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Columbia's triCerat Gets New President, CFO

Columbia based technology firm triCerat is shaking things up this winter.

The enterprise solutions and desktop applications firm has hired a new president and a new chief financial officer as it beta tests a new scanning application.

Vasilios Peros was recently named president and general counsel. Peros is known for his work as the chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s intellectual property division and was the winner of Venable LLP’s 2005 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award. Timothy L. Beal has been named triCerat's new Chief Financial Officer.

"I enjoy managing a company, putting the pieces together,” Peros says. “ We have already decided that we're going to crank it up and compete at a much higher level.”

Best known for its ScrewDrivers print management solution, triCerat is developing a new product. The company's next office management solution Scanect will be focused on scanning in an enterprise environment. The new application automatically configures an office's scanners from the server side. It is in beta testing an expected to release in early spring.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Vasilios Peros, triCerat

AVF Consulting Signs Deal With American Psychological Association

AVF Consulting has just picked up a new client, the American Psychological Association. AVF's new relationship with the APA means new jobs and a big new project for the 25-year-old accounting and supply chain software company.

The association started looking for a company that could find the business solutions that they needed more than a year ago. AVF completed several days of product demonstrations, and approximately 300 hours of requirements analysis before the contract was signed.

The association will install Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Serenic Navigator. AVF expects implementation to take about 12 months, and plans to begin the process in March, President Jeremy Fass says. The process will start with the association's back office accounting and move into the organization's supply chain in later stages.

AVF Consulting is hiring to meet the increased workload. The company is searching for an experienced project manager, senior consultants and a customer support manager.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Jeremy Fass, AVF Consulting

ProGymSystems Kicks Off New Venture

The distressed real estate market is offering an opportunity for growth for ProGymSystems. The Baltimore based company is launching a new venture to open fitness studios in office properties with a high vacancy rate.

“Fitness and healthy living aren’t only hobbies for the fit crowd or bodybuilders. They are becoming the lifestyle of choice for the mainstream,” says ProGymSystems Director W. Thomas Sjolander.

The company sees the current real estate environment as an opportunity for expansion, and is marketing their new concept to property managers looking to attract new tenants to highly vacant properties by offering upgraded amenities.
“Many office buildings have high vacancy rates,” Sjolander says. “ Amenities like a free fitness center will help attract new tenants and even retain current tenants.”

ProGymSystems typically designs gyms for hotels, private clients and multi-housing properties. The company has designed gyms at the Saratoga Lofts in Baltimore and TownPlace Suites at Arundel Mills. ProGymSystems has approached several area property developers with the new concept, including Corporate Office Properties Trust, JBG Rosenfeld, Chesapeake Property Management and St. John Properties.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: W. Thomas Sjolander, ProGymSystems

WorkingWonders Wants to Become the Whole Foods of Home Goods

Baltimore based green home goods retailer WorkingWonders has made its name as an online retailer of sustainably sourced and green products for homes and families. The company is looking to do something unusual  – make the jump from online retail to traditional brick and mortar.

“WorkingWonders aims to be the first brand nationally recognized for sustainable home & lifestyle retail,” says WorkingWonders CEO BethAnn Lederer. ”In a nutshell, socially and environmentally savvy consumers have the 'Whole Foods' option, but the same does not exist for our homes.”

The company focuses on green products that are manufactured by small and medium sized companies, with the goal of keeping two-thirds of its retail products and production lines coming in from US companies. WorkingWonders is looking to open a flagship style retail location in Baltimore that fulfills this mission.

The WorkingWonders team is developing plans to attract investor interest in the proposed retail location. As they work on this plan for a brick and mortar store, WorkingWonders is continuing to add more sustainable home products to their mix. The company is also accepting applications for internships this year.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: BethAnn Lederer, Working Wonders

The Lunchbox Lady Keeps Growing

The Lunchbox Lady, which provides box lunches for corporate events, is launching a new menu this month, and planning to hire at least one additional full time food production worker and one part time driver this year.

The business has grown steadily, eventually outgrowing its original location. Last year, the business moved from Arbutus to Halethorpe – and business grew 185 percent. The Lunchbox Lady added three new staffers, and the business is still expanding.

Corporate downsizing brought Baltimore native Connie Henninger Neiman back to the food industry. The former co-owner of Henninger's in Fells Point left the restaurant business in 1989 to become and insurance broker. After 20 years in the business and two layoffs, Connie went back to her roots in the food business and reinvented herself as The Lunchbox Lady.

“All of the ladies that I have hired in the past three-and-half years have been downsized from various professional careers, so they have varied experience and most of all, they have invested their ideas and talents and share in my vision of growing this business,” says The Lunchbox Lady owner Connie Henninger Neiman.

“I am a very lucky person, because I have acquired employees that really believe in what they are doing and that is why our food and presentation is very high quality,” says Henninger Neiman.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Connie Henninger Neiman, The Lunchbox Lady

Woodberry Kitchen Owners to Open Cafe in Hampden

Woodberry Kitchen’s Spike and Amy Gjerde will open a coffee shop at Hampden’s Union Mill this spring.

The 1,500-square-foot café will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Also still in the works is Half Acre, a fast-casual eatery that the Gjerdes will open at 3801 Falls Rd. in the middle of this year. The 75-seat restaurant will serve lunch and dinner.

The café will be under construction next month and open in March or April, says Michael Morris, the real estate manager for the Gjerdes’ restaurant ownership group behind Woodberry Kitchen, Artifact and Half Acre.

One of the area’s first farm-to-table restaurants, Woodberry Kitchen is one of the Baltimore area’s most popular restaurants. It earned the accolade of Bon Appetit magazine, which named it one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America in its September 2009 issue.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen; Michael Morris, real estate manager

Constellation Energy Accepting Renewable Energy Grants

Constellation Energy is now accepting applications for its EcoStar Grant Program, which promotes renewable energy.

In its third year, the program provides grants of up to $5,000 to organizations working on community projects that fit into one or more categories designated by the Baltimore firm: pollution prevention, education and outreach, energy efficiency, conservation and community activism

Past winners of EcoStar grants in Baltimore include Coppin State University, Knowledge Is Power Program charter schools and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Coppin State University used EcoStar grant funds to study nanotechnology and solar power. Constellation has awarded EcoStar grants in 20 states since the program's inception. Last year, it awarded 85 EcoStar grants.

The deadline for applications for the 2012 EcoStar grant program is March 10. Grant awards will be announced on or before Earth Day, April 12.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Christina Pratt, Constellation Energy

Sensics Introduces SmartGoggles

Sensics Inc. is launching their first consumer-targeted 360-degree goggles at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show this month in Las Vegas. SmartGoggles are designed to provide gamers with an immersive view of their gaming environment.

Sensics had been selling exclusively to the defense and professional markets, says Sensics CEO Yuval Boger of the 360-degree goggles. "By adding the power to run Android applications on board, as well as allow these applications to use the location of the user’s hand, we believe SmartGoggles are changing how people think about virtual reality goggles much like smart phones changed how people think about phones.”

SmartGoggles differ from traditional virtual reality goggles in the way that  they run applications that track the user's motion. Traditional virtual-reality goggles rely on an external device for video and track the user's head motions. SmartGoggles run applications locally and track the user's hand motions.

The Columbia company is also looking to partner with a major consumer electronics company to help deliver SmartGoggles to the consumer market.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Yuval Boger, Sensics Inc.

Landscaping Firm Uses New Software to Keep Track of Crews

Keeping track of what a work crew is doing is a challenge for landscaping and construction firms. Akehurst Landscaping Services, Inc. in Joppa is solving that problem by implementing iCREWtek tracking software.

The software helps the firm keep track of its crews and  empowers them to be more efficient and accountable in estimating, scheduling and business management duties, says Akehurst Landscaping Services Business Developer David Sheredy.
Using iCREWtek, Akehurst Landscaping is able to do real time monitoring of all of the company's work crews.

iCREWtek is an extension of Asset, a business management application for landscaping services produced by Annapolis-based software developer Include Software.

Customer invoices, job site photos, materials management and time sheets can be processed paperlessly and remotely, which allows for more accurate estimates and faster billing. The software also has English/Spanish communication capability to increase communications accuracy.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: David Sheredy, Akehurst Landscaping Services Inc.

Campaign Management Firm Teams with Baltimore PR Company

CampaignON, a campaign management software company in Towson, has partnered with Baltimore's Weiss PR Associates Inc. to help candidates get their campaign messages out  --- just as the 2012 election season heats up. 

Weiss PR will be providing candidates with a wide range of public relations services, including strategic communications planning, media outreach, public affairs, issue management, community relations, and crisis communications, says Weiss PR President Ray Weiss

Weiss PR has worked with candidates on the state and local level, including PR support for former Baltimore County Executive Dennis Rasmussen when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Ray Weiss, Weiss PR Associates Inc.

Caterers Launch Partyspace Baltimore

Looking for a venue for a wedding or bar mitzvah can mean hours of web searching and phone calls to determine availability and suitability. The new website Partyspace Baltimore aims to change that.

“The unique part of our website is that couples and their families can check availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the major venues in Baltimore and surrounding areas,” says Julie Brown-Edwards, a promoter for Partyspace Baltimore. “Our calendar service is a big difference to the way brides, couples and their families have searched for information in the past.”

Launched at the Timonium Bridal Expo 2012, Partyspace Baltimore is the brainchild of the Jeffrey A. Miller Catering Co. of Philadelphia and Chef’s Expressions Inc. of Baltimore. Partyspace Baltimore is designed to provide event planners and individuals planning their own parties with a one-stop shop for venues and event vendors.

The website offers users the opportunity to check venue availability any time with frequently updated calendars. The site also offers information about capability, restrictions and amenities.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Julie Brown-Edwards, Partyspace Baltimore

Pure Bang Games Is Hiring

Baltimore's Pure Bang Games is growing. The social games developer recently added star game designer Eric Ruth, developer of Pixel Force, to their roster and they're looking for more help as they launch new projects.

The company is looking for a top user interface designer as well as “rock star” front-end and back-end programmers, says Pure Bang CEO Ben Walsh. Ideally, the new hire will know AS3 Flash and/or PHP and MySQL, but if they know object-oriented programming, Pure Bang can teach them what they need to know to be mobile and Facebook programmers, Walsh says.

Pure Bang Games has a busy 2012 planned. The company is planning to launch their third mobile app game in the first quarter of this year. Pure Bang Games also plans to launch a new game by Eric Ruth.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Ben Walsh, Pure Bang Games

Maryland Biotech Development Center Awarding Up to $200K In Grants

The Maryland Biotechnology Development Center is accepting applications at their website for grant awards of up to $200,000 through Feb. 15th. These awards are available in two categories, biotechnology commercialization and translational research.

Biotechnology commercialization is focused on supporting projects that are in late-stage development and are poised to enter the market and begin generating revenue within three years. The translational research category is designed to help start ups that are bridging the gap between research institutions and private companies in Maryland, with the goal of taking promising research down a commercial path.

This is the third year for these awards, which have provided nearly $3.1 million in funding to 13 life sciences companies and three university research projects in Maryland.

Source: Maryland Biotechnology Development Center
Writer: Amy McNeal

Main Streets' Microloan Program Goes to Washington

A group of Baltimore Main Streets board members and merchants attended a White House Business Leaders Briefing last month to showcase the Federal Hill microloan program at a small business forum.

Federal Hill Main Street is launching this because of a lack of access to capital for small businesses in our community. I think nonprofits are the future for lending to small businesses - banks certainly aren't doing it,” says Jane Seebold, Executive Director of Federal Hill Main Street.

The program offers small, short-term loans – from $500 to $2500 – to businesses in Federal Hill for low interest rates. The loans can be used by the businesses for specialized tasks like technology upgrades or seasonal inventory purchases. The loan board has secured an insurer after a lengthy struggle.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Jane Seebold, Federal Hill Main Street

Oculis Labs Joins UMBC Incubator

Hunt Valley’s Oculis Labs has opened a satellite branch at the Northrup Grumman Cync Program, an incubator at [email protected]

“Oculis wanted the opportunity to work more closely with Northrop Grumman on various projects and the Cync partnership gives us regular contact,” says Oculis Labs' CEO Bill Anderson. “We also expect to benefit from advice from the program staff, and from connections we can make through Northrop contacts.” 

Access to UMBC’s facilities and the opportunity to find and hire students to work at Oculis made the move attractive, Anderson says.

The Cync program is designed to provide support, evaluation and connection opportunities for companies that are developing new technology and cyber security tools.

Oculis Labs is best known for its Chameleon and PrivateEye data privacy software. Both applications are designed to use user recognition technology to protect sensitive data from “visual eavesdropping.”

Oculis Labs new PrivateEye Enterprise product is used in government, healthcare, and financial enterprises. It recently partnered with Panasonic to bundle PrivateEye with its Toughbook laptops. Anderson says he expects to see more deals like that over the next year.

Source: Oculis Labs’ Bill Anderson
Writer: Amy McNeal
212 entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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