BTS: Keeping the Digital Harbor dream alive
For those who've been around Baltimore awhile, you'll recall the term "Digital Harbor" being given to the city in the early 2000s to brand it during the last tech bubble.
A bunch of tech companies that started back then are still around here in the city, but many aren't. But the idea of "digital harbor" still resonates for many, including entrepreneur Sean Lane.
Lane is the CEO of Battlefield Telecommunications Systems LLC, a 60+ firm that's based in Columbia and that started up three years ago to serve government customers. The news today is that BTS officially opened a Baltimore office, at the Foundry on Fort building in South Baltimore/Locust Point.
The office is for a subsidiary, BTS Software Solutions, and has about 10 employees. But the company expects to hire 40 or so people over the next 18-24 months, they tell me.
As far as I can see, this looks like a positive story for Baltimore. BTS builds mobile tactical cellular 3G networks for the military -- so soldiers can use smartphones and even iPads on a networked battlefield. I asked Sean Lane why he chose Baltimore over Columbia or further south, i.e. Bethesda or Northern Virginia, and he said the city has a lot going for it, such as talented workers, a quirky vibe, inexpensive real estate, and a good sense of place. He believes in the idea of growing the city's "digital harbor" economy and community.
I took a tour of the new office on Fort Ave. Lots of rough, exposed brick, bright sunlight, and splashes of red in the new office, which is above the Wine Market restaurant. There's even a ping pong table -- ah, those techies sure love their office games.
Here are some pics of BTS in Baltimore -- yes, that's Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler (left) cutting the ribbon with Lane :
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