Archives For Industry News

Find additional coverage, celebrating the State’s industrial heritage and today’s innovators, during Maryland Manufacturing Month.

Zentech Manufacturing is no stranger to the ever-changing manufacturing industry in Maryland. The contract electronics manufacturer formed in 1998 and settled its operations in Windsor Mill in Baltimore County, where it still resides today.

The company produces components, assemblies, and finished goods for its customers while supporting a wide range of industries in the State – including medical, military and defense, aerospace, broadband, and networking and telecommunications.

Zentech also provides high-speed and precise printed circuit board (PCB) assembly, helping operate nearly all types of electronic products on the market.

Take a look inside Zentech’s 42,000 square-foot facility in the above video.

Find additional coverage, celebrating the State’s industrial heritage and today’s innovators, during Maryland Manufacturing Month. 

From crab pots to advanced telecommunications components, Harford Systems, Inc. produces a diverse selection of custom manufactured metal products.

But despite its massive facility filled with machinery, Harford Systems president Ralph Ahrens claims it’s the employees who really power the company.

Learn more about this enduring Maryland manufacturer in the above video.

PA industrial park Somerset County is expanding broadband service with help from a $65,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Lt. Governor Anthony Brown today announced.

The funding, provided by DBED’s Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF), will be used to install fiber optics throughout the Princess Anne Industrial Park.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will assist with the broadband expansion by contributing $137,000. The Maryland Broadband Cooperative will supervise the installation while providing labor, equipment, materials and testing throughout the park.

“Investments in broadband expansion translate into additional opportunities for Marylanders and continued economic growth,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “We’re committed to making investments like this one a priority to ensure cyber infrastructure is in place and available to businesses and Maryland families in every part of our state.” Continue Reading…

Find additional coverage, celebrating the State’s industrial heritage and today’s innovators, during Maryland Manufacturing Month. 

From Goetze’s Caramel Creams to Smiths Detection’s equipment for detecting chemical weapons, Maryland manufacturers are fueling the State’s economy, creating an array of products, employing more than 100,000 workers and generating roughly $20 billion annually.

Throughout October, Maryland will celebrate its manufacturers and there are plenty of ways to get involved.

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Stevensville-based Harpoon Medical Inc. has earned a $500,000 Maryland Venture Fund investment, part of a Series A $3.75 million financing round led by Maryland-based Epidarex Capital, Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) Secretary Dominick Murray announced Wednesday.

Harpoon Medical plans to revolutionize how doctors perform life-saving mitral valve surgery. 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.

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Apply now for BioMaryland’s Biotechnology Development Awards.

The BioMaryland Center’s Biotechnology Development Awards have returned, offering a total of $1 million in prizes toward life sciences projects, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) Secretary Dominick Murray announced Monday.

The FY 2015 competition will give preference to projects that improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs. For the first time since the awards program launched in 2010, DBED’s BioMaryland Center will partner with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the Center for Medical Technology Policy (CMTP) to incorporate improved health care quality and cost reduction into the program criteria. Individual awards will range from $50,000 to $200,000. Winning teams will receive ongoing advice and support from the BioMaryland Center, DHMH and CMTP toward technical, scientific, regulatory and reimbursement issues.

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The Coastal Companies, a leading regional produce and dairy supplier, broke ground Monday on its new corporate headquarters in Laurel, Maryland. The company plans to complete its 240,000 square-foot facility by 2016 and to create 400 new jobs by 2018, Secretary Dominick Murray of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced.

The new facility will house several company divisions—including Coastal Sunbelt Produce, East Coast Fresh, Cold Chain Logistics, Cold Chain Imports and The Coastal Companies Foundation—and will be located just three miles from the company’s current facility in Savage. The Coastal Companies’ decision to expand in Maryland was the direct result of State and county assistance. DBED approved a $1 million conditional loan with the requirement that the company retain jobs in Maryland. Howard County also provided $150,000 in property tax credits and expedited the review of applications and permits through its Fast Track Development Process.

“We appreciate the support we have received from the State of Maryland and Howard County,” said The Coastal Companies CEO John Corso. “We believe our new headquarters will help us maintain our robust growth for years to come.”

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Triton Metals, founded in 1994, is one of the largest metal manufacturers on the East Coast.

When Triton Metals, a St. Mary’s County metal manufacturer, found it needed additional training for its workers, the company turned to the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED).

Thanks to a $5,000 grant through DBED’s Partnership for Workforce Quality Program (PWQ), Triton Metals now plans to enroll its 70 full-time employees in three workforce training courses; additionally, the company plans to use the grant to help create 10 new positions, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and DBED announced on Monday.

“This grant will help with employee retention and will help us extensively train our internal workforce,” said Kevin Poole, President of Triton Metals. “Things are ever-changing in the manufacturing environment and training our workforce in the latest technologies helps us continue to be on top as a competitive manufacturer.”

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This vacant property at 500 Old Post Road in Aberdeen is included in the expanded Edgewood/Joppa Enterprise Zone.

This vacant property at 500 Old Post Road in Aberdeen is included in the expanded Edgewood/Joppa Enterprise Zone.

Growing your business in parts of Baltimore City and Harford County just got a little bit easier.

Additional Maryland Enterprise Zone Focus Areas were announced Wednesday by Governor Martin O’Malley through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED). These jurisdictions—administered by local government and approved by DBED—will allow businesses to access income tax and property tax credits.

“I am pleased to approve these new Focus Areas in Baltimore City and the expansion of Harford County’s Edgewood/Joppa Enterprise Zone, which will help sustain existing businesses and attract much-needed new businesses to help us achieve our most important goal of creating and retaining jobs,” said Governor O’Malley. “Businesses located in the State’s 30 Enterprise Zones contributed to $2.5 billion in capital investment in Maryland in FY 2014.”

Two of the new areas are located in the Holabird and Orangeville industrial areas of Baltimore City, covering 846 acres and including over a dozen underdeveloped and underutilized sites which have been vacant or occupied by businesses slated for closing. The Baltimore Development Corporation website shows how Baltimore City Enterprise Zone tax credits can be applied to qualifying companies.

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Cellphire has earned a $1 million investment from the Maryland Venture Fund.

In their usual state, platelets don’t have a very long shelf life. These life-saving blood cells are crucial to helping a person stop bleeding, but medical professionals have struggled to store these blood cells for any longer than five days outside of the human body. 

Cellphire, an early-stage biotechnology company based in Rockville, Maryland, has developed an innovative response to this problem—freeze drying platelets for future use. Through their technique, platelets may be stored for years at room temperature and reconstituted, simply by adding water, for use in medical patients.

Governor Martin O’Malley and Secretary Dominick Murray of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development announced on Tuesday that the State’s InvestMaryland program, administered by the Maryland Venture Fund, will support the company’s continued technological development with a $1 million investment. Cellphire plans to use the State funding toward the continued development of its freeze-dried platelet product, Thrombosomes, and to move closer to winning U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

“The underlying technology that Cellphire has developed promises to provide a quantum leap forward in how cells are handled and used within healthcare today,” Cellphire CEO Stephen H. Willard said in a statement.

“Our initial application—platelets—is a perfect example, as untreated platelets last five days outside of a donor’s body. With our patented treatment, we are able to freeze dry platelet derived products for storage measured in years, at room temperature. Reconstitution is as simple as adding sterile water. This investment from MVF enables us to begin pursuing other applications in diagnostics, sports medicine, plastic surgery and dentistry,” Willard said.

Cellphire was founded as a bio-defense company in 2006 with an emphasis on stabilizing the global blood supply market in the event of pandemics, such as avian influenza or other natural or manmade disasters. It has found applications for the use of freeze dried platelets in blood transfusion, advanced care of chronic and acute wounds and diagnostic reagents used in clinical and research settings. In 2013, the company received a contract worth up to $57 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research Defense Authority, a division of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

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Often, the only thing standing between a willing worker and employment is specialized training. But determining which skills are most needed in various industries can be a daunting task.

The EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) program, launched by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley in 2013, seeks to address this challenge and equip Maryland organizations and business partnerships with State funding for valuable worker training programs directly tailored to industry needs.

The program continued its rollout this week as the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation announced 28 implementation grant awardees. Selected applicants received grants to plan training programs in January 2014. Finalized Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plans were submitted during the spring and reviewed for funding.

The average implementation grant award was $179,302. The two-phase process of planning grants and implementation grants was funded by the state at $4.5 million.

“There is no progress without a job. By awarding today’s State-funded implementation grants to these selected strategic partnerships, we’re moving our State forward and helping more Marylanders get the skills they need to qualify for Maryland’s most in-demand jobs.  Working together, we’re ensuring that these EARN implementation grants will provide industry-specific, state-of-the-art training for high-demand occupations,” Governor O’Malley said in a statement. Continue Reading…

Tom Vander Ark is an authority on education technology.

Tom Vander Ark is an authority on education technology.

Tom Vander Ark is an authority on education technology, also known as edtech, a field including startup companies developing apps and other new technologies to serve teachers, administrators, parents and students. Ark is the author of “Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World,” and a partner in an education venture investment firm called Learn Capital. Previously, he was executive director of education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which helped fund the transformation of Baltimore’s former Southern High School into Digital Harbor High in 2002.

Ark recently spoke with MDBIZ News about why he views Baltimore at the forefront for edtech. The following comments are condensed from that interview:

Why is Baltimore a major edtech hub?

“The interesting thing about Baltimore is that edtech is new, except that it’s not. Baltimore has some great legacy companies that have been in the education space for 20 years and several large education investors like Chris Hoehn-Saric and Doug Becker (who developed Sylvan Learning and Laureate Education). Sterling Partners in Baltimore is one of the best private equity investors in education. They launched Connections Education, which sold to Pearson four years ago (for $400 million). They launched Sylvan and Laureate, probably the most important global higher education brand there is. Calvert Street is a private equity firm with some educational investments. And you also have Calvert Education Services.”

Why is edtech emerging now?

“In 2010, an app explosion occurred. Overnight, there was an abundance of cheap devices and good development platforms and a flood of investment that really changed the edtech landscape nationally. It changed opportunities dramatically. Also, this generation of college graduates has a relatively high degree of idealism. You put opportunity, interest and a mission-focus together and many smart kids wanted to work in education. And you had plenty of money flowing from private and philanthropic sources. You also had changes in school development like the charter school movement and in talent development with young people going to programs like Teach for America. Edtech is finally being connected to education reform.

“There has been a viral adoption of free apps in the classroom since 2009-2010. I’m not sure how many of these free apps will turn the corner and become profitable companies, but now there’s a way to gain school adoption and you don’t have to go through the district procurement officer to get in the door. I just met with a superintendent in Texas and asked him if he knew that 40 percent of his teachers were already using Edmodo (a free social network app for school work). He didn’t know. I said, ‘Maybe, I should give you a demo on it?’ It’s a lot easier being able to have that kind of conversation rather than simply pitching him with, ‘I have a good demo. Can I show it to you?’”

How does Baltimore stack up nationally?

“New York, Chicago and the Northern California Bay Area will be important for this industry, but there are a few thousand really good jobs that could just as easily be in Baltimore, Seattle, Boston, Austin or other venture cities. I think Baltimore is in the middle of the second tier as far as edtech cities. Baltimore sits above places like Seattle, Austin and San Diego, which are all tech hotspots, and also rates ahead of Portland, Raleigh-Durham and other cities we think of as innovators. Our index considers about 12 factors. The most heavily weighted is the number of edtech startups, but we also consider the tech scene broadly, the online learning ecosystem and other factors such as universities, state education policy, charter schools, school district innovation, philanthropic investors and nonprofits.”

What made you take notice of Baltimore?

“When I was with the Gates Foundation, we made an initial grant to create Digital Harbor High. This is slightly melodramatic, but an indication of what has happened in the past few years was that a teacher named Andrew Coy left Digital Harbor, arguably the best digital learning school in the area, and took over a nearby rec center and turned it into a tech learning center. He embraced the next edtech explosion. He’s starting to connect technology and teachers. I think that move was symbolic and a bit of a spark. It drew in people like Katrina Stevens, another edtech activist and a blogger. And across from Andrew’s center is the incubator Betamore. EdTechMD just started to raise money to seed more local startups. You’ve got a tech scene heating up. Andrew’s story in particular interested me. And now when he calls a meeting, everyone comes running to take part—the Chamber of Commerce, investors and foundations. It’s been fun to watch.”