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Decoding Millennials


Millennials have spoken: they want food trucks and festivals; bars and restaurants that stay open late; adults-only nights with painting, skating and trivia. And preferably all
this on a budget.

After 820 millennials responded to a Columbia Association (CA) survey that closed in August, the CA Millennial Work Group unveiled a summary of those responses at
a public event Oct. 18 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion Community Room. Those gathered offered input into future recommendations the CA work group will make to
help determine how Columbia can better serve millennials.

What’s a millennial? Though exact definitions vary, for the purposes of the CA, millennials are between the ages of 17 and 35, and they make up about 25 percent of Columbia’s population.

The CA Millennial Work Group are volunteers who met monthly since February to discuss how the CA and Columbia can better satisfy the needs and interests of the millennial population.

The survey covered, among other subjects, how best to communicate with millennials, their most sought-after facilities or programs, and what they are looking for
around Columbia.

Survey says?

In a list of ten proposed activities, the most popular among millennials (81 percent) was “food truck centered events or festivals.”

The next most popular events were “bars/restaurants that stay open late” (60 percent) and “adult only nights” (58 percent).

Millennials also wanted improved communication and engagement from the CA, with the preferred platforms being Facebook and email. They reported they want to be more involved in the community, but would rather be on a task force or engaged in a specific project than serve on a board.

When asked what Columbia most needed, millennials requested more opportunities to socialize, convenient places to walk to (and reasons to go) and gathering areas that feel updated, innovative, and new.

Response to the survey was heaviest from people ages 31-35 (43 percent), and lightest from those ages 17-20 (7 percent). Seventy-four percent of respondents live in Columbia, 31 percent work in Columbia, and 20 percent both live and work in Columbia. During the Oct. 18 event, the CA collected cards to gather further input.


Some of what Columbia’s millennials are requesting or suggesting may not fall under the CA’s purview, noted Jason Jannati, chairperson of the CA Millennial Work Group. But knowing better what this population wants will help to make future recommendations, said, Jannati, 32, an Oakland Mills High School graduate who is chief development officer for Power52 Energy Solutions, a corporation that focuses on developing, financing, and constructing clean energy solutions.

“The first thing that stuck out to me was how wide that age range is: 17-35. We needed to look at different needs,” Jannati said. “I know I have a different need set than somebody right out of college and we wanted to be aware of that.”

The most significant difference coloring the preferences of millennials is whether or not they have kids, said Jannati: “Everything changes when the strollers get involved.”

The survey is the first-ever in-depth look that CA has taken about millennials, said Jessica Bellah, a CA community planner.

“We’ve looked at older adults. It was time to look at what young adults need because they are a pretty large contingent of the population. And we want to have millennials themselves guide the process,” Bellah said.


The survey results — and the ensuing recommendations — will give businesses as well as the CA the opportunity to engage with millennials, said Bellah. In looking at which CA facilities most appeal to young adults, the survey found the Supreme Sports Club got higher ratings because it’s open 24 hours, seven days a week to meet a wide range of work and family schedules.

“With this population, timelines need to be broadened,” she said. “Millennials go into work early and come home late. They have longer commuting times. The want classes and facilities that are open to meet their hourly needs.”

Bellah pointed out that entrepreneurs might note that many millennials seem to want more non-chain restaurants. “This is not something the CA offers but could be a window of opportunity for a startup business.”

Columbia is often cited as a great place to live, work and play, but millennials would like more chances to identify with the “play” aspect, said Jannati.

Bellah added: “When we ask what attracts people to Columbia, we found people love the trees, the pathways, the environment. What people want is an urban core and a great landscape.”

Q&A With Jamie Brown – Mother Nature Can’t Stop This Farm


While it makes sense to think fall would be the busiest season at a farm that grows pumpkins, turkeys and Christmas trees, but that’s not the whole story.

At TLV (as in Triadelphia Lake View) Tree Farm, of Glenelg. Owner Jamie Brown and his family offer much more year ’round, while he serves the multiple roles –  marketer, financial analyst, buyer, meteorologist, etc. –  that all farmers do. He recently spoke with The Business Monthly.

What’s your busiest time of the year?

We’re busy all year, but the busiest months are still November and December.

How many trees do you sell during the holiday season?

Last year, we sold 3,000 Christmas trees; cutting your own is $54 for firs, $46 for white pines. That’s a good year and that’s been the norm for the past two years. We’d love to sell 5,000, but it’s hard to plan far enough in advance when it takes seven years to grow a tree; today, we plant about 1,000 trees on each of our 45 acres. During the 2008-09 recession, we dropped down to 2,300 trees, so we didn’t plant as many in the ensuing years; but about three years ago, we started planting more. Only 75 percent of what we plant go to sale. The excess is used for wreaths, mulch, etc.

How do you prepare for each tree season?

Every year, I buy 10,000 seedlings and six tons of fertilizer. When you figure in chemicals., that’s about a $5,000 investment per year. Then we have to mow in between the trees every two weeks, with three heavy-duty mowers that cost about $20,000 each.

How does your pumpkin crop look this year?

I lost about 90 percent of it to the rain, as did all of the other farmers on the East Coast. I had to bring in most of our stock from the Midwest.

What led you into the turkey market for the first time this year?

Only one other farm in Howard County produces turkeys, and that’s Maple Lawn Farms. The Iager family has done a wonderful job for several decades, but I think the county has grown enough to accommodate another turkey farm. So, we invested $180,000 in a new barn this spring, and received 2,500 turkeys this past June. Now, we’re accepting orders for Thanksgiving at the farm, at farmer’s markets and online.

Do you find participating in farmer’s markets to be effective marketing?

No, because there are too many of them. If people would travel 10 miles to a central location once a week, that would be much better than having several markets scattered around the county. When we started going that route 30 years ago in Oakland Mills, there were 17 vendors; now there are many more markets with about a dozen vendors at each. Only so many can make money. If there are too many vendors offering one type of produce, like veggies, it won’t work.

How has the local “farm-to-table” trend affected your bottom line?

It’s helped. It’s made the public more aware of local farms and what produce is available to them. The worst part is that we’re still mainly a seasonal industry. Trying to grow veggies in greenhouses and hothouses during the colder months, for instance, isn’t worth the effort, because paying for the heat makes it too expensive.

What are your thoughts on the organic movement?

I don’t believe in organic farming because some of the organic farmers are using more chemicals to kill bugs than someone like I do within an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. Also, when you read about organic tomatoes and greens, for instance, they don’t have the nutrients that people using IPM offer with their product. The public doesn’t read enough about this topic. Organics are not only not really better for you, they may not have much nutritional value as IPM products. That’ll draw an argument, but that’s how I feel.

What is the idea behind Community Supported Agriculture?

The concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) calls for customers to buy shares from a farm during peak season and help us with start-up costs by buying half or full shares, then coming to the farm once a week and picking up up to seven different items, from corn to honey, from apples to okra, from eggplant to hard squash. The cost ranges from $350 to $600 for the season. Customers can also buy egg shares and protein shares, too.

Tell us about your Farmer Brown Camp and the need to attract the farmers of tomorrow.

We started it two years ago. A former middle school teacher of mine, Charlie Ashcraft, is retired and had been helping me do October tours; two years ago, we realized the need to educate children and consumers about how farming works. It’s gone well. The first year we had 18 kids and we had 35 this past summer. It costs $300 per kid; for adults, our one-day camp is $50 per person and $80 per couple.

TLV Tree Farm is truly a family business.

How often has TLV expanded or lessened its offerings?

We’ve been here since 1896. During my era, we’ve expanded our offerings every year. In the ’80s, we were a dairy farm, but we sold the cows in 1983; we planted the first Christmas trees in 1985, so in 1992 TLV became a tree farm. During the interim, we also grew vegetables, hay, straw and commodities, which we still do on our 89-acre farm; we rent the remaining 700 acres from other farmers who are no longer farming, but hold farmland are in preservation zones within a 12-mile radius of TLV.

What’s your take on the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act?

The federal government has to work on the J-1 Visa Act. Many farmers are having trouble finding help to work on their farms. We have three people working here now; ideally, we’d be employing six or seven workers.

What are your thoughts on the 2018 Farm Bill?

Hopefully, trade agreements will boost commodity prices. To get something, you have to give something; the government is subsidizing farmers, mostly in the Midwest, for soy beans and corn. Hopefully, that will keep them going and next year will be better. I’m more on the retail sales side, so it doesn’t affect me much.

What do you consider your greatest challenge?

Dealing with Mother Nature. This year, she has taken a higher toll on our business. The rains cost us about $150,000 in products. In this industry, estimating your gross revenues is always a crap shoot. However, in 2019, there could be a drought. That’s why we diversify.

How many times have you had a developer offer to buy the farm?

Never, since we’ve been in preservation since 1982. My parents did sell some of the land years ago for $1,300 per acre; now, the price would be $40,000 an acre. But it’s not for sale, anyway. I want my family to take it over.

Have you ever thought of getting into another business?

No. Farming is in my blood.

Kittleman Seeks Members for Commission


Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is seeking applicants who are interested in serving on the Commission for Women. The new board member will serve the remainder of a five-year term, set to expire Nov. 3, 2022. To be eligible for consideration, candidates must be Howard County residents, 18 years of age or older, have an interest in women’s equality and be able to attend the commission’s meetings.

The meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Department of Community Resources and Services office, 9830 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia. Applicants should send a resume and a brief letter explaining why they want to serve on the commission to the Howard County Government, Office of the County Executive, Attn: David Lee, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, Md. 21043. The names of eligible applicants will be submitted to the county executive for approval and then to the county council for confirmation. The deadline to apply is Friday, Nov. 16.

For more information about the Commission for Women, contact the Department of Community Resource and Services at 410-313-6400 or visit www.howardcountymd.gov/CFW.

New Ambulance Coming to Howard County


The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services will be receiving a Horton model 603 Ambulance, which will be the first of its kind in the fleet. The ambulance will be on a Ford F550 4-by-4 chassis, which provides a shorter turning radius than a standard ambulance for maneuverability on tight streets and 4-wheel drive to respond during weather emergencies.

The vehicle will also be equipped with a new-to-Howard County technology, the ZeroRPM idle mitigation system. The system will allow the ambulance’s engine to shut off when the vehicle is idling while continuing to power the rest of the ambulance’s systems for up to two hours before restarting the engine to recharge.

Ambulances on average idle an estimated four hours during every eight-hour shift. By allowing the engine to shut off during idling, nearly 7,300 gallons of fuel will be saved during the life of the vehicle. This also reduces the amount of preventative maintenance required and extends the life of the vehicle, saving taxpayers more money while the vehicle is in the fleet. The vehicle is expected to be placed in service in late spring 2019. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this would be the same greenhouse gas pollution reduction as planting 1,681 trees, taking 14 cars off the road for a year, powering 10 single family homes for a year or replacing 2,171 incandescent lamps with LEDs.

The county will also be replacing 72 vehicles to assist the police and sheriff’s departments during the next several months. By restructuring the procurement process and leveraging the buying power of the County for these vehicles, while reducing the amount of post-purchase upfitting, the County was able to save over $600 per vehicle.

Vision Technologies Awarded Large Contracts


Glen Burnie-based Vision Technologies has announced two new deals that total more than $93 million. One deal is with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which awarded the company a comprehensive information technology (IT) cabling and AV solution order under the General Services Administration (GSA) Connections II contract. The five-task order awards allow the SEC to spend up to $60 million with Vision during the next seven years.

Vision was also awarded a complete IT support contract with a ceiling value of $33.6 million by Northampton County, Pa. Under this potential 13-year, IT-managed services contract, Vision will provide full-time staff to manage all IT services for the county leadership and all its departments, from the director of information services to the IT help desk staff, and all IT services/staff in between.

Entegra Systems Acquires Southern Cross


Entegra Systems Inc., has acquired of Cruzeiro Associates, an Ellicott City firm doing business as Southern Cross Engineering. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Southern Cross develops solutions for mobile device management, satellite communications and data analytics for U.S. government customers, and offers expertise in the areas of systems and communications engineering, signals analysis, software development and other disciplines.

“Joining Entegra Systems provides a unique opportunity for us to work with like-minded professionals on mission critical solutions for defense, intelligence and other federal government customers,” said Ed Bishop, senior vice president of Southern Cross, who will become part of the leadership team of Entegra. “The larger company of 150 employees will create a broader spectrum of exciting projects for the newly-formed team.”

Alpha Ridge Landfill to Grow


Responding to community demand for composting resources Howard County announced a significant expansion to the county’s facility at the Alpha Ridge Landfill in Marriottsville. In this phase of the composting program, the county is more than doubling its ability to collect food scraps and produce HoCoGro organic products.

The facility has added 10 concrete bunkers with state-of-the-art moisture and odor control systems to house food scrap and yard trim collections. Previously, the composting was managed in aerated windrows or above ground “piles” with the capacity of only four bunkers. The new processing facility procedures will be refined during the annual surge of fall yard waste collections. Additional improvements will include new infrastructure enhancements, such as roadways, enhanced water pumps and a building to house the grinding machinery.

Beginning in spring 2019, curbside food scrap collections will be offered in three additional collection zones, an increase from 14,000 homes in Elkridge and Clarksville to approximately 30,000 total households.

Howard Launches Route 1 Plan


Howard County has launched the Route 1 Corridor Master Plan that encompasses transportation, infrastructure, land use and economic development strategies to improve its quality of life. The process will produce development and design scenarios, and identify ways to implement them, based on market realities.

Land use and transportation analysis are at the core of the initiative, along with input gathered through a series of public engagement meetings. The effort will build on previous Route 1 studies, such as the recent U.S. 1 Safety Evaluation, and broader projects such as HoCode Rewrite, the county’s zoning code update.

Public workshops to discuss the plan are scheduled for Nov. 14 and 15. A corridor analysis and conceptual design scenarios (the preliminary results of this research) are anticipated to be presented to the public by the consultant team, RKG Associates, in spring 2019; the initiative is scheduled for completion in fall 2019.

North Laurel/Savage Open House
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
North Laurel Community Center, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Chesapeake Multi-Purpose Room
9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, Laurel, MD 20723

Elkridge Open House
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Elkridge Library, 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Belmont/Hockley Room
6541 Washington Boulevard, Elkridge, MD  21075

Leadership Applications Due Oct. 31


Leadership Maryland has requested that all applicants for the Class of 2019 must be submitted online at www.LeadershipMD.org by 5 p.m., on Wednesday, Oct. 31. At that point, the selection committee will choose 52 applicants to complete an eight-month, hands-on learning program focused on the state’s most vital social, economic and environmental issues. The Class of 2019 will be announced in early February 2019.

Information regarding Leadership Maryland’s application instructions, selection process, tuition and financial assistance, program dates and locations, and attendance policy are available at www.LeadershipMD.org. For more information, call 410-841-2101 or Info@LeadershipMD.org.

ACell, Southmedic Launch New Product


Columbia-based ACell, and Southmedic, have announced the Canadian launch of Cytal Wound Matrix and MicroMatrix devices. Cytal Wound Matrix (1-, 2-, 3- and 6-layer), Cytal Burn Matrix and MicroMatrix are all comprised of ACell’s proprietary MatriStem UBM (Urinary Bladder Matrix) technology, and facilitate the remodeling of functional, site-appropriate tissue. The products may be utilized to manage a variety of complex acute and chronic wounds.

“We have been pleased to partner with Southmedic over the last year to successfully market their Dynamic Tissue Systems product line in the U.S.,” said Patrick McBrayer, ACell President and CEO. “Our collaborative relationship will now offer physicians and patients in Canada an exciting and effective new option for treating hard-to-heal wounds.”

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