As of Thursday, February 26th 2015, let the scoreboard show one point for Net Neutrality and zero points for Internet Services Providers (ISPs). Last year I discussed the looming battle that was taking place between ISPs and millions of everyday internet content consumers, like you and I. An end to this battle was scheduled on Thursday, February 26th 2015, where like judges in a long 12 round boxing match without a clear knockout, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had to decide on the fate of Net Neutrality. In a 3-2 split decision, the FCC ruled in favor of reclassifying broadband Internet (both wired and wireless) under Title II of the Communications Act.




How Does Reclassification Maintain Net Neutrality?

Prior to this ruling there were no real boundaries for ISPs when it came to how they can treat data traversing their networks based on the data content source. Meaning, an ISP if it so chooses, was able to slow down or throttle data from Netflix being delivered to an end user’s Roku player. Furthermore, not unlike the manner of a mafia pizzo, an ISP can strongly “encourage” content providers like a Netflix, that take up a lot of bandwidth, to pay a fee in order to guarantee that their movie streaming content makes it to the end user quickly and efficiently, without any lag or buffering. The FCC ruling for reclassification now allows for the government to look at the Internet as an essential utility, in a similar manner as it does for electricity and water.


ISPs like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T see this reclassification as a loss because under these new rules they will be forced to make their operations more transparent to not only the government, but also to the general public. They will now have to operate in an environment of strict regulation and can no longer even attempt to discriminate data traversing their networks based on the source. These new rules ensure that large content providers like Netflix and Hulu will not have to pony-up extra dollars to get their content to the end users, but more importantly, it ensures that new and smaller companies will not have to fear for their content being stuck in an Internet slow lane because they cannot afford to pay a ‘shakedown’ premium. Entrepreneurs and smaller content providers become the real winners in this reclassification. This new ruling maintains a level playing field where all data packets are treated equally. The internet does not need a ‘Data Caste System.’



Image credit: NPR Blog


The Fight Is Not Over

This battle victory for Net Neutrality does not mean the ‘war’ is over. Without a doubt ISPs, wireless providers, and possibly some congressional opponents will take these rulings to court. These opponents will argue that government should not have a hand in the operations of the Internet. It will be argued that the Internet worked just fine without government intervention and as such should remain this way. They will argue that the reclassification is placing the Internet into the antiquated Title II of the Communications Act, and as such will stifle business and innovation. And to some small degree they are right. However, in my opinion, the alternative path is much worse. The path where corporations are unregulated and free to make the rules, regardless of how that affects overall user experience and entrepreneurship. This is certainly not over and could potentially be a very long legal battle, but for now this is a victory worth celebrating. As FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stated moments before the deciding vote, “The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules.”



As a service that helps companies and teams incubate, launch, grow, scale and ultimately be sustained, you hope to provide tangible benefits along the way. With the encouragement of an incubator mentor, this month, the Towson University Incubator (d/b/a TU Incubator) commenced the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Activate partnership. This means that member companies who are technology-enabled service companies now have the option of unlocking the following AWS Activate perks:

  • 2 years of AWS credits (up to $5,000)
  • Free access to the AWS Essentials 1 day web-based or instructor-led training (normally ~$600/course), plus 8 tokens for self-paced labs (normally ~$30/lab)
  • One year of premium AWS Business Support (up to $5,000)
  • Free access to 1:1 virtual office hours with AWS Solutions Architects
  • Special offers from other companies that help startups, including Chef, Cloudability, Bitnami, Amazon Payments, SOASTA, Alert Logic, CopperEgg and more.

While there are a multitude of cloud provider choices, namely Azure, HP, Rackspace, Verizon and VMware, for rapid self-service provisioning and ability to scale up to massive levels, there is no cloud (or IaaS) provider as robust as AWS.

amazon2Amazon is a global, multi-billion dollar company whose cloud service solution has grown to become the world’s largest provider since 2002 inception. It is comforting to know that AWS, moreover Amazon also recognizes where it all starts — in this case at the Towson University Incubator in Towson, Baltimore County, Maryland, an evolving entrepreneurship hub a mere 7 miles north of Baltimore’s inner harbor.

 One can only look forward to the first TU Incubator member that genuinely uses the logo to the left on their website and has proudly unlocked the breadth and depth of benefits availed to them.



Every spring, TU’s College of Business and Economics holds its business case competition, “The Associate.” The competition provides real-world experience for eight graduating seniors. Each week, an area company poses a business case to the candidates, who are split into two teams. The two teams present their findings the following week and a candidate is let go each week until the final boardroom session, when “The Associate” is named. The winner of the competition receives a job offer from the presenting company, which presides over the competition and provides judges. This year’s presenting company is 1st Mariner Bank.

Port Deposit, which is a great partner of Towson University, was the first weekly case for this year’s competition. Representatives from the Town, Vicky Rinkerman, Louise Land, and Linda Read, presented their case on February 10. The main objective for the students is to develop marketing ideas for the Town, with particular regard to the Gas House renovation and ecotourism, on a limited budget. The Gas House, if you’ll recall, is being renovated into a visitor’s center, with lab space on the 2nd floor for TU student researchers.


Vicky Rinkerman presents Port Deposit’s case

Vicky Rinkerman presents Port Deposit’s case


On February 17th, the two student teams presented their findings. Both teams, Team Synergy and Team Eminence, are extremely skilled and had great ideas for Port Deposit. These included ideas like redesigning their website, developing their brand image, utilizing social media, and putting together a Town festival. Both teams also recommended hiring interns from TU to help bring these ideas to fruition.


Team Eminence speaks with the judges.

Team Eminence speaks with the judges.

In the end, only one team could win. Team Synergy was the winning team this week. Even though Team Eminence did not win and a participant had to leave the competition, Port Deposit is going home with a lot of wonderful ideas from BOTH teams for how to attract visitors to the Gas House and the Town in general. We’re excited to see the partnership between TU and Port Deposit continue to develop especially with these fresh new ideas to add to the mix. We’re also eager to see how the rest of the competition goes and which student is eventually named “The Associate!”


Team Synergy presents their winning presentation.

Team Synergy presents their winning presentation.



As the nation enters its 68th month of recovery with falling gas prices, falling deficits, rising job numbers, a recovering real estate sector, and a booming stock market, some may ask what happened to Maryland. While many—myself included—have proclaimed that Maryland’s economy can be described as “Eds, Beds, Meds and Feds,” this characterization exemplifies the problems facing Maryland going forward.


Our job growth has been in the bottom third of the nation recently, and while our real estate market did not suffer the plunges into the abyss as experienced by the sand states (AZ, CA, GA, FL, and GA), our foreclosure rates are among the highest in the nation. Most notably, Prince George’s County is still struggling to recover. Maryland’s dependency on the federal government applies to not only its labor force, of which an estimated 5 percent are employed by the federal government and an additional 10 percent are indirectly supported by the federal government, but also numerous installations and agencies located in Maryland. So, when the federal government cut back spending, Maryland felt the effects across many sectors in the local economy.


Reducing Maryland’s Dependency on the Federal Government

Recently, the Augustine Commission released a series of recommendation, and one of the more prominent recommendations was to reduce Maryland’s dependency on the federal government. While that is easier said than done as this dependency not only impacts our labor force, but the federal government is the primary customer (in some cases the only customer) for many Maryland-based businesses. Moreover, many businesses do not realize that their services and products may have nonfederal uses domestically as well as internationally. Two recent announcements by the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) and Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic development (DBED) will provide assistance in diversifying Maryland’s economy, and RESI will play a role in both.

GBC logo DBED logo

Joining an Economic Development Network

Baltimore, through the efforts of the GBC, was selected to join an economic development network created by the Global Cities Initiative, a five-year joint program of the Brookings Institute and JP Morgan Chase. This initiative is focused on assisting business and civic leaders with growing their metropolitan economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness. According to some projections, nearly 80 percent of global GDP growth between 2013 and 2018 is expected to grow outside the U.S. Moreover, over 40 percent of job creation comes from existing firm expansion, but only 5 percent of U.S. firms have plans for expansion through exporting.

Global Cities Initiative Logo

Receiving an Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) Grant

logo_oeaThrough the efforts of DBED, Maryland was awarded an Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) Defense Industry Economic Diversification grant. This grant is intended to assist defense communities in developing strategies to increase economic diversification to minimize impacts on regional economies due to potential declines in the Department of Defense’s budget. For example, St. Mary’s County’s economy is nearly 80 percent economically dependent on NAS Patuxent River. As a result, any small decrease in defense spending at NAS Patuxent River would have a disproportionate impact on the local economy.


RESI is fortunate to be involved in both projects. Our initial role is to provide an assessment of what the local defenses supply chain looks like as well as the levels of exports from Maryland-based businesses. The title of this post suggests that we have three events converging into one goal, and that is increasing Maryland’s competiveness worldwide while reducing Maryland’s dependency on the federal government.



In his recent State of the State address, Governor Larry Hogan emphasized the need to make state government more efficient and more responsive.  He praised state employees and the work that is done on behalf of Maryland citizens, but also pointed to opportunities for improvement, tasking his Cabinet with bringing their skill and expertise to bear by continuing to improve how Maryland government operates.  He pointed out a need to address the culture of state government emphasizing the need for better and more accountable customer service to the public.


This sentiment continued at a recent Greater Baltimore Committee meeting  I attended, where the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED)  Secretary Michael Gill, a Towson Alum, also pointed out the need to respond better to Maryland businesses.  Looking at the crowd, comprised of business leaders, he stated, “You are the customer.  We’re trying our best to integrate that simple, simple philosophy about customer service into the organization”.


Image Credit: DBED

Image Credit: DBED

Maryland’s new mantra – “We’re Open for Business,” necessitates a corporate attitude towards the way we govern.  Part of any successful business is effective customer service.  The Towson University Center for Professional Studies (CPS)  has a long track record of developing and delivering customer service training to state employees across Maryland.  Committed to improving the skills and performance of Public Sector workers, we develop customized training solutions that help state agencies meet their goals and mission. Because of our diverse and talented team we are able to offer training in a variety of formats, including:

  • Live in-person training;
  • Online training classes that utilize our e-learning and videography capabilities; and
  • Hybrid solutions that combine in-person with online training.

Unfairly, many State agencies are viewed as places where bureaucracy overshadows customer service, but we know better.  Hard working state employees strive to do their jobs well, each and every day.  However, we know that resources and training can improve performance, and enhanced customer service training can and will achieve the mission set forth by the Hogan Administration.  CPS offers an edge to each agency with customized training programs that will meet the needs of our government partners.
Our basic learning objective for customer services training is to change behavior by instilling the critical tenets of quality customer service:  critical listening, effective communication, problem solving, and emotional intelligence.
For more information on how we can partner to meet your Customer Service training needs please visit http://www.towson.edu/innovation/cps/index.asp.




With TU students back on campus for the spring semester the Student Launch Pad is continuing to build and grow new entrepreneurship opportunities for talented Towson students. This spring, in conjunction with our flagship programs—Entrepreneur U and Skill Builders—we will be launching a brand new program called Whiteboard Wednesdays!


This program will be a casual way for us to interact more regularly with students as they navigate ideation, strategy testing, and business creation. Through short weekly sessions we’ll bring students together to work collaboratively with each other around real problems, innovative solutions, and the growing field of entrepreneurship. The student networking piece is key here—we hope to encourage student partnerships and use Whiteboard Wednesdays as an easily accessible platform to make that connection between student skills and vision.


Whiteboard Full

Click for Full Size Poster

In the world of startups, partnerships are crucial. Strong partnerships spread the risk among multiple sources of cash flow, diversify areas of expertise, and provide checks and balances on ideas, vision, and dilemmas. Whiteboard Wednesdays will also provide students a comfortable place to share their ideas and discuss their experience with entrepreneurship. We hope this new program will help us grow a community network of students with big ideas and motivation. Whiteboard Wednesdays will take place every Wednesday at 10AM in ‘The Loft’ (Cook 401). Light breakfast will be served.


As we encourage additional student partnership and collaboration this spring, the Student Launch Pad team will be furthering our interdisciplinary and co-curricular ideals by reaching out to more faculty members in diverse majors and fields all across campus. These efforts will not only help build academic support for the Student Launch Pad but it will also
bring entrepreneurship to students in their classrooms.


This more customized approach will allow us to show students the potential for innovation in fields (or majors) not often connected to the field of entrepreneurship. Whether students are interested in starting their own business or not, there is a benefit in learning entrepreneurial skills like pitch and branding, ideation, strategy, and finance—skills which are widely applicable to all kinds of careers and lifestyles. Faculty members interested in learning more about the Student Launch Pad or ways to bring entrepreneurship to the classroom can email launchpad@towson.edu today!



What a great week! The Division of Innovation and Applied Research offices located at the Terracedale Building (7801 York Road) moved to 7400 York Road. While we are all sad to leave the comforts of Terracedale, the team is bursting with excitement about the new space. At 7400 York Road, all of our groups will be together including RESI, CGIS, the Business Analysis and Management Team, the IT Team, Center for Professional Studies, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, TU Incubator, and our Administration and Finance team.


Some of the biggest highlights on the new space include:

  • Collaborative space for all of our teams to work together on joint projects.
  • The Center for Professional Studies Training Center will allow students to take in-person certification courses in the areas of Business/Management, Information Technology, and Heath/Medical training.
  • The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has access to meeting rooms that can better accommodate students for their academic program.
  • The TU Incubator companies will benefit from expanded meeting space throughout the building.
One of the conference rooms in the new space

One of the conference rooms in the new space

Walking through the space this morning I had the opportunity to check out how everyone was settling into their new spaces.


Aaron Guy said that he wished “the boxes would unpack themselves.”


Christina Bell Nemphos tackled getting her computer set-up.

photo 2

Laura McCoy is all settled and even thought to hang light filtering curtains.


Lisa Walker works through what seems like an endless amount of blue bins.


lisa unpacking

Jackie Gratz and Trish Roger are hard at work planning for Osher’s upcoming class schedule.


An enormous thank you to Erin Nueslein who was critical in making sure every detail was thought of throughout the move process.


We look forward to having visitors in the near future. The Division will hold an open house on June 18, 2015  from 3 – 5. Please save the date and plan to stop by  for tours, networking, and refreshments.




What is Business Development?

Business development comprises a number of tasks and processes that are generally aimed at developing and implementing growth opportunities between multiple organizations. It is a subset of the fields of business, commerce, and organizational theory. Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.
Growing the business is part of everyone’s job, and successful organizations task all staff members with growing the brand through recruitment and retention. Our team at the Towson University Center for Professional Studies (CPS) understands the importance of value to our students. In addition to the quality of our programs, we are committed to serving the needs of our corporate clients as they invest in their workforce. We are successful by focusing on 3 important elements.

Diverse Business Team - Isolated

  1. Relationship Building- It’s critical to find out what’s important to the client, focus on those key elements and that will position us to achieve a win-win relationship. Most HR directors and/or training development managers are looking for ways to deliver the best employee experience- be an advocate to help them achieve their goals. Through education we offer growth, options to explore promotion opportunities, and retention.
  2. Realistic Prospects – Target those organizations who value training and development, employee retention, and upward mobility. These types of companies are more likely to see the value in CPS course offerings and the “value add” we can offer their employees to strengthen efficiency and productivity.
  3. Differentiate – The big question we address in serving corporate clients is why they would allow us to access their employees. One answer- our goal is to help you achieve your goals through a more empowered workforce. Education can be a bridge to achieve many goals in our everyday working lives. We want to partner with you to understand the goals for your employees.

CPS is committed to the needs of our students and their employers. We focus on successful business development strategies to make working with the Towson University Center for Professional Studies not only convenient, but effective.
Chunta is the Continuing Education Business Development Manager for the Center for Professional Studies (CPS). Her primary role is to grow and build relationships within the Corporate Sector to increase enrollments from those accounts. She’ll manage and market all educational components related to the continuing education offerings for both online and in-classroom certification courses. Chunta will conduct her recruiting efforts in MD, DC & VA.
Prior to joining CPS Chunta worked as a Manager of Local Corporate Accounts at DeVry University and as an University Rep at Grand Canyon University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from North Carolina A&T State University. She has over 14 years of business development experience.




It’s a new year and it is time to start working on those resolutions. I am terrible about completing mine, I start off great but by mid-February they sort of drop off the radar; unless, I have a plan. The Division’s Applied Research and Technical Services group has been working closely with several clients in developing their Disaster Recovery (DR) plan and site. If one of your organization’s New Year’s resolutions is to establish a DR site, here is information about developing your DR plan and how to get started with building a DR site.


What is a Disaster Recovery site?

Disaster Recovery is the policies and procedures that enable recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructures and systems following a disaster and where and how those vital systems and data are maintained. DR is basically an insurance policy based on the probability a disaster will occur.

A DR site is the physical location of the data, systems, etc., your organization needs to be functional.


How do I get started?

Many of the decisions you will need to make when developing a DR plan and setting up a DR site begin with answering the following questions:

  • What data/systems are essential to your organization?
  • What can your organization live without? (data? applications? both?)
  • If a disaster were to occur, how long after will the organization need to be up and running?
  • How many users will need access? How will they access the DR site?

Here are a few questions to help your organization get started in determining your DR needs:

  • What constitutes a “disaster” (power outage, building unavailable, natural disaster)? Decide what is important in your business scenario to back up to a DR site?
  • What type of site do you need (hot – available within minutes of a disaster, warm – available within hours of a disaster, cold – available within a few hours but may require updated data or applications)?
  • How often will the DR site be backed up?
  • Where will the DR site be located/hosted?
  • Who will be responsible for updating and maintaining the DR site (in-house or contractor)?
  • When will testing take place to make sure the DR site can be functional and all data/applications will run correctly if/when you need them?
  • What is your budget for DR site development and maintenance?

Once these topics have been thoroughly explored you can begin outlining your technical specifications, which include:

  • How many servers will be used?
  • What type of servers will be used?
  • How often will data replication take place?

As you become more involved with the DR process you will develop more questions specific to your organization. There is no right or wrong answer, only what is needed by your organization to recover from a disaster. The key is to start the conversation and begin determining your DR needs so you can develop your DR plan, site, and maintenance strategy. Hopefully before New Years 2016!



Sometimes the events I love planning the most are the ones that happen every year. I’ve already built a relationship with the client, I know how they want the room set-up and what food they like, and honestly, there just aren’t that many surprises. The work is almost relaxing!


On January 9th the Maryland State Department of Education hosted the 4th annual Early Childhood Care & Education Research Forum in the Towson University West Village Commons. The theme, Will High Quality Pre-K Pay Off for Maryland? What the Research Shows, focused on high-quality Pre-K in Maryland and the keynote speaker, panelists, and workshop facilitators addressed key questions such as:

  • Why is high-quality Pre-K a keystone for school success?
  • What does a high-quality Pre-K program look like?
  • What are the vital program components that result in school success?


Keynote speaker, Dr. Hiro Yoshikawa, Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU, expert on early childhood education, and author of the recent report entitled Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education, elaborated on his findings that

  • Large-scale public preschool programs can have substantial impacts on children’s futures
  • Quality preschool education is a profitable investment for the community
  • High quality implementation of instructional approaches through coaching or mentoring can yield important benefits for children


Just prior to this event, Maryland was awarded a $15 million Federal Preschool Development grant to expand access to high-quality preschool.