proposed strict regulations to control the environmental hazards of the practice. With much larger deposits of natural gas in neighboring Pennsylvania and West Virginia, fracking was unlikely to happen any time soon in the mountains of far Western Maryland, where it would have been more expensive. A ban on fracking was also popular in statewide polls and even had support of some Republicans in the legislature.

Hogan said he also did not want to see a referendum on the issue, a referendum that would have energized the environmental groups that had made the ban a top priority this session.

 

School Board Change
The House of Delegates has already passed and sent to the Senate a compromise from the Howard County delegation that would change how Howard County school board members are selected.
In order to achieve geographic and potentially racial balance on the board of education, beginning next year five of the seven elected members would have to live in one of the five county council districts, but would still be elected at large, as would two members also elected at large who could reside anywhere in the county. There is also a student member on the board who is chosen by high school and middle school students, but the student cannot vote on many issues, including decisions on personnel, budget and school boundary lines.

A bill by Dels. Vanessa Atterbeary and Eric Ebersole to give the local school board power to fire the superintendent is apparently dead this session. Only the state school superintendent can fire a local superintendent, even though they are appointed by the local school board.

 

Race for State’s Attorney?
Howard County Deputy State’s Attorney Kim Yon Oldham is running for the top job with the endorsement of her boss, incumbent State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino, a Democrat, and Republican County Executive Allan Kittleman. Oldham is a Republican.

“I can’t think of anyone better qualified to be state’s attorney,” Broccolino said.  “If she were my opponent, I would vote for her.”
“Kim Oldham is exactly the type of home-grown, career prosecutor we need running the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office,” Kittleman said. “Her record in the courtroom is unmatched, and she has a reputation for being strong and fair.”
Broccolino was elected twice with no opposition in the general election, and he was about as non-political as a state’s attorney could be. He also has little sway in the Democratic Party, and it is hard to imagine that no Democratic lawyer will run for the job. Rich Gibson ran against Broccolino in the Democratic primary in 2014 and got 31% of the vote.

Kittleman’s Veto of Immigration Bill Sticks

The Howard County Council was unable to overturn County Executive Allan Kittleman’s (R) veto of CB-9, a controversial measure aimed at codifying protections for undocumented immigrants within the county. Council President Jon Weinstein (D-Dist. 1) and Councilman Greg Fox (R-Dist. 5) voted in opposition to the veto override vote.

“This bill would have sent a message loud and clear that we will not stand by while people in our community live in fear of having their lives torn apart,” said Council Member Jen Terrasa (D-Dist. 3).

“I’ve given this a lot of thought, and there could be a lot of good reasons to take this to referendum,” Fox said. “However, I think it’s time for us to put all the politics that this started with behind us.”

Weinstein said he had “made a commitment to work with the community and organizations on tangible actions to promote and support efforts to address the fear experienced by the immigrant community,” but cited his previous evaluation that the bill did little to practically allay any of those fears as his reason for voting against a veto override.

 

New Courthouse
In March, the council passed a 4-1 resolution to indicate its support for the financing and construction of a new courthouse. Council Member Mary Kay Sigaty (D-Dist. 4) cast the lone vote in opposition.

“This resolution, from my perspective, is a promise to go forward with P3 [a public-private partnership] financing structure,” she said. “I really am still quite uncertain that this P3 model will, in fact, work in relation to the other bonding that we need to do as a county.”

Sigaty said she would have preferred tabling the decision until the council had a chance to see the county executive’s proposed capital budget.

The council voted down a bill proposed by Kittleman that sought to restore some property rights to farmers who are limited in what they can do with their land under a state law mandating county-specific tier maps with different levels of residential development permitted for each tier.

Kittleman’s right-to-farm bill, however, received unanimous approval. The legislation makes plaintiffs responsible for legal fees associated with nuisance lawsuits against farmers in which a court determines the farming operation does not constitute a nuisance by law.

Consolidation
The council heard testimony in March related to the county’s plan for the $3.445 million purchase of a property on Mendenhall Lane.

According to Howard County Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Jim Irvin, the 50,000-square-foot building would facilitate the relocation of Board of Education maintenance operations currently housed in the Harriet Tubman Center, enabling the historic building to be transformed into a community center and museum focused on African-American history in the county.

The purchase also would enable relocation of the Fire Department’s Quarter Master Facility, the Police Department’s evidence storage and the DPW’s fleet management group from the Dorsey Building, which is scheduled for destruction to make way for a new county courthouse.

Irvin acknowledged that an additional cost of about $9 million would be necessary to renovate the Mendenhall building and install a more efficient air conditioning system.

Kathy Johnson, agriculture development manager for the Howard County Economic Development Authority, requested that the council endorse two Maryland Department of Commerce provisions of financing for two economic development projects.
The first, a $1 million Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF) loan, would enable out-of-state pre-packaged fresh dinner manufacturer Freshly to relocate to Howard County and hire at least 500 permanent full-time employees.

The second, a $500,000 MEDAAF loan, would assist Pepsi Beverages Co. with the costs associated with the purchase and installation of machinery, equipment and other improvements for a new 175,000-square-foot automated distribution facility in Columbia Gateway Business Park.

Finally, Howard County Office of Transportation Administrator Clive Graham sought the council’s approval for amendments pertaining to qualifications of the administrator, duties of the Office of Transportation, and general powers and duties of the Public Transportation Board.

“The duties of the administrator, office and board are very narrowly defined and focus only on transit,” Graham said. “The effect of this legislation would be to make it more comprehensive to consider bicycle and pedestrian transportation planning and road planning in addition to transit.”

 

Redistricting and Audit
The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) has announced a schedule for community forums on school attendance area adjustments (redistricting) and school boundary alternatives. The forums have been scheduled to allow time to incorporate suggestions for improvement of the upcoming elementary school attendance area adjustment process.
According to an HCPSS release, redistricting will be necessary to open new Elementary School No. 42, in Hanover, in August 2018. Additionally, school boundary adjustments at the elementary school level may be considered in other areas of Howard County.
The forums will be held on April 25, 7–9 p.m., at Wilde Lake High School; and on April 27, 7–9 p.m., at Howard High School.
At both forums, HCPSS staff will present the revised Policy 6010: School Attendance Areas, describe the attendance area adjustment process and schedule, and receive comments from community members about the attendance area adjustment process, as well as alternatives for addressing crowding and capacity.

In March, the County Auditor’s Office released the financial audit of the HCPSS requested by the county council last year. The financial audit studied the categories of Special Education Services, Health and Dental Fund and Legal Services.
County Auditor Craig Glendenning determined that detail records agreed to audited financial statements with only immaterial differences, but noted that HCPSS used the Instructional Textbooks and Supplies category to pay for a $300,000 special education consulting contract.

The audit further concluded that services provided under the consulting contract did not comply with the related contract.
Auditors also found an error in calculating the payment due to the Maryland State Department of Health that resulted in an underpayment of $103,488.

HCPSS Superintendent Renee Foose responded to auditors’ comments by pledging to monitor compliance with Financial Reporting Manuals for Maryland Public Schools and continuing to work with vendors to ensure successful completion of contracts that are underway.

Registration Opens for Howard Business Appreciation Week

Registration has opened for the 26th annual Business Appreciation Week, the Howard County Economic Development Authority’s (HCEDA) yearly initiative designed to connect business owners and entrepreneurs with resources in the county government. Businesses can schedule meetings with a team of ambassadors from the county government from April 24–28. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign-ups close on April 19.
In the past, companies have used these meetings to discuss the issues they are facing, talk about their recent success and build relationships with local officials. The direction of the conversations is ultimately up to the business owners themselves.
The HCEDA tries to tailor each meeting to the company’s specific needs. A business dealing with a zoning issue, for example, will likely get matched with an ambassador team that includes officials from the county zoning board. County officials met with roughly 100 businesses during Business Appreciation Week in 2016. The HCEDA is preparing for a similar number of companies this year.
“I encourage every business owner in the county to consider scheduling a meeting, particularly those whom we haven’t met before,” said HCEDA Chief Executive Larry Twele. “We want to take this opportunity to learn about your business, thank you for being a part of this community and hear about ways we can continue to make this a great place to be. We know that you have many choices as to where you locate your business, but we appreciate you selecting Howard County.”
Interested business owners can sign up for a meeting at https://howardbaw2017.eventbrite.com. For details, visit http://hceda.org/baw.

20th Annual Chocolate Ball Benefit Attracts 450 Revelers

The 20th annual Chocolate Ball, a benefit for The Arc of Howard County, attracted a crowd of 450 people to Turf Valley, where the ballroom shimmered with lights and featured towering vases of orange, yellow and white blossoms. The band, Oracle, kept people on their feet until midnight; the event generated $175,000 from sponsorships, ticket sales, the auction and the raffle.

The evening’s program included recognition of 10 people served by The Arc. Honored as The Achievers for their accomplishments were Bucky Buchanan, Robert Bussard, Hannah Saltzman, Richard Lowry, Dan Maletz, Janice Martin, Carlotta Martin, Geoff Savage, Bonnie Block and Cornell Smith.

Parr also thanked Chocolate Indulgence Sponsor BB&T for being a loyal supporter of The Arc. BB&T was represented by North Arundel Market President Jeff Armiger, who is a member of The Arc Board of Directors.

Extravagant desserts created by the area’s best chefs and caterers were showcased. A panel of celebrities judged the Best in Taste and Show, and attendees voted for the People’s Choice based on appearance. The Center for Hospitality & Culinary Studies at Howard Community College was awarded the Best in Taste and Show and the People’s Choice award. Fiona’s by the Cake Faerie came in second and Debi’s Cake Studio placed third.

Honorary Chairs were Deanna and Joseph Murray, Sr., who are long-time supporters of The Arc; Joseph Murray is a former president of The Arc’s board. Dozens of volunteers provided support for the annual benefit. The Master of Ceremonies was Howard Bank’s Dick Story.

Proceeds from the Chocolate Ball benefit The Arc of Howard County’s vocational and residential supports and services, respite care and other programs and services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information and photos of the event, visit www.archoward.org.

Maryland Launches Online Tool to Map State’s Defense Spending

The Maryland Department of Commerce has launched the Maryland Defense Network (MDN), an interactive online tool that maps defense spending in the state. Maryland is typically among the top 10 states in the nation for defense spending, ranking sixth for fiscal 2016.

“The defense sector is an important component of Maryland’s economy, with the DoD awarding more than $13.4 billion to Maryland companies in 2016 alone,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “The Maryland Defense Network is a valuable tool for defense contractors, companies interested in competing in the defense community — and for economic developers and policymakers — and helps our businesses stay in sync with evolving defense priorities.”

Created with input from regional focus groups, including economic development professionals, industry partners and defense contractors, the MDN is accessible through a secure website, Maryland
DefenseNetwork.org.

The project, funded through a grant from the DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment to the Maryland Department of Commerce, was developed in partnership with Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI).

Cliff-Hanger on School Board Soap Opera

What would a soap opera, even a bad soap opera, be without a cliff-hanger at the end?
That’s what’s offered in that tedious soap scripted by the Anne Arundel County delegates and senators.
The delegates, eight Democrats and seven Republicans, have managed to push their bill for a totally elected school board all the way through the House of Delegates, and now wait for action from a Senate committee.
The county senators have steered their bill for a hybrid board — seven elected members and three appointed by a commission — through the Senate, and it awaits action by the county delegates. It had a two-minute hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee late last month where an aide for Sen. Bryan Simonaire told the committee that he’s working on a compromise with the delegates.
This is the first time in memory that a bill providing for any sort of elected school board in Anne Arundel County has made it this far in the legislative process. But both bills are only halfway there. For anything to pass and be sent to the governor, somebody has to give.

‘Never Know Till
You Vote’
Del. Pam Beidle, chair of the House delegation who represents North County, expects the delegates to reject the Simonaire bill. “But you never know till you vote,” Beidle said.
Sen. John Astle, who chairs the senators and represents the Annapolis area, has been a consistent roadblock in the past to an elected board. Yet this year, he co-sponsored the Simonaire hybrid bill, which he has said he prefers. But he also sponsored a Senate version of the House bill for a fully elected board. This usually means a senator supports a bill. He told Beidle he did it as a courtesy.
What does Astle say about the situation? “We’ll see how the delegates vote,” he said, a solid noncommittal.
What may be in play for Astle, the longest serving legislator in Anne Arundel County, is that he has said he will run for mayor of Annapolis later in the year, where he is expected to face a primary opponent. It might not look good for a Democrat who wants to be mayor of the state capital to oppose a democratically-elected school board, but Astle has never been a conventional politician.
By midnight on April 10, when the legislature adjourns for the year, we’ll know how the cliff-hanger turns out. Or not, if they choose to put up the “To be continued” sign.

Running for Council
Now only 11 months from the filing deadline for all state and county offices next year, serious candidates have started to emerge and begun to file.
“There’s a unified effort to get Democratic women to run for every open seat on the county council,” said Beidle, who served two terms on the council before being elected to the House of Delegates in 2006.
Because Anne Arundel County has a two-term limit on the council, four of its seven members will be leaving. There are currently no women on the council.
Democrat Allison Pickard is running for council in District 2, the Glen Burnie area now represented by Republican John Grasso. She filed March 24.
Democrat Debbie Ritchie, a retired VA nurse who served on the county board of education, is running for council District 3, the Pasadena area and south now represented by Republican Derek Fink. She filed March 9.
Democrat Lisa Rodvien, a teacher and a lawyer, is running for council District 6, the Annapolis and Crownsville area now represented by Democrat Chris Trumbauer.
Beidle said there also likely will be a woman Democrat running for county executive. Republican Steve Schuh has already raised $1.4 million for his reelection bid.
As for Beidle, she’s giving up her insurance business after 38 years, and will likely be running for a fourth term. For the moment, she’s preoccupied with the end of the legislative session, where she chairs the subcommittee on motor vehicle laws and transportation.

A New Republican
At least one of the Democrats hoping to get reelected to the Anne Arundel Council, Pete Smith, will face a Republican challenger in District 1, which includes Brooklyn Park, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and Jessup.
Kim McCoy Burns, currently chief of staff to Secretary Kelly Schulz at the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, held a fundraiser last month.
“I’m sick and tired of paying all the property taxes in Anne Arundel County and not really seeing anything I could touch,” Burns said. “This is about representing a community that has been notoriously underserved over the last four years.”
Burns only became a Republican last year. In the early 1990s she chaired the Democratic Central Committee in Anne Arundel County. Her father is former Democratic Delegate Dennis McCoy, and she worked with her father as a lobbyist in an Annapolis. That’s where she met and married Republican Delegate Michael Burns. Kim Burns also served as president of Maryland Business for Responsive Government.
She believes local government is “not about party politics.”
Smith “didn’t have a particularly strong showing last time,” Burns said. “There’s no reason for him to return.”
Smith won by only 51%, edging a poorly funded Republican, Bill Heine, by only 300 votes out of almost 20,000 cast.
Smith said, “My record speaks for itself,” noting the Jessup Elementary School that will be replaced with a new building and George Cromwell Elementary, near the BWI Business District, that will be revitalized.
“Nothing moves very quickly” in county government, he said. He’s also worked on commercial revitalization and helping small businesses with zoning issues.
Smith has at least one big fan in Beidle, who represented the district on the council. “I love Pete Smith” and his work in the community, Beidle said. “I think Pete Smith is just the right person to represent that district.”

Walker, Plaster for House
Only one of the four term-limited council members has announced future political plans. Councilmember Jerry Walker said last month he will run for House of Delegates in District 33, which currently has three Republican delegates, Mike Malone, Tony McConkey and Sid Saab.
Dr. Mark Plaster, who put a lot of time and money running against Congressman John Sarbanes, has lowered his sights a little. Last month, he filed to run for delegate in District 30A, the area of Annapolis now represented by House Speaker Michael Busch and Del. Herb McMillan.

Pivot Point: What to Do When the Market Demands Adaptation

The federal marketplace is adapting to the new administration’s changing policies. Budgets are shifting, with some agencies closing operations and others expanding. Forward-thinking government contractors have anticipated these changes and are positioning themselves as problem-solvers to the remaining decision-makers — and therefore improving their win probability on future contracts.
A business pivot example is the recent move by Raytheon, the maker of the Tomahawk cruise missile, to aggressively move into the cybersecurity business with a series of strategic acquisitions, including a $1.7 billion purchase of a controlling stake in Websense Inc. The resulting new business unit, Forcepoint, is focused on the highly competitive, but fragmented, internal and external cyberthreat market.
Tom Kennedy, CEO of Raytheon, was interviewed in The Wall Street Journal about this diversification and said, “We continued to evolve our capabilities in cyber and wound up developing some unique defense-grade cyber solutions. What we didn’t have was access to market channels. Websense had an ‘in’ with small and medium-size enterprises and very large enterprises, which Raytheon didn’t. It would take 10 to 15 years to rebuild that market structure.”
He continued with, “Websense also sold into the federal government, but didn’t have strong relationships there. By having access to [our] customer relationships, it helped cross-sell that way.”
However, most contracting firms do not engage in adapting as quickly and, instead, sit in the wait-and-see spectator mode instead of aggressively stepping onto the playing field. And, of course, most firms do not have millions of dollars to make strategic acquisitions.
Part of the issue in making a quick pivot is that some businesspeople perceive any change with distaste or even mistrust. They may see diversification as dilution of focus or adaptation as weakness. These negative assumptions keep many businesses from moving forward in times of transition.
Large businesses are often at a disadvantage (billion-dollar strategic acquisitions notwithstanding) because of the inherent challenges of getting multiple layers of decision-makers to agree on any decisions regarding change of targets, services, products or process; small businesses, conversely, have a huge advantage because of immediate decision-making ability and the speed with which change can be implemented.
As a result, this agile business model can serve small business very well in this fluid federal contracting environment.
Companies that adapt quickly to pivot with purpose and communicate their changes constructively will see more doors opening and ultimately more contracts won in the federal marketplace. This purposeful change in diversifying with new customers, providing new services or products and building new business relationships with whom to team, all incorporating appropriate consistent decision-maker messaging, can build a clear roadmap to success.

Gloria Larkin is founder and CEO of TargetGov, in Linthicum. Email glorialarkin@targetgov.com, visit www.targetgov.com or call toll-free at 866-579-1346 for more information.

Arts at the Heart of the New Town

 

We officially celebrate Columbia’s birthday on the summer solstice, June 21, marking the day in 1967 the Wilde Lake dam was dedicated in a small ceremony.
The more formal unveiling of the new town actually occurred at a gala celebration three weeks later. On July 14, as Josh Olsen described it in his biography of Columbia founder Jim Rouse, a parade of cars brought the invited VIPs to the Town Center plaza. The crowd, in tuxedos and gowns, then made its way to the first performance of the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) in its new summer home at Merriweather Post Pavilion, one of the first buildings Rouse had commissioned.
Vice President Hubert Humphrey was on hand to do the honors, as was Marjorie Merriweather Post, the wealthy socialite and arts patron for whom the venue is named. There were congressmen and ambassadors in the audience. (Post’s family built the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, now owned by Donald Trump.)
Before the orchestra could hit its first note, a thunderous downpour began, leaving the audience traipsing back through muddy paths to the tentless plaza. Even so, the nationally known music critic of the New York Times, Harold Schonberg, proclaimed the pavilion “an architectural and acoustical success. … The shed is exceptionally handsome, with pleasing proportions, clean lines and an unobtrusive kind of finish that fits perfectly into the landscape.”
It was a review that brought the first national acclaim to architect Frank Gehry, he would recall years later, long after his work became world-renowned. And the review was but part of the effusive national media attention lavished on Columbia in its early years.
The event and the pavilion placed the performing arts at the heart of Columbia. For the next 50 years, Merriweather would bring hundreds of thousands of people to Columbia for music of every genre, though classical quickly took a backseat to a parade of pop artists from rock, country and folk. For many people in the region, it is their only experience of Columbia, except for the mall and the big box stores on the town’s periphery.
Merriweather brought crowds, traffic, parking hassles and, depending on the group, drugs and booming noise into the night. For some of Columbia’s youth, it was a first job, and for many years now, the site of high school graduations.
Now in its 50th year, the Pavilion of Music, as the planners dubbed it, has given its name to Merriweather District in the long-delayed completion of Columbia’s downtown, an arts venue at its urban core and in its central park — Symphony Woods.

Rouse and the Arts
As Gehry told Olsen in an interview, Jim Rouse was not very sophisticated when it came to the arts and architecture. “I didn’t think his taste was very good. It was penny loafer-loafer and tweed-coat. He was a God-fearing man who didn’t have much of an art education.”
But Rouse, a leader of the Baltimore business community, knew that arts and culture were an essential element of city life, and in Columbia he was building “a real city — not just a better suburb.”
As we’ve seen repeatedly in previous essays, Rouse and his chief planners paid close attention to almost every detail of community life — stores and churches, bike paths and pools, schools and libraries, hospitals and colleges. The arts were no different, as witnessed by the range of topics in the Rouse correspondence files at the Columbia Archives.
There are letters and memos of meetings, not just about the National Symphony — and the Baltimore Symphony as well, which spent a few summers at Merriweather after the NSO retreated to Wolf Trap in Virginia.
There were explorations of funding with foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Hirshhorn family was pursued for its modern art collection before they finally donated it to the Smithsonian. Washington’s Corcoran School for the Arts explored setting up a campus in Columbia. A major push for funding to create the New City Ballet, a professional touring group, never succeeded, exemplifying a nagging problem for the arts in general, even for established organizations.
Internal memos went back and forth debating the visual arts center in Long Reach. What is more important, they argued, providing a space for professional artists or allowing residents to create art themselves?
It was an argument that played out over many venues — attending performances versus giving performances, viewing the arts versus creating your own art.
Jim Rouse and Wallace Hamilton, his director of institutional planning, were ready and willing to meet with most anyone who could possibly enhance the cultural presence in the planned community.
Land in Town Center near Merriweather was set aside for a professional theater. Olney Theatre and the Oregon Ridge Dinner Theatre were in competition; the more low-brow Garland Dinner Theatre won out.
Jim Rouse maintained a persistent personal interest in the presence of performing arts in the community. But the experience of owning a performance venue like Merriweather was at turns exhilarating for the level of performers it brought to the new town and frustrating for the headaches it produced. It was never a success as a concert hall for classical music, but when the rock bands arrived, it drew great crowds of the counterculture — long hair, tie-dyed shirts and all.
One of the most notorious concerts was the July 1970 appearance by The Who. As one clipping from a local paper recounted it: “The group’s one night stand was swamped by an estimated 20,000 youths. After more than 11,000 tickets were sold, several thousand youths were admitted free when it appeared they might storm the Pavilion’s fences. Only the night before, a much smaller crowd for another rock concert produced a fight resulting in numerous minor injuries and five arrests. Police called for an end to rock concerts in Columbia.”
County Executive Omar Jones threatened to shut the place down, and Merriweather switched to tamer music groups, like The Doobie Brothers.
In the early 1970s, Jim Rouse scrawled a note in his signature green felt tip pen to a young Mike Spear, who eventually would become CEO of the Rouse Co. (and would die in 1990 in Boston with his wife and daughter in the crash of a plane he was piloting). Rouse was complaining about the variety of offerings at the Painters Mill Music Fair in Owings Mills — Milton Berle, the Temptations, Angela Lansbury.
“Mike, if Painter’s Mill can do this, what the hell is wrong with us? (Nederlander?),” Rouse asked, referring to the New York firm that handled bookings and day-to-day operations at Merriweather.
It reflected the many challenges over the years for the pavilion as the performers and the audience changed.
Having lived in town since 1973, fighting the concert crowds on a humid summer evening has never appealed to me. But as news editor of the Columbia Flier and Howard County Times in the 1980s, I did pay attention to it as a venue for police activity. There were echoes of Merriweather’s early years in the July 1985 headline “Invasion of the Deadheads,” chronicling the return of the Grateful Dead. Fans slept outdoors, mall sales were up, and there were only two arrests, it reported. “There were no arrests for possession of the drugs that were widely available.”
While the developer continued to fret over arts in the new town, the men and women who were attracted by the early promise of a planned community and its educated populace created cultural and arts institutions of their own — mainly the women. Many of them have come and gone, but some survive today.

Toby Orenstein
Toby Orenstein had been running a program teaching dramatics to children at the Burn Brae Dinner Theatre down Route 29 in Burtonsville after she moved to the area with her economist husband Hal Orenstein for his job in D.C. in 1959. A native New Yorker with a degree from Columbia University, she previously had taught dramatics in Harlem at P.S. 105 in a project set up by Eleanor Roosevelt.
In the early ’70s, she needed to find another location. “A lot of the students were from Columbia,” she recalled, including children of Rouse Co. executives, among them the vice president for leasing at the malls, Larry Wolf. In a memo to other Rouse Co. executives in the archives, Wolf urged them to attend a performance by Toby’s group. They were hooked.
Orenstein  had other options for her relocation, but Jim Rouse persuaded her to move to the new town from Burn Brae, where she set up the Columbia School for the Theatrical Arts. When the 1976 U.S. bicentennial rolled around, Toby formed a troupe of the youngsters to perform patriotic songs, and called them The Young Columbians.
They would eventually be part of bicentennial programs in D.C. that were broadcast on TV.
In 1977, they performed at the White House for President Jimmy Carter’s second state dinner, for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada, father of the current PM. “In 30 minutes, they cause American History to unfold through classic songs and dances from colonial days to the present,” noted the official menu for the dinner. It was attended by Jim Rouse, an early supporter of Carter, recruited by Carter’s Maryland chairman, Sen. James Clark, Jr.
(The next year, July 21, 1978, in a whirl of dust, Carter’s Marine 1 helicopter would land on Clark’s Route 108 farm so that the president could attend a Willie Nelson concert at Merriweather.)
By coincidence, at a Young Columbians engagement in Williamsburg, Va., Toby learned that the Garland Dinner Theatre was for sale. She bought it in 1979, and it became Toby’s Dinner Theatre, putting on hundreds of musicals over the past 38 years.
“I’ve been very lucky, and I’ve been at the right place at the right time,” Toby said in a recent interview in her cramped little office that she shares with three other people.
Toby is now on at least her eighth iteration of The Young Columbians ensemble. They performed “This Is My Country” at the March 19 kickoff of Columbia’s 50th birthday celebration outside the mall.
Toby’s most famous former pupil is actor Edward Norton, the grandson of Jim Rouse. In a Howard Community College Cable Eight interview in 1996, he told Carolyn Kelemen he started with Toby when he was 5 or 6 years old — that would be in the mid-1970s. By the time he was 12 or 13, he had already appeared in a couple of plays at Toby’s, including “Pippin.”
He recalled Toby telling him, “You’re going to make a great director someday.”
Toby is planning for a reunion of The Young Columbians on June 24, and she expects 50 or 60 alumni to attend.
Still going strong at 80, with her husband Hal at her side, her dinner theater will  play a major role in the development of downtown Columbia.

Columbia Pro-Cantare
On Sunday afternoon, March 19, Frances Motyca Dawson slowly made her way to the podium at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ellicott City for what has been one of her passions over the 40 years of concerts given by the Columbia Pro-Cantare chorus, which she founded in 1977 — bringing the rich choral music of Eastern Europe to American audiences. For this performance she was conducting church music by Antonín Dvořák and Zoltán Kodály, accompanied by the church’s pipe organ.
Like many a classical music audience, the majority of the several hundred attendees had gray hair or no hair at all, as did the bulk of the 78-member chorus. Dawson proudly recalled one of Pro-Cantare’s best-attended concerts over the decades: the 2,000-plus people who packed Holy Rosary church in 1982 in East Baltimore. That concert of Polish music, performed at a Polish-language parish, came during the imposition of martial law in Poland after the labor unrest led by the Solidarity movement.
Like other groups that would form over the years, Dawson founded Pro-Cantare to provide opportunities both for Columbians to perform at a professional level for the auditioned but all-volunteer chorus and for residents of Columbia to experience that music. As she describes on the group’s website, she was “inspired by Jim Rouse’s vision of Columbia as a place where people could grow and find expression for their artistic talents.”
Dawson is also proud of the 1987 Hail Columbia concert celebrating Columbia’s 20th birthday that “featured Jim Rouse’s premiere as a performer, when he narrated Aaron Copland’s ‘A Lincoln Portrait.’”
Kathie Bowen, who served as Pro-Cantare’s executive director for 25 years and continues to sing as a soprano, recalled that this concert at Merriweather was sponsored by the Ryland Group, also celebrating its 20th year, as a benefit for local nonprofits. “Jim Rouse agreed [to do the performance] if Frances would coach him, which she did, and everything went off beautifully,” Bowen said.
On May 14, Columbia Pro-Cantare will reprise that concert with the Copland piece as well as the choral piece, Tom Benjamin’s “I Build a House,” in honor of Jim and Patty Rouse that opened the Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts at Wilde Lake High School in 1997.

HoCoPoLitSo
“In the early decades there was a lot of cross-fertilization between the [arts] groups,” Bowen recalled, such as the Candlelight Concert Society, founded by Norm and Nancy Winkler, which continues to bring in soloists and small groups of professional performers. “When I joined Columbia Pro-Cantare in 1981 and for several years afterwards, Ellen Kennedy was a member of the alto section,” Bowen said. Kennedy, wife of former Columbia Association President Pat Kennedy, had been a founder of the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, HoCoPoLitSo for short, that she initially ran out of her home next door to Jim and Patty Rouse.
Kennedy; Jean Moon, editor and general manager of the Columbia Flier; and actor Prudence Barry in 1974 founded the group, that is mostly as highbrow as its name suggests.
In April 1978, having written about Ellen Kennedy and her book on the Negritude Poets — translations of the African poets who wrote in French — I was called on to introduce German poet Vincent Kling, due to my smattering of high school and college Deutsch. I joked to the audience, based on my even smaller smattering of seminary Greek, that HoCoPoLitSo sounded to me like a Greek verb meaning “to read poetry on a Saturday night.”
Poetry readings are the group’s stock-in-trade, and Lord knows there are few venues outside colleges and universities where poets can offer their works. Lucille Clifton was one of their favorites, a three-fer if you will — an African-American woman poet who lived in Columbia and was Maryland’s poet laureate, among many other honors. She made dozens of appearances and eventually served on the HoCoPoLitSo board before her untimely death in 2010 at the age of 73.
Over the years, HoCoPoLitSo branched into fiction and drama, and even the occasional music performance, especially for its annual Irish night in February. Featured writers included big names like Isaac Bashevis Singer, Allen Ginsberg, Saul Bellow, Seamus Heaney, Edward Albee, Taylor Branch, Frank Conroy, Garrison Keillor and many lesser-knowns as well.
Last year, novelist Laura Lippman packed the Slayton House theater for a reading and discussion of her dark novel Wilde Lake, which drew on her years at Wilde Lake High School.

Columbia Festival of the Arts
Researching the arts scene in and around Columbia, the name Jean Moon consistently shows up. She was the editor of the Columbia Flier in its early years, and for decades the general manager of Patuxent Publishing, and then head of her own public relations firm. She is neither an artist nor a performer, but something even more valuable in the often cash-strapped world of the arts — a patron, an engaged spectator, an appreciator, a connoisseur and a promoter.
In the decades it was running as fat as 120 pages or more, the Columbia Flier was flush with arts coverage — not just film and theater, but music, dance, the visual arts — anything from Wolf Trap in Virginia to the Mason-Dixon line. That coverage reflected Jean Moon’s passion and interest.
This passion led to the founding of the Columbia Festival of the Arts as an outgrowth of the Hail Columbia experience. The brochure for its premiere program of events in 1989 said the festival “strives to bring affordable, family-oriented culture and art to Howard County.” But it was also a business initiative, designed to contribute to economic development.
Over the years it consistently has brought in quality performances, such as the return of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to Merriweather, including some performances with Pro-Cantare. For years, big-name acts and many national and international groups performed in a 10-day extravaganza.
When Moon chaired the festival board in the 1990s, she wrote: “I think the most extraordinary thing about the arts is the emotional connection we feel with one another when we share in wonderful performances.”
This was all in the context of a community that fully embraced the arts. “There was a lot of support for what other people were doing in the arts,” said John Harding, arts editor of the Flier and Patuxent Publishing for 26 years until 2011. “They were a very arts-supportive community,” Harding said. But “something happened to the community.”
In March 2009, Nichole Hickey, director of the festival, told the Flier, “We began to see the downturn in the economy last year, in terms of financial support, in particular from the corporate side.”
By that time, three of the top corporate contributors to the Columbia Festival were gone from the scene — the Rouse Co. had been sold to General Growth Properties for $12.6 billion in a move that contributed to GGP’s eventual bankruptcy, the Ryland Group had moved to California, and a much thinner Patuxent Publishing was owned by the Tribune Co., also in bankruptcy. The daily Baltimore Examiner I joined in 2006 shuttered around then, and many firms struggled to survive the Great Recession.
Coverage of the arts in the Flier was severely reduced, as newspapers were on the wane, losing the common marketplace for performances. Arts consumers also had changed their behavior, impacted by a downturn in the economy and with so many more options available over cable and the Internet.
Even in prosperous times, the arts are a fragile enterprise and struggle to survive. The Howard County Arts Council and its funding has a been a lifeline for many of the community groups, and the Community Foundation of Howard County (formerly the Columbia Foundation) has provided grants as well.
Before the Rouse Co. was sold, it had sought to revamp Merriweather as an outdoor venue into a much smaller theater. That led to the formation of the group Save Merriweather, including a proposal for the county to buy it.
As Jean Moon pointed out in a recent interview, “We don’t have enough density [in Columbia] to be a venue for major cultural entertainment,” especially with Baltimore and Washington so close. Serious patrons will travel far to sate their appetite, as the traffic jams at Merriweather attest.

An Anchor at the College
As Columbia has matured, a major anchor for all the arts in the not-so-new town has been Howard Community College.
The Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center opened in 2006, becoming a cultural hub for Columbia and Howard County. It combines performance and instruction in a sleek building built with a combination of private philanthropy and government funds.
Valerie Lash presides over it from an impressive corner office with windows and a balcony overlooking the quad that did not exist when she arrived at HCC in 1982, the longest relationship she’s ever had in her life, laughed the actress and drama instructor who has always operated with flair.
“Before this building, there was no facility designed and built for instruction in the arts,” said Lash, now the dean of arts and humanities at the college. The school had a commitment from the state for half the $22 million cost of the building and was hoping to get the county to cough up the other half. But then-County Executive Jim Robey “said he could only afford half of that.”
HCC began an aggressive campaign for local donors that included “salons with entertainment” Lash would organize. The Horowitzes, whose EVI Technology firm provided products and services to the National Security Agency and others, were the first million-dollar donors to the college. The unassuming couple were collectors of Russian art, and some of it is on permanent display at the college, along with a wonderful portrait of the two by faculty member James Adkins, better known in local circles for his finely detailed nudes.
HCC wound up “with benefactors for every room in the building,” Lash said. Names well-known to most of the business community are attached to even small spaces such as the mostly soundproof practice rooms for musicians and studio space for painters.
A paid staff handles programming and sales for the college’s two theaters, including the Smith Theater, originally a large lecture hall; and an intimate, wood-paneled recital hall, which hosted 48 concerts in the past year. “It’s a business as well,” Lash said. More than 50,000 patrons a year visit the facility for performances and exhibits by faculty, students and outside artists, including a Rouse Co. Foundation gallery with a rotating display of paintings, sculpture and crafts.
“I require all our faculty to be working artists, but they have to be good teachers too,” Lash said.
About the only unnamed space in Horowitz is the black box theater, home to a majority of the plays by Rep Stage, founded in 1993 by Lash. “It is still the only community college in the country with a professional union theater,” she said. With student productions being promoted as well, many people in Columbia and Howard County are not aware that professional-level stagecraft is offered there four or five times a year. The acting is often stellar, but the audiences for the Saturday matinees we attend are old and sparse.
There are few such venues in Columbia or Howard County, which is why the Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts was attached to Wilde Lake High School as it was being rebuilt, opening in 1997 with a performance by Pro-Cantare and a dance company, and including an appearance by Rouse’s grandson Edward Norton. With 739 seats, it is still the largest professional venue in the county, though it has serious limitations.
A committee that included Lash, Moon and Orenstein also looked into the use of the former Rouse Co. headquarters as a museum and arts center. The arts community was disappointed when it became a Whole Foods supermarket in 2014.
For Toby at least, something even better has emerged in the form of the proposal for the Columbia Cultural Arts Center. It will replace the current dinner theater, which is clearly showing signs of age, but also there will be a children’s theater, a parking garage, a visual arts center and more than 200 apartments, half of them affordable housing for artists. Orchard Development Corp., under chairman Earl Armiger, and the Howard County Housing Commission, under the late Tom Carbo, spearheaded the projects.
“I’ve been looking for my own space for a long time,” Toby said. “Howard Hughes [Corp.] has been very wonderful,” she said. “I would like this to happen while I’m still alive and kicking.”
The project will be next door to a revived and renovated Merriweather Post Pavilion, which just changed hands from the Howard Hughes Corp. to the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, a nonprofit headed by Ian Kennedy, one of the leaders of the Save Merriweather citizens movement started 14 years ago. A smaller outdoor amphitheater called the Chrysalis is under construction nearby.
The arts and entertainment venue that launched Columbia again will be at the heart of the planned community, surrounded by an urban core of apartments and office buildings that hopefully will not complain too much when the music gets loud.
And maybe, just maybe, there will even be some nightlife in Columbia as it lurches into urbanity, with music, song and dancing to go along with food and drink, a candle that has often sputtered in the suburban darkness of a garden for growing people.

Next month: Sports, Recreation and CA

Len Lazarick (Len@MarylandReporter.com) has lived and worked in Columbia as a journalist for more than 40 years. He is currently the editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com, a news website about state government and politics, and a political columnist for The Business Monthly.

And Then There Was …

Delegate Terri Hill, who went on to become an Ivy-League-educated plastic surgeon, asked me if I was going to write about dance teacher Anne Allen, with whom she danced when she was growing up in Columbia.
Former Business Monthly publisher Carole Pickett wondered if I would be discussing the Columbia Film Society. She’s a subscriber.
My copy editor mentioned I had neglected the African art museum, the institution created by Claude and Doris Ligon.
So many people, groups and organizations get left out in the limitations of time, fairly arbitrary but sensible limitations of space, and the need to create a narrative that keeps readers interested.
That has been true in most of these essays, but I feel it especially so in this piece about the arts. So many Columbians throughout these 50 years have started organizations to perform drama or song, so many have produced music and dance, so many have picked up brush and clay to shape the visual world.
Dance: Carolyn Kelemen, long-time dance writer at the Flier, does a much more complete run-down of arts organizations, particularly the many dance groups, in her “Sisterhood of the New City” blog. She chronicles both the home-grown and the visiting stars who graced the stage at Merriweather and Slayton House. Kelemen also is on top of the visual arts.
Slayton House: The Wilde Lake community center was not only Columbia’s first gathering place and home to its first worship services. It also has been a continuing home to community theater and dance classes, and its gallery displays the work of local artists.
Columbia Orchestra: Like Pro-Cantare, with whom it has partnered, the Columbia Orchestra began 40 years ago with volunteer musicians, and since 1999 has been under the musical direction of Jason Love, who won the American Prize for Orchestral Programming in 2013. Its audience numbered 11,000 last year, and it includes the Columbia Jazz Band and chamber concerts as well. The Jim Rouse Theatre is its most frequent venue.
Film: Begun in 1971 at Bryant Woods Elementary School, the Columbia Film Society has been going almost as long as Columbia itself, which has a mixed history on cinema. The Smith Theatre at HCC’s Horowitz Center is now the home for its series of nine independent and foreign films. It sold out its season this year.
The original Columbia cinema with three screens was briefly the home of independent movies beginning in 1999, but was eventually torn down for condominiums.
We are now left with two huge cineplexes — AMC Columbia next to the mall, and United Artists Snowden Square behind Home Depot. Both have 14 screens, comfortable stadium seating (reserved recliners at Snowden), and a wide array of food — but almost always the same mainstream films, with occasional live sports and opera.
Columbia’s only museum, the African Art Museum of Maryland, began in 1980. It stayed in town as it grew through 2011, building on the collection of the Ligons. It is now located in the Maple Lawn community south of Columbia.

Going Back to Georgia

Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. I’m not talking about the Georgia that lies south of the mid-Atlantic, down I-95. I’m talking about the Georgia that sits on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, with Russia to the north and Turkey to the south.
Archaeologists have found evidence there of a well-developed wine-making culture that dates as far back as the Neolithic period. If that’s the case, then why is it that Georgian wines don’t share a place in our minds along with other Old World wines? The answer is part geographical, part cultural and part political.
Many families make their own wine as part of the traditional Georgian feast, consisting of endless plates of food and generous pours of wine. During the many hours of eating and drinking, numerous sincere and heartfelt toasts are given. Wine has played a significant role in Georgian culture throughout its history and still does today.

A Little History
Georgia’s winemaking heritage goes back 8,000 years. The country claims to be the birthplace of wine, and the facts seem to prove it. Archaeologists not only unearthed fragments of clay vessels with wine deposits on them but also found remnants of vitis vinifera sativa, the grapes used to make wine. It is even thought that the word “wine” was derived from the ancient Georgian word “gvino.”
Geographically, Georgia is the crossroad between the East and the West in its location between Europe and Asia. Because of this, the country has been invaded many times by its neighbors to the east and west. Through it all, the importance of wine always remained strong.
Georgia was one of the world’s first countries to adopt Christianity. Legend has it that the Virgin Mary told St. Nino, in a dream, to go to Georgia carrying a cross made of grape vines. With this cross, she escaped the Romans and entered Georgia and began teaching Christianity. With the spread of Christianity and the association of wine with the blood of Christ, vineyards and winemaking in Georgia gained an even greater importance.
During the Soviet era, Georgian wines were very popular throughout the Union. In 1929, the Soviets began to take over Georgian wine companies, creating a monopoly on alcohol. Decades of attempts to manipulate and reform the industry by reducing the number of grape varieties used and the planting of hybrid varieties only resulted in a focus of quantity over quality.
In the 1980s a “dry” law was passed in the Soviet Union that nearly ruined the Georgian wine industry. The effects of this lasted into the early 1990s. The fall of the Soviet Union, the founding of the country’s first modern wine companies and some excellent harvests ushered in a new era of Georgian winemaking.

Georgian Wine Today
There are about 400 grape varieties in Georgia, with about 40 of those being used in commercial production. Two of the most important varieties are the white Rkatsiteli and the red Saperavi.
Rkatsiteli makes up nearly half of Georgia’s vineyards. It is hardy and easy to grow; as it ripens, it maintains high levels of acidity and sugar. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet and fortified wines.
Saperavi is the most widely planted red variety in Georgia. It is unusual in that it has red skins, red flesh and red juice. It makes deep red, inky and full-bodied wines with loads of texture. The grape shows characteristics of black berry fruit, chocolate and licorice with notes of earth, smoked meat, tobacco, savory spice and pepper. It is used to make rosé, dry, semi-sweet, sweet and fortified wines.
Among the many types of winemaking and storage pottery that are a crucial part of the country’s wine history, there is one that is uniquely Georgian, the qvevri. A qvevri is a very large terra-cotta pot that’s shaped like an egg. The inside is lined with beeswax to make it waterproof and buried up to the mouth in the ground.
The traditional Georgian qvevri winemaking process goes back many centuries and has changed very little since its start. The process starts with pressing the grapes in a press. The must and the grape skins, stalks and pips are poured into the qvevri, filling it to about 85%. During fermentation, the mixture is stirred four or five times a day. When fermentation has complete, the qvevri is topped off with an identical mixture, sealed and left to age for five-to-six months.
Well-made qvevri wines do not have a pronounced oxidized character that you might expect from a wine that has been sitting on its skins for six months. White wines have aromas of cooked fruits, honey, jasmine, herbs and floral notes.
Not all Georgian wines are made with this process. Many of the wines we are seeing in the market are made with modern production methods using traditional grape varieties.

A Few to Try
• 2014 Schuchmann, Rkatsiteli. Made in the modern style in stainless steel tanks. Aromas and flavors of apple, pear and peach. Medium bodied with a long, crisp finish. Enjoyable with anything from light salads to poultry or pork dishes. Priced around $12.
• 2013 Shalauri Cellars, Rkatsiteli. Produced in the traditional Qvevri method with six months of skin contact. Fruity aromas of ripe apple and orange peel blend with walnut and dried fruit flavors, complemented by firm tannins and a rich savory finish. Pairs well with grilled fish and creamy pasta dishes. Priced in the mid $20s.
• 2013 Teliani Valley, Mukuzani Saperavi. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak for nine months. Complex aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, anise and floral notes leading to hints of cherry and chocolate on the finish. Enjoy with grilled steaks and lamb chops as well as hard cheeses. Priced in the low teens.
With the weather getting warmer, there has never been a better time to try Georgian wines. New levels of investment in the Georgian wine industry can only mean that we will see more new and delicious wines from this country.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Cheers.

Sam Audia is a former advertising and marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry. He is a wine specialist at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits, in Annapolis, holds a Certification Diploma from the Sommelier Society of America and Intermediate and Advanced Certificates from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. He can be reached at sippingwithsam@verizon.net.

Your Spying Eyes

Despite the sheer wackiness of some people claiming that your microwave could be taking pictures of you (I’m more worried that it might call immigration if I nuke a burrito), there are privacy concerns with technology that aren’t always obvious.
And yes, I own a Samsung Smart TV — but it’s a great TV and I speak to it gently, so we’re OK.

Did you ever wonder how news reporters could focus on postings from someone’s Facebook page? Didn’t we all try to restrict access? But there they are, quoting posts and commenting on pictures (remember the news comments on Dylann Roof’s pictures of himself and the Confederate flag that showed up on the evening news after the Charleston, S.C., shootings?) And they’re not “friends.”

It turns out that Facebook, along with Twitter and Instagram, provides developers access to users’ feeds. This can be used to track trends and public events. That’s not all bad, since the American Red Cross used social media data to get information during Hurricane Sandy. Of course, companies also used it to track people’s comments on their products, something that strikes me as more intrusive.

This came to light after a lawsuit changed Facebook’s policies, which now say that developers cannot “use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance” — which means that in the past, they could. Lovely. They barred Geofeedia, the location-based analytics platform, among others, that had been feeding data to law enforcement that used it to track activists after the death of Freddie Gray, in Baltimore, and Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo.

Facebook will still cooperate with the police on a case-by-case basis to help solve specific crimes. Obviously, we all would be happy if they shared information when someone posts a selfie of their lighting up a police car, but blanket access will be restricted.
Up until now, developers were not asked what they did with your data, which could include your friend list, location, birthday, profile pictures, education, relationship status and political affiliation. That’s a lot of stuff to work with to help define who you are and what you’re doing, which is what prompted the original lawsuit that complained about the tracking of protestors. It’s enough to make you go back to writing letters.
Or maybe not. We all love our social media.

 

More Eyeballs
Intel, which has been making less money on its core chipmaking business, has bought Mobileye, an Israeli “self-driving technology” firm, for $15.3 billion. Rival chip merchants Qualcomm and Nvidia (best known, so far, for their video chips) have also invested heavily in creating driverless components and systems. The competition among suppliers and car manufacturers will continue to increase, since Goldman Sachs has projected that the market for driver assistance functions, as well as driverless cars, could increase 30-fold in the next decade.

Intel’s role could include cameras, in-car networking and mapping functions and cloud software to tie it all together.
And doesn’t anyone buy anything for a few million anymore? Does it always have to be billions? There’s too much money out there.

Another thought: Google has been working very deliberately to test driverless cars in stages, racking up miles carefully and with few incidents. The arrival of all sorts of competitors, some of which will want to be first in the game above all else, will no doubt set back the whole concept with a few widely publicized crashes and probable fatalities.

It’s probably better to work on assisted braking and lane-following technology first.

 

‘Can You Hear Me Now?’

A new variation on an old scam: A spam caller will ask a seemingly innocuous yes/no question, such as “Can you hear me?” or “Are you the homeowner who pays the utility bills?” —then they record the “yes” and use it to authorize charges on your phone or utility bill or credit card.
As always, just hang up. Being too polite to do so is not a good idea.

Ransomware Update
In February, Spanish police busted an international ring that was netting more than a million euros a year using ransomware. Ransomware, as you probably know, encrypts the contents of your hard drive and demands a payment to unencrypt it, usually using bitcoins or gift cards that cannot be traced. Eleven people from Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine were arrested, most in a money-laundering cell in Costa del Sol. The malware paraded as coming from the police and demanded paying a “fine” of 100 euros for viewing “illegal” websites.

Similar schemes in the U.S.-pretend to be from the FBI and usually demand $500, threatening to expose you for viewing porn. All are bogus, of course, but the encryption is real and usually impossible to break. The Spanish group also stole credit card numbers and info they used at Spanish ATMs.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately.

 

Cliff Feldwick is owner of Riverside Computing and does PC troubleshooting, data retrieval and network setups for small businesses, when not talking carefully to his appliances. He can be reached at 410-880-0171 or at cliff@feldwick.com. Older columns online at http://feldwick.com.

MEDA Announces HCEDA Among 2017 Award Winners

The Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) has announced the recipients of the 2017 MEDA Awards, which celebrate the people, projects and programs that are transforming lives by creating opportunities, inspiring innovation and enriching communities across the state — and the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) is among the winners.

MEDA will present its new Transformative Excellence Award to the HCEDA in recognition of its response to last summer’s Ellicott City flood. This award showcases economic development’s role and best practices during a crisis. During a period of approximately four months, the HCEDA provided an estimated 5,000 hours of work toward the recovery of the business district. The office was involved in the efforts to revitalize 75 businesses and get more than 450 people back to their place of work and livelihood.

In addition, the Small, Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Account-Video Lottery Terminal Fund (VLT), a program created by the Maryland Department of Commerce, has been selected to receive the Economic Development Program Award for its support of small business for minority and women business owners. The program uses gaming revenue as a lending source to the targeted demographic, which makes it the only loan program of its kind in the state. Another unique element is the ability to deviate from traditional credit underwriting and repayment structures. This program allows fund managers to underwrite and structure loans to match local conditions.

The Awards Banquet will be held May 1 during the 2017 MEDA Annual Conference in Cambridge, Md., at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay. The conference is slated for April 30 through May 2. Visit www.medamd.com for a full list of winners and to learn more.

Howard County Chamber of Commerce

The Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) hosted a successful, day-long Women in Government Contracting Leadership Forum on March 8. With more than 150 attendees, it was one of the largest gatherings of women in business in Howard County in the recent past.
The forum saluted female entrepreneurship and provided “how to” information about government procurement opportunities for small, local and minority businesses. Those who participated said it provided valuable information, skills and resources.
The forum was sponsored by the HCCC’s GovConnects program, which connects business leaders, government officials and top federal government contractors in Central Maryland. GovConnects participants dialogue with executive level attendees to cultivate new and existing relationships, while obtaining knowledge and exploring new business opportunities.

Legislative Attention
The HCCC also has been monitoring proposed legislation in Annapolis that may impact business. Two bills getting special attention are the Paid Leave and the Fair Scheduling proposals.
The House of Delegates approved HB001. It would require employers with 15 or more employees to give full-time and part-time workers one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours per calendar year; it also would allow the employee to carry a balance of unused leave into the following year, with the total not to exceed 80 hours. That bill will now be considered by the Maryland Senate (SB230). The HCCC has united with other business groups to express concerns about the legislation and its impact on businesses throughout the state.
Another bill getting attention has been called Fair Scheduling. Similar legislation was proposed last year and was received unfavorably. This year’s bills, HB1614 (SB1116) and HB1615 (SB1145), would require employers to post job schedules within certain timeframes. The Chamber is extremely concerned about the negative effects this bill would have on businesses, as it would limit employer flexibility and cause undue punitive damages.

Coming Up
On April 18, the HCCC will be hosting an informative breakfast meeting with Christian Hellie, the acting deputy associate commissioner for Acquisition and Grants at the Social Security Administration (SSA). As the principal procurement office for the SSA, Hellie will discuss its acquisition initiatives, including small business and social-economic procurement goals. The presentation will clarify contract management protocols and acquisition strategies.
And, if you are looking for a vacation, plan to join the Chamber on March 30 to learn more about the HCCC’s 2017 trip abroad. This year, it will be hosting a trip to Italy and include stops in visiting Amalfi, Pompeii and Rome, from Oct. 23–31.
The nine-day trip is open to everyone, but HCCC members will receive a discounted price. The Amalfi Coast is a combination of coastal mountains, dotted with picturesque towns and lush forests bordering the aqua Mediterranean Sea. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had the entire area declared a World Heritage Site in 1997.
More information can be found at www.howardchamber.com.

Raise a Glass, Raise a Scholarship at HCC’s Vino Scholastico

It was through his travels that Eric Stein, owner of Decanter Fine Wines, in Columbia, found himself at a wine tasting event benefitting an educational institution in Maryland.
Stein, who had been involved in a previous fundraising event at Howard Community College (HCC), liked the concept and brought the idea to the college, while putting his own spin on it. Committee members liked what they heard, and eleven years ago, Vino Scholastico was born.
Vino Scholastico, a distinctive wine tasting event that raises funds for HCC student scholarships, returns Friday, April 28, to the college’s campus and is expected to bring a crowd of 400. What began as a night of wine, catered food and music — drawing a modest crowd of 30 in its first year — has evolved during the last decade into a must-attend event, featuring fine wines, craft beers and spirits and a gourmet food selection provided by local and regional restaurants.
“What began as a very tiny event has grown to where we’ve raised more than $365,000 for financial scholarships,” said Stein, co-chair of Vino Scholastico. “The concept has remained the same, but it’s expanded in its offerings.”
Having an educational portion to the event is a must each year, he said.
The evening will start with a limited seating presentation by Ridgeback Wines of South Africa. Attendees will learn from wine enthusiasts as they share their secrets and passion behind their wine, enjoy select tastings and have opportunities to ask questions.
To follow, there’s an evening full of not just wine, but craft beers and spirits. The addition of beer and spirits in recent years has resulted in a broader audience.
“It was dominantly a wine event, then when craft beer and bourbon’s popularity upturned, we decided to expand our offerings,” Stein said. “We’ve tried to stay on trend on what’s being offered at the event.”
Food selection has also evolved. Last year, Vino Scholastico switched from catered offerings to a “taste of Howard County,” featuring local restaurants and engaging HCC’s culinary program, said Kari Ebeling, assistant director of development at HCC.
“It was very well received,” Ebeling said. “People absolutely loved it.”
This year’s event will feature local and regional restaurants including Baldwin’s Station, Glory Days, Grotto Pizza, Houlihan’s, Mango Grove, Ranazul, Seasons 52, Tino’s Italian Bistro and Whole Foods Market Columbia.
Brielle Ferguson, marketing specialist for Whole Foods Market Columbia, called Vino Scholastico the “perfect place” to showcase its menu. “We’ll be sampling some of our newest creations, such as our Two-Bite Skewers, Queso Crostinis, and Caramelized Pineapple Lettuce Wraps,” she said.
Those with a sweet tooth can get their hands on some tasty treats provided by HCC’s culinary program. Last year, culinary students made a tropical sculpture and 1,200 pieces of chocolate candy, said Chef David Milburn, assistant professor of baking and pastries at HCC. Milburn is still deciding what to present this year, but hinted at a cake and finger desserts. Wondering what to drink with your dish or dessert? No problem. Advising guests on what wine to pair with their food is something Matt Johnson, of Constantine Wines, enjoys most about Vino Scholastico.
“I always take a white wine from the Santorini region of Greece to pair with seafood — that’s what God intended,” he said. “It’s a great tip for me to share.”
Brandon Thornton, of The Country Vintner, will have two tables at the event. One will feature wine from Argentina and the other will feature offerings from around the world. He enjoys introducing guests to new wines and taking them out of their comfort zone.
“I enjoy giving people a chance to taste wines they may not be familiar with and broaden their wine knowledge,” he said. “It’s also just a lot of fun to meet new people and get a chance to taste some wines from other suppliers.”
Stein said Vino Scholastico is a great evening of entertainment and socializing over delicious food and drinks.
“I can’t think of too many places you can sample beverages and quality food at this cost,” he said.

Event Details
What: An evening of fine wines, craft beers and spirits featuring a taste of area restaurants and desserts by Howard Community College Culinary Program.
When: Friday, April 28
Where: Howard Community College Health Sciences Building lobby and main floor (HSB)
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia
Times: 6:30–10 p.m.: Vino Scholastico
6:30–7:30 p.m.: Featured Vineyard Tasting
7:30–10 p.m.: General Tasting
For more information or to purchase tickets, $50 for general tasting and $125 for the Vino Scholastico event, visit howardcc.edu/vino.

Business Briefs

New Shops & Restaurants Land at AIRMALL Maryland
AIRMALL at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is welcoming travelers this spring with a variety of new shops and restaurants, including local concepts DC-3 Hot Dog and Pen & Prose. The shops now open in the AIRMALL at BWI Marshall are as follows.
Brix & Vine in Concourse D offers an extensive selection of wines from around the world, served in a sophisticated setting. The menu offerings complement anything from a dry champagne to a buttery white to an oaky, full-bodied red.
DC-3 Hot Dog, the vintage hot dog shop in Concourse B, takes its design cues from the glory days of aviation. Styled like a classic DC-3 airliner, the eatery serves up all-beef or veggie hot dogs, with toppings. In addition to specialty, breakfast and corn dogs, DC-3 offers grab-and-go meals, chips and breakfast specialties ranging from muffins and pastries to fresh fruit and parfaits.
Pen & Prose, in the new D/E connector, presents elegant specialty gifts and souvenirs, including a wide selection of stationery, greeting cards, desktop accessories, ornate collectables, handbags and gifts.
Pie Five, a new addition to the main terminal food court, offers individual, handcrafted pizzas made-to-order with fresh ingredients in less than five minutes. Salads and breakfast strombolis round out the menu at this fast-casual eatery.

KeyW to Acquire Sotera Defense Solutions for $235M
The KeyW Holding Corp., of Hanover, announced that its wholly-owned operating company, The KeyW Corp., has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sotera Defense Solutions in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $235 million, inclusive of an expected $46 million net present value of acquired tax benefits. This transaction will augment the strengths of each company to create a leading pure-play products and solutions provider to the intelligence community (IC) and related customers with expected combined pro-forma revenue of approximately $535 million in 2017.
The transaction, approved by the boards of directors of both companies, has received the approval of the Sotera shareholders, and, subject to customary conditions, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017. Under the terms of the agreement, Sotera will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of The KeyW Corp. following the transaction.
Sotera Defense Solutions, formerly known as Global Defense Technology & Systems, is privately owned by funds managed by Ares Management. Sotera is a prime contractor on approximately 80% of its work and is expected to generate an estimated $225 million in revenue in calendar year 2017.

Long Reach Tennis Club Construction Underway With New Indoor Courts
Construction on the Long Reach Tennis Club, in Columbia, is underway with the new, state-of-the-art facility expected to open in Columbia by spring 2018. The club will feature six climate-controlled courts, with viewing areas and hard-court surfaces; cutting-edge lighting technology for enhanced visibility; locker rooms with showers; and will be the first Columbia Association (CA) tennis facility with on-site racket stringing service.
Long Reach Tennis Club will replace the Owen Brown Tennis Bubble, which is at the end of its useful life. The five indoor courts in Owen Brown will then be converted to outdoor courts after Long Reach Tennis Club opens, increasing the total number of CA tennis courts from 33 to 39.
The total number of CA tennis courts will include 10 indoor courts — six at Long Reach Tennis Club and four at Columbia Athletic Club; and 29 outdoor courts — six at The Racquet Club at Hobbit’s Glen, 12 at Owen Brown Tennis Club and 11 at Wilde Lake Tennis Club.

Tech Companies From Anne Arundel, Baltimore City Garner VOLT Loans
The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. (AAEDC) has announced that one Anne Arundel County-based technology company, with two others from Baltimore City, have been approved for VOLT Fund tech loans. Loan awards for SecuLore Solutions, of Odenton; Peer Aspect, a graduate of the Emerging Technology Center; and CourseArc, a member of Betamore, total $700,000.
SecuLore Solutions has combined public safety knowledge with deep cybersecurity expertise to produce Paladin, a patent-pending network appliance that monitors data between the firewall and external sources, visualizes the traffic and provides sophisticated and dynamic protection of 911 call centers.
“The VOLT loan represents a very timely opportunity to grow our company,” said SecuLore Solutions CEO Tim Lorello, whose company received $250,000 (Peer Aspect received a like amount and CourseArc received $200,000). “We have received a very strong and positive reception from public safety agencies for Paladin, our cybersecurity network appliance. VOLT will allow us to more rapidly expand the feature content and support being requested by our customers, allowing us to more rapidly grow revenues and provide Maryland jobs.”

Howard Bank to Open Branch in North Baltimore
Howard Bank, a locally-owned community bank serving the Greater Baltimore area, announced that it will open a branch in the Remington community of Baltimore City. The 2,000-square-foot branch is located at Seawall Development Co.’s Remington Row apartment community at 2700 Remington Avenue, and will tap into the rapidly growing market, which is undergoing a revival spurred by recent investment in restaurants, homes, apartments and businesses.
“We like the energy in Remington and its potential for growth,” said Mary Ann Scully, chairman, CEO and president of Howard Bank. “The market represents a diversity of age and income attracting teachers, entrepreneurs, artists and new businesses. We are proud to be working with Seawall and help in its transformation of Remington.” The bank expects the new branch to be opened for business in the early summer of 2017.
“Since its inception in 2005, Howard Bank has focused on being a community bank and has never wavered. They were the first lender to finance our Miller’s Court teacher housing project in 2008 in Remington, and they have stood by our side, believing in the neighborhood and the City of Baltimore every step of the way,” said Donald Manekin, founding member of Seawall Development, adding, “Howard Bank opening up a state-of-the-art branch in the heart of Remington personifies their original vision and meets the needs of the community.”

Angola Cables Selects
Ciena for MONET
Subsea Cable System Angola Cables, a dedicated wholesale carrier, has selected Hanover-based Ciena’s GeoMesh and Blue Planet solutions to support its new service launch on the MONET subsea cable.
This 10,556-kilometer route will provide more than 25 terabits per second of traffic on Angola Cables’ network between the U.S. and Latin America’s major business hub of São Paulo, Brazil. Angola Cables’ wholesale customers can utilize this additional connectivity to support surging bandwidth demands driven by on-demand applications such as over-the-top (OTT) video and cloud computing.

Broken Land Parkway
Paving Project Begins
A Howard County construction project to pave eastbound Broken Land Parkway between Route 29 and Guilford Road, and westbound Broken Land Parkway between Guilford Road and Snowden River Parkway, has begun. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by mid-May.
Milling operations will take place Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Flagging operations and signs will be in place to direct traffic as needed during construction hours. Motorists are advised to follow the message signs for updates regarding changes to construction hours. For questions or concerns about Capital Project H-2014, contact Lisa Brightwell, Public Works Customer Service, at 410-313-3440 or email publicworks@howardcountymd.gov.

Anchor Technologies
Relocates to Columbia
Cybersecurity consulting firm Anchor Technologies Inc. is opening its doors at its new headquarters at 6315 Hillside Court, in Columbia. Anchor started in Annapolis in 2002 and provides clients with both advisory assessment and technology integration consulting services. A heightened focus on cybersecurity in recent years has led to a sharp increase in demand for consulting work, and at 4,583 square feet, the new location offers ample office space and the facility supports a managed services operation center and a dedicated training room.
“The new space allows us more opportunities for cyber training classes, hosting MeetUps, vendor presentations and company events,” said Peter Dietrich, CEO of Anchor Technologies. “In addition, we have room for additional employees to manage BlueRing, our new small-business cybersecurity as a service offering.”

MBRG Resets Hogan
Luncheon for June 5
Maryland Business for Responsive Government has rescheduled the date of the 3rd Annual State of Business Address with Gov. Larry Hogan to Monday, June 5, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event still will be at the BWI Airport Marriott, in Linthicum.
For those with existing registrations, there is nothing further that they need to do; however, registration is once again open due to the additional time and capacity to add up to 100 additional attendees. For more information, visit www.mbrg.org/lunch-governor-hogan-2017.

The BWI Business
Partnership Moves Next Door
The BWI Business Partnership has moved its offices within the same BWI Business District complex, which abuts the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, which it has occupied for the past several years.
Its new address in Woodlands Park is 1306 Concourse Drive, Suite 215, in Linthicum Heights, Md. The zip code is 21090. The phone number and fax numbers also will remain the same: They are 410-859-1000 and 410-859-5917, respectively.

HMC Retains Maroon PR
Columbia-based Maroon PR has been retained by HMC Inc. to serve as its public relations agency of record. HMC, also based in Columbia, is a commercial custom millwork manufacturing firm that specializes in fabrication, foodservice design, specification and procurement, and assumes the role of general contractor and construction manager on many of its design-build projects.
HMC has provided services for some of the country’s largest retail brands, hospitals, universities and corporations, as well as the United States government. Public relations efforts will include executive positioning for HMC’s president and CEO, Kara DiPietro, who acquired the company from her father in 2015. The agency will also focus on generating brand awareness and disseminating the company’s non-traditional and unique story from expansion plans to high profile projects.

Dual Stop Decision Will Preserve Historic Laurel MARC Station
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration announced a solution to preserve the historic Laurel MARC Station and deliver a new Laurel Park MARC Station to serve new development in the area. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and CSX Transportation signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines how the agreement will deliver the new service without impacting the commute time for MARC customers or CSX Freight customers.
“This solution is a perfect example of what we can accomplish working together,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn. “CSX remained committed to finding a way to deliver for Marylanders, while Howard County continues to work closely with the state and the private sector to spur regional economic development.”
A partnership group, including representatives from MDOT, the MTA, CSX, the State Highway Administration, Howard and Anne Arundel counties, Prince George’s County, the City of Laurel and the Laurel Park Development team will continue to work together during the next year to finalize details on implementation of service and specific plans for the new Laurel Park Station.
As outlined in the memorandum, service at the Laurel MARC Station will maintain its current level of service and the Laurel Park MARC Station will have limited service with three morning trips southbound to Union Station and three evening trips northbound to Laurel Park. The additional stops are being made possible by eliminating one morning flag stop (5:11 a.m.) at the St. Denis Station and two flag stops (6:53 a.m. and 6:01 p.m.) at the Jessup MARC Station. These commuters will be able to take MARC from the Dorsey Station and Annapolis Junction MARC Station, which provide ample parking options.
“Secretary Rahn, County Executive Kittleman and CSX officials have truly delivered on their promise to preserve the Historic MARC Station for the citizens of Laurel,” said City Councilmember Edward Ricks.

LRH Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center Cited
The Laurel Regional Hospital (LRH) Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center has been named a Center of Excellence by Healogics, the largest provider of advanced wound care services in the United States. The center achieved Center of Excellence status after being named as a Center of Distinction for two consecutive years.
LRH is one of only four centers in Maryland, and the only one in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor, to receive the Center of Excellence distinction. Out of 334 eligible Healogics wound care centers, only 169 achieved Center of Excellence status nationally for care provided last year. The center achieved outstanding clinical outcomes for 24 consecutive months, exceeding the benchmarks required by Healogics for designation; the center’s care team achieved a 93% patient satisfaction rate, 94% healing rate and 21 median days to heal.

Dolby Cinema Redefines Big Screen Experience at AMC Columbia 14
Movie-goers at AMC Columbia 14 can now experience the next generation of premium large-format theaters with the opening of Dolby Cinema at AMC.
Dolby Cinema at AMC combines Dolby’s imaging and sound technologies with innovative seating. Guests of Dolby Cinema can expect brightness, contrast and color that more closely matches what the eye can see; sound that flows all around them, including overhead; and spacious, high-power, reserved recliners that pulsate with the action.
“Dolby Cinema at AMC is a completely captivating movie-watching experience that guests will not only enjoy, but seek out again and again,” said John McDonald, executive vice president, U.S. Operations, AMC.

COLA Launches Video Series for Lab, Allied Health Professionals
Columbia-based COLA, a national laboratory accreditor and an advocate for quality in laboratory medicine and patient care, has launched the first in an ongoing series of videos on topics of interest to laboratory personnel, as well as other health care professionals. The series, entitled “Dr. Daly Discusses …” is hosted by Dr. John Daly, the organization’s chief medical officer.
The videos, each less than five minutes in length, will be posted on the third Thursday of each month on www.LabTestingMatters.org, a website launched by COLA to foster a sense of community around laboratory medicine. Scheduled topics include patient confidentiality, patient and specimen misidentification, hand hygiene, liquid biopsy and tuberculosis.

Alaska Airlines Grows at BWI Marshall With Service to San Francisco
Alaska Airlines will begin new, transcontinental service between BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and San Francisco International Airport. The new seasonal service is scheduled to start on Oct. 16.
San Francisco will be the third new Alaska Airlines market for BWI Marshall in 2017: On March 16, the airline began service between Baltimore and San Diego, and on June 6, it will add service between Baltimore and Portland, Ore. Alaska Airlines first started service at BWI Marshall Airport in September 2014 with daily nonstop service to the airline’s hub in Seattle. Alaska added service between BWI Marshall Airport and Los Angeles in September 2015.

Artists’ Gallery Celebrates
Spring With ‘Flora’
Artists’ Gallery, on Main Street in Ellicott City, will usher in spring with an exhibition of paintings by Columbia artist, Diane Dunn. The April show, titled, “Flora,” will feature works in watercolor on traditional watercolor paper, watercolor on Yupo — a waterproof synthetic paper that does not absorb paint but allows it to float on the surface — and a series of acrylic mono prints. The show will run until April 30.
“The mostly floral theme for this show wasn’t planned, but evolved from some paintings I did after a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina last year,” said Dunn. “The wild rhododendrons in bloom were spectacular and, after painting them, I started seeing painting inspirations at Longwood Gardens and other locations, including my own backyard. The mono prints are not floral, but are based on organic plant forms.”

Columbia Festival of the Arts
Launches New Website
The 2017 Festival of the Arts has launched its new website, which showcases the LakeFest Free Weekend (June 16, 17 and 18) and all the ticketed events for the summer season.
Architects of Air Luminarium, a 35-foot-high illuminated sculpture, is guaranteed to thrill this year’s LakeFest attendees. Aaron Neville, the legendary New Orleans R&B singer, will kick off the ticketed events on June 18. Visit www.columbiafestival.org for more information.

Holliday, Eisner Exhibit at Kish Gallery
The Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House, 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia, has announce two special exhibits in the galleries for April and May. In celebration of Wilde Lake’s 50th birthday, Gail Holliday, known for her posters of Columbia landmarks and the former artist-in-residence for The Rouse Company, will exhibit original posters from the ’70s in the Lobby Gallery, titled “Portraying Columbia: Gail Holliday, The Early Years.”
In addition, Fern Eisner, who has been a photographer for more than 30 years and began her career as a photojournalist for the Baltimore Sun, will have an exhibit in the Bill White Room Gallery, “Then and Now,” which includes photographs of Wilde Lake scenes in the ’70s and the same scenes as they look today. Holiday’s exhibit will be on display through June 13; Eisner’s photos will be on display through May 6.

Champion Realty Celebrates 30th Year Serving Chesapeake Region
Champion Realty, launched in 1987 to serve residential and commercial buyers and sellers in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay region, is celebrating its 30-year anniversary with a series of events showcasing the company’s history and successes.
In January, Champion held a 30th Birthday Party in the same ballroom where the company was launched, which was attended by 200 Champion personnel — including 15 who have worked for the company since its first day. Industry executives flew in from around the country, a special video presented company history and vintage TV advertising and founder Chris Coile addressed the group by Skype from his home in Florida. Other celebrations are planned for May and September.

People in Business

Kittleman Announces Two Appointments
Howard County Allan Kittleman has announced two leadership appointments within county administration. Dean Hof has been selected as the new administrator for the Office of Purchasing; and Robert Phillips has been named administrator of the county’s central fleet operation. Hof joined Howard County government in October 2012 as a senior buyer; Phillips has worked for Anne Arundel County government in various capacities since 2004.

Jarrell Returns to Annapolis as
Its DPW Director
Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides has announced that David Jarrell will be returning to the city in the position of public works director. He was confirmed at the March 13 city council meeting.

Howard Bank Hires TD Bank Execs
Howard Bank has hired two TD Bank executives to help build its business in Anne Arundel County. They are Jay Baldwin, senior vice president and relationship manager team lead; and Marc Czosnowski, vice president and business banking relationship manager.
Baldwin has 30 years of banking experience in the Baltimore metropolitan area. He was vice president for TD Bank after stints with Commerce One Bank and M&T Bank. Czosnowski began his banking career at Provident Bank and has held positions at various regional institutions, including M&T Bank.

Howard Bank Names
Shipler Senior VP
Blaine Shipler has been hired as senior vice president and business banking team lead for Howard Bank, where he will be responsible for building and developing a team of relationship managers serving small business clients. Previously, he was a business banking team leader with PNC Bank.

Columbia Festival of the Arts
Adds Board Members
The Columbia Festival of the Arts is expanding its board of trustees with the addition of Anthony Cordo of Visit Howard County and Chimaobi Chijioke of BGE. Cordo has been expanding the partnership of tourism with the festival, while Chijioke has been sharing his business acumen with the festival’s nonprofit board.

Kudchadkar Cited by IOM
The Institute for Organization Management (IOM) has announced that Raj Kudchadkar, president and CEO of the Central Maryland Chamber of Commerce, has been awarded a State Partner Scholarship in partnership with the Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE). The scholarship is awarded to first-year Institute attendees who were chosen based on qualifications set by MACCE in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation program.

Crosby Adds Two to Growing Team
Jasmine McGee and Wallen Augustin have joined Annapolis-based Crosby Marketing Communications’ growing team of social media content creators. McGee will develop concepts and create copy and graphics for social and digital media programs; Augustin will focus on content management, analytics and social listening programs.

McGrath Confirmed to Run MES
The Maryland Senate unanimously confirmed Gov. Larry Hogan’s appointment of Roy McGrath as the new director of Maryland Environmental Service (MES). McGrath was a member of then governor-elect Hogan’s transition team, then served as his deputy chief of staff from 2014–16.

SECU’s Tynes Sr. Joins AACUC Hall
Donald Tynes, Sr., board chairman of SECU, has been inducted into the African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) Hall of Fame. Tynes has served on SECU’s board of directors since 1975, during which he was elected multiple terms as chairman, vice chairman and secretary.

Auger Joins ACS
Cheri Auger has joined the Association of Community Services (ACS) staff as the manager of its new Nonprofit Center. She comes to ACS after working for 10 years at the Horizon Foundation, carrying out a variety of duties in the financial, administrative and grantmaking areas.

Combs Named MUIH’s New President, CEO
Steven Combs has been appointed president and CEO for Maryland University of Integrative Health. Combs most recently served as executive vice president and provost of Drury University in Springfield, Mo.; he previously served in leadership positions at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and Hawaii Pacific University.

The Columbia Bank Adds Becker
Joshua Becker has been named senior commercial relationship manager in The Columbia Bank’s Commercial Banking Department. He will be responsible for developing and managing commercial relationships throughout Maryland. Becker comes to the bank from BB&T, where he held the position of business service officer IV.

Sheppard Joins CFAAC
Jennifer Sheppard has joined the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County as philanthropic services manager. She will assist donors, giving circle members, nonprofits and other community partners in a variety of ways, helps support the board of trustees, and staffs of the Governance and Nominating Committee for CFAAC.

Chesapeake Conservancy Hires New Grants Specialist
The Chesapeake Conservancy announced that Jared Schultz has joined the organization as a grants specialist. Schultz will manage the Annapolis-based nonprofit’s grants program and cultivate relationships with foundation and corporate funders. Previously, Schultz was a lecturer at both Rowan and Philadelphia Universities.

Williams Recognized by Commonwealth Financial Network
Gary Williams, an independent financial adviser affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network, and founder and CEO of Williams Asset Management, in Columbia, has been invited to Commonwealth’s 2017 Chairman’s Retreat. This distinction recognizes the most successful financial advisers based on a ranking of annual production among Commonwealth’s network of 1,710 financial advisers.

Smith Joins Wellness Within
Stephanie Smith, an Ellicott City hypnotherapist, is joining forces with Morrison Chiropractic and will work at its wellness center, Wellness Within. Smith worked for large pharmaceutical companies for the last 14 years, while studying the mind-body connection through yoga, Reiki, meditation and hypnosis.

LM Announces New Officers, Directors
Leadership Maryland (LM) has announced the election of its officers and its board of directors for the coming year. Re-elected to their official roles are Chair Eric Brotman, Brotman Financial Group; Vice Chair Memo Diriker, Salisbury University; Secretary Howard Freedlander; and Treasurer Jeanne Forrester Singer, The Law Offices of Jeanne Singer.
LM’s newly-elected directors are Pamela Ruff, Maryland Economic Development Association; and John Wasilisin, Maryland Technology Development Corp. In addition, Derryck Fletcher, The Y in Central Maryland; Sean Looney, Comcast; and Susan Simmons, Caroline County, have also joined the board as representatives of Maryland Leadership Workshops, which became a division of LM in January.
Kimberly Clark, Baltimore Development Corp.; Ranjit “Ron” Dhindsa, Hollingsworth LLP; and Bonnie Marie Green, The Patuxent Partnership, were re-elected as directors for second consecutive terms.

Winter Growth Adds Two to Board
Winter Growth, of Columbia, has added two new members to its board of directors. They are Michael Valazak, who is CFO of Miller Development, and a member of the Urban Land Institute and the D.C. Building Industry Association; and Barbara Bednarzik, who spent more than 20 years at Winter Growth. She now works for Jessica Rowe ElderCare Consulting.

Nonprofit News & Charitable Giving

Five Organizations Receive 2017 Audrey Robbins Collaboration Award
The Association of Community Services (ACS) is honoring the public-private collaboration that created the response and restoration efforts after the July 30, 2016, Howard County flood.
The 2017 ACS Audrey Robbins Collaboration Award recognizes the commitment of, and coordinated planning and execution by, the county’s elected officials, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and faith community. Representing the relationships fostered, alliances formed and team approach forged across dozens of organizations in response to the flood are the Office of the Howard County Executive, Howard County Council, Howard County Office of Emergency Management Command, the Ellicott City Partnership and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
For more information, visit www.acshoco.org.

HCAC Seeks Artists for Paint It! Ellicott City 2017
The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) is currently seeking artists to take part in Paint It! Ellicott City, an annual plein air paint-out sponsored by HCAC, Howard County Tourism, the Ellicott City Partnership and the Howard County Public School System.
This year’s paint-out will take place from July 7–9. Over the weekend, juried artists will set up their easels throughout Ellicott City’s historic district and “paint the town” as they vie for a minimum of $2,000 in total awards. Community artists are invited to join in as part of the Open Paint-Out taking place concurrently. The weekend also will include a quick draw competition.
On July 10, HCAC will host a special reception from 6–8 p.m. to celebrate the opening of an exhibit of the juried artists’ work at the Howard County Center for the Arts. The juried artists’ exhibit will run through Aug. 11.
The deadline for entries for the juried portion of Paint It! Ellicott City 2017 is April 28. Entry information is available at hocoarts.org. For more information, email info@hocoarts.org or call 410-313-2787.

New Timeline for Annapolis Library Project Unveiled
Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) officials announced an updated timeline for construction of the new Annapolis Regional Library. Demolition of the current facility will take place in March 2018 with the new building expected to be open in late 2019.
The new, 32,500-square-foot facility will nearly double the size of the existing library and provide more meeting room space, a teen zone, an increased children’s area, outdoor space, a vending café, tinker area, a quiet room, comfortable furniture, a tech zone and collaborative workspaces for small groups.
Public comment on the proposed project design is welcome at a permitting hearing to occur in the near future (the first meeting was postponed by the recent snow) at the Annapolis City Council Chambers, at 160 Duke of Gloucester Street. Residents also can review the proposed site design, landscape plan and landscape mitigation plans on www.aacpl.net/new-annapolis.

CEI Awards to Be Presented at Howard County GreenFest
On Saturday, April 22, the Community Ecology Institute (CEI) will present its first annual awards to local environmental leaders at the Howard County GreenFest, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Howard Community College, Columbia. Awards for 2017 will be conferred in five categories.
• The Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to Elizabeth Bobo.
• The Experiential Education Award will be awarded to Akiima Price.
• The Community Outreach Award will be awarded to Jodi Rose.
• The Ecosystem Restoration Award will be awarded to the Cunningham Family of Mary’s Land Farm.
• The Youth Leadership Award will be awarded to Katie Elicker.
Activities will include a natural play space sponsored by the CEI, as well as a rain barrel workshop, native plant sales, and information booths of green vendors from throughout the area. For more information, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/County-Administration/Community-Sustainability/GreenFest.

Registration Opens for Glen Mar Golf Classic to Benefit Grassroots
Registration is open for the 6th Annual Glen Mar Golf Classic, which is set for Monday, May 22, at the Timbers of Troy Golf Course, in Elkridge. The event, hosted by Glen Mar United Methodist Church, will benefit Grassroots, which shelters individuals and families who are homeless.
Registration and breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. The tournament fee is $135 per player. Non-golfers may attend at $25 per person to join the luncheon and participate in the silent auction. A buffet lunch, silent auction and awards program will begin at 1:30 p.m.
Golfers can register online at www.glenmargolfclassic.com. Sponsorship information is also available at www.glenmargolfclassic.com.

Jess to Read at HoCoPoLitSo’s 9th Annual Blackbird Poetry Festival
HoCoPoLitSo’s guest for its ninth annual Blackbird Poetry Festival is award-winning writer and slam poet Tyehimba Jess. The Festival, to be held April 27 on the campus of Howard Community College, is a day devoted to verse, with student workshops, book sales, readings and patrols by the poetry police. The Sunbird poetry reading, featuring Jess, as well as Washington, D.C., writer and literary activist Ethelbert Miller and Howard Community College students, will start at 2:30 p.m.
Jess will read from and discuss his most recent work, Olio, as well as leadbelly, winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series, during the Nightbird Poetry Reading, starting at 7:30 p.m., in the Smith Theatre of the Horowitz Center for Visual and Performing Arts. Nightbird general admission tickets are $15 each (students and seniors are $10) available online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2551545 or by sending a self-addressed envelope and check payable and mailed to HoCoPoLitSo, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Horowitz Center 200, Columbia, MD, 21044.
For more information, visit www.hocopolitso.org.

PNP Announces 4th Annual
DMV 5K Run/Walk
Project New Promise (PNP) will be conducting its 4th Annual DMV 5K Run/Walk and breakfast fundraiser on Saturday, May 6. This event will raise money for PNP’s educational, health and social programs. For more information or to register, visit www.dmv5k.com.

HCPSS Crisis Intervention Team Earns National Recognition
The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Crisis Intervention Teams have been recognized by the National Association for School Psychologists with its School Safety and Crisis Response Award. It recognizes outstanding commitment to advocating for, and supporting, comprehensive school safety and crisis response efforts that balance physical and psychological safety.
The award specifically recognized the HCPSS Crisis Intervention Leadership Team, which includes Atholton Elementary School Psychologist and HCPSS Crisis Intervention Teams Chairman J.T. Ridgely, Mayfield Woods Middle School Psychologist Dan Carr, Longfellow Elementary School Counselor Lori Jenner, Stevens Forest Elementary School Psychologist Keren Kreitzer, Waterloo Elementary School Psychologist Jeff Leard, Centennial High School Counselor Jennifer McKechnie, Atholton High School Psychologist Michael O’Shaughnessy, HCPSS Resource Psychologist Ivan Croft and HCPSS Coordinator for School Psychology Cynthia Schulmeyer.

HCPSS Seeks Citizen Members for Attendance Area Committee
The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) has invited citizens to take an active role in school attendance area adjustments (redistricting) and school boundary alternatives as a member of the Attendance Area Committee (AAC).
The AAC is an advisory committee to the superintendent and provides suggested attendance area adjustments. Elementary School attendance area adjustments are under consideration for the 2018–19 school year.
Interested citizens may submit a statement of interest to SchoolPlanning@hcpss.org or send a printed copy to the HCPSS, Attention: Renée. Kamen, Office of School Planning, 10910 Clarksville Pike Ellicott City, MD 21042. The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 28.

Arundel DOH Launches Most of Us Binge Drinking Prevention Campaign
The Anne Arundel County Department of Health is distributing informational coasters, posters and rack cards to licensed beverage establishments countywide to help reduce the occurrence of binge drinking. The Most of Us binge prevention campaign also includes educational presentations by the department’s Strategic Prevention Framework coalitions: Annapolis Substance Abuse Prevention, Northern Lights Against Substance Abuse, South County Bridges to a Drug-Free Community and Western Anne Arundel Substance Abuse Prevention.
According to the Maryland Young Adult Survey on Alcohol (2016), 73.12% of Anne Arundel County youth ages 18–25 reported drinking daily, weekly or monthly during the past 12 months. More than half of the youth who drink are binge drinking — and don’t realize it.
For more information or to request Most of Us coasters and posters, visit www.KnowWhen2Stop.org or call the department’s Prevention Services Office at 410-222-6724.

Events Planned to Build Autism Awareness in Howard County
The Eastern Bunny, Chipotle, Giant Food, Talbots, Glenelg Country School, AMC Theatres, Turf Valley and Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority will all be part of a month-long celebration in April in Howard County in recognition of National Autism Awareness Month.
A sensory-friendly shopping night on Wednesday, April 27, will be held at the Centre Park Giant from 7–9 p.m. It will offer grocery shopping without music and intercom, with candy-free lines, and additional help in aisles and curbside for families with autism.
The month culminates in the organization’s 12th Annual Pieces of the Puzzle Gala on April 29, 7 p.m.–midnight, at Turf Valley. A complete list of events and programs is online at www.howard-autism.org.

JAMA Cites Soda Sales
Drop in Howard
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine, a major peer-reviewed international medical journal, has published a new study showing the dramatic decrease in sugary drink sales in Howard County, including a 20% drop in soda sales. The study, from the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, is the first to use objective retail sales data to measure the effectiveness of a community-led campaign to reduce consumption of sugary drinks.
The study can be found in JAMA Internal Medicine: Association of a Community Campaign for Better Beverage Choices With Beverage Purchases From Supermarkets.

Make Howard County Cleaner, Greener — In 20 Minutes
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is urging everyone to step outside on Thursday, April 20, for just 20 minutes to pick up litter and help clean up our community. Now in its eighth year, more than 11,000 people have participated in Howard County’s “20 Minute Cleanup” program since it began in 2010.
Participants are urged to simply do their part of the cleanup, then share their results via email at 20minutecleanup@howardcountymd.gov or on Twitter by using @livegreenhoward. The hashtag #20minutecleanup can also be included. To help spread the word or learn more about the 20 Minute Cleanup, visit http://livegreenhoward.com and click on “Events.”

Rebuilding Together Howard County to Transform 30 Homes
Rebuilding Together Howard County (RTHC) will again help neighbors live in homes that are safe, warm and dry after hundreds of volunteers repair 28 houses and two nonprofit facilities in Howard County during National Rebuilding Month, on April 29.
Throughout April, RTHC and volunteers will serve veterans, older adults, low-income families with children and victims of the Ellicott City flood by providing them with a variety of home repairs, including roofs, new HVAC systems, weatherization repairs, plumbing, electrical, carpentry repairs, accessibility modifications, painting, landscaping and other major home rehabilitations.
The repairs are provided free of charge to the homeowners who are often faced with diminishing resources.

Monarch Academy Receives Holocaust Education Award
Monarch Academy Public Charter School, in Glen Burnie, received this year’s Ponczak-Greenblatt Families’ Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education from the Baltimore Jewish Council’s Holocaust Remembrance Commission. The award recognizes Monarch Academy’s eighth grade teachers for their work helping st-dents understand the Holocaust.
The Ponczak-Greenblatt Families’ Award, which includes funds to purchase Holocaust resources, memorializes Holocaust survivors Morris J. and Anna Greenblatt and their daughter, Frieda Greenblatt Ponczak.
The Baltimore Jewish Council will present Monarch Academy with a plaque on April 23 during a ceremony recognizing Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, at Beth El Congregation in Pikesville, installing Monarch Academy in The Ponczak-Greenblatt Families’ Honor Roll of Schools.

Howard Wins Stormwater Management Project Award for Ellicott City Staircase
The Lot E Staircase and Water Quality Improvement Project in Historic Ellicott City have won the Best Urban BMP (best management practice) in the Bay award from the Chesapeake Stormwater Network (CSN).
This project connects Main Street with the upper courthouse area and, more importantly, serves an important role in managing stormwater for the town and treating runoff from two acres of impervious surface at the courthouse site.
“It is rewarding to have an organization of 10,000 stormwater professionals recognize the innovation that went into this project,” said Kittleman. “While the original need was to address the safety issue of storm-damaged retaining walls, this project took the area to a new level by rerouting stormwater to help alleviate future flooding, providing access to nearly 200 courthouse parking spots and creating an attractive feature that fits the Historic District. I thank county staff and project partner, consulting firm McCormick Taylor, for the efforts to make this a reality.”
The design treats polluted runoff in a two-tiered system of bioretention cells, along with densely planted native species that use the runoff while being visually appealing and supporting the environment. The Ellicott City project will be featured on the CSN’s 2017 Webcast Series.

Take Time to Just ‘Be’ at WomenFest

According to a December 2015 report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 57% of all women were in the labor force in 2014; the labor force participation rate of women with children under 18 years of age was 70.8%.

The rewards of having a successful career are many: increased financial security, a greater sense of confidence and personal satisfaction. Many working women are also raising kids, caring for elderly parents (66% of all caregivers are female) and running a household; in fact, they are often so busy taking care of everyone else that they aren’t taking care of themselves.

Dividing attention between work and family can lead to feelings of guilt and added stress. That’s why it is important to take advantage of opportunities to work in “me” time on a regular basis. Taking even a short break from your routine can help you recharge while taking care of personal needs.

On that note, Howard County’s WomenFest offers women of all ages a day to do just that — designed for you to just “be” — be yourself, be relaxed and be inspired.

Coordinated by the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services and its Office on Aging and Independence, the ninth annual WomenFest will be held on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center, in Glenwood, 2400 Route 97, just 10 minutes from Ellicott City. General admission and parking are free.
Join the attendees to boost your health and wellness, attend engaging workshops, shop for Mother’s Day gifts from more than 100 vendors, get a free chin, lip or eyebrow wax, find home improvement and financial services and enjoy lunch, all under one roof.

There’s something for everyone at WomenFest, including a wide range of free health screenings: body mass index, hearing, lipid panel and glucose, visual acuity and glaucoma, Chinese pulse diagnosis and more. Is fitness lacking in your daily routine? If so, find fun ways to fit more activity in your life with Soul line dancing and Drums Alive exercise demos.

A number of seminars and workshops provide numerous opportunities for personal growth and enrichment. This year’s seminar topics include the following.

• Be Calm, where you can treat your senses while you explore aromatherapy and essential oils. See how easy it is to incorporate them into your life and create your own personal spray mist to take home.

• Be Current and Clutter Free offers the chance to meet with accredited staging and decorating professionals who will walk you through the steps to update your look and de-clutter your surroundings.

• Be Aware reminds you that scams are unfortunately an all-too-common fact of life in today’s world. Learn how to stay safe when shopping, banking and connecting with friends online.

• Be Empowered will empower you to push yourself to the next level in your personal or professional life.

• Be Informed presents the sobering facts about opioid addiction; from painkillers to heroin, learn how addiction is impacting families from someone who has walked that path. Know the signs, get support — and perhaps help save a life.

Cooking demos always add flavor to WomenFest. This year, there are two opportunities to broaden culinary skills with Chef Taueret Thomas from Khepera’s Kitchen. Thomas will present “Spring into Soups” at 12:15 p.m. and “Cooking with Quinoa” at 2 p.m.
The event is possible thanks to the support of our sponsors, including The Business Monthly. Full event details are available online at www.howardcountymd.gov/WomenFest, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HoCoCommunity, #HoCoWF17 or by calling 410-313-5440 (voice/relay).

The Squires Group’s Galasso Cited by SmartCEO

Baltimore SmartCEO magazine has announced that Eric Galasso, president of The Squires Group, of Annapolis, is the winner of the SmartCEO’s Executive Management Award in the President/COO category. The Executive Management Awards (EMA) Program recognizes the leadership and accomplishments of the Baltimore metropolitan area’s Management All-Stars.

“I am so happy that Eric received this recognition. After an initial management consulting engagement, I invited Eric to join me as my business partner in 2004,” said Nancy Squires, CEO of TSGi. “We created revenue targets to allow Eric to ‘earn in’ as my partner over a 10-year period. Within two years, Eric had exceeded those revenue targets and our partnership was solidified.”

“Eric is a combination of many qualities that create a very successful leader and person. Eric is a trusted, energetic and gifted coach. I attribute much of our success in the past 13 years to how Eric transformed the business from a local Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) niche firm to a regional IT [information technology] consulting firm with expanded service offerings,” said Squires.

“Putting together the right team that shared my vision and principles has been instrumental in fueling the company’s growth. Hiring Apurva Shah as director of marketing and operations, and Jane Myers as director of resource management were the two key hires I made early on after joining TSGi,” said Galasso. “Together, we assembled a strong team to help fuel our future growth; created best practices so that we could consistently deliver satisfaction to our customers; and invested in tools, technology and training to improve our delivery model.”

Leadership U: Helping Create the Next Generation of Leaders

When Leadership U (LU) was launched in 1996 by Leadership Howard County (LHC), the goal was to offer the next generation an opportunity to learn about their community and develop their leadership skills outside of the classroom. With 21 years of experience, Leadership U is continually recognized as an extraordinary leadership program for high school juniors in Howard County.

Each year, up to 50 students from public and private schools are guided through the program, which runs from late July through December, learning about leadership development, teamwork and giving back.

 

Summer Week: Each program year begins with an intensive summer week in early August. Similar to the adult program, students are taken on site visits and meet experts from county government, nonprofits and education, learning about how the county operates, services that are available and challenges that citizens are faced with. They also go through teambuilding activities and learn more about leadership from prominent professionals.

By the end of summer week, students take an active role in determining the issues they’d like to address, and they begin the process of creating a unique project that gives back to the community.

 

Fall Sessions: Throughout the fall, students work in groups to develop, implement and analyze service projects that have a direct impact on the community. Through this process, they learn valuable skills in communication, time management and general teamwork in an open environment where support is offered through volunteer mentors and other resources. As there are no grades, the learning experience is student-driven, and learning is achieved through more than just the success of the projects.
During each session, LU invites a speaker to enlighten the students about various aspects of leadership through short discussions called Leadership Lessons.

 

3D-HC – Dig Deep and Discover Howard County: This is an opportunity to give the students an up-close look at the important work done by nonprofits in the community such as the Howard County Food Bank, Hope Works, Howard County Conservancy and others. Up to five nonprofits host teams of students who spend a day meeting staff and working on projects directly with clients. They also learn valuable lessons about serving on boards and committees and what it takes to make these operations run successfully.

 

Graduation: The program culminates in December with a creative and unique graduation ceremony. In addition to students and their families, regular attendees include school faculty and elected officials, LHC board members and many other community leaders. The students present their projects to the audience and share their experiences in a fun, entertaining setting.

 

Guiding the program is a team of staff and volunteers. The invaluable contributions from LU’s steering committee, mentors, summer week chaperones and community partners are critical to making this program unique and successful. Graduates of Leadership Premier and Leadership Essentials, as well as Leadership U grads, frequently offer their time and expertise in order to enhance the students’ experience.

The program is continually evaluated to ensure each class develops friendships, experiences and skills that will enrich their high school and college careers and beyond. If you work with an organization or nonprofit that wants to connect with a talented and passionate group of youth leaders, contact Leadership U director Meg Ignacio at mignacio@leadershiphc.org.

Perspectives of a Leadership U Mentor

Tom Burtzlaff, president and owner of CMIT Solutions in Columbia, is a member of the Leadership Premier Class of 2013. With a long career as a manufacturing executive in the cosmetics industry, Burtzlaff’s business is now focused on the technology needs of small businesses in the Baltimore-Washington metro area.

Today, he is on the board of directors of MakingChange and is chair of the Leadership U (LU) Mentoring program as part of the Leadership U Steering Committee. He not only provides training and guidance for the adult volunteer mentors, but also volunteers each year to mentor a team of students.

Mentors are an integral part of the Leadership U program, guiding the students as they create a community service project and providing perspective as the students learn to navigate the world of nonprofits and teamwork. He shared some of his mentoring insights from the past four years.

 

How long have you been an LU Mentor and how did you get involved?

I became a mentor in 2013 and have done it for four years and counting. When I finished Leadership Premier 2013, we were challenged to “take our place” in our community. Having four children (who are now grown), I remembered how the teenage years were the most challenging and the most rewarding. I realized that this would be a perfect place for me to give back as an LU mentor.

 

What has been your most interesting community service project?

One year, the LU team of students collected hundreds of bags of food from the community and brought it all to the Grassroots on a Saturday morning. The entire lobby of the homeless shelter was covered with bags of food. It was quite a sight.

 

What surprises you most about the LU students?

These teenagers are so naïve and idealistic in equal measure. It is a great combination because they just focus on how to help people in the community. The purity of that mission generates enthusiasm, learning and pride from these students.

 

What have you learned about yourself from your student project team?

Being a teenager today is just like being a teenager in past years. It is the necessary transition from being a child to becoming an adult. I am totally confident when it is their time to “run the world,” they will do a fantastic job. I love my job as a mentor because I can help them by being a positive influence.

 

If you could teach the students one lesson, what would it be?

Learning to help those around you, who are in need, is a key part of being a human. It really does make the world a better place for everyone.

 

What advice would you give to a first-year LU mentor?

Listen, listen, then listen some more. When it is time, ask them questions to expand their thinking. The success of the LU experience is that the community projects belong to the student teams completely. Sure, they make mistakes or miss a detail. But we learn best when we struggle. Give these teens a chance to surprise you with their passion and drive to help our community.

 

In the fall of 2016, Burtzlaff mentored the LU EC-ology team. The EC-ology team wanted to educate residents on how to prevent another flood like the one in Ellicott City. The students designed a game to educate citizens about flood prevention techniques and handed out flyers to tell people simple things to do to help Ellicott City. The team set up an information table at Party in the Pit, an Ellicott City fundraiser at Merriweather Post Pavilion, and also set up an information table at the Miller Library.

Leadership Essentials Program Program Is Designed for Emerging Leaders

 

Twenty-two young professionals from a wide variety of organizations compose the 2017 class of Leadership Essentials. This six-month leadership development program, instituted by Leadership Howard County in 2007, is now managed by Loyola University Maryland as part of the Sellinger School of Business.
Similar to Loyola’s graduate business programs, Leadership Essentials develops skills that allow participants in the program to stretch their leadership potential and contribute significantly to their organizations, their families and their community.

The program has three core components: skill building workshops, a coach relationship and a Community Impact Project team experience. The skill-building workshops, focused on specific leadership characteristics such as team-building, project management, the leader as a coach, presentation skills, collaboration and negotiation, include exercises and reflection to facilitate the participants’ ability to sharpen critical skills necessary for effective leadership.

Throughout the six months of the Leadership Essentials program, each participant works with a coach to help him or her unlock the answers within, enabling the person to make better decisions and strengthen relationships and leadership skills.

Participants also contribute to a small team on a short-term Community Impact Project that challenges them to put their lessons learned and leadership skills into action. This year’s Community Impact Project hosts are: Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, HopeWorks, Interfaith Coalition for Compassion, Soccer Association of Columbia and TasteWise Kids.

“In a hectic time of career growth, Leadership Essentials provided me with an excellent opportunity to slow down and explore what makes a great leader. Through coaching and discussion with classmates, I have strengthened my core values and built lasting friendships,” said Timothy Guy, assessment coordinator, Howard County Public School System, and graduate of Leadership Essentials 2015.

Loyola University values its strong community alliances, especially its collaboration with Leadership Howard County and with the Leadership Essentials community of alumni, coaches, community leaders and facilitators.

Applications for Leadership Essentials 2018 will be available in July, with a deadline in early October. Information sessions will be held in August and September; visit www.loyola.edu/sellinger-business/academics/executive-education/leadership-essentials for more information.

 

Lori Fuchs is the Leadership Essentials program manager. She can be reached at lfuchs@loyola.edu.

A Message From Meg Ignacio, Director of Youth Programs

My first year as the director of youth programs at Leadership Howard County has been exciting and fulfilling. With our largest recruitment pool ever, our Class of 2016 was an incredible group of 50 young leaders who truly wanted to make an impact on our Howard County community. Their teamwork, dedication and self-discovery of their strengths and unique contributions were put to great use on their seven community service projects.

Leadership U offers a rare opportunity for students to own every step of the project and feel the true meaning of challenge and success. Every decision they make and action they take is on their own merit, and the final product shows students that they are responsible for their accomplishments. The experiences and skills they develop lay the foundation for success in college and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions About Leadership Premier

What is the benefit of participating in Leadership Howard County (LHC)?

In our adult programming, we know that both the employee and the employer gain from the unique opportunities we offer. For employees, Leadership Howard County offers an unparalleled opportunity for personal and professional growth. Our program will enable you to:
• Develop community connections and networking opportunities.
• Meet Howard County leaders, influencers and decision-makers.
• Learn more about the community and how it works.

 

Why should employers sponsor an employee?

Leadership Howard County is a wise investment in your most valuable asset: your employees. Our program offers a high level of professional development that also connects them to the community in which they live and do business. In particular, investing in Leadership Howard County offers:
• Development and retention of talent with valuable skills.
• Succession planning through the identification and development of future leaders.
• Creation of loyalty to your company and a connection with the community.
• Investment in the future of Howard County leadership and prosperity.

 

What is the program content?

The core program for Leadership Howard County is its 10-month leadership development program with an intense curriculum of civic information and leadership development. Through site visits, lectures and informal discussion, participants learn how major decisions are made and who makes them. The program also utilizes a team-building overnight retreat that allows participants to examine the concepts of leadership.
The program covers topics such as:
• Business and economic development
• Local and state government
• Public safety
• Education/Lifelong learning
• Howard County history
• Health care and aging
• Human services
• Housing and transportation
• Quality of life: cultural and recreational opportunities
Participants also commit to a “Community Impact Project,” which is a project identified by a host organization — typically a nonprofit organization or government entity — addressing an organizational challenge or strategic issue. Participants work in teams on a consultant basis, performing research and proposing creative, sustainable solutions. This activity is designed to be a beneficial experience not only for the organization but for our participants as well, helping them gain a better understanding of community needs and a deeper appreciation for community involvement.

 

What is the long-term value of completing the program?

With a network of more than 1,200 graduates, our members continue to stay connected to the issues in the community and to each other for personal and professional support. LHC conducts many regular meetings and forums for graduates and other members of the community to meet and learn about issues or resources in the community. These include quarterly breakfasts and luncheons with guest speakers and our annual Big Event fundraiser, which features a keynote speaker with an inspiring message about meeting the challenges of community leadership.
Graduates commit to using their experience for the long-term benefit of our community. They have learned about community issues, developed their leadership skills and the knowledge of how to tap into vital resources. With this knowledge, many graduates serve on nonprofit and community boards and committees where their interests, talents and resources can best be used.

 

What is the time commitment?

This is a 10-month program, running from September 2017 to June 2018. A mandatory, two-day overnight retreat will be held at the end of September 2017. All other monthly day-long sessions will be held on the second or third Tuesday of the month. A complete schedule will be published by August 2017.

 

Additional Commitments
Applicants must have the full support (financial and time commitment) of the organization or corporation they represent. They must also commit to the opening overnight retreat and monthly sessions.

 

How do I apply to Leadership Howard County Premier?

Individuals may apply online by visiting the website www.leadershiphc.org, going to the Programs link and clicking on Apply.

 

A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required. Applications are due by the close of business on Monday, May 15, 2017.

How many participants are selected for each class year?

Each year, approximately 45 to 50 individuals are selected to participate in the program. The Selection Committee reviews applications and selects participants based upon the merits of the written application and a personal interview.

 

How much is tuition?

Tuition is $5,300, which includes the overnight retreat, program transportation, meals during the monthly sessions and a ticket for the annual graduation dinner in June.

 

Is tuition assistance available?

Tuition assistance is available to those in need. We are typically able to provide up to one-third of the tuition cost. A financial assistance request must be submitted with the application and is available online or by calling the office at 410-730-4474. Payment plans are also available.

While we ask that individuals have the financial support of the organization or business they represent, we also encourage nonprofits and individuals with a sincere interest to apply, as community partnerships may also be able to offer additional financial assistance.

LHC 2016 Award Winners

The Annual Awards Dinner and Graduation in June is an opportunity to honor outstanding individuals in the community who have built a lasting legacy of community leadership. Honored in 2016 were the following.

 

Unsung Hero
Edward Plitt – LP 2000
Principal, Security Development Corporation
Throughout his 30-year career at Security Development Corporation, Chip Plitt has developed a reputation for sound judgment and financial expertise. In addition, his strong, steady leadership in the Howard County nonprofit community sets him apart as a true community leader who seeks nothing but the success of those he serves.

 

Leadership Legacy
Richard Story – LP 1995
Senior Vice President, Howard Bank
Dick Story has created a leadership legacy of enduring commitment, integrity and value to Howard County that few can emulate. As CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority, and continuing with his career in the private sector, Story has long been not only the face but also the “voice” of Howard County. His work in the business community is exceeded only by his commitment to the well-being and future of Howard County.

 

Distinguished Alumni
Sponsored by the Association of Leadership Professionals (ALP)
Malynda Madzel – LP 1992
Founder, President and CEO – Custom Telemarketing Services Inc.

Malynda Madzel built a successful career as an entrepreneur in Howard County, combining hard work with a dedication to building a community in which she takes great pride. Contributing her time and resources to many professional organizations, Madzel has been equally honored for serving the community and connecting others to find their passions for community service.