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Printing Company Adds Packaging Division

RPM Solutions Group has turned a small package into a big win. 

In less than a year, the printing company's small carton packaging division has 50 customers, including out-of-state in California and Kansas.

The economy has taken its toll on the printing industry, Joe Cavey, president of RPM, a 26-year-old commercial printer in Baltimore. Small companies in particular could not afford to use printing services, adds Cavey. So the executive came up with the idea for its Short Run Carton Packaging Division to diversify the business. 
RPM prints books, pamphlets, brochures, pocket holders and other material. It also does digital printing with variable personalization and has in-house mailing capabilities.
The carton division makes small-size containers in small numbers or, in the jargon, runs, from 500 on up to 10,000. The biggest container it makes is 12” wide by 12” deep by 6” tall.
Cavey says the small-size containers are used by a variety of companies, including startups, private labels and companies that are rebranding. Cosmetic firms, software firms, pharmaceuticals and confectioners are among its clients. 
“They don’t need 20,000 or 30,000 containers," Cavey says of RPM's clients. "They need 1,000 or 5,000 packages to put eyeliner, mascara or soap in,” he says.
Customers can provide RPM with their logos or the company will create one for them.
Cavey figures he has a handful of competitors on the East Coast.  “We have found a niche for the short runs.”
He is operating the carton division with his current 28 employees but says he may hire more staff as it grows.
Source: Joe Cavey, RPM Solutions Group
Writer: Barbara Pash

Architects Examine Trends in Park Design

Parks aren’t just for beauty and relaxation anymore. In this environmentally-conscious era, they play a role in sustainability as well.

Just how that is accomplished is the subject of a talk on new trends in park design, to be held on Wed. April 25 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore BioPark, 829 West Baltimore Street.
Joan Floura, of Baltimore-based Floura Teeter Landscape Architects, and Glenn Marschke, of Wallace Montgomery, will review environmental site design and what it means for public parks. The hour-long event is being held in a Floura Teeter-designed pocket park. It is free and open to professionals, civic leaders and the public.
In particular, the speakers will focus on Maryland’s 2007 Stormwater Management Act and Environmental Site Design, says Kathy Walsh, Floura Teeter’s marketing coordinator.
“The regulations are intended to prevent storm water runoff going into the Chesapeake Bay. They will talk about the types of plants, the design and irrigation,” says Walsh.
The state regulations as well as those in Baltimore City and other local jurisdictions “affect landscape design, especially in urban parks,” she says.
The talk is part of Baltimore Green Works’ 9th Annual Green Week and features a variety of programs through Sat. April 28.
Among them: Wed. April 25, 7 p.m. film premiere and panel discussion of “Green Fire,” life of Aldo Leopold, founder of the modern green movement, at Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Ave.; Thurs. April 26, 6 p.m., social mixer sponsored by Civic Works, at The Red Maple, 930 N. Charles St.; Sat. April 28, 8:30 a.m. urban farming workshops and tours, at Civic Works’ Real Food Farm in Clifton Park.
Source: Kathy Walsh, Floura Teeter Landscape Architects
Writer: Barbara Pash

Solar Tracking Devices Installed at Port of Baltimore Company

Follow the sun could be the motto of Advanced Technology & Research, a firm that a few years ago developed a product to do just that.

Instead of stationary solar panels, an increasingly familiar sight on rooftops, the Columbia-based company makes a solar tracking device that rotates as the sun moves. The rotation of the device allows for maximum performance, capturing 30 to 45 percent more energy than stationary solar panels aligned at an optimal angle to the sun, says Robert Lundahl, Advanced Technology's vice president for energy systems and automation.
Lundahl says the device has residential and commercial use as an energy-saving measure. But it is being bought and installed for other uses as well. Mid-Atlantic Terminal at the Port of Baltimore recently installed three devices to power electric vehicles operated by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics. Wallenius Wilhelmsen is powering two electric vehicles to move personnel and material around the port, and has indicated it may order more devices in the future.
Another recent installation was a row house residence in Federal Hill, where the company's distributor NEXUS Energy Homes installed one on the rooftop. It was the first sun-tracking device installed on a Federal Hill residence.
Advanced Technology's device can be ordered with one standard-size, 235-Watt solar panel (known as a single tracker) or with two 235-Watt solar panels (dual tracker). The tracker is connected to a mounting. The mounting can be placed on a rooftop or on the ground. A GPS-controlled drive unit rotates the panels to follow the sun.
Like solar panels, the device is then connected to an electric grid; accumulated energy reduces the electric bill.
The basic cost of the ATR device is $2,895 before installation. The number of devices is determined by roof size and budget. The devices are eligible for state and federal renewable energy tax credits. 
Advanced Technology & Research is a 38-year old engineering company that traditionally works with military and coastal agencies. It began making the solar device four years as a response to the increased demand for energy-efficient products, Lundahl says.
Landahl says the company is focusing on the mid-Atlantic region now but may go nationwide as the market increases. 
Source: Robert Lundahl, vice president for energy systems and automation at Advanced Technology & Research
Writer: Barbara Pash

Render Perfect Changes Focus

Render Perfect Productions Inc. is changing its focus from straight video production for businesses and individuals to full service media and website production. The Towson based will now offer media production, web design and web marketing services instead of just video production.

“We have shifted our services from video production to value-added video production,” says Nikc Miller, director of post production at Render Perfect Productions. “This means that instead of simply doing video for those groups that need it, we pay attention to our clients goals and create a strategy for their video so they can get more sales. This involves getting their video more exposure via landing pages, social media, Google ad buys, whatever.”

Render Perfect is still offering video production services, but has added several services to its menu. The company is promoting video landing pages for websites, Facebook pages and other online use. The web design team has the capacity to do website coding in HTML, Cascading Style Sheets, Flash, JavaScript, jQuery, and more. The website marketing arm offers branding, search engine optimization and social media management. The company has been ramping up its service offerings for the last 12 months to complete a transformation from strict video production to a media and marketing shop.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Nikc Miller, Render Perfect Productions Inc.

MICA, Hopkins, Launch Joint Degree

Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School and Maryland Institute College of Art are teaming up to offer a joint MBA/MA in Design Leadership next fall.

Billed as the first program of its kind in the US, the program will marry traditional business courses with those in art and design to train leaders in architecture, architecture, the fine arts and other creative fields.

The partnership anticipates enrolling students of diverse educational backgrounds including grads in business management, fine arts, finance and design. The new program will be an 18 to 20-month, 66-credit program of study.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Sources: MICA and Johns Hopkins University

Gamescape Showcases Growing Maryland Game Industry at Artscape

Maryland's growing game industry was on display at Artscape this weekend. Sponsors MAGfest and Innovate Baltimore helped put together the showcase, held in the Pinkard Gallery at the Bunting Center on the campus of the Maryland Institute College of Art. Innovate Baltimore co-founder Ben Walsh organized Gamescape to encourage area video game fans to take a look at what Baltimore's game industry has to offer.

"I was inspired to create Gamescape because I love video games and wanted to share what the local community is creating. This gives us a chance to highlight the creative artists and technologists working in Maryland to create video games. We're hoping to inspire more people to pursue it as a career, and possibly follow the artists they see this weekend," Walsh says.

Over a dozen game designers and companies from Baltimore and other areas presented displays and demos of their most recent games, from iPad applications and Flash games to first person shooters and interactive story games. Gamescape also featured a fine arts display from prominent area game designers, and workshops by professional game developers to connect with artists considering game development as a career choice. Classic arcade games were also on display.

"With all of the great universities around, Baltimore has a ton of great emerging developers. However, historically, many of those graduating students have left Baltimore, so it is hard to find veteran experience. But Baltimore has many wonderful amenities, including affordable housing, that make it an appealing place for aging developers to come and raise a family," Walsh continues.

Walsh is currently launching a new Baltimore-based game company, Pure Bang Games. Their newest game, "My Pet Rock", was demonstrated at this year's Gamescape.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Ben Walsh, Innovate Baltimore
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