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BWCC, WCC Announce Intent to Merge

The West Anne Arundel County (WCC) and the Baltimore Washington Corridor (BWCC) chambers of commerce have signed an agreement exploring becoming a single entity. The combined organization would be the largest chamber in Anne Arundel County and serve the larger region surrounding Fort Meade and Laurel.

“With both CEOs leaving within months of each other, and a shared focus on the economic vitality of our region, this seemed a natural opportunity,” said BWCC Board Chairman Eric Harris. “We believe combining forces will better serve the members of both entities and the region as a whole.”

Both organizations emphasized the benefits they foresee for members as a result of the proposed merger, which will have a broader, more regional economic focus, greater advocacy capabilities, increased networking programs and enhanced staffing to support member needs.

The organizations will now begin a period of due diligence before finalizing the merger, which will include a vote by each chamber’s full membership by the end of 2016. Matters still to be decided include the new organization’s board and staff structure, location and name. The BWCC will be represented in upcoming CEO interviews already scheduled by the West County Chamber Search Committee. Projected date for final acceptance or rejection of the proposed merger is Dec. 8.

Columbia Named No. 1 Among ‘Best Places to Live’ in U.S. by Money

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman recently gathered with residents of Columbia to celebrate the naming of the planned community as the “Best Place to Live” in America by Money magazine. Once known as “The Next America” when it was founded nearly 50 years ago on ideals of inclusion and diversity by developer Jim Rouse, Columbia was recognized by the magazine for its great schools, outstanding health and recreation opportunities, abundant cultural activities and welcoming climate for businesses and families.

Money’s annual “Best Places to Live” list focuses on communities with populations from 50,000 to 300,000, analyzing and ranking them on about 60 factors, from median home prices to graduation rates and crime rates. The magazine’s editors said Columbia stood out as a “planned community that prizes economic and social diversity.”

Kittleman cited the 3,600 acres of open space, the 94 miles of pathways, the county’s top public school system, great access to health care and libraries, and Howard Community College as just some of the attractions that make Columbia a desirable place to live.

Maryland Legislators Receive Nonpartisan Report on Business, Economy Votes

Maryland Business for Responsive Government (MBRG), a statewide, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to holding state legislators accountable for Maryland’s business climate and economic health, has released the 2016 results from its annual publication Roll Call.

Each year, MBRG’s State Advisory Council selects recorded votes from the most recent General Assembly session that are essential to create jobs and promote a healthy business climate throughout Maryland. MBRG identifies these bills in Roll Call and analyzes the votes to produce a score for each legislator.

This year, 14 senators and 29 delegates received perfect scores of 100%, whereas two senators and 31 delegates scored below 30%. The most improved Democrats were Dels. Sheree Sample-Hughes, Jill Carter and Pamela Beidle, who improved from 43% to 50%, 33% to 40%, and 57% to 64%, respectively (seven-point increases); and Sen. Delores Kelley, who improved 30 points, from 20% to 50%.

The most improved Republicans were Dels. Wendell Beitzel and Jason Buckel, both logging 29-point increases, from 71% in 2015 to 100%, and Sen. Bryan Simonaire, whose score improved 33 points, from 67% to 100%.

Last year’s edition of Roll Call commended the legislative session for taking a step in the right direction with five bills that implemented recommendations from the bipartisan Augustine Commission, while introducing relatively fewer bad-for-business bills than in prior years. For the analysis, Roll Call analyzed seven Senate votes and 13 House votes. The 2016 edition of Roll Call can be downloaded at www.MBRG.org/Roll-Call.

Government Contracting Program Launches at the CIC

The Chesapeake Innovation Center (CIC), of Odenton, announced the launch of FedPath, a government contracting workshop series. This hands-on program will help CIC member companies and area technology entrepreneurs enhance their understanding and better compete in the federal government contracting space.

Funding for FedPath is made possible by grant support from the Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO). “Emerging technology companies that are new to the government contracting need to better understand economic, programmatic, supply chain and subcontracting components beyond the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) or procurement codes,” said Michael Tentnowski, executive director of the CIC. “We are grateful for TEDCO’s support of FedPath, which will help entrepreneurs access the best experts in the field.”

FedPath workshops take place the first Wednesday of every month, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The first module, “Registering as a Federal Contractor,” features guest presenter Gloria Larkin, founder of Linthicum-based TargetGov and author of The Basic Guide to Government Contracting. Future workshops will cover such topics as federal contracting basics, identification of key decision-makers and purchasing agencies (particularly those in national security), successful opportunity searches, bid pricing, reporting requirements and audits.

The Chesapeake Regional Tech Council will serve as a promotional co-sponsor of the series, which is a partnership that will maximize the program’s outreach to entrepreneurs in Maryland. Current CIC programs include a monthly synergy luncheon for member companies and quarterly events, such the TechKNOW workshop and Cyber C-Level Roundtable.

Sonatype, CloudBees Launch DevOps Express Initiative

Fulton-based Sonatype, a leader in software supply chain automation, announced the launch of DevOps Express, a one-of-a-kind industry initiative that simplifies access to a set of integrated, battle-tested DevOps solutions aiming to accelerate any organization’s time-to-value.

Prior to this, buyers were forced to assess, assemble and support best-in-breed solutions themselves. As a foundational member of DevOps Express, Sonatype collaborated with CloudBees to design an approach that makes it easier for enterprises to acquire, design, integrate and support DevOps native tools. Other industry leaders participating in the initiative include Atlassian, BlazeMeter, CA Technologies, Chef, DevOps Institute, GitHub, Infostretch, JFrog, Puppet Labs, Sauce Labs, SOASTA and SonarSource.

As part of the DevOps Express initiative, Sonatype is delivering a set of 12 integrations available to the community. Integrations include the following.

  • Atlassian (JIRA Software, Bitbucket Pipelines, Bamboo, HipChat, Crowd)
  • CA Technologies (CA Release Automation and Action Packs)
  • Chef (Chef cookbook for Nexus)
  • CloudBees (Jenkins and the new Nexus Jenkins Plug-in)
  • Puppet (automatically installing and configuring Nexus Repository)
  • SonarSource (SonarQube)

Beyond product integrations, Sonatype has also joined forces with DevOps Express partners to deliver the first set of 31 DevOps reference architectures. Each of the architectures reveals real-world deployments that integrate tools from participating DevOps Express members.

Bay Bank to Participate in Israel Bonds High Holiday Matching Program

Israel Bonds Maryland announced that Bay Bank will continue its legacy partnership with the Israel Bonds High Holidays Matching Partners Program following Bay Bank’s acquisition of Hopkins Federal Savings Bank earlier this year.

Bay Bank assumes Hopkins Federal’s previous role and joins matching partners The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, The Haron Dahan Foundation and Sandra R. & Malcolm C. Berman, as they continue to provide 100% matching purchases for all Israel bonds investments made by the community during the 2016 High Holidays season.

An Israel bond investment declares appreciation for the ideals and values of the State of Israel. To maximize support for Israel Bonds, Bay Bank is a participating bank in the Israel Bonds financing program.

The Israel Bonds Maryland High Holidays matching program began in 2006 with a 50% match from Hopkins Federal Savings. The Associated became Israel Bonds’ second matching partner in 2008 with a 100% match. Since, the program has grown to include four partners. Throughout the past 10 years, the High Holidays campaign has generated investments of more than $75 million for Israel through more than 6,000 participants.

Individuals interested in participating in the Israel Bonds High Holidays matching campaign can turn down their tab card during their synagogue’s High Holidays appeal, contact the Israel Bonds office at 410-484-6670, ext. 1, or visit www.israelbonds.com.

Weinstein Seeks to Halt Development in Tiber-Hudson Watershed

Howard County Council Vice Chairperson Jon Weinstein has introduced Council Bill 65-2016, which would temporarily prohibit the issuance of certain permits for new commercial or residential development in the Tiber-Hudson Watershed. In addition, the legislation calls for certain county agencies to study, report and make recommendations on development, stormwater management and flood mitigation.

The Tiber and Hudson branches, tributaries of the Patapsco River that pass through Historic Ellicott City, are confined by the steep topography surrounding Main Street and are lined along their banks by historic buildings. They are subject to severe flooding, as witnessed during the devastating flood in July.

The bill declares a nine-month moratorium on the issuance of permits by the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits for new development located within the watershed and requests the Department of Public Works (DPW) to conduct a Hydraulic and Hydrologic (H&H) analysis of the area in and around Historic Ellicott City, along with other analyses of the recent flood. The administration will report to the county council on the studies and provide any recommendations about changes in law and procedures to protect the area.

Testimony for Council Bill 65-2016 was accepted at the council’s regular legislative public hearing on Sept. 19. To learn more, visit https://apps.howardcountymd.gov/otestimony.

Towson U. Hires Ulman to Advance Development Strategy

Towson University President Kim Schatzel has announced a partnership with Ken Ulman, former Howard County Executive and president of Margrave Strategies, to develop a comprehensive strategy focused on strengthening the university’s connection with communities, core institutions and emerging businesses.

Ulman will serve as chief strategist for Towson during a four-month, $90,000 contract. “As the largest university in Greater Baltimore, Towson University is committed to taking on an even greater leadership role as an anchor institution, and further strengthening its connections and positive impact with community and business partners,” Schatzel said.

The partnership will support implementation of several presidential priorities, including Towson University’s focus on BTU: Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore, which involves dozens of businesses and nonprofit organizations within the metro area.

“It is an honor to work alongside President Schatzel and help Towson University serve as a greater catalyst for job creation and placemaking in Towson,” said Ulman. A Towson University Economic Outlook Forum taking place on Nov. 16 at TU’s West Village Commons ballrooms will focus on Towson’s placemaking strategy.