Williams Celebrates 20 Years

Williams Asset Management, one of Maryland’s premier wealth management firms for both individual investors and organizations, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

“Since starting my firm in 1994, my goal was to build a comprehensive wealth management firm that wasn’t necessarily the biggest, but instead earned a quality reputation for being responsive, dedicated and results-oriented. We take great pride in knowing that as fiduciaries, we are putting our client’s interests first,” said company president and founder Gary S. Williams. “The combination of committed and talented staff and loyal clientele has helped create a successful firm that humbles me.”

Williams Asset Management is an award-winning, privately owned investment advisory services and wealth management firm. It provides independent and objective advice to a wide array of affluent individuals and families.

Habitat for Humanity Merger

The boards of directors of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake and Sandtown Habitat for Humanity have agreed to a merger. The decision to merge was announced in a joint statement from Habitat Chesapeake board chair Michael Brennan and Sandtown Habitat’s board chair Bert Hash, Jr.

“By combining the resources of these two strong Central Maryland affiliates, the new entity will be better positioned to meet the growing needs of affordable housing in the community. The boards of both organizations have recognized the opportunity to achieve more efficient and effective use of donor dollars while providing the ability to partner with more families than ever before,” Brennan said.

The organizations began discussions on how to increase partnerships earlier this year. Recently, the proposal to merge was unanimously approved by the boards of both organizations. “The economies of scale and combined resources of a merger will provide our community with an even stronger voice as we advocate for affordable housing,” said Hash.

Kornblatt Co. Turns 50

On June 26, the Kornblatt Company celebrated its 50th anniversary at its newly renovated St. Paul Conference Plaza Center. Through the past five decades, the venerable real estate company has developed several downtown Baltimore structures, including the Paca Pratt building, St. Paul Plaza and 25 South Charles. It currently manages St. Paul Plaza.

Chairman David Kornblatt’s achievements were celebrated along with his 87th birthday. In recognition of what he has accomplished, the 200 block of St. Paul St. was honorably named David W. Kornblatt Way.

Goldseker Awards BCF $1.5M

The board of directors of the Goldseker Foundation has announced the largest grant in the foundation’s 39-year history: $1.5 million to the Baltimore Community Foundation and its affiliated entities, Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc. and the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance.

The Goldseker Foundation’s grant support of BCF began in 1979 and has exceeded $4 million over the past 35 years. Since 2000, the foundation has also provided approximately $3 million in additional support to HNI and CMTA, two BCF-affiliated entities focused on improving Baltimore’s neighborhoods and expanding regional transportation options. This latest grant will provide $1 million to support BCF’s grant making, initiatives and advocacy and another $100,000 to support its Civic Leadership Fund. HNI and CMTA will receive $300,000 and $100,000, respectively, for ongoing operating support.

Forever Strong Comes to Columbia

Dr. Josh Bross, owner of Elite Chiropractic & Sport, has announced that the personal training system, Forever Strong, is now available at Elite Chiropractic & Sport in Columbia.

Forever Strong, part of Kelly Scott’s Forever Strong fitness system, is a powerful strength-building, fat-burning and muscle-toning program proven to increase energy and endurance. Until now, it has only been available at its original location in Fulton.

Designed as a restorative strength program that uses free weights, suspension training and bodyweight movements, the program boasts many health benefits including increased bone density, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, or stroke, suppressed appetite, higher metabolism and release of anti-aging hormones.

LifeBridge’s Meltzer Honored

080814_bbriefs-Neil-MeltzerThe Gold Heart Award, the American Heart Association’s highest national recognition for volunteerism, was presented to Neil Meltzer, president and CEO of LifeBridge Health for his two decades of exceptional leadership and advocacy at the annual Gold Heart Banquet in Dallas. Only two people in the country were selected to receive this 2104 distinction.

Meltzer has been a devoted ally of the American Heart Association since 1995, serving on both the national stage and rolling up his sleeves with grassroots efforts in the Maryland area.

“My affiliation with the American Heart Association is truly a labor of love. Over the years, I have been enriched by working with the individuals who make up this extraordinary organization and with whom I share a vision to eradicate heart disease and strokes through education,” Meltzer said. “This fight is also a personal one for me. Cardiovascular disease has claimed the lives of loved ones on both sides of my family.”

Hopkins Nursing Receives Grant

The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is one of only 14 nursing schools nationwide to be among the first to receive a grant from a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program to increase the number of nurses holding doctorates. As an inaugural grantee of the Future of Nursing Scholars program, JHSON will select a nursing student to receive financial support, mentoring, and leadership development over the three years of his/her Ph.D. program.

The Future of Nursing Scholars program is a multifunder initiative. In addition to RWJF, the United Health Foundation, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Rhode Island Foundation are supporting the Future of Nursing Scholars grants to schools of nursing this year. The Future of Nursing Scholars program plans to support up to 100 Ph.D. nursing candidates over its first two years.

The Associated Names Neumann, Baum

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Mark Neumann (left) and Charles Baum

The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore has named Mark D. Neumann as its chair of the board. Neumann, who began his two-year term on July 1, will be involved with planning and budgeting, funding and leadership development. The Associated provides the fundraising and infrastructure for many agencies and programs serving the overall Baltimore Jewish community.

In addition, the Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore, the asset holding company of The Associated, has named Charles C. Baum as its new president.

The AJC is title holder for an extensive portfolio of real estate in Baltimore and serves as sole trustee of the Jewish Community Investment Fund, a comingled investment vehicle for the endowment assets of The Associated and its agencies as well as the assets of other Jewish not-for-profits.

Neumann, who is chairman of 510 Ventures, LLC, a privately owned investment holding company, has previously served as chair of The Associated’s community planning and allocations committee and as annual campaign chair.

Baum, who will also serve a two-year term that began July 1, is president of United Holdings Co., Inc., a firm that invests in real estate and securities.

Thayer Promoted at KatzAbosch

The partners of KatzAbosch are proud to announce that Arlene Thayer, AAAMP, has been promoted to executive vice president.

Thayer has been with the firm for 11 years and is its chief operating officer, working mostly with shareholders and department heads on running the firm as a strategic administrator. In her new role as executive vice president, she will be in charge of developing and executing a strategic growth plan for the Firm.

Founded in 1969, KatzAbosch is one of the largest CPA and business consulting services in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Back Talk

Akiva Shmidman displays his invention, the BeActive brace.  (Provided)

Akiva Shmidman displays his invention, the BeActive brace.
(Provided)

Akiva Shmidman has been a practicing physical therapist since 2003, first in New York and now for the past nine years in Baltimore. The 36-year-old Pikesville resident, who specializes in sports medicine, has seen his share of patients with lower back pain. The BeActive brace, a product Shmidman invented to help these patients, will soon be available at stores locally and across the country.

About 10 years ago, “I had a patient with terrible back pain that radiated down his leg. He said he had experienced severe pain for five years with basically no relief during that time,” said Shmidman. “It was a challenge. While examining him one day, I encountered a tender point on his calf. When I pressed on it, all of a sudden his back felt better.”

From then on, every time Shmidman exhausted traditional treatments, he would try applying pressure to the calf. In most cases, the technique relieved patients’ pain.

“I thought, ‘What if I could spread this treatment globally?’” he said.

Shmidman explained that low back pain is typically caused by tension to the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body.

“When you compress the calf muscle, this releases tension in the sciatic nerve, relieving various types of low back pain, including herniated discs, piriformis syndrome and mechanical low back pain,” he said. “It even helps women with sciatica caused by pregnancy.”

Shmidman went to work designing a brace that would mimic the manual compression for patients outside of his office. The device was patented in 2012.

Shmidman tried marketing the BeActive brace independently but said he was only able to “get so far” on his own. When he heard about Pennsylvania-based Top Dog Direct, a national marketer of “as seen on TV” products and its “speed-pitching” event in Philadelphia last spring, he decided it was worth a try.

“There were three panelists meeting with inventors and I pitched the product to them,” related Shmidman. “One of the panelists said, ‘I have back pain right now.’ So she tried the brace and said, ‘Yeah, I feel better. It’s amazing.’ After that there was no question. I got the contract.

“About two weeks later, I was filming infomercials in a house and at a mall in New Jersey,” he added.

Shmidman, who recommends the brace as a pain management tool to be combined with other types of treatment, said media tests of the infomercial received tremendous responses, so now the product will be moving into the retail market. Soon, he expects it to be sold at chains such as Target and Wal-Mart at a price of $19.95.

Shmidman and his wife Deborah are parents of six and attend Congregation Ohel Moshe. “It’s been a good experience working with Top Dog,” he said. “Originally, they scheduled the shoots for the commercials on Pesach and I couldn’t do it. So they rescheduled.”