Prince George's County Tech News


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prince Georges County – The Giving Pledge; Are Prince George’s County Thousandaires And Millionaires Pledging To Solve Social Problems

Subject: Prince George’s County – The Giving Pledge; Are Prince George’s County Thousandaires And Millionaires Pledging To Solve Social Problems?

Charlie Rose did a story for 60 Minutes on The Giving Pledge which is a group of international billionaires that pledge to leave their money to philanthropy in an effort to solve social problems throughout the world. Bill and Malinda Gates along with Warren Buffet are the most active and vocal about this cause. Warren Buffet regularly makes phone calls to billionaires in an effort to convince them to commit to The Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge: A New Club for Billionaires

I watched Charlie Rose interview Gerald Levin who was at the top of his game in the late nineties and early 2000’s as head of Time Warner and oversaw the merger of Time Warner and AOL. He told Charlie Rose how he felt emotionally bankrupt during that time as a CEO trying to change the culture of a corporation only concerned about the next quarterly report and delivering as much shareholder value as possible. He was conveying to his employees from the top down that a corporation should show some humanity and give back to the community. I really appreciated the interview and what Gerald Levin had to say because people that don’t walk in the shoes of men and women in powerful corporate positions think they don’t care about other people, their plights, or social problems. With programs like The Giving Pledge we are finding out this is not the case for many powerful, well-to-do people throughout the world.  

Charlie Rose Interviews Prior Time Warner/AOL CEO Geral Levin (Interview starts at 32 min:31 sec)

Will Prince George’s County’s wealthy take The Giving Pledge on a local level? Have they recognized the social problems within the County and come to the conclusion that they can do more as a group than as individuals? If the County’s wealthy have taken a pledge like this, what is the name of the organization, where are they focusing their philanthropy, and what local social problems are they tackling?

Just as the County’s financially wealthy should take The Giving Pledge, each resident that has expertise in a skill that would be beneficial to students and adults in need of a career transition must also take the pledge. 

Money is simply the exchange of labor and skills for an asset (paper money) that will allow one to acquire tangible or intangible items. In essence, when one has a skill that is needed by someone else they are financially wealthy because the skills can be used to acquire wealth. Instead of leaving financial wealth to a philanthropic foundation after death, those that are wealthy in skills will make their donation to Prince George’s County in real time. I use my skillsets to raise ideas, motivate others with examples, and encourage collaborations between residents through this blog. I try to provide a roadmap to new careers and long range job prospects in tech and other sectors. I try to promote the diversification of Prince George’s County’s economy and the need to attract tech and other entrepreneurs.

I’m not waiting on the local government to initiate. It is my job to solve the problems I identify. After I take action to solve the problem, I do have the right as a tax paying citizen to call on the local and state government to work with me and bring to bear its resources to solve a problem that is affecting a segment of its population. If a majority of Prince George’s County residents adopt this mindset, I think we can solve social problems that affect the county and continue to improve our quality of life. 

What action are you going take?

What Volunteer Tech Nation member are you going to collaborate with?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Prince Georges County – MPT Shows Maryland Agriculture And Locally Grown Food

Subject: Prince George’s County – MPT Shows Maryland Agriculture And Locally Grown Food

The Buy Local Campaign, Farm to Table Movement, and foodie scene have been big for quite a few years but I still don’t see or hear Prince George’s County restaurants or patrons responding to it en masse. I don’t suggest residents and restaurant owners cook, eat, prepare, shop, or consciously participate just because others are doing it. I think there are tangible cyclical benefits for local communities.

One of the benefits is economic because local farms, local artisans, local distributors, and locally owned stores all work in a supply chain to provide these products to local customers. The animals, crops, fish, and wine are raised humanely and naturally to provide a safe and tastier product to the consumer. Many of the growers and raisers open up their farm or land to consumers so they can come and see how the food gets to the table. In the process of opening their farm or land up to consumers, another stream of income by way of agri-tourism is developed. Consumers appreciate the experience of coming to a farm to taste the cheese, meat, vegetables, wine, etc. that is grown and produced locally. 

Maryland Farm & Harvest 109: Where to Buy Maryland Grown Meat (Start video at 19 min and 30 sec)

Based on my experiences and comments I have heard from others, many small businesses in Prince George’s County have forgotten or don’t understand how important it is to provide an EXPERIENCE for customers. The product may not be the best. If the experience provided for the consumer is comfortable and pleasurable, most times they will become a repeat customer.

I appreciate being able to purchase Maryland grown fruit and vegetables as well as farm raised animals but I am a hyperlocal person concerned about the economic growth, health, and vitality of Prince George’s County. I am concerned about the supply chain from the farm to the restaurant, to the independent grocery stores, to the tables of residents. Does Prince George’s County have a developed supply chain I don’t know about? If not, what actors and stakeholders need to be assembled to begin constructing a truly local supply chain in Prince George’s County? 

Maryland Farm & Harvest 108

Restaurants in the County need a distributor that reaches out and seeks to do business with all the farms in Prince George’s. They need a distributor that is going to educate them about the supply chain process and put them face-to-face with the producers simply for the purpose of collaboration and synergy. They need a distributor that is going to allay their fears of not being able to fulfill their daily and weekly orders just because a Buy Local strategy is used. 

There should be a layered approach because there are so many variables that can negatively affect farming and raising livestock. There are also seasonal growing restrictions. I think Prince George’s County food distributors should look to purchase inventory in this order:
-Prince George’s County farms and agricultural businesses
-Maryland farms and agricultural businesses
-Mid-Atlantic region farms and agricultural businesses
-United States farms and agricultural businesses  

Farm to Chef Maryland 2014: Culinary Competition
I was happily surprised to see Maryland Public Television (MPT) has a new series called Maryland Farm & Harvest which visits farms and agricultural businesses around the state. Given the importance of agriculture to Maryland, this show is right on time. Those of us that live in close proximity to Baltimore or Washington DC either don’t know or forget how rural Maryland really is. MPT’s Faith E. Wachter was kind enough to send me a link to a webpage that lists all the episodes of the first season.

Al Spoler - “Local Buy”:

Faith says if you have an idea for a story e-mail it to or the show’s Facebook page
If you are a resident of Prince George’s County with a business connected to agriculture, please contact Maryland Farm & Harvest so they can do a story on you. If you are a resident that has visited or buy products from an agricultural connected business in Prince George’s County, please contact Maryland Farm & Harvest so they are aware of the business.

What action are you going take?

What Volunteer Tech Nation member are you going to collaborate with?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Prince Georges County – The Town Center At Camp Springs Is A Great Example Of Collaboration And Inclusiveness In Prince George’s County

Subject: Prince George’s County – The Town Center At Camp Springs Is A Great Example Of Collaboration And Inclusiveness In Prince George’s County

I was looking for some information on Prince George’s County’s Government You Tube Channel eOutreach and saw the title “Groundbreaking for Apollo Residence at Town Center. I was not familiar with the information so I watched it. It turns out there’s a development project underway as of November 7, 2013 at the Branch Ave. Metro. New homes, condominiums, and retail are being built in Camp Springs near the Route 5 corridor.

Groundbreaking for Apollo Residence at Town Center 11 7 13

I was taken by the words of the lead developer Peter N.G.Schwartz who focused on and reiterated a collaborative theme. He mentioned and pointed out most, if not all the members of the team that came together on this project that has been in the works prior to the 2007 recession. He mentioned the partners he purchased the land with who are Hubert “Petey” Green and M.A.”Mike” Little. He mentioned the hard work and determination of Council Member Mel Franklin and the buy in of the vision for this project by County Executive Rushern Baker. Schwartz met with and collaborated with developers Hensel Phelps, Facchina Development, and Canyon Partners previously known as Canyon-Johnson (Magic Johnson) Partners. He took on these particular development and construction partners because they stressed meeting and exceeding Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) percentages as well as giving back to the community. Lastly, Schwartz has a mature leadership style because he knows that it is his staff Tomiko Tarver, Dana Stebbins, etc. that drive the train and support his endeavors.

I appreciated the comments of Tony Holm, the president of the Town Center at Camp Springs HOA, Inc. He gave excellent statistical information of his Home Owners Association. Based on the information he gave, the members are professional, accomplished people that are proactive and collaborative when they want something to happen in their community. I look forward to seeing Camp Springs at Branch Ave Metro become a major entertainment and retail location along the Route 5 Branch Ave corridor. I also look forward to Prince George’s County continually taking advantage of it diverse population for the purpose of developing new and existing spaces that will attract great neighbors and tourists. Working together will definitely improve the quality of life for all in the County. 

What action are you going take?

What Volunteer Tech Nation member are you going to collaborate with?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Prince Georges County – Spelman College’s Spelbots Show Girls They Can Be STEM Stars

Subject: Prince George’s County – Spelman College’s Spelbots Show Girls They Can Be STEM Stars

The Spelman College’s Spelbots, a robotics team, was founded by Andrew B. Williams, Ph.D at the elite Atlanta women’s college in 2004. Within one year after their founding, the Spelbots were drawing attention. The team entered the 2005 RoboCup Japan Open in Osaka, Japan and met with good results. Although the team didn’t win the competition, they held their own against other more experienced teams. Two years after their first appearance in the RoboCup, the Spelbots tied for 2nd place with a top Japanese technology university in the championship.

RoboCup 2007 SpelBots Technical Challenge

The Spelbots are very involved in STEM research. When they are not doing STEM research, they travel the country to fulfill request by organizations asking them to come and speak to girls of color and encourage them to get involved in STEM disciplines. 

What action are you going take?

What Volunteer Tech Nation member are you going to collaborate with?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Prince George’s County – Tell WUSA Channel 9 What’s Driving You Crazy

Subject: Prince George’s County – Tell WUSA Channel 9 What’s Driving You Crazy

Channel 9 WUSA is running commercials and stating that they want to listen to the public. They want to use your feedback to craft the news and give viewers what they want. Fox 5 DC is stating the same thing. They allow viewers to ask questions about the news, anchors, and reporters. 

My response to the feedback the news channels want is to request a balanced approach to news about Prince George’s County. If they are going to report crimes, they should also report residents, businesses, and government officials that are making a difference and improving the quality of life in our great county. I think it would go a long way if Prince George’s County residents, business owners, and government officials echoed these sentiments. This is a strategy for taking control of the narrative of our county. It is part and parcel to re-branding Prince George’s County and showing people that we are on the move and open for business as the Baker Administration says.

Link to WUSA Channel 9 “Tell WUSA”:

Link to WJLA Channel 7:

What action are you going take?

What Volunteer Tech Nation member are you going to collaborate with?