New SunX Wet Lab Opens at Eastern Shore Innovation Center

The Eastern Shore Innovation Center (ESIC) at the Dorchester Regional Technology Park has added a 1,100-square foot commercial wet laboratory.  It is the first facility of its kind on the Delmarva Peninsula available for co-op use by businesses and researchers.

The new lab is operated by SunX Analytical, an Innovation Center licensee, that together with a $77,500 grant from the Rural Maryland Council and $125,000 of its own funds,built out the facility.

SunX is seeking to engage businesses in the region needing lab space, including those in the agriceutical, environmental and food industries.

Common uses for wet labs include chemical analysis of well water and residential lead contamination; agriceutical product development; chemical/biological quality assurance and life science research and product development

SunX is one of the original start-up businesses leasing space at the ESIC. The company is working on new product technology to extract oil from agricultural hemp.

“We conducted a thorough search and were unable to find any commercial or higher education-based wet labs on the Eastern Shore for our own product development research,” said Barry Pritchard, an analytical chemist and managing member of SunX.  “The Innovation Center has given us unparalleled support, so we proposed the idea of developing shared lab space that our company and others could use for testing and research at no cost to Dorchester County.”

Jeff Trice, Dorchester County Economic Development Director, said the new addition supports the mission of the Innovation Center to build a vibrant economic base for the region.

“The wet lab fosters a spirit of innovation among our tenants and improves their technical capabilities so new ideas can be developed and commercialized locally,” he said. “Through tours and demonstrations, it also creates opportunities to expose our middle and high school students to STEM-related research.”

Rob Figliozzi

Rob Figliozzi, a Salisbury PhD student at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, is SunX’s first co-op tenant at the lab. Figliozzi is developing a concept for a new medical research tool that will increase lab productivity and contribute to quicker discoveries of life saving techniques and products.

Pritchard said SunX is interested in consulting with local businesses to help them commercialize new ideas and technology.The company is also working on a STEM-focused workforce development initiative that, with the input of local industry partners, would provide career training and certifications.

“So much of today’s research focus is Internet based, but facilities like this dedicated to the hard sciences remain vital to many businesses looking to advance new ideas,” he said.

The lab is fully equipped and includes a fume hood, water purification system, spectrophotometer, glassware, furniture and chemical resistant counter tops.  The facility is also readied for specialty gases and a bio hood may be added in the future.

Fixed monthly co-op fees to use the lab will be determined for each tenant based on needs, according to Pritchard. The space can also be used at an hourly rate.

Businesses and researchers looking to access the lab must first become a co-working member at the Innovation Center.  Memberships range from $150 a month for full-time businesses to $12.50 a month for student researchers and a one-time setup fee of $25.

“We offer a fully supportive environment to accelerate business growth and help entrepreneurs develop the next generation of technologies,” said Steve Dolbow, Innovation Center manager. “In addition to providing individual office space, our shared services at the Innovation Center include conference rooms, a lunch/snack room,fiber access with free high speed WIFI, web casting and conferencing, secure 24 x 7 access with video and badge security, copier/scanner and white boards.”

Every business in the ESIC is provided an experienced business mentor who has been certified by SCORE, a Small Business Administration organization, according to Dolbow.  In addition, through a partnership with hotDesks, members have access to office facilities throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Joseph T. Dashiell Builders, Inc. joined in the efforts to support business development at the ESIC by providing construction services for the wet lab “at cost.”

The ESIC opened in February 2016 with $1.2 million in funding from the Maryland Department of Commerce and $1 million from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO).

Bayleigh Chase Promotes Fountain to Director of Marketing & Community Partnerships

Integrace Bayleigh Chase, a forward-thinking life plan community based in Easton, announced that Amy Fountain has been promoted to Director of Marketing and Community Partnerships. In this position, she will be responsible for introducing prospective families to the amenities, services and lifestyle that make Bayleigh Chase a leading retirement destination in Maryland, as well as identifying and developing strategic partnerships to continue to grow and strengthen Bayleigh Chase’s ties in the local community.

Fountain is a licensed social worker, and has worked for Bayleigh Chase since 2011, helping to guide residents and their families on their journeys through the community’s levels of supportive living. Prior to joining Bayleigh Chase, she served as a social worker at both Medical Management and Rehabilitation Services and the Caroline County Health Department. She holds a degree in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Born and raised in Centreville in Queen Anne’s County, Fountain is a life-long resident of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Located on a 35-acre campus in historic Easton, Bayleigh Chase is a not-for-profit life plan community that affords residents a lifestyle of flexibility and choice to live life on their own terms. Bayleigh Chase offers independent living options in its villas, cottages and apartment homes, as well as a continuum of supportive living services, including assisted living, memory support, outpatient and short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing and diagnostic and treatment support through the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Memory Clinic. For more information, please call 410-763-7167 or visit www.bayleighchase.org.

About Integrace

Integrace is a forward-thinking non-profit organization that strives to ignite in all people the passion for meaningful living. Integrace oversees a family of vibrant retirement communities throughout Maryland, including Bayleigh Chase in Easton, Buckingham’s Choice in Adamstown, and Fairhaven in Sykesville. Integrace is also a nationally-recognized leader in the art of dementia care, with the Sykesville-based Copper Ridge community and Integrace Institute, as well as two memory clinics in Easton and Sykesville, serving as catalysts to a profound shift in how we perceive, and relate to, those living with dementia. Integrace communities provide a continuum of services to support both residents and the greater community, including assisted living, skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation and more. Each of these innovative programs focuses on person-centered living, honoring the abilities, possibilities and authenticity of each individual. For more information, please visit Integrace.org.

Easton and Its Business Alliance Receives 2017 Main Street Accreditation

The Easton Business Alliance and the Town of Easton have been designated as an accredited Main Street America program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.

“It is a great honor to recognize this year’s nationally Accredited Main Street America programs for their outstanding work to transform downtown and neighborhood commercial districts,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Main Streets are the heart of our communities, and the work they do to create quality public spaces, catalyze local entrepreneurship, and support downtown housing is more important than ever. Across the county, Main Street America programs truly strengthen the economic, social, and cultural fabric of their entire communities.”

The Easton Business Alliance’s performance is annually evaluated by Main Street Maryland which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

“The Easton Business Alliance and the Town of Easton are ecstatic to reach this milestone of National Main Street accreditation,” Easton Business Alliance manager Ross Benincasa said. “Not only does it solidify the Town’s long-term commitment to invest in our vibrant downtown, but it also entrusts us to follow the best practices and standards laid out to overcome the difficulties facing all small businesses, including those in Easton.”

Shore Leadership Class Meets in Caroline County

Shore Leadership held their June session at the Chesapeake Culinary Center in Caroline County on Wednesday, June 21st . The 2017 Shore Leadership class began their morning learning about Transformational Leadership with the guidance of Leadership Facilitator, Dr. Joe Thomas. The class studied the differences between transactional, laissez faire’ and transformational leadership and reviewed the application of each leadership style through various case studies.

In the afternoon, regional topics covered included Health Care and the Heroin Epidemic. Susan Johnson, RN, BSN, MPH, the Vice President of Quality and Population Health at Choptank Community Health emphasized the need for sustainable, affordable rural health care especially in areas that are not geographically located near a hospital or emergency center. Patti Willis, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Communications for University of Maryland Shore Regional Health then reviewed the transition of the Mid-Shore’s hospital and health system from the Memorial Hospital of Easton to University of Maryland Shore Regional Health and the value of the transition to the communities on the Mid-Shore.

Caroline County Sheriff, Randy Bounds, and Caroline County Warden, Ruth Colbourne, later introduced members of the Local Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council who meet monthly with representatives from multiple agencies, including education and social services, to help address the heroin epidemic in Caroline County. Each county in Maryland has a similar committee as part of Governor Larry Hogan’s fight against heroin and opioid addiction. The class watched a video entitled, “Hope after Heroin” and then heard from a recovering heroin addict who is now a member of the Local Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council. The presentations were met with lots of questions from the Shore Leadership class with a reoccurring concern to determine, “How can we help?”

This is the first time that Shore Leadership has covered heroin and opioid addiction concerns as part of their 10-month program. Several of the 2017 class members recommended duplicating this session next year for the class of 2018.

Easton Utilities enters Phase III of Sustainability Campus

To continue moving toward resource conservation and protecting the environment, Easton Utilities is pleased to announce the third phase of the Easton Sustainability Campus with the installment of a two megawatt photo voltaic solar array. The solar component of the overall project is being partially funded by a $3 million grant from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). “The investment by MDE will enable Easton Utilities to create a unique facility highlighting Easton and Maryland as leading innovators in sustainability and the use of renewable energy,” said Hugh E. Grunden, President and CEO of Easton Utilities. “It is a perfect example of state and local governments working together to protect our environment and serve our community.”

The addition of a solar array to the current renewable energy sources located at the Enhanced Nutrient Removal Wastewater Treatment Facility brings significant benefits to Easton Utilities customers, as well as the Easton community. Utilizing alternative forms of energy helps offset costs allowing Easton Utilities to generate locally instead of purchasing energy off the grid. “With new standards for Maryland energy companies, we are required to provide a significant percentage of our overall portfolio from renewable energy sources annually,” said John J. Horner, VP of Operations for Easton Utilities.

The solar array portion of the project allows everyone to benefit from shared renewable energy and alleviates a national issue on a local level. Regardless of housing situation, location and whether one is a homeowner or renter, anyone can participate without any incurred costs. “The Sustainability Campus is a significant step to demonstrate Easton Utilities commitment to environmental stewardship in our community benefiting all citizens,” stated Grunden.

Prior to the solar array installment, Easton Utilities recently completed the installation of a generator to convert methane gas from the Mid-Shore Regional Landfill to electricity. It is notable, by capturing methane gas and converting it a fuel source, Easton Utilities is removing this greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere. Methane gas is estimated to have a global warming impact 25 times greater than CO2.

Co-located at the ENR Wastewater Treatment Facility, these projects create a system of multiple, diverse, renewable energy sources within our own community. And there is more on the horizon – Easton Utilities is currently collecting wind data to determine the feasibility of adding a wind turbine to the Campus. The possibility of incorporating battery storage is also being considered.

Easton Utilities is a community-owned, not-for-profit utility and telecommunications company operating the Electric, Natural Gas, Water, Wastewater, Cable Television, and Internet services for the Town of Easton and portions of the surrounding area. Please visit www.eastonutilities.com or call 410-822-6110 to learn more.

Jeff Trice Named Economic Development Director for Dorchester County

Eastern Shore native Jeff Trice has been named Dorchester County’s new Economic Development Director.

Most recently, Trice was the Director of Business Solutions for the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation where he worked with federal agencies, defense contractors, airlines and other businesses to expand the county’s employment base.

An experienced business veteran, Trice has launched workforce initiatives, created training programs and grown jobs at the county, regional and state level throughout Maryland.  He’s also started three businesses during his career.

“We are very excited to have someone of Jeff’s caliber joining our economic development team,” said Jeremy Goldman, Dorchester County Manager.  “We look forward to leveraging his experience and know how to continue the department’s success in developing and recruiting businesses to all of Dorchester County.”

From 2010 to 2016, Trice was Business Services Program Manager for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation (DLLR) Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning. He also served as Special Project Coordinator for DLLR’s Upper Shore Division of Workforce Development.

Trice, who started his new position on July 1, views the Economic Development team as integral to the economic growth and stability of Dorchester County.

“I live and breathe business, but I also believe in taking a holistic approach and broad economic view of our county’s opportunities and challenges,” he said. “It’s not just about serving businesses. Economic development should include efforts that support career programs in our schools, grow the real estate tax base, create job opportunities and serve the citizens of Dorchester County.”

A native of Caroline County, Trice is now a resident of Preston. He started Marshy Hope Realty in Federalsburg in 2002 and served as President of the Mid-Shore Board of Realtors in 2009.

“It’s nice to be back on the Shore and have the opportunity to have a positive impact where I live.”  I hope to leverage a lot of what we do across multiple counties, cooperating and collaborating to market the Shore.”

Trice served in the United States Navy for eight years and was stationed at Pearl Harbor. He earned a BS Degree in Marketing from the University of Maryland College Park and is currently working toward certification with the International Economic Development Council.

He joins an established County economic development team that includes Business Development Manager Susan Banks, Eastern Shore Innovation Center Manager Steve Dolbow and Executive Assistant Tina Thompson.

Avon-Dixon Moves to Talbot Commerce Park

Easton-based Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency has recently relocated to new office space in the Talbot Commerce Park.

The agency has moved 49 employees from their Harrison Street and Information Lane offices to a 10,500-square foot space at 28640 Marys Court. The agency’s trucking division, Elliott Wilson Insurance has also moved into the new space. The modern and professional new office will provide easier access and ample space, allowing the agency to continue to support the insurance needs of families and businesses throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

In addition to the new office, Avon-Dixon and Elliott Wilson Insurance have also updated their logo and brand colors to reflect their connection to Freestate and Son Insurance and Jack Martin & Associates Boat & Yacht Insurance, as well as their connection to their parent company, Shore Bancshares, Inc. and their affiliates, Shore United Bank, and Wye Financial & Trust. The common symbol and brand colors across the community of companies demonstrates their united commitment to help propel clients forward to achieve their financial goals through the breadth of services they offer in banking, insurance and investments.

Established in 1850, the Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency is the largest independent agency on the Mid-Shore. Their independent agents have developed strong relationships with multiple insurance carriers allowing their agents to compare coverage and pricing to find the best insurance policies at the best rate. Avon-Dixon is a member of the Shore Bancshares community of companies, the largest independent financial services company on the Delmarva Peninsula to offer banking, insurance and investment services to families and businesses in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The community of companies also includes Freestate and Son, Elliott Wilson Trucking Insurance, Jack Martin & Associates Boat & Yacht Insurance, Shore United Bank and Wye Financial & Trust. Together, their team of experienced professionals is dedicated to helping clients navigate toward their financial goals.

Wye Financial & Trust Welcomes W. Neil Zurowski, Financial Advisor

Wye Financial & Trust, a division of Shore United Bank and a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, has extended its footprint across the Eastern Shore to Arbutus, a greater Baltimore, Maryland area community, by opening the doors of a former Northwest Bank investment branch. As part of this expansion, Wye Financial & Trust is pleased to announce that W. Neil Zurowski has joined the company as a Financial Advisor.  Mr. Zurowski will be responsible for delivering comprehensive strategies to help clients work towards their long-term financial goals.

“We look forward to the opportunities in the Baltimore market area,” noted Wye Financial & Trusts Senior Vice President and Manager Talli Oxnam, “This new location provides geographic diversification for our investment division and will help to support future growth.  We have a great financial advisor, Neil Zurowski, with 24 years of experience at this location to serve the former customers of Northwest Bank.”

Mr. Zurowski’s professional experience includes retirement planning, portfolio management, variable and fixed annuities and life and long-term care insurance. He holds multiple licenses for FINRA Series 7, 63, 65 and 66 as well as Maryland life & health, variable insurance, property & casualty and long-term care. Mr. Zurowski is a graduate of The American University and holds a bachelor of science in business administration.

“I look forward to helping our clients work towards their financial goals.  I am excited to be part of a company that not only cares about its clients but also the community in which it serves,” said Mr. Zurowski who resides in Phoenix, MD. 

Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its licensed affiliates. The investment products sold through LPL Financial are not insured Shore United Bank deposits and are not FDIC insured.  Shore United Bank and Wye Financial and Trust are not registered broker/dealers and are not affiliated with LPL Financial. These products are not obligations of Shore United Bank and are not endorsed, recommended, or guaranteed by Shore United Bank or any government agency.  The value of the investment may fluctuate, the return on the investment is not guaranteed, and loss of principal is possible.

Nearly 200 Stakeholders Discuss Internet Access Equity at Regional Rural Broadband Forum

When nearly 200 business leaders, economic development professionals and state and local government officials came together to discuss bringing affordable, high-speed internet service to rural Maryland, the “why” was not up for debate. However, when it came to “how” the options were numerous and the financing was challenging to say the least.

Josh Hastings, RMC chair, addresses the attendees at the recent Regional Rural Broadband Forum. Photo credit: Harry Bosk.

Hosted by event partners the Rural Maryland Council and USDA Rural Development, the program titled the Regional Rural Broadband Forum was presented recently in Annapolis. The forum unofficially launched the work of a special task force enacted by Maryland’s General Assembly, which was signed into law on May 25.

Charlotte Davis, executive director of the Rural Maryland Council, chairs the Task Force on Rural Internet, Broadband, Wireless and Cellular Service. Over the next several months, Davis and her colleagues will research redundancies and gaps in service and funding options needed to bring digital equity to rural Maryland. By November the task force will report its findings and recommendations to Governor Hogan.

The program included six sessions providing attendees with information ranging from the different broadband technologies commonly used in rural communities to best practices used in New York’s “Broadband for All” initiative.

The day’s discussions often came back to how to create sustainable high-speed broadband access in areas with low population density. “Admittedly for a business whose mission is to turn a profit providing high speed internet in rural areas is a recipe for market failure,” said Davis. “Clearly the solution will be providing incentives and grants to make the project more doable and attractive,” she added.

Attendees at a group session at the recent Regional Rural Broadband Forum, hosted by event partners the Rural Maryland Council (RMC) and USDA Rural Development (RD). The forum included six sessions providing attendees with information ranging from the different broadband technologies commonly used in rural communities to best practices used in New York’s “Broadband for All” initiative.

The tone of the forum remained optimistic despite the acknowledgement that there will be no easy solutions. “We cannot have an equal society without equal access to broadband,” said RMC chair Josh Hastings.

Chiming in on that note was Maryland State Senator Adelaide C. Eckardt. “It is all about getting connected and for us (in rural areas) it is the art of the possible. It all works better when we work together,” she said.

Founded in 1994, the Rural Maryland Council serves as the state’s federally designated rural development council and functions as a voice for rural Maryland, advocating for and helping rural communities and businesses across the state to flourish and to gain equity to its suburban and urban counterparts. To learn more call (410) 841-5774, email rmc.mda@maryland.gov or connect with the Rural Maryland Council at facebook.com/RuralMaryland or on Twitter @RuralMaryland.

USDA Rural Development is committed to improving the economy and quality of life in rural America. RD provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit the USDA website,

For more information on the Regional Rural Broadband Forum, call (410) 841-5774 or visit their website.

 

Mid-Shore Pro Bono Opens Centreville Office

Mid-Shore Pro Bono recently opened an office in Centreville, MD located near the Queen Anne’s County Court House at 108 Broadway. This new location provides direct access to Upper Mid-Shore residents in need of civil legal advice and services and enhances Mid Shore Pro Bono’s presence as a community-based service provider in Queen Anne’s and Kent counties.

Court Liaison and Bilingual Staff Member, Ivette Salarich.

“The rural nature of the Mid-Shore makes it challenging for low-income residents to access the legal services they need,” said Sandy Brown, Mid-Shore Pro Bono Executive Director. “Our new Centreville location gives us a physical presence in Queen Anne’s County where we can strengthen relationships with volunteer attorneys, court personnel and community based organizations. Developing these connections helps us better serve our clients and refer them to the resources they need near their homes or work.”

The Centreville office is open Monday-Thursday from 10:00am – 4:00pm and offers bilingual services in English and Spanish. Walk-ins are welcome and no appointments are necessary. Mid-Shore Pro Bono staff members are available to assist with the intake process, referrals to community resources and space is also available for clinics and private meetings between clients and their volunteer attorneys.

About Mid-Shore Pro Bono

Mid-Shore Pro Bono Mid-Shore Pro Bono connects low-income individuals and families who need civil legal services with volunteer attorneys and community resources. The organization serves citizens of Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester counties. For more information, to apply for services or to make a donation, call Mid-Shore Pro Bono at 410-690-8128 or visit www.midshoreprobono.org.