Kenjya-Trusant Group Launches Major Effort to Staff Department of State Offices

Just months after winning the Domestic-State Technical Administrative Management Professional Services (D-STAMPS) contract, the Columbia-based Kenjya-Trusant Group is supplying dozens of expert workers to carry out the mission of the U.S. Department of State (DoS).

In February, Kenjya-Trusant began work as the sole Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) prime contractor on D-STAMPS — a single award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract that was initially awarded at a $103-million ceiling, with a lifespan of five years. Under the terms of the contract, Kenjya-Trusant provides contract employees to deliver a wide range of services in Department of State offices throughout the Continental United States.

Placing those contractor employees to provide support to Department of State employees is proceeding at a rapid pace. In the first six months of the contract, Kenjya-Trusant received more than 214 Task Order Requests for Proposals (TORPs) that requested anywhere from one to 15 contractor employees per TORP. Filling positions with incumbents who are currently contracted through other companies, or individuals referred by the DoS must be completed within five business days. If Kenjya-Trusant has to recruit an employee to fill a position, the company aims to complete that process within 12 business days.

TelePacific Turns to Ciena for Network Expansion

To support its recent expansion as a nationwide managed services provider, TelePacific Communications has deployed Hanover-based Ciena’s programmable 8700 Packetwave Platform, which provides a scalable and cost-effective solution to support 100GbE services and beyond. This network upgrade helps enable TelePacific to provide unified communications, managed information technology, connectivity, cloud and continuity services to customers anywhere in the country.

TelePacific can now offer a variety of high-speed packet services nationwide with Ciena’s Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certified 8700 platform. Another key benefit of the 8700 is that it enables TelePacific to provide reliable high-bandwidth connectivity and support a variety of wavelengths, up to 100G, that can be easily turned up as demand dictates.

TelePacific is also utilizing Ciena’s 8700 as part of standards testing performed at the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab. This work supports the advancement of industry standards with the Metro Ethernet Forum by facilitating the creation of interoperable services between operators across the industry.

Schuh Signs Housing Revitalization Property Tax Credit Legislation

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh has signed Councilman John Grasso’s housing revitalization property tax credit legislation. “This legislation is very rare in that it grants both tax and fee relief for citizens,” said Schuh. “The bill … is a textbook example of county government working to improve the overall quality of life in our communities, while saving taxpayers money.”

The legislation provides for $300,000 per year in fee relief, as well as property tax relief for five years after a homeowner improves his or her property with a home of increased value. It is intended to spur revitalization in older communities and neighborhoods around the county.

The legislation continues the county executive’s efforts to reduce the overall tax and fee burden on citizens and businesses.

In his first budget, Schuh enacted the largest tax cut in county history with an $11 million income tax reduction package.

Total Wine Relocated, Expanded

Total Wine (formerly Corridor Wine & Spirits), of Laurel, opened in a new location in the Corridor Marketplace & Shopping Center on Thursday, Oct. 20. Occupying more than 40,000 square feet, the new leased space is double the size of Total Wine’s previous location in the same center.

New store features include two tasting bars — one in the wine department, one in the beer department — as well as an expanded spirits section, an expanded gourmet fare and accessories section, and a 28-foot walk-in cigar humidor. In addition, a 68-seat classroom that offers space for educating customers about wine, spirits and beer can also be booked for private parties and community and business events.

Annapolis Receives Sustainable Maryland Certified Award

The University of Maryland honored the City of Annapolis as one of 14 Maryland municipalities for its attention to environmental sustainability. Annapolis was honored for being one of the first municipalities to become a Sustainable Maryland Certified City in 2013 and was showcased for being recertified again this year.

Highlights of Annapolis’ accomplishments include passing a backyard chicken ordinance, allowing residents to keep and maintain hens on their property; signing the Annapolis Renewable Energy Park lease in 2015, starting the process of installing solar panels on 80 acres of closed landfill space; and planning a Cultural Resource Hazard Mitigation Plan to identify and mitigate potential losses to historic objects and places due to natural disasters, sea-level rise, subsidence and flooding.

Protech Achieves a Microsoft Gold Competency

Columbia-based Protech Associates has attained a gold Customer Relationship Management competency, demonstrating a “best-in-class” ability and commitment to meet Microsoft Corp. customers’ evolving needs and distinguishing itself within Microsoft’s partner ecosystem.

Powered by Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Protech Cloud Business Solutions is an association management solution backed by Microsoft, but developed specifically for associations. Run on Microsoft Azure, the solution allows customers to access their data any time, from anywhere and on any device. The result is a system that helps associations streamline operations, elevate member services and remain competitive.

Southern Airways Announces Daily Hagerstown-to-Baltimore Service

Memphis-based Southern Airways will launch new daily service connecting Hagerstown, Md., to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, beginning Nov. 19. It’s the first service from the city to Baltimore since 2012. As part of the move, Southern is changing its East Coast hub for Hagerstown from Dulles International Airport to BWI Marshall. Pittsburgh flights from Hagerstown will remain unchanged, and Southern will continue to operate its Dulles hub from other cities.

“Historically, BWI [Marshall] has been a great hub for the people of Hagerstown; this combined with our Pittsburgh hub for the city gives our passengers multiple options for air travel,” said Keith Sisson, chief marketing officer of Southern.

HCGH Named Baby-Friendly by Initiative

Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) has been designated as a Baby-Friendly birth facility, an initiative that encourages and recognizes hospitals and birth centers that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. Baby-Friendly USA is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, and based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

With nearly 3,600 babies born at the hospital each year, HCGH is committed to supporting families as they begin life with their new baby. Breastfeeding provides benefits to both baby and mother. For the baby, it protects against many diseases, including diabetes, obesity and asthma. Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, heart disease osteoporosis and postpartum depression.

Third Life Time Athletic Destination Opened in Maryland

Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company has opened Life Time Athletic Gaithersburg, its third destination in Maryland (with other locations in Columbia and Rockville). Members of the more than 160,000-square-foot destination will find exclusive programming throughout the total lifestyle center designed to help every member of the family achieve their individual health and fitness goals.

“Our unique and personalized healthy way of life approach has resonated well in Maryland since our first Life Time destination opened in Columbia in 2006,” said Ken Corbett, general manager of Life Time Athletic Gaithersburg. “With the opening of this new total lifestyle center, and our first-class programming led by the industry’s top performers, we are ready to serve Montgomery County residents and help them on their healthy way of life journey, while also actively supporting the community.”

Timbers at Troy in Midst of Upgrades

The Timbers at Troy Golf Course, which opened in Columbia in 1996 under the Department of Recreation and Parks and is managed by Kemper Sports Management, is in the early stages of a four-month renovation project. It began on Oct. 17 and entails replacing the bunkers and irrigation system. During the upgrades, nine holes of the course will remain open for play.

The repairs to the bunkers are needed due to normal wear and tear. The new irrigation system will allow course management to better monitor the golf course’s water use. The $2 million project was awarded to McDonald & Sons, a Howard County-based business specializing in golf course design and construction.

Network 2000 Changes Name to Executive Alliance

Network 2000, which promotes the advancement of women in professional and executive roles, announced its new name and tagline: Executive Alliance: A Catalyst for Women Leaders in Maryland.

In 1993, Network 2000 was founded by a group of professional women to raise awareness of the need for more women in the C-suite and boardroom. Today, this mission continues, but with an enhanced focus — to accelerate the success and leadership of accomplished women by expanding their impact and influence through advocacy, education and mentorship.

The Turn House Replaces The Coho Grill

The Turn House, at Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club, has replaced The Coho Grill and recently opened its doors under the new name with a new menu. The concept of The Turn House comes from its executive chef and Howard County native, Thomas Zippelli, formerly of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Napa Valley and Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park in New York City.

Sustainability and seasonality is a focus of the restaurant, with 80% of the menu sourced from local farms within a 10-mile radius. Featured are hand-crafted cocktails, appetizers and main courses in the restaurant’s main dining room. The establishment is located at 11130 Willow Bottom Drive, Columbia.

Line of Sight Garners Federal Government Contract

Ellicott City-based Line of Sight has announced that the U.S. Treasury Bureau of the Fiscal Services’ Financial Services and Operations Branch has selected its team to lead a reorganization project. The reorganization is in response to a desire to provide dedicated leadership and organizational structure to allow new entities to focus on the needs of a changing financial landscape.

“Our work with various organizations within [the Bureau of Fiscal Services] reflects a true partnership,” said Line of Sight CEO Margaret Weinstein. For more than five years, Line of Sight has supported a variety of projects and initiatives, providing project management, change management, business process improvement and strategic consulting services.

MGM National Harbor to Open Dec. 8

MGM National Harbor will open Thursday, Dec. 8. Work on the $1.4 billion, 1 million-square-foot facility overlooking the Potomac River in Prince George’s County has been underway since mid-2014. The build has been complicated due to the site itself, weather delays and upgrades to the overall program that pushed up the price tag by roughly $500 million.

While the public opening is Dec. 8, MGM Resorts International is accepting hotel reservations for stays at National Harbor starting on Dec. 10. The resort features a 125,000-square-foot casino floor; 24-story, 308-room hotel; 15,000-square-foot, two-story conservatory with inaugural winter floral exhibit; 3,000-seat theater with flexible seating to accommodate all manner of events; 18,000 square feet of retail, celebrity chef-branded restaurants and a 10-eatery dining hall; a 5,000-space parking garage; 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space; and a spa.

Tecore’s 4G LTE MVP Core to Provide GSM Fallback to Existing Network

Hanover-based Tecore Networks, a supplier of mobile network infrastructure, has announced that its Mobility Virtualized Platform (MVP) has been selected by Blue Arcus Technologies for deployment in the Marshall Islands.

Tecore’s MVP was selected based on its scalability and capabilities of the LTE Core Network upon the completion of an intensive evaluation. In addition, the platform includes the Mobility Management Entity, Serving Gateway, Packet Data Network Gateway, Home Subscriber Server, Voice over LTE and Circuit Switched Fallback to the existing GSM network. The new LTE network will greatly improve telecommunications in a region that has long been underserved due to its remote location in the Pacific.

Kittleman Seeks Expansion of Senior Tax Credit, Creation of Aging-in-Place Tax Credit

To help Howard County seniors and retired military age in place, County Executive Allan Kittleman announced he will seek expansion of the Senior Tax Credit and the creation of additional tax credits for eligible homeowners. Kittleman said the reason to expand tax credits comes as the overall county population continues to age: In 2010, 10% of residents were 65 or older; by 2025, that number will increase to 18%; and by 2035, nearly 22%.

Providing additional services to the county’s senior population has been a priority since taking office, Kittleman said. He has elevated the county’s Office on Aging and Independence administrator to a cabinet-level position and has renamed all senior centers to 50+ Centers to accommodate the growing demand for services, including from aging Baby Boomers.

Currently, the Senior Tax Credit is granted to property owners who are at least 70 years old, use the property as their principal residence and live in a household with combined gross income not exceeding 500% of the federal poverty guidelines for a household of two, which is about $80,000 for fiscal 2017. The household must have a net worth that does not exceed $500,000.

Kidera and Students at the Bernice Kish Gallery

The Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House, 10400 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia, has announced a group exhibit in the galleries through December. Brenda Kidera and Students will show their work in the Lobby and Bill White Room Galleries. The exhibit, titled “Oil and Water” will run until Dec. 17.

Kidera and her students meet weekly to hone their skills in oil and watercolor. Many of these artists are professional in their own right, as signature members of arts organizations. The 25-plus exhibiting artists include Cindy Aaron, Janet Arsenault, Mary Jeanne Coles, Karen Schuster and Brenda Kidera. For more information, call 410-730-3987 or 301-596-4883.

KatzAbosch to Hold First Government Contracting Symposium

To help business leaders grow and advance in the government contracting space KatzAbosch, a regional CPA and business consulting firm, is holding its first annual Government Contracting Symposium. The free seminar will be held on Thursday, Nov. 10, at The Hotel at Arundel Preserve, Hanover.

The seminar is designed to help business leaders overcome the challenging issues in government contracting. The one-day program will address critical issues around: trends occurring in the industry, creating marketplace diversification, growing your business through teaming arrangements and the new GSA reporting requirements.

MVA Opens Self-Service VEIP Kiosk in Columbia

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) have opened the 10th self-service Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) kiosk, located at 6340 Woodside Court, Columbia, at the full-service Howard County VEIP station.

Like the other nine self-service kiosks, which are installed at existing VEIP and MVA offices throughout the state, the new Howard County self-service kiosk is available 24/7. As part of Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan to reduce fees, the emissions test cost at the kiosks was reduced from $14 to $10 in February 2016, and has resulted in a savings of $45,252 for Maryland residents. The kiosks have performed 13,246 VEIP tests and have an overall customer satisfaction rating of 89%, with a 90% customer satisfaction rating in September.

Ball Proposes Legislation to Study County Policies, Procurement Practices for Minority-Owned Businesses

Howard County Council Chairperson Calvin Ball filed legislation, Council Resolution 180-2016, calling on the Howard County Human Rights Commission to study the recruitment, hiring, promotion and retention practices of the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, Howard County Sheriff’s Office, Howard County Police Department and Howard County Public School System relating to discriminatory practices in Howard County.

The following data is the most recent report from the county Office of Human Resources.

Since Sept. 1, 2014, the Howard County Police Department has hired 87 employees. Of those, 67 are white and 56 are male; and of those that were hired as sworn officers, 44 are white, five are non-white and five are female.

Since September 2012, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services has hired 78 employees. Of those, 42 are white and 58 are male.

Since September 2014, the Howard County Sheriff Department has hired 10 employees, of those seven are white and eight are male.

According to the Howard County Public School System, more than 86% of the newly hired teachers are white; more than 75% of the certificated, management and technical staff in the Howard County Public School System are white; and more than 75% of school administrators are white.

In addition, Ball filed a companion piece of legislation, Council Resolution 181-2016, requesting the Howard County Equal Business Opportunity Commission (EBOC) to analyze the practices, policies and procedures of the county’s Equal Business Opportunity Program and its success regarding its efforts to promote the use of minorities, women and disabled business enterprises in governmental purchasing and contracting. The proposed legislation also calls on the commission to review and make recommendations based upon the best practices of neighboring jurisdictions.

The fiscal 2016 Office of Purchasing Annual Report included the following information.

  • Of the 30,457 businesses in Howard County, 34.4% of them are minority-owned.
  • Women- and minority-owned businesses received 28.35%, or $62.24 million, in county purchasing in fiscal 2015; and 24.85%, or $47.7 million, in fiscal 2016.
  • EBO vendors hold 14.33% of all Howard County requirements contracts.
  • The number of companies receiving Howard County EBO certification continues to increase. In fiscal 2016, the EBOC approved a total of 222 certifications; 116 were new certifications and 106 were re-certifications. Also, 25% of the firms certified are based in Howard County, 63% are located elsewhere in Maryland and the remaining 12% are out of state.

The county’s goal is to award 15% of the total amount of contracts directly to EBO vendors every fiscal year and a 10% subcontracting goal on contracts valued at $50,000 or more.

The proposed legislation will be introduced at the Howard County Council’s legislative session on Nov. 7; testimony will be accepted at the regularly scheduled public hearing on Nov. 21.

To sign up to testify, visit https://apps.howardcountymd.gov/otestimony. If you would like to submit your testimony electronically, email councilmail@howardcountymd.gov.

Hogan Announces Funding to Fight Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking

Gov. Larry Hogan has announced that the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention has awarded a total of $2,367,650 in federal Violence Against Women Act grants to fund efforts to help protect women and families from domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking crimes.

Five organizations in Anne Arundel County will receive $186,491, while three entities in Howard County will garner a combined $108,931. The Anne Arundel organizations are: Office of the Secretary of State, $22,632; Department of Family Administration, $114,529; YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, $14,850; Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office, $20,000; and University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center, $14,480.

The Howard County organizations receiving the grants are: Howard County, Maryland, $45,000; HopeWorks of Howard County Inc., $54,413; and Howard County General Hospital, $9,518.

This federal funding comes from the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice, and is authorized by the Violence Against Women Act.

The Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized in 2013. It allocates its funding to services, training, law enforcement officers and prosecutors.

1st Mariner Hires New Managers

1st Mariner Bank, the largest independently owned bank in Baltimore City, recently hired new managers at its Ellicott City branch and all three of its Anne Arundel County branches. Stephen Smidt will serve as branch manager in Severna Park, Barbara Ritenour in Glen Burnie, Robin Martin in Annapolis and Ron Battle in Ellicott City.

In addition to these new hires in Anne Arundel County and Ellicott City, five other new branch managers have been hired within the last year, revamping the leadership in the majority of 1st Mariner’s 14 total branch locations in Maryland.

Post Native Serving on USS Topeka

Lt. J.G. Christopher Reynolds, a Fort Meade native who is a 2010 Meade Senior High and U.S. Naval Academy graduate, is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard the USS Topeka. The submarine is based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.