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CMMC Center of Excellence Announces Engagement Agreement with Ordr

Interoperability Clearinghouse

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Center of Excellence (CMMC COE), hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public-private partnership serving the public and private sectors for more than 15 years, is excited to announce a partnership with Ordr, an industry leader in continuous discovery, device asset inventory visibility and security of all connected devices, including unmanaged IoT, IoMT, and OT devices. This unique partnership will extend efforts by providing complete device asset inventory discovery for compliance within the CMMC COE Marketplace to improve cybersecurity protection and resilience for the global defense industrial base network of contractors, vendors, and suppliers. “We are excited to embark on this journey with Ordr”, said John Weiler, Chairman of the Board at CMMC Center of Excellence, “The foundation of CMMC starts with visibility into devices in the network and the risks they bring. This new partnership will further help advance the goals and objectives for improving the supply chain security and resilience for the US Department of Defense (DoD)”. Ord provides a purpose-built platform for asset inventory and security. It discovers and secures all connected devices -- from traditional servers, workstations and PCs to IoT, IoMT and OT devices. Using agentless and passive methods of data collection, connected devices can be automatically discovered and classified. Devices with vulnerabilities, weak ciphers/certificates or are subject to recall are identified. Ordr’s machine learning engine also maps and baselines device communication patterns to establish “Flow Genomes”. Ordr can then alert on anomalous behavior and dynamically generate micro-segmentation policies to allow devices only appropriate access. “The Ordr team is thrilled to be joining the pioneering organizations and innovators that make up the CMMC COE,” said Greg Murphy, Chief Executive Officer at Ordr. “We are working with DIB contractors, vendors, and the supplier community to enable them to meet CMMC regulations quickly and efficiently. Being a part of the CMMC COE accelerates that effort.” The executed Engagement Agreement establishes a collaborative engagement between Ordr and the CMMC COE to partner in the furthering of their respective and complementary missions and objectives regarding the adoption, use, and expansion of CMMC based cybersecurity practices, risk management, and compliance for the DIB contractor, vendor, and supplier community of providers creating a broader CMMC ecosystem globally to improve security and resilience. Specific actions will include: The co-development of CMMC advisory services, cyber training and education programs to accelerate CMMC certification, increase cyber adoption and improve cyber protection & resilience. Co-sponsor symposiums, training programs and podcasts leveraging their combined cyber and IT expertise. Host regular working groups, with other partners, to enable collaboration and communications. Establish an independent Industry Cyber Security Advisory Council with peer organizations to advise and educate leaders across government and industry on the continued evolution and effectiveness of CMMC. The CMMC-COE ( http://cmmc-coe.org ) and Ordr partnership will focus on bringing together the many disparate cyber and national security communities of interest to reduce complexity, improve awareness, and accelerate industry effort to become more cyber resilient against the growing threats from nation states and criminal enterprises. The CMMC-COE establishes both a Market Place and Knowledge Clearinghouse that will include resources that support the overall effort, including white papers; tutorials; recorded webcasts; presentations; and more that will help reduce the cost and burden on small and medium size contractors already struggling from the impact of COVID. For more information on the CMMC COE, please visit http://cmmc-coe.org, email info@cmmc-coe.org or call 703-863-3766. For more information on Ordr, please visit https://ordr.net/solutions/cmmc/, email info@ordr.net or call 833.673.7999 #### Contact Details John Weiler Executive Director, IT-AAC Chairman, CMMC COE john.weiler@it-aac.org 703-863-3766 Monica Wallace for Ordr Monica.Wallace@ruderfinn.com 650-346-8994 About Us ---------- CMMC-COE.ORG is a unique non-profit public-private partnership, with a vision to accelerate Cybersecurity Maturity Model (CMM) adoption, and reduce time & cost for security compliance for our partners by leveraging commercial best practices, CMMC standards, and innovative solutions for a measurable success. Our mission, focused on DOD mission objectives, cost containment and expeditious CMMC compliance, is to help the DIB improve cyber posture and resilience, and simplify its acquisition. The CMMC-COE is hosted by the Information Technology Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC), a public/private partnership (P3) chartered in 2007 as an honest broker to reach outside the confines of the Federal IT advisories that lack dynamic reach into the Global IT Market, and dedicated to the adoption of commercial IT management standards of practice and innovations emanating from the Global IT market. Team IT-AAC has already demonstrated the value of its decade long investment, and provides a unique value to agencies seeking to achieve accelerate the transformation of legacy processes and systems. Our Just-in-Time SMEs apply an innovative suite of Technology Business Management and Agile Acquisition Processes needed to assure the business value of commercial IT. The Interoperability Clearinghouse (ICH), is the managing partner that make up the 24 NGO/SDO organizations that make up the IT-AAC. ICH provides the contract vehicles, clearances, and critical resources proven to guide sustainable, measurable and repeatable processes needed to drive better investment decisions as the speed of mission need, while aligning existing processes, methods and workforce with IT reform mandates contained in Clinger Cohen Act, FITARA, IT MGT Act, EO13838. About Ordr ------------ Digital transformation has led to the inevitable explosive increase of connected devices. The scale and diversity of these devices, and the capacity for network connectivity introduces risks. Every single device is a potential attack vector and must be secured. Ordr delivers visibility and security of all connected devices -- from traditional servers, workstations and PCs to IoT, IoMT and OT devices. Ordr discovers what devices are in the network, profiles device behavior and risks, and then automates appropriate action. Contact Details CMMC Center of Excellence Bob Dix +1 703-975-6633 bob.dix@it-aac.org Company Website https://cmmc-coe.org

March 30, 2021 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Osmo For Schools Celebrates Five Years and Upgrades to Plastic Manipulatives in School Bundles for Classroom Hygiene & Safety

Osmo for Schools

Osmo for Schools, the educational division of Tangible Play that promotes in-classroom usage of Osmo’s award-winning educational systems, celebrates its fifth anniversary March 30, 2021 and highlights recent achievements. These include upgrading to plastic pieces in all its school bundles to maintain the highest standards of classroom hygiene, along with reaching 100,000 downloads of the Osmo Projector App intended for teachers, which helped grow Osmo’s community of active users. “Osmo for Schools began thanks to all the incredibly enthusiastic teachers across the U.S. and Canada who adopted Osmo as an educational device for classroom settings, promoting its usage, so that schools and districts started to purchase it,” explains Jan Richards, head of education sales and marketing at Osmo for Schools. “In early 2016, Osmo began our division by forming a sales team, a conference strategy, plus a Classroom Kit for schools, which really took off. It’s come a long way since!” The division now has 15 sales and consulting executives who work under Richards, offers nine different learning system bundles, and works with thousands of school districts. All Learning System Bundles Upgraded To Plastic Manipulatives for Effective Sanitization In January 2021, Osmo for Schools upgraded all nine school bundles to include plastic pieces across the board, replacing ones made of cardboard. This makes it easier for schools to disinfect and clean Osmo’s manipulatives, which are used in conjunction with Osmo’s technology inside classrooms, and allows schools to maintain the highest standards of classroom hygiene. Osmo for Schools’ plastic pieces are long-lasting, easy to sanitize when using EPA-registered disinfectant spray, and dishwasher-safe. “The entire world holds a mirror to each school’s hygiene standard and methods of cleaning and disinfection--this is especially true in classrooms where several hands are touching different items every day,” says Richards. “Our plastic pieces are an excellent educational tool, now made even safer for classrooms, and only teachers have access to them. Teachers are so excited to have all-plastic pieces in their sets!” “In all my years teaching, I’ve always sanitized my teaching tools as a STEAM teacher; from robots, to iPads and now my Osmo for Schools kits--this is a life saver for my students and myself,” says Frances Amato Dominguez, Ed Tech Model and STEAM Teacher in New York. Adds South Carolina kindergarten teacher Keri Lewis, “I love how durable these pieces are. Being plastic, they are able to be cleaned thoroughly between uses without fear of damaging the pieces.” These bundles featuring all-plastic pieces are exclusive to Osmo for Schools, and educators who previously purchased bundles with cardboard manipulatives can now buy the plastic piece sets separately, with a 25-percent discount. Projector App Reaches 100,000 Downloads Due to the sudden transition to virtual learning one year ago, Osmo reacted to teachers’ cries for a more effective means of engaging students in a virtual classroom, by offering Projector App. The app began as a free download to all thanks to Osmo Cares, the charitable arm of Osmo. Launched in late March, the app is now being used by teachers of all levels (pre-K to university) across the country to make the virtual learning environment more fun, appealing, and similar to an actual classroom; it recently reached 100,000 downloads, and helped to grow Osmo’s community of active users. Projector App employs a powerful reflective AI technology that allows the camera to “see” the desktop in front of the screen and project a teacher’s real world text, notes and drawings onto the screen, even 3-D models they hold in their hand, while being compatible with Zoom and other video conferencing technologies ( video ). Projector App is the 2020 recipient of EdTech Breakthrough Awards’ “eLearning Innovation of the Year.” “It’s wonderful that the free download of Projector App introduced many teachers to Osmo for the very first time, who were previously unaware of the great variety of educational products we offer,” says Richards. Carol Argumaniz, Assistant Principal at Lillie Jackson Early Childhood Center in Lewisville, Texas, speaks about the success her teachers are having with virtual learning, thanks to Osmo Projector App. “It allows teachers to deliver the same quality lesson through virtual learning, as they would deliver through in-person learning at school,” says Argumaniz. “And it allows them to conduct small group lessons with very high quality pictures so students feel like they are actually next to the teacher.” About Osmo for Schools Osmo for Schools, a division of Tangible Play, Inc., focuses on building in-classroom usage of Osmo’s award-winning educational systems. Using proprietary AI technology, these systems help teachers foster collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and increased engagement in learning, in students. Osmo is used in more than 30,000 schools in North America. Tangible Play is headquartered in Palo Alto, California. For more information about Osmo for Schools and its products, visit schools.playosmo.com. Contact Details Carolyn Kamii PR Carolyn Kamii +1 310-251-0550 carolynkpr@gmail.com Company Website http://schools.playosmo.com

March 30, 2021 04:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time

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IZO Mezcal Now Available at Mexico Costco Stores

IZO Spirits

Beginning April, Mexico Costco shoppers can experience the superior flavor of IZO Spirits Mezcal through their favorite wholesale warehouse. A Mexican native and Mezcal connoisseur, Founder Gaston Martinez established IZO to share the historically smooth flavor of traditionally distilled agave spirits with the world. Now, Martinez takes his mission one step further by adding a superior, hand-crafted IZO Mezcal to the selection at Mexico Costco stores. “We’re thrilled to expand on an original vision to bring the culture and flavor of classically crafted Mezcal to area communities,” shares Martinez. “Part of our premium IZO collection, this distinctive spirit is sure to be an instant favorite, both as a mixer and by the sip.” For over 25 years, the term “Mezcal” has served as the legal definition of agave spirits originating from nine specific Mexican states, including Martinez’s hometown of Durango. IZO Mezcal features nothing but wild-grown, hand-harvested Cenizo agave hearts, each slow-roasted atop smoldering oak in lava rock-lined fire pits. Buried beneath tarp and dirt, the hearts bake for several days before being fine-ground to extract the precious juice within. After naturally fermenting, this liquid endures two rounds of distillation, then is filtered twice more to remove impurities. The result? An irresistibly smooth IZO Mezcal for all occasions. Discover a subtly smoky flavor and clean, bright finish perfected centuries ago through a historic roasting and distillation process - now meticulously controlled from ground to glass by IZO’s Master Mezcalero, José Gonzalez. Toast life’s everyday moments with a distinctive, locally-crafted IZO Mezcal, now available at select Mexico Costco stores. Connect with the remarkable story of the IZO brand and browse a sophisticated Mezcal Ensamble, Mezcal Reposado, Mezcal Añejo, Bacanora, Sotol, and Tequila Extra Añejo Cristalino at IZOSpirits.com. About IZO Spirits: Founded by Gaston Martinez - a native of Durango, Mexico - IZO is a collection of premium, handcrafted agave spirits produced sustainably right in the heart of his rural hometown according to centuries of tradition. Made sustainably from slow-roasted, wild agave hearts harvested on local ranches, every sip of award-winning IZO Mezcal speaks to generations of Mezcaleros bringing people together around shared values of community, celebration, and savoring the reward of a job well done. Every aspect of IZO pays respect to its point of origin, from the locally-sourced Onyx featured atop the bottle to the elegant, minimalist label and bottle design that allows the flavorful spirit within to shine. The pure, sophisticated taste of IZO Mezcal tells the story of centuries’ old Mexican tradition and of one man’s vision to share it with the world. Learn more about the IZO collection of handcrafted agave spirits at IzoSpirits.com. Contact Details Jessica Kopach +1 805-570-2599 Pr@IzoMezcal.com

March 29, 2021 05:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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COMCAST AND MUCKLESHOOT INDIAN TRIBE ANNOUNCE BROADBAND EXPANSION

Comcast West Division

Comcast and Muckleshoot Indian Tribe today announced expanded broadband service to 600 homes and businesses located on tribal and non-tribal lands in and around the Tribe’s community campus. Over the past two years, Comcast and the Tribe have invested nearly $3 million to bring the entire suite of Xfinity and Comcast Business services to these previously underserved homes and businesses. The vast majority of homes and business now have service and full deployment is expected in the next few months. “Bringing expanded and reliable high-speed internet service to the Muckleshoot Community has long been a priority for the Tribal Council and we are pleased that, working with Comcast, we were able to bring this project to a successful conclusion,” said Muckleshoot Tribal Council Chair Jaison Elkins. “Connectivity matters right now more than ever for students and families, and I welcome the investment from Comcast and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe to expand broadband service in King County,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “I applaud partnerships that help close the digital divide in our underserved communities, so students can do their schoolwork, and everyone has access to healthcare and other online services.” “Native communities have made do with inadequate internet access for decades, and this issue has only worsened in the current pandemic. In the digital world we now live in, families everywhere are reliant on a steady internet connection to work from home, attend online classes, or even meet with their doctor. I applaud the investment by the Muckleshoot Tribe and Comcast to serve residents living in and around the Tribe’s Community Campus in King County. We have a lot of work ahead of us to close the digital divide on all fronts. This is a great first step,” said Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08). Comcast has invested approximately $2 billion in its network technology and infrastructure statewide in the past six years, and in 2020 the company invested more than $988.8 million in Washington including capital expenditures, taxes and fees, charitable giving, and employee wages and benefits. “This network expansion with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe is the latest example of the investment we’re making to broaden the reach of our broadband service in Washington state,” said Rodrigo Lopez, Region Senior Vice President, Comcast Washington. “Last month we announced plans to invest $9.4 million to expand service to more than 2,100 homes in rural areas of Snohomish and Spokane Counties over the next two years.” Residents in this new Comcast service footprint now have access to the entire Xfinity product suite, including Internet Essentials, the largest and most comprehensive low-cost Internet adoption program for low-income Americans. Since 2011, it has connected 85,000 low-income households statewide, many for the first time. Businesses will have access to the full suite of Comcast Business Internet, voice, and video services, including WiFi, Voice, TV and managed enterprise solutions for businesses of all sizes. Comcast is deeply committed to Washington, where our employees serve more than 1.6 million residential and business customers throughout our state footprint. Comcast is Washington’s leading provider of XFINITY video, high-speed Internet, “smart home” and phone services. Comcast operates Xfinity retail stores throughout Washington, which feature a welcoming and modern retail environment that highlights the complete line of Xfinity Home and Comcast Business technology offerings, including Xfinity Mobile, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Home and Xfinity Internet. To learn more about Comcast in Washington, visit: https://washington.comcast.com About Muckleshoot Tribe The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe whose membership is composed of descendants of the Duwamish and Upper Puyallup people who inhabited Central Puget Sound for thousands of years before non-Indian settlement. The Tribe’s name is derived from the native name for the prairie on which the Muckleshoot Reservation was established. Following the Reservation’s establishment in 1857, the Tribe and its members came to be known as Muckleshoot, rather than by the historic tribal names of their Duwamish and Upper Puyallup ancestors. Today, the United States recognizes the Muckleshoot Tribe as a sovereign government and tribal successor to the Duwamish and Upper Puyallup bands from which the Tribe’s membership descends. About Comcast Corporation Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information. Contact Details Comcast Andy Colley +1 425-248-5438 andy_colley@comcast.com Company Website https://washington.comcast.com/

March 29, 2021 08:55 AM Pacific Daylight Time

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Minuteman Press Franchise in Lutz, FL Focuses on Relationships and High-Demand Products to Spark Record Monthly Sales During COVID-19 Pandemic

Minuteman Press International Inc

Ed Casagrande and his family moved to the US from Brazil in 2017 to pursue the American Dream of owning a business. He has not let the COVID-19 pandemic slow him down and Ed shares his insights on growing his Minuteman Press franchise in Lutz, FL. For four years, Minuteman Press franchise owner Ed Casagrande has been building relationships and helping local businesses with their printing and marketing needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Minuteman Press in Lutz, FL was designated as an essential business. Ed and his team have continued to reach out to their clients and community with one simple yet powerful message: “We are all in this together.” The results of Ed’s genuine outreach efforts are a satisfied client base and increased sales. He says, “We are posting record monthly sales in March 2021, and I am thankful for that. Our sales for the month are more than the annual revenue of the previous owner of the business in 2016. To do this during the pandemic makes me even more excited for the future as we continue to work hard on behalf of our community and our customers.” Supporting Local Businesses Ed elaborates, “Since the beginning, we have focused on developing strong relationships with many businesses and organizations within our local community. The pandemic has, in many ways, brought us closer together with our customers. There has been an overwhelming sense that we are all in this together, and by helping to support each other through the struggle, we have been able to keep growing.” Just by reaching out to local businesses, Ed has found a renewed sense of camaraderie with his fellow business owners. “The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. If there has been one thing that has been highlighted during this difficult time, it would be the resilience of the community. Many of our customers print with us on a regular basis, and we have gotten the opportunity to know them and their businesses. When they come into our shop, they share their stories of struggle and success, and we are there to support them through all of it.” He adds, “We know the challenges of trying to grow a business even without the added stress of a worldwide pandemic, and we want to offer solutions that can help businesses take that growth to another level. With that in mind, we take the approach of thinking like the general consumer, and finding print solutions that will help reach the desired audience.” Print Is Essential The best businesses are the ones who quickly identify the needs of their clients and do everything they can to meet those demands. That is exactly what Minuteman Press has done over the past year. Ed recalls, “Early on during the pandemic, we identified the businesses that most needed our services and made the effort to help with their printing needs. The food industry saw a massive increase in demand so we targeted that market – printing labels for food distributors, to-go menus for restaurants, and yard signs and banners promoting social distancing. The need for marketing materials promoting social distancing applied to other industries as well, and we were able to meet those needs with signs, banners, window clings, and floor stickers.” Another challenge for local businesses came in the form of adapting their marketing methods. With trade shows and other events cancelled or postponed, businesses turned to Minuteman Press for help in adapting and diversifying their marketing strategies. Ed explains, “We focused our efforts on areas of the business with the widest margin of return. We had to get creative in finding ways to best serve the needs of our customers, many of whom have also had to completely transform their approach to marketing in a world without trade shows and other traditional marketing methods. This has allowed us the opportunity to continue to grow, despite the challenges facing our local economy. At the core of this growth is the relationships we have built with our customers. The importance of developing strong relationships with local businesses and taking care to provide a quality customer experience with every interaction cannot be stressed enough. It is the key to our success.” By strengthening those relationships, Ed is now poised to help his clients with the anticipated local economic recovery. “We have already begun to see an increase in sales which indicates that the local economy is starting to fire back up. We have taken great care to listen to the needs of our customers and provide options for them that will best help them recover from the pandemic. We have also begun the process of restructuring our team to identify and capitalize on the strengths of each individual team member. We are investing in new equipment so that we can increase our production and profit margins, offer better and faster print solutions to our customers, and stay competitive in the marketplace.” He continues, “We are in the process of expanding to a new larger location which will allow us to grow even more. We have also implemented a marketing outreach project to touch base with customers who haven’t been printing as much since the pandemic started, in an effort to see if we can be of any help to them. This effort has translated into an increase of sales and is helping us get back on track to our pre-pandemic rate of growth.” “For years, the printing industry has been the backbone of marketing for organizations across the world. As technology has advanced and as the world has moved online, the ways that businesses and organizations have been able to reach out and market to their customers has evolved. But the foundation of marketing has always been in print media. In many ways, the pandemic brought things back-to-the-basics for many of our customers. We have seen many of our customers go back to the tried-and-true methods of marketing, including postcard printing for direct mail and EDDM mailing campaigns, flyer/brochure printing, and yard and car sign/banner printing. From what we have seen, the market trends indicate that the printing industry will continue to thrive and we are looking forward to continuing our growth as the economy recovers from the pandemic.” -Ed Casagrande, owner, Minuteman Press franchise, Lutz, FL From Being Laid Off in Brazil to US Business Ownership in Lutz, FL One of the reasons Ed has been able to adapt and grow his business during this unprecedented time is because of his ability to adapt and refocus. In fact, he has pivoted before. “I was born in Brazil and my professional background is in Engineering. Before moving to the US, I was involved in a large organization and was responsible for the entire South American region, with a team of 3,000 employees under my supervision. In 2015, the economy in Brazil went through a dramatic downturn, and I was laid off. My wife and I made the decision to move to the United States with our two children, and we began looking to purchase a business.” Ed continues, “At first, we looked at many options – from gas stations to dry cleaners and everything in between. I found an opportunity to purchase an existing franchise of Minuteman Press, and although I had no previous experience in the printing industry, I was drawn to the Business-to-Business concept that Minuteman Press offered. I am passionate about business and through my experience, I have a deep understanding of the inner workings of growing a business. Minuteman Press allowed me to turn that passion into an opportunity to help other businesses grow through various marketing concepts that we are able to help them achieve, which in turn has helped me grow my own business as well.” Ed credits the ongoing support of Minuteman Press both before and during the pandemic for helping him build his business. He says, “Minuteman Press International has always been a huge support to us, and they took great care to help provide the support we needed during the pandemic. We are so appreciative of the efforts they have made to ensure that the safety of our employees and customers is a top priority, and for providing us with the resources necessary to remain successful despite the challenges facing us.” “Ed Casagrande has done a tremendous job putting in the work to build his Minuteman Press franchise in Lutz. I am proud of the way he has reached out to others, promoted his relevant products and services, and provided an uplifting message as well as a positive customer experience for his clients at this critical time. I look forward to supporting Ed as he continues to build his business.” -Larry Trimble, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President, Florida Rewards & Advice for Others As a business owner, Ed sees many rewards to being his own boss. He says, “The biggest benefit to owning my own business is that there is virtually no limit to the amount of success that I can achieve, except if I limit myself. When I worked for someone else, there was always a limit to the compensation I received or to the growth that I was able to experience, regardless of the effort I put into it. Owning my own business removes that glass ceiling and allows me to pursue limitless success.” When asked what advice he would give to other local business owners right now, Ed answers, “The best advice that I can give other local businesses is that networking and customer care is vital to the success of a business. A large part of the effort that I have made since becoming a franchise owner of Minuteman Press is through networking with other small business owners in the local community. Through these efforts, I have developed some incredible working relationships with members of the community and I have learned so much along the way.” Ed concludes, “We have all heard it said that there is strength in numbers. The pandemic has demonstrated this to be true, because we have all relied on each other to get through it.” For more information on Ed Casagrande’s Minuteman Press franchise in Lutz, FL, visit https://www.lutz-fl.minutemanpress.com. Learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise opportunities at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com. Contact Details Minuteman Press International Chris Biscuiti +1 631-249-1370 cbiscuiti@mpihq.com Company Website https://minutemanpressfranchise.com

March 29, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) Announces Sabrina Prince Elected to Its Board of Directors

Bpeace

The Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) announced today the election of Sabrina Prince, to the Board of Directors. Prince is an Executive Vice President at FCB Health Europe, a global healthcare marketing agency. She has served as a traveling volunteer Skillanthropist and member of Bpeace's Executive Council for four years. Toni Maloney, Bpeace’s CEO, noted, “Sabrina is a shrewd strategist and empathetic leader with 20+ years in healthcare marketing, including research, public relations and advertising. At Bpeace, we know her as a trusted volunteer marketing advisor to the small businesses in our portfolio, helping them recognize their brand essence and cultivate strategies to expand customer loyalty. To the Board level, she now brings perspective as a champion of diversity and inclusion, actively advocating for employee engagement and mentorship. She will be a great asset to the Board.” Prince commented, "Over the past four years with Bpeace, I have advised hospitality, healthcare and consumer goods brands at pivotal growth stages–building on their established talents and providing tools or foundational concepts they are able to customize and apply to their needs. My first Skillanthropist project was remote consultation with an Afghan business, Pakiza Dairy, a milk-processing company. And I am still holding to my promise of trying their yogurt in person someday! I look forward to working with the Board and Toni to further the impact of Bpeace." The Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) is an award-winning nonprofit working in crisis-affected communities to grow small businesses, create significant employment for all, and expand the economic power of women. More jobs mean less violence.® FCB Health Network is one of the world’s most awarded communications networks, focused on creating game-changing marketing solutions for consumers, patients and healthcare professionals. Contact Details Business Council for Peace Joan Harper +44 7572 885584 joanharper5364@gmail.com Business Council for Peace Caroline Basso +1 607.222.5791 cbasso@bpeace.org

March 29, 2021 09:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Hong Kong Baptist University-led research unlocks the genomic secrets of organisms that thrive in extreme deep-sea environments

Media Outreach

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 29 March 2021 - A study led by scientists at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has decoded the genomes of the deep-sea clam ( Archivesica marissinica ) and the chemoautotrophic bacteria ( Candidatus Vesicomyosocius marissinica) that live in its gill epithelium cells. Through analysis of their genomic structures and profiling of their gene expression patterns, the research team revealed that symbiosis between the two partners enables the clams to thrive in extreme deep-sea environments. The research findings have been published in the academic journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. Due to the general lack of photosynthesis-derived organic matter, the deep-sea was once considered a vast "desert" with very little biomass. Yet, clams often form large populations in the high-temperature hydrothermal vents and freezing cold seeps in the deep oceans around the globe where sunlight cannot penetrate but toxic molecules, such as hydrogen sulfide, are available below the seabed. The clams are known to have a reduced gut and digestive system, and they rely on endosymbiotic bacteria to generate energy in a process called chemosynthesis. However, when this symbiotic relationship developed, and how the clams and chemoautotrophic bacteria interact, remain largely unclear. Horizontal gene transfer between bacteria and clams discovered for the first time A research team led by Professor Qiu Jianwen, Associate Head and Professor of the Department of Biology at HKBU, collected the clam specimens at 1,360 metres below sea level from a cold seep in the South China Sea. The genomes of the clam and its symbiotic bacteria were then sequenced to shed light on the genomic signatures of their successful symbiotic relationship. The team found that the ancestor of the clam split with its shallow-water relatives 128 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The study revealed that 28 genes have been transferred from the ancestral chemoautotrophic bacteria to the clam, the first discovery of horizontal gene transfer—a process that transmits genetic material between distantly-related organisms —from bacteria to a bivalve mollusc. The following genomic features of the clam were discovered, and combined, they have enabled it to adapt to the extreme deep-sea environment: (1) Adaptions for chemosynthesis The clam relies on its symbiotic chemoautotrophic bacteria to produce the biological materials essential for its survival. In their symbiotic relationship, the clam absorbs hydrogen sulfide from the sediment, and oxygen and carbon dioxide from seawater, and it transfers them to the bacteria living in its gill epithelium cells to produce the energy and nutrients in a process called chemosynthesis. The process is illustrated in Figure 1. The research team also discovered that the clam's genome exhibits gene family expansion in cellular processes such as respiration and diffusion that likely facilitate chemoautotrophy, including gas delivery to support energy and carbon production, the transfer of small molecules and proteins within the symbiont, and the regulation of the endosymbiont population. It helps the host to obtain sufficient nutrients from the symbiotic bacteria. (2) Shift from phytoplankton-based food Cellulase is an enzyme that facilitates the decomposition of the cellulose found in phytoplankton, a major primary food source in the marine food chain. It was discovered that the clam's cellulase genes have undergone significant contraction, which is likely an adaptation to the shift from phytoplankton-derived to bacteria-based food. (3) Adaptation to sulfur metabolic pathways The genome of the symbiont also holds the secrets of this mutually beneficial relationship. The team discovered that the clam has a reduced genome, as it is only about 40% of the size of its free-living relatives. Nevertheless, the symbiont genome encodes complete and flexible sulfur metabolic pathways, and it retains the ability to synthesise 20 common amino acids and other essential nutrients, highlighting the importance of the symbiont in generating energy and providing nutrients to support the symbiotic relationship. (4) Improvement in oxygen-binding capacity Unlike in vertebrates, haemoglobin, a metalloprotein found in the blood and tissues of many organisms, is not commonly used as an oxygen carrier in molluscs. However, the team discovered several kinds of highly expressed haemoglobin genes in the clam, suggesting an improvement in its oxygen-binding capacity, which can enhance the ability of the clam to survive in deep-sea low-oxygen habitats. Professor Qiu said: "Most of the previous studies on deep-sea symbiosis have focused only on the bacteria. This first coupled clam–symbiont genome assembly will facilitate comparative studies that aim to elucidate the diversity and evolutionary mechanisms of symbiosis, which allows many invertebrates to thrive in 'extreme' deep-sea ecosystems." The research was jointly conducted by scientists from HKBU and the HKBU Institute for Research and Continuing Education, the Hong Kong Branch of the Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, City University of Hong Kong, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, the Sanya Institute of Deep-Sea Science and Engineering, and the Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey. Contact Details Communication and Public Relations Office Wong Suk-ling +852 3411 2119 hkbunews@hkbu.edu.hk Company Website https://www.hkbu.edu.hk/

March 29, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Vinfuture has had more than 500 official nominators from 36 countries

Media Outreach

HANOI, VIETNAM - 29 March 2021 – The VinFuture Foundation announces that over 500 prominent scientists, universities, and recognized organizations from 36 countries, representing six continents have registered to become the Official Nominators for the VinFuture Prize over one month after the Foundation launched its Call for Nominations. Such impressive figure demonstrates the enthusiastic response from the world's scientific community to this newly established sci-tech prize as well as VinFuture’s mission of serving humanity. The VinFuture Prize officially launched its call for nominations on February 3rd, 2021, and has so far attracted more than 500 recognized scientists, universities and organizations around the world to serve as Official Nominators for the Prize. The majority of nominators are from Asia (35,6%), North America (32%), and followed by those in Europe (21.7%), Oceania (7.2%), and Latin America and Africa (3.5%). Regarding the areas of expertise of the organizational/individual nominators, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent demand in healthcare, nominators in the field of biomedical research constitute a large proportion of 29.2%, followed by chemistry-physics (23.6%), computer science, data, artificial intelligence, and robotics (16.3%), and environment, renewable energy and new materials (18.3%). The remaining are individual/organizational nominators in the interdisciplinary fields. The nominators are globally influential experts, reputable researchers, and scientists, laureates of international prestigious science and technology prizes, as well as renowned universities, academies, research institutes, technology corporations and innovation incubators from 36 different countries. Notably, there have been favorable responses from scientists at leading universities and research institutes in the world, such as the Harvard University (USA), where many prominent scientists converge; the National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA) - the lead agency of the U.S. government in public health; the Max Planck Society (Germany)- the world's leading research organization in science and technology; the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, which are well-known for natural science and engineering, being home to many Nobel Laureates; the University of Tokyo- the leading higher education organization in Japan and the Chinese Academy of Science, the world's largest research organization. Dr. Le Mai Lan – Vice Chairwoman of Vingroup cum Designated Representative of the VinFuture Foundation remarked: “VinFuture Prize is a new initiative and is also the first science and technology prize originating from Vietnam. Hence, we are delighted to have more than 500 recognized organizations and individuals and from all over the world register to make nominations in just over one month after we launched the Call for Nominations. This is an impressive figure boosting our confidence in VinFuture’s mission to serve humanity and in its introduction at the right time meeting the right demand, as well as confirming the endorsement and support from the sci-tech community, academies and societies, universities, and incubators around the world. The fact that the Prize is introduced whilst we are facing global challenges has been a motivation for VinFuture to continue looking for well-deserved and impactful scientific innovations and solutions that may bring about meaningful change to the humanity.” The VinFuture Prize is a global science and technology prize founded by Mr. Pham Nhat Vuong, Chairman of Vingroup, and his wife, Madam Pham Thu Huong, to recognize groundbreaking scientific discovery and technological inventions proven to create or have the potential to create better change in the everyday lives of millions of people and foster a sustainable living environment for future generations. Apart from the VinFuture Grand Prize of VND 70 billion (equivalent to US$3 million – one of the largest global prizes), three Special Prizes of VND 11.5 billion each (equivalent to US$500,000) will be awarded annually to innovators from developing countries, female innovators and innovators with outstanding achievements in emerging fields. The Call for Nominations for the 2021 VinFuture Prize is available at www.vinfutureprize.org until June 7th, 2021. The laureates will be announced in December 2021 and the official award ceremony will be held in Vietnam in January 2022./. Contact Details Vingroup +84 24 3974 9999 v.chidqd@vingroup.net

March 29, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Consumer lender Fintern appoints Chief Risk Officer

Stockwood Strategy

Prior to joining Fintern, Mark was a Partner at EY, where he specialised in Credit Analytics and led EY's Quantitative Advisory Services team of 200 quantitative analysts. Since joining EY in 2005, Mark has served virtually every major UK bank on the topic of credit modelling and the use of advanced analytics. At Fintern, Mark will leverage his market-leading experience to develop Fintern's next-generation credit technology and improve access to affordable credit. Mark holds a PhD in mathematics and has been a leading advocate for the use of alternative data in fairer credit decisioning. Gerald Chappell, Fintern CEO, said "I am excited about Mark's vision for Fintern, as well as his passion for using data and analytics to fix the failings of the credit score system and improve access to affordable credit. Given his career track record, he will bring world-class analytics, artificial intelligence and strategic expertise to build on the strengths of the existing management team." On his appointment, Mark London commented: "I am delighted to be joining Fintern at this important time. Fintern's mission to transform consumer credit markets, bypassing a broken credit scoring system that unfairly excludes millions of people from affordable loans, is more relevant now than ever with the economic disruption caused by Covid-19. Using Open Banking and other alternative data we can improve financial lives by bringing affordable and responsible loans to many more people." Mark added "I am excited about Fintern's commitment to interactive lending. As CRO, I will ensure we share our insights with customers, that we will help them to make decisions that are in their best interest, and that we will provide full transparency on all our lending decisions." Michelle He, Fintern COO and CFO, said "Mark will find an amazing home here at Fintern, and a deep commitment from the entire Fintern team to challenging the traditional lending approach and helping consumers recover as we emerge from Covid-19." About Fintern Fintern is a digital consumer lender on a mission to expand access to low-cost personal finance and transform financial well-being. Fintern's next-generation credit technology takes a holistic look at each applicant’s financial situation rather than making a decision solely based on a credit score. Fintern builds relationships with customers helping them to understand their repayment capacity and credit appetite. Fintern integrates its AI platform with Open Banking to smartly connect the dots in consumers' banking data enabling Fintern to obtain the most accurate view of borrowers' affordability and spending behaviour using up to the minute transaction information. Fintern was founded in 2020 with a team from McKinsey, EY, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC and XiaoMi. Fintern is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, firm reference number 929244, a member of Cifas (the UK's leading anti-fraud association) and registered with the UK Information Commissioner's Office in compliance with the Data Protection Regulations 2018. Contact Details Fintern Sam Power +44 7400 122813 press@fintern.ai Company Website https://fintern.ai/

March 29, 2021 04:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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