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Hartings touts biotech experience in bid to keep Washington Co. BOE seat

October 02, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Justin Hartings
Justin Hartings

HAGERSTOWN — Justin Hartings said his experience in the biotechnology industry can help Washington County Public Schools provide the education students need to take of advantage of new opportunities in the industry.

As a parent of three children in the school system, Hartings said he wants to see the school system succeed.

The school system is “on a very good trajectory, but I think there are even bigger or better places” for it to go, said Hartings, who lives southeast of Keedysville.

Hartings, 41, is seeking a second term on the Washington County Board of Education. He is president and sole owner of Biaera Technologies, an aerobiology-related technology company based in Washington County.

Because there are only five candidates for the four school board seats up for election, the school board did not have a primary in April. The school board has seven members. The school board race is nonpartisan.

The general election is Nov. 6.

Also running for school board are Travis W. Poole, Melissa Williams, and incumbents Donna L. Brightman and Wayne D. Ridenour.

Hartings said he sees the school system as an “economic driver for Washington County.”

For the community to take advantage of opportunities out there for industrial growth and job expansion, the “school system has to be a player and be successful for that to happen,” Hartings said.

Hartings said his experience in the aerobiology industry can help the school system provide the education students need to take advantage of new opportunities.

Maryland has a biotechnology triangle from the Bethesda, Md., area, with the National Naval Medical Center and National Institutes of Health; to Baltimore with Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, and the university’s applied physics laboratory; to Frederick, Md., with Fort Detrick, Hartings said.

“One logical place for new emerging technologies to be developed is Washington County,” Hartings said.

The cost of doing business in Washington County would be more affordable than in Frederick or Rockville, Md., Hartings said.

That’s one benefit of moving the aerobiology-related Biaera Technologies to Washington County from the Frederick Innovative Technology Center Inc. in Frederick County once the company outgrew the incubator, he said.

Costs such as rent are cheaper here for a start-up business, he said.

Asked in what areas he would make budget cuts, if needed, Hartings said anytime there’s talk about budgeting, for businesses too, it’s an opportunity to look at what an organization does and doesn’t do well, and forces people to look at the core mission.

“And you then build from that core mission, looking at the things you do well and the things that might not be working. You prioritize based on that.

“My focus is on the point of service, which is having an outstanding teacher in a classroom with students who are ready to learn,” he said. “So that’s the core that I start from and things that support that get the higher priority and anything that wouldn’t support that would be lower on the priority list.”

Hartings is a major in the U.S. Army Individual Ready Reserve, and spent four years on active duty at bases in Maryland and Washington, D.C. He spent two of those years at Fort Detrick, where he did biodefense research.

School board members elected in November 2012 will serve four-year terms and will be paid $6,100 a year. If one of the newly elected members becomes board president, the annual salary will be $6,200.

A salary increase kicked in starting with board members elected in 2010.

Board members such as Hartings, whose seats are up for re-election this year, are paid $5,500 a year, while the board president is paid $5,600.

Name: Justin Hartings
Age: 41
Address: 2708 Chestnut Grove Road, southeast of Keedysville
Education: Graduated from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati. Earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Notre Dame, and master’s and doctoral degrees in applied physics from Yale University.
Occupation: President and sole owner of Biaera Technologies, an aerobiology-related technology company. A major, he is a member of the U.S. Army Individual Ready Reserve.
Party affiliation: Republican
Political experience: Is serving his first term on the school board.

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