Professional Development
Energy / Jobs / Manufacturing / Philanthropy / STEM

Baltimore Power Moves: Open Works and Coppin State partner for a new makerspace, degree and tech transfer program

Plus, Morgan State affiliates sweep the STEM awards and honors circuit, and the Greater Baltimore Committee names its first-ever regional innovation director.

Open Works' Will Holman speaks at Coppin State University. (COURTESY/CHIP DIZARD)
Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, gig or promotion? Email us at

One of Baltimore’s two historically Black universities is growing its manufacturing and entrepreneurial capacity, from inception to commercialization, through a partnership with a local organization. The city’s other HBCU boasts new recognition of staff and alums’ STEM accomplishments.

Beyond the higher education sphere, several local economic development entities and startups have announced new leadership appointments, collaborations and other institutional changes. Learn about these and other regional power moves below.

Open Works partnership expands Coppin State’s entrepreneurship pipeline

Open Works and Coppin State University (CSU) teamed up to establish a new makerspace on Baltimore’s Westside. They’ve updated their existing partnership with a new memorandum of understanding to provide CSU students and faculty access to the upcoming facility. The makerspace and college will also work to set up a tech transfer department at CSU and co-design a degree program in makerspace management.

According to the Baltimore Business Journal, the makerspace will cover 900 square feet and forms part of Open Works’ bigger plans to open a larger property at a one-time lumber mill at 2636 W. North Ave. The organization raised $4 million from a mix of federal sources and the  West North Avenue Development Authority (WNADA) to develop the site, which is expected to open in the next two years.

Additionally, a satellite makerspace will launch on the first floor of CSU’s College of Business. It will offer free programming in its inaugural year with grant support from Baltimore City and the State of Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The satellite mini-makerspace will be overseen by April Lewis, Open Works’ current director of community and culture.

MSU Bears sweep STEM honors

At its 147th Spring Commencement Ceremonies, Morgan State University (MSU) will not only confer degrees upon the class of 2024 but also present an honorary Doctor of Science degree to its alumna Valerie Thomas.

Known for her work as a NASA scientist and inventor of foundational technology used in various applications, including 3D imaging, Thomas developed her interests in electronics, mathematics, physics and research during her time at MSU.

Oscar Barton Jr., the dean of the MSU Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering, was also honored with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Edwin F. Church Medal for his contributions to mechanical engineering education. He is the first African American to receive this award in its 52-year history. An endowed scholarship was established in his name to support underrepresented males pursuing engineering degrees.

Olisa Menakaya, a chemistry teacher for Springbrook High School in Silver Spring and a graduate student at MSU, has been awarded the 2024 Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers by the National Science Teaching Association. Menakaya is also pursuing a doctoral degree in science education at Morgan State’s School of Education and Urban Studies.

Woman and man hold beige medal in brown and blue container.

Oscar Barton Jr. (right) accepts his Edwin F. Church Medal. (Courtesy ASME)

Moving philanthropy forward for science and tech

According to a post on X by its inaugural president Kumar Garg, a long-time figure in the national science and tech ecosystem, the nonprofit advisory firm Renaissance Philanthropy just launched in the DMV. It will work with philanthropists to devise and implement strategies leveraging science, technology and innovation in the giving sector.

One of the new organization’s advisory board members will be Andrew Coy from the Digital Harbor Foundation. Coy also recently joined the board of a New York-based talent connector, Factor Fellowship.

New roles and role changes in Baltimore

  • Teresa Prego has been appointed the new CEO of EpiWatch, a Johns Hopkins University spinout aiming to commercialize an application that transforms a standard Apple Watch into a seizure-detecting device.
  • EcoMap Technologies, a Baltimore-based startup focused on ecosystem intelligence and AI software, has appointed Ed Schmalzle as its VP of engineering.
  • Evan Taylor, who previously oversaw human-centric strategies in global business and technology for Slalom Baltimore, rejoined M&T Bank as its head of innovation. In this role, he partners with key stakeholders to craft and execute an operational model aimed at cultivating innovation across the organization.
  • Nemphos Braue, a boutique corporate and business law firm in Towson, has welcomed Towson University alum Katie Bush as its director of business development.
  • TEDCO welcomed new development and marketing intern Shreya Dinesh, who will be mentored by the state-affiliated funder’s Chief of Development and Marketing Officer Tammi Thomas. Also, TEDCO announced the recent promotions of Mindy Lehman to chief government program development, affairs and policy officer; and Alex Choi to executive director of government program development, affairs and research. Lehman’s responsibilities now include overseeing government program development and the implementation of specific TEDCO initiatives and programs, including the Equitech Growth Fund and Commission and the Cyber Maryland Program.
  • Leari-Jenee Jones recently moved from Dent Education, where they served as director of marketing and curriculum, to a position as a programming and business specialist for Towson University’s StarTUp.

Other Power Moves

  • GCOM and OnCore Consulting, which merged in 2023 to create a nationwide software and solutions company focused on the public sector, has rebranded as Voyatek.
  • The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) entered into an agreement with CI Renewables. a private Baltimore-area developer and owner of large-scale solar power facilities. The agreement marks the initiation of a solar power project to fulfill UMB’s objective of being a 100% carbon-neutral campus by 2045.

This article references TEDCO, a client, and Dent Education, on whose board the author of this article sits. Neither relationship has any impact on this report. 

Companies: EpiWatch / EcoMap Technologies / M&T Bank / Dent Education / Open Works / Nemphos Braue / University of Maryland, Baltimore / Coppin State University / Greater Baltimore Committee / Morgan State University / TEDCO / Digital Harbor Foundation
Series: Power Moves

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