Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Historic Preservation Commission Considers Design of Downtown Hotel at Carroll Creek

Over the past month, the talented design team from Bates Architects and Peter Fillat Architects, has twice presented information regarding the design and background of the exciting new proposed Downtown Hotel at Carroll Creek.   The hotel and conference center is proposed as a full-service Marriott with approximately 183 guest rooms, 20,000 square feet of net rentable meeting space and structured public parking.  The next HPC workshop is scheduled for August 24th at 6PM at City Hall.

Creek View

The unique project design has been crafted after careful consideration of many options.  The design delicately balances programmatic, historic preservation, community, and fiscal needs. It includes the full renovation and adaptive reuse of the historic Frederick Railway Terminal Building along with the proposed new infill construction of the Downtown Hotel.  However, because of physical constraints coupled with programmatic and fiscal challenges, the project requires the selective deconstruction and removal of the former Birely “Tannery” Building which has been vacant for many years.  Based on the HPC guidelines regarding demolition, the team believes that the retention of the Birely Building would be a deterrent to the construction of a major community improvement program and would not be in the best interest of the majority of citizens.  The design team does not take lightly the building removal, and is fully prepared to implement mitigation strategies developed in collaboration with the HPC, MHT, and community.  The Downtown Hotel at Carroll Creek can help educate and excite thousands of citizens and visitors alike each year about our rich heritage including the tanning industry and its workforce.

Trolley Building

The City and its partners at the County, State, and Tourism Council will be funding the purchase of development site (land) and construction of public improvements including the on-site structured parking garage which will be open to the public and related streetscape, roadway, and utility improvements.  The project developer, Plamondon Hospitality Partners – a local Frederick company - will be solely paying to construct, operate, and maintain the hotel and meeting space above the city parking garage.

Patrick Street Entrance

This major community capital improvement project is led by long-time Frederick businessman Earl H. Robbins, Jr. and includes leadership from the City, County, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Partnership, Tourism Council, and many business, resident, and community leaders.   

Partner Spotlight: Fort Detrick Alliance

1. What is the mission of The Fort Detrick Alliance?
The FDA is a Maryland 501 (c)3 Non-Profit organization with the mission to build strong relationships and understanding between Fort Detrick and the region. The Fort Detrick Alliance is a member of the Maryland Military Installation Council and our work is done in partnership with the Maryland Division of Military and Federal Affairs and Frederick City and County Economic Development organizations.  Our work is largely focused on advocating for the retention and expansion of the federal missions at Fort Detrick and the 12,000 military, federal, and contractor jobs.  Fort Detrick is very unique in that there are five cabinet level organizations located at Fort Detrick including:

•    Department of Defense (DOD)
•    Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
•    Department of Agriculture (USDA)
•    Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
•    Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

2. What are your top priorities?
Building strong relationships and understanding between Fort Detrick and the region requires education, networking, communication and advocacy.   We use innovative programs and events coupled with digital and print media to accomplish this work.   For instance, hundreds attend our regular networking breakfasts throughout the year which feature talented speakers from various federal labs and facilities to educate community and business leaders on critical work ongoing at the Fort and at the National Cancer Institute-Frederick and Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. 

In addition to routine educational breakfasts, we also hold networking receptions and an annual Recognition Dinner and a Technology Showcase event with the Frederick Innovative Technology Center Inc, to highlight tech-transfer opportunities with the Federal Laboratories.  These events create opportunities for businesses and community leadership to connect and engage with each other.

Working with local, state, and federal elected officials, also focuses on advocating for key infrastructure, workforce and policies that support the health of Fort Detrick such as roads, airport, utilities, STEM education, and housing.   We advocate for the development and expansion of the work conducted at Fort Detrick in the areas of cancer research, biological research and vaccine development, medical protection of the nation’s Armed Forces, and global communications.  

FDA donated $10k to Hood College, Mount St. Mary's University Frederick Campus and Frederick Community College to support educational efforts for our Veterans.

3. How did the organization get started/tell us some history about your organization.

The Fort Detrick Alliance was founded in 2003 by the late Colonel Mark Hoke (formerly a Fort Detrick Garrison Commander and later Chairman of the Frederick County Commissioners) along with support from the Maryland Department of Commerce and Brigadier General (Ret) Mike Hayes – Director of the MarylandOffice of Military and Federal Affairs. The Fort Detrick Alliance is one of seven Military Alliances focused on supporting the missions, jobs, and economic impact in Maryland.  Maryland is focused on supporting the needs of making sure that national Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) activities result in job growth in Maryland.

2016 Board of Directors

A Board of Directors governs the organization and the day-to-day activities are carried out by the Executive Director. Nearly 100 businesses, individuals and organizations financially support our mission as members of the organization. 

4. Can you share any news or upcoming events related to FDA?
New Executive Director
Amanda Johnston, a marketing professional with more than 15 years in nonprofit management has recently been hired as the Alliance’s new executive director. Amanda is replacing executive director Eileen Mitchell who is retiring from the Alliance. Eileen was a former Deputy Garrison Commander of Fort Detrick for 30 years.  Amanda Johnston joins the Fort Detrick Alliance with communications, marketing, fundraising, event planning, public relations, and management experience. She is active in the Frederick business community and currently serves on the board of directors for Celebrate Frederick. Amanda can be reached at or 301-788-9896.

Recent FDA networking Breakfast
Upcoming Events
•    FITCI Technology Showcase
September 6, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Innovative renewable energy, biotechnology, and information research is being done in our community at the Frederick Innovative Technology Center. Meet with FITCI entrepreneurial businesses and hear Dr. Kenneth Bertram, Principal Assistant for Acquisition, US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick speak about research advancements at our 9th Annual FITCI Technology Showcase on September 6. The event kicks-off with a networking reception at 4:30 p.m. followed by presentations by County Executive Jan Gardner and Frederick City Mayor Randy McClement. Register online today!

•    Networking Breakfast at Hood College
Thursday, October 26, 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Featured Speaker: COL Brian J. Gentile from U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) will discuss the mission and research being conducted at USAMRIID

•    Technical Innovation Center at Hagerstown Community College
Technology Showcase during STEM Week
Thursday, November 9, 4:30 to 7 p.m.
More details to come visit

5. What type of companies are best positioned to take advantage of your services?
The Fort Detrick Alliance is seeking members which want to help support the critical work to advocate for and help sustain and grow the critical missions and jobs at Fort Detrick and the National Cancer Institute.  There are many opportunities to be involved in event planning and logistics, communication, networking, and much more.  Our members are varied with both large and small companies across many industry sectors including biotech, infotech, nanotech, healthcare, retail, government, and non-profit. 

The five cabinet level agencies at Fort Detrick employ many in various industries and backgrounds, including but not limited to biotech, technology, clinical and veterinary medicine, microbiology, biochemistry, pathology, molecular biology, immunology, virology, budget administration, regulatory affairs, security, personnel and administrative support, communications, logistics, maintenance, and resource management. There are opportunities for businesses across the region to network and grow through the work done at Fort Detrick.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

2017 Frederick County Best Places to Work Honors Employers and Philanthropic Efforts

The 15th Annual  Frederick County Best Places to Work awards were held recently, celebrating Frederick businesses and the diverse benefits offered to their employees to stay competitive and encourage them to live where they work.  Five companies were honored, three which are located in The City of Frederick. Frederick Magazine covered the event in the August issue, which you can read here.

2017 Best Places to Work:
Small Category (1-10 Employees) – Thurmont Child Care Center, Inc.
Small to Medium Category (11-29 Employees) – ImQuest BioSciences Inc.

Medium to Large Category ( 30-50 Employees) – MainSpring, Inc.  

Large Category (51-199 Employees) – DynPort Vaccine Company LLC

Major Employer Category (200+) – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

This year the committee additionally recognized five Frederick businesses that generously provide their goods and services to those in community in need of a hand-up. A powerful video was created to celebrate these philanthropic efforts.

2017 Giving Back Award Recipients

Frederick Air – donates HVAC systems and repairs to those in need.

Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley – provides skills training and vocational services to those with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

Dynamic Automotive – partners with Second Chances Garage to donate car repairs on cars that Second Chances then donates to those in need including veterans.

Dr. Harvey Levy & Associates – provides free or discounted dental care to children in need during the month of February as well as offers dental services/repairs to those in the hospital that can’t afford it on their own.

Dublin Roasters – provides paying volunteer jobs to clients of Community Living and the Way Station.

To learn more about Frederick County Best Places to Work and nominating your company, visit the website at

Frederick County Best Places to Work is a partnership between