In the last decade, Baltimore has become a hotbed for high-tech growth and this accomplishment is one for the city to be proud of. It takes a rich talent pool, often from local universities, to make a tech city. Additionally, the business and political community have shown strong support of technology initiatives and start-ups. With these attractive features in place, the area is wired for continued prosperity in this industry.

(Photo Courtesy of Mike Adelstein)

(Photo Courtesy of Mike Adelstein)

One of the primary reasons that Mike Adelstein, president and CEO of Potomac Photonics, a leader in micro-fabrication and small hole drilling, moved the company to bwtech@UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County) Research and Technology Park was to be in a tech-centric environment that fosters innovation and learning. In fact, Adelstein initially started his education at UMBC earning a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology before joining Potomac Photonics – a step that effectively launched his career and the lifelong pursuit of education both in and out of classroom.

Where did you earn your degree?

“After I started working at Potomac Photonics, I earned a Masters of Science in Technology Management at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).”

How has education prepared you for your job?

“My degree in biochemistry and molecular biology initially helped me succeed as a sales engineer for Potomac Photonics because I felt very comfortable working in a technical environment. My masters degree and CPA provided me with the foundation to be promoted to president and CEO in 2011, and lead a buyout of the company in 2012. The combination of my degrees and certification has been essential in preparing me to deal with all aspects of the company and serve our partners and customers at a high level, both from a technical and business perspective.”

Could you have reached your present position without your education endeavors?

“Certainly my education played a critical role in helping me reach my present position. Additionally, factors such as my passion for high-tech manufacturing and perseverance to achieve success, especially for our customers and employees, are also important.”

What continuing education is required for your specific role?

“In addition to earning CPE hours for my CPA license, I attend workshops and conferences. For hands-on training, I am looking forward to spending time in our new innovation laboratory. Potomac Photonics’ Educational Manufacturing Initiative, which provides universities and institutions with access to our services at a reduced rate, helps to keep my pulse on what the next generation of engineers and scientists will require in terms of manufacturing.”

Keri Ann Beazell is a Baltimore writer following the latest developments in arts and culture, natural wonders, lifestyle and pets. She enjoys promoting thought-provoking discussions, education, new ideas and smiles among readers. Follow her online at and


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