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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: business

Sara Trenery, Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development

On July 10, 1964, Alan and Lois Elkin opened a small business selling copying supplies, ribbons, carbons and duplicators in 1,200 square feet of space. Little did they know at the time that one day this small business would become Maryland’s largest independent document management company, Advance –The Document Specialists, employing over 180 people at four locations.

It took just three years before Advance outgrew its space and moved its eight employees to Timonium.  In an effort to demonstrate their copier products to the customer, Advance created the “Curbside Copier Showroom,” a modified Winnebago equipped with copy machines for mobile demonstrations.

With business booming, Advance moved to its current headquarters in Cockeysville.  In 1990 Jeff Elkin joined his parents in the business and in 2000 was named CEO of the company.

With annual revenues approaching $40 million, Advance continues to receive national recognition and awards for their commitment to providing outstanding service-not just during “normal business hours” but during evenings, weekends and holidays. Advance is also a manufacturer’s certified service training center, one of the few in the entire U.S.

In 2006, 2008 and 2009, Advance’s employees rated the company one of the best places to work, making Advance a finalist for Baltimore Business Journal’s Best Places to Work award.

Alan Elkin describes his philosophy this way: “Advance is not just a job. Advance is our life. We love what we do. It is what defines us. “We Live and Breathe This Stuff” is not just the tagline for our commercials; it is our culture.”

 As Advance celebrates 50 years in business, Baltimore County salutes the Elkin family for their commitment to their customers and their community.


photo of Dunbar armored vehicleSara Trenery, Business Development Representative
Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development

The lobby of the Dunbar Armored world headquarters in Hunt Valley is a mini museum of the armored security business. Original armored cars and trucks from the 1930’s and 1950’s share space with exhibits on famous armored car heists and weapons of choice for armored guards past and present. The Dunbar family’s roots go back almost 100 years, to a company founded by the present CEO’s grandfather.

Today, President and CEO Kevin Dunbar runs the largest independently owned armored carrier in the country. Dunbar, named one of the Daily Record’s 2013 Most Admired CEOs, leads a company that employs 5,200 workers in 85 branches across the country.

As the security needs of their clients have broadened over the years, the company has responded with new and innovative products. The Dunbar family of companies has grown to include six operating companies: Federal Armored Express, Cash Vault Services, Loughlin Guard Services, EZ-Audit, BankPak, and Alarm Services.

With the newest addition to the corporate family, Dunbar Digital Armor, the company enters the world of cyber security. Located just down the street from Dunbar’s headquarters in new office space on Schilling Circle, the new division provides security protection, threat assessment, analysis, and remediation for customers in the digital environment. Recent headlines regarding digital security lapses at retailers and higher educational institutions have highlighted the need for these services. Dunbar has aligned their business to address these growing cyber security problems.

For nearly a century, customers have relied on Dunbar as a trusted advisor in safeguarding their valuables. As those valuables have gone digital, so has Dunbar.

We are proud that the Dunbar family of companies calls Baltimore County home.


By Helga Weschke, Acting Deputy Director
Baltimore County Department of Economic Development

Image of Baltimore County businesses.

From a golf cart parts company in Rosedale to a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Hunt Valley, cybersecurity firms in Catonsville to industrial suppliers in Dundalk, teams from the Baltimore County Department of Economic Development met with over 350 companies in one week to deliver a single, clear message: “Your business is an important economic driver in the local economy.”

“We are very fortunate that over 20,000 employers have chosen Baltimore County as their home. It is critical to our economic success that we maintain a healthy, welcoming business climate  so these companies can grow and prosper,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in declaring September 30 to October 4 Business 1st Week. "We want to make sure that our diverse business community knows that Baltimore County has the resources in place to support their success."

Business 1st Week is an opportunity for the County’s business and workforce development staff to hear what business issues keep company CEO’s up at night, and how county resources can help support and grow their operations. Companies received an overview of financing opportunities, free workforce recruitment and training programs, tax credits, and innovation and commercialization programs available to Baltimore County businesses.

So what did we learn after a week blanketing the County? Our business community is certainly diverse when you look at it from street level. In a single day, one team visited a product design company, an HVAC repair firm, greeting card importer, and clothing recycling company. We also learned that the workforce is the key component to an operations success.

We appreciated the chance to meet and thank companies for being part of our economic prosperity.

And we’ll do it again – once our feet recover!

For more information on business programs and services, visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/business or call 410-887-8000.


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