Archives For July 2011

by Wanda Wickham, DBED

Catherine Hughes, Founder of Radio One

As founder and chairman of Radio One Inc., Cathy Hughes considers herself a leader and a survivor in the media world of communications. Starting out her career in radio as General Sales Manager of WHUR-FM, the Howard University owned radio station, she worked her way learning all facets of the media business. In 1979, Hughes founded Radio-One, with her then-husband and bought the am radio station WOL 1450 in Washington DC. After several setbacks, facing financial difficulties and subsequently losing her home, she moved into the radio station to live with her young son. Today, Hughes fortune has changed as she revamped the R&B station into a 24-hour talk radio format of success.

Today Hughes Radio One, Inc. owns 70 radio stations, employs 865 workers in nine major markets in the U.S, is publically traded company listed under the NASDAQ stock exchange. And she has launched TV One, a national and cable and satellite television network which provides “lifestyle entertainment network for African American adults.

Hughes is just one of nine Maryland firms that made Black Enterprise Magazine’s annual list of Top 100 Largest Black Businesses for 2011, ranking the State 3rd for the most companies on the list. The companies report a combined revenue of $1.5 billion and more than 2,000 employees.

Hughes ‘Media company Radio One, headquartered in Lanham, came in at 13th with $279 million in revenues and 865 employees.  Among the Maryland companies topping the list is RLJ Development, an investment firm in Bethesda, which moved up to 6th from 8th in 2010 and reported revenues of $578 million and 47 employees.  1Source Consulting, an IT company in Germantown, ranked 17th with $232 million in revenues and 110 employees.

Robert Johnson, Founder of RLJ Development

Maryland is home to more than 102,000 black-owned businesses with revenues of $6.8 billion. According to 2007 U.S. Census data, there were 5,247 black-owned firms in the State with a total payroll of $1.6 billion, employing 46,103 workers and revenue $4.6 billion and 96,884 black owned firms with no employees with revenues of $2.1 billion. In Maryland, 19.3 percent of all businesses are black owned – the second highest percentage among the nation’s 50 states, excluding the District of Columbia and Georgia where black owned firms are 20.4 percent of all firms. This compares to a national average of 7.1 percent.

At DBED, we have a number of programs that support our small and minority-owned businesses.

“One of the greatest opportunities that Maryland has is its vibrant small and minority business community, the backbone of our economy and one of the key reasons our State is coming out of the economic downturn stronger and better positioned for growth,” said Secretary Christian S. Johansson of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

“Over the past several years, we have put in place a number of key programs, like the Small Business Credit Recovery Program, Contract Connections and most recently, Invest Maryland, that will support innovation and entrepreneurship and create the kinds of companies that will sustain our economy for decades to come.”

The Power of Giving

MDbizMedia —  July 29, 2011 — 1 Comment

by Christine Hansen

Throughout her life and career, Jamie McDonald, current CEO of GiveCorps, has always placed a high priority on civic engagement.  After coming to Baltimore in 1986 to work for Alex Brown (now Deutsche Bank), McDonald became involved in a number of local non-profits.

“When I got involved in the non-profits, it really started the purpose-driven part of my life,” she said.

In 2003, she “caught the entrepreneurial bug” and left Alex Brown to start her own company.  A self-proclaimed sports nut, McDonald started a specialty gym for athletes, hiring strength and conditioning coaches from across the country.  She grew the company for five years before selling it in 2008.  Once the company was sold, she focused all of her attention on her non-profit work, teaming up with Beth Falcone to create GiveCorps.

“We were both business women who spent a lot of time working in the non-profit world.  Our non-profit life was primarily volunteer-oriented, but both of us had the opportunity to participate in the development side of what non-profits were doing,” McDonald said.

It was on the development side where they discovered a new business opportunity.  Every non-profit in the Baltimore area was targeting the same large corporations, foundations and wealthy individuals to obtain their fundraising goals.

“It struck us that there was a very unsustainable development economy in Baltimore. There were too few organizations that were the targets for every non-profit in town. With all of the need that exists in Baltimore, it is clear that not everything can be sustained by this very limited pool of givers,” she said.

And during this discovery, the environment to start a business that could serve the needs of the Baltimore non-profit world was perfect, McDonald said.  Baltimore’s energy was shifting – there was a rise in younger people, and the innovation economy was beginning to boom, bringing in more start-up companies.  And thanks to the Obama campaign during the 2008 Presidential election, a new targeted model was proven to reach the next generation of givers, known as the Millennial generation.

“It’s the largest demographic – larger than the Baby Boomers.  When the Millennials are told a good story, they give.  And even though they can only give in small amounts – small on a relative basis – the collective impact of their generosity can really move the needle for an organization or cause very quickly,” she said.

GiveCorps was born.  McDonald and Falcone based their business plan on the Groupon type model, but with a twist: the focus is a charitable project, or a “give”, instead of a daily deal.   A community of subscribers receives daily emails on different local projects that need funding.  If a subscriber chooses to donate to that project or one of the other projects featured, they are then eligible for “rewards”, or discounts from participating merchants.  GiveCorps matches every dollar that is donated.  And unlike other funding platform sites, like Kickstarter and Crowdrise, GiveCorps only focuses on local projects.

“We decided we wanted to be more about giving local and getting local,” McDonald said. “Our notion is just like a daily deal.”

Although the company is still very young (the landing page has been active for a month, and the website went live two weeks ago), McDonald says they have already seen their subscriber numbers triple.  Based on the success of the Baltimore model, McDonald hopes to take GiveCorps to other cities, particularly cities with high college populations, across the country.  Her next goal is Philadelphia, her hometown.

“It will be at least two months from now before we can really assess the information and understand what is and isn’t working, but we are definitely already starting to see some basic patterns emerging and we will know a lot more over time,” she said.

Currently, 25 non-profit organizations in Baltimore have signed up to feature projects on GiveCorps, and 17 area merchants have agreed to offer rewards to givers, and the lists are growing.  Together with Falcone and their 3 employees, McDonald’s mission with GiveCorps is to help people “find their passion to give.”

“We really want to show that everyone can become a philanthropist and make an impact locally.”

BELOW:  True to Millennial generation form, Baltimore residents Victoria and Paige, both 12, learned about Wide Angle Youth, one of GiveCorps featured projects and wanted to help the cause. Together, they set up a lemonade stand to help raise money and documented their efforts. 


by Leah Michaels

This month MDBizMedia will be talking with prominent Marylanders about their lessons learned from odd summer jobs. To preview the project, Secretary Christian Johansson from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development sat down with us to discuss his odd summer jobs.


Think you had an odd summer job? Share your story!

by Karen Glenn Hood, Department of Business & Economic Development

Steve Dubin, CEO of Martek and Co-Chair of the Maryland Economic Development Commission.

Connecting with executives of some of Maryland’s fastest growing and innovative companies is next on the agenda for members of the Maryland Economic Development Commission. The Commission, which was revitalized by Governor Martin O’Malley just two years ago after a long period of inactivity, met this week at Martek Biosciences in Columbia led by Martek CEO and MEDC co-chair Steve Dubin.

After releasing their five-year strategic economic development plan for the State earlier this year, the Commission is now turning its attention to learning more about successful business models and best practices and how those successes can help shape the next generation of companies in Maryland. Through a new program called ExecConnect, which is due to debut later this summer, commission members, business leaders and policy makers will participate in an  executive level open discussion on industry and economic issues, opinions, strategies and future trends with the goal of tapping top innovators for ideas to foster economic growth. Stay tuned.

In addition to co-chair Dubin, attending this week’s meeting was co-chair Dawn Rich and members Timothy Adams, DBED Secretary Christian Johansson, William “Brit” Kirwan, Ronald Peterson, Robert Smelkinson and Kathy Snyder and Executive Director Michelle Jackson. Seema Iyer, Associate Director of the University of Baltimore Jacob France Institute, briefed the Commission on the Institute’s proposal to the Economic Development Administration to designate UB as a University Center, which would help them support regional economic strategies through accelerated research and technology commercialization targeting industry sectors that have the potential to generate high-skilled jobs. Also briefing the Commission was Miriam Rodriguez-Stratton from British Airways on recent changes to the Open Skies Treaty which now allows the airline to carry government contractors, including those funded by DoD, on British Airways and Iberia wherever their codeshare agreement with American Airlines is available for booking.

“In a global economy, the Commission recognizes the importance of continuing to develop and market BWI as a convenient point of departure and entry for international travelers,” said Michelle Jackson in support of British Airways.

The Commission also was briefed by Secretary Johansson on the State’s new Fast Track initiative, part of Maryland Made Easy and a new tool for business owners and developers to streamline and expedite the review of state permits for projects in priority development areas.

The MEDC’s next meeting will be held the week of Sept. 12 at GEICO headquarters in Chevy Chase, at which new MEDC members will be announced.

by Christine Hansen

Small businesses play a vital role in the growing cybersecurity industry.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a field hearing on the role of small businesses in strengthening the cybersecurity industry in Laurel yesterday, just miles from Ft. Meade – the headquarters for the National Security Agency (NSA) and the new U.S. Cyber Command, established in May 2010, and led by NSA General Keith B. Alexander.


The field hearing entitled “The Role of Small Businesses in Strengthening Cybersecurity Efforts in the United States,” gave state leaders, including State Business and Economic Development Secretary Christian Johansson, the opportunity to discuss job creation and business development in the emerging cybersecurity industry.

Secretary Johansson joined five other panelists, including the National Security Agency and National Institute of Standards and Technology Director Dr. Patrick Gallagher, who testified before U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski.

In his opening remarks, Senator Ben Cardin stated, “Cybersecurity is of the utmost importance to our country.  Small businesses are the driving force behind job creation in America and cybersecurity is driving small business development in Maryland.”

In Maryland, there are more than 50 key security and intelligence federal facilities and 12 major military installations, which combined, employ nearly 200,000 well-educated, highly skilled workers in cutting-edge research and development, as well as important scientific, medical and technological innovations.

“Small businesses have the agility to create and deploy cybersecurity products and services that are customized to meet NSA’s mission needs through innovation and collaboration,” Jennifer Walsmith, Senior Acquisition Executive for the NSA, said.

Walsmith said that the NSA is actively engaged in promoting partnership opportunities with small businesses and industry organizations that focus on supporting NSA’s needs – and cybersecurity in particular.  Businesses interested in doing business with the NSA can visit the NSA’s website.

In his remarks, Dr. Gallagher highlighted the role that the National Institute of Standards and Technology plays in developing cybersecurity standards and guidelines for small businesses.

“Small businesses play a vital role in helping the U.S. Government strengthen our cybersecurity efforts and programs,” Gallagher said.  “We have developed guidance for organization, large and small, to maximize the security of their information systems so that they may securely conduct business transactions over the Internet.”

During his testimony, Secretary Johansson highlighted his Department’s efforts to position Maryland as the national epicenter of cybersecurity since releasing CyberMaryland in January 2010. The four priority areas for Maryland’s cybersecurity efforts include:

  • Supporting the creation and growth of innovative cybersecurity technologies in Maryland;
  • Developing an educational pipeline to train new cybersecurity talent and advance workforce development;
  • Advancing cybersecurity policies to position Maryland for enhanced national leadership; and
  • Ensuring the sustained growth and future competitiveness of Maryland’s cybersecurity industry.

“Cybersecurity offers business tremendous opportunities for collaboration.  Cybersecurity offers entrepreneurs and innovators the prospect of discovery, detection and defense to protect our nation’s digital infrastructure,” Johansson said.

2010 Reports Show Increases in Visitors, Hotel Performance

by the Maryland Office of Tourism, Department of Business & Economic Development

As Maryland’s high temperatures begin breaking records, Maryland has broken its own visitation record. Maryland welcomed 32.2 million domestic travelers in 2010, a 10.7 percent increase from 2009 and an 18.3 percent increase from 2007’s 27.2 million visitors, according to a national survey of U.S. travelers conducted by D.K. Shifflet and Associates.

Tourism is a major generator of jobs, employing more than 134,000 Marylanders. The Shifflet data underscores the success of TFA’s strategic regional promotional efforts that started in 2008 by focusing marketing efforts in key feeder markets, year-round communication through digital and traditional channels, and a pivotal image and awareness study with prospective visitors.

The fruits of these labors have paid off, with growth occurring in all segments, increased market share of 16.9 percent since 2007, and an additional 5 million Maryland visitors from 2007 to 2010 – substantially outperforming the nation’s visitation trends. “These numbers prove what we already suspected working in heart of the tourist-rich Inner Harbor – that our investments in visitor experiences continue to provide valuable returns to tourism communities here and across the state,” commented Christian Johansson, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development.

This increase in visitors to the state is supported by increased hotel performance metrics in 2010, as well as an 8 percent increase in tourism tax revenue the last six months of 2010, according to the Maryland Comptroller’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates.

“Smith Travel Research reported that Maryland’s hotel industry saw positive growth in occupancy, room revenue, rooms sold and REVPar in 2010, with particularly strong gains in Baltimore City, and Cecil, Dorchester, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties,” said David D. Reel, President & CEO of the Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association. “We are continuing to see positive trends in 2011 as well, with increases in all metrics, including average daily rate.”

“It is very gratifying to report these positive results in our core mission of attracting visitors to the State. Major events in 2011 such as the U.S. Open in June, the Dew Tour in July and the Grand Prix in September should help to keep this positive momentum going. We look forward to marketing the many exciting events and activities Maryland has to offer in 2012 commemorating the Civil War, Harriet Tubman, and the War of 1812,” said Margot Amelia, executive director, Maryland Office of Tourism.

by Michael Raia, Director of Communications & Media Relations, DLLR

Earlier today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released state employment and jobs data for June. According to the BLS data, Maryland – like all other states – is still recovering from the worst national recession in generations. During June, Maryland’s job growth statistically held steady, though we did record a modest drop of 300 jobs.

One month’s report is not the complete story of our recovery, though. Our story is one of tough choices, strong leadership and a commitment to our sustainable economic future. My boss, Maryland Labor Secretary Alex Sanchez, said it best earlier today on a call with reporters:

Governor O’Malley has stood strong during the national recession and made tough choices to move Maryland forward. Still, we need to stay focused on the principles that will secure Maryland’s economic future. Principles that protect investments in the state’s human capital, strengthen our partnerships with employers and avoid the short cuts that other states have taken.

Those principles are a big part of the reason that Maryland’s unemployment rate is 2.2 percentage points better than the national average and better than all but 13 other states. They’re also part of the reason that we’re creating jobs in New Economy industries. Since last June, Maryland has added 6,500 professional and business services jobs – including 5,900 in professional, scientific and technical services. We’ve also created 4,500 jobs in health care. That growth isn’t accidental. Governor O’Malley has fought to protect investments in new technologies, life sciences, biotech and cybersecurity. And under Lt. Governor Brown’s leadership, Maryland has developed a national model to implement national health reform – a model that includes a strong commitment to expanding and improving health care IT.

My mother used to tell me that nothing good happens when you take the short cut home. The same holds true with Maryland’s economic recovery. While other states have seen the national economic downturn as an opportunity to cut corners, attack working families, weaken collective bargaining and defund important workforce training initiatives and safety nets for dislocated workers, Maryland made the tough choices to protect our shared priorities, even while cutting $6.8 billion from the state budget and eliminating 4,800 state positions. While other states, including many of our neighboring states, have seen their unemployment insurance trust funds dig deeper and deeper into debt during the recession, Maryland made the tough choices to reform our unemployment insurance payment structure so we would stay solvent and be a more inviting state – over the long run – for potential employers.

Because of the O’Malley-Brown administration’s fiscal leadership before and during the national recession, Maryland fared better than many other states. Maryland’s unemployment rate held well below the national rate throughout the recession and is currently 25 percent better than the nation’s. Maryland also remains one of only eight states to hold a Triple-A bond rating from all three credit agencies.

Undoubtedly, the June jobs report had its disappointments. We’d have liked to see the unemployment rate hold steady or decline. We’d have liked to record a noticeable increase in the state’s jobs picture. But our performance isn’t out of step with other states and when you look a little closer, we’re creating sustainable jobs that play to the strengths of our highly skilled workforce.


by Leah Michaels

TIC Gums Headquarters


TIC Gums, located in White Marsh, Maryland, is a global company that has been developing ingredients for the food industry for over 100 years. To create these ingredients TIC Gums combines organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and material science in their laboratory. Their ingredients are then used in food products that other companies produce.


“If you were to go to the grocery store, I guarantee you that half of the products you pick up probably have our ingredients in them, but you would not really know it unless you looked at the ingredients statement,” says Matt Patrick, Vice President of R&D.

The gum ingredients provide texture and stabilization to everyday food products. Most food products could not survive shelf-life at a grocery store without a gum in it. However, there are other benefits.“Even though gums are typically used for their functionality, the texture, and the stabilization, they are also mostly soluble dietary fiber. A lot of folks actually put them in foods just for the health benefits,” says Gregory Andon, President of TIC Gums.TIC Gums latest breakthrough product is TicaPAN, which is a novel solution for chewing gum coating. Gum arabic is the current ingredient used for coating chewing gum, however it comes from Africa and is expensive. Produced locally, TicaPAN saves at least 20% in costs compared to gum arabic. It has a shorter drying time, provides a whiter, harder, and crunchier shell, and would end the reliance on Africa for gum arabic. TicaPAN is also sugar-free and non-cariogenic.

For the first 80 years the company was located in New York, but the state could not provide the space that the company needed in terms of expansion. TIC Gums needed a state with a port and Maryland was the perfect place. Along with their R&D center in White Marsh, TIC Gums owns a manufacturing facility in Belcamp, Maryland. The company has approximately 100 employees and is currently hiring.

TIC Gums with TicaPAN and Gum Arabic


by Christine Hansen

VisiSonics Corporation, one of the companies that received the award, develops technological applications for areas such as architectural acoustics.

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) awarded fifteen Maryland technology startups $75,000 each through TEDCO’s Maryland Technology Transfer and Commercialization Fund.  The Fund’s goal is to foster greater collaboration between businesses, Maryland universities and federal laboratories to bring technology into the marketplace.

The companies that received the fund include:  AccuStrata, Inc.; Applied Plasma Science, LLC; Branchpoint Technologies, LLC; Combined Technology Solutions, LLC; Creatv Microtech, Inc.; EncephRX, Inc.; Euveda Biosciences, Inc.; Fuzbien Technology Institute, Inc.; GM Biosciences, Inc.; OmniSpeech, LLC; Opticul Diagnostics, Inc.; SemaConnect, Inc.; TreeMiner, Inc.; Video Semantics, LLC and VisiSonics Corporation.

According to TEDCO, 145 companies have received the tech transfer funding to date, and each of the companies have gone on to receive downstream funding from angel and venture investors. One such company, Expression Pathology, received the tech transfer award in 2004.

“Expression Pathology received MTTCF in January of 2004. Since then, the company was able to raise significant downstream financing, including a series of angel investments,” said Henry Ahn, Program Manager for Technology Funding Programs at TEDCO.  “The company has been able to successfully form collaborative relationships and partnerships while expanding its patent portfolio. Today, it continues to operate as a successful business in Rockville, Maryland.”

Combined Technology Solutions, based in Ridgely, Md., will use the funds to commercialize a product that students from University of Maryland College Park designed.  The product, the Suspension Power Utilization and Recovery System (SPURS), recovers energy from the suspension system of vehicle.


Video by Combined Technology Solutions

VisiSonics Corporation in College Park has developed technology that allows one to capture, process and understand spatial distribution of sound in real-time. The technology can be used for sound scene recreation, telepresence, localization, noise mitigation and surveillance.

“Our company designs algorithms and intellectual property that allow you to solve problems,” Bill Strum, Vice President of Business Development.

“The TEDCO funding allowed us to focus on our core capabilities, which is the development of acoustic, analytical algorithms.  The funding enabled us to outsource low-level design functions and therefore accelerated our time to market.”

Beating the Odds

MDbizMedia —  July 19, 2011 — Leave a comment

by Christine Hansen

Eddie C. Brown, President & Founder of Brown Capital Management.

Eddie C. Brown knows what it means to beat the odds.  Born to an unwed 13 year-old mother, the stacks were piled high against him. But you’d never know it.  Today, Brown heads one of the nation’s oldest African-American owned investment management firms.

“I always say people cannot control the hand that they were dealt.  But you can control how you play that hand,” Brown said.

As his young mother was unable to properly care for him, Brown’s grandparents took the part of caretaker. They, along with his Uncle Jake, who Brown calls “The Big Three,” helped shape who he is today and how successful he became.

“My mother, being 13, naturally couldn’t raise me.  And so I was left with my grandparents.  And really, it was those Big Three, that shaped and positioned me to beat those overwhelming odds,” he said.

Brown tells this story in his new book, Beating the Odds: Eddie Brown’s Investing and Life Strategies, and talks with MDBizMedia after a long photo shoot in his brownstone investment firm in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore city.  Brown will be one of the new faces featured in the State’s Land of Opportunity campaign.

Brown’s entrepreneurial spirit began early on, with encouragement from his grandmother. He grew up in a small town called Apopka in Florida and would travel to Orlando – “the big city” – with his grandmother, who would point out the white men in white shirts and ties sitting behind desks.  She told him that if he stayed in school, did his work and went to college, that he too could work behind a desk, instead of the manual labor she was doing. Brown’s grandparents worked in the citrus groves.

“That set a vision, very early on, that that was what I was going to do,” Brown said.

Brown's new book "Beating the Odds: Eddie Brown's Investing and Life Strategies" tells the tale of his life growing up and how he became successful today.

Brown’s Uncle Jake added on to this encouragement, but in a more peculiar way.  In his book, Brown writes, “Uncle Jake gets his hooks into me a few years after my birth and encourages me to always view life differently than most people, and to never, ever, sell myself short. Uncle Jake also teaches me to unfailingly go after, and expect to attain, the very best life has to offer.”

Brown’s Uncle teaches him how to drive at the early age of 6, and gives him his first job harvesting at the citrus grove, among other jobs, as he grew up. His uncle had his own business providing seasonal labor – migrant workers from neighboring states – to the citrus growers during harvest season.  But he also had a lucrative moonshine business – becoming the largest moonshine distributor in the state of Florida before going to jail.

“My uncle gave me my own pick-up truck when I was 11 or 12, and I basically created three businesses by the time I was 13,” Brown said.  “I learned a lot about business and entrepreneurship from him.”

With the encouragement and mentorship from The Big Three, Brown went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, and a Master’s in Electrical Engineering.  After college he worked at IBM, until he reached a crossroads in his career path.

“I reached a stage in my career where I had to make a decision – whether to stay purely technical or go down the managerial path.  And sales and marketing was the way to accelerate my path,” Brown said.

So, Brown left IBM, sold his Cape Cod in the suburbs, stored his furniture and packed up his family, heading to graduate business school in Indiana.  It was there where he discovered a deep interest and fascination in finance and investing.  He took every class he could to learn as much as possible on the topics.  After graduating, he worked for Urban Management, a company whose sole purpose was managing the wealth of one family.  He spent three years with that company, and later joined financial giant T. Rowe Price.

Brown pictured here with his wife, Sylvia, credits her support during the years for much of his success. (Photo courtesy of

“I wanted to work for a firm with a large client base, and I was fascinated with the growth style of investing. And the master who created that style was Thomas Rowe Price. So I sent a letter expressing my interest in working for the firm that is at the pinnacle of growth investing. And afterward, I got an offer to work for T. Rowe Price,” he said.

Brown moved to Baltimore and worked for T. Rowe Price as a portfolio manager.  But that boyhood entrepreneurial spirit never left him.  After 10 years, Brown decided to leave T. Rowe Price to go out on his own.  In July of 1983, he opened Brown Capital Management, the second oldest African-American owned investment firm in the country.

With over 41 years of investment experience, a successful privately owned investment management firm, an unprecedented educational foundation, and now a successful book under his belt, Brown can feel good about his success and walk into a room with overwhelming confidence.  Yet, he takes his success in stride, always ensuring that he, and his company, doesn’t become complacent in business.

Brown and his wife, Sylvia, pictured here, received the Marylander of the Year award for their philanthropic endeavors.

Always on his toes, Brown writes, “Cockiness and confidence are fine with me as long as they don’t morph into hubris, and an attendant sense that our continued success is pretty much preordained.”

That tendency to always better himself is why, Brown Capital Management’s equity holdings totaled $3.12 billion at the end of the first quarter.  Brown’s firm currently has 127 holdings of which the five largest were worth $486.95 million.

by Daraius Irani, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for DECO & Director of the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI)

With the announcement July 7 by ADP that private payrolls increased by 57,000, it seemed that recovery was back on track, albeit a bit slower. Oh, but that feeling of recovery was short-lived.  On July 8 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that nonfarm payrolls increased by only 18,000. (See Table 1)  Moreover, the government had shed nearly 40,000 jobs, according to the Department of Labor. While anemic, much of the job creation is being propelled by the private sector driven by professional services and manufacturing.

So it seems that as a nation, the jobs recovery will take much longer than originally anticipated. The map below shows the change in employment by state.  The question is what this portends for Maryland. Based on the most recent BLS data for May 2011, Maryland was last in terms of the relative growth in the number of jobs, at -0.8 percent.  How can this be, especially after all of the times the virtues of Maryland’s economy—“Eds, Beds, Feds, and Meds”—have been extolled? With all of those BRAC jobs coming to Maryland, Maryland should be at least in the middle of the pack in terms of job creation. I suspect many Marylanders will demand a recount.

In the most recent employment situation published by Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), Maryland lost nearly 20,000 jobs over the period between May 2010 and May 2011. However, nearly 10,000 of the jobs lost in that period were in the government with the bulk of the job losses concentrated in the federal and local government

While this may be good news to fiscal conservatives, it may not be such good news for Marylanders. It has been estimated that for every federal job in Maryland, two other private sector jobs are created. These private sector jobs include IT contractors, teachers, retail clerks and other professions. A 10% cut in federal employment could potentially result in the loss of nearly 40,000 jobs in Maryland, or about 1.6% of the total workforce. I suspect that the losses in federal jobs as well as potential budget cuts to agencies are impacting Maryland, and it is manifesting itself as anemic job growth.  Many of us still remember that Maryland was the first state to feel the recession of the early 1990s and was the last to recover, primarily due to federal cutbacks in personnel.

While it is possible to attract firms to Maryland due to the presence of the federal government and contracting opportunities associated with the federal government, Maryland has (fairly or unfairly) an image of “if you can dream it, we can tax it” state business climate. Maryland faces these two distinct challenges in terms of job creation in a deficit-conscious climate.

To meet these challenges, Maryland needs to create a business-friendly climate and ensure a well-diversified economy. To some extent this is occurring with the potential growth of the biotechnology industry. In spite of the overall job losses, there have been job gains in professional and scientific services and health care.

Dr. Daraius Irani is the Associate Vice President for the Division of Economic and Community Outreach at Towson University, and the Director of the Regional Economics Studies Institute. Irani received his B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a concentration on Labor Economics, Public Finance, and Sport Economics. During his more than twelve-year tenure at RESI, Dr. Irani has managed and served as lead economist on a wide variety of research and analysis projects. Some of these projects include the economic and fiscal impact of greenhouse gas legislation and green development. 

By Christine Hansen

Pathsensors, Inc., an environmental testing company housed at the University of Maryland Biopark in Baltimore, has taken its biodefense technology to a new level.  The company specializes in developing tests to quickly find pathogens in the infectious disease and biodefense sectors.

Currently, the company has the only product in the market that can detect 21 biological threat agents in three minutes – no other product can detect at that speed.  On top of its speedy performance, it is portable, easily operated, and low maintenance.

The BioFlash device.

The device, weighing about 35 pounds, and costing $35,000 apiece, uses the BioFlash-E® technology that is based on the CANARY® (Cellular Analysis and Notification of Antigen Risks and Yields) technology developed by MIT.

Ted Olsen, President of Pathsensors, said the technology delivers extremely rapid detection of pathogens at previously unseen levels of sensitivity and specificity. Accurate results can be obtained in less than 3 minutes by non-expert users.


Since 2007, the company has developed products for the U.S. Department of Defense and companies specializing in defense contracting.  Olsen said that Pathsensors has four target markets: building protection, mail room screenings for high profile companies, first responders, and food processing. Today, the company is looking to expand its clientele to major food distributors.

“The place that we are spending a lot of energy and getting a lot of interest today is in the food testing industry and a lot of the big food manufacturing companies,” Ted Olsen, President of Pathsensors said.

The BioFlash-E®is able to help the food companies detect any biological threats, such as salmonella or E. Coli, very early in the manufacturing process.

“We are able to help them detect any kind of pathogen early so that they don’t have to worry about shipping their product out and then have to then issue a recall,” Olsen said.

The BioFlash-E® detects 21 biological threat agents in less than three minutes. The disc, shown here, uses biosensors to detect pathogen antibodies. Even a minute amount will be detected by the device's luminometer.

The device is able to detect some of the most dangerous biological threats including, Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Ricin toxin (a poison found in Castor beans), Yersinia pestis (bacteria found in rats and other animals that can cause plague), Francisella tularensis (a bacterium found in animals that can cause serious illness), Salmonella (a bacterium that causes serious illness), E. coli (a bacterium that can cause food poisoning), Listeria (a bacterium that can cause food poisoning), Bacillus subtilis (a bacterium that can contaminate food), Botulinum toxin (a toxin that causes Botulism poisoning, a serious and life-threatening illness in humans and animals), and Variola major (a virus that causes Small Pox).

A spin-off of Innovative Biosensors, Inc., Pathsensors moved from its Rockville location to its current location in January of 2011.  The company currently has six full-time employees and five part-time employees.