Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Western MD Tech Showcase Speakers Discuss Economy, Jobs, Innovation

HAGERSTOWN, MD - A consistent message persisted throughout speakers at the Fort Detrick Alliance 2nd Annual Western Maryland Technology Showcase - Fort Detrick is an asset to our area, and can be used to keep Western Maryland competitive. Small businesses and representatives from many local organizations were present, including Hagerstown Mayor Gysberts, as well as a representative from Ben Cardin's office.

Congressman Delaney discussing keeping Maryland competitive.
Photo by Ken Buckler
Congressman Delaney spoke of the need to make western Maryland thrive, be competitive, and bring in jobs. Delaney also spoke of the need to maintain and improve transportation in our area to DC, and how there are currently five million jobs in this country which are not currently filled due to a skills gap. Community colleges such as Hagerstown Community College can help close that gap for area students. Two of the areas which Delaney spoke about were Cyber and Energy sectors. Both sectors are expected to rapidly grow and change over the next several years - and western Maryland can embrace these growing economic sectors.

Linda Berger, from the NSA's Technology Transfer Program, discussed how the NSA at Fort Meade is working to move information and technology from the NSA's Federal laboratories to the public for further innovation. Currently there are approximately 200 patent technologies owned by the NSA and licensed to the public.

Four different methods exist for transferring information and technology to the public:
  • Patent Licensing Agreements
  • Cooperative Research and Development
  • Technology Transfer Sharing
  • Educational Partnership Agreements
Some of the most important technologies available for sharing are cyber security related, helping to keep our nation's computer systems secure.

Daltof discusses licensing technology.
Photo by Ken Buckler
The NSA also shares their tools with other government agencies at no cost, in order to provide the latest technology to all agencies at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

According to a study, between 2000 and 2011, NSA's technology transfer program resulted in an extra $118 million in the US economy, and that current numbers are most likely far higher. Western Maryland businesses should take advantage of this program, and boost the area's economy.

Barry M. Datlof, from the Medical Technology Transfer program of the U.S. Army, also spoke about their efforts to license technology to the private sector. Innovations such as spray-able foam casts and caffeinated gum are available for private sector to license, manufacture, and market to the public - creating opportunities for start-ups to gain capital with lower start-up costs.

In all, the event provided excellent reinforcement that there are public and private organizations working to stimulate the economy of Washington County and the surrounding area.

More information about the Fort Detrick Alliance can be found on their website:

Article by Ken Buckler, Editor.