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Loyola University Maryland Launches Master’s Program in Data Science

Beginning in spring 2017, Loyola University Maryland will offer a new Master of Science in Data Science program that blends the computer science, statistics and business courses necessary to prepare students for competitive careers in the fast-growing data science field.

The 31-credit, part-time program will be based at Loyola’s Graduate Center – Columbia Campus, with most classes designed in a hybrid format that blends in-class learning and online activities. Students can complete the required 10 three-credit classes and one one-credit class in under two years. The final two semesters include coursework and a capstone project, where each student collaborates with a sponsor company to address a data need in its operations.

“There’s a huge demand for people with quantitative skills for analyzing data,” said Christopher Morrell, professor of mathematics and statistics and director of Loyola’s data science program. “Our goal is to help motivated professionals gain entry into this wide open field, and to help those who already have a data science career better position themselves to grow in their role and deliver more value to their firm.”

According to a report by McKinsey & Company, the United States could face a shortage of more than 140,000 people with deep analytical skills by 2018. In addition, 96% of the major corporations surveyed by KPMG in 2014 said they could do more with big data and make better use of analytics in their organization.

SBA Announces $18.8M to Support Small Business Trade Growth

Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), has announced $777,579 to support export growth among small businesses in Maryland. The funding was awarded through SBA’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP).

“Exporting provides tremendous opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power can be found outside of the United States, but only about 1% of America’s 28 million small businesses are reaching customers beyond our borders. Exporting is an important growth opportunity for small businesses ready to expand their reach into new and increasingly borderless global markets. These STEP awards, in addition to SBA’s export loans and U.S. Export Assistance Centers, help small businesses across our nation have the tools, resources and relationships they need to take their businesses global.”

STEP awards were created to advance key priorities identified in the President’s National Export Initiative, namely to expand the base of small businesses that become exporters and to make the exporting process as easy as possible for small businesses. Recipients of STEP awards in the first three rounds (fiscal 2011, 2012, 2014) reported a strong return on federal taxpayer investment, generating $22 in U.S. small business export sales for every $1 awarded.

These awards are granted to U.S. states and territories to support programs that help small businesses expand their export-related activities. This includes participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services for access to international markets, as well as the design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, export training workshops and more.

Howard’s Baldwin Common Electrical Project Complete

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced the county has completed the installation of electrical service to Baldwin Common, in Savage. Located next to Carroll Baldwin Hall, Baldwin Common serves as the site for a number of community events, including Savage Fest and the annual Community Tree lighting ceremony.

“In the past, to provide electricity to these events, temporary wiring was either strung from trees or brought over the grass and sidewalks, or generators were made available,” said Kittleman. “By installing the electrical service, we are making sure it’s safe for those who attend these community events and we are hopeful even more events can be held at Baldwin Common.”

The county placed underground wiring in the park, along with electrical panels and outlets. An electrical hook-up was put in at the Bollman Truss Bridge and 14 street and sidewalk lamps were installed. To fund the improvements, Howard County worked with the Savage Community Association to obtain a Community Legacy Grant from the State of Maryland for $85,000. The Department of Recreation & Parks also used grant funds to purchase and install nine park benches and two historic-interpretation signs.

This year’s Bollman Truss Bridge and Community Tree lighting ceremonies will take place on Saturday, Dec. 3, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

USNA Breaks Ground on New Cyber Building

The U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) officially broke ground on its future cyberbuilding, Hopper Hall, on Oct. 21. The USNA was the first institution of higher learning in the U.S. to require cybersecurity classes for all students; Cyber I is a fundamentals class taken plebe (freshman) year and Cyber II is a deeper treatment of technical topics, taken second-class (junior) year.

The USNA previously added an academic major in Cyber Operations, and the first midshipmen within that major graduated in May 2016. Additionally, various cybersecurity topics have been added to the leadership and professional curriculum, and the USNA Center for Cyber Security Studies is formally designated as an NSA/Department of Homeland Security National Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command announced that Turner Construction Co., of Reston, Va., was awarded a $106,674,440 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of the academic building, which is slated for completion by September 2019. Fiscal 2015 military construction contract funds and gift funds in the amount of $106,674,440 are obligated on the award.

Construction of the cyberbuilding, which is to rise on the parking lot between Nimitz Library and Rickover Hall, will begin shortly after the completion of the parking garage, which is located across from Alumni Hall, on Decatur Road. That project is currently underway and is expected to be complete this winter.

The new building will be named after Grace Hopper, an American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral. It will be the first building at the USNA and at one of the three major service academies named after a woman.

HCCC, AWTCC Join Forces to Promote U.S. Exports

The Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) has partnered with the American World Trade Chamber of Commerce (AWTCC) to offer an electronic solution for exporters and freight forwarders to process Certificates of Origin and related export documents.

The role of chambers of commerce delivering certificates of origin can be traced back to the 1923 Geneva Convention. These certificates are still a necessary document for determining duties in global trade. Electronic certification speeds the documentation process and makes it more efficient, improving the bottom line for exporters and giving them a competitive advantage.

“We want the export base in Howard County to have access to quick, secure and cutting edge resources to get their products around the world,” said Leonardo McClarty, president and CEO of the HCCC.

The partnership with AWTCC brings added value and worldwide credibility for local exporters. All AWTCC certification staff are accredited with the International Chamber of Commerce World Chambers Federation in their Certificate of Origin Training program. The course gives chamber trade documentation professionals a comprehensive understanding of Certificates of Origin, as well as the needed credentials to approve certificate documents. AWTCC’s seal is recognized by customs officials internationally as a trusted authority.

Revere Wraps Merger With Monument, Completes Offering

Revere Bank announced the completion of its previously announced merger with Monument Bank. The merger was completed following receipt of shareholder approval from both institutions and all required regulatory approvals. Immediately following the closing of the merger, Monument merged into Revere.

The merger was first announced on May 3. Based on financial information as of June 30, the combined company has approximately $1.7 billion in assets and 10 branches, making Revere the third largest bank headquartered and operating in Maryland. Pursuant to the merger agreement, each shareholder of Monument common stock shall receive 1.0814 shares of Revere Bank common stock for each share of Monument common stock held immediately prior to the merger.

In connection with the transaction, Monument Bank Founder and CEO H.L. Ward joins the executive management team of Revere and its board of directors. Ward, along with Kimberly Hoover, Angelo Magafan and James Seale, each members of the Monument board of directors, also join Revere’s board. All other current members of the Monument Board have been invited to join Revere’s Montgomery Regional Advisory Board.

In addition, Revere has completed a $31 million subordinated debt offering and received investment grade ratings with stable outlooks from Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KRBA), a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO) registered with the SEC.

Ambassador Financial Group, completed the $31 million placement for Revere. The subordinated debt security is rated BBB- by KBRA and qualifies as Tier 2 capital at the bank. The security was issued as a 10-year fixed-to-float structure maturing in 2026 with a five-year call option. It will have a coupon of 5.625% for the first five years, floating thereafter at three month LIBOR plus 4.409%.

Maryland’s Job Loss: 38,000 in NFIB Study

Raising the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour could reduce private sector employment by 1.8 million jobs over 10 years and cut economic output by $2 trillion nationwide, according to a new report released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). In Maryland, the research found that 38,000 jobs will be lost during the next several years.

“Maryland has slowly dug out of the great recession over the past several years. While progress may seem slow at times, compared to our neighbors, we are certainly faring well economically,” said Mike O’Halloran, NFIB Maryland state director. “For small businesses to now have to take the hit that $12 an hour would bring them is almost unthinkable. For a state [that] is finally turning itself around, the last thing we need is for the federal government to impose such a regulation.”

The NFIB report assumes an increase in the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour phased in by 2019, and then increased every year thereafter based on inflation. Maryland passed legislation in 2014 increasing the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 by July 1, 2018.

“Small businesses would, no doubt, be disproportionately impacted by such a staggering labor cost increase. Those that rely on hourly, seasonal and entry-level workers cannot afford to sustain a wage hike that goes well beyond the state’s $10.10 and will therefore have no choice but to eliminate those positions,” said O’Halloran. “There has been a tremendous amount of noise created by the presidential election; it would be nice if more attention was paid to the issue of minimum wage before it’s too late to stop the damage that an increase would inflict.”