Maryland DHS Celebrates Public Assistance to Entrepreneurship Strategy Graduates

On August 1, local Department of Social Services (DSS) directors, Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) representatives, and others convened at the Dorchester County DSS to honor three entrepreneurs from Maryland’s Upper Shore; Talisha Dodd of Talbot County was among the three praised for distinction.

Steve Benden, Director of Strategy and Performance with the Department of Human Services, commended the honorees’ participation in the Public Assistance to Entrepreneurship (PA2E) Strategy. The program, inspired by Harvard Business School research, was designed to provide business development training, tools, and techniques to individuals that are currently receiving public assistance  who also have dreams of owning a business while driving economic development. Benden also praised the SBDC for their partnership, as they provided valuable training to the program graduates.

Linda Webb, Director of Talbot County DSS, was quick to praise Ms. Dodd. “The drive and initiative shown by Talisha in the PA2E program serve as a wonderful example to us all of setting and achieving goals,” she remarked, adding “Talisha’s new business is an asset to the Talbot County community.” Talisha Dodd successfully runs her own cleaning services business.

This PA2E strategy has demonstrated its ability to enhance and expand Maryland’s current workforce development programs to provide resources and training to individuals receiving assistance with the ultimate goal of independently supporting themselves and their families.

DHS—the Maryland Department of Human Services—is the state’s primary social service provider, serving more than one million people annually. Through its 24 local departments of social services, DHS pursues opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide preventive services, and protect vulnerable children and adults in each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. Additional information may be found at www.dhs.maryland.gov, or on Facebook and Twitter.

Easton’s Qlarant Named a Top Predictive Analytics Solution Provider

Easton’s Qlarant, a nationally recognized program integrity and quality company, has been named a Top Ten predictive analytics solution provider for 2018.  CIO Applications Magazine interviewed 3 executives from Qlarant:  Dr. Ron Forsythe, Jr. CEO; Sandy Love, President; and Holly Pu, VP of Product Development.   The article provides insight into the culture of Qlarant, and highlights the predictive modeling capabilities the company provides to some of the nation’s most important organizations.

“Receiving this award is so gratifying,” said Holly Pu, VP of Product Development for Qlarant. “Predictive Analytics provide an important role in fighting fraud and saves the nation millions of dollars each year. Being recognized as one of the best in the industry means we did what we set out to do. “

CIO Applications magazine provides a network for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions.  It also enables IT Vendors to learn about trending technologies, news and solutions that can help to grow their business.  Qlarant’s PLATO™ program is a powerful self-learning analytics engine that is able to sift through billions of pieces of data to detect aberrant trends.   Qlarant also offers RIViR, which provides risk identification, risk visualization and risk resolution services.

“We’ve known that we have the best people and solutions to provide the best results for our customers and this award demonstrates those facets of our business,” said Ron Forsythe, Qlarant CEO.

Qlarant Receives Top International Award

Qlarant, a nationally recognized program integrity and quality company, has been awarded a top honor in the 2018 Questar Awards. In the category of Corporate Identity, Qlarant has received the Gold for their recent brand video depicting the combination of four former brands, into a new, unified approach.

“Receiving this award is so gratifying,” said Pat Boos, Marketing Director for Qlarant. “Video is such an important medium in today’s business environment. We worked in tandem with Crosby Communications to develop our new brand and we have to thank them for helping make this such a success. Being recognized as the best for effectively communicating our identity means we did what we set out to do.”

The Annual Questar Awards have been an internationally known event for over 25 years. Offered by Mercomm, Inc., the Questar Awards were designed to recognize the most successful and influential visual communications from around the globe.  The award provides recognition to the individuals whose work has made and outstanding contribution to their organization.

“Our new website and brand video are key components of how we are viewed by our clients and the public,” said Ron Forsythe, Qlarant CEO. “We’ve known that we have the best people and solutions to provide the best results for our customers and this award-winning video demonstrates those facets of our business.

About Qlarant

Qlarant is a not-for-profit nationally respected leader in fighting fraud, waste & abuse, improving program quality, and optimizing performance. The company uses subject matter experts and innovative data science and technology to help organizations see risks, solve problems, and seize opportunities. Solutions are customized for health and human services organizations, government agencies, and financial and insurance companies. Qlarant employs nearly 500 people and has a 45-year record of accomplishment improving the performance of some of the Nation’s most important programs. www.qlarant.com

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Pat Boos at 410.819.3553 or email at boosp@qlarant.com.  To view the video go to www.qlarant.com

Qlarant Foundation Grants $385,000 to Area Health Projects

Qlarant Foundation, the mission arm of Qlarant, recently awarded grants totaling $385,000 to 14 organizations in Maryland and Washington, DC supporting local healthcare-related quality improvement efforts.


Girls in the Game is committed to promoting the health and wellness of girls, educating them about alternatives to violence and strengthening underserved communities.

Of the 76 applications, 14 organizations received grants. “Again this year the Board was challenged with our grant selection,” said Dr. Molly Burgoyne-Brian, Qlarant Foundation Board of Directors chair. “The Board received many deserving applications, covering a variety of medical and social issues. It’s reassuring to know there are so many programs designed to improve the health of our most vulnerable populations. Ultimately, we chose a stellar group of programs covering a wide geographic area with diverse health and social concerns.”  Dr. Catherine Smoot-Haselnus, Qlarant Board chair, added “The work these organizations do is outstanding and often goes unnoticed.  We are proud to provide both funding and encouragement to the many volunteers and staff members who serve the community so well.”

Qlarant Foundation funded the following programs for 2018-19:

Access Carroll, Inc. – The Integrated Pharmaceutical Program helps low-income and at-risk residents of Carroll County achieve good health through access to free-of-charge medications and management of their chronic diseases and acute illnesses.

Breast Care for Washington, DC – Increasing Access to High Quality Breast Imaging for Medically Underserved Womenprovides mammograms, diagnostics and treatment to uninsured women at no cost to them.

Channel Marker, Inc. – Through the Health Home Program support is provided for clients in Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties who suffer with pre-existing severe and persistent mental illness who also have other medical diagnoses.

Community Ministries of Rockville, Inc. – The Mansfield Kaseman Health Clinic provides quality healthcare and healthcare education to Montgomery County’s low-income uninsured and underinsured residents.

Eastern Shore Wellness Solutions, Inc. – The Health Outreach Workers Program provides care coordination for program participants and their primary care provider. It also is resource for the the social determinants of health, including housing, food and transportation.

Girls in the Game – The Baltimore After School Program addresses girls’ physical, mental and emotional health by exposing girls to a variety of sports and fitness activities in combination with nutrition, health education and leadership development.

Help and Outreach Point of Entry, Inc. – Homeless and poor clients on the Lower Eastern Shore receive medical assessments, health education and screening and referrals for treatment, with a focus on dental health, through the Tri-County Dental Health Outreach Program.

La Clinica del Pueblo, Inc. – Mi Refugio Community Mental Health and Support Program provides behavioral health services for unaccompanied and recently arrived immigrant youth at the Northwestern High School in Prince Georges County.

Maryland Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped, Inc. – The Donated Dental Program recruits dentists and dental laboratories to provide services free of charge to low-income adults who are also disabled.

Miriam’s Kitchen, Inc. –The Social Services Program reduces barriers to medical and behavioral healthcare for District of Columbia residents who are experiencing prolonged homelessness and related complex health issues.

Mission of Mercy, Inc. – Expansion of the Shared Patient/Hospital Partner Program reduces hospital readmissions and improves health outcomes for uninsured or underinsured patients in Baltimore and Carroll counties as well as Baltimore City.

Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center, Inc. – The Holistic Opportunities for Prevention and Education Program addresses the gap in services offered to high-risk pregnant women on the Lower Eastern Shore.

University Legal Services, Inc. – The Jail and Prison Advocacy Program advocates for access to health care, mental health care, and comprehensive reentry support for currently incarcerated District of Columbia adults with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders.

University of Maryland Medical System Foundation – The University of Maryland Children’s Hospital Breathmobile Program provides free treatment and preventive care to Baltimore City underserved children with asthma.For more information on the recipients and their grants, go to  http://www.qlarant.com/about/qlarant-foundation/  Link

 

Bountiful Flooring’s Debbie Mohr now Store Manager

Bountiful Flooring is pleased to announce that Debbie Mohr has been promoted to the position of Store Manager. Mohr is well known by Bountiful Flooring customers. She had previously served as a Flooring Specialist with the company for several years. She has a total of 33 years of industry experience and brings many qualifications to her new position. Mohr is a certified Hunter Douglas installer and regularly attends workshops and classes on various flooring products and installation techniques.

In her new role, Mohr will be responsible for overseeing the service and quality of Bountiful Flooring’s products and installers. She will also manage the store’s extensive vendor relationships to ensure access to the best product selections. “We carry so many unique products, and I love how creative that allows us to be with design,” Mohr said. “I especially love working with tile. The design possibilities are endless, and we can come up with something that truly ‘wows’ the customer.”

Mohr will be leading an upcoming expansion of Bountiful Flooring to a larger location later this year. The move will enable the store to further expand its selections and provide more space for design consultations with customers. “I’m thrilled to have Debbie leading this important strategic initiative for the store,” said Jamie Merida, owner of Bountiful Flooring and its sister-store Bountiful Interiors. “She has a great vision for how the new location will better serve our customers.”

Bountiful Flooring is also pleased to announce that Carol Smith has joined its staff as a Flooring Specialist. Smith worked as an upholsterer for many years and is well known by Bountiful customers. Her experience working with different materials and textures has prepared her well to assist customers with flooring designs and selections.

Bountiful Flooring is currently located in the Talbot Towne Shopping Center at 218 North Washington Street in Easton. The store is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information, please call 410.822.2622 or visit bountifulflooring.com.

Mid-Shore History: Chestertown’s Black Entrepreneurs

Thanks to a small grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, volunteers Airlee Johnson and Lani Seikaly had the resources to move forward with an ambitious project to document, record, and display an extraordinary era of Chestertown’s black entrepreneurs during the 1960s and 1970s.

The exhibition, now being shown at Sumner Hall, the project tells the stories of twenty-four African-Americans who were either business owners, a member of their family, employees, or customers of the fifteen businesses that formed a very vibrant commercial sector of Chestertown.

The Spy sat down with Airlee and Lani to talk about these unique entrepreneurs and through the unique blend of Airlee’s memories and Lani’s video documentation (now on Youtube) resulted in a compelling story of independence, creativity, and self-sufficiency.

This video is approximately minutes in length. The Exhibit will run until the mid-August. For more information please go here. To watch the project’s video profiles please go here

 

 

Easton Velocity Plans System Upgrade

Easton Utilities received approval Monday evening to expend up to $12.5 million to upgrade its existing Velocity system utilized to deliver cable television, internet and voice services to the residents in the Town of Easton and surrounding communities. The plan includes constructing an extensive fiber optic network to provide gigabit capacity to all customers.

“As technology continues to improve and bandwidth consumption continues to increase, we must deliver fast and reliable service to our customers,” said Ted L. Book, Director of Cable and Communications for Easton Velocity, a service of Easton Utilities. The plant replacement design will enhance reliability and improve the ongoing maintenance of the system. This project is expected to be a multi-year endeavor with portions of the system completed as early as 2019.

The current system has been in service for 18 years and requires significant resources of both manpower and financial investments. In addition, the need to increase speeds to support growing customer demand requires upgrading to newer technologies. An upgrade of these existing facilities will provide capacity for gigabit speeds to residential customers. “We want to provide our customers with the same experience they can obtain in larger metropolitan areas, and this upgrade combined with our exceptional customer service will help to meet their expectations,” added Book. Gigabit speeds are currently available through special contract agreements.

Easton Velocity, a service of Easton Utilities, is committed to keeping our community connected and current with a variety of service offerings designed to meet the needs of both residential and commercial customers. 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.eastonvelocity.com or call 410-822-6110 to learn more.

Delmarva Power Expands Incentives for Electric Vehicle Shoppers

Nissan and BMW are offering Delmarva Power customers special incentives that can save them thousands of dollars on the cost of certain all-electric vehicle (EV) models. In addition to the manufacturer incentives, customers could also qualify for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits, as well of thousands of dollars in state rebates and tax incentives.

These offerings are part of Delmarva Power’s broader efforts to provide new and innovative services and options for customers across the company’s service area.

“We are seeing a growing interest from our customers in electric vehicles, clean technology and innovative transportation solutions,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president. “As the electric company responsible for managing the energy grid across most of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, we play a critical role in supporting the growth of these new technologies to meet our customers’ evolving needs. These rebates and incentives are another step forward as we work with partners across the region to expand needed charging infrastructure, provide affordable energy services for electric vehicles, and position Delaware and Maryland as leaders in this rapidly growing market.”

Nissan is offering Delmarva Power customers a $3,000 rebate off the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the 2018 LEAF. This offer is available from Nissan North America Inc., through June 30, 2018, or while supplies last. To qualify for the savings, customers must bring a copy of this flyer and show their Delmarva Power bill to participating Nissan dealerships.

BMW is offering Delmarva Power customers $10,000 off the best negotiated purchase price of a new all-electric BMW i3 or BMW i3s through July 31, 2018. To redeem the offer, customers should bring their Delmarva Power bill and a completed Delmarva Power customer information form to their local dealership.

Delmarva Power is actively working to advance EV technology across Delaware and Maryland. In Delaware, the energy company has proposed an innovative program to the Delaware Public Service Commission that will help prepare Delaware for the growth of EVs and provide customers with reduced electric rates, credits, rebates, and other incentives to buy and own EVs.

In Maryland, Delmarva Power partnered with its Exelon sister companies Baltimore Gas and Electric and Pepco, as well as other energy companies and stakeholders, to file a proposal that would create the second largest EV charging network in the U.S. If approved, it would help energy companies meet customers’ needs in the state, where, according to a recent survey released this week by the Edison Electric Institute, an overwhelming majority of residents support expanding EV charging infrastructure.

Customers can learn more about EVs, available incentives, and the company’s ongoing efforts to support the growing interest in EVs here.

Qlarant Management Team Support Habitat Choptank Efforts in Cambridge

Qlarant employees from across the nation were among more than 90 volunteers to join Habitat Choptank on Tuesday, April 24 in an effort to help revitalize a Cambridge neighborhood.  Mayor Victoria Stanley helped to kick off the afternoon addressing Habitat and Qlarant volunteers and staff present with words of welcome and gratitude and an overview of the City of Cambridge’s partnership with the State and Habitat to revitalize a specific neighborhood in Cambridge.  She was joined by Senator Addie Eckardt, Delegate Johnny Mautz, and Commissioner Cannon.

In addition to Habitat’s traditional home ownership program, Habitat Choptank offers low-income homeowners, in and around the neighborhoods where it builds, an array of housing services that include new builds, weatherization services, and critical home repairs through its Neighborhood Revitalization program.  Neighborhood Revitalization involves partnering with local residents, public officials, housing leaders, community groups and businesses to transform neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life in communities.  “On a community level, the Neighborhood Revitalization program addresses real needs and strengthens connections within the community,” says Rhodana Fields, Neighborhood Revitalization Manager of Habitat Choptank.

Mayor Victoria Stanley (front left)

With support from and in partnership with ShoreRivers, teams of volunteers worked together to clear invasive species and trash from vacant lots on High Street following a presentation by ShoreRivers on the importance of water quality and how all of these efforts make a difference in the positive improvement seen in the Choptank River.  Groups of volunteers, with Supervision from Habitat volunteers and staff, also helped build Habitat sheds for homes that are being built, insulate the foundation of a new home, rebuild garden beds and community composts at the Community Garden at Waugh Chapel, and assist with repairs to a resident’s fire damaged property.  Volunteers were also invited to tour a neighboring Habitat-built house to see the level of quality and efficiency in the homes built by Habitat Choptank.

Qlarant Chief Executive Officer, Ron Forsythe presented Habitat for Humanity Choptank with a $2,500 check to support Habitat in serving even more families.

“We are so grateful to have Qlarant here today supporting our mission,” says JoAnn Hansen, Executive Director of Habitat Choptank. “Our mission is much more than just building houses, it is about bringing people together to build communities and hope.”

About Habitat Choptank

Since 1992, Habitat Choptank has made home ownership possible for 76 families and currently partners with 15 local home buyers. Income qualifying individuals and families are offered access to affordable mortgage financing in order to purchase a new construction or rehabbed home from the nonprofit’s inventory of durable and energy efficient houses.  After completing “sweat equity” hours, attending pre-homeownership classes, and meeting debt reduction and savings goals, these individuals and families will purchase homes that they helped construct and assume the full responsibilities of home ownership including maintaining their home, paying property taxes and repaying their mortgage over 30 to 33 years. Habitat accepts applications for its home ownership program throughout the year.  For more information, to make a donation or volunteer, call 410-476-3204 or visit www.HabitatChoptank.org.  For more information about Habitat Choptank, to make a donation or volunteer, call 410-476-3204 or visit www.HabitatChoptank.org.

Entrepreneurship Center Launches Free Startup Business Program

The Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC) will launch a new online training program April 3 to identify ideas and early stage business concepts for products and services that improve farming, fishing and the environment. The free six-week F³ Tech Pre-Accelerator runs through May 10 and is open to individuals and small groups looking to validate a business concept and potentially join a four-month accelerator.

“The F³ Tech Pre-Accelerator program is a specially-designed proof-of-concept process for startups and entrepreneurs looking to develop an idea or product to commercialization,” said Mike Thielke, Executive Director of the ESEC. “We’re targeting very early-stage startups to offer them an opportunity to validate their ideas, acquire valuable feedback from industry experts, and position themselves to take advantage of a more aggressive, traditional multi-month accelerator program such as the F³ Tech program beginning September 2018.”

Eight entrepreneur teams have already been accepted into the inaugural program from across Maryland including Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Kent, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Based in all F³ Tech sectors – agri, aqua and enviro – their business ideas call for recycling fruits and vegetables into high-protein edible spice mix, reversing the loss of bee hives, and creating hydroponic farms in urban areas.

In addition to Thielke, the training includes industry subject matter experts and mentors like Charles White, Founder and CEO of PaverGuide. White benefited from the innovation ecosystem supported by ESEC to create an enviro-tech company in Queen Anne’s county. White commercialized PaverGuide, a structural base for paving systems that is manufactured from recycled plastic and replaces impermeable stone surfaces with a massive reservoir to prevent nutrient runoff.

“As an entrepreneur and environmentalist, I’ve dedicated my career to improving storm water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the world. Thanks to the support of the ESEC and seed funding from multiple sources including ESEC’s Revolving Loan Fund Portfolio, I proved that our innovative technology could be profitable and sustainable. I look forward to sharing lessons learned and best practices with the pre-accelerator participants.”

The online program features two, one-hour interactive webinar sessions each week as well as a one-hour mentoring session with a designated mentor/coach. Topics include: Assessing an idea; validating the market; evaluating customer acquisition; business model preparation; handling intellectual property; branding and marketing strategies; and finances and raising capital

To learn more or to apply to the F³ Tech Pre-Accelerator visit f3tech.org or call (410) 770-9330.

About F3Tech

F³ Tech includes three sectors: Agritech, Aquatech and Envirotech. Agritech products improve farming yield, efficiency and profitability. Aquatech creates innovations to improve fish farming, aquatic plants, algae and aquatic organisms in controlled freshwater and saltwater conditions. Envirotech applies science, green chemistry, electronic devices and technologies to monitor, model and conserve environmental resources.

About ESEC

The Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created in 2004 to help advance an entrepreneurship ecosystem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore including Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties.