Archives For Manufacturing

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…

John Doran, president of Centreville Manufacturing in Centreville, Maryland, was named Small Business Exporter of the Year.

John Doran, president of Centreville Manufacturing in Centreville, Maryland, was named Small Business Exporter of the Year.

The recent recession left Centreville Manufacturing president John Doran at a crossroad. As construction spending in the United States declined, how would he maintain sales for the company’s specialized trailers and construction equipment? If he did not act quickly, he imagined he would be forced to close.

The answer came through exporting.

“If we hadn’t been willing to think outside the box we wouldn’t be here to day. Selling outside the country is a necessity,” Doran said.

Exporting by the Centreville, Maryland-based company now accounts for roughly 20 percent of total sales. He works with customers in Germany, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Russia, Ecuador and Madagascar. He invented an automatic traffic cone placement trailer for Japanese customers and has created housing for air compressors for the Pakistan Air Force.

His 25-person company is thriving and he is working closely with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Doran hopes to soon translate his website into multiple languages and boost his exporting sales to 50 percent.

Nominated by Maryland DBED, Doran was recently named Small Business Exporter of the Year in the 30th Annual Maryland Small Business Week Awards.

But becoming a successful exporter required time and effort, he said.

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One Maryland manufacturer has literally been to the moon and back.

Providing the unique patches on the uniforms of Apollo 11 astronauts for the 1969 moon landing is just one example of Lion Brothers’ broad work history.

More recently, Lion Brothers designed the patches for NBC correspondents at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

In its 115-year history, hundreds of companies, labor groups and government organizations; athletes, collegiate and professional; and community groups, including the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, trace their patches and insignia designs back to Lion Brothers.

“We make the very best products in the world. It’s something quite remarkable, when you have that knowledge base and that commitment to making beautiful and extraordinary things. It’s really in the DNA of this place,” said Lion Brothers CEO Suzy Ganz

While the walls of the company’s Owings Mills headquarters are filled with framed patches and jerseys from notable past projects, Ganz emphasized that the company isn’t content to rest on its laurels. It is continuing to innovate and expand.

“We’ve accelerated innovation and came out with new printed products that were received really well by the market. Particularly in licensed sports, we developed some of the first digital textile printed products in our industry,” Ganz said.

Lion Brothers has developed groundbreaking techniques with the use of heat application and lasers to create intricate, lightweight and breathable numbers and letters for athletic uniforms. The company has also begun allowing individual users to interact directly with the patch-making process. For a Girl Scout’s final patch, she accesses a Lion Brothers-powered website and creates her own patch design, which is made at the facility and sent to her.

Innovations like these helped the company fare better than most during the recent recession. Lion Brothers avoided layoffs among its American workforce of roughly 60 technicians, designers, developers and other staff. The company also maintained its workforce of about 400 employees in Hong Kong.

In the near future, Ganz hopes to “re-shore” more of the company and grow its selection of completely American-made products. As part of that process, the company will move from its Owings Mills factory to another Baltimore-area location. The new plant will allow for more advanced technology and streamline Lion Brothers’ supply chain. Ganz said the move will likely occur in March 2014.

As the company evolves, Ganz said it will continue to focus on its most valuable assets—its employees.

“In manufacturing, people tend to think that it’s a machinery oriented business, but it’s really a people oriented business and people connect with the products they make,” she said.

It’s thrilling for employees to see the company’s work on the jersey of a professional NBA player or even on the jacket of a United States customs officer at an airport, Ganz said.

“There’s something quite magical about that feeling of ‘Look at that. I did that,’” she said.

Ganz said she hopes Lion Brothers stands as a symbol of the manufacturing sector’s potential for growth and longevity in Maryland. Her leadership in the sector led Governor Martin O’Malley to appoint her chair of the Maryland Economic Development Commission. Her three-year term began in January 2014.

“There are tons of opportunities in Maryland. Manufacturing is a sector with a multiplier effect, so it’s about more than just one job. Multiple workers are needed to provide the raw materials and retail these products. Manufacturing plays a tremendous role in making Maryland healthier,” she said.

Fortunately, she said, Maryland already has the tools to grow its manufacturing sector, including a valuable work force and supportive atmosphere.

“It’s a state where we have wonderful workers—they enjoy a high quality of life here,” Ganz said.

“As we move from products that were once mass produced to smart products, we find brains and talent here in Maryland. For us, being a manufacturer means we can connect to universities, labs and other places that bring us all sorts of new innovation,” she said.

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.

Governor Martin O’Malley spotlighted Gamse Lithographing Company's dedication to providing employees a living wage and reliable health coverage.

Governor Martin O’Malley spotlighted Gamse Lithographing Company’s dedication to providing employees a living wage and reliable health coverage.

Since 1896, Gamse Lithographing Company in Rosedale, Maryland has made labels for commercial items across America.

Since 1896, Gamse Lithographing Company in Rosedale, Maryland has made labels for commercial items across America.

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:

IT-robDoub

ROBB DOUB

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.

IT-daphneDufresneDAPHNE DUFRESNE

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.

LS_Christy_W_WyskielCHRISTY WILLIAMS WYSKIEL

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.

CS_Frederick_FerrerFREDERICK J. FERRER

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.

GEN_Deb_TillettDEBORAH TILLETT

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.

Robert Walker is Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Supporting Maryland manufacturing is a top priority here at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, and a recent event organized by Walmart shed some light on revitalizing industry in our state and across the nation.

Walmart has a goal of creating $50 billion in new manufacturing in the United States over the next decade, much of it by encouraging its suppliers to bring outsourced manufacturing back home. This plan was detailed in a summit attended by more than 1,500 participants, including the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the Honorable Penny Pritzker, and eight governors, as well as the CEOs of General Electric, Walmart, Sam’s Club and other corporate leaders.

The Good News: U.S. exports in the first six months of this year were $1.2 trillion, the total of all U.S. exports in 2003. Increased exports means increased manufacturing jobs as well. The output of U.S. workers is up 9 percent on average since the 2008 recession due to improved productivity, continuing innovation, research and development and the important economic development activities of U.S. universities.  Manufacturing processes are being done with less labor, cheaper natural gas and at a lower cost of credit (thanks to the Federal Reserve).  And three jobs are created for every one manufacturing job.

One speaker said we hear a lot about China’s robust economic growth and how it will “sink” the U.S. economy. The same thing was said of Japan in the 1970s. Today, the U.S. has 2.5 times more manufacturing value-added than five years ago. Chinese labor costs continue to rise, although still well behind average U.S. wages. However, the cost of transporting products continues to rise. In addition, import duties and delays in backfilling orders makes U.S. manufacturing increasingly more competitive with the fully-loaded cost of Chinese imports. In the case of flooring material, the U.S. now has a $.03 advantage over China and the product can be delivered to buyers within a matter of one to three days.

Some of the governors said they have eliminated state taxes on utilities, cut corporate taxes by 20-plus percent, provided tax incentives, improved infrastructure and implemented programs to provide the workforce needed to meet the demands of tomorrow’s job market. In fact, all of the governors who spoke said that the quality and availability of the workforce were the most important factors for companies looking to expand or relocate to their states. One governor spoke of a high school program in his state that allows qualified students to also complete a two-year associate degree at the same time that includes a mandatory internship in the skill area chosen by the student. Another state provides a certificate of “readiness” that confirms for an employer what it is that the prospective employee can do as a result of education and on-the-job training, certified by a professional trained in that skill area.

The CEO of General Electric commented that the U.S. can compete with any country anywhere in the world, and that manufacturing is getting better. The speakers concluded that we are at a tipping point and we should challenge our old assumptions about the capability and capacity of U.S. manufacturing. U.S. manufacturing can and will rebound and grow in light of U.S. leadership in research and development, innovation, productivity improvements and changes in China and elsewhere that will work to our advantage.

The good news that Maryland added 1,800 manufacturing jobs in July, the most of any job sector in the state, underscores the vitality of, and opportunity for, manufacturing in Maryland.

Keep up with the latest statewide business and economic developments.

 

NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite's VIIRS instrument

This image was taken by a polar-orbiting NOAA/NASA satellite on Feb. 10, 2013, as the historic New England snowstorm headed out into the Atlantic. Credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab

Incorrect weather data may leave you without an umbrella on a rainy day, but its effects can also be far more severe.

“Maybe you’re left unprepared for the next hurricane, maybe life is lost or property is damaged, maybe the crops aren’t watered on time. Accurate weather data is really crucial to have,” said Samir Chettri, a program manager at Global Science & Technology.

The Greenbelt-based company, founded in Maryland 22 years ago, takes high-tech weather forecasting and environmental data collection very seriously. Its dedication to accuracy and longstanding relationship with federal agencies recently earned the firm a $22.8 million contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Over the next five years, GST will provide technical and engineering services associated with the Joint Polar Satellite System, NOAA and NASA’s next generation of polar-orbiting satellites. The JPSS-1, the program’s second polar-orbiting satellite space craft, is scheduled to launch in early 2017.

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CCBC Catonsville Fab Lab

Jeff Fuchs, chairman of the Maryland Advisory Commission on Manufacturing Competitiveness, records video of a 3D printer at the CCBC Catonsville Fab Lab.

Manufacturing may conjure up images of massive warehouses and assembly lines, but a small workshop at the Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville demonstrates a simpler approach.

A laser cutter, a 3D printer, a router and various other tools line the walls of the Fab Lab Baltimore, a joint effort of CCBC and the United States Fab Lab Network, which opened in 2011. The lab and its creative network are available to anyone upon completion of a four-hour training course.

The Maryland Advisory Commission on Manufacturing Competitiveness on Thursday explored the lab and spotlighted its potential to help entrepreneurs and small manufacturers create custom product prototypes.

“Maryland manufacturing is very diverse, and in order to meet the needs of that diverse population, resources like this are very important, so we need to make more people aware of them,” said Jeff Fuchs, chairman of the commission. “People can bring their ideas here, without a lot of capital and without a lot of effort on their part, and get connected with some of the tools to make their ideas a reality, and maybe turn those ideas into a business.”

The commission, which was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2012, toured the lab following a roundtable discussion on the influence of community colleges on Maryland’s manufacturing workforce.

Lab users, which include students, designers, artists, makers and inventors, are almost entirely self-directed. Building materials may be brought in or purchased in-house. 3D printing is priced at $10 per cubic inch of plastic, one of the lowest prices in the Baltimore area. according to lab manager Kelly Zona.

The high-tech production tools don’t have to intimidate, Zona said: “We’ve had 7-year-olds comes in and use these machines, just to give you an idea of how accessible it is.”

On Thursday, lab user Todd Blatt, was using an engraver to print a map of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth on a stretch of leather. Blatt, the founder of Custom 3D Stuff, has made a living out of creating customizable manufactured items. The lab offers him a unique and affordable opportunity to test new techniques, he said.

“They have machines here that I could never afford on my own because of the expense,” he said.

Zona said she judges the lab’s progress by its growing number of users and its “success stories.”

Makers of prototypes for hair clips, an adjustable curtain system and a pop-up shop display have each pushed their products to market. Perhaps the most successful prototype produced at the lab was a camera lens cap holder called CapGorilla—with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, hundreds have since sold in 24 countries.

“A large part is the educational aspect. Many people don’t realize they can come to a place like this and use these resources to make their visions a reality,” Zona said.

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Maryland/Washington D.C. District Export Council, Inc.

Maryland/Washington D.C. District Export Council

Over $11.8 billion in merchandise traveled out of Maryland and into markets around the world in 2012.

While Maryland already has a flourishing export market, the Maryland/DC District Export Council is working to build that number even higher. The DEC plans to hold its first-ever Celebration of International Trade in Linthicum Heights on May 21, with a special focus on training businesses in exporting goods and services.

Registration for the Celebration of International Trade has reached 70 percent and will remain open online until the day of the event. Admission, including breakfast and lunch, is free for government employees and $99 for others.

The world market is a “surprisingly small place,” according to Carl Livesay, chairman of the DEC.

“Businesses perceive that there are overwhelming barriers to exporting goods and services, and that’s just not the case. It is confusing and it can be cumbersome, but if you align yourself with businesses and people who have traveled that path before, they will help light the way,” he said.

The region benefits from transportation systems that easily support trade, including the top-ranking Port of Baltimore and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Livesay also described the area as a “hotbed and innovation and technology.”

“There’s no other area in the country that is better suited, better qualified or has access to stronger resources than we do here in Maryland,” he said.

Ultimately, as more companies in Maryland and Washington, D.C. trade internationally, the more the overall economy will grow and the national trade balance will improve. He said, ”We do not seek to help companies import foreign goods or services into the United States. To put it bluntly, this is about creating permanent, sustainable jobs right here in Maryland.”

The event’s main draw is an extensive list of prominent speakers, including Robert Walker, Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development; Laszlo Horvath, CEO or Active Media; and Todd Marks, CEO of Mindgrub Technologies.

Dozens of other industry leaders and exhibitors will present training sessions, ranging from mitigating risk in international trade to strategic tax consideration.

How does it feel to drive General Motors’ newest American-made electric vehicle?

According to Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray, the 2014 Chevy Spark EV has “tremendous feel, incredible pick-up when you need it, smooth as could be.”

“When you see a Spark come into your neighborhood, I’d recommend getting it,” he added.

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