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Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland to build research and science center in East Baltimore

The state's two major research institutions, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park , are partnering to build a research and science center in East Baltimore opening September 2014. The state is spending $27 million and Hopkins is contributing $3 million toward the $30 million public/private venture whose goal is to make Maryland’s universities and private industry more competitive in the sciences.

The High Performance Research Computing Facility will consist of multiple buildings on land leased from Hopkins on its 350-acre Bayview Medical campus, at 4940 Eastern Ave. Expected to break ground in November, the center will be set off from other buildings and have its own separate entrance. The universities will finish site design this month and then bid the project to vendors. 
While the facility is unique in Maryland, other states, notably Massachusetts and New York, have launched similar data centers. Hopkins' vice provost of research Scott Zeger says the facility will allow the two universities to compete in scientific fields. Last year, faculty and administrators at Johns Hopkins and UMCP formed a scientific governing group to oversee the facility. 
“We are building a world-class facility,” he says, that will spur public/private partnerships in scientific research and hopefully create spinoff companies. 

The High Performance Research Computing Facility will be used for fields whose solutions require “extreme computation,” says Zeger. These include big data, cybersecurity, language processing, genomics and molecular chemistry.
The center will consist of a small administrative building for the four to five people who will operate the facility and smaller buildings to hold the computing and storage equipment. The center will initially consist of one building to hold equipment but there is room on the site for up to five such structures. 
Zeger says the construction of subsequent buildings depends on state funding, federal grants and partnerships with other universities in the region and private industry. The facility's operating cost is put at $3 million to $5 million per year, and Zeger expects partnerships and other funding to defray the cost.
According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, money for the project has been designated in the capital budgets for FY 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Source: Scott Zeger, Johns Hopkins University
Writer: Barbara Pash


Maryland VA Hospitals Plan Major Expansion

Seeking to address an increased demand for health care services, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System plans to spend $41 million on construction and renovation projects at several facilities in the Baltimore area this summer.
The project includes a renovation to the atrium of the system’s downtown location and construction of a linear accelerator for cancer treatment. Linear accelerators generate high-energy electrons and X-rays. A new rehabilitation and robotics center and an extensive addition to an existing building are planned at the system’s location off Loch Raven Road in Baltimore. 
The upgrades are part of a statewide renovation project for the health care system that includes three inpatient facilities and six outpatient clinics throughout the state.
The system offers medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health, and outpatient care to more than 52,000 veterans annually in Maryland.
The construction projects will also add new clinical programs to benefit Veteran patients and increase clinical and administrative space, says chief of public and community relations at the VA Maryland Healthcare System, R. David Edwards. 
At the Baltimore VA Medical Center at 10 N. Greene St., construction and renovations are planned to improve patient access and expand clinical programs. The new space will be used by 400 patients each week, officials say. 

 Construction is ongoing on the linear accelerator suite that will be central to the center's new radiation oncology program. Officials expect construction to be completed by next summer.
Additional administrative and clinical space at the center will be created through a 20,000 square-foot addition to the center's front atrium and a 20,000 square-foot renovation to existing space. A robotics space and a modern media center will be added and is projected to be completed by early fall.
Construction is underway at the Loch Raven VA Outpatient Clinic in north Baltimore which is the site for a new,15,000-square-foot rehabilitation research center. Designed to better serve Maryland veterans who are stroke survivors or in need of physical rehabilitation, the $8.1 million center will include specialized equipment and gym spaces.
At the Loch Raven VA Community Living and Rehabilitation Center, a 23,000 square-foot addition to the facility currently underway will add multi-purpose rooms and expand hospice and therapy areas.
A rise in military enrollments following the 9/11 attacks and conflicts in the Middle East has precipitated a rise in demand for post-service health care services. The VA is also responding to the increasing numbers of women veterans now coming into the system, officials say. 
A recent report from the Associated Press says 45 percent of American's newest veterans, those from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, file for disability benefits for injuries they say are service-related.
Source: R. David Edwards, chief of Public and Community Relations at the VA Maryland Health Care System, Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System. 

Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Ethan Allenís New Format Store to Move Into Annapolis Towne Centre

Ethan Allen Design Center is opening a store at Annapolis Towne Centre this summer with a new store layout that is the first of its kind in the mid-Atlantic.

The 8,550-square-foot shop will sell furniture and accessories and feature technology that will make buying sofas and fabric a more interactive experience.

The store will include "inspiration labs" with design ideas for five different lifestyles, says Kathy Bliss, regional design manager for the Danbury, Conn., firm. Clients' lifestyle choices are elegance, modern, romance, explorer, and vintage.

Buyers can use touchscreen monitors to preview their purchases, and use design software to see room layout options and images of each lifestyle.

The Annapolis Towne Centre shop replaces a larger store at 2401 Solomons Island Rd. that closed in December.

Ethan Allen executives wanted the store to go into the "popular lifestyle shopping destination," Bliss says.

The outdoor mall's home retailers include Restoration Hardware, Arhaus Furniture, Great Gatherings, Bed Bath & Beyond, Desi Living, and Sur La Table.

Developed by Greenberg Gibbons Commercial Corp., Annapolis Towne Centre is a $500 million retail, office and residential complex that houses a Main Street-style town center. Its other stores include Whole Foods Market, Brio Tuscan Grill, and Target.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Kathy Bliss, Ethan Allen

Single Carrot, Software Firm, Seeking New Stage

Single Carrot Theatre has teamed up with a sound design software company to hunt for real estate in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District to accommodate the growing theater troupe.

Teaming up with Figure 53 LLC will enable the two entities to share resources -- from a copy machine to graphic artists, Single Carrot Executive Director Elliott Rauh says.

Single Carrot will make the move as early as July 2012, when its lease at 122 W. North Ave. is up. Figure 53, which would provide the capital to buy a 10,000-square-foot building, could move sooner if it finds the right space, Figure 53's Christopher Ashworth says.

The Baltimore software firm wants a space that holds a lab where it can test new products. One product in development is Tixato, an online ticket sale application for smaller theater troupes like Single Carrot.

Rauh says he is looking for a space that can seat between 75 and 99. Its current space seats 50 and is at 85 percent capacity.

"We're stuck in a glass ceiling if we can't get more earned income," Rauh says.

Single Carrot's long-term vision is to grow its budget from $211,00 to $500,000 and to do so it will need to receive more earned income. And it doesn't want to raise ticket prices, Rauh says.

The upstart theater company was founded by friends from the University of Colorado who chose Baltimore as a home after scouring 50 cities. It currently has five employees, four of whom work part-time.

Figure 53 employs six. "Billy Elliott," "South Pacific," and other Broadway shows have used its software.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Elliott Rauh, Christopher Ashworth

BWMC Adding $1.3M X-Ray Machine

Baltimore Washington Medical Center is adding a $1.3 million X-Ray machine that will allow it to perform more non-invasive procedures and enhance its women's services.

Construction on the Siemens Interventional Room began last month and will finish in August. The new machine will allow the Glen Burnie hospital to perform uterine fibroid embolizations, or a minimally invasive treatment of fibroid tumors, says BWMC Director of Radiology Dr. Jim Cary.

"We're excited to offer this to anyone in Maryland," Cary says.

The machine replaces 14-year-old equipment and offers better imaging quality.

A woman undergoing the procedure can recover within 24 hours and return to work within two or three days, says Dr. Zina Novak, BWMC's medical director of radiology services.

The hospital is renovating the interventional radiology room with new lighting, storage, cabinets, and lounge for technologists.

Writer, Julekha Dash
Sources, Dr. Jim Cary, Dr. Zina Novak, BWMC

Government Contractor Doubling Space in Howard County

A technology company is doubling its space as it outgrows its office in Howard County.

NewWave Telecom & Technologies Inc. has signed a lease with Merritt Properties LLC for 8,165 square feet of space at 6518 Meadowridge Rd. in Elkridge. The company will move in June, says NewWave Director of Operations Sherifah Munis.

"We've completely outgrown the space now," Munis says of their current home at 6095 Marshalee Dr. in Elkridge. "If we hired additional employees, we wouldn't know where to put them."

Munis says the company's staff decided to stay in Elkridge because they like the accessibility to the Baltimore Beltway, Interstate 95, and Route 29. The central location makes it easy to get to Baltimore or Washington, D.C.

A big area of focus for NewWave is health care technology, a growing concern for the federal government.

Its clients include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, for whom it provides technology support for its Electronic Health Record Demonstration Project.

Part of the federal health care reform law, the project provides Medicare incentive payments to primary care physicians who use certified electronic health records. The goal of the project is to reduce medical errors by putting paper records in an electronic format.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Sherifah Munis, NewWave Telecom & Technologies

Ross Technologies Moving Headquarters from Columbia to UMBC Research Park

Ross Technologies Inc., a 14-year-old cyber security consulting firm, is moving its headquarters from Columbia to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County technology park.

The 11,425-square-foot office will open in the spring at 5520 Research Park Dr., bringing about 50 jobs to the new office. Ross' move highlights the research park's draw for cyber security firms, of which it now has about a dozen.

These include Telcordia Technologies Inc., a telecommunications company that is also opening at the research park this spring. The company works with Department of Defense agencies at Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground. It is opening the office as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure, expected to bring thousands of defense contracting jobs to Maryland.

Cyber security firms are a good fit for the research park given its proximity to Fort Meade, about 10 miles away, says Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of [email protected] Research and Technology Park.

The school is opening an incubator this week, the Northrup Grumman Cync program, that will help the next generation of tech firms combat online threats.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Ellen Hemmerly, UMBC

Baltimore City Community College Seeks State Funds for Renovation, New Computer Lab

Baltimore City Community College is embarking on an $11 million renovation that will spruce up its aging Liberty Heights campus and build a new computer lab to support growing online enrollment.

College officials plan to upgrade the HVAC, fire, sprinkler, and other systems in the administrative offices of the main building, college spokesman Patrick Onley says. That building dates to 1965.

"It's long due for an overhaul," Onley says of the main building.

The new computer lab will support distance learning. Currently, 2,143 students take at least one online course. That represents about one third of its total enrollment of credit students and is an 11 percent increase over last year, Onley says.

"That's why it's important for us to have a new computer lab."

Construction on the renovations should begin in October, and January 2012 for the computer lab. Onley says he is not sure when the projects will be completed.

The college hopes to get $2.25 million from the state's 2012 budget and another $8 million from that of fiscal 2013 to go toward the renovation.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Patrick Onley, Baltimore City Community College

Two Research Centers Renew Lease at UMBC Tech Park

Two technology research divisions of the University of Maryland Baltimore County have renewed their lease at the school's Catonsville campus.

The Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center (GEST) and the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET) signed a five-year lease with Merritt Properties for a 5,000-square-foot space at UMBC's research and technology park.

The two centers employ 20 people who work at [email protected] Research and Technology Park and 200 overall, says Raymond Hoff, director of both centers.  

The centers run satellite missions in conjunction with NASA that observe everything from hurricanes to the melting of the ice cap in Antarctica to the amount of air pollution in space.

Center officials like the modern building at 5523 Research Park Dr., with its free parking and easy access to Interstate 95, Hoff says. It also contains plenty of meeting space, which is tough to find at the main campus during the school year as students and faculty members jockey for space.

Located at the edge of campus, the research park is still close enough to the school's faculty and students, says Hoff, who is also a UMBC physics professor.

The 71-acre [email protected] Research and Technology serves as an incubator for startup firms and a research center. Tenants include the Erickson School of Aging Studies, RWD Technologies, and Encore Path.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Raymond Hoff, GEST and JCET

Cyber Security Firm Moves From ETC to New Canton Digs

A cyber security firm has moved out of the Emerging Technology Center incubator space to its own new digs in Canton as it grows its client base.

Lookingglass Cyber Solutions LLC
moved last month to 1001 S. Kenwood Ave., on the second floor of a townhouse. After three years in Canton's ETC, the company thought it was time to get its own space where it can bring clients, Lookingglass CEO Derek Gabbard says.

The company's contract with the Department of Homeland Security will double this year, to $2 million.

"We've evolved to the point where you want to spread your wings and do your own thing," Gabbard says.

It also won a contract last month with an intelligence organization, which it can't name for security reasons. Two banks will also pilot their products next year.

The company expects to hire two employees by the end of the year and another three to four by next summer in the areas of software development and operational support.

The 2,000-square-foot office puts the seven-person firm two blocks closer to the bustling Canton Square, Gabbard says.

Working in the waterfront Canton neighborhood, chock full of bars and restaurants, is a good job perk for young new employees, Gabbard says.

"It's a great spot to move to if you're in your 20s," Gabbard says. Being in a "hip, young area" is good for a growing software company.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Derek Gabbard

St. John Properties Breaks Ground On Three New Buildings at APG

St. John Properties Inc. has begun construction on three new commercial buildings at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County.

The three buildings total 180,000 square feet and will be complete by the middle of next year.

The properties are located at the Government and Technology Enterprise, or the Gate, a 416-acre technology business park. The new office buildings are located at 6180, 6200, and 6210 Guardian Gateway Dr.

Baltimore developer St. John Properties is constructing a total of eight buildings at the office park. The county is expected to get an influx of federal contractors next year with the Pentagon's base realignment and closure, or BRAC. Aberdeen Proving Ground is expected to get 20,000 workers next year.

The office complex is near the Command, Control, Computer, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Command operations, which will bring workers from New Jersey and Virginia.

The new buildings will adhere to standards to satisfy the requirements for Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design Silver-certification, specified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The buildings' environmentally friendly features will include a high-efficiency heating, ventilating and air system, high performance windows to reduce energy usage, lavatory fixtures with sustainable elements to conserve water, wetland forest preserves, and drought-tolerant landscaping.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: St. John Properties

IT firm Audacious Inquiry moves into UMBC's incubator

A six-year-old technology consulting firm is moving from Howard County to the incubator at the University of Maryland Baltimore County as it wins more clients and hires more employees.

Audacious Inquiry LLC has outgrown its 1,450-square-foot space at Columbia's Center for Business and Technology Development, Managing Partner Christopher Brandt says.

The company, which employs 16, will move into the 2,650-square-foot office at [email protected] Research and Technology Park Aug. 14.
Brandt says he chose the research park at UMBC because it is convenient for employees and clients that live in either Baltimore or Washington, D.C. The Catonsville campus at 5523 Research Park Drive is located on the Interstate 95 corridor.

"Other than the logistics [of moving], we're excited about the new space," Brandt says.

Audacious Inquiry has carved a niche in the health care and Web application development arenas.

Its clients include the Maryland Hospital Association, Inova Health System and MedStar Health. It's also a subcontractor for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It recently picked up its first prime contract with the federal government, with the USGS Energy Resources Program.

Federal incentives for health care providers that move their paper patient records online is one reason Audacious Inquiry is growing.

The company has added half a dozen employees in the last 18 months and plans to hire several more in the next six to 12 months, Brandt says. These include subject matter experts in health information technology, software developers and technical project managers.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Christopher Brandt, Audacious Inquiry

Airport full-body scanner firm gains new contracts and expands in Edgewood

Smiths Detection, a Harford County firm that made headlines earlier this year for its controversial full-body airport scanners, is expanding its Edgewood headquarters this month as it wins new contracts.

The company, which designs sensors to identify explosives, narcotics and contraband, is adding 15,000 square feet to its warehouse. The 130,000-square-foot facility has added 70 employees in the last 18 months to a total of 215.

The expansion will give it the space it needs to supply the U.S. military with a chemical agent detector and manufacture X-ray scanners for the Transportation Security Administration, says Tim Picciotti, Smiths Detection's vice president, military & emergency responders .

Picciotti says the company likes Harford County because it is close to Aberdeen Proving Ground, the site of a Department of Defense testing facility for chemical and biological detectors.

It's also a good location because Aberdeen is expected to get as many as 20,000 jobs due to the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC.
"BRAC will bring more of a high-tech workforce to Harford County," Picciotti says. "It's a fantastic location for us."

Earlier this year, the TSA expanded its use of full-body scanners, touching off a firestorm of complaints from privacy advocates who say the scanners are too invasive. Advocates say the full-body scanners can detect concealed weapons that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Picciotti says that in the future, Smiths plans to make X-Ray systems so advanced that passengers wouldn't have to remove their shoes or dump their bottled water.

Smiths Detection's other U.S. offices are in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia. It employs 800 in the U.S. The company is part of the global Smiths Group which employs more than 9,000 people in the U.S.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source; Tim Picciotti, Smiths Detection

Tech firm NV3 moving to Canton's ETC

A startup technology company that counts Toyota and United Airlines as clients is moving next month to Canton's Emerging Technology Center. Business partners Ryan Doak and Scott Calhoun say they hope the move from their current office in Fells Point to the business incubator will give them the resources they need to grow NV3 Technologies LLC.

The incubator will offer them professional advice on everything from accounting to getting funding to legal counseling, Managing Partner Scott Calhoun says. Being close to other startups should also help the nine-person company form valuable relationships, the partners said.

The company makes kiosks where folks can charge their cell phones. The kiosks also feature LCD screens that display multimedia ads, information and signs. NV3 charges companies anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000 for the custom-built kiosks.

Doak and Calhoun also hope the ETC will give its product more exposure. The incubator's lobby will house a kiosk listing the companies at the ETC at 2400 Boston Street.

There's another reason Doak chose the waterfront neighborhood of Canton: He loves boating and sailing.

The partners hope to make inroads among major hotels, restaurants, convention centers and hotels who could use the kiosks to display meeting schedules, directions to the bathrooms, and menus. NV3 managers also hope to enter the festival arena and are in discussions currently with a media company that would use the kiosks at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

NV3 recently changed its name from Nuvo.

Source: Ryan Doak, Scott Calhoun, NV3 Technologies
Writer: Julekha Dash

Need some biz cash? Utah firm bringing funding expertise to Baltimore

Plenty of folks turn to matchmaking services to find a date. So, why not turn to one to find cash for your company? That's the idea behind Utah firm Funding Universe LLC, which hooks up entrepreneurs with would-be investors.
Here's how it Funding Universe works. Companies pay Funding Universe $99 to assess their investment needs. After analyzing the entrepreneur's credit history and business, the company offers a list of potential investors and lets them know where they should go to a bank, venture capital firm, or angel investors for cash.

If the business needs some tweaking, then Funding Universe tells the entrepreneur to revise his pitch. The business owner can do that on his own or tap Funding Universe's expertise, paying anywhere between $500 and $3,500 as a consulting fee.

Broke Blake, CEO of Funding Universe, is scouting the Baltimore area with plans to open an office within the next three to six months. The office will likely wind up in one of the Emerging Technology Centers offices in Canton or Charles Village. Blake is not sure yet which he will pick for the 1,000 to 2,000 square foot office.

"We'd like to make that happen soon," he says.

The company is also on the hunt for a regional director to head the office. Though the office will only employ a handful of people, he hopes it will nonetheless have a big impact in helping companies get funding.

Blake chose Baltimore because he has a lot of contacts in the region and they convinced him that his service could be useful to the community. Those business contacts include executives from the Baltimore Angels Network and the Maryland Technology Development Corp.

"I really want to cultivate the angel community and get active investors," Blake says.  

Funding Universe has 900 investors and 400 banks in its network, serves 10,000 businesses per month and has 70 employees.

Source: Brock Blake, Funding Universe LLC
Writer: Julekha Dash
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