Over the last year:
* Communications and Systems Specialists Inc.(CSSi), a Columbia computer hardware and software developer, expanded its staff 44 percent to 52 employees, bought $18,000 worth of equipment and increased its space 25 percent to 14,548 square feet;
* Martek Corp., a Columbia biotechnology firm, expanded its staff13 percent to 34 employees, bought $600,000 worth of equipment and doubled its sales;
* New Horizons Diagnostics Corp., a Columbia biotechnology firm, expanded its staff by 22 percent to 39 employees, bought $100,000 worth of equipment and expanded its space by 33 percent;
* Larriland Farm Inc., a Woodbine farm and produce retailer, expanded its staff by 28 percent to 50 employees and bought $70,000 worth of new equipment;
* Nixon's Farm, a West Friendship farm and conference retreat, increased its staff from 7 to 12 and purchased $120,000 in new equipment;
* Nucletron Corp., a Columbia biotechnology firm, expanded its staff 25 percent to 50 employees, bought $80,000 worth of equipment and increased its space 20 percent to 6,500 square feet; and
* S3 Technologies, a Columbia maker of system simulationequipment, expanded its staff 13 percent to 440, expanded its equipment inventory 35 percent and increased its space 52 percent to 160,000 square feet.
The awards, which recognize the "initiative, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit" of these growing companies, is sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Committee and supported by the Howard County Office of Economic Development.