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Building National Reach to Solve National Problems
The Northeastern Maryland University Research Park Corporation

February 2012
B. Daniel “Danny” DeMarinis leads the charge in laying the plans for a new university research park to capitalize on the region’s access to I-95 and APG.

“It’s about focusing on warfighter security and the security of our country,” explains B. Daniel DeMarinis, president of the newly formed Northeastern Maryland University Research Park Corporation (NEMD-URP). “In order to solve the national problems,” he continues, “we need to develop an environment where the best minds and labs in the country can work and learn.”

Completing a two-year planning phase, the 501(c)(3)non-profit filed its bylaws and charter in late December 2011 and has an active board of directors and a group of advisors divided among working groups currently putting together action plans and market surveys. “With the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) act complete, the focus shifted to sustainability of the APG mission,” says DeMarinis. “It became evident that the region needed a university research park (URP) to complete the education continuum and provide the access to doctorate degrees and post-doctorate experiences that would feed into and benefit the military agencies and private industries that were here. This was also the findings of the HB 1156 Task Force that completed and submitted their study to Gov. O’Malley in December.”

The study outlined the ability of regional residents to successfully complete two- and four-year certificates and degrees at Harford Community College and Cecil College and through their respective matriculation agreements with four-year universities; obtaining limited but growing graduate degrees at the Higher Education and Conference Center @ HEAT offered by several local colleges and universities; and the dearth of options for doctorate degrees or post-doctorate work without having to leave the area. “This is where a thriving university research park would complement and complete the region’s demand,” DeMarinis points out.

OFFICERS
B. Daniel DeMarinis, President
John Ferriter, Vice President
Eric McLauchlin, Vice President
John Wasilisin, Treasurer
John Casner, Associate Treasurer
James LaCalle, Secretary
William Suchting, Associate SecretaryBOARD OF DIRECTORS
John Casner, Executive Director, NMTC
Danny DeMarinis, URP Lead Coordinator
BG Mike Hayes (USMC Ret), Managing Director, DBED/Office of Military & Federal Affairs (current DBED board rep.)
Dr. Jim LaCalle, Harford Office of Economic Development (former President Harford Community College)
Marlene Lieb, AVP Continuing Education, Harford Community College [J Cox Alternate]
Mike Lombardi, Associate Director,
I2WD Directorate, USA CERDEC
William Suchting, Battelle
Jim Richardson, Director, Harford
Office of Economic Development
David Linthicum, Interim Dean for
Academic Programs, Cecil College
Annabelle Sher, Assistant Director, DBED (current alternate DBED board rep.)
Dr. Gareth Murray, BRAC Coordinator – MHEC (current MHEC board rep.)
R. Truesdel, Principal, Booz Allen Hamilton
John Wasilisin, Exec. VP & COO – TEDCO (Technology Development Corp.)
J. Thomas Sadowski, President & CEO, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore
Glenn M. Gillis, VP, Survice Engineering Co.
Bernard J. Michel, President, Army Alliance
Dr. John Ferrite, Senior VP, Strategic Programs Development, SAIC Corp.
Eric McLauchlin, Esquire, Shaffer McLauchlin & Stover LLC

The Association of University Research Parks defines a research park with the criterion that it be a master planned property-based venture designed for research and commercialization. While the majority of the existing 175 URPs in the country reflect the official definition, the NEMD-URP feels that the existence of Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) and the recent BRAC initiative have initially fulfilled that requirement. However, the NEMD-URP quickly picks up the remaining characteristics and goals: creates partnerships with universities and research institutions; encourages the growth of new companies; translates technology; and drives technology-led economic development. “APG is our ‘property-based’ element to start. That’s what drew the over 75 new defense contractors to the area. BRAC brought in the government agencies and created one of the largest post-BRAC acquisition budgets at $20 billion. And, that’s without a dedicated university R&D focus here. What better way to create a center of excellence to build on what is here than by establishing and fully implementing a URP.”

While DeMarinis sees APG as a natural springboard for the development of the NEMD-URP, he and the corporation define their goal as a regional one not limited to Harford County. He states, “Our research shows that the NEMD-URP could support the area that is currently defined as the Chesapeake Science and Security Corridor (CSSC) from south of Baltimore to north of Wilmington. The access to Interstate 95, the location between Philadelphia and Washington D.C., and the proximity to major federal and scientific institutions make northeastern Maryland a natural destination.”

Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) houses the headquarters for R&D for the Army under RDECOM including the Communications-Electronic Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), the principal research and development resource for non-medical chemical and biological (CB) defense at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), and the Corporate and Communications Center at the Army Research Lab (ARL). This is led by a two-star commanding general. DeMarinis adds, “We have a two-star general for testing and evaluation stationed here, a one-star general for chem/bio, a two-star general leading Communications Electronics acquisition, tech directors and program managers – major players all in one place – here. Truly a major enterprise supporting the warfighter. The URP will be developed to support them and their efforts to protect our warfighters and keep our country safe.”

The board of directors of the URP is a who’s who of alphabet soup. There are representatives from NMTC, DBED, OED, HCC, MHEC and TEDCO to name a few. “Our diverse board represents the local government, private industry, higher education and military interests,” says DeMarinis. “These are the participants who will benefit from such a project so their involvement is critical.”

While warfighter and national security may lead the virtuous vision of a NEMD-URP, the economic impact on the region is not lost on those involved, with the Harford County Office of Economic Development providing some start up funds. “Certainly a URP positively impacts the local economy. It attracts an intellectual talent pool that wants to spend money on the arts, restaurants and entertainment. It attracts a secondary or Type2 economy of professional service providers like venture capitalists, accountants and lawyers who specialize in high tech and technology commercialization. And it attracts the universities, the agencies and the companies that want to benefit from the vibrancy and synergy that it will create.”
The NEMD-URP implementation plan consists of several working groups that would include membership, operations, finance, governance and executive vision. The groups have embarked on their market study as well as initial conversations with area universities and colleges to gauge interest. Their goal is to have an action plan by April that will outline next steps for each group.

“We see ourselves as an advocacy group to facilitate the URP’s development. We will advise on membership services, how to effectively leverage the existing capabilities of lab sites and recommend partnerships to maximize high performance computing power. Our charter was designed to be flexible so that our research would determine the best model for us to adopt,” replies DeMarinis. Depending on the needs of the groups, the NEMD-URP could work to implementation then hand off to a private management group or maintain a lean executive office that could oversee top-level business management and vision adherence.

“We’ve met with many of the leaders at APG to learn what they need to remain successful and innovative. We know that we don’t want a thousand seedlings that never mature to benefit from the root system that a URP would provide. If we attract and help anchor three to five university cells that are acting independently, we can consider our efforts fruitful. However, success to us is establishing a process and set of activities that brings researchers from world-class universities to this region to solve the demanding research efforts of the military and the subsequent technology transfer. We are driven by purpose, a vision and a call to service. These efforts, when accomplished, will bring high technology and R&D, in support of APG to advance the security of our nation and directly support the efforts of our warfighters.” I95

For more information, contact
B. Danny DeMarinis by email at danny.demarinis@nemd-urp.org
NEMD-URP
Harford Business Innovation Center
1362 Brass Mill Road, Suite 11
Belcamp, MD 21017

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