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Howard County’s 3D Maryland Initiative Showcased on Capitol Hill

March 12, 2014

Columbia, MD (March 12, 2014) -- Howard County’s newest economic development venture – called 3D Maryland – could also play a pivotal role in how 3D printing and additive manufacturing technology is advanced across the country.

3D Maryland Executive Director Jan Baum testified today as an expert witness in the field of 3D Printing before the House Committee on Small Business, a key congressional committee exploring its applicability to various industries, and how small firms and entrepreneurs are using/can use this technology to grow.

During her testimony Baum encouraged Congress to incentivize private investment in small businesses that utilize proven leading edge emerging technologies, and continue to support research funding and programs that facilitate technology transfers like those being advocated at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE) in Howard County. Baum cited research that shows the industry could be worth $105 billion by 2020, and she told lawmakers, “Your support will build on the momentum created by the MCE and organizations like the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, now known as America Makes, which is an example of private-public partnerships.”

3D Maryland, an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA), is currently building a prototype lab at the MCE that will be open to entrepreneurs and business owners who can use the technology to take their ideas from the drawing board to conception.

“We are proud that Congress has recognized the efforts of a local jurisdiction like Howard County and the tremendous role we can play in leading what some are calling the next industrial revolution,” said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. “This initiative will transform existing companies and lead to the development of new start-ups not only here in Maryland, but perhaps across the country with the support of Congress.”

Howard County’s program is led by Baum, an expert in the field of 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Baum is at the forefront of efforts to bring 3D printing and rapid technology to the greater Baltimore region and Maryland. She is the founder and Director of Object Lab, a comprehensive, state-of-the-art rapid technologies and digital fabrication lab at Towson University.

“Jan was able to hit the ground running and has already built an ecosystem of early adopters, from federal labs and business owners, to educators and entrepreneurs, creating a professional user group,” said Ulman. “Just days into the job, Jan was able to help one of our MCE residents with a prototype that would have cost thousands of dollars to have made overseas. It’s really exciting to witness firsthand the potential of this new technology.”

The 3D Maryland lab will open by early spring 2014.