Montgomery County has been lauded for its efforts in creating -- and sustaining -- two technology-business incubators that employ more than 1,100 people and have graduated more than 30 companies, many in biotechnology.
But county officials have been hearing concerns from entrepreneurs working on developing businesses not related to technology, concerns such as "Where's our space?"
Now the county is planning two new incubators -- one in Silver Spring, the other in Wheaton -- for small and minority-owned businesses that aren't in the technology sector. The incubators will house about 30 to 33 offices starting at about 160 square feet in space. Rents will be set below market value. There will also be common-use conference rooms. County officials hope to open the first incubator, in Silver Spring, by the end of the year.
County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) announced the initiative late last month at the Silver Spring Innovation Center, where he honored Radius Technology Group, a black-owned firm that was recently named Maryland Technology Company of the Year by the Maryland Business Incubation Association.
Radius, which employs about 20 people, is an information technology security consultant for several federal agencies. Its president, Chris Archer, applauded the county's efforts to extend the incubator system to other types of small businesses, particularly those that are minority-owned.
"This will be a great asset to the community," he said. "There are a lot of people out there who want to start businesses, and any way you can get them closer to living the American dream is a great idea."
Duncan said: "These new incubator spaces will help anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit build their business here in Montgomery County."
The Spotlight Turns
Vincent DiGiorgio, a retired Montgomery County firefighter, is used to shining spotlights, not being in them. Now that's changing.
The founder of Digital Lightning, a Gaithersburg fireworks and lighting-show designer, has won Event Solutions magazine's Spotlight Award for Technical Supplier of the Year.
DiGiorgio has provided lighting for events by Alicia Keyes, 'N Sync, LL Cool Jay and Ashanti. He also does bar mitzvahs and weddings.
"His creativity knows no bounds," said Jan Kary, managing director of Orr Associates, a District-based event production company. "I simply wouldn't do any event without his team."
Md. Taps Hopkins Tech Leader
Lynn Johnson Langer, an assistant program chair for Johns Hopkins University's biotechnology program in Rockville, has been appointed to the biotechnology committee of the Governor's Workforce Investment Board.
The board is chaired by Wayne Hockmeyer, MedImmune founder and chairman. It makes recommendations about biotechnology workforce education needs in the state.
Law Posts Go to Paley Rothman
Several lawyers from Bethesda-based law firm Paley Rothman have been appointed to key leadership posts in the legal community.
Linda D. Schwartz, a member of the firm's estate planning and real estate groups, will chair the Maryland State Bar Association's committee on ethics.
Alan D. Eisler, a bankruptcy attorney, was elected to the state's Bankruptcy Bar Association.
David P. Shapiro, who works in several areas of the firm, will join the county bar association's Business Law Section Advisory Council, and Deborah A. Cohn has joined the board of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
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