Typically when a wall comes tumbling down, it’s cause for alarm. At Marlin Steel Wire, however, it’s cause for celebration. The company, which moved to Baltimore from Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1998, is expanding for the second time in less than four years. As a result of the expansion, Marlin Steel Wire will enlarge its factory space by 50 percent, gain seven times more power and increase production. The company plans to add as many as 15 new employees when the expansion is complete. Continue Reading…
Archives For Manufacturing & Production
The announcement was made today in a release by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED). The expansion is slated to potentially double the company’s 58,000 square-foot space and is expected to add 158 new jobs over the next four years.
Two Maryland companies are tapping new 3D manufacturing resources by partnering with local federal facilities.
Integrata Security and RPM Tech have each entered cooperative agreements through the Northeastern Maryland Additive Manufacturing Innovation Authority (NMAMIA) to expand their 3D prototyping capabilities.
Integrata will be working with the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) to manufacture a new casing for a cybersecurity product. The partnership will allow the Baltimore-based security company to quickly create 3D-printed prototypes and enhance the overall quality of its products.
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.
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.
A sweet fact—14 percent of the nation’s sugar is processed right here in Maryland.
Domino Foods, a mainstay of Baltimore’s skyline for over 90 years, refines more than 6.5 million pounds of raw sugar a day. Its facility, which blends new technology with historic factory space, employs roughly 620 people. And according to refinery manager Stuart FitzGibbon, these jobs are unique.
“These jobs provide a level of income where you can further your family’s position in life,” FitzGibbon said. “The type of income you can earn in manufacturing without an education is unparalleled. This is the fundamental difference between manufacturing and service sector jobs.”
FitzGibbon, a 26-year veteran of the company, is a cheerleader for Maryland manufacturing, which he calls a “lynchpin in the economy.”
He tells of employees who first starting working on the factory floor over 30 years ago. At the time, very few had college degrees and some hadn’t finished high school. Decades later, even as the plant has become increasingly automated, they’ve remained working, advanced their positions and sent their kids to college.
“It’s a model that’s created the American middle class,” he said.
“There are hundreds of jobs here at Domino but there are also hundreds and hundreds more that are part of this ripple effect, so you’re standing in the sweet spot of the Baltimore economy,” Governor O’Malley said.
Governor O’Malley has supported manufacturers through infrastructure improvements on roads and rail, and expansion efforts at the Port of Baltimore. He also spearheaded the State’s EARN Maryland Program, which gives industry leaders access to state funding to coordinate worker training programs, with an emphasis on advanced manufacturing skills.
FitzGibbon urges Marylanders to take pride in using products made by Maryland manufacturers and support initiatives to revitalize the industry.
“Maryland has the opportunity to grow its manufacturing sector because we have the Chesapeake Bay, we have railroad service, great roads, and a supportive legislative environment,” he said. “I think this is a key thing for Maryland—we’ve got to grow private sector maritime manufacturing.”
A preschooler peels back the label on a Crayola crayon. A happy hour-goer grasps a chilled bottle of Yuengling. A young mother reads the nutritional facts on a canister of Walgreens brand snacks.
They’re all handling a range of easily-overlooked Maryland-manufactured inputs—the labels.
Since 1896, Gamse Lithographing Company, has produced and printed labels for millions of everyday items in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Based in Rosedale in Baltimore County, the company’s clients include Crayola, Heinz, Yuengling, Walgreens, Walmart and others. In recent years, its manufacturing capabilities have extended beyond labels to include lids, wrappers, foil, embossing, die cutting and a range of other services.
Coordinated by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Governor Martin O’Malley recently toured Gamse Lithographing Company with president and owner Daniel J. Canzoniero. The governor used the opportunity to meet some of the company’s 150 employees and to learn more about the innovative printing technologies that set the manufacturer apart.
“In this day and age, where there have been a lot of companies closing and a lot of downsizing and rightsizing, we haven’t been through that. It’s really nice to have some recognition for the stability that we’ve shown here over the years,” Canzoniero said.
Part of Gamse Lithographing Company’s secret to longevity is a dedication to the employee. The company has a long history of offering quality health coverage to workers, in addition to a competitive living wage. Canzoniero said the company is constantly working to expand each employee’s skillset through the use of new equipment and training programs.
“We’re strong believers in the fact that there need to be employers in Maryland for high school educated and trade school educated employees, not just those who were fortunate enough to get college educations, masters and Ph.D.s,” he said.
Canzoniero praised Maryland for its exceptional workforce and central location, which eases product development and negotiations with clients.
“We have good geographic synergy with a lot of the major Fortune 100 companies, being in the Mid-Atlantic,” he said.
See the above video to learn more about Gamse Lithographing Company.
It wasn’t just another business competition for Scott Holland, it was the realization of a life-long dream.
Holland’s startup i-Lighting, a novel easy-to-install indoor and outdoor LED lighting system, was awarded $100,000 and other prizes in April 2013 during the inaugural InvestMaryland Challenge, a prestigious business competition by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Following weeks of rigorous judging and mentoring, his company beat out dozens of others, ranging from high-tech manufacturers to smart phone app developers, in the general category.
The i-Lighting team celebrated victory at a ceremony with Governor Martin O’Malley, along with RedOwl Analytics, winner of the information technology category, and Graybug, winner of the life sciences category.
For Holland, it was only the beginning of a new life for the company he had been nurturing since 2005. Over the course of the following six months, by fall 2013, the company experienced rapid, profitable growth.
i-Lighting Growth Since InvestMaryland Challenge Victory
|Spring 2013||Fall 2013|
|Number of employees||3 full-time and 2 part-time||6 full-time and 3 part-time|
|Location and work space||Home-based 1,600-square-foot space with living room office||Newly constructed 5,000-square-foot office and warehouse space|
|Annual estimated calculated and projected revenue||$500,000 in 2012||$1,000,000 in 2013$3,000,000 in 2014|
|Commercial product lines||3||6|
|Number of manufacturing machines||2||4|
|Parts production outsourced to China||Yes||No|
Pre-competition, a major challenge for Holland was convincing a bank to help finance his business. He was deeply passionate about his product, but knew he needed a jump-start.
“As a small business, it’s virtually impossible to just borrow from a traditional bank. They don’t want to take the chance,” he said. “But the cash injection from the InvestMaryland Challenge gave us the funds we needed to basically take us over the hump. That was a major hurdle we overcame after winning.”
But i-Lighting’s win offered far more than the cash prize.
“The exposure has been phenomenal. We weren’t known before. Now everyone knows about us. We gained legitimacy. Sometimes home-based businesses are looked down on. Having our own facility now, we’re able to entertain clients,” Holland said.
But one of the greatest benefits of participating was how it forced the young company to streamline its goals.
“Our business plan was mostly in our heads. It was on paper but it wasn’t highly refined. In order to qualify and compete, we had to create an actual realistic business plan. It forced us to focus and develop that plan. Now we’re implementing what we developed—and that’s huge,” he said.
Holland is especially proud of the fact that his company is no longer dependent on Chinese manufacturing. While it represented a substantial up-front cost to the company, Holland purchased a new machine that allows circuit board production for the lighting system to be completed in-house. He described the independence and reliability of using his own machinery as liberating.
“Not everything made in China is poorly manufactured, but it’s true that you get what you pay for … You don’t have control over quality, you can’t see your product being made, so you don’t know the environment it’s being made in,” Holland said. “The initial basic product might be cheaper, but by the time you pay expedited airfreight, it’s extremely expensive, and you also have to pay duties and taxes for importing it. At the end of the day, we have control and I can deliver a better quality product to the market, almost always cheaper, and I can place ‘Made in the USA’ on it.’ ”
Holland urges other startups, whether they’re already located in Maryland or interested in moving to the state, to submit their applications for the second-annual 2014 InvestMaryland Challenge.
“Even if you don’t win, it gets your name out there in front of professionals,” he said.
InvestMaryland Challenge applicants receive free admission to networking events, social media promotion, scoring and feedback from judges, and exposure to venture capital firms and angel investors. Categories have increased from three to four to include life sciences, information technology, cybersecurity and general industry. Each category winner is eligible for a $100,000 grand prize. Others will take home smaller grants, incubator space, consulting services and other cash and in-kind prizes, bringing the total available competition prizes to $600,000.
Applications must be submitted by Dec. 6.
Additional details and a video message from the governor are available on the 2014 InvestMaryland Challenge website.
The next time you’re filtering through airport security, consider that the equipment scanning you and your luggage was likely produced right here in Maryland.
Smiths Detection, with its U.S. headquarters in Edgewood, is the world’s leading supplier of an array of tools used to detect weapons, explosives and chemical threats.
“Talk to any of our employees, we take great pride in keeping people safe,” said Mike Castek, site head of the Edgewood plant. Smiths Detection employs roughly 230 Marylanders, about 10 percent of the global division’s workforce, operating within United Kingdom-based Smiths Group.
While the majority of Americans will interact with a Smiths Detection scanner or x-ray machine at an airport, products also cater to elite security groups like the United Nations’ Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Weapons inspectors used Smith Detection products during their most recent investigation of chemical warfare in Syria. The group’s mission helped secure them the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
The focus on chemical weapons detection is part of the rationale behind its Edgewood location. Aberdeen Proving Ground, just a stone’s throw from the plant, houses the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, which uses several Smiths Detection products. Military and first responders to chemical threats have utilized the company’s unique Chemical Biological Protective Shelters.
“It’s crucial to be close to our customers and to be able to get the products to the right place as quickly as possible,” said Brian Boso, chief scientist at the plant.
Leadership at the Maryland location also take advantage of their proximity to Washington, D.C.
“We talk to the CIA, TSA, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals and the Department of Defense on a constant basis, trying to work with them to figure out what the future threats are and to develop new techniques,” Boso said.
“Unfortunate events” have contributed to Smiths Detection’s rapid growth in recent years, company leadership said.
Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, threat detection equipment represented a very small portion of Smiths Group’s global operation. Through acquisition of another company, it then produced 100-150 desktop explosive detectors per year. Three months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, however, the Transportation Security Administration placed an order for 6,000 desktop explosive detectors to be issued at airports across the nation.
“It’s a very event-driven industry. As the terrorists change their mode of operation, we have to adapt,” Boso said.
Increased demand for security equipment caused Smiths Group to name Smiths Detection a separate division in 2003. In recent years, the Edgewood plant’s footprint and workforce has doubled.
Smiths Detection was at the forefront of developing on-site detection tools for “white powder incidents,” often suspected of involving anthrax, he said. More recently, the company has developed a scanner for liquid, which will enable TSA to restrict only threatening liquids carried on by passengers, clearing harmless ones.
The Edgewood plant’s workforce reflects the changing face of new-age manufacturing, where the laboratory is as important as the factory floor.
A large number of employees are electronic test technicians, who typically have a two-year associates degree with an electrical engineering focus. Members of the research and development staff tend to have advanced degrees.
“It can be a challenge sometimes to find highly technical scientists, but we’ve been able to take advantage of Maryland’s educated workforce and also attract people here,” Castek said.
As opposed to historic perceptions of a dangerous factory, Smiths Detection’s next-generation manufacturing methods focus on protecting the employee.
“The workplace is designed around the people as much as it’s designed around the equipment, which was not the case years ago,” Boso said. “We pride ourselves that our products help keep people safe, so we certainly don’t want anyone getting hurt building our products.”
Smiths Detection is poised for growth in Maryland. Already, its technology is used at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, BWI Fire & Rescue Department and fire departments in Harford County, Cecil County, Prince George’s County and Baltimore City. Multiple courthouses and federal buildings in Maryland also use Smiths Detection weapons scanners.
Boso said the company is well integrated with governmental and public safety institutions across the country, but there are new opportunities emerging in commercial and critical infrastructure markets.
Corporate headquarters, schools, mass transit stations and prisons are becoming customers for threat detection equipment, including x-ray machines, metal detectors, scanners used to secure checkpoints.
“We see a fair amount of expansion in those areas, for sure. Smiths is optimistic about the future market,” Boso said.
The second annual InvestMaryland Challenge is in full swing. If your business is in need of a jump start, check out this site for more information about the national business competition. The Challenge offers applicants free admission to networking events, social media promotion, scoring and feedback from judges, exposure to venture capital firms and angel investors and the chance to compete for more than $600,000 in prizes. Winners of the Life Sciences, IT, Cybersecurity and General Industry categories will each win $100,000 awards. Others will take home smaller grants, incubator space, consulting services and other cash and in-kind prizes. Applications are due by Dec. 6.
Judges include a distinguished lineup of industry leaders and experts in a variety of fields. Meet a selection of judges below.
Meet The Judges:
Robb Doub joined New Markets Venture Partners in 2003. Robb is the lead administrative partner and serves as a board director for eCoast Sales Solutions and Appfluent Technology, and is lead partner or board observer for K2 Global, Kroll Bond Ratings, Navtrak, Three Stage Media, CSA Medical and TidalTV. He also serves on the board of Egeen International and the Conflicts Advisory Board of the off-shore hedge funds.
Daphne Dufresne joined RLJ Equity Partners from Parish Capital Advisors, where she was a Venture Partner managing the direct investment and co-investment program. Formerly, Ms. Dufresne was a Principal at Weston Presidio Capital with $3.4 billion of assets under management. She also served as Associate Director in the Bank of Scotland’s Structured Finance Group. Ms. Dufresne received her B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Christy Williams Wyskiel is an entrepreneur and investor with 20 years of experience focused on the life sciences and healthcare industries. Previously, Christy was Managing Director at Maverick Capital, an equity hedge fund with $12 billion under management. She co-founded GrayBug, an ophthalmic drug-delivery company. In 2012, Christy joined the Johns Hopkins Alliance, a board charged with evaluating the commercial viability of research projects at JHU.
Frederick J. Ferrer has over three decades of experience in the National Security, Intelligence Community (IC), Homeland Defense and Cyber. Mr. Ferrer holds a Master’s of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University and serves in a number of leadership capacities, including the Maryland Commission on Cybersecurity Innovation and Excellence; National STEM Consortium Advisory Committee; and Chesapeake Regional Tech Council.
As the Executive Director and President of the Emerging Technology Center in Baltimore, Ms. Tillett is responsible for management of budgetary, administrative, programmatic functions and strategic planning. Prior to joining ETC, Ms. Tillett served as president and co-founder of Immersive 3D, LLC, a technology start-up providing web-based 3D computer gaming solutions for K-20 education and offering contract-based technology services.
See the full list of judges and submit your application on InvestMarylandChallenge.org.
Maryland government agencies have a history of funding worker training projects, but never before has training been made so widely available across an entire industry.
Under the direction of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) Maryland Workforce Training Initiative is now offering an unprecedented opportunity for business leaders to form partnerships and offer the type of training needed to significantly increase worker productivity.
The first step is filling out an EARN Maryland Planning Grant application, which first became available on Oct. 15 and must be submitted by Nov. 12, 2013. Lead applicants will apply for $25,000 to fund the creation of a Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plan. There is no limit to the number of these grants the state will issue.
Between November 2013 and April 2014, the funding will assist the lead applicant in forming a partnership with fellow key players in their industry. Many will take advantage of professional membership organizations that already join business leaders together according to their shared interests. Through conferences, meetings and training sessions, they will determine the type of training needed most among workers in their industry and submit their requests for training programs.
By May 2014, DLLR will award implementation grants for approved Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plans.
The lead applicant for the initial $25,000 planning grant can fall into any of the following categories:
• Nonprofit organization
• Two- and four-year institution of higher education
• Local Workforce Board
• Industry association
• Labor union
• Local government
• Local or regional economic development entity
While the initiative is the first of its kind in Maryland, similar programs have succeeded in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and have already assisted workers in industries including aerospace, healthcare and clean energy. More information on their best practices is available through DLLR.
Those seeking more information should consider watching webinars on the program through DLLR’s website or attending a statewide Pre-Proposal Conference at 1 p.m. on October 18 at the Anne Arundel Community College, Robert E. Kauffman Theater, 101 College Parkway, Arnold, MD 21012.