Hot Careers for Five Jewish Baltimoreans
Where will they be five years from now?
Written By Rochelle Eisenberg
Chad and Evan Birenbaum
Shoe Entrepreneurs, 100 Styles & Running
Chad Birenbaum, 31, has a gift with design; his brother, Evan, 27, understands the business side of things. It is this confluence of skills that has these two brothers, graduates of Owings Mills High and Pikesville High, respectively, literally running full speed ahead with their two-year-old company, 100 Styles & Running.
It’s a “sneaker” company, sort of. The brothers manufacture and sell “rubber-soled” shoes, yet shoes that have “style.” A “hybrid dress shoe and sneaker,” says Chad.
Already their product has fans––WSA Magazine, the international publication dedicated to the material development of the performance wear market, picked the Birenbaum’s “Dylan” footwear as a “hot trend” for spring 2008.
Headquartered in Owings Mills, the company has a staff of 15, manufacturing operations in China and a satellite office in West Hollywood, Calif. In just a short time span, they have placed their shoes in a number of what Chad calls “A+ sneaker boutiques,” throughout the country and in Japan.
“It is a labor of love. Everything Chad and I design is for Chad and I. We try to design around individuals, not the masses,” says Evan.
Ever wonder who wrote the music on your favorite movie trailers…the background sounds behind television’s promo spots?
Would you ever guess that it could be your next-door neighbor or your former schoolmate?
Stuart Hart, a 1985 graduate of Pikesville High, is one of the founders behind Selectracks, a full-service Baltimore-based music company that provides catalogue and custom production music.
He, along with partner Steven Stern (who works out of the company’s Los Angeles office) and a bevy of free-lance composers, write music that is used by the nation’s leading studios and television networks.
Selectracks boasts a music library of approximately 90 CDs for use in the industry, including advertising. They also write custom music and work closely with companies in 12 foreign markets to provide music for their clients.
Some of their credits include the trailers for “Monster House,” “Clerks 2” and, most recently, “Beouwolf.” And, promo spots for the NBC comedy, “Chuck.”
“I hear our stuff, I estimate, 10 times a week,” says Mr. Hart.
Artist, Alesina Design
Who says garbage doesn’t possess aesthetic qualities? Take one look at local artist and industrial designer Inna Alesina’s designs to understand how everyday trash can be transformed into works of incredible beauty.
There is the multi-functional rocking stool, ottoman, magazine rack or base for a coffee table constructed from paper pulp egg crates;... the wall storage shelving system made of recycled cardboard mailing tubes and organic finishes. After you are done, in 10 to 20 years, put it back in the compost,” she says.
Her environmentally-friendly designs reflect her philosophy that instead of creating more “stuff,” it makes more sense to find beauty in what already is out there. Her works have been featured in a number of national publications, from Metropolitan Home to Bon Appetit.
This Owings Mills resident, who once lived in New York City, says her art was inspired by the “trash” that she saw when walking along those city streets.
As for her next project, she is currently collaborating on a book, “Designing with Materials,” with Ellen Lupton, former design curator at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
The resemblance is uncanny. With his big, curly crop of hair and his loud, animated voice, Alex Hooper could easily be mistaken for Chris Farley or Jack Black. That’s not a bad comparison for this former Carver Center for Arts and Technology student who hopes to succeed in the acting profession.
Already, this 22-year-old has seen signs of success. Just last month, Mr. Hooper wrapped up a small role in a new film, “Homecoming,” starring former “The O.C.” star Mischa Barton. He plays Joblanski, best friend of the lead character in the movie, a movie he describes as a “teenager girl version of ëMisery.’”
One can say that this youngster has acting in his genes. His grandmother, Vivienne Shub, is an actress who has appeared in several major films and television shows. Yet, Mr. Hooper is not one who likes to take the traditional route. He dropped out of high school for four months, although he eventually graduated and refused to take the SATs––”I’m morally opposed to them.”
Still, this young man seems poised for the big time. He has been told he has been cast in another major feature film, the title of which he can’t reveal quite yet. Stay tuned.
It’s only been a little over 10 years since Pikesville resident Andrew Razumovsky arrived in Baltimore from the former Soviet Union with only $237 and six bags to his name.
Today, this former identity expert with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is co-founder of safeTspace, a unique internet safety company to protect kids. He, along with his two partners, are about to approach the country’s major social networking sites in their crusade to protect youth against potential adult predators.
SafeTspace is the first company to use biometric technology and in-person validation to protect children from unwanted adult solicitation on the internet. Parents register their son or daughter at the safeTspace portal and receive a parental consent form. They take the form and their child to an enrollment partner ñ for example, a local retailer or bank. The child is registered using biometric technology and receives his own personal identification number. When they log onto a social network site, if they only communicate with individuals with a safeTspace number, they can be assured that there are no adult predators in their midst.
Mr. Razumovsky believes his technology will “create a safe area within the social networking sites ...a safe harbor for children”