The Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) announced that Joe Mezzanotte, a partner at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, has been elected chairman of the HCEDA’s board of directors. Mezzanotte joined the board in 2010 and previously served as vice chair.

“We are thrilled to have someone with Joe’s breadth of experience take over as board chair at the HCEDA,” said CEO Larry Twele. “His passion for the organization and its mission has been evident since the day he joined the board. Joe’s knowledge of the Howard County business community and economic development will be key assets as we build on our commitment to attract and retain businesses.”

The Howard County Council has also confirmed two new board members for the HCEDA. Joining the board are Charles Phillips, Jr., senior vice president of KCI Technologies; and Andrew Weinrub, owner of Vytex Windows.

The 13-member HCEDA board is appointed by the Howard County Executive and confirmed by the Howard County Council. Board members serve four-year terms.

Laser Chip Manufacturer in Expansion Mode

Construction is underway on a 28,000-square-foot addition at Thorlabs Quantum Electronics facility in Jessup. The expansion includes a new “clean room” to facilitate production at the laser chip manufacturer. The build-out is projected to be completed by spring 2016.

Thorlabs currently has 110 employees at its Howard County location, and company officials say there are plans to add several dozen new workers in the near term. Thorlabs is a global company with 13 locations from New Jersey to Virginia, Texas to The United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Germany, China, Japan and Howard County.

Howard County Firm Brings Innovative Technology to Maryland

Maryland Packaging is another Howard County company on the move. The Elkridge-based company is poised for growth in the packaging sector throughout the mid-Atlantic region thanks to its recent purchase and installation of the state’s first High Pressure Processing (HPP) equipment. HPP is a method of preserving and sterilizing food using pressures up to 100,000 pounds per square inch, which dramatically extends shelf life.

The company is located in Route 1 Corridor. The 80,000-square-foot company recently took on an additional 40,000 square feet in the Troy Hill Business Park to accommodate the new HPP operation and other growth plans. The firm has 125 employees and expects to create 120 new jobs during the next year-and-a-half.