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Towson taps Ulman to provide ‘placemaking’ strategy

Towson University is hiring former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman to develop a strategy to strengthen ties between the university and the surrounding community and businesses.

Ulman’s Margrave Strategies consulting firm has spent the better part of two years working with the University of Maryland, College Park both to attract and retain tech companies and develop an innovation “ecosystem” around the campus.

Former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has been hired by the University of Maryland to strengthen its economic development efforts.

Former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman’s Margrave Strategies consulting firm has been hired by Towson University to develop a strategy to strengthen ties between the university and the surrounding community and businesses. (File photo)

An early example of that effort was finding a new home for FlexEl, an innovative battery maker that was initially planning to move from College Park to Northern Virginia before Ulman and UMD officials found them a new location and persuaded the company to stay.

The so-called “Innovation District” in College Park will be anchored by The Hotel at the University of Maryland, a $150 million, 297-room hotel and conference center currently under construction.

Ulman has also advocated for the creation of a $25 million fund to provide early-stage investment to companies that grow out of University System of Maryland institutions and for “flex” research and development space near the campus to house businesses.

The system’s Board of Regents approved both proposals in June.

Ulman, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Towson University President Kim Schatzel are slated to announce the new “placemaking” effort Tuesday afternoon.

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