Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2008

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—TRX Systems, a Technology Advancement Program graduate company founded by University of Maryland Professor and Associate Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering Gil Blankenship, and assisted by the university's Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI), has won first place in the third annual Global Security Challenge (GSC) competition.

For winning, TRX Systems receives a $500,000 federal contract from the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG), the U.S. national forum that identifies, prioritizes, and coordinates interagency and international research and development requirements for combating terrorism. TRX qualified for the GSC final by making it through two earlier rounds of judging, the including co-winning the American Regional Semi-Final held at the University of Maryland in September.

At the international final competition held in London on November 13, TRX Systems beat out five other semi-final winners from the American, Asian and European regionals. Chief Executive Officer, Carole Teolis, Ph.D.(UM 1994), and TRX Chief Operating Officer Karina Drees, both graduates of the university, presented the TRX Sentinel TM first responder personnel location, tracking, and monitoring technology.

Celebrating TRX Systems' win in the 2008 Global Security Challenge in London are (L-R) Brian Darmody, University of Maryland associate vice president for research and economic development, Carole Teolis, TRX CEO, and Karina Drees, COO. Darmody helped to organize the preliminary competition hosted at the University of Maryland earlier in the fall.

"Winning the Global Security Challenge is a tremendous accomplishment for TRX Systems," said COO Drees, who led the company's presentations at both the GSC regional and global competitions. "It provides enormous recognition and a great boost to the development of the company and its products."

TRX Systems, based in Greenbelt, MD, recently graduated from the Technology Advancement Program, the incubator facility for startups that is part of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), a unit of the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering. Earlier this year, the company was named the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year for Homeland Security.

"The University of Maryland has a strong history of creating and supporting successful start up companies," said Brian Darmody, associate vice president for research and economic development. "And we believe the emergence of such private-sector, intelligence-related firms is an excellent trend for the economic development of the state and region."

TRX employs 17 people - seven full-time, seven part-time, and three consultants. All but three are University of Maryland alumni, many from the department of electrical and computer engineering.

"We are very proud of this important entrepreneurial achievement by our faculty, students and alumni associated with TRX," said Patrick O'Shea, chairman of the department of electrical and computer engineering. This is a great example of our research efforts translating into real outcomes that offer tremendous benefits to society.

A Winning Technology

TRX's presentation at the GSC showcased the prototype system, which, according to the company, can effectively track individuals inside multi-story buildings with no special instrumentation or preparation of the incident site required. The system provides accurate, reliable locations in 3-dimensions, indoors and outside regardless of the local environment, weather conditions, availability of GPS, etc, it says.

TRX's innovative map generation software is a key part of the company's IP according to TRX's Drees. "The map generation software enables the responders to generate a floor plan if one is not available when first responders arrive on scene. These floor plans can greatly improve situational awareness as well as improve tracking capability," she said. In addition to superior incident management of resources, the system's precision location and health information for deployed personnel permits a dramatic decrease in rescue time for distressed or downed firefighters.

"Interaction with firefighters from the start has been critical to the development of a system that firefighters will use and that meets their requirements," said TRX CEO Teolis. "The involvement of the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute has been vital in the development of the TRX system," she said.

Prior to its GSC victory, TRX's research and development had already drawn support from the National Science Foundation, the TSWG, the Department of Homeland Security, the Laboratory for Physical Sciences, the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI), and the Center for Fire Safety Research and Development (CFSRD) and private investors. The State of Maryland has also supported TRX Systems through the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), the Maryland Industrial Partnership (MIPS) Program, and the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) Program.

"The Global Security Challenge is so important because it reaches the new, small, non-traditional players that so frequently drive innovations," said Jeff David, deputy director of the TSWG that is providing TRX with the winner's $500,000 contract. "We are proud to sponsor the award for the GSC winner because the GSC is an effective launching pad for security entrepreneurs."

About TRX Systems, Inc. (www.trxsystems.com)
TRX Systems, Inc., a high technology Maryland corporation, is a leading innovator in the development of personnel tracking solutions. TRX’s products include an advanced personal tracking system for first responders. The Company also provides advanced R&D services to US Government agencies. TRX Systems is headquartered in College Park Maryland and is privately held.

About the Technology Advancement Program (www.tap.umd.edu)
For more than 20 years, TAP, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), has helped entrepreneurs build some of the most successful technology companies in Maryland. TAP staff members are seasoned veterans of startups and venture capital firms who provide: business advice and support; market intelligence; introductions; access to funding; and other critical assistance that can accelerate the growth of a technology venture. TAP offers furnished offices and flexible lab space as well as a many other benefits and services that can only be found at a technology business incubator located at one of the nation’s top research universities.

About the Global Security Challenge LLP (www.globalsecuritychallenge.com)
Global Security Challenge LLP (GSC) is a central hub for security innovators, startups and investors. GSC runs the leading international business plan competition to find and select the most promising security technology startups in the world. It was established in 2006 by London Business School students to empower entrepreneurs in the homeland security technology space. The mission of the GSC is to stimulate technological innovations that make airports, cities and enterprises safer without encroaching on civil liberties. The GSC is supported by Accenture, BAE Systems, ONR Global, PegasusBridge Fund Management, Smiths Detection, TSWG, and the US Department of Homeland Security, amongst others. The partner universities of the GSC are the University of Maryland, National University of Singapore, University of Kent and London Business School.

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Contact:

Eric Schurr
(301) 405-3889
schurr@umd.edu


Pictured: Dr. Carole Teolis, CEO of TRX Systems on the left. Karina Drees, CFO of TRX Systems in middle. Jeff David from TSWG (U.S. DoD) on the right. Download a full-resolution copy of this photo.

 

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