Tuesday, June 23, 2015

GROW: Volume 3

This series is part of a blog series about Frederick County businesses that grow and expand. It is a snapshot of Frederick County business success stories. Check back each month for more businesses that grow in Frederick County or read Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Regent Education
Regent Education, which is now in the Firehouse Financial Center on West Church Street, will move its 85 employees to 26,000 SF at Union Mills along Carroll Creek early next year and expects to have a total of 130 employees as the company grows.

Regent traces its beginnings to the founding of Computing Options, a student information system provider, in 1984. In 2006, a team of entrepreneurs incorporated Regent to acquire Computing Options as a platform for a financial aid management system and moved in to the Spite House on Church Street. In 2013, the company recorded record growth and in 2014, they added 20 new FT positions.

Today, they are the leading provider of financial aid management and enrollment optimization software solutions for higher education institutions. Regent 8, the eighth version of Regent's financial aid management system is the only one of its kind and their Regent SNAP enables schools to provide estimated awards to prospective students in 15 minutes or less, a process that normally takes days or weeks. The company estimates that over 1 million students use this software.

The Plamondon Companies
The Plamondons have a long history with Roy Rogers dating back to 1968 when Peter Plamondon, Sr. helped create the chain while working for Marriott.   He later became a Roy Rogers franchisee opening his first restaurant in Frederick, MD in 1980.  Plamondon's sons, Jim and Peter, have owned and operated the business since 1998 and bought the franchise rights to the brand in 2002.  Today the company owns 20 corporate and oversees 40 franchise restaurants in the Mid-Atlantic region.  The company is seeking franchisees to continue Roy Rogers expansion throughout the northeast region.

In 1996, the Plamondons entered the hotel business and formed Plamondon Hospitality Partners.  Today, the Plamondon Companies own and operate 6 Marriott branded hotels (Fairfield Inn, Courtyard Inn, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, and SpringHill Suites) in Frederick. They are the largest hotelier in Frederick County. They are currently in a growth mode with three hotels under construction, a Home2Suites by Hilton in Groveton, GA and a Fairfield Inn & Suites and TownPlace Suites in Altoona, PA all scheduled to open early 2016. They have been selected as the developer for the Downtown Hotel & Conference Center project.
The Plamondon Companies celebrate 35 years in 2015 with 400 FT employees and 600 PT employees and in 2014, they hired 300 people. Their turnover rate for their industry is well below that national average.

Mid-Maryland Muscoskeletal Institute (MMI)
When Drs Nisenfeld and Chilton began the practice in 1986, they had just five employees. Today, there are a dozen partners and 120 employees.

The Mid-Maryland Musculoskeletal Institute offers a full range of services for bone, muscle and joint problems. Growth of the practice required several moves over the years, and eventually the construction of their own 15,000 square foot facility in 2005 on Thomas Johnson Dr. At this time, the MMI division encompasses that main facility and three additional offices on the same block in Frederick, as well as offices in Hagerstown and Urbana.  In 2009, the Urbana office opened and in just 4 years, they doubled their space and expanded services. In conjunction with the Kids First Swim School located in the FSK Mall, MMI now offers Aquatic Exercise Classes. This marks the first endeavor of its kind for the orthopaedic practice as it joins forces with a local sport facility to offer a fast growing and popular exercise option. The practice also provides support for the Keys baseball team, Hood College as well as many local high schools.

An additional 40,000 square feet is anticipated with the construction of an additional facility in Frederick, planned to break ground within the next 2 years.

U.S. Silica
In December 2010, U.S. Silica's Corporate Headquarters moved from its previous location in Berkeley Springs, WV to Frederick. The company stated they moved to Frederick in order to be able to attract new and different talent to operate as a public company.  U.S. Silica, which specializes in glass sand and related products, has 22 locations including Shanghai, China and operates 9 industrial sand production plants and seven oil and gas sand production plants.

In 2013, they had  total revenue of $546 million in 2013, compared with $441.9 million in 2012. In October 2014, Forbes named U.S. Silica Holdings as the best small business of 2014. The honor was based on sales, earnings, equity and stock market performance over the past 12 months and past five years.

The company currently has 102 employees in Frederick and more than 1,000 total in its plants around the U.S. and China. In 2013, they hired 23 employees in Frederick and a total of 148 for all locations. In 2015, they stated they are undergoing unprecedented growth with 253 new hires last year, 32 in Frederick.

The company dates to the late 1800s, when Henry Harrison Hunter mined silica sand in Berkeley Springs and entered a sample in the Chicago World's Fair, winning a blue ribbon and medal of excellence for its quality.

Geo-Technology Associates (GTA)
GTA is celebrating their 30th year in business with 16 offices in the mid-Atlantic region and Carolinas with geotechnical and environmental consulting. Their 285 employees are engineers, geologists, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. They opened their Frederick location in 1995.

In 2014, Geo-Technology Associates (GTA) doubled their manpower and space in Frederick County. Their rapid growth started early 2014 when they had just 8 employees and they now have 16 employees with two more positions available. GTA went from 1,600 square feet to 3,000 square feet when they moved in October 2014. Their previous location on Industry Ln was unfinished industrial space and at their new location on Pegasus Ct, they have additional finished laboratory space.

Current projects that the Frederick office is working on include: Landsdale, a 1100 planned unit development; Clarksburg Village, and several other projects including Linton Farms, and Manors at Ballenger Creek.