Design Firm Honored

Joan Carol started her home-based business designing trade show exhibits in her basement in Clinton in 1981, and since then, it has become a multimillion-dollar, 20-employee operation.

Joan Carol Associates Inc. emerged from a pack of about 55 nominees last month and received the Prince George's County Board of Trade's 1999 Small Business of the Year award, based on an evaluation of the firm's customer service, business plan, management style and community service.

"It's a wonderful recognition for our team," said Carol, who owns the business. Over the last two years, business has increased 33 percent, and Carol believes that growth will continue at that rate.

Career Center Opens

The University of Maryland opened its $1.2 million career center Sept. 29 at the Hornbake Library in College Park. The new center will have 21 on-campus interviewing rooms and will better facilitate the interaction between students and prospective employers, said Taryn Roeder, a spokeswoman for the university.

With the tight job market, on-campus interviewing has increased 150 percent in five years, and employer participation at job fairs on campus is up 288 percent over the same period, she said.

More than 1,000 people showed up for the grand opening ceremony, which included speeches from university President C.D. Mote Jr. and Anna A. Tackett, a longtime director of the career center.

Vendor Zones

Council member Peter A. Shapiro (D-Brentwood) introduced legislation last week that would enable the county to create zones in commercial areas where mobile food vendors would be allowed to operate. Under current law, it is illegal for mobile vendors to operate on private property because the county's Department of Environmental Resources no longer issues the temporary permits necessary for them to do business.

"One-size-fits-all legislation is difficult in a county as diverse as ours," and food vendors serve an important process, Shapiro said. If the bill passes, he will push for one of the new "overlay" zones in and around Langley Park, he said.

County Training

Prince George's Community College will provide work force training for county employees, county and college officials announced Thursday. The college, which is being paid $15,000 for the first year, will train county employees in classes such as management, Spanish, customer service, information technology and risk management. The contract lasts until June 30 and may be extended.

"The county Office of Personnel and Labor Relations should be commended for its development of a training and career plan for county employees," Ronald A. Williams, the newly appointed community college president, said in a statement.

Contracts

EER Systems Inc. of Seabrook won a $1.4 million contract from the Treasury Department for data processing and telecommunication services.

Gray Graphics Corp. of Capitol Heights won a $240,045 contract from the Government Printing Office for photographic, mapping, printing and publication services.

J&K Contracting Inc. of Bowie won a $90,630 contract from the Navy for property maintenance and repair services.

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