Archives For August 2011

Authority Oversees Implementation of InvestMaryland

by Christine Hansen

The authority that will oversee the implementation of InvestMaryland, the largest venture capital investment initiative in Maryland’s history, was sworn-in today by Governor Martin O’Malley at the World Trade Center in Baltimore.

Members of the Maryland Venture Fund Authority were sworn in today by Governor Martin O'Malley.

“Our economy is an innovation economy, therefore it makes more sense here than any place else to invest in a program like InvestMaryland,” Governor Martin O’Malley said.  “The Maryland Venture Fund Authority will play a key role in carrying out our comprehensive, long-term strategy for job creation, investment and venture capital growth in Maryland.”

Peter Greenleaf, President of MedImmune, was named Chairman of the Authority.  Composed of venture capital investors, small business owners, business executives and educators, the other eight members include: Gina Dubbe, Managing Partner & Co-founder of Walker Ventures; Michael J. Howard, Chairman and Managing Member of MJH Group, LLC; Andrew Jones, Vice President of Corporate Strategy for High Street Partners; Elizabeth Good Mazhari, Director of Ventures for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Stephen Tien Wong, Chairman and CEO of Lore Systems, Inc.; Goodloe E. Byron Jr., Founder and President of Potomac Investment Services; Brian Darmody, Associate Vice President of Research & Economic Development for the University of Maryland; and Michael G. Miller, Principal of the Arundel Group.

On July 1, 2011, the InvestMaryland legislation took effect, which aims to help fuel venture capital investments in Maryland’s startup companies. Through the legislation, Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development’s Enterprise Fund and Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA) will receive $70 million in total funding for fiscal years 2012 through 2014.

The Authority will oversee the development of the InvestMaryland program’s bidding mechanism that will raise investment capital for seed and early-stage companies. The Authority will also select the private venture capital firms that will receive the funding and make investments through the program.

“Maryland has an impressive legacy of creating an environment that cultivates and advances innovative thinking across many business sectors,” Greenleaf said in a statement.  “I am honored and inspired to serve as chair of the Maryland Venture Fund Authority, which marries investment to visionary ideas that can become reality and, eventually, strong economic drivers for the State.”

The funding is provided through a tax credit for insurance companies that make qualified contributions to the program through premium tax credits. The Department can award a maximum of $100 million in tax credits.  If qualified investments made under the program are successful, money will be returned to the State.

by Wanda Persons Wickham, Department of Business & Economic Development

DBED Secretary Christian Johansson talks with 2011 Small Business Person of the Year, Virginia Williams.

Virginia Williams has been involved with various aspects of Digital Archiving Services for almost ten years. As a small business, archSCAN, LLC of Annapolis works with businesses to assist them in converting their paper documents to electronic format. The company specializes in organizing, scanning, repairing and creating an index system of large and small format documents for quick retrieval and to help clients save space, time and money.

But Williams, founder and managing partner, became a business owner quite by accident and out of necessity.  She was just five years away from her planned retirement when her position at a blueprinting company was eliminated. During her career, she had worked and done everything from wallpaper hanging and interior design to electronic archiving. Now, with the loss of her job, she wasn’t sure what her future held. But living by her credo, “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade,” and a phone call from a former client, Williams started her next big project – her own business.  The client, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, asked for her assistance in turning all of their traditional paper construction plans for their parishes and schools into electronic documents.  Williams worked for several months and through thousands of documents to complete the archiving project, creating digital copies of all of the church’s records.

The project got Williams thinking.  Perhaps many other businesses, organizations and individuals may have a similar need for this service. And so, in 2002, archSCAN, LLC was started, the name being a combination of the words archival and scanning. Williams worked from her home each day selling the concept of electronic document archiving to prospective companies. Sure about her skills and knowledge in electronic archiving and organizing but not so sure about running her own business, she contacted the Small Business Administration (SCORE) office for assistance with her business and financial planning for the company.  Succeeding and growing her business over the years, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has assisted archSCAN, LLC in many areas such as accounting, finance, employee work information and how to continue to grow her business.

And in May of this year, Virginia Williams was named the 2011 SBA Maryland Small Business Person of the Year.

archSCAN now has 10 employees, is headquartered in Annapolis, MD and its production facility has recently relocated to a new, larger 4,500 square foot location in Baltimore, MD. archSCAN continues to update its equipment and facilities to meet the needs of the growing electronic archival business.

archSCAN is certified by the state of Maryland as a small woman owned business and is certified by the City of Baltimore as a WBE.

by Alfredo Goyboru, DBED Economist

Maryland added 10,440 private sector jobs (seasonally adjusted) in July for a 0.5% growth rate, tied for fifth fastest monthly growth in the country. Overall, the state added 8,100 jobs over many industry sectors, with 10 out of 13 major private sectors adding jobs. Maryland has now regained 33.8% or 49,200 of the jobs it lost since the 2007-2009 recession. This share ranks the state 19th in the country in job recovery and is about 50% better than the national job recovery rate of 22.2%.

Sectors leading the state’ s growth included leisure and hospitality, which added 2,700 jobs, for 1.2% monthly growth—tied for seventh fastest in the country. Wholesale trade added 1.400 jobs, for a 1.6% growth rate—fifth best. Retail trade jobs rose by 1,300 for 0.5% growth. Construction added 1,000 jobs for 0.7% growth. The information services sector added 800 jobs for 1.8% monthly growth—third fastest among states. The professional and business services also added 2,800 jobs for 0.7% growth.

Sectors losing jobs included state and local government, which lost 2,200 jobs for a 0.6% rate of loss and health care services, which lost 1,400 jobs for a 0.4% loss [Figure 1]. The state’s unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 7.2% in July, as the number of unemployed rose by 2,800 on the month, while the civilian labor force fell by 3,400.

Figure 1

An Honest Cup of Tea

MDbizMedia —  August 25, 2011 — Leave a comment

by Christine Hansen

Doing business the honest way is Seth Goldman’s cup of tea.  Since starting his company, Honest Tea, 14 years ago in his basement with his partner, Barry Nalebuff, Goldman, has never strayed from the company’s mission: to create and promote delicious, truly healthy, organic beverages with sustainable practices and social responsibility in mind.

“Fourteen years ago, my partner and I- being very thirsty – looked at the beverage shelves out there and noticed there were lots of drinks.  A lot of them had tons of sugar or a lot of artificial ingredients, but there was nothing that we were looking for: something with lots of flavor that also tastes good,” Goldman said.

So Goldman and Nalebuff decided to create their own beverage – one with lots of natural flavors and not a lot of sugars.  Goldman quit his job at the Calvert Group and began brewing tea in his home kitchen. That was 1997.  Fifteen weeks later, Goldman brought his brews to the local grocery chain, Fresh Fields (now Whole Foods), to market his new product. After that initial meeting, Fresh Fields ordered 15,000 bottles.   Honest Tea was official.

In its first year, the company, with just 3 employees, created five tea varieties: Gold Rush Cinnamon, Kashmiri Chai, Blackforest Berry, Moroccan Mint Green and Assam Black, and made $250,000 in sales.  And unable to brew the large quantities of tea in his home kitchen, the partners moved their production to a facility in Brooklyn, NY.

Honest Tea displays its current line of tea varieties on the shelves of its Bethesda based headquarters.

Since then, the company’s tea varieties have grown to 33, its drink selection has expanded to include its Honest Ade “citrus quencher” line, its Honest Kids “low-sugar organic thirst quenchers” line, and a tea bag line. In 2004, the company officially gained USDA organic certification, becoming the only tea company to offer an entire line of organic bottles and bags.

“When we started in 1998, it was really in the natural foods world. We grew to become the best-selling tea in the natural food world and then we saw new opportunities beyond natural foods in more mainstream grocery stores and drug stores.  So we expanded our distribution,” Goldman said.

Gunpowder tea, shown here, looks like tiny gunpowder pellets. When put in water, the pellets open up into full leaves.

Goldman’s commitment to deliver honest products was noticed. In 2008, Atlanta-based beverage giant Coca-Cola purchased 40 percent of Honest Tea, delivering an opportunity for Honest Tea to promote and expand their products even further nationwide.

“Coca-Cola reached out to us because they were looking at the beverage marketplace and saw lots of things changing,” Goldman said. “People were moving away from sweet drinks, people were looking for organic and environmentally-friendly products.  Coca-Cola did a search of over 3,000 brands across the country and they eventually got down to one, and Honest Tea was that one that they felt was part of the future.”

Although at the time, Coca-Cola wanted to fully acquire the company, Goldman and his team weren’t interested and negotiated the minority investment with an option to buy the rest of the company three years later.

And three years later, the Coca-Cola opted to buy.  In March 2011, Honest Tea was fully acquired by Coca-Cola.  To those loyal consumers who might be concerned that the Honest Tea brand would suffer under the beverage giant, Goldman ensured that the integrity of Honest Tea’s mission is still and will remain intact.

“Coke made their first investment back in 2008 and since then we’ve only heightened and expanded our commitment to our mission.  Earlier this year we finalized a fair trade certification, and that is on top of the fact that everything is organic. We are now looking at some technology around bottles to make them more lightweight. So from our perspective, our products are even more committed to the mission we started with back in 1998,” he said.

In fact, the company’s commitment to social responsibility and sustainability goes beyond its products.  The company’s Bethesda-based headquarters used to be an old brokers office.  Goldman and his team broke down the walls to create an open air, well-lit environment, utilized reclaimed bricks, installed bamboo flooring, and recycled desks and chairs. The kitchen serves as a gathering place for employees as well as an R&D and testing lab for new flavors and products.

Despite the Coca-Cola acquisition, the company is still being run by Goldman and its employees and is still based in its Bethesda, Md. headquarters.  Paychecks, Goldman laughed, still say Honest Tea and the bottles will be redesigned to say the company was founded in Bethesda.  The only difference, he said, is that the company is able to sell nationally.

And the company’s Bethesda and Maryland ties will also remain intact, Goldman said.

“As long as I am running the company, it will based in Bethesda.  I realize I won’t be running it forever,  but the brand has its own life, and it’s something that Coke recognizes.  You can’t just fold a brand like this into a large system. We have our entrepreneurial culture, our mission-driven culture, our commitment to organics and that all came out of Bethesda. As long as we can continue to build that brand and the way it’s been growing, we look forward to staying in Bethesda,” he said.

Today the company has 130 employees, with an additional 40 interns over the summer.  In 2010, the company’s sales hit $71.5 million.

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by Leah Michaels

Just inside the tiny historic town of Berlin, Bryan Brushmiller is making a little history of his own. With an idea, a biochemistry degree from Salisbury, a beer making hobby, and no job, Bryan Brushmiller decided to open the first brewery in the town of Berlin.

In December of 2009, Bryan Brushmiller got a pink slip from the construction site development company he had worked for, the Friday before Christmas.  The company, like many other companies across the country, went out of business due to the recession.

“After I was let go, I decided I had to take matters into my own hands and start my own business.   I researched how to do it and got a lot of help from the Small Business Development Center, and here I am now,” Brushmiller said.

Brushmiller found an old abandoned 6,000 square foot building and decided it was perfect for his brew house. Burley Oak Brewing Company was born. The inspiration for the name came from the town of Berlin and the history of the building. In 1677 a land grant, part of the Burley Plantation, gave a start to the town Berlin, whose own name was said to be derived from a local tavern called the Burleigh Inn. The building that they are renovating to become the brew house was originally a cooperage, a business that made oaks used to ship local produce and seafood to the port of Baltimore.

Brushmiller takes pride in the fact that his beers are made from traditional brewing methods that impart different flavors. (Photo courtesy of Burley Oak website).

“It’s coming back around since we are bringing oak barrels back into the hundred year old cooperage,” said Brushmiller.

“Oak” also refers to one of the brewing methods that Brushmiller will be implementing.

“We use a lot of closed fermentation practices which is standard throughout the industry, but being a beer and history geek, the traditional method is to use open fermenters and oak barrels. I think that imparts a lot of different flavors and we are going to utilize that method also,” said Brushmiller.

In the process of building the business, it was important to Brushmiller to keep in mind sustainable and local practices. He renovated an old building instead of building a new one and has used approximately thirty five local contractors in the process. He also receives his hops and other ingredients from local farmers in the area.

Burley Oak's brews are made from locally grown barley and hops. Brushmiller works closely with the local farmers to ensure the best sustainable practices are used. (Photo courtesy of Burley Oak).

“These are probably the most important values for us. We really take pride in the fact that when we open we won’t have a dumpster. Everything will be in recycling bins. Even down to our grain. I get grain from a local farmer and I give grain to a local farmer for his cattle. Nothing is wasted,” said Brushmiller.

Burley Oak wants to make distinctive beers that are unlike others.

“I think a lot of our beers aren’t based on style but on balanced beer that we can utilize from our local surroundings,” said Brushmiller. “My barley farmer also grows indigenous rye, which has a very distinct flavor and spiciness to it. We are trying to replicate how beers were originally made.”

Brushmiller pairs his admiration for traditional brewing methods with the artisanship of craft brewing.

“A lot of artisanship can be found in hand-crafted brewing. We are a small system and we don’t have any mechanical parts. Everything is done by hand, down to the stirring of the mash and the transfers. Even our mash paddle was hand crafted,” said Brushmiller.

Burley Oak Brewery began as an old abandoned building right off of Old Ocean City Boulevard. Together with family and friends, he worked to renovate the space into a brewery. (Photo courtesy of Burley Oak website).

Brushmiller and his team worked hard to ensure that the grand opening of his facility was today, just in time for the Governor to tour.  The humming of saws and the pounding of hammers could be heard throughout all hours of the days leading up to this momentous occasion, not only for Brushmiller, but for the town of Berlin.

Burley Oak can currently produce 110 barrels a year and employs three workers. Brushmiller hopes to hire more employees in the coming years and be distributing his beer throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

“I think quality is the number one factor in making a truly great beer. Our ingredients are all natural. We don’t use any chemicals or preservatives and we don’t pasteurize our beer,” said Brushmiller.

A guitar bears the Burley Oak logo.

by Leah Michaels

Just across the Maryland border, in the town of Delmar, Delaware, two brothers, Tom and John Knorr, spend their days brewing some of the Mid-Atlantic’s best beers. With backgrounds in the restaurant industry, the Knorrs newest adventure began in 2009 when they took over a small grocery store and transformed it into a brew house, where Evolution Craft Brewing Company was born.

“We take traditional styles of beer, make it our own, and evolve them into what we think would make it better,” said Tom Knorr, owner of Evolution Craft Brewing Company. “We’re always doing some different things with oak for our migration series and we are always evolving our beers.”

An Evolution worker mills the barley in the mash tun.

The craft brewing process starts when whole kernel grain, usually barley, is milled and then mixed with hot water in a vessel called the mash tun. The resulting liquid, called wort, is run off into the brew kettle, called the lautering. When the kettle is full it is brought to a boil for approximately an hour and a half. Hops are added at various stages of the boil to develop bitterness, flavor, and aroma.

At the end of the boiling process, the wort is cooled and pumped into a fermenting tank where yeast is added. The beer is cooled and fermented for the next five to seven days. The beer is further conditioned for seven to fourteen days, filtered, carbonated, and packaged.

For Evolution, their craft brews soon became a success. With a 3,500 barrel per year capacity, the company was quickly expanding and the old grocery store space was no longer meeting the needs of the brewery. The brothers decided to move Evolution to Maryland.

“We are completely maxed out now so this is going to help us move to the next level,” said Knorr.

The brothers chose an old facility that formerly housed Reddy Ice on Route 13 in the center of Salisbury, Md. just ten miles down the road from their current location.  The 22,000 square feet facility is currently being renovated and will house a restaurant and the production brewery.

“The new facility is in close proximity to our other business locations and will allow us to expand,” Knorr said. “We are going to play off some of the industrial sides of the building for the restaurant portion. People will definitely notice it was an old ice factory.”

Evolution Craft Brewing Company produces a variety of craft brews.

In the current location the company employs eleven people, but Knorr predicts that with the new Maryland facility they should be able to hire approximately seventy people within the next few years.

“We want to continue producing great beers for Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region. This building should take care of us for a few years. We don’t want to have to move again, but we just want to be successful and make a good quality product.”

Evolution is constantly creating new flavors to add to their already wide portfolio.
The company is currently working on a Belgian style ale that is aging in oak barrels from the Napa Valley which will be released in the fall.

Along with Evolution, Knorr owns an assortment of restaurants in Salisbury, where his beers are sold. Evolution brews can be found at an assortment of bars, restaurants, and stores across the Mid-Atlantic.

The company is slated to open the new facility Salisbury facility in the early months of 2012.

Evolution's Summer Session Ale.

On the Water’s Edge

MDbizMedia —  August 17, 2011 — Leave a comment

Bordeleau Winery:  A Maryland Eastern Shore Secret 

 
by Leah Michaels

View of the dock from the vineyard of Bordeleau Winery.

Tucked away in the small rural town of Eden, population 793, is one of Maryland’s hidden gems – Bordeleau Winery.  Located on thirteen acres of land along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the winery, named after the Bordeaux region of France, and meaning “the water’s edge,” was purchased by Tom Shelton in 1998.  Shelton planted his first vine in 2000, and six years later, Bordeleau became the State’s twenty-fourth winery, and one of the Eastern Shore’s largest wineries.

Today, Shelton grows a variety of grapes on the vineyard, including, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, and sells fifteen wines.

Grapes on the vine

Each grape is hand harvested from the vines, and sent through a machine to separate rotten grapes and stems.  The winemaking process, Shelton explains, is a craft that takes a lot of strategic planning, and depends on factors that cannot be controlled.

“The fruit itself largely determines what kind of wine you make. I think seventy-five or eighty percent of what is in the bottle is dictated by what comes from the field. It takes good weather and a lot of luck because everything has to line up just right,” said Shelton.

After the grapes are sent through separation machines, they are then placed in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels to ferment, depending on the grape variety and style. The oak barrels come in multiple styles, including, American, French, and East Hungarian, which influence and enhance the wine’s flavor.

After the fermentation process, the wine makes its way to the temperature controlled bottling room, where a state of the art bottling machine inserts the Bordeleau branded corks into the wine bottles. The bottles are then packaged and distributed through local and regional restaurants.

In 2008, Bordeleau opened Wicomico County’s first licensed winery and tasting room. Whether by land or boat, customers may come for tours of the vineyard and enjoy tastings of the fifteen different wines that Bordeleau offers.

As each year passes, Shelton’s wine selection grows.  This fall, he plans to add a sparkling wine and a Port to their collection.  Bordeleau has also been selected to create a private label wine to help commemorate the launch of NASA’s “Taurus II” for the Wallops International Space Station. 

Sundancer is Bordeleau's private label wine that will commemorate the launch of NASA's "Taurus II."

Shelton takes pride on the fact that his wines are world-class but locally made.  And since growing his first vine, good weather and luck have clearly been in his favor – Bordeleau has won a multitude of awards, local and national, for their wines.

Shelton’s love and attention to detail doesn’t stop at his grapes.  The entire property is meticulously decorated and carefully maintained. And the locals are starting to notice. With fire pits, a wine tasting room, and a pier on the water nestled amongst the vineyards, the picturesque landscape has become a destination for many weddings, parties and momentous occasions. 

“Our wines are consistent. We make a lot of good solid wines – I am not sure if they are all great. But we certainly don’t make bad ones – I wouldn’t bottle them if they were bad,” Shelton said. “We are sort of out of the way and a lot of people don’t know about us, and as more people find us, word spreads, and they tell their friends and neighbors and our business is growing as a result of that.”

Bordeleau joins 10 other wineries along the Chesapeake Wine Trail, and is open for tastings Wednesday through Sunday and most major holidays.

Tom Shelton, owner of Bordeleau Winery, showcasing his grapes.

by Kimberly Clark, MEDA Awards Committee Chair

Winners of the 2011 MEDA Awards. Back row: Gordon Knox, Miles & Stockbridge; Bob Hannon, Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation; Bob Brennan, MEDA Hall of Fame; Richard Story, FM, CEcD, MEDA Life Member; Mike Livingston, MEDA Volunteer of the Year; Kim Clark, Baltimore Development Corporation; Tim Troxell, CEcD, Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission; Brian Garrett, Delmarva Discovery Center. Front row: Ronnie Gist, MIPS/University of Maryland; Sarah Husain, Baltimore City Department of Transportation; Melissa Lentz, MJach Designs; Laura Newman, Howard County Economic Development Authority; Matt Erskin, Greater Washington Initiative; Michael Day, Town of Berlin; Laurie Boyer, CEcD, MEDA President.

2011 marked the 50th Anniversary for the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA), and as we celebrated this milestone at our Annual Conference in June, we also took the time to reflect on how the state of Maryland has transformed in the last 50 years because of the impact of economic development. We honored three programs and projects that have had a tremendous economic impact on the state of Maryland.

The University of Maryland’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program received MEDA’s 50th Anniversary Economic Impact Program Award. The MIPS program funds collaborative research & development projects between companies and faculty at the University of Maryland. Over 400 Maryland companies, such as MedImmune, Inc., Black and Decker, and Martek Biosciences have been a part of the MIPS project since 1987. Locally, MIPS products have aided in the creation of 2,700 jobs and $20 million in annual tax revenue. This program has enhanced Maryland’s reputation as a leader in biotechnology, green technology, and cyber security, and it has improved the lives of people around the world with their life-changing technologies in disease prevention.

The city of Columbia was also awarded the 50th Anniversary Economic Impact Development Award. The city, named one of the top five best places to live in the U.S. by CNN and Money magazine, has brought 5,500 businesses and 63,000 jobs to the area, thanks to its proximity to Baltimore and D.C. and its educated workforce.  Columbia has prided itself on unity and green sensibilities since its founding and offers a mix of low-to-moderate income housing, schools, shopping, and recreation within walking distance as well as low property taxes and municipal costs. A recent sustainability program will give Columbia residents the opportunity to enjoy expanded energy efficiencies, better water quality, and new transportation solutions. A new Master Plan will add 13 million square feet of retail, commercial, residential, and cultural space and generate $5.7 billion dollars in economic activity and nearly 30,000 jobs. Good job, Columbia. It’s no wonder you’ve been named one of the top five “Best Places to Live in the United States” by CNN and Money magazine for several years.

Over 40 years ago, the City of Baltimore developed a waterfront icon that has kept business and tourism booming in Charm City, and that’s why we named the Inner Harbor as our 50th Anniversary Economic Impact Redevelopment Award winner. Millions of tourists visit the Inner Harbor every year, lured by the National Aquarium, the Convention Center, Harborplace, the World Trade Center, and a number of restaurants and other attractions. This influx of tourists has resulted in a $4 billion dollar tourism industry, 50,000 new jobs, and more than $60 million in tax revenue. The Inner Harbor has nourished Baltimore’s economy and inspired waterfront development around the globe.

These three projects are the epitome of economic development. They were created in hopes that they would impact Maryland in a positive way, specifically in terms of job creation, tax revenues, and the state’s overall well-being, and they have succeeded.

In addition to these three very unique projects that highlight 50 years of economic development in the state of Maryland, we were also pleased to recognize five additional projects. The Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission received the Economic Development Program Award for their Federal Recovery Zone Facility Bonds program.  The Delmarva Discovery Center won the Economic Redevelopment Project Award. The Annapolis Towne Center at Parole was given the Judges’ Redevelopment Award, and the Greater Washington Initiative was honored with the Economic Development Marketing Award.  The Charm City Circulator was awarded an honorable mention for their marketing efforts as well.

MEDA also recognizes individuals throughout the state that have had an exceptional impact on economic development.  Three 2011 Individual Award winners were: Michael G. Livingston, President and CEO of the Bank of Glen Burnie; Robert (Bob) C. Brennan, Executive Director of the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO); and Richard (Dick) W. Story, CEcD, FM, Senior Vice President for Marketing at JPB Enterprises, Inc.  Livingston was honored as our Volunteer of the Year.  Brennan was inducted into the MEDA Hall of Fame, and Story was presented with the MEDA Life Member Award.

To learn more about the MEDA Awards, and how to nominate a project for the 2012 Awards, please visit www.MEDAmd.com or call 410-575-6027.

 

 

McCormick Brings Over a Century of Expertise on Flavor

by Christine Hansen

Cinnamon is loving and full of antioxidants.  Red Pepper is active and can help with weight maintenance.  This is some of the research McCormick & Co. does at their Technical Innovation Center in Hunt Valley.  The Center houses McCormick’s core sciences – from product development to food forensics to research and development, and has, for years, helped McCormick become the leader in flavor.  From pet food to beverages, McCormick has a rich, 121 year history, in developing new flavors for the world.

Marianne Gillette, Vice President of Applied Research at McCormick, shows their sensory wall. She points where a heart should go, as the company is testing how spices conjure emotion.

“McCormick is about flavor. We have a passion for flavor.  Understanding what makes a flavor – from molecule to menu is what we do everyday,” Marianne Gillette, Vice President of Applied Research for McCormick said.

And, Gillette said, flavor is constantly changing – what was popular years ago, may be considered bland to consumers today.  With this knowledge, McCormick is continuously conducting research to surprise and delight the consumer palette.

“Over the last few years, our ethnic flavors have become very popular.  Today, consumers want very authentic ethnic flavors,” she said.

The company is currently working on authentic Korean flavors in their culinary center to understand what authentic Korean means.  The finished products are seasonings, spices and flavors that consumers can purchase to make Korean food at home, and chefs can purchase to make authentic Korean cuisine in their restaurants.  Korean is just one example of the many authentic ethnic flavors that McCormick is exploring and testing to develop new products, and has become an engine for growth, Gillette said.

Developing new flavors is not a novelty for McCormick.  Along the hallway in their Technical Innovation Center, hundreds of patents line the wall, going back 75 to 80 years, a true testament of their passion and their motto: “taste you can trust.”

“Some people think of us as a spice company, but we are way beyond a spice company. Spices are fundamental and foundational for our business, but we built on that with seasonings and extracts and compounded flavors.  We are in the industrial flavor business and we have combined all of those into a variety of flavor systems, like sauces and coatings,” Gillette said.

Marianne Gillette points to countries on the map where McCormick sources its cinnamon.

McCormick provides the marinades and coatings for some of the most popular restaurants, including some of the most popular fast food chains, and five star restaurants. Their culinary center has enabled restaurants to develop new products and test them on site with the exact same equipment.  If a fast food restaurant is developing a new sandwich, Gillette explained, the exact fryer and other equipment used in that restaurant is wheeled into the kitchen so they can ensure precision. And consumer testing is done everyday so that restaurants can test their new products.

Some of McCormick’s first products in 1889 were flavoring extracts and fruit syrups.  These products are still a core part of the company’s merchandise, but Gillette said, a “new area that they are rediscovering.”

“Natural extractives of spices and herbs is definitely a growth area for the company.  We have a strong interest in the health and wellness benefits of spices and herbs and one way of delivering those health benefits is through extractives.”

Many of the spices and herbs that McCormick uses are grown by independent farmers in regions around the world. (Photo courtesy of McCormick).

Gillette, an employee of McCormick for 34 years, is not an anomaly there.  McCormick’s success is largely built around the company’s philosophy that their employees are the foundation of their success.  In fact, in 2010, FORTUNE magazine named McCormick one of the 100 best places to work.

Gillette believes that the people and the culture of McCormick, along with their passion for flavor, really sets the company apart from its competitors.

“The knowledge that we have about delivering flavor to the consumer worldwide, all from the way from the individual molecule to a full menu, and being in the business on the molecular level and in business at the menu level, and every category in the supermarket, there is no other company that is this broad in the understanding of delivering flavor as McCormick,” Gillette said.

Founded in 1889, the company’s headquarters are located in Sparks, with major manufacturing facilities in Hunt Valley and a major distribution center in Belcamp, Md.  The company employs 7,500 worldwide, and 2,400 in Maryland.

by Leah Michaels

A W. R. Grace & Co. scientist examines chemical components.

Manufacturing has been a part of Maryland’s economic engine for centuries, and many Maryland companies have been part of that engine for hundreds of years. One such company, W.R. Grace (NYSE:GRA), a global company that specializes in chemicals and materials, has been a member of the Maryland business community since the 1800s. Located in Columbia, Md., the 388,000 square foot campus houses the company’s headquarters and major research facility where they develop their chemical and catalyst products.

“Our catalyst products are used by petroleum refineries and other types of refineries all over the world,” said William Corcoran, Vice President of Public & Regulatory Affairs for W. R. Grace. “Sixty-five percent of our sales are outside the United States.”

W.R. Grace’s products aid a number of industries such as construction and packaging. The company’s sealants and coatings, for example, are used for packaging to protect food and beverages from bacteria and other contaminants, which extend shelf life and preserve flavor. W.R. Grace’s products can also be seen in the construction of everyday-life objects ranging from toothpaste to gasoline to bottles and cans.

The company was founded in 1854 by William Russell Grace, an Irish immigrant. In 1860, the company started to produce a merchant steamship line in order to ship products to the Americas. Since that time, the company has expanded to 40 countries around the world and is continuing to expand their facilities.

“We are expanding. We recently opened a plant in India for our construction chemical business. We have expansions underway in Brazil and Malaysia for our catalyst business,” said Corcoran. “However, we are also investing here in our Curtis Bay plant in Maryland.”

The company’s manufacturing plant is located in Curtis Bay, and employs 530. The plant manufactures hundreds of Grace’s products, including, fluid cracking catalysts and additives which are used by petroleum refineries to convert distilled crude oil into transportation fuels and other petroleum-based products; hydro processing catalysts which upgrade heavy oils and remove certain impurities; polyolefin catalysts and catalyst supports that are essential components in manufacturing polyethylene resins used to produce plastics;  and silica-based materials and chromatography columns – instruments, consumables and accessories used in life and analytical science applications.

The X ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) measures different elemental compositions in a material.

According to Corcoran, plans are also underway for an expansion of their headquarters in Columbia. The groundbreaking is scheduled for 2012, and the company is currently in the process of finalizing all of the permits with Howard County.

“We have no plans to leave Maryland,” said Corcoran. “One of the things that we like about Maryland is the university system here. We are able to recruit top notch people from Johns Hopkins University, UMBC, or the University of Maryland, and they drive our innovation processes.”

Many of the employees at W.R. Grace have worked at the company for decades. Analytical Supervisor, Michaels Peters, has worked for W.R. Grace for over forty years. When he was a teenager, Peters said he had a summer job mowing the lawns on campus, not knowing that it would lead to his future career on the very same campus.

In 2010, 63 percent of the products manufactured at the Curtis Bay plant were exported to countries across the world, for a value totaling $145.2 million.

W.R. Grace employs approximately 1,050 workers in Maryland, 511 of which are located at the headquarters, and hopes to hire more with their new facility. The company reported a net income of $207.4 million in 2010, $2.675 billion in net sales worldwide, and holds more than 1,700 global active patents.

by Leah Michaels

This month, MDBizMedia talks with Marylanders about lessons learned from odd summer jobs. MDBizMedia sat down Sean McEvoy, DBED’s Director of the Office of Small Business, who spent his summers working on Park Avenue in New York City. McEvoy learned that it’s sometimes a dirty job working as a maintenance man.  

Think you had an odd summer job? Share your story!