hotDesks Profiles New Start-Up Water Monitoring Company

Lee Beauchamp, co-founder of O-P-S LLC, has over 12 years of leadership experience managing public works departments and facilities—specifically in area of water and wastewater treatment.

A licensed Professional Engineer, Lee was the Operator in Charge of the Cortlandt Manor Consolidated Water Department in New York and the Wicomico County Public Works Department on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Lee Beauchamp, co-founder of O-P-S LLC,

Lee Beauchamp, co-founder of O-P-S LLC,

His experience inspired him to launch O-P-S LLC with the creation of WaterOPS, a suite of cloud-based water monitoring software that helps municipalities meet and exceed water quality standards—and avoid potential costly violations.

His operational experience leading major public works projects has been crucial in the architecture of the compliance engine in WaterOPS that helps municipalities and facility managers meet the needs of engineers and licensed inspectors in the field.

“WaterOPS empowers facilities managers and municipalities with assurance and confidence when reporting to regulators,” Lee says.

Lee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from University of Delaware and a Master’s in Business Administration from Wilmington University. He is currently serving on the executive board for the County Engineers Association of Maryland and is a Staff Sergeant in the Delaware Army National Guard.

Lee credits the mentorship and programs offered at hotDesks for accelerating the development of his startup business.

“Membership in the coworking space at hotDesks is absolutely helping us launch our products and services way ahead of schedule,” he said.

He also said the hotDesks accelerator program moved at the pace of his days at Army bootcamp—where he was prepared “to meet major challenges in a relatively short period of time.”

Lee completed hotDesks’ first 6-week accelerator program in April and his company recently won a grant from the Shore Hatchery Entrepreneurship Competition at Salisbury University. The money will go to continue research and development of WaterOPS.

The company is seeking investors at this time, Lee says.

 

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Delmarva Programmers Work with NASA on Locating World’s Fresh Water

Computer programmers and engineers from the Delmarva region worked with NASA the weekend of April 11-12, to solve one of the world’s biggest challenges, locating fresh water resources around the globe.

Recent graduates from Salisbury University and University of Delaware participated in the annual NASA Space Apps Challenge — a two-day hackathon where engineers, programmers, scientists and artists from around the world connect in real time to solve 50 global challenges presented by the agency.

This year 133 locations from 80 countries participated.

Mike Gicking, Andrew Campbell, Matt Thorne and Rob Close test the functionality of their water mapping application they developed during the 2015 NASA Space Apps Challenge, Sunday, April 12 at the hotDesks Innovation Center in Salisbury, Maryland.

Mike Gicking, Andrew Campbell, Matt Thorne and Rob Close test the functionality of their water mapping application they developed during the 2015 NASA Space Apps Challenge, Sunday, April 12 at the hotDesks Innovation Center in Salisbury, Maryland.

As the clock ticked down on the weekend the Salisbury team had a working mobile Android application that connects with a database to map freshwater resources around the world, said Rob Close, a 2015 graduate of Salisbury University and the organizer of the team. He said the application works with a web service the team created over the weekend.

“Our application is a tool that field technicians can use to find, track, and monitor freshwater sources at any location on the planet,” Close said. “The website is designed and ready to be deployed to a hosting server.”

The applications gives technicians a Google map view to access and update information in the database.

Close said the application could be easily developed to work with other handheld devices.

“We think this [project] was pretty important because water stress is a pretty important issue that we’re seeing in America and all over the world, especially in developing nations,” said Andrew Campbell, who majored in information system and engineering at University of Delaware.

“Anyone can download [the application and use it] to give us information about usable water sources,” said Matt Thorne, who recently graduated from Salisbury with a degree in Math and Computer Science.

The team named their app, Where Did the Water Go?

The Salisbury team advanced to the next level of judging by NASA – as did another Maryland team from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, which also worked on the water mapping challenge.

The Salisbury Space Apps Team lay out the architecture for their global water mapping application, Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Salisbury Space Apps Team lay out the architecture for their global water mapping application, Saturday, April 11, 2015

But only five finalists in each category will advance in May for a final round of judging by NASA executives.

This was the fourth International Space Apps Challenge and the second year a team from the Shore was sponsored by hotDesks.org in Salisbury.

“We are proud to sponsor this event because it’s becoming crystal clear that Delmarva isn’t just for agriculture anymore,” said Mike Thielke, Executive Director of Easton-based hotDesks.org. “We can be formidable where education, entrepreneurship and technology converge to grow innovative businesses right here on the peninsula. We have world class colleges and universities with robust business and science programs that can be leveraged to build job-creating enterprises in our communities.”

hotDesks.org is a co-working space, with locations in Easton and Salisbury that supports the growing technology sector on the Shore with office space, entrepreneurship programs and mentoring.

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HotDesks Opens in Easton for Entrepreneurs

HotDesks.org opened a second co-working space on the Shore to support startup businesses and entrepreneurs bringing innovative solutions and products to market.

The new facility at 7A Goldsborough St. in Easton will offer startup businesses and individuals a professional office environment with high speed Internet, printer, fax, conference room and all the coffee you can drink.

The historic downtown location is convenient to banks, local government, shops, restaurants, and businesses. Memberships range from $25 to $99 month and come with 24/7 secure access to the facility.

HotDesks.org Executive Director Mike Thielke said memberships also come with access to the Salisbury location, which opened in 2012.

“If you’re a member of one you’re a member of both and you’re in two of the Shore’s largest business hubs,” Thielke said at the opening on Thursday, April 2.

“It’s a great way for entrepreneurs to drastically cut office expenses from the start and focus on bringing their ideas to market,” Thielke said. “It’s also an important place for entrepreneurs to build with others who too are striving to carve out a niche.”

Thielke said he got the idea for the first hotDesk location in Salisbury three years ago, when he realized that many entrepreneurs were working out of coffee shops. “If you’re camped out in a coffee shop all the time you’re at least spending $4 or $5 a day just to use Internet,” Thielke said. “Here you have access to high speed Internet and all the other technology and office provides.

Talbot Commissioner Dirck Bartlett: “We’re doing a lot of work on our infrastructure to make sure we have what entrepreneurs want.” Find a quiet spot in the facility for privacy. It’s also an ideal place when working from

your home comes with too many distractions.”

At the grand opening on Thursday local supporters poured in to show support for the project.

Talbot County Commissioner Dirck Bartlett said the location was prime for attracting businesses to Talbot.

“We’re always excited about attracting entrepreneurs to Talbot,” Bartlett said. “We’re doing a lot of work on our infrastructure to make sure we have what entrepreneurs want, like high speed broadband. We think Talbot is a great place to be and we hope hotDesks is way of attracting people who are starting a small company. These entrepreneurs will help grow the local economy and hopefully create jobs.”

“We’re really excited to have the opportunity to be a host community for hotDesks,” said

Talbot Chamber of Commerce President Alan I. Silverstein. “We think it’s a great concept, it’s cutting edge and it will bring entrepreneurs to the community, keep them here and help them grow. The goal is to help build them up so they can provide more employment opportunities here in the community.”

Easton hotDesks will offer the same programs and mentoring that have proved uccessful at the Salisbury co-working space. Visit www.hotDesks.org to know more.

Eastern Shore Business Competition Offers $25,000 Prize

The process of writing a business plan is much more than taking ideas and placing them in a document. A business plan is as much of a commitment to action as it is a strategy. Regional entrepreneurs with startup businesses and existing businesses can also use this process as a way to connect with much needed resources thanks to the third annual Eastern Shore business plan contest.

During this year’s competition not only will the first place winner cash in on $25,000 in prize money, but he or she will automatically advance to the semi-final round of the 2015 InvestMaryland Challenge business competition in pursuit of a $100,000 cash prize.

Applicants can register online at www.ShoreBizPlan.com. Click on “Eastern Shore Business Plan Competition,” then “Sign Up” for an account in the right margin. Individuals or teams interested in the competition must confirm eligibility, complete registration, and submit all material by Friday, October 24.

The Eastern Shore Business Competition is sponsored by founding partners: Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC), Maryland Capital Enterprise, and Rural Maryland Council; contributing partners: InvestMaryland Challenge and Maryland TEDCO. For more information contact, Mike Thielke, executive director, Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center at mike@ventureahead.org.

The Eastern Shore Business Competition is open to startups and existing business owners who want to start a new business or expand an existing one. Individual or group applicants are accepted.

A maximum of five individuals or teams will be selected to advance to a final round of competition and will present in front of a panel of judges during a session of the Maryland Entrepreneur Expo on November 12, 2014 in Linthicum, Md. The judges will select the first place winner who will be announced during the closing session of the Expo.

Founded in 2006, the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center works to develop and enhance an entrepreneurial ecosystem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. ESEC provides training; services and programs to help business owners and entrepreneurs succeed by creating greater access to capital, and offering programs that develop entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. Included are NewVenture, a comprehensive 10-week entrepreneur-training program, annual business plan and student plan competitions, and an annual entrepreneur conference.

In 2012, ESEC launched “hotDesks,” providing co-working spaces for independent professionals. The first location opened in Salisbury with a second location to be announced on the Eastern Shore. For more information on the business plan competition or ESEC, call (410) 770-9330, ventureahead.org or connect with ESEC at facebook.com/ESECventureahead.

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Salisbury University Freshmen get to WERK

Werk, LLC, a part-time employment website was recently named the second place Bernstein Award and fourth place winner in the “Gull Cage,”Shark Tank-style entrepreneurship pitch event. The competitions were part of the 2014 Entrepreneurship Competitions hosted by the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, Salisbury.

Werk students received a one-year membership to hotDesks, the Eastern Shore first co-working space by the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC), as well as a total of $2,500 in cash and $3,500 in consulting services from Maryland Capital Enterprises. Students Aaron Wall, Matt Lange, Kyle Cooper, and Peter Baum are the creators of Werk, LLC.

In all, Salisbury University students earned nearly $60,000 in cash, services and prizes during the 2014 Entrepreneurship Competitions.

“Encouraging and advocating for entrepreneurship is at the heart of ESEC,” says Mike Thielke, ESEC executive director. “Creating an environment where our communities grow and nurture entrepreneurs is crucial to sustainable growth,” he adds.

hotDesks, Tri-County Council Multi-Purpose Center, 31901 Tri-County Way, Salisbury, is Maryland Eastern Shore’s first co-working space. Co-working is a new style of working because it blends the flexibility of working from home with the social and professional benefits of being in a vibrant office. Sponsored by the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center, hotDesks is designed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship by providing a community for independent entrepreneurs.

To learn more about hotDesks or for membership information, contact ESEC at (410) 770-9330, mike@ventureahead.org or connect at twitter.com/hotDesksMD.

From left to right: William Burke, competition director and Perdue School professor; students and Werk, LLC team members Aaron Wall, Matt Lange, Kyle Cooper, Peter Baum; Stephen B. Adams, Ph.D., Perdue School associate professor; and Mike Thielke, ESEC executive director.

From left to right: William Burke, competition director and Perdue School professor; students and Werk, LLC team members Aaron Wall, Matt Lange, Kyle Cooper, Peter Baum; Stephen B. Adams, Ph.D., Perdue School associate professor; and Mike Thielke, ESEC executive director.

 

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Coworking Space for Easton is Topic of Meetup April 17

The concept of coworking spaces, though less known in rural areas, is growing in popularity as professionals working from home, wireless cafes, and locations on the road look for like-minded business people to collaborate and network with. Currently the only coworking space on Maryland’s Eastern Shore called hotDesks is located in Salisbury. However, the results of an upcoming meetup may determine if a new hotDesks opens its doors in downtown Easton.

The meetup will take place on Thursday, April 17 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at 5 Goldsborough Street, one of the storefronts that make up the former Red Hen Coffeehouse and Café. The storefront is being considered as a possible hotDesks location. The meetup will be hosted by the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC), the non-profit organization that opened the Salisbury co-working space. The event is free. Light refreshments will be available.

A coworking space is a physical, “wired” location where individuals with workspace flexibility collaborate, and often, develop new business ideas. According to Deskmag, the leading authority on coworking, 100,000 people are members of 2,490 coworking spaces around the world in 81 different countries. Of those 853 coworking spaces are located in the United States.

“In my work at ESEC it became obvious that entrepreneurs are working in all kinds of industries. Some work on their own out of their homes, some work in storefronts in our downtowns, and others in our business parks and commercial districts,” says Mike Thielke, executive director at ESEC. “For the most part they are working diligently in their chosen field, but are working very much under the radar and in many cases in isolation. Through ESEC I have been building an ecosystem to help support and advocate for them. Coworking spaces are just one part of that work,” he says.

The key characteristics of coworking spaces that differentiates them from more familiar business models like incubators is that it is all about community and collaboration. “Yes there are amenities in coworking spaces like wifi and video conferencing capabilities, but the real purpose is provide a community for entrepreneurs, creatives, freelancers, and others who are currently working in isolation,” he adds.

To RSVP for the meetup, search online “Easton TechConnect” and click on “join us.” For more information, call the ESEC at (410) 770-9330, mike@ventureahead.org or connect at twitter.com/hotDesksMD.

ShoreVenture Start-Up Course Openings Available

ShoreVenture, a comprehensive 10-week course for entrepreneurs and business owners is now enrolling students. Classes will be held at Chesapeake College, Wye Mills, on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., starting March 19th and ending May 21. The class fee is $295.00, and is 100% refundable upon satisfactory completion of the course. Register online at shoreventure.com. For more information, call (410) 770-9330.

Sponsored by the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC), Easton, ShoreVenture is designed to provide guidance and support in a group-oriented environment, and is taught by actual Eastern Shore entrepreneurs. The course is based on the nation’s leading entrepreneur training program called NewVenture, which was developed by the Kauffman Foundation.

ShoreVenture curriculum includes:

Assessing the feasibility of a business idea and how that concept matches the participant’s personal vision;
Determining the appropriate steps for small business success;
Defining target market and discovering competitive advantage;
Identifying creative marketing tools, key issues and strategies for operating a viable business;
Establishing appropriate cash flow projections and recordkeeping requirements; and
Examining and discussing the problems and pitfalls frequently encountered when starting a small business.

For information on course content or the Chesapeake College spring ShoreVenture class, call ESEC at (410) 770-9330. Registration is underway.

Founded in 2006, ESEC works to develop and enhance an entrepreneurial ecosystem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. ESEC provides training; services and programs to help business owners and entrepreneurs succeed by creating greater access to capital, including revolving and nano-loan fund programs. ESEC also offers educational programs that develop entrepreneurial skills and knowledge.

ShoreVenture Classes Begin March 19 at Chesapeake College

A good idea and passion often plant the seeds of a new business concept. However, the reality of successfully launching a new, sustainable business requires much more than mere enthusiasm. Fortunately for Eastern Shore entrepreneurs and business owners an intense arsenal of resources and knowledge are available through a 10-week course called ShoreVenture. The program is sponsored by the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC), Easton. Registration for the spring class at Chesapeake College is currently underway.

ShoreVenture is designed to provide guidance and support in a group-oriented environment, and is taught by actual Eastern Shore entrepreneurs. The course is based on the nation’s leading entrepreneur training program called NewVenture, which was developed by the Kauffman Foundation. Classes will be held on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., starting March 19th and ending May 21. The fee of $295.00, and is 100% refundable upon satisfactory completion of the course. Register online at shoreventure.com. For more information, call (410) 770-9330.

For three recent graduates the course provided not only practical knowledge that could be implemented right away, but also support and technical know-how that they will use to sustain and grow their businesses.

For Barbara Reed, RN, administrator of a home health business in Chestertown called Loving Touch Home Care, LLC, the 10-week class was well worth the time for the plentiful resources as well as the networking opportunities. “For me the vision was there, but sometimes when I was in class listening I realized I may have done some things differently if I had taken the course sooner. The textbook we used in the class is on my desk and I refer to it often,” she says. “For the way I learn it was the networking that was the best part for me. I not only had the benefit of taking the class with other people who were going through what I was, but my instructors and other resource people available to me through the course are helping me as I implement my business plan,” she adds.

Classmate Mary Jeeter found the financial section of ShoreVenture to be most beneficial for her as she established Another Look, a consignment store in Denton. “I felt like I knew a lot going into the course, but I had no idea how to write a business plan. The financial part helped me out a lot,” she says. “The class speakers helped bring all of the topic to life, and I found it helpful to get ideas from my classmates as well,” she adds.

The biggest takeaway for fellow classmate Stacey Tibbitt of Easton, founder of Mini Messages, was the classroom experience and learning how to write a business plan. “Although the class was a huge time commitment I looked forward to attending class. The time flew by, and I enjoyed being around people who were doing what I was doing and going through what I was,” Tibbitt says. “The class taught me that a business plan is not just for everybody else, but also very much a tool for me,” she adds.

ShoreVenture curriculum includes:
Assessing the feasibility of a business idea and how that concept matches the participant’s personal vision;
Determining the appropriate steps for small business success;
Defining target market and discovering competitive advantage;
Identifying creative marketing tools, key issues and strategies for operating a viable business;
Establishing appropriate cash flow projections and recordkeeping requirements; and
Examining and discussing the problems and pitfalls frequently encountered when starting a small business.

For information on course content or the Chesapeake College spring ShoreVenture class, call ESEC at (410) 770-9330. Registration is underway.

Founded in 2006, ESEC works to develop and enhance an entrepreneurial ecosystem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. ESEC provides training; services and programs to help business owners and entrepreneurs succeed by creating greater access to capital, including revolving and nano-loan fund programs. ESEC also offers educational programs that develop entrepreneurial skills and knowledge.

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