When businesspeople in the region talk about biotech, invariably the inference is that they are also talking about Montgomery County.

Which is only natural. The National Institutes of Health are here. Ditto for MedImmune, the region's most profitable biotech firm. And the Interstate 270 corridor -- nicknamed DNA Alley -- is littered with startups with names like Intronn, 20/20 Gene Systems and MaxCyte.

But though the focus is frequently on the county, there are also (surprise!) dozens of biotechs in surrounding places -- the District, Baltimore, Northern Virginia.

And so, to put the entire region on the map, four organizations from across the area decided to suspend their separate annual meetings and hold the first Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference late last month.

"The coalition members believe that the time has come to unite the bioscience communities of Maryland and Virginia, to serve as the foundation for a vibrant, universally recognized mid-Atlantic bioscience region," the organizers wrote in the conference program.

The two-day event of lectures, panel discussions and pitches to investors was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in the District. The event attracted more than 500 people from 200 companies -- and not from just two states, but from 15.

"The event exceeded all of our expectations," said C. Robert Eaton, president of MdBio Inc., an organization that promotes biotech companies in the region. "You could really feel the energy."

The other sponsors included the Virginia Biotechnology Association, the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association and the Tech Council of Maryland.

King of Trade Shows

We know one person who will be picking up a copy of the next issue of Tradeshow Week. That would be Ned Krause, chief executive of Bethesda-based E.J. Krause & Associates.

Krause was named Man of the Year recently during the publication's annual award ceremony, which took place at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. The publication -- an industry bible -- picked Krause for his "visionary business strategy and groundbreaking expansion into the global marketplace."

Krause's trade show company is known for holding many big shows, including the first U.S. exhibition held in China after normalization of relations. The company has offices in 16 cities on four continents. It holds about 80 shows a year.

"Ned Krause and his company have a remarkable track record not only because of their leadership in the international marketplace but, also, because the company has been in the forefront of global business for over 25 years," said Adam Schaffer, publisher of Tradeshow Week.

Hurricanes Buffet Marriott

The recent hurricane season has caused a lot of headaches for a lot of people, including executives at Bethesda-based Marriott International. Hurricane Katrina temporarily shut down more than a dozen locations in and around New Orleans.

Then came Wilma, forcing Marriott to close three hotels and resorts in Cancun.

Travelers staying at Marriott hotels in Cancun had a big headache after the hurricane hit, with evacuations to shelters and airports closed. Eventually, 239 Marriott guests in Cancun were flown, free, by the company on charter flights to Mexico City and Atlanta.

For Marriott, the problems linger. Its properties in Cancun -- including a Ritz-Carlton -- will be closed until Dec. 31.

Bank Adds Managers

HarVest Bank of Maryland, a locally owned bank catering to companies and employees of the biotech industry, has added three senior managers.

Michael Vandergrift becomes vice president of branch administration, joining HarVest after 14 years at Chevy Chase Bank.

Caroline Watkins has been appointed as branch manager of the bank's Germantown Branch. She held a similar position at Sun Trust Bank, heading the Germantown branch.

Jayne Murdock will be assistant vice president and branch manager of the Medical Center Branch.

HarVest Bank has been open since Nov. 15, 2004. It has two branches -- one on Medical Center Drive in Rockville, the other on Middlebrook Road in Germantown -- and more than $40 million in assets.

Have some business news about Montgomery County? Send an e-mail to rosenwaldm@washpost.com.