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Few state poultry operations pass water quality inspections

Image by Andreas Göllner from Pixabay

Eighty four percent of the 182 Maryland poultry operations inspected by the state between 2017 and 2020 had one or more violations of their state water pollution control permits. But only four facilities – or two percent of the total – paid penalties, according to public records reviewed by the Environmental Integrity Project.

About two thirds of the poultry operations that failed inspections had a waste management problem, such as manure left outside where rain can wash it into waterways, inadequate waste storage facilities, or unsanitary disposal of dead chickens.

And more than half of the poultry farms for which records were available in 2019 reported to the state that they spread manure on their crops in amounts greater than allowed under their nutrient management plans, which is illegal. However, the state imposed no penalties for these violations.

Maryland’s lack of enforcement of the poultry industry has had a damaging impact on the Eastern Shore’s waterways, where phosphorus pollution and algae levels have not improved over the last two decades, according to a pair of reports by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), “Blind Eye to Big Chicken” and “Stagnant Waters.”

The reports are based on an examination of more than 5,000 pages of Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) inspection reports and Annual Implementation Reports filed with the Maryland Department of the Agriculture (MDA) by poultry farmers, as well as state water quality monitoring data. Public records are limited to poultry operations that apply waste to their own fields, while the majority of poultry litter generated every year is shipped offsite for use by other farms.

EIP’s report, “Blind Eye to Big Chicken,” documents how Maryland’s program to limit water pollution from poultry operations is riddled with gaps that make it nearly impossible to hold the industry accountable for pollution.

The number of poultry farms inspected by MDE on an annual basis has fallen by 40 percent since 2013, even as the number of permitted operations has grown slightly, according to state records. MDE inspected an average of 218 operations a year from 2013 through 2017, but only 134 per year from 2018 through 2020, with the decline predating the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than two-thirds of poultry operations were not inspected at all between 2017 and 2020, state records show. To make matters worse, when state inspectors do show up, they are not allowed to take soil samples to determine whether fields are saturated with nutrients and likely to run off into public waterways. State inspectors also do not sample for ammonia air pollution from the exhaust fans of poultry houses, and they do not routinely test water from nearby streams and ditches. In short, the state’s inspections are limited to observing obvious problems – like uncovered manure piles open to rain and wind – and to review of the operator’s own records.

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Loyola opens new academic building

Loyola University Maryland celebrates the opening of the Miguel B. Fernandez Family Center for Innovation and Collaborative Learning – the most important large-scale academic renovation on Loyola’s Evergreen campus in 10 years. The dynamic, state-of-the-art building is designed to help students innovate, learn, collaborate, and propel their careers forward.

“The opening of the Fernandez Center for Innovation and Collaboration marks a new chapter in Loyola University Maryland’s nearly 170-year history as we transform our Academic Quadrangle into a contemporary hub for the Evergreen campus,” said Amanda Thomas, interim president of Loyola. “The launch of the new Fernandez Center strengthens Loyola’s active engagement in a movement to focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, and design thinking.”

The University began envisioning the project four years ago. In February 2020, the University broke ground on the new 35,000-square-foot building, which is adjacent to a completely reimagined and renovated Beatty Hall. The construction project in effect doubles the size of Beatty Hall while preserving the architectural beauty of the historic building.

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Lehman joins TEDCO as policy chief

TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, has selected Mindy Lehman as the new chief government relations and policy officer. Lehman brings over 20 years of experience leading government affairs and serving as representative at the state and federal levels.

Lehman held executive leadership roles at Maryland Bankers Association (MBA) for more than 14 years. During her time at MBA, she led governmental affairs and served as an advocate for the industry at all levels of Maryland government.

She also represented MBA at the state and federal level on regulatory and policy issues that emerged from the 2008 housing market crisis and most recently the pandemic. Mindy worked closely with MBA leadership on COVID-19 related initiatives, including: the Paycheck Protection Program; Governor’s Executive Orders; public and private partnerships; and industry efforts to assist customers during financial hardship.

Additionally, she spearheaded MBA’s innovative Emerging Leader program, a flagship offering designed to help build diversity and inclusion while giving participants a unique opportunity to connect with Maryland and national industry leaders.

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HRCP’s Exponential Power acquires Static Power, Dry Creek

Image by naor eliyahu from Pixabay

High Road Capital Partners (HRCP) announced that its portfolio company Exponential Power has completed the acquisitions of Static Power Conversion Services, of Columbia, and Dry Creek Enterprises, marking the third and fourth acquisitions for Exponential under High Road’s ownership, which began in 2017.

Founded by John Marino in 1999 and based in Bakersfield, Calif., Dry Creek Enterprises provides custom DC battery system design, project management, and battery testing, maintenance, and repair, as well as installation and removal services, to a variety of locations with critical power needs, including power plants, refineries, emergency response systems, and off-grid backup systems.

“The partnership is a great addition to Exponential Power,” said CEO Jake Walker. “John and his team bring a solid track record and unwavering passion for delivering exceptional service to the reserve power industry.” He added that the acquisition “expands our West Coast service presence and supplements our existing businesses extremely well, while aligning with our strategic vision.”

Static Power Conversion Services has provided comprehensive engineering, sales, and service to users and manufacturers of critical power systems for nearly four decades. Static Power was co-owned by Ruth McFadden, president; Andrew Nauman, vice president and director of technical services; and Robert De Lauter, operations manager, who will remain involved in the business.

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AACC Health & Life Sciences Building opens

The new Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) Health & Life Sciences Building has opened. The building will help future professionals respond to the needs of their community with compassion and curiosity, equipped with the latest technology.

“Research shows there is a shift occurring in education from a traditional to a more creative, active, high-tech, interdisciplinary learning community,” said President Dawn Lindsay at the event. “This building will promote a culture of life-long learning with a focus on student completion, meeting the diverse needs of the community while eliminating the barriers for student success by accommodating a variety of learning styles.”

Highlights of the 175,000-square-foot, three-story state-of-the-art learning environment include:

  • 18 biology labs and 20 health science labs that engage students with industry-standard, hands-on work
  • Space for expansion of the college’s nationally ranked nursing program
  • Computer-controlled manikins that mimic patient conditions
  • Simulation labs for clinical rotations and real-world emergency response practice
  • An environmental center with cutting-edge research contributing to the region’s environmental health
  • A greenhouse and aquaculture labs
  • A white box theater-style area that provides a highly flexible space
  • Varied interprofessional learning spaces to bring more collaboration among similar programs of study

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, construction stayed on track, starting in May 2018 and finishing at the initial end date of June 2021. Costs also stayed on track: AACC was awarded the roughly $8 million design contract to the design firm SmithGroup and the $96.2 million construction project to The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. The equipment and furnishings budget was around $13 million, making the total cost of the county/ state funded project approximately $117 million.

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CAC Howard’s Dayhoff to retire

Bita Dayhoff

The Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC), Howard County’s designated anti-poverty organization, announced that the nonprofit’s president, Bita Dayhoff, is retiring after 32 years with the organization. Under Dayhoff’s leadership, CAC has transformed significantly, creating a culture and organizational systems that have sparked innovative thinking, promoted equity and delivered excellent service.

Dayhoff dramatically increased the total number of individuals CAC served from 3,000 a year to 53,000 per year, enabling CAC to reach a significant portion of Howard County’s citizens in need. In addition, Dayhoff increased the total number of service points by 2,700 percent.

Under Dayhoff’s leadership, the number of children served in the Head Start program increased from 182 to 362. Most recently, Dayhoff secured funding and the location for the opening of the Bauder Education Center, a state-of-the-art early childhood education center in the Village of Long Reach community.

In addition, Dayhoff led Howard County’s design, launch, and implementation of the two Generational Case Management approach developed by the Aspen Institute as a robust vision to support a family’s well-being and lead them to self-sufficiency. The model of service is now funded state-wide by the Governor and lauded as a means to bring an end to the cycle of poverty.

Seeing a drastic increase in food insecurity throughout Howard County, in 2017, Dayhoff secured funding to purchase the Howard County Food Bank as a permanent and centralized location to serve the most vulnerable residents of the community with the “customer choice” grocery store model. Its design has been replicated in Maryland and nationally.

In addition, Dayhoff assisted the nonprofit with the following:

  • CAC has been named one of the Baltimore Sun’s Top 100 Employers.
  • CAC earned a Better Business Bureau certification and is nationally accredited for its Head Start program.
  • CAC has received numerous awards including the Excellence in Service Award from the ARC of Howard County, Howard County’s Human Rights Commission’s first Human Rights Award and the Global Poverty Award.
  • CAC was first in the nation to bring together different branches of federal, state and local government and reach an agreement to blend their funds to expand Head Start services from part-day part-year to full-day full-year, which later opened the door to adding Before and After Care to CAC’s programming in order to support parents joining the workforce with full-time employment.

A nationwide search for Dayhoff’s replacement will begin soon and the next president and CEO will be announced in spring 2022.

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Ball announces $500K in Howard Innovation Grants

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has launched $500,000 in grant funding for non-profits to design and implement forward-thinking, emerging, and creative ideas to support the community.

The Transform Howard Innovation Grants will accept applications for five categories focused on students, infrastructure, residents, cybersecurity, and the environment. Grant awards will range from $5,000 to $50,000. Applications are open through November 19th and can be completed at www.howardcountymd.gov/innovation-grants.

Applications will be accepted for the following grant categories:

  • Reliable & Accessible Infrastructure – Modernization, Technology, or Equity in Digital Access
  • Ready & Successful Students – Youth Education and Empowerment
  • Thriving & Healthy Residents – Next Generation Storytellers
  • Safe & Engaged – Improving Cybersecurity and Resilience
  • Clean & Sustainable Environment – Innovation in Sustainability

Howard County will also be offering two information sessions for potential grantees and their partners to engage with staff and learn more about the application process. The first session is Monday November 1st from 9:30-10:30 a.m., and a second session will be offered on Thursday, November 4th from 3-4 p.m. Interested parties can register for the sessions at www.howardcountymd.gov/innovation-grants.

Application Requirements

  • Applicants must demonstrate that the organization is a 501c(3) and in good standing.
  • Applicants must provide direct services to the residents of Howard County. Maryland (if the agency serves a larger geographic area, funding may only be requested for those services offered within Howard County, Maryland).
  • Alignment with at least one of the grant categories.
  • Organization demonstrates equitable partnerships with other non-profit organizations. Specifically, the non-profit must be able to show the collaboration and willingness of the partnership with other organizations.

The Transform Howard Innovation Grants build on County Executive Ball’s original round of Innovation Grants distributed in February 2020, which awarded eight grantees with a total of $225,000. The Ball Administration also distributed $1 million in CARES Act Funding to Howard County non-profits through the Rise to the Challenge grants in August 2020.

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Catalent expanding Harmans campus

Somerset, N.J.-based Catalent, which enables biopharma, cell, gene and consumer health partners to optimize development, launch, and supply of better patient treatments across multiple modalities, has announced a $230 million expansion. The project calls for the addition of three further commercial-scale viral vector manufacturing suites and associated support facilities and services at its gene therapy campus in Harmans.

The campus includes a now fully operational, state-of-the-art U.S. FDA- and EMA-approved facility comprising 10 commercial-scale manufacturing suites. A second facility is under construction following an initial $130 million investment by Catalent in 2020, which will add five new manufacturing suites expected to be operational mid-2022. This latest investment will include the construction of three additional multi-room commercial suites, as well as expanding the site’s storage capabilities for just-in-time inventory space, ultra-low temperature freezers, and its water-for-injection infrastructure.

When complete at the end of 2022, the campus will house a total of 18 Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) viral vector manufacturing suites, each designed to accommodate multiple bioreactors up to 2,000-liter scale and enable the execution of commercial manufacturing from cell bank to purified drug substance.

Other facilities, including multi-story parking and an onsite cafeteria, are planned for the campus to support the significant anticipated growth in employee numbers. The expansion will see the creation of more than 700 new technical, scientific, and operational employment positions during the next six years.

“Catalent is committed to continuous improvement and growing with our customers’ futures in mind. This necessitates that we consistently incorporate our own learnings and the latest developments in CGMP manufacturing into our new and existing facilities and operations, to help assure quality and de-risk processes,” said Manja Boerman, president, Catalent Cell & Gene Therapy. “By applying the expertise we have gained from the last three years of operating our flagship gene therapy commercial facility, we are able to continue to expand our campus with a design layout that is innovative, efficient, and provides ultimate flexibility for our customers.”

The Harmans/BWI campus has a total footprint of approximately 350,000 square feet and is part of Catalent’s Maryland-based network of gene therapy, plasmid DNA and oncolytic virus facilities that offer horizontally integrated solutions to support advanced therapy programs from gene to clinic.

The recent addition of process development and CGMP production of plasmid DNA at multiple scales at its Rockville facility, together with its process development and CGMP cleanroom suites for early-phase viral vector programs at Baltimore BioPark, located at the University of Maryland, provide the foundation for Catalent’s commercial gene therapy manufacturing services.

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Awarded contracts

Gloria Larkin

The following information regarding awarded contracts can be used to develop prime contractor, subcontractor and teaming partner relationships on these and other opportunities. The website for each awardee is also provided. For more information, contact TargetGov: 410-579-1346 x 325.

Oceaneering International Inc., Hanover, has been awarded an $18,914,424 contract for the continuation of the Navy’s submarine rescue program with the Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. https://www.oceaneering.com/locations/

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Linthicum Heights, is awarded a $28,700,000 contract for Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar systems under the Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia. https://www.northropgrumman.com/who-we-are/contact-us-northrop-grumman/

Enlighten IT Consulting LLC, Linthicum Heights, has been awarded a $12,353,851 price modification to a previously awarded contract adding the Coast Guard services to the existing ELICSAR Big Data Platform contract under the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Joint-Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. https://www.eitccorp.com/#contact

BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services Inc., Rockville, has been awarded a $17,058,653 contract modification to a previously awarded contract to provide logistics, engineering, and integration support under the Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C. https://www.baesystems.com/en-us/contactus

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Linthicum, has been awarded a $12,850,000 price modification to a previously awarded contract providing the retrofit of Airborne Electronic Attack Weapons Replacement Assembly under the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD. https://www.northropgrumman.com/who-we-are/contact-us-northrop-grumman/

Sodexo Management Inc., Gaithersburg, has been awarded a $7,935,996 modification to a contract for nutrition care management and clerical services under the U.S. Army Health Contracting Activity, San Antonio, Texas. https://us.sodexo.com/contact.html

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore, has been awarded a $137,351,160 contract for the replacement of facilities damaged by earthquakes under the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command, Southwest, San Diego, California. https://www.whiting-turner.com/contact-us/

Jacobs Technology Inc., Severn, has been awarded an $8,849,269 contract for research and development of artificial intelligence capabilities under the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. https://www.jacobs.com/contact

Raytheon Co., Aberdeen Proving Ground, has been awarded a $17,508,265 contract for APX-119 transponders, digital control panels, and crypto modules under the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. https://www.rtx.com/contacts

Eccalon LLC, Hanover, has been awarded a $16,546,326 modification to a contract to provide National Security Technology Accelerator Program support under the Washington Headquarters Services, Arlington, Virginia. https://www.eccalon.com/index.html

Omitron Inc., Beltsville, has been awarded a $11,860,250 contract for continued Space Sensor Calibration Software development under the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. http://www.omitron.com/service-title-1/

International Business Machines Corp., Bethesda, was awarded a $138,354,210 contract to provide information technology services under the U.S. Army Contracting Command, New Jersey. https://www.ibm.com/contact/us/en/?lnk=flg-cont-usen

 

Gloria Larkin is president and CEO of TargetGov, American Express Procurement Advisor and a national expert in business development in the government markets.  Email glorialarkinTG@targetgov.com, visit www.targetgov.com or call toll-free 1-866-579-1346 x 325 for more information.

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Shore Bancshares, Severn Bancorp merger approved

Shore Bancshares, the holding company of Shore United Bank and Severn Bancorp, the holding company of Severn Savings Bank, announced that, at special meetings of their respective shareholders held on Oct. 22, Shore’s shareholders approved the merger of Severn with and into Shore.

Shore will be the surviving corporation, with the issuance of shares of Shore’s common stock to the shareholders of Severn pursuant to that certain Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated March 3. Subject to customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be consummated effective as of Oct. 31.

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