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APRIL/MAY News Briefs

April 2014

Tony Palumbo Recognized for Excellence In Service To Area Medical Professionals
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 700,000 physicians in the United States who work in excess of 60 hours per week. Reimbursement cuts from public and private insurance, a host of regulatory, clinical and economic issues and soaring medical malpractice premiums have left many primary care practices in precarious financial condition. In recognition of his work with area healthcare executives and physicians, Tony Palumbo of Palumbo Insurance Associates has been named an MD Preferred Insurance Provider. Each year, US Medical Specialties, Inc., a national medical consulting firm, recognizes excellence in service to the medical community in a number of professional disciplines including real estate, insurance, accounting, banking, financial and legal services.

“Doctors are very busy professionals,” observed Michael O’Malley, Project Manager of MD Preferred Services. “When it comes to finding an insurance agent that specializes in serving hospitals, private practices and individual physicians, they appreciate an organization that has done the research for them and has pulled a team together to make their lives easier. Our online resource center is the place where their search can begin and end.”

“We are proud of the recognition we have received. Employee benefits, business insurance and medical malpractice premiums represent one of the largest expenses of any healthcare enterprise,” Palumbo says. “We help our medical clients manage and control these outlays using our experience and understanding of the healthcare industry and our access to top tier national and alternative insurance providers in all categories of risk management.”

Maryland Schools in U.S. News and World Report Rankings
Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education was ranked No. 1 in the nation for graduate education programs, while University of Maryland, College Park came in at No. 26. “I am thrilled that our new ranking reflects the quality of our efforts in teaching, research, and the development of evidence-based models of instruction,” said David W. Andrews, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Education, in a news release. Also, Johns Hopkins ranked No. 1 in internal medicine and No. 3 for research-oriented medical schools.
In engineering. The University of Maryland’s School of Engineering was ranked No. 22, while Johns Hopkins garnered top marks for biomedical engineering. Maryland’s health law specialty took top honors.

Maryland trade exports reached record high in 2013
Gov. Martin O’Malley recently announced Maryland’s trade exports reached a record number in 2013, totaling $11.8 billion. One of the largest increases for 2013 includes trade to Brazil, which grew by 22 percent. Maryland’s performance is a large contributor to the nation’s overall exporting success, which reached $2.3 trillion in 2013, an all-time high. U.S. exports helped support almost 10 million jobs last year.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County Appoints Eight New Directors to Board
Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County announced the appointment of several new members to their board of directors. “As the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County approaches its 25th anniversary next year, we are very excited about the momentum and energy our new board will bring to this milestone event,” says Tim Wills, Executive Director for the Clubs. “Our Clubs service over 400 children each day from five locations around the County so it’s important we add members to our board with the reach and experience necessary to grow our resources,” adds Jeff Foulk, current Board President. The new Members of the Board of Directors are: Laura A. Barwick, CPA, Founder, Barwick CPA; Glen Bassett, Site Executive, Raytheon; Shawn Browning, DoD Operations at OARU; Dexter M. Davis, Senior Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch; Michele M. Joyner, RP, Director of Client Services, The Kelly Group; Michael J. Miller, Chairman of Essential Brands, Inc.; Paul J. Vogel, Managing Director – Strategic Investments at Allegis Group; and Benny Walker, CPA Weyrich Cronin & Sorra.

BioMaryland Center Awards $1.5 Million to Accelerate Life Sciences Commercialization
Gov. Martin O’Malley recently announced that the State, through the BioMaryland Center, has awarded nearly $1.5 million to seven innovative life sciences companies and one educational institution through its Biotechnology Development Awards program. The companies, which received up to $200,000 each, will use the funding to accelerate the commercialization of a wide range of treatments and technologies; including a device that detects concussions in youths engaged in sports; a tool that takes a minimally invasive approach to mitral valve repair; and a drug to reduce eye injections for macular degeneration. An award was also given to a Johns Hopkins University researcher who is developing a device to lessen certain risks involved with cardiac ablation.

Schneider Electric USA, Inc. Signs Lease with St. John Properties
Schneider Electric USA, Inc. has signed a lease with St. John Properties, Inc. for 22,560 square feet of space at 9 Easter Court, a LEED-designed, single-story, 30,120 square foot R&D/flex office building contained within Dolfield Business Park in Owings Mills. The global energy management firm intends to consolidate two offices currently located in Columbia and Towson into this new state-of-the-art facility in Baltimore County. “This is among the largest leases signed in the Owings Mills sub-market this year and is a significant win for the northwest Baltimore County real estate marketplace,” says Rick Williamson, Senior Vice President-Leasing for St. John Properties. “In addition to bringing 9 Easter Court to nearly 75 percent occupancy, the influx of new employees to Dolfield Business Park will have a positive effect on nearby restaurants and other retail amenities.”

BGE CEO Calvin G. Butler Jr. Named to GBC Board of Directors
The addition of BGE CEO Calvin G. Butler Jr. to the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Board of Directors was announced recently. Butler’s background includes leadership and strategic positions with the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, Exelon and BGE’s sister utility, ComEd. Before joining Exelon in 2008, Butler held leadership positions for eight years with the print, digital and supply chain solutions company RR Donnelley, including vice president of manufacturing, senior director of government affairs, and senior vice president of external affairs. Butler spent his early career with CILCORP, where he worked in government affairs, legal and operations.

Atlantic Financial FCU Hires New VP of Lending/Collections
Atlantic Financial Federal Credit Union welcomes David Allen as the new Vice President of Lending and Collections. Allen has 20 years of experience in the consumer finance industry and a vast knowledge of financial services that will be beneficial to AFFCU. Previously, Allen was the Executive Director of Lending at the Department of Veterans Affairs Federal Credit Union in Washington, D.C. “David is a great fit to our team. He has a wealth of knowledge and ideas for new initiatives that will not only grow our lending portfolio, but further assist our membership with their financial needs,” says AFFCU President/CEO Matthew Piazza.

National Fashion Industry Leader LOFT coming to Boulevard at Box Hill
Ward Properties & MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services are proud to announce the completion of a lease agreement with ANNTAYLOR RETAIL, INC., for 5,388 square feet at 3473 K Merchant Boulevard in Abingdon. “Securing LOFT’s commitment to Boulevard at Box Hill is a great addition to our existing tenants and is a continuation of our commitment to bring new and exciting retailers to Harford County,” says Jim Martin, President of Ward Properties. “The Boulevard at Box Hill is gaining momentum. The position of this project along Route 24 and Interstate 95 is proving to be a strong regional shopping destination and is drawing customers from a much larger trade area that is attractive to today’s growth-oriented retailers. Adding LOFT’s brand image and fashion expertise to the project is very exciting. This level of national women’s fashion has been missing from Harford County and has been a focus of our efforts since the inception of the project,” says Executive Vice President/Principal Thomas L. Fidler, Jr.

Frito-Lay Expanding Manufacturing Facility in Aberdeen
Frito-Lay’s Aberdeen plant is growing into one of company’s largest facilities, and hiring 100 full-time employees to assist with the expansion. Owned by PepsiCo, the snack manufacturer will add a 164,244-square-foot warehouse to its existing building, giving the company over 500,000 square feet at the Harford County location. Construction has the potential to be completed in 2015. Distribution will be the main focus for the new addition, allowing the facility to manufacture every item under the Frito-Lay brand name. Forbes magazine reports that one-third of PepsiCo’s annual profit is generated by Frito-Lay.

Harford’s Bond Rating Now Classified as AAA by All Three Rating Agencies
Harford County Executive David R. Craig announced that Harford County Government has earned the highest bond rating possible from all three major bond-rating agencies. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced that it has upgraded Harford County to AAA. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, which had upgraded the county in 2010, both reaffirmed their credit quality ratings of Aaa and AAA, respectively. In addition, each rating service said the County’s future outlook is “Stable.”

In a release announcing the upgrade of Harford’s rating, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services explained, “The rating reflects our assessment of the county’s very strong economy, liquidity, management, and budgetary flexibility and adequate budgetary performance and debt and contingent liabilities.” Commenting on the credit upgrade, County Executive Craig stated, “This news is more than just an acknowledgement of our conservative fiscal policies and sound financial management. These top quality credit ratings keep our borrowing costs at the lowest possible levels, resulting in significant savings for the taxpaying citizens and businesses of Harford County.”

ATHENA Keynote Wows Audience
Dr. Mary Teddy Wray, Laurel Bush Family Dentistry was named the 2014 ATHENA Award Recipient on March 7 at the annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast held at Water’s Edge Event Center. For complete story, see INTEGRITY in this issue. The keynote address was presented by Charlotte Farmer, Principal with MITRE Corporation in Belcamp. Farmer is committed to STEM issues and has been nationally and locally recognized for addressing social issues. Her advice to the women in the crowded room centered on personal growth and strategy. She focused on four key points. First, develop a strategic board of directors for yourself. “Recruit your board carefully,” she advised. “Don’t be afraid to ask people who have the qualities you want to help you. Explain what you want, seek advice and don’t waste their time.” Her second point was to develop a strategy by creating a mission statement for yourself that aligns with your own strategic direction. Third is to refine your strategy and seek more advice, and finally, begin to implement your course of action. Her final point was that it is important to constantly seek new mentors to join your Board, as you redefine your objectives and mission.

Penn-Mar Black-Tie Gala Sets Fundraising Record
InboxPMGalaMDOn March 8, 400 Penn-Mar Human Services friends and supporters came together to celebrate more than two decades of giving to help men and women with intellectual disabilities in Maryland and Pennsylvania “transform life into living.” The 22nd annual Penn-Mar Black Tie Gala, “Best of the Blends,” held at the Grand Lodge of Maryland, drew record attendees and set a fundraising record. The goal to raise $225,000 at this year’s benefit gala was exceeded, and the funds raised will not only support Penn-mar’s operations and programs, but will also enable the purchase of much needed backup generators for Penn-Mar’s homes in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Phelan House – A Safehouse Project For SARC
SARC, Harford County’s resource for victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse and stalking, is undertaking a campaign to design and build a model facility based on research that dignifies survivors and provides them with a welcoming, secure environment. The project will apply new and compelling research into the design of the safehouse and will help victims heal and recover their lives. The project will include: abundant daylight and views to the outdoors to promote wellness; clear sightlines that will allow parents to supervise their children without being in the same physical space; spaces so families can eat together as a unit; a fully fenced backyard, generously sized parking garage, and security system which will make the house feel safe.

Merritt Properties Reports Strong Numbers for Q4 2013
With nearly 600,000 square feet of new leases signed in the fourth quarter of 2013, Merritt Properties posted dramatic gains over the same period in 2012. The quarter opened with a strong October, posting a 109% increase over October 2012, including a 43,000-square-foot expansion by Under Armour. The quarter remained strong with a 55.5% year-over-year increase for November and 20% for December.

While warehouse accounted for the lion’s share of fourth quarter leasing, office and flex also showed significant gains throughout the year, especially in the I-83 North Corridor and in Columbia. Thirty-seven office leases were signed for a total of 162,698 square feet in the I-83 North Corridor while 26 office deals, totaling 55,740 square feet were signed in Columbia. “Merritt was fortunate to see strong leasing activity originating from a wide range of industry segments,” says Scott Dorsey, Merritt Properties CEO. “From manufacturing to communications to financial services, we saw an uptick across the board.” I95