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Baltimore County Now

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: workforce development

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 Acadia Windows manufacturing plantRick Johnson,
Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development

Since the days of aluminum storm windows in 1947, Acadia Windows & Doors has manufactured commercial and residential windows and doors in Rosedale. Skilled workers turn large sheets of glass, saws, and presses into energy efficient vinyl products engineered for maximum durability. Acadia’s products benefit from proprietary engineering, high tech equipment, and lean (and green) manufacturing processes. Today, Acadia is recognized as one of the East Coast’s major manufacturers of new and replacement windows and doors.

Since 2005, Acadia has worked closely with the Arc Northern Chesapeake Region (The Arc NCR) to provide employment opportunities to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Acadia has hired nine employees from The Arc NCR with great success.  "We didn’t partner with The Arc NCR to be altruistic; we partnered with them because it makes sense as a business decision,” said Acadia’s Vice President of Manufacturing Neill Christopher. “This is a great pool of workers.”

Arc NCR workers have made a difference on the manufacturing floor, performing tasks that resulted in production line improvements for the company.  Arc NCR workers earn the same wages as people without disabilities doing the same job, and interact with their peers at the company in an integrated work environment.

“We had a great deal of trepidation when The Arc NCR first approached us,” continued Christopher. “This is a manufacturing environment, with large sheets of glass, saws and presses, all capable of inflicting serious injury.  What we learned is that everything that we did to make things safer for our team members from The Arc NCR made it safer for everyone else as well.  We’re an OSHA SHARP site; proud of our safety record while striving to always make our facility safer for all who work or visit here."

Acadia's success story with Arc was so impressive, the company was asked to join a panel at a National Governors Association meeting to discuss their experience in the field of disability employment.

When disabilities are not barriers, everyone wins.


crab malletTim Murphy, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development

Apparently, folks have been digging into a lot more steamed crabs and slurping more spicy crab soup if sales at J.O. Spice Company are any indication.  The Halethorpe company, established in 1945, manufactures crab seasonings, soups, batters and breadings for restaurants.   J.O. Spice’s online and retail stores offer seasonings and soups, plus Maryland crab jewelry, engraved mallets, crafts, and other “crabby” items. The company has just added 17,000 square feet of space to expand the growing retail portion of their business.

You can find J.O. Spice products in many crab houses throughout Maryland, by visiting the new store or online at www.jospices.com . 

To celebrate their newly expanded retail store, J.O. Spice is holding a ribbon cutting Saturday, April 5, at 11:00 a.m. at 3721 Old Georgetown Road in Halethorpe.  All are welcome to attend for tastings, giveaways, and more. 

Stop by so you’re ready for outdoor crab season!


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