Frederick County is home to a flourishing city of the same name.

Frederick County is home to a flourishing city of the same name.

MDBIZ News plans to feature every Maryland county in its weekly “Building your Maryland business” series. If you are a representative of a county economic development group, please contact the editor, Emily Pope, at

The New York Times once described the area as a “masterpiece in Maryland, the classic American story of home, church, school and work.”

Frederick County continues to impress today, with its prime location, diversified economy and business-friendly regulatory environment.

Located in the northern part of Maryland, between borders with Pennsylvania and Virginia, the county’s landscape includes mountains, Civil War battlefields, a major government installation, high tech industry, prestigious educational facilities and a flourishing city of the same name. The county is also conveniently located within an hour drive of Washington, D.C., Baltimore City and three major airports.

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High school students participate in the 2013 Maryland Cyber Challenge.

Students participate in the 2013 Maryland Cyber Challenge.

Maryland’s reputation for excellence in cybersecurity will be showcased to the world this fall in Baltimore.

Scheduled October 29-30 at the Baltimore Convention Center, the fourth annual CyberMaryland Conference promises to bring together the innovators, educators, companies and resources developing cyber defense in Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley announced on Thursday. The conference’s main sponsor is the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

“Here in Maryland, our investments in our 21st century digital infrastructure have helped strengthen the security of our nation, address emergent cybersecurity challenges, and pave the way to create more jobs,” Governor O’Malley said. “CyberMaryland 2014 brings together entrepreneurs and established leaders in cybersecurity and information assurance, colleges and universities, and our partners in federal, state and local government to showcase Maryland as the nation’s epicenter of cybersecurity.”

Why should you consider registering? Here are ten reasons.

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Sitting down and having a conversation with a person, face to face, it tends to be fairly obvious if a person is feeling satisfied or frustrated, and whether a statement has real significance or is simply a passing observation.

But when communication is reduced to a quick online exchange in the form of a Facebook post, a tweet or a review, understanding significance and emotional context can be incredibly difficult, even more so for companies and organizations that process hundreds or even thousands of these feedback messages per day.

Synapsify, a technology company based in Bethesda, Maryland has a solution. The company has developed a unique tool for interpreting and prioritizing text and making analytical recommendations. It goes beyond categorizing positive, negative and neutral sentiment. Instead, it qualitatively scores and indexes text and patterns in terms of relevance, narrative and underlying thematic concepts.

The company’s innovative approach to managing feedback has attracted national media attention. Forbes named Synapsify one of the Top 10 Data Startups to Watch in 2013 and Gigaom awarded the company its Structure Award for Text Analytics.

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Jiffy Lube

Jiffy Lube owner John Way is participating in Governor Martin O’Malley’s Operation Hire program, Maryland’s 100-day veteran hiring challenge.

It was Veterans Day 2013, a chilly November morning, when John Way was approached by a young job seeker. The applicant was a veteran and Way, who owns two Jiffy Lube locations in the Baltimore area, immediately identified with him.

“I have a sign on my building that says ‘Veteran Owned and Operated.’ He felt that he would get a chance from me,” Way said. “I wasn’t going to create bad karma by not hiring a veteran on Veteran’s Day. He told me his story and absolutely, I helped him out.”

This experience led Way to launch a goal in January 2014, that at least 50 percent of his new hires would be veterans by the end of the year.

As Way continues to move toward his goal, he has joined forces with over 100 other businesses participating in Governor Martin O’Malley’s Operation Hire program, Maryland’s 100-day veteran hiring challenge. The challenge is working to raise awareness of veteran unemployment and available resources for companies and job seekers.

“If an average business owner like me can work harder to hire veterans, then anyone can do it. They just need the confidence to take that chance,” Way said.

Of course, according to Way’s employees, he is anything but “average.”

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omalley education

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has continued to invest in programs that support teachers, students, job training and academic research.

What do a highly skilled workforce, higher wages, decreased income inequality, stronger family-friendly communities and increased public safety have in common? All are associated with the presence of strong educational institutions.

Maryland’s education system—from preschool to Ph.D. programs, both public and private—plays an important role in preserving the State’s high quality of life.

Recognizing the importance of fostering excellence in education in Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley has continued to invest in programs that support teachers, students, job training and academic research.

For example, despite overall budget cuts, the FY 2015 budget includes a record $6.05 billion in K-12 education, $4.3 million in pre-kindergarten opportunities and $275 million in school construction. The budget also includes an initiative to cap or freeze tuition increases at a number of public universities.

During the most recent legislative session, Governor O’Malley approved expanded pre-kindergarten services to 1,600 more children across Maryland and laid the groundwork for further expansion. In addition, the State invested $1.4 million for the Early College Innovation Fund to help create and expand early college access programs and $3.5 million for the Digital Learning Innovation Fund to help accelerate digital learning.

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Out of the roughly 2 million Americans suffering from degenerative heart disease, only about 50,000 of them receive life-saving mitral valve surgery. This is primarily because the most common treatment, an open-heart procedure, can last between three and six hours and is extremely complex and high-risk.

Maryland-based Harpoon Medical plans to revolutionize that process with a new device that could reduce the procedure to just 60 minutes. Using their device, a patient’s chest would remain closed and the heart would continue beating during the procedure. It would cut recovery time from weeks to days and reduce risk factors significantly.

CEO Bill Niland chose Maryland as the company’s launching pad and base for continued research, development and marketing.

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The Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem could be Baltimore’s largest-ever tourism event.

Catch up on the latest Maryland business news.

Maryland business successes: 

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Leisure and hospitality saw the biggest gains in job growth

The beginning of summer marked a hot month for job gains in Maryland. The State added 7,700 jobs in June, according to preliminary data reported by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) on Friday.

The economy has sustained a positive growth trend through the beginning of 2014, with job gains in four out of the past six months. Since June 2013, the State has added a total of 24,100 jobs, with nearly 95 percent of that growth in the private sector.

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Business owners celebrate receiving the Maryland Green Registry Leadership Awards.

Business owners celebrate receiving the Maryland Green Registry Leadership Awards.

Companies in Maryland’s energy and sustainability sector are experiencing rapid growth. Now totaling roughly 1,300, these businesses pay their employees an average of $71,000 annually, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) reports. Many of these companies are already taking advantage of special incentives for green business practices.

Regardless of your industry, are you also interested in the benefits of growing a more sustainable company? Perhaps you’re looking to save on energy costs or you’re concerned about air quality and climate change. Opportunities that protect the planet, reduce your business expenses and elevate your reputation in the community abound throughout the State.

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The Easton Aphena Pharma Solutions location specializes in liquid and topical manufacturing and packaging.

The Aphena Pharma Solutions location in Easton specializes in liquid and topical manufacturing and packaging.

Maryland’s manufacturing industry has found allies on the State’s Eastern Shore. A unique partnership between State, county and local government in the region will assist a pharmaceutical manufacturer and others, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced Tuesday.

Aphena Pharma Solutions is slated to receive a $134,000 State grant on the condition that it retains a minimum of 100 jobs in its location in the Town of Easton for at least five years. The Town is also providing a $13,400 matching grant for the company, and both the Town and Talbot County Council have agreed to abolish the Town’s personal property tax for all qualifying manufacturers. Salisbury PewterJasco USA and Chesapeake Publishing, among other Easton manufacturers, are also expected to take advantage of personal property tax savings.

“By working with our partners in Talbot County and the Town of Easton, as well the leadership of Aphena Pharma Solutions, we are preserving highly-skilled jobs and ensuring that this company will continue to grow and invest in Maryland,” said DBED Secretary Dominick Murray. “I applaud the County and Town for working with Aphena to develop a creative solution that not only spurs economic development, but helps grow manufacturing in Maryland.” Continue Reading…

The Cecil Technology Center at Principio Park is offering new opportunities for startups in the county.

The Cecil Technology Center at Principio Park is offering new opportunities for startups in the county.

Maryland’s only county sharing its borders with both Pennsylvania and Delaware is committed to showcasing the State’s innovative economy. 

According to Lisa Webb, Director of the Cecil County Office of Economic Development (OED), “We are capitalizing on our location, becoming known as the Gateway to Innovation for the State of Maryland and gaining recognition for our proactive support of new and expanding industries.”

Rural sensibilities, tourism, high-tech technologies and corporate industries blend together across Cecil County’s versatile landscape.

The county boasts a vibrant agricultural industry, including nurseries, orchards, creameries and a number of family-owned farming operations. Hollywood Casino Perryville, one of the State’s four casinos, is growing in popularity and helping to fund Maryland’s Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business loan fund, with a focus on investing in businesses within a 10-mile radius of the casino.

Cecil County is also home to a growing number of distribution centers, high-tech bases and startups.

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