EDF Renewable Energy Acquires groSolar

EDF Renewable Energy (EDF RE) has announced the acquisition of Global Resource Options, a Columbia-based, privately-owned company doing business as groSolar, which provides development and turnkey engineering, procurement and construction of solar photovoltaic projects for developers, financiers, utilities, corporate, government and other institutional clients.

“The company brings to EDF RE the ability to offer competitively priced distributed generation solar solutions to the growing municipal, university, school and hospital, corporate, and utility customer base,” said Tristan Grimbert, CEO and president of EDF RE. “The addition of an established and successful distributed generation business line contributes to our long-term growth plan to diversify the customer base and augments a comprehensive range of energy services that the EDF group offers to its customers worldwide.”

USRA Set to Deliver New Concepts, Tools and Technologies

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA), of Columbia, has been awarded the NASA Academic Mission Services (NAMS) contract from NASA’s Ames Research Center to deliver new concepts, tools and technologies related to aeronautics, science and aeroflightdynamics.

This five-year agreement for a $193 million award launches an integrated multi-year research effort to be conducted at NASA’s Ames Research Center, which ranges from fundamental research and development through field test deployments and operational science missions.

USRA brings together a diverse national team of universities and experts to partner with Ames in order to solve problems related to Earth and space science, engineering and aeronautics. The team will focus on tasks to assist Ames with understanding navigation of unpiloted aircraft systems, air traffic management, autonomous systems, aeroacoustics, synthetic biology, quantum computing and small spacecraft development. The latter includes development of airborne remote sensing technologies to monitor carbon cycling, habitats, vegetation structure and growth.

Howard County Expands Free Outdoor Wi-Fi to Downtown Columbia Lakefront

Howard County’s free outdoor Wi-Fi service has been expanded to the Downtown Columbia lakefront. FreeHoCoGovWiFi was launched in July 2015; in one recent 30-day period, more than 2,100 people connected 21,000 times to FreeHoCoGovWiFi in historic Ellicott City. Collectively, they used more than 475 gigabytes of data.

The FreeHoCoGovWiFi Lakefront network consists of 11 access points that can simultaneously handle 1,000 connections. It is being provided with no taxpayer dollars. In addition to Ellicott City and the Downtown Columbia lakefront, the county also offers free Wi-Fi access at the Meadowbrook Athletic Complex and the outdoor fields at Troy Park in Elkridge. County Executive Allan Kittleman also announced that a number of Downtown Columbia commercial properties have connected to high-speed broadband service through the Inter-County Broadband Network (ICBN). Among them are Little Patuxent Square (the first new commercial building to be built in Downtown Columbia in more than a decade), 10211 Wincopin Circle and the buildings in the Crescent Project being constructed by The Howard Hughes Corp.

UMD Breaks Ground on Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation

The University of Maryland (UMD) has broken ground for the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation, a new building designed for future-focused developments in computer vision, robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and new computing platforms. The Iribe Center anchors the Michael Antonov Auditorium and the Andrew Reisse Park, which are features named for Oculus co-founders.

The building is fueled by a $31 million gift from Oculus co-founder and CEO Brendan Iribe, a graduate of Howard County’s Atholton High School. A $4 million gift from Oculus chief software architect and co-founder Michael Antonov and $3 million from Elizabeth Iribe are helping to make the building possible and increasing scholarship and endowment support for students and faculty. Iribe, Reisse and Antonov met as students at the University of Maryland.

Located at the university’s front door, the center’s 215,000 square feet will facilitate creation and discovery on campus. The center will include virtual and augmented reality labs to give students a high tech environment to build immersive multimedia experiences, and a motion-capture lab giving dancers and athletes the ability to record and perfect movement. It is expected to open in 2018.

Bulk Head Brewing Opens New Taproom

Bulk Head Brewing Co. opened a new, beach-themed taproom in May after receiving a catalyst loan from the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA). The Catalyst Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) loan given to Matthews is for five years and valued at $150,000; it financed Bulk Head’s interior improvements to complete the new taproom and facility.

Bulk Head’s new facility, located in the Oakland Center Business Park off of Old Annapolis Road, Columbia, is 7,200 square feet. The new taproom is at the front of the facility, with 10 taps and a view into the production space. It will allow Bulk Head to eventually expand its current brewing capacity of a 3-barrel (bbl) system (1 bbl = 31 gallons) to a 7-bbl system and higher.

While Bulk Head does not serve food, there will be a rotation of food trucks stationed outside for patrons to purchase food from to consume inside the taproom. It also will feature live musicians or bands when available, games like corn hole and, on certain days, will allow patrons to bring their dogs into the taproom.

DocPoint Brings Project Hosts’ Cloud Solutions, Services Onto GSA Schedule 70

DocPoint Solutions, of Fulton, has brought Project Host Inc.’s cloud solutions onto its General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule 70. Through this partnership, DocPoint will be able to promote and sell FedRAMP SaaS-level compliant cloud solutions as part of a complete enterprise content management (ECM) system. Project Hosts is a cloud services provider with a FedRAMP Agency Authority to Operate for its Federal Private Cloud for Windows and Linux applications.

“Like companies in the commercial sector, government agencies are turning to cloud-based solutions to promote information sharing across the enterprise in a more cost-effective, scalable manner,” said Scott Swidersky, president of DocPoint. “However, federal organizations must comply with strict standards to safeguard data and prevent security breaches. With Project Hosts on our GSA Schedule 70, we can offer these clients a complete, secure and compliant ECM solution in the Microsoft Azure Government cloud.”

Hogan Signs Schuh’s Special Community Benefit Districts Bill

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has signed Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh’s legislation to help clean up local waterways by allowing the county to create Special Community Benefit Districts (SCBDs) to provide or expand water and sewer service. Previously, the law allowed for communities to create SCBDs only for property maintenance (parking lots, beaches, roads, wetlands, playgrounds), purchase of property and community recreational activities. The failure of septic systems can pose a risk to the environment and waterways around the state. When not properly sited or maintained, these systems can cause contamination of surface and groundwater resources, which leads to public health and pollution problems. HB 602 was part of a legislative package that the county executive presented to the Anne Arundel County Delegation in January 2016.

Fulton Company Launches New Insect Control Program

Fulton-based American Pest has launched a new mosquito and tick control program. Responding to an unprecedented number of customer inquiries this year concerning protection from Lyme disease and mosquito-borne viruses like Zika and West Nile, the program offers residential customers proven treatments to control mosquitoes and ticks around their home.

American Pest employs a fleet of about 150 professionals, including two Ph.D.s, four board certified, and 13 associate certified entomologists on staff. Utilizing world-class training and applied Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices that are environmentally responsible, the company is billed as one of the oldest family-owned pest control businesses in the United States.

City of Annapolis Announces Parking Updates

Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides has announced upgrades that will make the downtown parking experience more efficient, as customers will have more choices on how to pay for parking around the City Dock and in downtown Annapolis.

Parkmobile, a mobile phone app, will allow real-time parking transactions via credit card or PayPal. Another option is to pay by using one’s license plate number at one of the 12 new multi-space parking pay stations with cutting-edge technology. Both options are available at the 238 parking spaces at the City Dock parking lot, Dock Street, Fawcett lot and Compromise Street lot. More Parkmobile and pay station locations around the city will be added in the near future.

Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business to Hold Grad Info Sessions

Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management will hold information sessions for prospective students interested in Sellinger’s graduate business programs. Attendance to a session will waive the $60 program application fee. To register for the information sessions or learn more, visit www.loyola.edu/sellinger.

Topic: MBA, Master of Science in finance programs and class visit

Time: Thursday, June 16, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Location: Loyola’s Columbia Graduate Center, Room 259, 8890 McGaw Road, Columbia

HCGH Receives Awards for Stroke Program

Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Hospitals must achieve 85% or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75% or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke quality measures to receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

CA Garners $66K Rebate From BGE

BGE has approved a $66,000 rebate to offset more than one-quarter of the cost of an energy-efficient combined heat and power (CHP) unit purchased by Columbia Association (CA), a nonprofit community services corporation serving Columbia. The rebate was issued through BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program.

CA installed the 60-kilowatt CHP unit at the Supreme Sports Club, a 24-hour fitness complex. The CHP unit is expected to reduce annual operating costs by more than $20,000 through heating the club’s pool facility and pools, as well as providing domestic hot water. By merging energy systems that traditionally operate independently, CHP systems offer substantial energy efficiency benefits and reduced operational costs.

greeNEWit Partners to Promote Innovative Financing in Energy

Columbia-based greeNEWit is partnering with Urban Ingenuity, of Washington, D.C., to provide innovative solutions to develop and finance advanced energy projects, building retrofits and state-of-the-art clean energy infrastructure. greeNEWit joined DC PACE to help commercial asset teams gain access to flexible and advantageous financing terms for capital improvements relating to energy and water.

With the support of Urban Ingenuity, greeNEWit can manage energy retrofit projects through the DC PACE program to improve cash flow scenarios and increase net operating income. DC PACE is available to provide 100% financing for energy and water-saving upgrades, at affordable long-term fixed interest rates, for properties within the District of Columbia.

Millennium Design Team Wins American Web Design Awards

Millennium Marketing Solutions won the 2016 American Web Design Awards presented by Graphic Design USA (GDUSA).While only 15% of the 1,150 entries were selected, three of those entries were Millennium projects.

They included Metro Village Apartments’ updated web site, website design and programming for Rapid Analytic Deployment and Management Framework (RADMF) that was offered by Enlighten IT Consulting, and for website design and development for Polinger Company. For more than 50 years, GDUSA has been cited as a business-to-business information source for graphic design professionals.

HCC Named One of Top Tech-Savvy Community Colleges

Howard Community College (HCC) has been named one of the top-rated community colleges nationwide in the 11th annual Digital Community Colleges Survey by the Center for Digital Education. HCC tied for second place in the large community college category. The center recognized HCC for using data to improve decisions, providing professional development to assist faculty in the use of technology, and creating robust online and mobile environments for students.

Among HCC’s recent technology advances and innovations are its new, user-friendly website with a mobile-responsive design; a self-service online planning module that allows students to plan their schedule and register for classes; and expanded wireless infrastructure on campus. HCC also boasts technology that supports student services and career assessment. In addition to computer labs, faculty members use mobile devices and tablets in the classroom.

Vantage House Featured in Magazine’s Design Showcase

Environments for Aging magazine featured Vantage House in its Spring 2016 special EFA Design Showcase. The Downtown Columbia retirement community was highlighted in the annual Remodel/Renovation Competition which honors the “best ways to update senior living environments for today’s needs.”

The planning work of architecture firm Hord Coplan Macht, of Baltimore, and Merlino Design Partnership of Gulph Mills, Pa., was displayed in the magazine. Vantage House’s project entails modernizing features to cater to the active lifestyle of its residents. Projected changes to common areas for the community will include a new lobby, library, theater, fitness center, salon, cafe/marketplace, Wintergarden, multiple dining venues, game rooms, bar and enhancements to the auditorium.

In addition, the fifth floor is being converted to a new household-driven Memory Care Floor. A new exterior Porte Cochere and other site enhancements are being added as well.