Velocity Center Will Support Growth of Region’s Innovation, Technology Opportunities
The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) has signed a lease agreement with Triumph Development and Mid Atlantic Development Partners to locate the college’s Velocity Center in Indian Head as a location for innovation and technology workforce development to occur.
Describing the Velocity Center as a “truly transformational” time for Southern Maryland, CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy said, “We’re excited to be able to collaborate and move forward with creating this Velocity Center so near to one of our strategic partners, Indian Head’s Naval Surface Warfare Center. Not only is this an example of leveraging the resources of federal laboratories in Maryland, but also the Velocity Center will provide access to spur invention as we bring together the innovative minds of Indian’s Head’s personnel with the resources through the Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute coupled with the energy of our students.”
Previously the location of Ely’s Warehouse, the space on Indian Head Highway is being built out by the Triumph and Mid Atlantic Joint Venture to be transformed into space to be used for classrooms, offices, administration and warehouse space to accommodate the college’s needs.
“The CSM Velocity Center is exactly what we want to see in town – jobs, blight removal, higher education, a collaborative partnership with the Navy and more business,” said Indian Head Mayor Brandon Paulin. “Lots of hard work went into this and I just want to thank all those who made this possible. You’re helping revitalize Indian Head and creating a gem here in Charles County.”
The idea of the Velocity Center aligns with the strategic plans of the region’s naval bases — Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC/IHEODTD), the Naval Air Warfare center – Aircraft Division (NAWC/AD), the Chesapeake Bay Detachment of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory — and the State of Maryland Economic Development Commission and Southern Maryland Economic Development plan.
“We are excited about partnering with the college on this opportunity in Indian Head,” said Charles McPherson, principal of Mid Atlantic Development. “With more than 3,000 families directly impacted by the Navy base in Indian Head, this is an investment that will help attract jobs to the town and has potential to benefit the county on a much larger scale. CSM and Dr. Murphy have stepped up big for Charles County and this investment will pay dividends as they continue to invest in educational opportunities for our community.”
“As a lifelong resident of Charles County, I am excited to be part of making the Velocity Center a reality in the Town of Indian Head,” said Robert Brough, principal of Mid Atlantic Development. “Growing up in the Indian Head area, I remember how active and vibrant the town used to be. The CSM Velocity Center is truly a great step forward to help revitalize the Town of Indian Head.”
“Triumph is thrilled at the opportunity to work with Mid Atlantic Development Partners, the College of Southern Maryland and the commuity of Indian Head,” said Triumph’s co-founder, James Fangmeyer.
Recently, the college was awarded $500,000 as one of three academic recipients of the Maryland Department of Commerce’s Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative (MEI), a state program created to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at the state’s colleges and universities. CSM is the first community college to receive this prestigious award.
Through the MEI, CSM received funding to support the college’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute (EII) and the expertise required to expand CSM’s technology transfer curriculum; research and identify regional technology transfer opportunities; instill entrepreneurial skills among students, government scientists and businesses; and expand the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and workforce.
During the announcement of the state’s award, Murphy said, “These funds will allow the college to create a more sustainable and vibrant innovation ecosystem through public-private partnerships that support and impact the critical and innovative research being conducted at the Navy research labs in Southern Maryland. The Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute will not only support technology transfer initiatives, but will also enhance the regional and state economic and workforce development expansion.”
Specifically the funding is being used by CSM to attract and retain world-class instructors to grow the current innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem at a newly envisioned Velocity Center. CSM’s Velocity Center will provide resources for a variety of activities related to entrepreneurship, innovation and workforce development and retention. The initial facility will grow to be 20,000-plus square feet, with space suitable for a prototyping facility, classrooms, open space, offices, conference rooms, room for co-working space and other amenities.
“The Velocity center fits perfectly with the EII in our efforts to improve local workforce retention and encourage young employees to live and work in Southern Maryland,” said EII Director Thomas Luginbill. The goal of the Velocity Center is to attract students who will have the ability to take courses in a world-class facility surrounded by some of the brightest research scientists in the country.
“This will give students a chance to see how their skills can be applied outside the classroom and open their eyes to opportunities that exist here in Southern Maryland,” Luginbill said. “We plan on building a robotics practice course where the CSM Talons [the college’s competitive robotics team] can hold showcases for teams all around the country.”
“The MEI program leverages private funds raised by our very active foundation board,” Vice President and Executive Director of the CSM Foundation Michelle Goodwin explained at the award’s announcement. “In this case our largest contributor being Michael Chiaramonte, president and chairman of ProFlex Physical Therapy among other business ventures. The money will be endowed by the CSM Foundation and the interest earned will support the EII and its Velocity Center initiative.”
Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative
The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative was created by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session and has provided $20.1 million in funding to leverage $23 million in private donations. The funding can be used to pay salaries of newly endowed department chairs, staff, and support personnel in designated scientific and technical fields of study; fund related research fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students; and purchase lab equipment and other basic infrastructure and equipment.
Mid-Atlantic Development Partners, LLC
Headquartered in Charles County, Mid-Atlantic Development Partners, LLC is a newly formed company focused on real estate investment and development. The company was founded by McPherson and Brough who have worked together in various executive level roles for more than 10 years. The principals have been active in the real estate and construction industry in the Washington, D.C. area for more than 25 years.
Triumph Development, LLC
Triumph Development, LLC is a full-service real estate company providing diversified commercial, residential and resort real estate development, asset management, custom home building, and luxury property management. Founded in Bethesda in 2002, Triumph also has west coast offices in Vail, Colorado. Triumph’s co-founder, James Fangmeyer, is a native Washingtonian and currently oversees Triumph’s portfolio of public and private development ventures. For information, call 301-657-1112 or visit www.triumphdev.com/.
Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute
As part of the efforts by the college and the Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute which launched in August 2016, CSM has worked with additional officials and organizations to move forward with this and other EII initiatives.
Maryland State Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton has been an advocate of EII’s goals to promote innovation and workforce development. Middleton endorsed the college’s application to the Maryland Department of Commerce which awarded the college $500,000 through the Maryland E-Novation Initiative in August.
Additional grant funding from federal sources to support the EII has been requested with endorsements from U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen.
The EII was created with a donation from Michael and Liz Chiaramonte and the Chiaramonte Family Foundation. Supporters of the institute and involved in its launch include the local chambers of commerce and their associated committees, the economic development departments of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties, Southern Maryland Innovation & Technology, Energetics Technology Center, SBDC, Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland and Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO). For information about CSM’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute, visit www.csmd.edu/community/institutes/eii/.
NOTE: This news release was revised September 22, 2017, adding background information on the EII and its support since its launch in August 2016.