PSU Mont Alto awarded LaunchBox funding to support entrepreneurial activities

MONT ALTO, Pa. ― As part of Penn State President Eric Barron’s Invent Penn State initiative, Penn State Mont Alto is one of four commonwealth campuses to receive a three-year, $50,000 grant to develop the LaunchBox ― an incubator to help aspiring entrepreneurs develop their ideas and take their products and services to market.

Begun in 2015, Invent Penn State is aimed at spurring economic development, job creation and student career success by combining entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and University-community collaborations to turn research discoveries into valuable products and services, according to a PSU release.

Penn State Mont Alto students and faculty will be engaged in the LaunchBox at every stage, said Francis K. Achampong, Penn State Mont Alto chancellor.

“Faculty will design internships for students enrolled in programs such as our information technology and business programs. Students will work with aspiring entrepreneurs in designing business and marketing plans, websites and prospectuses to attract angel investors. Faculty and students will also serve as members of the LaunchBox Advisory Council along with local and regional business leaders,” he said in the news release.

The LaunchBox Advisory Council will serve as the incubator’s governing body, overseeing business competitions, selecting seed funding recipients, liaising with a paid student worker to facilitate LaunchBox activities, and organizing an annual entrepreneurship forum on the Penn State Mont Alto campus.

The campus is partnering with Home Again Concepts LLC to provide a convenient location for the LaunchBox in Chambersburg’s hub zone where aspiring entrepreneurs can “rent a desk.”

Renters will have access to business resources such as Wi-Fi and conferencing space, as well as a 3-D printer and computers with design software, to help the entrepreneurs with product design and prototyping.

The entrepreneurs can also draw up to $5,000 for incubation and other incidental costs for a number of months while they develop their ideas and prepare to transition their products and services to market.

Penn State Mont Alto will collaborate with other businesses and organizations to provide additional resources to the LaunchBox. These will include workshops and speakers on topics such as business plans, patents and trademarks, and help in accessing venture capital, business loans and modern financing tools like crowdfunding. Collaborators include the Small Business Development Center, the Franklin County Area Development Corporation, the Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, the Chambersburg Area Development Corporation, and Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners.

Planning for the incubator has begun, according to Achampong. More will be announced as soon as funding is dispersed and arrangement for the space is complete. He is excited about its possibilities.

“The LaunchBox will be a hub where students, faculty and community partners can network and develop their ideas together. Successful business launches will help develop a culture of entrepreneurship that further distinguishes Penn State Mont Alto,” he said.

Barron’s $30 million Invent Penn State initiative is meant to leverage Penn State’s research and entrepreneurial spirit to bring ideas, products, and services to market. Students, faculty, and campuses are working with businesses and communities across the Commonwealth to improve the lives of people in Pennsylvania and throughout the world.

Morgan-Keller Construction begins The Lofts at Downtown Crown

Submitted photo
This rendering by Lessard Design shows The Lofts at Downtown Crown, three-building condominium complex in Gaithersburg, Md. Morgan-Keller Construction recently began work on the five-story, 219,000-square-foot complex that will include 128 contemporary condominium units.

FREDERICK, Md. — Morgan-Keller Construction, which has offices in Frederick and Columbia, Md., recently began construction of a three-building condominium complex in Gaithersburg, Md.

The five-story, 219,000 square-foot complex in the Crown planned community will include 128 contemporary condominium units constructed from a podium slab of approximately 60,000 square feet, according to a news release from the company.

At-grade parking will be provided for the residents.

“Morgan-Keller is pleased to have the opportunity to build this new multi-family community,” Jerry Bowman, Morgan-Keller’s executive vice president, said in the release. “Multi-family construction continues to be a strong market for Morgan-Keller.”

The buildings will have a factory brick exterior to resemble reuse of an industrial space. The interiors will have oversized windows, loft spaces, interior courtyards and modern finishes and fixtures.

Other amenities in the community include numerous restaurants and shopping, according to the release.

The developer is Streetscape Partners and the architect is Lessard Design. Construction began in April and is anticipated to finish in October 2018.

Morgan-Keller Construction is a general contracting and construction management firm. For more information, visit .

HCC adds new cybersecurity course

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Hagerstown Community College will offer a new cybersecurity class, CYB-223 Cybersecurity Select Topics, from 10 to 11:15 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning Aug. 28 in the Advanced Technology Center.

Students will be exposed to current topics in cybersecurity and be introduced to cutting-edge cybersecurity research. Topics include general computing, networking, security, privacy, forensics and mobile devices.

Under a grant funded by the National Science Foundation, this unique elective course will feature lectures from Johns Hopkins University graduates and students, focusing on cyber research at JHU. CYB-223 is a three-credit elective course, open to all students within the Cybersecurity program at HCC. Students must complete CYB-101 before registering for this course.

For more information about the course, contact HCC instructor Michael Blackburn at To register, visit

Frederick chamber plans for 22nd Expo

FREDERICK, Md. — The Frederick Chamber of Commerce is planning for Business Expo 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Frederick Indoor Sports Center, 1845 Brookfield Court, Frederick.

According to the chamber’s website, this will be the 22nd annual expo. It’s billed as “the largest business trade show in Frederick County.”

Registrations are being taken for booths or tables. Sponsorship opportunities also are available at several levels. And the chamber is taking advance reservations for attendance, which is free.

For more information, visit

Frostburg State announces MBA changes

FROSTBURG, Md. — Frostburg State University’s College of Business, starting with the fall semester, will change the course session structure in its Master of Business Administration program, in part to improve flexibility for working professionals.

Instead of the traditional 15-week semester-long program, FSU’s MBA program will have two seven-week sessions each semester, complementing two six-week sessions offered in the summer, according to an FSU news release.

These improvements were designed to serve student needs by introducing improved scheduling flexibility for working adults, as well as create new entry points for students to join the program.

The changes to the fully online MBA are being implemented as a result of a recent student survey, which received a high response rate, along with other research.

“The students responded in large numbers, and we listened. And we listened and adjusted very quickly,” Sudhir Singh, interim dean of College of Business and professor of finance, said in the news release.

The choice for course registration now includes two six-week sessions for the summer semester and two seven-week session options in the fall and spring semesters, and students can begin the program with any session. The 15-week course delivery model will no longer be available, with the exception of the capstone course, MGMT 680 Strategic Integration.

“The College of Business faculty has been extremely forward-thinking about this. I believe their commitment to meeting our students’ needs is very high, and they should be commended,” said Vickie Mazer, director of graduate services.

Singh said the improvements to the program are “primarily based on the needs of the working professional, allowing them to focus on one course at a time. It is important to emphasize that this delivery model does not dilute the rigor or change the content. The same course will be delivered over seven weeks.”

The MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). This is a distinction held by only 5 percent of the world’s business programs. The program has consistently been rated as a Best Buy for AACSB-accredited online MBA programs by

“This change is in the spirit of continuous improvement because as an AACSB-accredited institution, we have embraced a culture of investigating opportunities to constantly improve the program and elevate the curricular experience for our students,” Singh said.

For more information about FSU’s MBA program, call the Office of Graduate Services at 301-687-7053, email or visit

Situated in Allegany County, FSU is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or

WVU Medicine hospitals recognized for technological advancement

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Several WVU Medicine hospitals have been recognized for their advances in healthcare information technology.

WVU Medicine-WVU Hospitals, UHC, Berkeley Medical Center, Jefferson Medical Center and Camden Clark were all named among the 2017 Health Care’s Most Wired.

The 19th annual survey, released by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and published in Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the AHA, recognizes leaders in healthcare IT. The winners are considered ahead of the curve in infrastructure, business and administrative management, quality and safety, and clinical integration.

This is WVU Hospitals’ seventh straight year on the list, third for UHC, second for Berkeley Medical Center and Jefferson Medical Center, and first since 2008 for Camden Clark.

In addition, UHC, Camden Clark, Berkeley Medical Center, and Jefferson Medical Center have all achieved Stage 6 on the EMR Adoption ModelSM developed by HIMSS Analytics.

The EMRAM evaluates the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for hospitals. It tracks progress through eight stages (0-7) of implementation and use of IT applications. Stage 6 is the final stage before achieving an advanced electronic patient record environment. WVU Hospitals reached Stage 7 in 2014.

Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of one new board member, Timothy Johnston, vice president M&T Bank, senior branch manager at the Dual Highway Office, and two Honorary Advisory Board members: Joseph Marschner and Brad Pingrey.

The Board currently consists of 20 members: Erin Anderson, Mary Anne Burke, Ranelle Flurie, Sarah Gamerman, Cynthia Garland, Karen Giffin, Heather Guessford, Stephen Hummel, James Jenkins, Timothy Johnston, Dr. Ron Keyser, Kelsey Lorman, Alfred Martin, Kelsi Palmer, Cynthia Perini, Kim Richardson, Randy Scott, Mary Helen Strauch, Susan Wood and Angela Youngblood. The Honorary Advisory Board includes William Alexander, Katie Groh Fitzsimmons, Jospeh Marschner, Brad Pingrey, Theron Rinehart and Elizabeth Schulze.

The 2017-19 officers are as follows: Wood, president; Giffin, vice president; Palmer, secretary; Johnston, treasurer; and Martin, past president.

Md., Pa. in middle of pack for business environment

As part of its 2017 Best States rankings, U.S. News and World Report looked at the business environment in each of the 50 states.

To measure business environment, the publication measured what it called the “private sector business birth rate” and the number of patents granted per million people.

“Inventors, entrepreneurs and out-of-the-box thinkers thrive in environments where they can push the status quo, and often flock to the same areas of the U.S., where they can pursue their business aspirations surrounded by fellow innovators. Those new ideas and businesses can be a boon to a state’s economy,” the publication reported.

Entrepreneurship measured the rate at which new businesses were formed between 2013 and 2015. With an average of 3.75 percent, Florida had the best business birth rate at 3.75 percent. By December 2015, the most recent quarter evaluated, the national business birth rate hit a high of 3.1 percent compared with 2.8 percent in March 2013.

Patent creation measured the number of utility patents — patents for invention — the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted annually. States were ranked on the average number of patents granted between 2013 and 2015 per million residents. Based on the three-year average by population, Mississippians were granted the fewest patents, at about 50 patents per million people, while Californians received the most, at about 997 patents per million residents.

In 2013, about 423 patents were granted nationally per million people, and by 2015 the figure had climbed to about 439 patents per million.

In overall business environment terms, Virginia and Maryland ranked among the top 50 percent of the states, with Pennsylvania at No 40 and West Virginia falling to the bottom.

California finished first.

First United Corp.

OAKLAND, Md. — First United Corp was presented with the annual Corporate Board Award during Women in Technology’s 18th annual Leadership Awards in May in Reston, Va. 

These awards showcase the talent among women in entrepreneurial, government and corporate roles across the Washington, D.C., region and celebrate the accomplishments of women leading the way across the technology industry.

First United’s award honors a regional public company leading the way in appointing women to corporate board seats. With women serving in four of its 12 board seats, First United  has exceeded critical mass for gender diversity impact.

“We are honored to be presented with this year’s Corporate Board Award and we are very fortunate to have such a talented Board of Directors,” said Carissa L. Rodeheaver, CEO, chairwoman and president of First United Bank & Trust. “I’d like to thank all of our directors for their continued service as we move into the future for the greater benefit of our customers and the markets that we serve.”

Wellness at Work Awards — Frederick County

FREDERICK, Md. —  Fifteen Frederick employers were recognized at this year’s Wellness at Work Awards event held June 29 at Ceresville Mansion in Frederick. The Wellness at Work Awards is a State of Maryland program for employers committed to improving employee health and well-being.

The Wellness at Work Awards recognition event for Frederick employers is a partnership of the Frederick Regional Health System, the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce Worksite Wellness Committee, and Healthiest Maryland Businesses. Photography for the event was provided by Kim Kruger of Winsome Spirit Imagery.

Award recipients included:

Large (more than 750 employees)

• Frederick County Public Schools — gold

• Frederick Regional Health System—gold

• Leidos Biomedical Research — on the path

• Plamondon Companies — bronze

Medium (250 to 749 employees)

• Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association — gold

• AstraZeneca — gold

• First United Bank & Trust — gold

• Frederick County Health Department — silver

• Legal & General America — gold

Small (100 to 249 employees)

• Battelle National Biodefense Institute — bronze

• Country Meadows Retirement Communities — bronze

• Frederick County Department of Social Services — bronze