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DoublePositive Helps Colleges Find Students

Sales and marketing firm DoublePositive is hiring as many as 20 within the next six to nine months to work in its Baltimore and Tempe, Ariz., offices.

It seeks expertise in business and marketing analysis, senior network engineering and software development to add to its 60-person staff.

The Canton online marketing firm opened a new sales leads division in August, helping online colleges and universities find new students. The division helps the institutions find students for their certificates and bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and it adheres to recently-enacted federal regulations with regard to new student recruitment. The regulations are aimed at keeping the recruitment process transparent and assuring that the programs are legitimate, according to Jodi Swartz, DoublePositive's director of corporate marketing.
The leads division follows on the heels of another new division DoublePositive opened in December. The mobile division focuses on mobile pay per call that links consumers to companies via apps. Swartz says the division has grown by more than 1,000 percent in the first three quarters of 2012, its first revenue producing year.
Founded in 2004, DoublePositive moved to its present Canton office in 2008. In January, the company relocated to a larger office in the same Canton building. The new office totals 14,000 square feet, double the size of its previous office.  The company maintains an office in Tempe, Ariz., which also recently doubled in size, to a total 7,000 square feet.
Besides the two new divisions, DoublePositive specializes in online display and telephone transfers. Its 125 clients include Comcast, The Home Depot, Rosetta Stone, 21st Century Auto, Kaplan, Sylvan and Education Management Corp. (EDMC).  The company’s mobile division is located in Tempe, home to EDMC.
Last month, DoublePositive started an internship program for college students and recent graduates who want experience in online marketing. Interns are paired with senior-level managers for real-world experience. It's accepting up to 10 interns per semester and the program is offered for college credit or for pay.
Source: Jodi Swartz, DoublePositive
Writer: Barbara Pash

Competition Awarding $150K to Startups

If you’ve got a great idea, AccelerateBaltimore wants to hear from you. Sponsored by Baltimore City and the Emerging Technology Centers, the second AccelerateBaltimore has funding for six companies that can move from an idea to a product in 13 weeks.
Applications are available online through Nov. 30. The Abell Foundation is the funding partner, providing $25,000 per winner, who receive free working space, legal help and access to all services at either of the two centers in Canton or Hopkins/Eastern, for 13 weeks. 
The Emerging Technology Centers (ETC) held the first AccelerateBaltimore last April. It was the first such event in the state and the first in the City of Baltimore. There were four winning companies out of 40 applicants.  Winners of the first AccelerateBaltimore were social networking firm Kithly, NewsUp, NoBadGift.com and Unbound Concepts. Publicity about the competition was limited, says ETC Director Deborah Tillett, but there will be a major effort this time to reach out locally and nationally to potential applicants via the incubator network. 
“Accelerates are the next evolution in startup cultures,” she says. “One of the most important things for entrepreneurs and small businesses is access to capital. This is a real shot at that. The $25,000 can put you over the edge.”
Applicants do not have to be Baltimore-based and if they win, they do not have to stay in Baltimore after Accelerate ends.  A panel will narrow applicants to 12, who will be invited for in-person interviews. Winners will be announced on Jan. 7, begin working in the Center of their choice in February and have a viable technology product ready by the end of May.  
At Accelerate’s conclusion, the six winning companies will pitch their product to a group of investors.
Although Accelerate is open to all start-ups, Tillett says they have to use modern technology to create new business solutions. ‘They have to end up with an actual product,” she says, noting that having the technical co-founder of the start-up as part of the company team makes that result more likely.

Source: Deborah Tillett, Emerging Technology Centers
Writer: Barbara Pash

Software Firm Moves Into Bigger Digs In Canton

Software firm 6th Street Commerce has moved into a larger office in the Emerging Technology Center at Canton. The move, to a space twice the size of its previous quarters, was made to accommodate current expansion and future growth. The e-commerce company is in the process of hiring up to six key staffers "as quickly as possible," says 6th Street Vice President of Marketing David Anderson.

Anderson says the company is looking for a Chief Technology Officer, web designer-developer and staffers in sales and marketing and in accounting. "We want to grow out sales and marketing team," he says.

The company has been housed at the Canton ETC since its founding in 2008. Anderson says the location has offered flexibility in accommodating its relocation into larger quarters and for its business support. He calls the ETC a "great place for a young company."

6th Street Commerce is introducing a new version of its e-commerce software this month, Saleswarp, intended for mid- to large-size retailers to manage their online and backend operations. The new version of Saleswarp has expanded customer management features and a redesigned user interface, says Anderson.

Saleswarp was launched last year and is the company's sole product. The enterprise product helps companies increase sales and decrease operating costs. Anderson says it helps retailers manage orders, product and suppliers across one to multiple stores. 
Anderson says the company recently acquired two new clients in the national and international fashion industry whose names he was not at liberty to announce yet. Among clients listed on its website are First Book Marketplace, a non-profit book buying group for students and teachers; Crafts2u, an online craft store; and Forest Hill Lacross, a new league.

He also says that Saleswarp is now being marketed to web design firms and system integrators to help retailers develop a web presence.
6th Street Commerce won the 2012 Maryland Incubator Award in the information technology category.
Source: David Anderson, 6th Street Commerce
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

Baltimore's Inner Harbor Gears Up for Summer Tourism

Tourism is heating up for the summer in Baltimore. As the city enters a summer packed with headline-making events like the Grand Prix and Baltimore Pride, the hospitality sector is looking forward to a busy and profitable season. 

"Tourism is lifting itself, and doing very well," says Tom Noonan, President and CEO of Visit Baltimore. 

At the Inner Harbor, increased tourism spending is providing opportunities for growth. The Rusty Scupper, a staple of the Inner Harbor tourist trade, expects revenues to increase 25% this year. The National Aquarium and The Maryland Science Center are also experiencing increases in visitor traffic and revenue. Baltimore's popular free bus service, The Charm City Circulator is experiencing increased ridership, and expects to reach 2 million riders this year. 

Visit Baltimore has taken the expected increase in tourism seriously. Through its Certified Tourism Ambassador program, Visit Baltimore aims to have hundreds of specially trained personnel around the city to provide welcoming help to visitors. The program will train hospitality industry workers, police officers, cab drivers and workers in other tourism related industries to help tourists navigate the city and answer questions about history, venues and landmarks. 

"We're training a knowledgeable force, so that as a guest you'll run into someone who is certified, has taken a class and passed an exam," adds Noonan. 

Hotel occupancy is increasing, fueled by both a rebounding travel market and a healthy convention business downtown. Baltimore's hoteliers are adding approximately 2,500 new rooms to handle the increased demand. The city's hospitality profile will increase with the addition of the new Four Seasons Hotel in 2012.

Author: Amy McNeal

Source: Tom Noonan, Visit Baltimore

MP3Car.com launches largest online automotive app marketplace

Baltimore-based MP3Car.com is hoping to do for the automotive app what the Apple App store did for mobile apps with it's newly launched Auto App Mart.

Mp3Car, the largest car computing community online, is placing heavy odds that an in-dash computer will soon become a standard feature in every new car. The company points to the success of Ford's Sync, Genivi's selection of MeeGo as a reference platform and Google's entrance into telematics as clear indicators that in-vehicle infotainment is the new frontier in mobile computing.

Driving the market in that direction are d
rivers' demand for a smartphone-like application experience in their vehicle that provides access to a variety of helpful apps at little to no cost.

As the Apple App Store and other application platforms have proven, crowdsourcing application development is a successful marketplace that will continue to grow.

According to Heather Sarkissian, MP3Car's CEO, the Auto App will act as a conduit for carmakers, platform providers and others to connect with the its community of automative application developers with whom they can partner to create apps that balance consumer demands for functionality and a personalized experience with carmaker's concerns about safety and security.

"Essentially mobile computing will be increasingly available in cars over the next two to three years. The issue though is that the software for these systems becomes obsolete fairly quickly, are impossible to update, and right now there's no way to get apps to drivers that for the most part are free," she says.

MP3Car, Sarkissian says, is well positioned to become the leader in the auto app market. The Auto App Mart is important because it is mobilizing the global community of developers to consider developing a different kind of app, familiarizing them with what the concept of an automotive app would be, and getting them to start thinking about safety and usability concerns associated with these apps.

The company won't set industry standards, compatibility, other technical specifics, but rather to mobilize developers, acting as a central location for innovators.

"We're really focused on getting the developers all in one spot and being really aware of their needs and very supportive of what they need to do to innovate. Ideally [Auto App Mart] would be a resource that automotive makers will want to tap into to develop applications. The reality is that Ford isn't going to want to negotiate with 50 developers. They're going to want to negotiate with one -- MP3Car," says Sarkissian.

Source: Heather Sarkissian, MP3Car.com
Writer: Walaika Haskins

Columbia, MD firm LJT & Associates lands $117M contract with NASA

Columbia-based LJT & Associates, an engineering services provider, has nabbed a major contract from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The NASA Wallops Flight Facility Range Operations Contract (ROC) covers a five year base period with a total estimated cost-plus-award-fee contract/Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity value of approximately $117 Million.

The firm will provide support services to manage the Wallops Research Range operations and maintenance; training; command, control, and communications information; and computer systems services. Contract support also includes testing, modifying and installing communications and electronic systems at launch facilities; launch control centers and test facilities; and range technology development engineering services. We are proud of our team which includes ITT Industries, CSC, Orbital Sciences, BAH, Airtec Inc, and LKC.

"LJT has supported NASA Wallops for the past 8 years," says Jim Bishop, vice president of Civilian Programs. "We look forward to continuing our support and beginning a new era for the Wallops Range Operations program, and helping NASA advance range technology, range use, and continuing the tradition of the Wallops Range as the "Premier Provider" of Research Range Capability."

Source: LJT & Associates
Writer: Walaika Haskins

Baltimore's vital signs looking good says report

A new statistical analysis of Baltimore shows that the city has made important improvements in areas central to the city's improvement, including crime, housing, and education prior to the recession. Other social conditions, such as the number of teen births and the number of children with elevated levels of blood lead, have also improved according to the latest "Vital Signs" report by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute. However, the report shows that while there have been significant improvements in a variety of economic and social indicators in Baltimore, not all neighborhoods within the city have benefited equally.

Available on the BNIA-JFI's new website, analyzes data from nearly 80 indicators provided at the Community Statistical Area level. CSAs, created by the Baltimore City Department of Planning, are clusters of neighborhoods organized around Census Tract boundaries, which are consistent statistical boundaries. Neighborhood borders don't always fall neatly into CSAs, but CSAs represent conditions occurring within the particular neighborhoods that comprise a CSA.

"This latest edition of 'Vital Signs' will help us access how our neighborhoods are doing and what we can do to help improve outcomes," says Janice Hamilton Outtz, senior associate for Civic Site and Initiatives at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. "I am excited about the new report."

The 8th edition of "Vital Signs reveals the following important trends currently impacting the city:

  • The city's population declined by 3 percent, from 651,154 in 2000, to 631,815 in 2008. While a handful of neighborhoods lost population, several more, including downtown (22 percent), Loch Raven (8.4 percent) and Northwood (9.9 percent), experienced a growth in population.
  • Median sales prices for homes in the city increased by well over 100 percent in the past eight years, although the pace of that increase has slowed considerably since the start of the recession.
  • Both adult and juvenile crime has decreased in Baltimore City. In particular, Baltimore City's Part 1 crime rate has declined from 106.0 incidents per 1,000 people in 2000 to 78.3 incidents per 1,000 per people in 2008.
  • The number of residential properties receiving rehabilitation investment is climbing, and may be continuing as the recession lingers and more homeowners choose to stay in their current home.
  • Baltimore's high school completion rate is on the rise, while its rate of truancy in elementary, middle school and high school (including students who drop out of high school) is in decline.
  • The teen birth rate dropped from 83.3 teens out of 1,000 in 2000 to 66.1 teens per 1,000 in 2008�a decline of 17.2 percent.

Other measurements, such as the larger number of Baltimore residents visiting local emergency rooms for non-emergency diagnoses and treatment, expose a city that continues to be constrained by larger trends such as rising health care costs and a lack of adequate medical insurance.

"While Baltimore City has made significant improvements in areas such as crime and education, we appear to be hampered by many of the same things that have struck other urban areas in this recession," says Matthew Kachura, program manager for BNIA-JFI at UB. "But we also are seeing some resilience, such as the increase in home prices, median household income, and an impressive number of small businesses based in well-established city neighborhoods like Edmonson Village and Greenmount East, and by the growing number of city residents who claim at least some higher education in their backgrounds."

BNIA-JFI began in 1998 as a partnership between the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers. In 2006, BNIA joined with the University of Baltimore's Jacob France Institute in an expansion of its capabilities. BNIA-JFI has strengthened the "Vital Signs" report and provided additional services and resources for those who seek data, information, and analysis about the city.

BNIA-JFI's latest product is a new Web site, www.bniajfi.org, which provides a wide variety of data, maps, and information for the City of Baltimore and its neighborhoods. Anyone interested in how Baltimore measures up can find easy-to-use statistical analyses, maps, reports and links relevant to the city.

This information is reflected in the latest "Vital Signs" report. For example, Edmonson Village reports the city's highest percentage of successful small businesses (69.2 percent), while a total of 50.9 percent of all city residents reported some type of college attendance as of 2008.

"These trends of educational attainment, lower crime and rising housing prices may not lead to a total revitalization for the city," Kachura said, "but show that many neighborhoods are improving and these improvements paint both a better and a realistic picture of Baltimore. The larger question is whether these trends can be maintained and translated into long-term improvements for Baltimore and its neighborhoods. For the most part, though, they are good news for the city."

Source: Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore
Writer: Walaika Haskins

GBTC names Dave Troy Connector of the Year

The GBTC handed out its Connector award last Thursday at its  2009 Tech Nite. Held at the Baltimore Convention Center, the event celebrated the organization's two decades working with Baltimore's technology companies.

Dave Troy, founder of Tedx Mid-Atlantic, Baltimore Beehive, Baltimore Angels, Roundhouse Technologies, Social DevCamp East, Popvox and a host of other enterprises and endeavors, is this year's Connector award recipient. Troy beat out Mike Subelsky, OtherInBox & Ignite Baltimore, and Neil Davis of the Emerging Technology Centers.

According to the GBTC, the Connector award is given to the GBTC member who "gets it" � they are more than a volunteer; they CONNECT people. People to people, people to programs and they also get others involved. Award recipients are the person who brings clients, colleagues, friends and even prospects to GBTC programs � connecting them to others in our community. They make our community a better place by understanding the power of connecting.

Source: GBTC
Writer: Walaika Haskins

EPA $3.5M grant will clean air, bring new jobs to Port of Baltimore

Residents of Canton, Dundalk and other communities near the Port of Baltimore will soon be able to breathe easier. The U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Port of Baltimore will receive $3.5 million in Recovery Act funding to help cut diesel pollution and clean the air in and around the Port.

The grant will be used to implement clean-diesel technology in 142 pieces of essential diesel-powered equipment used for harbor operations, including 2 tugboats, 7 locomotives, 50 short haul trucks and 83 on-dock handling units. It will also create jobs and reduce asthma rates and other respiratory illnesses.

The latest clean-diesel technology meets higher air quality standards. It is projected to cut emissions by up to 90 percent, dramatically reducing fine particulate and other pollutants contributing to smog. The new clean-diesel technologies include 9 engine repowers, 43 vehicle and equipment replacements, 83 exhaust controls and 7 idling devices.

The grant will also support extensive outreach to the maritime community with information about ways and technologies to cost-effectively reduce air emissions in collaboration with the Baltimore Port Alliance's environment committee.

"Recovery Act dollars will help the Port protect air quality and the health of Baltimore communities," says Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. "Investing in clean diesel puts people to work and keeps them working, which helps our economy and our environment."

The Port of Baltimore was one of seven applicants selected to receive a share of $16.1 million from a pool of 40 requests.

"We are pleased that the Environmental Protection Agency saw fit to award the Port of Baltimore one of these seven grants," says Kathy Broadwater, deputy executive director for the MPA. "This generous funding will help us continue our commitment to a cleaner and healthier Port of Baltimore and surrounding community. These stimulus dollars are an excellent example of our government working to retain employment and creating a healthier environment for the country."

Gaming company chooses Baltimore for U.S. HQ and issues call for developers

Kalypso Media Group, a German-based game publisher continues its global expansion, choosing Baltimore as the site of its U.S. headquarters, beating out Los Angeles, New York and Silicon Valley. The deciding factor was the high concentration of video game companies in the area, including Firaxis Games, BreakAway and Big Huge Games. The Baltimore office boasts a minimal staff of about five.

With its new digs located in Roland Park, the company named Deborah Tillett president. Former president of BreakAway Games, Tillett is responsible for developing and implementing Kalypso's strategic and creative vision in North America. Kalypso is perhaps known best for its "Tropico" series now on its third installment.

The company is seeking game developers who have created PC or mobile phone games in any genre of entertainment software. The company is particularly interested in strategy, adventure, action and simulation games. Kalypso offers developers marketing on a global scale in retail stores and via online platform. Interested game designers should contact the company at [email protected].

In other gaming news, Zynga, a San Francisco developer of games for social networking sites including Facebook and MySpace, plans to hire 12 to 15 game designers, web developers, artists and producers by the end of the year. The company has chosen Baltimore as the location for its new East Coast office. Helmed by Brian Reynolds, a former exec with Firaxis Games and Big Hug Games, anticipates that the office will locate in Timonium.

Writer: Walaika Haskins
Source: Kalypso Media Group

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