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TRX Systems Develops New Indoor Location Product

TRX Systems is developing a new product that transfers its indoor location and mapping system from a military to a commercial application. The new product will be deployed on an Android platform as an indoor location app, according to Carol Politi, TRX’s CEO.
TRX Systems makes software and products that locate, map and track people indoors and at locations without relying on Global Positioning Systems. It uses patented sensor fusion and mapping technology for real-time, 3D personnel location.

Politi says she foresees a big opportunity in the location services field. She points to GPS, which started in the military sector and has moved in a big way to civilian use.
To develop new products and increase sales, TRX Systems recently received $650,000 in funding, of which $150,000 came from the state Department of Business and Economic Development’s Maryland Venture Fund and the rest from private investors. 
Founded in 2006, TRX Systems was originally located in the University of Maryland Training Advancement Program, an incubator in College Park that it left in 2009. The 20-person company is now located in Greenbelt. 
Politis says the company began as a response to the problem of locating firefighters inside buildings. GPS did not penetrate buildings. The company quickly expanded beyond firefighters to work in situations that are, in the jargon, “GPS denied.”
TRX Systems has contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Army for application of its technology for soldiers in the field and in training, as well as contracts with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is also developing new products on the military side, with more patents in the works.
Politi declined to give specific figures for its military contracts other than to say that the company has ongoing and new contracts worth in the “millions” of dollars.
The company is in the process of hiring two software developers in the area of mapping and center fusion. Politi expects the company to grow by 25 to 50 percent in employees within a year. The Chesapeake Regional Technology Council awarded TRX Systems its 2012 Innovation Award.
Source: Carol Politi, TRX Systems
Writer: Barbara Pash

Tech Networking Group Startup Grind Launches in Baltimore

Start Up Grind, an international community of entrepreneurs and investors, makes its debut this month in Baltimore. Loyola University of Maryland and Wasabi Venture are inaugurating the group here for monthly meetings, open to everyone interested in technology and startups.
The first local Start Up Grind will take place Sept. 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Loyola University, 4501 North Charles St., in the Student Center’s fourth floor programming room. Brian Razzaque, CEO and inventor of SocialToaster, is the guest speaker.
“We were interested in the concept of getting entrepreneurs together, and Start Up Grind is also a way for us to be involved in that community,” said Kendall Ryan, director of events and outreach for Wasabi Ventures. The group serves as an outlet for entprepreneurs who want to network, brainstorm and offer feedback with one another. 
Start Up Grind began last year in Silicon Valley and has grown into an organization with chapters in more than a dozen cities in the U.S. and in countries ranging from Australia to the Union of South Africa. Ryan says that Start Up Grind Baltimore will host a monthly event although an October date has not yet been chosen.
Fee ranges from $10 (with early-bird registration) to $20 per person. The event is free to Loyola University undergraduates and graduates. Ryan says the reception so far has been enthusiastic and she expects at least 150 people at the first event.
Start Up Grind Baltimore joins another group that gives local entrepreneurs an opportunity to get together. Baltimore Tech Breakfast began last year as a casual get-together for about a dozen people and has since grown to a list of 1,000.
Ron Schmelzer, president of the tech company, Bizelo and founder of Baltimore Tech Breakfast, says about 250 people usually attend the monthly event. Meetings are held the last Wednesday of the month except for this month, when the meeting will be on Sept. 27. Meetings are free but pre-registration is required. 
Schmelzer says he started Baltimore Tech Breakfast as a way “to help increase the momentum of technology in Baltimore.” The group is not associated with any organization. Participants are invited to give short, three-minute talks about their companies.
Sources: Kendall Ryan, Wasabi Ventures; Ron Schmelzer, Bizelo
Writer: Barbara Pash

Can You Say "Boo?" Halloween Attractions Hiring 100.

Bennett’s Curse Haunted House and Creepywoods Haunted Forest has put out a casting call for vampires and werewolves, ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night. The two Halloween attractions are hiring 100 seasonal workers.
Recognized by Top Haunts magazine as a star spooky attraction, Bennett's Curse Haunted House is located in Blobb’s Park, Jessup, and opens Sept. 21. Creepywoods, located at Huber’s Farm, Kingsville, opens Sept. 28. The former is hiring 60 part-time employees; the latter, 40 part-time employees. The casting calls attract numerous applicants, some of whom arrive wearing costumes and makeup.
Jill Bennett is co-owner with her husband, Allan Bennett, of the two attractions. The Haunted House, now in its 12th season, draws 20,000 to 30,000 people annually. Attendance depends on the weather and fall sports. ”If the teams are doing well, we won’t do well,” she said.  
The Haunted House is a walk-through event with three attractions set in a 22,500-square-foot medieval-looking building that is used only for Halloween. 
It is open weekends from Sept. 21 to Nov. 3, except for the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Halloween Week, when it is also open. Admission fee is $30 per person. On Sept. 28 and 29, in partnership with the Maryland Food Bank, bring a can of food and the admission fee is reduced by $5. 

Creepywoods, now in its fourth season, is a one-third-mile walk in the woods that attracts 10,000 to 15,000 people. Bennett calls it  “classical Halloween,” with werewolves and witches. It is open weekends from September 28 to October 31. Admission fee is $20 per person.
Source: Jill Bennett, Bennett’s Curse Haunted House & Creepywoods Haunted Forest
Writer: Barbara Pash

Johns Hopkins Researchers Develop Revolutionary Prosthetic Limb

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory researchers are talking with entrepreneurs about commercializing a revolutionary prosthetic limb that can be operated by a person's thoughts. 

The limb uses different mechanisms for brain control, including a brain/computer interface for spinal cord patients and surface electrodes for amputees. Researchers at APL and its five partners are essentially taking technology developed for the prosthetic limb and applying it to both spinal cord patients and to amputees. 
Michael McLoughlin, deputy business area executive for research and exploratory development at Laurel's APL declined to provide more information about the commercialization prospects, saying that “nothing has been signed.”  McLoughlin says that preparations are underway to demonstrate the brain/computer interface on human subjects, a first as far as he knows. Plans call for working with five patients with spinal cord injuries.

“Spinal cord patients have a break in the nerves that go from the arm to the brain. They can think about moving their arm but those signals have nowhere to go. Using electrodes, we measure the signals and figure put how to move the prosthetic arm by bypassing the break,” McLoughlin says.
The development of the mechanical prosthetic limb grew out of the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program, a federal defense initiative that began in 2006 and has a year left to go before the project ends. The program's goal is to expand prosthetic arm options for the military's "wounded warriors."  The U.S. Department of Defense has been funding the program for a total of about $100 million so far. The brain/computer interface is the final phase of the program and, McLoughlin says, data about its research has not yet been published.
APL’s research partners in the program are the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and School of Medicine, California Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, University of Utah and HDT Engineering Technologies, a private company in Ohio. 
The APL-led team of researchers have developed a modular prosthetic limb whose arm and hand are controlled by surface electrodes, in the case of amputees, and by a brain/computer interface, for spinal cord patients.

For spinal cord patients, physicians at the University of Pittsburgh will implant micro-electrodes in the brain of a paralyzed patient to record neural signals that control arm movement and to determine if the prosthetic arm can be controlled by the user’s thoughts.

The electrodes are inserted in the cortex of the brain. The prosthetic arm is mounted on a pedestal. The researchers developed the brain/computer interface by enhancing chip technology and combined it with algorithms to, as McLoughlin put it, “listen to and interpret what the brain is saying it wants to do.”
Earlier this year, for the first time and in cooperation with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Walter Reed Military Medical Center, a U.S. Army soldier who lost both legs and his left arm to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan demonstrated the use of the prosthetic limb.

The prosthetic limb was featured in the May cover story of Popular Mechanics magazine, which called it a "smart bionic limb" and its direct neural control "the endgame of bionics."
Source: Michael McLoughlin, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Writer: Barbara Pash

Randallstown Walmart to Open Oct. 17

The Walmart Super Center in northwest Baltimore County is hiring 350 full- and part-time employees, Baltimore County and Walmart officials said at a press conference today. The store, located in the Liberty Plaza shopping center, at Liberty and Brenbrook roads in Randallstown, is tentatively expected to open Oct.17. 
Walmart is hiring for permanent, hourly jobs, with full- and part-time positions available. Jobs include sales and inventory associates, cashiers, overnight stockers, lawn and garden specialists and deli, bakery and grocery workers. A row of vacant stores was demolished to make way for the $9 million, 160,000-square-foot Walmart, which will also have groceries and a pharmacy. 

Kenneth Oliver, 4th District County Councilman in whose district the Walmart is located, called it a big plus for Randallstown as it eliminates a vacant shopping center. He said it was a seven-year-long community effort to attract the Walmart.

Nina Albert, Walmart's director of community affairs for the DC Metro Region, which includes Maryland, said the company does extensive market research before choosing store sites, and Randallstown seemed  "a logical place for us."  She said there has been a "good hiring push." Some of the people who've already been hired are now working in the store stocking shelves. She expects to have all positions filled by the time the store opens. 
Baltimore County Department of Economic Development, the Maryland Workforce Exchange and Walmart’s human resources staff are working together to streamline the application process and to schedule interviews.
The county has set up an informational Randallstown Walmart Jobs Hotline at 410-887-4666. Walmart is accepting job applications online and Maryland Workforce Exchange is scheduling in-person job interviews in advance.
Source: Kenneth Oliver, Baltimore County Council; Fronda Cohen, Baltimore County Department of Economic Development; Nina Albert, Walmart
Writer: Barbara Pash

Weinberg Foundation Doubles Baltimore City School Library Project

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is more than doubling its Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project from the original $2 million commitment to $5 million over the next four years to renovate and/or build libraries at 12 Baltimore City public schools.
The international foundation, headquartered in Baltimore County, announced the library project in December 2011. Less than a year later, it is unveiling its expanded initiative at a Sept.12 celebration at Thomas Johnson Elementary/Middle School, one of three schools to receive funding in the project’s first round. The other two schools are Moravia Park Elementary and Southwest Baltimore Charter School.
Amy Gross, Weinberg Foundation’s program director for education, children, youth and families, says the library project was expanded because of its early success. It is already partnering with 30 businesses, nonprofits and government entities on the project.
Says Gross, “We wanted to extend our commitment now for planning and to get others involved.”
At the September celebration, the second round of schools is being announced. This round also involves three schools, one of which is the East Baltimore Community School, due to open in the 2013-2014 academic year, for which a new library is being built. Gross declined to name the other two schools before the event.
Gross says that as part of a federal funding process, Baltimore City picks about six schools per year with library needs. The Weinberg Foundation uses that list as a basis for choosing project recipients although it also has its own criteria.
“We look for a school with a full-time librarian and strong principal support as to how the library can be utilized through the school, not only for instruction but for community involvement,” she says.
In the schools in the first round, Gross says that the existing libraries were gutted and a new design installed. Work included a new layout, new furniture, and additional books, computers and e-readers, aka nooks.

“We pretty much stayed in the footprint of the [existing] libraries but they look nothing like their previous spaces,” says Gross, adding that in new schools, the library space may be expanded. “Basically, it’s what makes sense for the school.”

The cost and size of the library project varies with the school. The spaces average about 2,000 square feet. The total cost of all construction and programmatic activities runs about $980,000 per library.  The foundation contributes, on average, $335,000 per library for capital and operating costs, with a U.S. Department of Education program contributing $360,000 and the city school system $145,000 per library. Partners provide the rest in additional financial and in-kind contributions.

The library project goes beyond the physical.  The foundation’s funding provides for professional development and to hire an additional staffer at each library to assist the librarian. Partners are providing other services, among them:
• Barnes and Noble, nooks and instructions to teachers on using them in an educational setting;
• Dyslexia Tutoring, teacher training for early identification;
• Enoch Pratt Free Library, management of the Parenting Corner that is being set up in each library, with books on parenting  and job search, and access to the Pratt system; and
• Wells Fargo, financial literacy training.
Source: Amy Gross, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Writer: Barbara Pash

Baltimore BioWorks to Apply For Minority Business Certification

Baltimore BioWorks is in the process of applying for state certification as a Minority Business Enterprise that would allow the life sciences manufacturing and training firm to bid on state contracts that set aside a slice of business for minority- and women-owned companies.

John Powers, president, says the company will bid on contracts for manufacturing and distribution at health-related agencies and systems like the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the University of Maryland Medical System.

The company expects to sign a lease for a 14,000-square foot manufacturing and distribution facility at 1100 Wicomico St., Baltimore City next month, after which it will begin to make, sell and ship biomedical products and to offer toxicology testing services. Earlier this month, the life sciences company opened its headquarters in the University of Maryland BioPark, on its downtown campus, and located a few blocks from the distribution facility.

In addition to toxicology testing, BioWorks will manufacture its own line of common biomedical products and buy and sell other lines of supplies like latex gloves, says Powers, who co-founded the privately-owned company this year with Louise Dalton, at a cost of about $1 million, split between the founders and the Abell Foundation.

Besides state agencies, Powers expects BioWorks customers’ in the private sector to range from institutions like Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions to biotechnology companies.

In addition to its own business ventures, BioWorks is providing training for workers in the biotech field. The company has a core staff of eight. Powers intends to add one full-time employee per month, or 12 employees per year, for ongoing, year-long vocational training. Trainees will be paid as they progress through a regimented program that covers all aspects of the field.

“It’s a paid position with benefits. It’s your first real job” in biotechnology, says Powers. “You can put it on your resume.”

Training positions are open to all qualified applicants although Powers is working in particular with the Baltimore City Community College Life Science Institute, which has an office at the UM BioPark. There will be an applicant review process, and graduates of the program will be given help finding a job.

However, the minority-focused training program is intended to be self-sustaining and depends on BioWorks’ sales. The company currently has $350,000 in annual sales but Powers says it is on track to reach the $1 million goal by the end of 2012 or early 2013.

The state Department of Transportation qualifies MBEs applicants; the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs administers the MBE requirements. The current goal is for about 25 percent of contracts in qualifying state agencies go to MBE companies.
Source: John Powers, Baltimore BioWorks
Writer: Barbara Pash

Abell Foundation Funds Community College Scholarships

Baltimore City Community College and the Community College of Baltimore County are initiating new scholarship programs this fall semester thanks to grants from The Abell Foundation. The scholarships are open to 75 low-income graduates of Baltimore City public high schools at BCCC and at CCBC each.
The Abell Foundation grants of $218,000 to each school establishes the BCCC Aspiring Scholars program and the CCBC Strive For Excellence program, according to Stan Brown, BCCC’s dean of special projects and Hope Davis, CCBC’s director of media relations.
Both programs are one-year pilot programs that provide stipends of up to $1,000 per student per semester for a total of 150 qualifying students. The scholarships are performance-based, meaning that students must maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average each semester.
The BCCC and CCBC programs are modeled after similar community college programs in other states, where they have proven successful in encouraging students to stay in school.
Over the summer, BCCC actively recruited students for the program via its website, mailings and social media. BCCC has so far awarded scholarships to close to 60 students, with the remainder to be awarded in the spring semester.
Brown says students can renew their scholarships each semester, up to three continuous semesters. The program is to full- and part-time students, who may enroll in either a certificate or an associate degree program.
Brown says The Abell Foundation approached Dr. Carolane Williams, BCCC president, with the program. Over the past two years, BCCC has increased foundation and corporate funding support by 49 percent, and increased student graduation by 28 percent over the same period.
Both BCCC and CCBC have hired a full-time academic advisor to oversee their programs and to mentor the students who receive the scholarships so they can maintain the stipends.
Sources: Stan Brown, Baltimore City Community College; Hope Davis, Community College of Baltimore County
Writer: Barbara Pash

Bizelo Releases New Software For Small Businesses

Baltimore software company Bizelo is coming out this fall with two new applications designed to help retailers and other small business owners manage their inventory, sales, exchanges and returns.
CEO Ronald Schmelzer says the goal is to help small business-owners manage their companies better and at a lower cost than other available products. Schmelzer founded the privately-owned company in 2010 and released its first product last year. The two new applications will be out by October, and the company is on track to have a total of 34 software applications for various business operations by the end of this year. Each product costs less than $30 per month.
“These are not custom apps but they fit general situations,” says Schmelzer, who identifies industries that have a small-business focus, like physicians’ and dentists’ offices, retail stores and restaurants and develops software for them.
Bizelo’s electronic retail supply management application, one of the two new products, is intended to help small business owners buy products online from their vendors. Its return management system, the other new product, helps small businesses with the return/exchange process by generating return labels, keeping track of returns/exchanges and which items are most often sent back. 
Bizelo is located in a commercial building in Roland Park. Schmelzer is looking to hire two to three software developers within the next six months to add to the existing staff of six. 
Last June, he closed out a crowd-funding round that raised about $100,000. He is in the process of launching another financing round, aiming to raise $750,000 from angel and seed investors.
“There’s no reason we can’t develop hundreds of apps,” says Schmelzer.
Source: Ronald Schmelzer, Bizelo
Writer: Barbara Pash

National Endowment of the Arts Awards Grants to Station North Artists

Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. announced the third, and final, round of projects to receive funding for its “Think Big” initiative, which helps artists and musicians advance their projects.  

Station North, at 1800 North Charles St., received a total of $42,000 from the National Endowment of the Arts and the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund.

"A lot of projects are done on a small budget of $100 or so. With the funding, we could give them $1,000 or so and get to the next level," says Station North Project Manager Rebecca Chan. 

Chan says the funding was about evenly split among the three rounds. A panel of judges chose the winners, aiming for a mix of performing arts, visual arts and community outreach in each of the rounds. "Think Big" funding started in October 2011 and, as word got out, Station North received an increasing number of proposals from which to choose. 

Judging from the first two rounds, "Think Big" also succeeded in bringing more people to Station North and its venues. "We had great audiences at all the events," says Chan. "There was an increasing level of energy and activities."

Ben Stone, executive director of the community-based nonprofit, says more than 40 applications were received for the third round. "A lot of the [grant recipients], like theater companies and dance companies, have regular events so people can come back again,” says Stone. “More and more people see Station North as a destination.”
He says winners highlight the artistic talent and diverse venues in the Station North District. They include:

“Vacation,” works by 11 artists, curated by Elena Johnston, at the Pent House Gallery in Station North District, through August 30.

“Submit 10 Baltimore,” created/produced by Rachel Hirshorn, writers present short segments of current works, Monday evenings at Liam Flynn's Ale House.

Mosaic Makers’ mural at 201 E. North Ave., site of Project PLASE’s men’s shelter.  

“Akimbo,” professional dance series organized by Nicole Martinelli and Sidney Pink, on Aug. 31, Sept. 15 and Sept. 19 at Station North.

“New Lens” video screening and panel discussion about youth employment, Sept.29, 10:30 a.m. at Charles Theatre.

”A Drop of Water” by Sarah Doherty, sculptural transformation of a vacant lot on the 2100 block of Charles St.

Hosted at the The Load of Fun/Gallery, “Speaking” with Johanna Drucker, lecture, workshop and exhibition on weekend of Sept. 7 and 8.

Baltimore Rock Opera Society “Pitch Party II,” vote on next productions, Sept. 29.

High Zero Foundation/The Red Room Collective screening of experimental film and video, 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at Charles Theatre.

Organized Sky Space Project’s Nights Lights, star-gazing and arts event, organized by Rachel London, 9 p.m. on Aug. 24 and Sept. 7.

Source: Ben Stone and Rebecca Chan, Station North Arts & Entertainment
Writer: Barbara Pash

Johns Hopkins Scientist Gets NASA Grant For Research On Deep-Space Flight Missions

Robert Hienz, a Johns Hopkins medical researcher, is studying the effects of radiation on the brain of astronauts on future deep-space exploration missions, thanks to a $400,000 grant from NASA’s Human Research Program and its National Space Biomedical Research Institute.
Hienz, associate professor of behavioral biology, Johns Hopkins Medical School, and senior scientist for the Institutes for Behavior Resources, is continuing research he began in 2009 with previous grants from these NASA agencies.
Hienz says that NASA has identified three problems for humans on long-term space missions: bone and muscle deterioration, eyesight and radiation effects. A fourth potential problem is psycho-social, for astronauts who will be confined together in a small vehicle for several years in a row.
NASA requested proposals to study astronauts’ health and performance on long-term space flights. Of the 104 proposals received, it chose 29, for a total of $26 billion over a one- to three-year period.
Hienz’s proposal is to detect and prevent neurobehavioral vulnerability to space radiation.

The International Space Station is within the earth’s magnetic field, which deflects radiation, so it is not an issue for its occupants. However, once astronauts move beyond the station -- to the moon or Mars, for example -- they will be subject to radiation from the sun and interstellar space, even inside a spacecraft.
Says Hienz, “The astronauts will be exposed to naturally-occurring radiation and the longer out they are, the more they will be exposed. The longer they are exposed, the more likely they are to develop problems.”
Exposure to radiation is thought to increase the incidence of cancer and to accelerate the natural aging process. He says that NASA is currently engaged in a study of former astronauts to determine if they develop cancer in their later years but the results so far are inconclusive.
A round-trip flight to Mars would take about three years, including a short stay on the surface. With the possibility of a Mars mission in 2030, as Hienz has heard, it is expected that NASA will use more frequent trips to the moon, with longer stays on its surface, as a preliminary for a Mars flight.
Hienz says that other scientists are studying the effects of radiation on other parts of the body. A complication is that there are different kinds of radiation, from high-energy solar flares to the particles of interstellar space.
Hienz has reached a few preliminary conclusions. One is that exposure to radiation does appear to affect performance. The other, and more tentative, is that physical changes detected in the brain because of radiation may provide biological markers that can be determined ahead of time.
Such markers may be used to determine the radiation sensitivity of future astronauts for prevention and treatment purposes, according to Hienz. 
Source: Robert Hienz, PhD, Johns Hopkins Medical School
Writer: Barbara Pash

Genomic Research Highlights Possible New Disease

The Rare Genomics Institute says it has discovered a new gene variant in a four-year-old patient that may indicate a brand new disease.

RGI is an affiliate of the Baltimore City Emerging Technology Center incubator and a nonprofit devoted to helping patients with rare genetic diseases. It uses crowdfunding to finance genomic sequencing pilot projects and is run by 23 volunteers.
Researchers at a medical institution made the discovery in partnership with RGI, President Dr. Jimmy Lin says.  It marks the first time that a patient-initiated, crowdfunded genome initiative project has uncovered the genetic basis of a rare disease, he says. 

In this case, the child had undergone multiple operations and suffered from developmental delays. Despite visiting numeorus physicians, her condition had remained unexplained until genomic sequencing identified a gene active in fetal development and early childhood as the culprit.

"By looking at the sequence and comparing it with public databases, we were able to find the genetic change in her genome that was not present in either of her parents," Lin says.

He says that while there is no "cure"  for her rare disease, the discovery will help the child's physicians better understand her condition and someday may point to better treatment for her and other children like her.
Lin founded RGI last year while still a MD/PhD student at Johns Hopkins University. Now a professor at the Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, Lin says RGI will remain in Baltimore.
Lin says RGI was created to help patients with rare diseases through genomic sequencing, which enables researchers to identify genetic defects that might not show up in standard medical testing.
“We help patients with diseases that are so rare that no organization is helping them, no funding is available to them and no research is being done,” Lin says of diseases that, because of these factors, are often not named..
There are about 7,000 rare diseases, legally defined as affecting from 200,000 people to one person. According to RGI, 80 percent of rare diseases have indentifiable genetic origins; 75 percent or rare diseases affect children; 30 percent of rare disease patients die before the age of 5.   
RGI has 18 medical institution partners, including Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland Medical System, which have agreed to do genomic sequencing.
RGI raises the money through a funding model called crowdfunding, in which projects are chosen, highlighted on a website and donations can be made directly to the project via the web site.
Since founding, RGI has highlighted 20 projects and raised more than $50,000. In the project involving the four-year-old child, it raised $3,500 over six hours to pay for her genome sequencing,
As far as Lin knows, RGI is the only nonprofit undertaking this effort. “There are companies that do sequencing and there are companies that do crowdfunding but we are the only ones who’ve connected all the dots,” he says.
Source: Dr. Jimmy Lin, Rare Genomics Institute
Writer: Barbara Pash

Baltimore Helicopter Services Adds To Fleet

Baltimore Helicopter Services this month added a second helicopter to its two-helicopter fleet. The executive charter service bought a twin-engine Bell 430 with a seating capacity of six, compared with its single-engine Bell 407s that hold five passengers.
Jessie Bowling, director of sales and marketing, says the $4 million Bell 430 was acquired in response to customer demand. From 2010 to 2011, sales increased by almost 65 percent, according to Bowling, who says that its Fortune 500 companies and other clients prefer twin-engine aircraft because they are faster and hold more passengers than single-engine aircraft.
Founded in 2004 by Dan Naor, the privately-financed Baltimore company has a “sister” company in Israel, Lahak Aviation, which runs a fleet of 10 helicopters and operates medevac, offshore and private helicopter transportation. In the U.S., only the latter is offered.
Baltimore Helicopter Services is located at Pier 7 Heliport in Canton, Maryland’s only public-use heliport. To charter the Bell 430 costs $3,500 per flight hour, all passengers included, plus an additional landing fee and pilot wait fee. The Bell 407 costs $1,800 per flight hour, plus additional fees. 
Bowling says the most popular executive charter is to New York City, slightly over an hour in flying time, where the company can make arrangements to land at three different heliports in Manhattan or at public airports. Other popular destinations are Atlantic City, N.J., universities (for meetings/conferences) and private residences.

Source: Jessie Bowling, Baltimore Helicopter Services
Writer: Barbara Pash

Baltimore City Incubators Enroll New Companies

The Emerging Technology Centers at Canton and Johns Hopkins/Eastern enrolled three new companies in July. They are ADASHI, Canterbury Road Partners and Diagnostic Biochips. ADASHI offers a software platform to network emergency management systems. Canterbury Road Partners is a public/private partnership to help research institutions with technology transfer. Diagnostis Biochips is a life sciences company.
The ETCs have enrolled 18 companies in total since the beginning of the year and are on track to enroll 30 new tenants, its annual average, by the end of the year. That is according to Fulya Gursel, marketing manager for the Baltimore Development Corp.-led incubators. 
There are currently 27 tenants at the Canton incubator and 34 tenants at the Eastern incubator. In addition, the ETCs have 29 affiliates, which don’t occupy a physical space in the facilities but use their services.
Gursel says that as a technology incubator, the ETCs attract a variety of entrepreneurs, including software, hardware, mobile apps, life science and medical devices. Lately, the majority have been mobile apps and web solutions, she says. However, the incubators have programs that attract medical device/life science entrepreneurs as well.
 “We’re getting a lot of new, young start-ups by talented entrepreneurs who are passionate about their ideas," Gursel says. "It shows the strength of the Baltimore tech scene.”
Since 2012, the following new companies have joined the ETCs:
Right Source Marketing
Juxtopia/JUICE Lab
Mobile Tennis Training Tech LLC
Ark Science
Rowdy Orbit
Graphtrack, Inc
Tame Social Mahem
Bolster Labs
Cruse Technologies LLC
Unbound Concepts LLC
Solar Systems Express
FUNR Gaming
Canterbury Road Partners
Diagnostic Biochips
Source: Fulya Gursel, Emerging  Technology Centers
Writer: Barbara Pash

Timonium Catering Firm Reaches Out to Younger Crowd

Chef’s Expressions Inc., one of Greater Baltimore’s largest catering firms, wants to win over younger customers.

The Timonium company has launched a new class of events called Social Expressions that targets 25-to-40-year-olds who might perceive that the caterer is too “elite” for them, Chef’s Expressions CEO Jerry Edwards says. Many brides and assistants to presidents are in this age range and hold the purse strings.

“We want to show them that we can do some cool events.”

Chef's Expressions, which pulls in $4.25 million in sales, caters weddings, corporate events, anniversary parties and other gatherings, hosts five-course wine dinners. But Edwards wants to get out the message that the caterer can offer cocktail parties and other informal events.

Edwards says the company will host one Social Expressions event every other month. The inaugural event will launch Aug. 23 with a tour around the Inner Harbor aboard Watermark Cruises' newest ship, the Raven. And aboard the Raven, guests can watch the Baltimore Ravens preseason game while sipping cocktails and eating mini corndogs, crab cakes with a Natty Boh tempura batter and chili served in a vodka shot glass. Advanced tickets cost $35 a piece and proceeds go to Living Classrooms Foundation.

Edwards says the events are for marketing purposes and he doesn’t expect to make money from these events, especially since the dollars generated will go toward a charity.

“We’re going after new clients. We want to reach out to a younger crowd. They may think that all we do are sit-down wine dinners.”

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Jerry Edwards, Chef's Expressions Inc. 
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