Archived Articles: May 2018

Business Briefs

Hogan Administration Announces New Maryland Business Express Website
Inspired by Gov. Larry Hogan’s Regulatory Reform Commission recommendations, the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) has unveiled Maryland Business Express, a new website that will make it easier for Maryland’s small business owners and entrepreneurs to plan, start, manage and grow their business.
Accessible at www.businessexpress.maryland.gov, the new site combines information previously spread across many state agencies into one, easy-to-navigate site, while also providing a clear outline of the steps involved in starting a business. Maryland Business Express also features a digital assistant designed to deliver guidance to Marylanders 24/7. This “chatbot” is the first of its kind to be used by any state government specifically for business purposes.
The site’s layout is based on the questions most commonly asked by existing business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, and contains four main sections: Plan, Start, Manage and Grow. The Plan and Start sections list orderly steps that guide entrepreneurs through the process of developing a business plan, registering a business, and applying for tax accounts and licenses. The Manage and Grow sections help business owners remain in good standing, make legal changes to their business and find additional programs that best fit their needs.

Anne Arundel County Supporting Revitalization Efforts
Since 2015, the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp. (AAEDC) has approved approximately $455,780 in loans to 12 businesses through its Arundel Community Reinvestment (ACR) Fund. The ACR Fund offers loans up to $100,000 to be repaid over three to seven years at 0% interest. Loans are limited to 90% of total project costs.
In addition, during the last three years, nine businesses received a total of almost $125,000 in tax credits through Anne Arundel County’s Community Revitalization Tax Credit program. Qualified business owners may receive a property tax credit for up to five years equal to the incremental increase in real property tax assessment for improvements of at least $100,000 of assessed value.
The program is designed to spur economic activity, investment and improvement in Anne Arundel County’s eight Commercial Revitalization districts, which include the area at inner West Street in Annapolis from Church Circle to Chinquapin Round Road, and the county’s one state-designated Enterprise Zone in Brooklyn Park.

Howard County Shopping Center Sells for $7M
Marcus & Millichap, a North American commercial real estate investment services firm, announced the sale of Cherry Tree Shopping Center, a 46,302-square-foot retail property in North Laurel. The asset sold for $7 million to City Wide Properties, of Baltimore.
“This sale demonstrates the constant demand for destination-oriented neighborhood shopping centers,” said Christopher Burnham, senior associate in Marcus & Millichap’s Baltimore office. “The visibility of the center, along with tenant mix, drew maximum interest from buyers in the market, which allowed us to push value for our client.”
Cherry Tree Shopping Center is located at 11200 Scaggsville Road, Laurel. The property has visibility directly off Route 29. It is situated on 3.86 acres and includes two buildings: a freestanding building occupied by Verizon Wireless, as well as a two-story strip that was occupied by a mix of national, large franchisee and local tenants.

Third Street Marina, Office and Restaurant in Annapolis Under New Ownership
MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services has announced the sale of Annapolis’s Third Street Marina, in Eastport, at 310–312 Third Street, Annapolis, to an undisclosed buyer. The property consists of an expandable, 10-slip marina with a travel lift, a 3,512-square-foot, two-story waterfront office building and the 4,160-square-foot Annapolis staple, O’Leary’s Seafood.
This project provided an opportunity to invest in a rarely available asset along Annapolis’s waterfront, a premier real estate market. The property’s size, coupled with the tenant diversity and location on Spa Creek, will ensure that this location remains desirable to boaters, diners and office users.

Princeton Sports Closing Its Columbia Location
After 36 years, Princeton Sports is closing its Columbia location. Alan Davis, company president, said that the 17,000-square-foot building has been sold and that the inventory, store fixtures and equipment are being liquidated and that Princeton Sports will consolidate its business to the Falls Road location in Baltimore.
Princeton Sports, a third-generation, family-owned and -operated company, was founded by bike enthusiasts Samuel and Lucille Davis in Baltimore City, who rented and repaired bikes for local residents. They ran the business until 1963 when, upon Samuel’s death, his son, Sonny Davis, took over. He introduced skiing to the merchandise mix and expanded the company in 1981 to Columbia, where Princeton Sports has occupied its iconic building on Little Patuxent Parkway.

Live! Casino Selects Trilogy Spa Holdings as Management Partner
Live! Casino & Hotel has selected award-winning boutique spa management company Trilogy Spa Holdings to manage the luxury Live! Spa, part of the flagship Live! Hotel opening this spring. The Live! Spa will provide hotel guests, casino visitors and day guests an escape to relax and recharge.
The facility, featuring five treatment rooms, will offer a variety of massage therapies, body polishes and body wraps along with advanced skin care and anti-aging treatments. Phoenix-based Trilogy Spa Holdings also operates spas at Red Rock Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona and the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg.

Daedalus Books Retail Store
Has Closed
Daedalus Books President Robin Moody has confirmed that the Columbia-based catalog business and retail outlet that specializes in remaindered books and music closed at the end of February. Universal Screen Arts of Hudson, Ohio, an Internet retailer and mail order cataloguer with catalog titles that include Signals, Wireless and whatonearth, has acquired the Daedalus Books & Music catalog operation and will continue to operate it under that name.
“It’s been a good run and a pretty good store,” said Moody, who founded the business in 1980 with partners Helaine Harris and Tamara Stock, and established the warehouse outlet in 1998. “We’re all sad to see this day come.”

New Elkridge 50+ Center Opens After Expansion
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and the Office on Aging & Independence held a ribbon-cutting for the county’s new Elkridge 50+ Center on Saturday, March 10. The event was held in conjunction with the opening of the Howard County Library System’s new Elkridge Branch and DIY Center.
The new Elkridge 50+ Center is five times the size of the previous senior center, which served county residents since 1994. It offers a variety of programs and services including fitness options, educational opportunities in the arts and humanities, wellness classes and opportunities for social and recreational activities, including volunteer opportunities.

Merkle Enhances Its Innovation Cloud, Powered by Adobe
Experience Cloud
Columbia-based Merkle, a technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, announced the launch of the Merkle Innovation Cloud (MIC) 2.0, a solution that demonstrates the integration of marketing technologies with people-based data to drive personalized customer experiences.
MIC 2.0 is powered by Adobe Experience Cloud. It also leverages capabilities that are powered by Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning framework, including Smart Tags for automatic understanding of images and content in Adobe Experience Manager, anomaly detection in Adobe Analytics Cloud and automated, real-time personalization in Adobe Target.

Columbia’s Bandura Systems Closes $3.5M Seed Round
Bandura Systems, of Columbia and St. Louis, which helped to pioneer the threat intelligence gateway (TIG) with the U.S. Department of Defense, has closed its seed funding round. The $3.5 million financing came from Blu Ventures, Gula Tech Adventures, the Maryland Tech Development Corp., Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, SixThirty, SixThirty Cyber and UMB Financial Corp.
TIGs are stand-alone threat prevention appliances that can process millions more threat indicators than traditional network security enforcement approaches. They help protect corporate networks by more effectively blocking known threats and making threat intelligence actionable. They also complement and improve the performance of existing security solutions, like firewalls and Security Information and Event Management software, reducing the number of events that need detection and response.

Parr Financial Cited by Expertise.com
Parr Financial Solutions, of Columbia, an independent, fee-only, wealth management firm, was named a Top Financial Advisor in Baltimore for the second year running by Expertise.com. The firm was among the 18 selected of 163 judged for the merit-based award.
The award process is conducted by Expertise via a proprietary research and selection process. Only publicly available data is analyzed; key factors weighed include reputation, credibility, experience, professionalism and availability.

Roe to Show at Artists’ Gallery
Photographs by David Roe will be on exhibit during April at Artists’ Gallery, in Ellicott City.  The show, titled “An Eclectic View of the World,” will run through April 29, with an opening reception set for April 7, from 4–6 p.m.
“I believe art should produce a reaction, and the mission of my photos is to elicit an emotion from viewers, whether positive or negative. Anything else is simply a snapshot, not art. I try to communicate to the viewer by making a photograph my own,” said Roe. Artists’ Gallery is located at 8197 Main Street. For more information, call 443- 325-5936 or visit www.artistsgalleryec.com.

Loyola’s Sellinger School Endorses Responsible Research for Business and Management
Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management partnered with Responsible Research for Business and Management to endorse the organization’s mission of inspiring, encouraging and supporting credible and useful research in the business and management disciplines.
“As a Jesuit university, we’re responsible for helping business organizations operate more effectively, efficiently and ethically,” said Kathleen Getz, dean of Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business. “We’re supporting Responsible Research for Business and Management to work toward more useful research and build a better world through business.” Faculty researchers at the Sellinger School consider how scholarly findings translate to have real-world relevance for practice and policy, she said.

Common Kitchen to Open at Clarksville Commons
GreenStone Ventures II, developers of Clarksville Commons, have announced The Common Kitchen will be opening later this spring. The Common Kitchen is a local foods and merchandise marketplace with a shared commercial kitchen. It will consist of 10 independent vendor spaces, plus a coffee, juices and handcrafted cocktails bar, as well as areas for shelf-stable merchandise; and it will seat approximately 50 people.
Each retail space will be occupied by a locally owned, independent business. The Common Kitchen will represent the diversity of the community by offering international cuisines, universal favorites and unique products. It also provides the space to cultivate new endeavors and offers an opportunity that may not be available in a traditional restaurant or retail setting, and will allow entrepreneurs to put more of their resources into production instead of overhead, which is vital to an emerging business.

MDOT Solicits Ideas for 3-D Printing Transportation Solutions
Furthering the Hogan Administration’s commitment to explore innovative options to build the state’s transportation infrastructure, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has issued a Request for Information (RFI), inviting interested parties, including the private sector, universities and others to seek innovative and collaborative ways the state agency can best use 3-D printing on projects.
The RFI was issued on March 6 and can be found on the e-Maryland Marketplace website at https://emaryland.buyspeed.com, under e-MM solicitation information No. MDJ0131037509. Those interested in responding have until 2 p.m. on April 10 to submit their responses electronically through the secure MDOT FTP site https://sftp1.mdot.state.md.us, using the user I.D.: OPCP_3D_RFI and password: March2018.

UMBC Men’s Basketball Coach
Inks New Deal
UMBC Men’s Basketball Coach Ryan Odom, who piloted the Retrievers to a win in the America East tournament before guiding the team to its upset of the No. 1 seed University of Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tournament, has agreed to a new contract. Terms of the new deal were not made public.
Odom just completed his second season coaching the Retrievers, posting a 25–11 record, after going 21–13 in his first season in Catonsville, when the team earned a College Insider.com Tournament bid; the program only won a combined 41 games in the seven seasons before his arrival. Odom’s original deal called for him to make $230,000 annually for seven years.

People in Business

Kelehan Receives TDR
Leadership in Law Award
Kevin Kelehan, a partner with Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr, of Columbia, has received the 2018 Leadership in Law Award from The Daily Record (TDR). Kelehan focuses on real estate law, primarily real estate finance and affordable housing.

Buckley to Nominate Sutherland as City Manager
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley will nominate long-time Anne Arundel County Auditor Teresa Owen Sutherland as the new city manager. If approved by the members of the Annapolis City Council during its April 9 council meeting, she would begin work on April 19. She would be the city’s first appointed female city manager.
“One of the greatest challenges facing the City of Annapolis is fiscal soundness. We are facing a structural deficit, and there is no one better qualified to help guide the city through its budget process and identify areas to operate more efficiently than Teresa,” said Buckley.

Marshall, O’Neill Join ClearEdge
Philip Marshall and Martin O’Neill have joined ClearEdge IT Solutions, of Jessup, as the director of programs and as chief operating officer, respectively. Marshall comes to ClearEdge after a long career with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Department of Defense in varying leadership capacities; O’Neill was most recently founder and principal of The Alternative Board – Baltimore Washington Corridor, an executive coaching firm.

HCC President Named 2018 Influential Marylander
Kate Hetherington, president of Howard Community College (HCC), has been selected by The Daily Record (TDR) to receive its 2018 Influential Maryland award. She is one of 57 Marylanders cited by TDR’s editors for leadership and significant contributions to their fields.

LHS Names New Executive Director
The Laurel Historical Society (LHS) has selected Ann Bennett as its new executive director. Bennett has more than 20 years’ experience working in museums, education and archaeology. She brings to the LHS hands-on experience in areas such as education, grants, volunteer management, exhibits and collections management.

Crosby Hires O’Connor, Smith
Crosby Marketing Communications, of Annapolis, has hired Juliet O’Connor and Taylor Smith as social media specialists. O’Connor joins Crosby from Planit, in Baltimore; Smith joins Crosby from Nashville agency MP&F Public Relations.

Monarch’s Carnaghan: Teacher
of the Year Finalist
Monarch Global Academy eighth grade teacher Heather Carnaghan is among the five finalists for the 2018 Anne Arundel County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. She teaches and writes curriculum for the Laurel school’s Collaborative Student Inquiry. The winner will be named at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum on April 25.

Loyola’s Getz Named Among
Top 100 Women
Kathleen Getz, dean of Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management, was named among The Daily Record’s Top 100 Women. Getz has more than 27 years of experience in business education.

HCC’s Bard Honored
The American Association of Community Colleges has selected Professor Luda Bard, who teaches biology at Howard Community College (HCC), as one of its 50 recipients of the inaugural Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty designation. Bard is one of three Maryland community college professors to be honored this year.

Howard’s Oldham Among
TDR Top 100
Howard County Deputy State’s Attorney Kim Oldham has been selected as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record. Oldham is a veteran prosecutor in the Circuit Court, where she has prosecuted felony cases that include homicides, sexual child abuse, kidnapping, armed robberies, narcotics and property crimes.

Laurel Appoints New Chief
Health Officer
Mayor Craig Moe has appointed Dr. Uzochukwu Unegbu as the City of Laurel’s chief health officer. Unegbu comes to the position with credentials as a family medicine doctor in Laurel, and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including UM Laurel Regional Hospital and UM Prince George’s Hospital Center.

BB&T’s Sollers Named Mrs. District of Columbia United States
Local commercial banker Su Joing Sollers was recently crowned Mrs. District of Columbia United States at the Crowe Plaza, in Annapolis. The telecast aired live on Pageant Planet Live. She works for BB&T Bank, in Columbia.

Padgett Honored by TDR
Suzi Padgett has been honored as a Distinguished Real Estate Agent by The Daily Record. Padgett runs Long & Foster Real Estate’s Columbia office and was recognized for her integrity, professionalism and commitment to mentoring.

UM CMG Announces
Wilson as COO
University of Maryland Community Medical Group (UM CMG) has named Michele Wilson chief operating officer (COO) of the University of Maryland Medical System-owned network of more than 300 primary care physicians, specialists and advanced practice clinicians. Wilson has served as vice president of operations for the Southern Region, which includes the Eastern Shore, Anne Arundel and Charles counties, and Baltimore City.

McKnew Saluted by MHLA
Chef Charles McKnew, of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Annapolis, recently received the Stars of the Industry Manager of the Year award. It was presented by the Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA).

Boyd Appointed to
Commission for Women
Meg Boyd, executive director of the Howard County Conservancy, has been appointed to the Howard County Commission for Women. Established in 1980, the commission conduct studies, reviews progress, recommends action and carries on activities to support its purpose.

Francis Gibson Goes National
Beverly Francis Gibson has accepted a position as president/CEO with the national office of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. She has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience in fundraising, grantwriting, strategic planning, board development and special events planning.

Maryland Korean Way Opening Cultural Doors

Andrew Yang has a ready way of describing the level of awareness people have for Korean culture and contributions in his neighborhood.

“You always see the movie ‘The Karate Kid,’ but never ‘The Tae Kwon Do Kid,’” he said. “People tend to group the Asian martial arts into one big category.”

So a year ago, Yang set out to change that issue by opening JS Taekwondo, a studio in Ellicott City where he teaches an art of self-defense that originated in Korea more than 2,000 years ago. The name is self-descriptive: “tae,” meaning “foot,” “kwon” meaning “hand” and, perhaps the most important syllable, “do,” meaning “the way.”

To Yang, “do,” means a way of life. “As a Korean, it’s an honor for me to introduce my home country’s martial art to people in this area. It’s part of Korean culture and history.”

Yang’s is one among many businesses included on a new website, MarylandKoreanWay.com, which is designed to promote cultural, dining and recreation experiences along a five-mile stretch of Baltimore National Pike, from Normandy Plaza to Turf Valley. The roadway was designated the “Korean Way” in 2016 by the Maryland Department of Transportation.

The website is part of the Maryland’s Korean Way Culture Trail, which was officially launched on May 1 by Visit Howard County, in partnership with the Korean Society of Maryland. On the site, visitors can find information about more than a dozen businesses; the site’s creators anticipate business listings on the site will grow as the brand gains popularity in an area with a burgeoning Korean population.

By Koreans, for All

Many Korean business owners want to be sure consumers know that their food, activities and products are available to all cultures and people, not just fellow Koreans.

“I moved here, near St. John’s Lane, eight years ago,” said Yang, “and it definitely wasn’t the Korean community that brought me here. It’s just a great neighborhood. And most of my students are not actually Korean.”

Eventually, he said, maybe people will consider Korean food the same way they do Italian food. “It’s for everyone, not just Koreans or Italians. Especially in recent generations, we are becoming more mixed.”

At Cafe EZ, owner Katie Han echoed Yang’s observations about the thriving area. “It’s just a great location, right next to the highway, assorted business complexes and a big Walmart,” she said. “Ninety-nine percent of my customers are American.”

A Taste of Korea

The Tous Les Jours Bakery offers Korean-style baked pancake bread, with honey and almonds; a strawberry-infused “pink milk bread”; cream-filled Korean milk bread with edible vanilla bean morsels; and many more treats, arranged carefully in display cases that bring happy exclamations from visitors.

The bakery hosted a kickoff event last month to announce Maryland’s Korean Way Culture Trail. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, and his wife, Korean-American artist Yumi Hogan, were among those invited. Tous Les Jours, which means “every day” in French, is part of a South Korean bakery franchise owned by a company based in Seoul.
Tous Les Jours is one of more than 166 Korean-owned businesses in Howard County, which is double the percentage of Asian-owned businesses in the rest of Maryland.

In Maryland, the Asian community makes up about 6% of the total population, while in Ellicott City that number is around 24%, according to the most recent census data. Between 2009 and 2014, the Korean population jumped by 30%.

‘Spread That Love’

That growth may be reflected in the popularity of the restaurant Honey Pig, which offers traditional Korean barbecue with tabletop grilling — or it just may be that good food that attracts all cultures. Honey Pig has been in Ellicott City for almost a decade, said spokesperson Hanna Kuark.

“We are very proud to say that we are known as the Korean-American owned business in Howard County,” said Kuark. “What started as a small family business has turned into a female-owned corporation that employs more than 200 people beyond Howard County. Our main goals have always been to spread Korean culture through our love of food. We are very happy to be in Howard County to continue our goals of spreading that love.”

At Visit Howard County, the staff is hoping that love spreads and the Maryland Korean Way inspires consumers to enjoy some new experiences, while boosting area businesses.

“The Maryland Korean Way brand was created to be a source of inspiration when it comes to the different culinary and recreational experiences,” said Amanda Hof, director of tourism development for Visit Howard County. The office hopes area residents “will visit MarylandKoreanWay.com to discover new restaurants and fun things to do.”

If HQ2 Lands in Montgomery

What’s the Effect on Howard?

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has termed what could be coming to a county near you “the greatest economic development opportunity in a generation.”

With that kind of an introduction, Hogan can only be referring to Amazon HQ2 that could be coming to the Washington, D.C., area, or more specifically to Howard County’s neighbor Montgomery County, at the White Flint Mall site.

It’s estimated that HQ2 would add $17 billion in annual economic activity to the state, and $7.7 billion in annual wages, according to Baltimore-based Sage Policy Group. Sage’s study also found that the project would support 101,000 total jobs and bring in $280 million in added county tax receipts, with an additional $483 million for state coffers. It could even increase traffic at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and at the Port of Baltimore.

So impressed by those numbers were Hogan and the legislature that the state is offering Amazon an incentive package nearly $8.5 billion. Known as the Promoting Extraordinary Innovation in Maryland’s Economy (PRIME) Act, it includes billions of dollars in property, sales and income tax credits from the state and from Montgomery County, with another $2 billion in transportation improvements.
Including the money for transportation improvements, Maryland’s incentive package appears to be larger than any publicly known offer made by the other 19 finalists named by Amazon.

Long-Term View

So vast is the incentive package that the Maryland General Assembly’s budget analysts estimated it would cost the state almost $5.5 billion during the next 35 years; it would also cost local governments another $924 million in property taxes.
But the above isn’t all HQ2 could do. It could also cause traffic nightmares in Rockville and the northern section of the Capital Beltway, as well as make a tight and expensive housing market even more so.

Officials from Amazon have stated that the corporation will make a decision in the second half of this year. Until then, observers are contemplating the ripple effect HQ2 would have in the region, most notably in adjacent Howard County.

What would the impact be if the game show-worthy woo-fest turns into a win? “It’ll be like having another Fort Meade — about 30 miles from Fort Meade,” said Raj Kudchadkar, CEO and president of the Central Maryland Chamber. “Even if it ends up in D.C. [and/or] Northern Virginia, it’ll impact us.”

To make the point, Kudchadkar noted the roughly 60,000 jobs that came to Fort Meade after the Base Realignment and Closure, which included workers “who live all over the region, even in Pennsylvania.”
Citing the Sage study, he dove further into the numbers.

“One thing I think people should be aware of is that, when the state’s House and Senate passed the incentive package, citizens were using the term ‘corporate welfare,’” Kudchadkar said, “but these are tax credits. The 40,000–50,000 high-skill jobs Amazon would bring to Maryland would pay an average of $100,000 per year over multiple years.

“Therefore, the state is not giving Amazon money,” he said. “The credits are based on the jobs being created. If Amazon doesn’t come here, it doesn’t get the money, anyway; if it does, it’ll keep a small percentage of the money and will still pay corporate income tax.”
Noting that Montgomery County is kicking in $925 million of the $8.5 billion package, Kudchadkar said the key is to understand “that the credits are directly tied to job creation.”

‘Tight-Knit Region’

Observations from other sectors of the local business community were similar. Daraius Irani, vice president at the Division of Innovation and Applied Research at Towson University, also noted that not only would HQ2 attract workers from all over the region, it would generate massive economic activity.

“It would be huge, not only for Howard, but also for Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties and across the region,” Irani said. “It would result in job creation from various businesses and vendors, for everyone from IT [information technology] people to janitors, and every other type of job in-between.”

Larry Twele, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority, is also on board. “Having Amazon select a location in Maryland for HQ2, and the 50,000 jobs associated with it, has the potential to spread economic growth across the entire region.
“A project of this size, and the high-paying jobs associated with it, will create gravity that will draw businesses and workers from other areas to help support the project and its operation; which, in turn, allows it to spread the economic growth to surrounding jurisdictions,” Twele said. “This has always been a tight-knit region, and [it] is conducive to business collaboration across jurisdictions.”
“We would expect to see both workers and businesses who call Howard County home work and support the operations at HQ2,” he said, “much like we have seen in the past.”

‘Not Super Happy’

While the majority of the impacts will stay in Montgomery County, said Christine Ross, president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce (MCC), the MCC’s economists at the Regional Economic Studies Institute “say at least 11% will spill over into central Maryland.”

Given its proximity to the proposed White Flint location, “it’s very likely Howard County will see most of that spillover. The Fort Meade parallel is a good one,” said Ross. “While the Fort is in Anne Arundel County, a number of government contractors in Howard County do business for, or with, the Fort, and many of those contractors’ employees live in Howard County.”

She pointed out that there are many high-skill workers in Howard County who work in cybersecurity and IT, for instance. “That’s very attractive to employers looking for a talent pool, and if Amazon were nearby, Howard County would be a good place [for vendors] to expand or set up shop.

“Plus,” Ross said, “Howard County is also a desirable place to live, with high-performing schools. That would [also] make it attractive to Amazon employees. That influx of residents would boost local tax revenues and drive employment at local businesses. So, although Howard County many not receive many direct benefits from an HQ2 in White Flint, it still stands to gain substantially.”

John Bouman, professor of economics at Howard Community College (HCC), thinks the dozens of new jobs that would be coming to the area “are a good thing for Howard County and a good thing for economic development in Maryland. And think about how the retailers and the vendors in the area would benefit,” he said.
Bouman even suggested that HCC can assist in training some of the workers who would be moving to the area, some from out of state, to work at HQ2; still, he knows that any influx of such magnitude has many angles, and opinions concerning making such a large incentive package available to Amazon is only one concern.

“HQ2 coming to Montgomery County wouldn’t hurt Howard County much in terms of traffic problems,” he said, “but I can imagine that the people who live in and around Rockville, and those who travel in that area, are not super happy.”

Bouman thinks Montgomery County might be able to come up with another spot on the map that’s in a little more remote area, as Northern Virginia has with a location near Dulles International Airport on more than two-dozen acres of undeveloped land on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun counties. If not, “Traffic could be even tougher around that [northern] part of the Beltway. Better roads [woould be needed], and mass transit would have to be improved,” which Hogan has addressed, if the White Flint location is Amazon’s location of choice.

Then comes the issue of where these people would live across a swath on the map that’s known not only for high-paying jobs and great schools, but its tight and expensive housing market.

“Howard County is trying to include affordable housing in its development plans, but know that HQ2 would make housing values rise. That’s good for owners,” Bouman said, “but that would make the issue harder for first-time homebuyers. That’s a problem in Silicon Valley, too. People who aren’t making $100,000 can’t afford to buy there, so they have to rent. Here, our rents would rise, too, which is also good and bad.”

The hope in that case, he said, would be that the housing supply increases over time and makes home prices more level.
“So, there are pros and cons,” Bouman said, “but as a macro economist, I would say [Maryland] would benefit, overall.”

Similar Treatment

As for the state’s $8.5 billion incentive offer, Bouman isn’t quite the fan of the package that Kudchadkar is.

“I’m not crazy about corporate welfare. I’m for creating a business climate that’s favorable for everyone, with tax rates that are reasonable for all concerned,” he said. “I’m against playing favorites, because another corporation that has been doing business in Maryland all along will come back and say it may move to Texas — unless they get the same treatment that Amazon is getting.”
Still, Kudchadkar, in this case, is for the incentives and is looking ahead.

“There were so many proposals at first that we didn’t take a position,” he said, “and I think there is still plenty of vetting going on. But as a chamber president that covers Howard, Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties, I still want Northern Virginia or D.C. to get HQ2 if Maryland doesn’t. The positive impacts wouldn’t be as intense, but they would still help.

“However, if Amazon agrees to the White Flint location,” he said, with a laugh, “we may have to commission a study to find out how many new members we’ll have at the chamber.”

 

County Executives Discuss Economic Realities

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett presented an overview of inter-jurisdictional challenges and cooperation during the 2018 Regional Economic Forum, which was held April 26 at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel.
“The counties represented are really becoming a core driver of this state in terms of business, commerce and employment,” said Baltimore Metropolitan Council Executive Director Michael Kelly, who moderated the forum, adding that the event was intended to focus on “what this legislative session meant and what they see … as the future drivers in the state of Maryland.”

Hosted by the Howard County Chamber’s Legislative Affairs Committee, the forum also provided a wrap-up of significant business-related legislative activity during this year’s Maryland General Assembly.

Larry Richardson, vice president of government affairs for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, said passage of the Small Business Relief Tax Credit represented one of the bigger victories for businesses this year.

Accordingly, businesses with 14 or fewer employees that offer paid leave to employees whose earnings equate to 250% (or less) of the Federal Poverty guideline (approximately $30,000) are eligible for a refundable tax credit of $500, with the program capped at $5 million.
“It was pared down tremendously during session, but this is a positive step forward, and we hope to use the next session to expand on this,” Richardson said.

The chamber was also successful in helping to get bills passed that increase the subtraction modification from $10,000 to $15,000 for retired military service members and reduce their eligibility age from 65 to 55.

“Their retirement is taxed [in Maryland] unlike a lot of other states, which chases them away,” Richardson said. “There are businesses in the private sector that want to hire these people, and we want to keep them in the state.”

Another positive, from an affordability standpoint, was defeat of the $15 minimum wage proposal, he said.

State Support

According to Kittleman, an increase in state highway user revenues paid to the counties is one of the most positive results to come out of the most recent legislative session. “In Howard County, we’ll be getting about $1.6 million in highway user revenue,” he said, “and next year we should be up to $3.5 million.”

That’s particularly good news for Anne Arundel County, said Schuh, where a lack of roadway funding in recent years has meant the county couldn’t even maintain its current roadway conditions.

“We are going to go to the point where we’re actually improving our system of roads,” he said. “We’ll probably take the budget up from $26 to $30 million; that’s never happened in our county before.”
Additionally, Schuh said, the governor and the General Assembly did much this year to increase the level of predictability for Maryland’s business climate.

Meanwhile, Montgomery County has made the short list of 20 contenders aiming to provide the location for the Amazon HQ2, Leggett said. Selection of Montgomery County would mean at least 50,000 and possibly up to 100,000 well-paying jobs for central Maryland.

That, Schuh said, is symbolically important for the Greater Baltimore region and central Maryland, which have seen an outmigration of jobs over the past few decades.

“We’re in a much better position than we have been in for a long time,” he said.

Federal Factor

With approximately 30% to 35% of Anne Arundel County’s economy either directly or indirectly tied to the federal government, Schuh said the transportation network around Fort Meade remains the biggest challenge in the county’s efforts to support that partner. The county is also focused on making its business climate attractive for federal contractors through favorable tax and regulatory policies.
In light of the threat of a more decentralized and shrinking federal government under the current Trump administration, “We’re fortunate that the aspects of the federal government that we see in Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Howard counties are ones we don’t see being diminished as much,” Kittleman said. “The military and cyber areas are actually growing.”

Still, he said, Howard County is making a conscious effort to diversify its reliance on federal partnerships by working to build up the commercial cybersecurity industry in the Columbia Gateway Innovation District.

That’s also a tack being taken by Montgomery County, Leggett said, where the focus is on the biotechnology industry and exploring economic relationships with South Korea, China and India.

“There are great opportunities we can leverage from abroad that can help us diversify our economy,” he said. “Growth in the federal sector in the foreseeable future will either be flat or go down; it’s not going to keep up with the demands we have for enhanced jobs and all the other things we need for our economy.”

Transportation

According to Kelly, 80% of Baltimore’s job growth during the next 10 years is projected to lie outside the Central Business District.
“We’re seeing growth of suburban job centers all over the state,” he said. “It puts strains on our transportation system, and transit-dependent workers have problems getting to these job sites.”
It’s a growing problem that Howard County is trying to address in partnership with Anne Arundel County through the Regional Transportation Agency, and with Montgomery County through Bus Rapid Transit.

“Our goal is to have routes change so they are more efficient,” Kittleman said. “Headways are too long. I think we can also work with our employers to figure out how we can do shuttles better. We need to look externally, not internally, within our counties.”

From Leggett’s perspective, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The first thing we need to do in our region, especially as it relates to Metro, is make sure what we already have is working.”
Bus Rapid Transit and the Purple Line will help, he said, “but we have to get people out of cars to solve this problem. We need help and support at both the federal and state level.”

While Anne Arundel County is working with the Maryland Transit Administration to reconfigure the state-owned bus lines, “the problem [here] is very different, because we are the land of peninsulas, with eight major peninsulas,” Schuh said. “Headway issues and the expense of a fully built-out system is almost unachievable, which means Anne Arundel County will always be reliant on roads.”

Budgets

As the chief administrators, county executives are responsible for budgetary planning, yet they really only control a small amount of their budgets in terms of flexible spending. That makes for some difficult decision-making.

Schuh said his county takes a business approach, with five broad priorities: reducing taxes and fees, improving public education, improving public safety, reforming county government operations and improving quality of life.

“Budget and programmatic proposals that fit with our business plan get priority,” he said.

In Montgomery County, Leggett was able to increase county reserves from only $79 million to approximately $500 million during his tenure by making some tough decisions.

Kittleman faced a similar situation at the start of his term, turning around a $15 million mid-year deficit by making structural changes.
“As a result, we were able to pay for recovery [from the Ellicott City flood] without getting into our rainy day fund and without doing anything that would hurt services,” he said. “You can’t just fix it for one time. You have to fix it for the future.”

Two Junior Hockey Clubs to Begin Facing Off in Piney Orchard

In 2006, the Washington Capitals vacated the National Hockey League (NHL) team’s long-time practice facility, Odenton’s Piney Orchard Ice Arena, to move to a new, modern, dual-rink facility in Northern Virginia, the Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

What followed during the next decade at the old barn back in Maryland was a mixed bag. While the rink was still used by area teams, organizations and the local community, it was also in a period marked by a lack of investment, which it lacked to the point where the planned addition for a second sheet of ice was abandoned.
That was the situation until two years ago, when the facility was purchased by Black Bear Sports Group (BBSG) and Piney Orchard Equity LLC, a partnership that invested $750,000 in upgrades to the structure while it looked to acquire a junior hockey (which is similar to Major League Baseball’s minor league system) team to play at the arena.

Today at the rink, there is much reason for optimism. Not only are plans going forward to build the addition with the second sheet of ice in a market that badly needs more capacity, but BBSG has purchased not one, but two junior franchises: one in the Tier 2 North American Hockey League (NAHL) and another in the Tier 3 Eastern Hockey League (EHL).

They are scheduled to begin play at the Piney Orchard Ice Arena this fall for the 2018–19 season.

The Setup

There may not be NHL players hanging around the rink much, but there will be increased vibrancy with NCAA and NHL scouts in the stands, assessing players in the 16–21 age range as they vie for spots with NCAA division 1, 2 and 3 programs — as 1,300 NAHL players have made NCAA commitments, with 17 more drafted directly out of the league into the NHL during the past five years.

BBSG’s acquisition of the franchise was made possible three years ago when the NAHL, which was founded in Michigan in 1976 and operates out of four regions of the U.S., decided to create an East Division, in which Maryland will become the sixth team.

“Our roots are in Michigan, and the league was once more of a regional operation,” said Alex Kyrias, director of communication for the Frisco, Texas-based NAHL. “We eventually merged in 2003–04 with the American West Hockey League, adding teams from the Dakotas and Alaska, plus some expansion franchises. Then we started to grow in the south, into Texas,” which has evolved into a hotbed for the sport.

There were only six to 12 teams in the NAHL until 2003, but that number has fluctuated between 20–28 teams since. “The addition of Maryland puts six teams in all four divisions,” Kyrias said. The teams play 60 games per season, starting with four games for each at a showcase event that starts the season in Minnesota, then 28 games at home, 28 away, all against division rivals.

Working Model

The local market is attractive to the NAHL “for various reasons,” Kyrias said. “There is a good talent pool, not just locally, but in the mid-Atlantic. Hopefully, many of the players (who will try out in May, before the June draft) will be local,” he said, “but we know that more players will come from all over the region and country, and maybe even from Europe.”

Kyrias went on to say that the Tier 1 United States Hockey League (USHL) and the NAHL are “way above any other league in terms of players getting NCAA opportunities and occasionally players picked in the NHL free agent draft,” adding NHL teams can only draft 18-year-olds. The Tier 3 leagues include the EHL, NA3HK and Rocky Mountain. All five leagues are sanctioned by USA Hockey, though other leagues exist.

Another interesting aspect to the local market is that there is no sanctioned top-level high school hockey in Maryland, as there is for other sports.

“The only state that has top players playing in high school hockey is Minnesota,” said Kyrias. He added that “one reason [the juniors concept] has worked for the last 10–12 years is because owners may take a big financial risk (new franchises are said to cost approximately $500,000), but they have figured out a business model that works. It includes modest ticket prices, a family-friendly atmosphere and the players, who are amateurs, staying with host families.

“Juniors are a step available in hockey that doesn’t exist in other sports, where young talent can develop for a year or two,” said Murry Gunty, the CEO of BBSG and head of Blackstreet Capital, both based in Chevy Chase, who noted that more improvements will be coming to Piney Orchard Ice Arena, including improved food options.
As for the EHL franchise, Neil Ravin, the spokesman for the Boston-based league, would only say that there “are still many moving parts” to establishing the Maryland franchise, “but we’re glad to expand our footprint into Maryland and the mid-Atlantic.” He noted that there also will be new teams joining the league for the 2018–19 season based in North Carolina and in South Carolina.

Right on Time

BBSG bought the Piney Orchard Ice Arena in 2016 due to its location and because “it has great facilities that were once state-of-the-art for the NHL,” said Mike Weiss, executive director of Team Maryland, based in Rockville, which is part of the ownership group for the arena. “It collected dust for a long time before we bought it, but now it’s in good shape for an NCAA or junior team.”

For Weiss and others, acquiring the new franchises are the culmination of a few years of effort, combined with some patience.
“We’ve tried to get a team here in recent years, but the timing wasn’t right, but now the time has become right,” said Weiss, who coached both of Gunty’s sons for five years for Team Maryland, and worked together to operate ice rinks like Abingdon’s Ice World (in Harford County) and two more in New Jersey.

And today, final arrangements for what will hopefully become a local junior hockey boom are being made.
“We’re looking forward to filling out our roster, and Dec. 1 is the go-live date for the second sheet of ice. We’re in permitting now,” he said, “with the first shovel set for around Memorial Day.”

Anne Arundel Chamber Celebrates Centennial

Founded in 1918 as the Annapolis Chamber of Commerce, today’s Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce (AAACCC) celebrates a significant 100th anniversary in 2018.

Much has changed during the organization’s existence, particularly in terms of the community it serves and the service it provides.

“The original chamber was established by members of the Annapolitan Club, which was a businessmen’s social club,” said AAACCC President and CEO Bob Burdon. “They located the chamber in the downtown Annapolis area, which is where all the businesses were at that time. The rest of the county was farm fields.”
Today, AAACCC membership exceeds 1,200 and includes businesses, nonprofits and government agencies from all reaches of the county and throughout central Maryland, in addition to a few from out of state.

Celebration activities are scheduled throughout the year, said AAACCC Business Development Director Karen Cline, and include a special Party of the Year that will take place on May 16 at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA)’s Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

History of Growth

Over the years, the AAACCC changed its identity as it adapted to changes in Anne Arundel County, with one of the first business influences coming from a realignment of Route 2 into the four-lane Ritchie Highway between Annapolis and Baltimore in the 1930s.
As commercial development took root along the highway after World War II, the Annapolis Chamber renamed itself the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce and created a committee focused on county business concerns.

After the committee spun off to become the Anne Arundel Trade Council in the early 1950s, the AAACCC changed its name back to the Annapolis Chamber of Commerce and focused exclusively on city business concerns.

The two organizations rejoined forces in 1999 to avoid membership and program duplications, emerging once again as the AAACCC. Two years ago, the chamber officially dropped the Annapolis designation from its name. (Although Annapolis was dropped from its name, the chamber still uses a triple-A in its abbreviation.)

Burdon, who has announced his retirement from the chamber effective June 1, served as executive director of the Trade Council from 1997, and transitioned to chamber president and CEO after the merger.

“One of the critical things we’ve done under my administration is work to position the chamber as a consensus builder in the communities we serve,” Burdon said. “We’re in a polar environment. We found a niche to be in that role, and in an advocacy role for a strong economy [that is] conducive for an excellent quality of life in the county.”

Programs, Advocacy

Throughout the year, the AAACCC hosts four large events, which include the Business Hall of Fame (scheduled Nov. 1 at Live! Casino) and the annual Holiday Mixer at Homewood Gardens. The chamber’s Legislative Breakfast, held each January, provides a lively discussion of local legislative and political issues, while the annual Excellence in Education Awards, held last month, honor the county’s best teachers.
“Aside from these events, we also hold an education forum, an economic development forum, a monthly Business Builders Breakfast, after-work networking mixers and multi-chamber events that facilitate interaction with other smaller chambers in the county,” Cline said. “This year, we added new-member orientation events that take place in January and July.”

From an advocacy standpoint, “we’ve been urging [elected officials] to pay closer attention to transportation infrastructure in Anne Arundel County,” Burdon said. “It’s critical from the standpoint of economic development.”

The chamber is also an advocate for the concept of a shared environmental responsibility, he said. “We’re all in the same boat, businesses as well as residents.”

And when it comes to education, “we’ve been very concerned for a number of years that we’re losing the top 10% of our high school graduates to out-of-state colleges and universities, and very few of them return,” Burdon said. “We don’t feel the University of Maryland is doing enough to encourage them to stay in the state.”

The trend dates back at least to the Gov. Parris Glendening administration, Burdon said. “They can’t get regular admittance to the state university, so they wind up in the northeast or down south.”
In other words, local jurisdictions make a significant contribution to these students’ education, but don’t reap the benefit when they leave the state for higher education and decide to work or create businesses elsewhere.

“Rather than trying to attract top-flight students from around the nation or the world, we’d like to see the university system get back to its roots and pay more attention to students from the state it was set up to serve,” Burdon said.

Party, Party, Party

AAACCC’s centennial celebration will last throughout the year, said Cline, with the largest event taking place May 16 at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.

“It’s not a formal sit-down event, but a party celebration organized as a walk through the decades, with great food, an open bar, and the Dan Haas Band providing live music,” she said. “We’re planning to highlight our history through technology rather than speeches. It’s a celebration of 100 years, not an anniversary.”

As part of the festivities, chamber members have been invited to purchase one of 100 footballs that will be dropped into the stadium by helicopter, with three footballs chosen at random for prizes that include $2,500, two round-trip tickets from Southwest Airlines, and a U.S. Naval Academy tailgate-game package.

In a lead-up to the main event, chamber officials scheduled visits to nine of the organization’s oldest member companies to deliver champagne and balloons to thank them and recognize their longevity.
Those companies consist of Tilghman Co., which joined in the early 1960s, BG&E, which joined in 1968, and the list of companies that trace their membership back to 1972: Katcef Brothers; Mullen Sondberg Wimbish & Stone; the Annapolis Sailing School; Anne Arundel Medical Center; the USNA Alumni Association; Annapolis Waterfront Hotel; and Watermark.

AAACCC’s year of celebrations continues with its involvement in the week-long Congressional Medal of Honor Convention taking place in Annapolis in September, as well as the commissioning of the U.S.S. Sioux City, the U.S. Navy’s 11th vessel in the new Littoral Combat Ship class, at the U.S. Naval Academy later this fall.

While Burdon is gazing toward his retirement, he’s also enjoying the reminiscing that comes with that milestone.

“We’re proud to look back on a rich history and recognize a lot of the great accomplishments that grew out of this chamber, like the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., the Anne Arundel County Conference & Visitors Bureau, Leadership Anne Arundel and the Annapolis Regional Transportation Management Association, among many others,” Burdon said.

“We’ve given birth to a lot of very vibrant organizations just over the past 20 years,” he said, “and we’re looking forward to staying involved in our efforts to make an impact on the business community and in the quality of life in Anne Arundel County.”

Improved Film Incentives Deal Done, State Shoots for Economic Impact

For the past many years, Maryland has been the location of a number of critically-acclaimed and commercially successful television productions. Reeling off the names of the programs sounds impressive, as they include NBC’s “Homicide: Life On The Street,” HBO’s “The Wire” and, more recently, “VEEP,” both of which shot interiors in Columbia; and, most recently, “House of Cards,” the Netflix series that will soon wrap production after its sixth season.
Still, the state’s production community couldn’t have been called robust, since its incentive package, a scant $5 million-plus, hasn’t been deep enough to attract new productions.

However, after years of effort championed by retiring local Sen. Ed Kasemeyer (District 12), that’s starting to change. Gov. Larry Hogan has just signed Senate Bill 1154 into law, and it will increase the state’s incentive package not just for one year — as has been the annual ritual — but for five years. To boot, the package even boosts the independent film community, in hopes of repeating the critical and commercial success of such indie blockbusters as 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project,” which was shot in Frederick County.

While Maryland’s new package still isn’t on a par with big-time players like Georgia, California, Louisiana and New Mexico, Maryland’s new package points in that direction and could finally ignite what could eventually become a big burst of economic impact.

Commitment

Maryland has had just enough incentive money in its program in recent years to keep the cameras rolling for “House of Cards,” and until three years ago, “VEEP.” That meant there was no money for any new production, even for an indie community that operates on relatively smaller budgets.

But the new law will increase the Department of Commerce’s film incentive budget by $3 million every year until 2023, when it would be capped at $20 million; it would also end Commerce’s current film reserve fund. That’s a huge improvement, because producers bringing multi-million-dollar productions to any state don’t want to have to move because its legislature ended its film program.

And that’s the key, said Debbie Dorsey, director of the Baltimore Film Office and vice chair of the Maryland Film Industry Coalition (MFIC). “It provides certainty,” she said. “We now have a program which provides industry decision-makers the ability to plan ahead, knowing that Maryland has an ongoing film incentive program in place.”
Furthermore, the indie film markets will be allotted 10% of the total incentive package each year. That means $800,000 in fiscal 2019, with that figure reaching $2.5 million by 2023.

Run the Numbers

Bob Middleton echoed Dorsey’s observations. “This shows the industry that Maryland is here for the long haul, and we’re committed to film production, the jobs and the business it generates for vendors,” said the chair of the MFIC and the president of The Arts Insurance Program, in Baltimore.

“For every dollar spent by a production company in Maryland, there’s $3 in economic impact [after the various multipliers] that comes back to the state,” Middleton said. “It impacts many other Maryland industries: catering, construction, home furnishing, housing, security, transportation, you name it, most of which are small. That’s even better, since small business is the growth area of the economy.”
To see what can happen, all Marylanders have to do is look at what’s been accomplished in Georgia during the past decade.

“For now, we just want to be competitive with Pennsylvania and Virginia,” said Middleton, who works nationwide with the film industry clients. “But Georgia got the idea, and now annually invests $9 billion in film incentives. They filmed the Marvel movie series, “The Walking Dead,” [famed director] Tyler Perry’s projects and much, much more. So, with the multipliers, that means $27 billion in economic impact.”

In addition, he said, the MFIC gets a report from Maryland Film Office Director Jack Gerbes’ office about films that wanted to shoot entire movies in Maryland, which in 2017 would have resulted in $60 million in economic impact. “HBO wanted to film ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,’ which starred Oprah Winfrey, in Maryland,” he said, “but it just shot the exteriors here and shot the rest in Georgia. Same with ‘The Post.’”

Noting that Ohio just upped its incentive program to $50 million per year, Middleton said while some people have an issue with tax credits, he sees that reaction “as kind of a knee jerk. But there’s no way to lose here. The state doesn’t put any money out; the production is only [reimbursed] after an audit of its spend.”

David O’Ferrall, business agent for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 487, recalled the days before film incentives were an issue. “We were a popular destination due to the locations, crew, topography,” etc. “It was during the Ehrlich administration that film tax credits were introduced in various states, when the main competition was Canada and Europe; later, that fight became between the states that had credits against those that didn’t.”

Today, not only is O’Ferrall pleased that the state “believes our production crews are as good as those anywhere in the world” and understands that they are respected “throughout the industry,” but also about “the carve-out for the indie companies. That means more home-grown product and getting more people more experience on crews, which we’ve been able to maintain” in recent years.

“This means kids coming out of Morgan State, Towson University, the Maryland Institute College of Art/Johns Hopkins partnership,” etc., “will have more in-state opportunities” and won’t have to travel to (or move to) other states to find work.

Hat’s Off to Ed

Aaron Skalka, owner/transportation coordinator of Transportation Resources, bases his business out of Annapolis because he chooses to live there, but gets most of his business out of Atlanta and L.A., “because that’s where the bulk of our customers are. We thought about investing $5 million–$10 million to set up a [location] here, but we’re still more conservative in Maryland because the incentives are still not permanent.”

So today, “We have a conservative presence here,” Skalka said. “However, Maryland has made it safe for us to locate here. ‘House of Cards’ has been a huge customer for us.”
But if the incentives are extended for more than five years, that could change.

“In Georgia and in L.A., we have real estate, employees, a bigger fleet and greater infrastructures. Our investment in Georgia is four or five times what it is here,” he said. “My hope in addressing the legislature this past session was to get across that anything they do will help.”
The new law is “a great start,” he said, “but [legislators are] missing opportunities for the Georgia or L.A.-style project, because those states have made investments in the $300 million–$500 million range. When companies like ours see that happen, we can build infrastructure.”

With this new day dawning for the industry, Senate Majority Leader Doug Peters, along with Dorsey and many other stakeholders, tipped their caps to the retiring Kasemeyer (who didn’t return calls for comment to The Business Monthly by press time), who asked Peters to take over the bill and continue the cause.

“In the past, the industry incentive has reached $25 million,” said Peters. “We want to get it back up to that level.”

Peters said he “didn’t realize how many other businesses were beneficiaries of the film industry. Many people who approached me told me how important it was to them, and to the state.”

Eric Luedtke, a delegate from Montgomery County, also grasps the potential of the film industry, calling the passage of the law “a big deal. I’ve always been supportive of the industry, but got involved more deeply by sponsoring legislation a few years ago. I have IATSE leaders in my district, and they’ve talked to me about crew jobs, as well as the issues with people having to go out of state to find work.”
Luedtke said that he and many others involved in the years of discussion have experienced “legislative fatigue on this issue because we’ve had to revisit it over and over,” while also saluting Kasemeyer as a champion of the effort. “As much as Doug and I were glad to work on the new law, know that he’s put more work into this than any member of the legislature.”

Those observers who say that the state offering incentives to spur economic development is “akin to giving Hollywood and movie stars free money are not telling the truth. In fact, it’s specifically written in the law that that’s not to happen,” he said. “This law is about creating and keeping good-paying jobs for Marylanders.”

In Five Years

The next step in the long-term process, Luedtke said, is the incentivization of building a permanent soundstage.

“It’s logical to me that central Maryland would be a good spot to build one,” he said. “Whatever bill we come up with won’t speak to locations, but will include grants to encourage construction. I plan to bring it up during the next session.”

“We’re going to pay much closer attention to the film industry as a job creator,” Peters said. “I think that gets lost in this discussion. When you attract so many people who want to work here — or [see so many] having to leave the state to find work — you comprehend its importance.”

As for Skalka, while he isn’t entirely happy with the scene in Maryland, he now qualifies as hopeful.

“The state’s film community has so much to offer and the [incentives] aren’t a handout,” Skalka said. “This is a great, clean industry that creates great jobs, great wage scales, fantastic benefits and employs thousands of people.

“I want to be really clear that this is a huge step in the right direction,” he said. “The legislature has stepped outside the normal approach, and that means Maryland will now attract long-term projects.”

Costs of Depression: Forum Explores Strategies to Improve Lives, Productivity

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Major Depressive Disorder affects more than 16.1 million American adults each year — or roughly 6.7% of the United States population. Depression is also the leading cause of disability for Americans aged 15 to 44.

The disorder plays a disturbing role in the growing incidence of teen and adult suicide, school and workplace shootings, and other tragic events.

“Everywhere we turn in the media, we learn about depression in ways that are quite dramatic,” said Jane Snider, chair of the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce’s (AAACCC) Education Committee.
Speaking as moderator of AAACCC’s forum on Depression in the Workplace and Schools last month, Snider said the program was put together during the course of a year to help inform and educate the business community about a problem that has an impact that extends far beyond the people who suffer from it.

“Part of our objective is to let people know what resources are available, and help businesses gain the insight they need to create a supportive environment for employees suffering from depression,” she said.

Insurance Obstacle

Dr. Vincent Culotta, a Columbia-based pediatric psychiatrist, said children are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of depression.

“One in 10 adolescents will meet the clinical criteria for depression, and many times it’s undiagnosed,” Culotta said. “Suicide is the third leading cause of death for adolescents,” with the suicide rate for adolescent males six times as great as the rate among adolescent females.

Aside from genetic predisposition, problems of self-identity, gender identity, sexual identity and the influence of social media place a tremendous amount of pressure on teens, he said, while medical treatment protocols and insurance limitations can hardly be described as adequate, especially when it comes to underprivileged children.

“It’s almost impossible to provide what we think is cognitive care that’s going to yield an outcome and do it within the context of insurance. It’s a pretty brutal industry,” Culotta said, acknowledging that many practices do strive to provide some pro bono work.

“It creates this terrible system for people who don’t have the option of going outside insurance networks,” said Dr. Doug Heinrichs, an Ellicott City-based psychiatrist. “I honestly don’t have an answer for that. [It’s a] true systemic problem.”

Moreover, Culotta said, the delivery system has changed drastically since the 1980s, when suicidal adolescents could be hospitalized for extended durations, sometimes up to 21 days.

“We could set up an IEP (Individualized Education Program) in the school and solve some of the problems and stressors that were driving it,” he said. “I haven’t seen a 21-day admission in a lot of years. We now see 24 to 72 hours.”

Cost/Risk Factor

Therese Borchard, senior writer for Crosby Marketing, of Annapolis, and the founder of Project Hope & Beyond, knows depression from firsthand experience.
“For me, when all the treatments didn’t work, turning my pain into service was the only thing that did work, she said.
An easy accommodation employers can make is to provide more frequent work reviews when necessary, Borchard said, because people who suffer depression constantly question themselves, wondering if they’re performing their job correctly.

“Employers need to know how to empower and build back confidence through good communications, supervisors and feedback,” she said.
The total economic burden of Major Depressive Disorder currently amounts to an estimated $210.5 billion a year, Borchard said, with at least half that figure attributed to workplace costs, absenteeism and reduced productivity. “Reduced productivity itself costs $78.8 billion, the equivalent of 32 lost workdays. Absenteeism costs $23 billion, up 8.3% from 2005.”

Depression ranks among the top three workplace problems for Employee Assistance Program professionals, she said, affecting 7.6% of American workers.

Factors such as being overworked, time pressure, lack of support and role clarity, poor feedback, job insecurity and a lack of social support add to the weight of the disorder.

“Another interesting element is that certain industries are more prone to depression than others,” said Borchard, particularly highly stressful jobs that involve difficult interactions, such as food preparation and service occupations, local and inter-urban passenger transit, real estate, social services legal services and manufacturing industries.

CEOs are also predisposed to depression, she said, as are entrepreneurs who experience a high degree of risk taking, long hours and obsession.

Work Considerations

People who suffer from depression can benefit from even small adjustments in the type of lighting in their workplace environment and the addition of plants or personalized touches, Borchard said, but employers also should provide training for supervisors and human resources on recognition, discrimination, confidentiality laws and education programs.

“The majority of companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), but only 5% of people access them, and 40% of workers don’t even know that they exist,” she said. “In my studies and experience, the best thing you can do is focus on work performance and observable behaviors, like coming in late, not meeting deadlines and work productivity. Setting clear expectations and getting feedback helps.”

Depression can take different forms, including Seasonal Affective Disorder, postpartum, bipolar and many others.

“Depression is a syndrome, it’s not a definable disease at this point,” Heinrichs said. “There are probably multiple conditions with different physical and chemical bases that present the same cluster of manifestations. This is why finding the right treatment for the right person is extremely challenging.”

Employers can be helpful in providing outlets for employees that help relieve stress, Culotta said.
“The technology industry tends to attract a more science-oriented mind that tends to be less social,” he said, citing The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, as an organization that understands that its constituents are not inherently social and need a gentle shove in that direction. “As soon as you walk in their buildings they have boards announcing yoga classes, a softball team, a bowling club, luncheons. They provide a backdrop. I don’t know if they did that by design or if somebody figured it out, but it’s helpful.”
Smaller businesses, though, have a much more difficult time when it comes to fielding programs or training to benefit employees suffering depression.

“There is a gap for small businesses [figuring out] who is responsible for going online and getting information and transferring it,” said Melanie Koorey, a workforce development consultant with Anne Arundel Community College’s Corporate Training Group. “I’m getting calls from companies that don’t have EAPs and don’t have support. They’re trying to get it from us.”

Ultimately, Snider said, employers need to ask themselves what strategies and policies they can incorporate to help create a more compassionate work environment, because not only is the problem not going away, it’s increasing.

“Someday, changes in neuroscience, neuroimaging and our understanding of genetics will hopefully change our understanding of depression and give us a way to treat depression like we do cardiovascular disease or diabetes or other disorders,” Culotta said. “At the moment, there’s no blood test and no marker for identification, and no psychological instrument that’s 100% effective.”

Q&A With Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley

South African born Gavin Buckley, the recently-elected Mayor of Annapolis, was raised in Perth, Australia, by his single mother and attended Belmont City College along Australia’s southwest coast — before beginning the journey that led him to the top spot in Maryland’s capital city.

Buckley departed Perth by boat in 1984, visited a few continents and eventually dropped anchor in Annapolis’s Spa Creek in 1992. He fell in love with the city, then with Julie Williams; they married in 1997 and are raising sons Dash and Miles.

From his first local job waiting tables at the Middleton Tavern, he quickly displayed an entrepreneurial spirit, learning the business, raising capital and navigating bureaucracy to open Annapolis’s first coffee shop, The Moon, in 1993.

He eventually saw potential in Inner West Street, an area where drug deals and prostitution were common, and opened his pan-Asian restaurant, Tsunami, in 2000. Accepted by a diverse crowd, Tsunami’s success encouraged Buckley to establish more restaurants, including Lemongrass and Metropolitan, in 2005; and Sailor Oyster Bar, in 2016.

All four of his ventures are located on West Street in Annapolis, and his dedication to the town’s key avenue inspired him to help create the Sunday Arts Festivals, followed by the Annapolis Fringe Festival, the Chocolate Binge Festival, the Annapolis Color Run, West Street Holiday Light Canopy and Dining Under the Stars.

Buckley, a Democrat, ran on a platform of preserving Annapolis’s history, but with an eye toward the future. He has served on various boards, is a member of the local NAACP chapter and champions public art and local musicians.

Do you think your global travels help when making business decisions?
Yes, and I think everyone should do that. I’ve spent time in Asia, Europe and Bermuda. I’d use Miami as a base for my trips to Bermuda, and then one day I decided to sail up to the Chesapeake Bay, because I knew of its reputation. I got here with $200 in my pocket, ended up selling the boat and staying.
That’s what’s great about traveling; you can bring what you see and learn back to home. That helps with innovation.

What were your biggest challenges in dealing with planning and zoning when you were establishing your restaurants?
We were made to feel like we were sitting in the principal’s office. It’s been better lately, but we have to take responsibility for our reputation. We’re doing something wrong for our city when everyone feels like a victim, whether it concerns building a restaurant, a home or a new deck in the backyard. The city is in the service business, but it often hasn’t felt that way.

I’m not suggesting that we give away the farm, but we need to work as a team to move projects forward. That’s how we can create jobs and increase our tax base.

What’s next for the inner and outer sections of West Street?
I was one of the first people to see opportunities along West Street when I opened Tsunami, against all of the experts’ advice. It’s been a success, as were the next two.
There is a renaissance happening on West Street. We have seen additional restaurants and galleries opening, as well as investment in additional office, retail and residential space. The Light House Bistro that helps with job training for the residents of Light House Shelter has been a great success. Hilton will be opening a renovated hotel soon and there will be additional townhomes built soon, as well.

What spurred you to run for mayor?
I think Annapolis has a great deal of untapped potential, but it seems that whenever someone has a new idea, people shy away from it. We need to look at what’s happening in other tourist towns, like Charleston, S.C.; Asheville, N.C.; Burlington, Vt.; Boulder, Colo.; and Austin, Texas. Food and art and making those towns current and transformative.
We’re a little stuck in the Williamsburg — where they actually have characters and close at night — model. However, I think we can embrace both modes of marketing our town.

What are your thoughts of transforming the parking area in front of the Harbor Grill at the City Dock?
I think we should make it a hardscape park, name it Lafayette Square, build a boutique hotel adjacent to it and call it The Maritime. We’d have to keep that [mostly] a hardscape area to accommodate the tent setup for the Annapolis Boat Shows, as well as create underground parking and storage. We’re aiming to have the project done for the boat shows in 2020.

How do you plan to further boost the arts community to attract more people downtown?
We’re working on a plan for the failing mall by the Harbor Master’s office called The Cannery, which would be similar to the Torpedo Factory on the Alexandria [Va.] waterfront. I’m meeting now with [First Lady] Yumi Hogan to see what we can come up with. [County Executive] Steve Schuh’s wife loves art, as well.
If we can re-energize that building and the Market House, that will re-energize the City Dock area. Then we can work on that 140-room (or so) boutique hotel.

What’s the latest on the Market House?
Renovations by the vendor team are coming along and they expect to open in late spring. For the first time in a very long time, operations at Market House will be cash positive and an asset to the city’s budget. Just as important, the heart of our history downtown will once again be open for business and attracting people to shop, dine and enjoy our city. It will be a communal gathering place for locals, as well as tourists.

Do you think local tourism officials are doing enough to attract visitors to the city?
Last year, if I’m correct, was a great year — maybe even a record year — for hotel reservations in the city and surrounding areas. I think the tourism office is doing a great job promoting our beautiful places. Our administration will build upon the great festivals and events that have drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors here.
In addition to recent events like the Military Bowl and Parade and the amazing Capitals-Toronto hockey game at U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, we’re planning a music festival for September, and the U.S. Naval Academy and Department of Defense will be christening a new ship this fall. These two events will bring thousands of tourists to town.

What’s the state of the city’s budget?
I have proposed a .13 increase in the property tax rate to increase revenues to help address several items. We have been borrowing money for projects for too many years, and not paying the obligatory contributions to public safety pensions and to retiree benefit programs. We cannot borrow our way out of debt. The fiscal 2019 budget eliminates the structural deficit, fully funds required public safety pension contributions for the first time in 10 years, funds 12 firefighters currently protecting our citizens through a grant that is expiring, and increases funding to reduce the $50 million liability for retiree health insurance.
Raising the tax rate is the only revenue source the city has direct control over. We will do a line-by-line review of the budget during the Finance Committee hearings and City Council meetings. Our process will be public, of the utmost transparency, and we will encourage public feedback.

What are your key environmental concerns?
My ultimate goal is to make all of Annapolis waters swimmable and fishable again. We can do this through innovative partnerships with county, state and federal partners, as well as with our outstanding environmental nonprofit organizations. And our administration will have a renewed focus on integrating not just environmental protection, but restoration and enhancement to every project we do.
Transportation is also a key element of environmental protection. Our administration will be increasing options for transit, as well as building a network of bike paths connected the jewels throughout the city. We will also increase efforts to get people out of their cars before they get downtown and expanding bike paths and trolley paths. And most importantly, we will transform the parking lot at City Dock into a vibrant community space that could maybe even include a few blades of grass near the water for a picnic. This will help reduce the stormwater runoff that currently rushes off of the parking lot and into Spa Creek.

How can the city improve parking options?
We need to do a better job of encouraging people to park in our municipal garages outside of Main Street that are not full on weekends. Also, the State Garage on Calvert Street is free after 5 p.m. on Fridays, yet is mostly empty. We will be increasing the use of our Circulator to move people around from these garages to points of business on Main Street, Maryland Avenue, West Street and more.

What’s your take on crime in the city?
We need to invest in areas that have been forgotten for 50 years. I’ve been studying different models in affordable and public housing. We need people who live there to tell us what they want. Most of them want a home, an opportunity and a job.
The current head of public housing is working on a rebuild for Newtowne, and we need the same for Robinwood, Eastport Terrace and Harbour House. There are only 750 units left under the Housing Authority of The City of Annapolis. That’s a small number who need help. The rest of our citizens who are living in projects are under Section 8.

What’s surprised you most after your first few months in office?
The scheduling of every hour, on the hour, each day has been a bit of a surprise, but the budget was in worse shape than anyone expected. I also wasn’t aware of the phase-in schedule associated with the revised assessments or the interesting financial practices the city used.

Kittleman Presents Capital Improvement, Operating Budgets for Fiscal 2019

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman recently presented to the County Council his $164.7 million Capital Budget and $1.6 billion Operating Budget, for fiscal 2019.

Capital Budget

Kittleman’s capital budget continues to support his priorities in education, public safety, transportation, infrastructure and community services. The budget includes $97.4 million from General Obligation (GO) bonds.

The proposed budget includes a one-time boost in county contributions for Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) capital projects to fill the gap created by a $12.3 million decline in state aid.

The proposed HCPSS capital budget totals $63.7 million, including $54.9 million in county and $8.7 million in state funding. County funding consists of $47.9 million in general obligation bonds, an increase of 36.9% from the previous year and the highest level in nearly a decade, along with $7 million in transfer taxes.
Highlights of the fiscal 2019 capital budget include the following.

Education & Opportunity

• $1.1 million for the enhancement of security at school buildings
• $4 million for the completion of Waverly Elementary School renovation/addition
• $8.1 million for the completion of the new Hanover Hills Elementary School
• $4 million for Hammond High School renovation/addition
• $6.7 million for planning and design of the 13th high school
• $2.6 million for Talbott Springs Elementary School renovation/addition
• $9.2 million for completion of the Howard Community College Nursing Building renovation

Transportation & Revitalization
• $1.1 million in county and grant funds for BikeHoward Express network
• $6 million to resurface approximately 36 miles of roads
• $17.1 million for storm drain and stormwater management
• $1 million in county and state funding for Harriett Tubman School Building remediation/restoration

Human Services & Public Safety
• $1.4 million for design and renovation of Florence Bain 50+ Center
• $5.9 million to complete replacement and upgrade of public safety radio system
• $3.4 million for various fire station projects

Recreation & Parks
• $5 million for design and construction of swimming pool at North Laurel Community Center
• $3.2 million in county and program open space funds for construction of Phase III and design of Phase IV at Blandair Park
• $1.5 million to complete construction of synthetic turf stadium field at Troy Park and complete design of the maintenance building

Business & Economic Development
• $3 million for design and building renovations at Gateway Innovation Center

The county council held its most recent Capital Budget work session on April 20. The fiscal 2019 capital budget can be reviewed at www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/County-Administration/Budget.

Operating Budget

Kittleman’s Operating Budget for fiscal 2019 continues his focus on education, securing schools, public safety, measures to decrease opioid misuse and support for Howard County’s nonprofits.

The Operating Budget represents a 1.9% increase from last year’s budget. The proposed General Fund Budget, which supports the majority of government services, totals $1.1 billion. Excluding one-time expenses, the General Fund budget represents an increase of $28.5 million (or 2.6%) from fiscal 2018.

In the budget, Kittleman fully funded Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Interim School Superintendent Michael Martirano’s $594.5 million budget request, which is $21.6 million (3.8%) more than fiscal 2018 and $11.4 million above the required Maintenance of Effort (MOE) level. This includes an $11 million, one-time payment to help address the school system’s shortage in its Health Fund, which provides health benefits.

Kittleman also added funding in the Police Department budget to double the number of School Resource Officers (SROs) at the county’s middle schools, and included funds in the Office of Emergency Management budget to assist HCPSS with school safety strategy.

Health and human services initiatives are another emphasis. For the first time, the county is providing operating assistance to Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) to help hire behavioral health navigators and a licensed clinical social worker, and provide incentives for primary care physicians.

In addition, the budget increases the county’s support to HCGH’s capital project by agreeing to provide $5 million during the next five years, starting with $500,000 this year. The money will be used to build a two-story addition that will add 30 inpatient beds, an inpatient psychiatry unit and a short-stay observation unit.
Highlights of the fiscal 2019 operating budget include the following.

Education
• Direct appropriation of $594.5 million to the HCPSS
• More than $67.7 million for debt service payments for school system capital projects and the county’s OPEB contribution for school system retiree benefits
• $35 million for Howard Community College, an increase of $1 million (or 3%)
• $20.9 million for the Howard County Library System, an increase of $628,000 (or 3.1%)
• Continued funding for the Achieve 24/7 initiative for programs aimed at reducing barriers to student success by targeting initiatives that address child mental health, disconnected youth and summer food and enrichment programs

Health & Public Safety
• $500,000 in initial funds toward a $5 million commitment to HCGH’s capital campaign
• $389,000 in operating assistance to HCGH
• $250,000 to Sheppard Pratt Health System for third year of a four-year, $1 million total commitment
• Continued financial support for opioid treatment and recovery efforts
• Funding to hire a behavioral health ombudsman to assist consumers to gain access to affordable behavioral health initiatives
• 37 new positions for Howard County Fire & Rescue Services for firefighters at Lisbon and Downtown Columbia stations, and to increase the number of firefighters assigned to each fire engine throughout the county
• Extended hours at four 50-plus centers; Elkridge, East Columbia, Bain, Ellicott City
• Significant increase to several nonprofits providing services to vulnerable residents — Hopeworks, Bridges to Housing Stability, Community Action Council, Grassroots and FIRN. Also increased funding to the Howard County Arts Council

Infrastructure & Economic Development
• $6 million in PAYGO to continue addressing the backlog of road resurfacing projects
• $1 million for Merriweather Post Pavilion to support the ongoing renovation project
• $400,000 for Howard County Innovation Center for design and marketing
• $150,000 for the pilot Flood Mitigation Assistance Program to help property owners in Valley Mede and Historic Ellicott City
• $95,000 to the University of Maryland Extension staff to hire a full-time 4-H outreach assistant to expand programming and outreach, and a program coordinator position for the Watershed Academy

The county council held its first public hearing on the operating budget on April 25. The fiscal 2019 Operating Budget can be reviewed at www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/County-Administration/Budget.

Jazz, The Jedi, Acrobatics and More at the Columbia Festival of the Arts

Tickets soon will go on sale to the 31st annual Columbia Festival of the Arts. The event will features 16 days of activities for all ages, from Grammy award-winning jazz artists to stunning technology to a Jedi Academy for the kids.

Free Opening Weekend

The free LakeFest weekend returns June 15–17 with live music, an invitational arts and crafts show, strolling performers, festival food, a Howard OnTap Beer Garden presented by Clyde’s, and an array of activities and entertainment for all ages.

The highlight of this year’s LakeFest are evening performances of eVenti Verticali’s Wanted, a performance duo from Italy who bring together theater, circus, graphic design, acrobatics, dance, music, visual comedy and new technologies.

Arts & Crafts

The festival’s juried, invitational show returns with 60 artisans displaying and selling their one-of-a-kind artwork representing a breadth of media, including functional and wearable art at various prices. Booths are located through the festival grounds.

LakeStage Music

The LakeStage will be rocking all weekend with music from every genre, featuring performances by School of Rock Columbia, Chopteeth Afro Funk Big Band, Mr. Gabe & the Circle Time All-Stars, Nelly’s Echo, The Sidley’s, Gaiteros De Sanguashinton, All Our Exes Live in Texas, Bullbuckers, Maryland Winds, the Wilde Lake Steel Drum Band, Centennial Jazz Band, Columbia Jazz Band and the Glenelg Jazz Ensemble.

Other Performances

“The Other Mozart” comes to the Smith Theater stage on Friday, June 22, at 8 p.m. This award-winning play tells the true, forgotten story of Nannerl Mozart, the sister of Amadeus — a prodigy, keyboard virtuoso and composer, who performed throughout Europe with her brother to equal acclaim, but her work and her story faded away, lost to history.

NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater will perform music from her album, Memphis, a collection of blues and soul songs that originated from the southern city in the 1960s. Friday, June 29, 8 p.m. at The Jim Rouse Theatre.

Learn the ways of the Jedi with Panniken Moonjumper, a Master of Intergalactic fun and adventure. During this program by veteran family entertainer David Engel, little Jedi warriors, princesses and Darth Vaders will experience comic antics, physical challenges, light saber lessons and a visit from his furry alien sidekick. Kids are encouraged to dress as their favorite Star Wars character. Sunday, June 24, at 3 p.m., at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods.
Stoop Storytelling Series: Stories About Education & Miseducation will be held on Thursday, June 14, 7 p.m., at Smith Theatre, Horowitz Center at Howard Community College. The Stoop Storytelling Series is an event which seven people get seven minutes each to tell a true, personal tale on a shared theme in front of a live audience.

Two-faced super-nerd Charles Ross will tear into Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece in his new “One Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody” on Saturday, June 23, at 8 p.m., at Smith Theatre.

“Maine Girls,” a short film that follows 13 immigrant and U.S.-born teenage girls. It underscores the role that young people play in bridging cultural divides. Saturday, June 23, 2 p.m. at Monteabaro Hall, The Horowitz Center at Howard Community College.

Presented in Partnership with The Arc of Howard County and Autism Howard County, Sprout Films are shorts created by, for and about individuals with disabilized Saturday, June 23, 4 pm, Monteabaro Hall, Horowitz Center at Howard Community College.

Sundance Shorts on Tour will be shown on Sunday, June 24, 1 & 4 p.m., at Monteabaro Hall, Horowitz Center at Howard Community College.

Closing out the festival is Verba Shadow Theatre, a professional shadow theater team from Ukraine. One of pioneers of this genre, Verba takes you on a journey into the imaginative world of shadows. Saturday, June 30, 7 p.m. at Smith Theatre.

To learn more, visit columbiafestival.org or call the festival offices at 410-715-3044.

Hogan Wins by Cooperating More

At the traditional end-of-session big buffet breakfast for guests of the Historic Inns of Annapolis across from the State House, a Prince George’s County delegate was about to leave the table, just hours after the last legislative session of a four-year term adjourned at midnight.

“Seventy-seven days,” he said. “But who’s counting?” was the response, knowing he was talking about the June 26 primary election.

There are still hundreds of bills to be signed or vetoed, but most legislators have switched to full campaign mode; some of them would argue that Gov. Larry Hogan has never gotten out of campaign mode.
This most recent session was decidedly different from Hogan’s first three. The Republican governor and staff took a more cooperative approach with the Democratic lawmakers.

Hogan won this legislative session by not losing too much and not giving Democrats ammunition against his reelection campaign. Hogan also won with success on issues where he collaborated more than usual with Democrats, and by choosing to fight them, and lose, only on issues where he held the high ground.
Many legislators in both parties also won with bills large and small they can take home in this election year. In a record, 3,127 bills and joint resolutions were introduced and 890 bills (or 28%) were passed; more than 250 have already become laws.

At the first post-session signing ceremony, Hogan continued to tout bipartisan cooperation and the contrast with Washington inaction, a theme he plans to carry through his reelection campaign in heavily Democratic Maryland.

“The success of our legislative session shows that, unlike the partisan gridlock we see in Washington, here in Annapolis we work together in a common sense, bipartisan way to get things done,” Hogan said.
Every time the legislature would hold a hearing on an administration bill — or even a Democrat-sponsored bill with which Hogan agreed — they would issue a “Bipartisanship Alert,” which was a press release with flashing lights.

Winning

Health Insurance: There was true bipartisan cooperation on a bill to stabilize admittedly high health insurance rates for 150,000 people under Obamacare.

“This problem should have been solved in Washington, but nothing has been done,” Hogan said. “Our team has been working on potential solutions for more than a year, and I want to sincerely thank the speaker, the Senate president, and legislators from both sides of the aisle for working together with us in a common sense, bipartisan manner to address this crisis head-on and to prevent these massive rate increases.”

Howard County Del. Shane Pendergrass, chair of the Health and Government Operations, would argue that it was her committee that did the heavy lifting on the bill. But everyone shared the glory.
As was fairly typical this session, Senate Republicans had Hogan’s back on this issue. House Republicans didn’t get the memo on the bipartisanship for a bill that applied a one-time $380 million tax on health insurers to prop up the remains of Obamacare. Howard County Republican Del. Bob Flanagan was the rare Republican who voted for the measure, while Republican Dels. Trent Kittleman and Warren Miller opposed it.

• Transit: There was similar bipartisan cooperation on dedicated funding for the Washington Metro system. Two Montgomery County Democrats took the lead, but Hogan worked hard to persuade D.C. and Virginia to go along with $167 million each for a permanent fix for the ailing Metro system. This, and Hogan’s advance of the Purple Line in the Washington suburbs, help undercut the lingering complaints of Baltimore region officials about Hogan’s killing the east-west Red Line in Baltimore.

Again, a majority of Republicans in the House, which has a more severe partisan divide, didn’t get the memo, and voted against the bill. Again, only Flanagan, a former transportation secretary, was the rare Republican delegate who voted for it. Senate Republicans supported it unanimously.

• Amazon: There couldn’t be anything much more bipartisan than the passage of the Amazon PRIME Act, the bill providing at least $5.6 billion in tax incentives, plus road and transit improvements, to attract Amazon’s East Coast headquarters to Montgomery County.
All but one of Montgomery’s 24 liberal legislators supported Hogan’s bill. The vote in the House had progressives from other areas of the state joining with Republican conservatives in opposition to what was considered a giveaway to the wealthiest man on Earth, Jeff Bezos. All of Howard County’s mostly progressive Democratic delegates voted against the bill, as did conservative Republican Del. Warren Miller; Flanagan and Kittleman supported it. In the Senate, all three of Howard County’s senators — Republican Gail Bates and Democrats Ed Kasemeyer and Guy Guzzone — supported it.

• Environment: Last year, Democrats repeatedly tried to link Hogan to President Trump, with declining success. There was less of such talk this year as Hogan worked to shore up Obamacare and fund transit. But nowhere was the contrast between the allegedly Republican president and the Republican governor more apparent than the environment.

Hogan continues to get surprising praise from some environmental groups as he fought Trump and his Environmental Protection Agency for continued funding to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and ban offshore oil drilling. The Democratic congressional delegation, of course, played a major role. Hogan Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles shares the praise from environmentalists.
Only Hogan’s refusal to completely block another gas pipeline stirred up some of the most adamant environmentalists, leading some green grandmothers to block the State House doors and engineer their own arrest.

• School Safety: Legislators from both parties and Hogan were in a bidding war to do everything they could do to make schools safer from shooting incidents. As with many other issues — cybersecurity, taxes on pensions, septic systems — Hogan’s own bill did not pass, but provisions of his legislation were added to other bills.
The same thing happened on legislation to crack down on repeat violent offenders and relieve some of the violence in Baltimore. The House and the Senate went back and forth, and Hogan declared victory.

Losing

The Hogan administration introduced 31 pieces of legislation, his most ambitious legislative package of the four-year term. Only a handful passed with his name on it, but the governor said he doesn’t care about that, as long as things get done and issues get handled.
But many of the issues he lost are also popular with voters, if not the most important issues like jobs, education, taxes and roads.

• Without His Signature: Hogan chose not fight the legislature over several bills that the public employees unions wanted and a bill providing for automatic voter registration. More than any recent governor, Hogan has made use of a constitutional provision that allows a bill to become law without his signature, signaling he doesn’t like the bill, but chooses not to fight about it. He has used this on scores of measures this four-year term.

It will be curious to see what he does now that the legislature has no chance of overriding any veto in this election year — except in the unlikely event of a special session, which Hogan definitely will not call.

• School Spending, Corruption: Hogan had several bills to achieve greater accountability for school spending, including the idea of a statewide inspector general. The bills did not pass, but Hogan used them as reminders of corruption and mismanagement, particularly in the school systems of Baltimore and Prince George’s counties, which happen to be the home counties of Hogan’s most prominent Democratic challengers.

It was hard not to be reminded of Democratic corruption as State Sen. Nathaniel Oaks of Baltimore hung around under indictment and ultimately pled guilty to federal charges of corrupt use of his legislative power.

• School Construction: When the legislature sought to strip the power of the Board of Public Works (which Hogan chairs) from its oversight of school construction dollars, he pounded away at the idea of potential corruption in the new process. That seemed a bit exaggerated for a commission on which two of his cabinet secretaries and the state school superintendent will serve, but no matter; the point was made repeatedly.

Democratic legislators presented the bill as a major reform of the process and a necessary hike in school funding — although Hogan was already hitting the new $400 million target this year. Hogan knew he was going to lose this argument and have his veto overridden, but he insisted that the bill — most of which he supported — was the worst legislation this year.

• Taxes: At the beginning of the session, Democrats and Hogan committed to holding Maryland taxpayers harmless from tax increases on their state returns triggered by the changes in federal laws that cut income taxes for most people and corporations. In the end, the legislators chose to keep most of the money — though not spend it this year. They found Hogan’s plan would have actually cut state income taxes for some people, and cut state revenues.
Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, retiring chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee, and the Senate wanted to provide more relief, but House leaders refused to go along.

So yet again, Hogan, who campaigned in 2014 on rolling back taxes, had a tax cut, but was rebuffed by Democratic lawmakers. Some retirees and low-income people will see new tax credits, but Hogan’s loss on this issue is yet another political talking point for his reelection campaign.

• Paid Sick Leave: How could anyone forget paid sick leave? At the start of the session, the legislature easily overrode Hogan’s veto of a law forcing most small businesses to offer paid sick leave, even for part-time employees. Hogan had offered his own plan of tax subsidies for sick leave that would have covered fewer workers. That plan went nowhere, as did an attempt to delay implementation of the new law. But legislators did pass Hogan’s bill to subsidize businesses with fewer than 15 employees who had not offered sick leave before.
All in all, six months away from the general election, polling has shown Hogan remains popular with voters and the session did nothing to change that. None of his nine Democratic opponents have caught fire.

However, know this: Six months is a very long time in an election campaign.

RTA Seeks Howard Council’s Support for Development Plan

Howard County Office of Transportation Administrator Clive Graham appeared before the Howard County Council in April to seek endorsement of the Central Maryland Transit Development Plan (TDP) that will guide transit in the county for the next five-to-10 years.

“Over the years, our service in Howard County has not been as good as it could and should be,” Graham said. “We are turning it around. We have a better fleet, we have new management, we’re putting new policies in place, and the service is getting better,” he said.
Transit improvement is a constant struggle for any provider, he said, and the TDP could bring some much-needed benefits to the operations of the Regional Transportation Agency (RTA), which operates routes in Howard County and the adjacent jurisdictions of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties, and the City of Laurel.
The plan requires the endorsement of locally elected officials, Graham said.

Among the challenges the RTA has seen in recent years are systemic problems tied to the merging of Howard Transit and the Connect-A-Ride operations, aging fleet issues and a 10% to 15% loss of ridership during the past three years.

“This is a problem that’s national in scope,” Graham said. “Many transit systems across the country, including WMATA down the road, are experiencing this. Part of the plan is a response to this trend.”

Plan Components

The new TDP takes a four-pronged approach to improve transit in Central Maryland. According to Graham, it targets performance and service improvements, proposes a complete reconfiguration of bus routes that have not been reviewed for nearly 20 years, expands service to parts of the county that have grown and are now underserved, and provides new options to address the challenges of providing paratransit services.

“The vision for the plan is that it be a system of choice, not a vision of last resort,” he said.

Andrew Johnson, RTA’s assistant general manager of operations, said one major improvement of the plan would be free fixed-route service to seniors and ADA passengers, which would alleviate some of the pressures on paratransit operations.

RTA officials are hoping to implement a number of other ideas by July 1 to help make the TDP effective.

“We have been able to make minor structural time changes to many of the routes,” he said. “What needs to take place is [to] start from scratch to sort out new and better alternatives to what is available now — shorter routes, better connectivity, shorter headways, enhanced and extended service for longer service hours, and greater weekend coverage.”

Fred Goettemoeller, speaking for Friends of Bridge Columbia, said the plan also envisions a high-capacity bus corridor extending from the hospital through Downtown, Oakland Mills and Long Reach to Columbia Gateway, using Bridge Columbia across Route 29 as its lynchpin.

Mulch Debate

The County Council revisited legislation in April that would allow composting facilities and natural wood waste recycling on preservation parcels. The discussion reignited a contentious debate between farmers looking for alternative sources of income, and county residents who say the practice has environmental consequences that are not contained within the physical boundaries of property.

“The 293 Howard County farms have had to diversify their businesses to maintain their business plans so we can afford to pay the constantly rising costs of taxes, fuel, insurance, machinery and buildings, as well as hire some extra labor we need,” said Howie Feaga, president of the Howard County Farm Bureau.

Farmer Keith Ohlinger, of Woodbine, said he also supports the legislation, which is sponsored by Council Chair Mary Kay Sigaty (D-Dist. 4) and Councilman Greg Fox (D-Dist. 5) and is opposed by Councilmembers Calvin Ball (D-Dist. 2) and Jen Terrasa (D-Dist. 3).
Continuing to disallow mulching operations on preservation easements will “continue to limit what can be done because somebody didn’t like something, and [these farmers] are going to end up with nothing,” Ohlinger said. “Let them sell [development rights], these folks can have as many developments as they want and argue with neighbors about door colors and whatever they want, just let us get out.”

Corliss Glennon, of Dayton, said people in opposition are not against farmers or farming. “What is actually valid are hazards and the health risks that are involved, and the safety risks,” she said, which can affect groundwater, as well as passing pedestrians and cyclists. “I’m sorry it’s come to this and become partisan.”

According to Howard County Citizens Association President Stu Kohn, of Laurel, “Our theme from the very beginning regarding mulching, composting and natural wood waste is simply for the farm, by the farm and on the farm.”

“I’m opposed to industrial mulching,” said Jim Walsh, of Woodbine. “We have a gray area of law as to whether or not [commercial] mulching and composting is agricultural.”

New Region

In response to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s introduction of a new geographic area sample for the Consumer Price Index, the council is being asked to amend references in the Howard County Code for urban consumers, for the Howard County Retirement Plan and for the Howard County Police and Fire Employees’ Retirement Plans.

According to Jen Sager, of the Department of County Administration, the bureau discontinued the Baltimore-Washington Index and replaced it with the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson Consumer Price Index, necessitating changes to four references in the County Code.
The council was also asked to endorse an economic development project involving a relocation and expansion project by Panera LLC, which is looking to Howard County for relocation of a regional dough production facility.

“This will be a project for the purchase of real property, and the installation of machinery and equipment,” said Howard County Economic Development Authority Vice President Beth Woodring. “It will be 55,000 square feet, and they will be employing 120.”

On another note, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation recognized the Howard County Public School System as one of the 2018 Best Communities for Music Education Districts.

Designations are made to districts and schools demonstrating an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education. HCPSS is among four Maryland districts and one of 583 school districts across the United States to receive the honor, and has now received the award for three consecutive years.

Kittleman to Propose Amendments for CB 21-2018

The following statement was issued on April 23 by Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman.

Since the county council will be discussing CB 21-2018 at the work session [in late April], I wanted to let you know about amendments that I will be proposing to be considered by the council when they vote on the legislation on May 7. …

From the beginning, my goal has always been to a) ensure the health and safety of all our residents, b) prohibit industrial mulching on agricultural preservation properties and c) enable farmers to continue to perform activities necessary for their farming operation. I believe that CB 21 does not accomplish those goals in its current form.

It is my hope that these amendments will provide greater confidence to the community that mulching and composting activities will be conducted in a safe manner. While the current legislation requires a 500-foot setback from any school property, my amendments will also prohibit mulch/compost facilities from being located closer than 1,000 feet to a school building. In addition, my amendments address a community concern by specifically requiring that every mulching operation control for dust.

CB 21 requires an owner of an agricultural preservation property to get a conditional use for a mulch facility. However, unless the property abuts an interstate, the operation cannot be larger than one acre, must be accessory to a horticultural nursery and onsite sales are restricted to five percent of the total yearly production, as reported to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). To further ensure that no industrial mulching occurs on agricultural preservation properties, my amendments specify that any off-site sales must only be shipped with trees, shrubs or plants.
As many of you know, there are two current mulching and composting operations that have not caused concern among the community. Both operations abut Interstate 70. CB 21 will allow these two facilities to continue to operate. However, any similar facilities in the future must also abut an interstate, thus prohibiting such facilities from being located in other areas of the RC and RR zones.

Other than composting facilities that abut an interstate, my amendments restrict the total sales (onsite and offsite) to five percent of the total yearly production as reported to MDE. Understanding the requirement to remove excess compost from their property in accordance with a nutrient management plan, this limitation allows farmers to sell excess compost, but not to a level that will require industrial activity.

Many farmers, who need to compost on their properties, do not own large scale equipment, which prevents them from putting compost in high piles. Therefore, one acre may not be sufficient for their needs. Currently, CB 21 allows a composting facility under a Permit for Special Farm Uses to be up to three acres. My amendment will allow such farm activities to operate on up to three acres, but only if the pile heights are no higher than five feet. This limitation will still allow farmers to compost for their farm activities; however, when you combine this limitation with the five percent restriction on sales, it ensures that the activities will not result in heavy scale industrial activity.

There has also been a concern that mulching and composting facilities would be allowed to operate on dedicated easements created through the cluster subdivision process. While I believe the intent was to not allow this activity on those easements, my amendments specifically prohibit mulching and composting facilities on such properties.

Howard County has a long tradition of farming. It is important that we find ways to allow farmers to continue to operate in this ever-changing environment while at the same time protecting the health and safety of those who live near them. I believe my amendments help find the appropriate balance that will enable farmers to continue to operate in a productive and safe manner.

Record Number of Women on County Ballot

There are a record number of women from both parties — close to 60 — running for state and local offices on the Anne Arundel County ballot this year.

Democrats have been particularly active in recruiting women candidates through two organizations: the Anne Arundel County Democratic Women and Emerge Maryland, an organization dedicated to training progressive Democratic women, particularly women of color, to run for public office.

“I’m tired of being the only Democratic woman who’s been elected in this county,” said Del. Pam Beidle, who’s running for the West County District 32 Senate seat held by retiring ticket mate Ed DeGrange. “We need more women making those decisions” about issues such as pay equality, reproductive rights and gender discrimination.

Beidle served two terms on the County Council before being elected to House of Delegates in 2006. She attributes the election of Donald Trump and the #MeToo movement for driving the interest of Democratic women in elected office.

Beidle, along with school board member Stacy Korbelak and a few others, in 2017 revived the Anne Arundel County Democratic Women organization. Korbelak said the group has been attracting as many as 125 women to its meetings.

“We’ve had an all-male County Council for quite a while,” said Korbelak, who has served six-and-a-half years on the school board, but is not running in the county’s first election for the Board of Education. She is running for the Democratic Central Committee.

All-Male Reps

Democratic women “really saw a lack of representation” in elected office. “There are a lot of progressive candidates this time,” some of them currently on the board of the county Democratic Women organization. They include Allison Pickard running for council in District 2 and Debbie Ritchie in District 3. Neither have primary opponents, so they will be on the November ballot.

“We thought Hillary Clinton would be president,” Korbelak said, and perhaps stir more interest in women for political office. Trump’s election was a shocker, but it had a similar effect.

The WISE (or Women Indivisible Strong Effective) Women organization that grew out of Women’s March on Washington the day after President Trump’s inauguration has also contributed to the push for more Anne Arundel women to run for office, Korbelak said.
Korbelak’s group encourages women to get involved, but does not fund candidates or endorse in races. It does provide a Civics 101 course, exposing them to meetings of the County Council, school board and State House delegation.

Intense Training

Emerge Maryland provides some of the most intense training, 75 hours over five or six months. “The women learn all the nuts and bolts of running for office,” said executive director Diane Fink, who’s run the Maryland organization since it started six years ago.
Emerge has all-day seminars on campaign mailers and fundraising, and it teaches “proven methods of reaching their voters and winning their races,” Fink said, such as targeting voters and going door to door.

“Nobody else does this” in such depth, Fink said. Political parties frequently do candidate training, but they tend to be one- or two-day affairs that do not include the deep dive and one-on-one training “so they have a real understanding of what it takes to win.”

“I think women will pick up some seats,” said Korbelak.
Some of those may be Republicans as well, since they are running in four of the council districts and four of the legislative districts.

The Emerge alumnae in Anne Arundel include Pickard and Ritchie, Lisa Rodvien in Council District 6, Anne Colt Leitess for state’s attorney, Pamela Luby for delegate in District 33, and in one of the most interesting contests, Sarah Elfreth for Senate in District 30.

District 30 Senate Seat

Sarah Elfreth is only 29, but she already has a considerable amount of political experience. She has conducted advocacy projects for the National Aquarium, worked with The Johns Hopkins University, Towson University and the University System of Maryland, and she was also president of the District 30 Democratic Club.

She favors strengthening public schools, expanding health care for working families, as well as their day care options, and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, among other issues.

This is pretty standard fare for a liberal Democrat who helped a progressive candidate for mayor of Annapolis, Gavin Buckley, defeat Sen. John Astle in the Democratic primary last year. Astle, a 75-year-old ex-Marine and helicopter pilot, is a moderate to conservative Democrat, particularly on fiscal issues. Elfreth is much further to the left.

Surprisingly, with Astle retiring after six terms, Elfreth faces another woman even further to the left than she is, Chrissy Holt.

Holt describes herself as an “experienced business leader” who worked business development for a number of startup tech companies. However, based on her experience with a son born with hemophilia, she favors Medicare for All, the single-payer health-insurance system advocated by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, among others.

Holt has four children from two marriages, and emphasizes she is a native Marylander, unlike Elfreth, who is single and grew up in New Jersey.

Holt’s April 5 campaign event in Annapolis was emceed by civil rights activist Carl Snowden and attracted an array of progressive candidates and supporters, including Mary Reese, who is running for delegate. Mayor Buckley and former county executive Janet Owens were also on hand.

“I am not interested in maintaining the status quo,” Holt wrote in The Capital newspaper. “I’m not the choice of the Democratic establishment, and neither am I seeking political office for a paycheck or lifetime career. I am a change-agent Democrat with a background of success in business and advocacy.”

Facing George

On the November ballot, one of these progressive Democratic women will face Ron George, the Main Street jeweler and former Republican delegate. George is a fiscal and social conservative who ran for governor in 2014, losing to the more moderate Larry Hogan.
George was just endorsed by R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., the former Democratic speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. “As a state delegate, Ron George demonstrated leadership by successfully breaking through the partisan divide and building coalitions to pass legislation on important issues,” Mitchell said, in a statement. Like Astle, Mitchell, who is from Kent County on the Upper Eastern Shore, was a moderate-to-conservative Democrat and served as speaker from 1987 to 1992, back in the day when Democrats like him held the balance of power as they governed from the center.

The Libertarian Party has nominated Christopher Wallace for Senate in District 30 as well.

Across the state, all these moderate to conservative Democrats have been replaced by Republicans, except in five Senate districts like District 30 and District 32, where Beidle will try to hold on to the Senate seat.

Nataf Poll

Professor Dan Nataf’s semi-annual poll of public opinion in Anne Arundel County had some mixed news for County Executive Steve Schuh. Schuh’s job approval dropped from 49% last fall to 41% in the survey, which was taken in late March. The percentage of respondents who could not offer an assessment of the executive stayed high at 38%. Gov. Larry Hogan stayed stable at 76% as did President Trump at 34%.

The percentage of those saying that the county was moving in the right direction was down from 60% last fall to 47% this spring. The issues of major concern to county residents are drugs, 28%; and development, 10%; followed by crime and education, both at 9%.
Schuh holds a 15-point lead over his challenger, Democrat Steuart Pittman (38% to 23%), but “many voters were hard pressed to make a choice with 37% percent unsure,” Nataf said. “The percentage of unsure voters was 40% for Democrats and 47% for unaffiliated voters, suggesting that there is still a lot of room for campaigns to affect the outcome.”

In his home county of Anne Arundel, known as a swing county, Gov. Hogan continues to maintain a steady level of support, with 56% saying that they will vote for him in November. But voters also had a lower opinion on the direction of the state. There was a drop from 60% who thought Maryland was headed in the right direction last fall to 52% this spring.

The poll by the Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College interviewed 663 county residents, mostly by landline telephones. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7%.

HighGrowth Study Released

Hinge Research Institute, of Reston, Va., recently published “2018 High Growth Study: All Professional Services Edition,” an exhaustive study of the professional services marketplace in the public and private sectors. More than 1,000 firms, representing more than $176 billion in combined revenues and exceeding 1 million employees, participated in the study.

For the study’s purposes, high-growth firms are those that experienced 20% or greater compound annual growth in revenue during a three-year period. These firms grew at a rate nearly four times more rapidly than the average firms.

The range of professional services included health care, legal, consulting, accounting, technology and marketing/communications. Study results indicated that technology firms grew faster, at 11.4%, than professional services firms as a whole, followed by consulting at 9.3% and architecture/engineering/construction services at 9.1%.
Legal service firms grew at 8.3% and accounting/financial services firms grew at 6.1%, more slowly than the 9.1% professional services median rate.

Threat Assessment

For those companies involved in 2017 in government contracting, a significant finding is growth at firms selling primarily to the government outpaced those selling to non-government buyers, with a median annual growth jump of 87% from the previous year. By contrast, firms that did not sell to government buyers experienced less rapid growth.

The study states that respondents were asked to look forward three to five years and identify what factors were expected to impact or threaten their industry or individual firm. The top four answers included increased competition, price pressure, shortages of top talent and marketplace unpredictability. Other perceived threats include automation or artificial intelligence, as well as generational changes in the workforce.

However, according to Hinge Research, high-growth firms see future threats very differently than the no-growth firms. No-growth firms focused on competition, downward price pressure, the commoditization of services and a shortage of top talent. Conversely, high-growth firms were concerned with marketplace unpredictability, threats from automation and managing a remote workforce.

In addressing these threats, high-growth study respondents stated that doing more research on target clients, better business development, communication and skills training, as well as focus on core competencies, were high on their list. Low-growth companies tended to focus on hiring new talent, entering new markets and changing their pricing.

The study explained that high-growth firms are more specialized in four key areas — offering specialized services, solving specific problems, serving a specific role and specializing in the use of technology —while low-growth firms embraced industry specialization.

Marketing Methods

A key finding was how growth relates to marketing budgets. “Respondents were asked to identify the proportion of annual firm revenue devoted to marketing budgets, excluding marketing department compensation or salaries,” the Hinge Research study said. “High-growth firms are investing more in marketing — in some cases, dramatically more. One in five high-growth firms is directing a whopping 20% of revenue to the marketing budget. Less than 5% of no-growth firms are making that kind of commitment.”

Dramatic differences were also apparent in marketing strategies and tactics. High-growth firms tended to use personal phone contact, public relations and marketing partnerships with other organizations, as well as consistent digital and content marketing techniques.

The impact of digital and content marketing was measurable for high-growth firms, which were 50% more likely to acknowledge positive impact from thought leadership on social media, video blogging, publishing to external sites and purchasing online advertising.

The Hinge study also identified seven critical business development skills areas. Both high- and low-growth firms equally rated speaking in front of a live audience highly, with high-growth firms also preferring networking face-to-face with industry peers and prospects, writing in-depth technical content and blog posts, as well as speaking on video and networking on social media.

For Now

Looking forward for the rest of 2018, respondents identified their top marketing priorities as increasing visibility, attracting new business or generating more leads and differentiating themselves from competition. Digital strategies such as creating content and upgrading websites were also top priorities.

Professional services companies looking to increase revenues in both the public and private sectors are exploring a number of strategies and tactics to jumpstart growth in 2018. The results of this unique study may be used by well-established and newer companies in the government and private sectors.

For a complimentary copy of the 44-page Hinge Research executive summary, visit https://hingemarketing.com.

Gloria Larkin is president and CEO of TargetGov, in Linthicum, and is a national expert in business development in the government markets. Email glorialarkinTG@targetgov.com, visit www.targetgov.com or call 866-579-1346, ext. 325, toll-free for more information.

Chamber Prepares for 49th Annual Meeting

The Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) team is busy preparing for its 49th Annual Meeting, to be held Wednesday, May 16, at Turf Valley. The board of directors has been hard at work reviewing nominations for open board positions and interviewing nominees, but those decisions will be made before the meeting, when members will gather to ratify the slate.

This year’s Annual Meeting will also signal the transition from current Board Chair Jeff Agnor to Chair-Elect David Anderson. Although the HCCC is excited about the energy and new perspective Anderson will bring to the board, Agnor’s leadership will be missed. He has been a tireless advocate for the chamber during his two-year term, but his support will continue long after he becomes the immediate past chair. Agnor and Anderson will address the membership at the meeting, and the chamber is looking forward to hearing what thoughts they will share.

In addition to ratifying the new slate for the board, the HCCC will also present its Awards for Chamber Excellence to the Business Advocate of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, GovConnects Advocate of the Year and Young Professional of the Year.
To register for the meeting, visit www.howardchamber.com.

More Cyber Speakers

Though HCCC’s annual Cyber Conference isn’t until June 6, the Cyber Conference Committee has been working to choose this year’s theme and session topics and, most recently, adding high-profile speakers.

The 2018 Cyber Conference will focus on “Navigating the Security Pitfalls of a Connected World” and will be separated into a technical track and a management track. Cyber touches all aspects of our lives, from myriad devices we have brought into our homes to those we use on the job; attendees can expect cutting-edge discussions from leading experts in our community, with topics ranging from health care to trust to employment of open source technologies.

Speakers include Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford; Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger; Shawn Wells, chief security strategist for Red Hat; Josh Lospinoso, captain, U.S. CyberCommand; and Kelly Schulz, secretary, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. They will cover topics including Blockchain Technologies, Device Security Focused on Health Care, Leveraging the Open Source and Building a Talented Workforce.

For more information, visit www.cyberhoward.com.

Going Global

The HCCC has partnered with the Howard County Muslim Council and the Indian Origin Network of Howard County on a unique networking event with Maryland Commerce to spread the word about business opportunities with the state.

The free event, which also features Benjamin Wu, deputy secretary of Maryland Commerce, is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12, at 5:30 p.m., at Linden Hall, Ellicott City. For more information, visit www.howardchamber.com.

Congratulations to the Award Winners

The Central Maryland Chamber (CMC) held its second Annual Hall of Fame Awards at Center Stage at Live! Casino. The chamber inducted an incredible slate of businesses, nonprofits and community leaders for their successes and contributions to the region.

The 2018 CMC Hall of Fame Award winners are as follows.
• Startup of the Year: In His Hands Massage Therapy
• Woman-Owned Business of the Year: McFeely Window Fashions
• Minority-Owned Business of the Year: Kiddie Academy of Odenton
• Business of the Year (Small): Bagels ’n Grinds
• Business of the Year (Mid-Size): Academy Ford
• Business of the Year (Large): Southern Management Corp.
• Business Partner of the Year: Maritime Conference Center
• Volunteer of the Year: Lynn Nichols, Lynn Nichols Real Estate
• President’s Award for Outstanding Service: The Arc of Central Chesapeake
• Chairman’s Award for Community Impact: Reliable Contracting Co.
• Lifetime Achievement: Leonard Raley, USM Foundation

Five Reasons to
Join the CMC

1. Meet your neighbors. We often don’t have time to get to know people who work at nearby businesses. CMC events present a comfortable and time-saving way to meet neighboring professionals.
2. The camaraderie among members. It gives you something in common to talk about, as well as a support system. You can make friends at the chamber to hang out with personally and professionally.
3. Social media exposure. The CMC loves to post news from members on its Facebook page. Target new audiences and boost your business brand with CMC’s reach.
4. Making connections. CMC staff members know everyone (or know “someone who knows someone”). If you are struggling or wrestling with a challenge, the chamber likely knows someone who can help.
5. Acquire new customers. As you meet new people and build relationships, referrals can come from your contacts, as well as others who just learned you exist and refer you. The CMC network is vast.
To learn more about the advantages of CMC membership, contact Nancy LaJoice, membership director, to receive a free benefits guide. Call 410-672-3422, ext. 4, or visit www.CentralMarylandChamber.org.

Upcoming Events

For details and registration, visit www.centralmarylandchamber.org.

May
8 Networking Mixer @ Two Rivers, 5–7 p.m.
11 New Business Ribbon-Cutting: Optimal Oasis, 11 a.m., Laurel
16 Seminar: “Filling Your Sales Pipeline,” 9 a.m.
17 Introduction to the CMC. Free and open to all. 9 a.m., Laurel
19 New Business Ribbon-Cutting: Textures LLC, 9:30 a.m., Odenton

June
7 Networking Breakfast, Annapolis, 7:30 a.m.
21 Introduction to CMC. Free and open to all. 9 a.m., Laurel

July
10 Networking Mixer, 5 p.m.
18 Seminar: “Get Your Business Found Online,” 9 a.m.
19 Introduction to CMC. Free and open to all. 9 a.m., Laurel

From the Desk of CA President Milton Matthews

Every year, I ask Columbia Association’s (CA) board of directors to identify three or four strategic topics for the board members and CA staff to focus on during the next 12 months — big-picture topics that are beyond the work we do every day to make Columbia an even better place to live, work and play.

In compiling these goals, we examine what will happen in Columbia in the near future and discuss how CA’s involvement will add value to the community. In March, the board approved the following four topics.
• CA’s role in the continued redevelopment of Columbia.
• The decline in resident membership and how to address this.
• Participation in the redrafting of land development regulations.
• Getting a better understanding of how to serve and connect with young adults.

Some of these topics are very broad, and we soon will be developing priorities for those topics. Here’s a brief overview of what we’ll be working on.

1. CA’s role in the continued redevelopment of Columbia.
There are three particular areas of the community that CA’s board of directors is focused on regarding redevelopment: the Snowden River Parkway corridor, the Columbia Gateway area and Downtown Columbia.
The discussions related to this topic will be ongoing and will involve a process lasting well beyond 12 months. We will identify our priorities and work to ensure that CA has a “seat at the table” as the plans for redevelopment evolve through the various review steps and phases of implementation. CA should be proactive rather than reactive.

2. The decline in resident memberships and how to address this situation.
There was a time when CA was the sole provider, or one of very few, when it came to its fitness clubs and other related activities. Now there is more competition, in Columbia and in the general area, as well as in the industry overall. We are closely examining the impact on our resident participation, and will continue to analyze the internal and external drivers, taking steps to bring in new members (residents and nonresidents), as well as to retain our existing members (residents and nonresidents).
However, it is not just about the numbers; the quality of the member experience is a priority for all of us at CA. We want to be certain that our members enjoy using our facilities to achieve their health and fitness goals. If we provide a quality experience every time members visit our facilities, then existing members are more likely to remain and to encourage their neighbors to join. As the old adage states: “The race for quality has no finish line.”
We already have taken a number of steps, including simplifying our membership structure and terms. We are implementing the steps of a multi-year, comprehensive plan to renovate and improve our facilities and enhance our programming. Also, we have moved our sales staff into Columbia Athletic Club, Columbia Gym, Haven on the Lake and Supreme Sports Club, recognizing that potential customers will most likely visit these facilities first, rather than CA headquarters.
Beyond that, we realize that our relationship with our members is an essential component of a quality member experience. CA’s JumpStart initiative includes complimentary coaching and fitness sessions when members join, helping them learn more about how to build strength, lose weight or simply get the most out of their membership. CA also hosts new-member events at our facilities, as we have heard from individuals who were not fully aware of all the benefits their membership entails.

3. Participation in the redrafting of land development regulations.
Howard County’s Department of Planning and Zoning is working with a consultant to assist in revising zoning regulations in the county. CA wants to be very engaged in this process, particularly as New Town Zoning is such an integral part of the character — and characteristics — of Columbia.

4. Better understanding of how to serve and connect with young adults.
This topic will continue from the previous year, as CA recognizes a need to learn how we may better serve Columbia’s younger residents, employees and students. CA now has a Millennials Work Group, whose volunteer members held their first meeting in February. I am expecting a report with recommendations by the end of the calendar year.

E-mail milton.matthews@columbiaassociation.org with questions/comments.

BBB Foundation Helping Entrepreneurs Build Trust, Customer Loyalty

Our Better Business Bureau (BBB), serving Greater Maryland, celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, Now, it’s announcing the formation of the BBB Maryland Foundation (previously the BBB Educational Foundation), a 501(c)(3) organization. The mission of the retooled foundation is to help entrepreneurs build and sustain ethical businesses, and empower consumers and donors to buy and give with confidence.

A key foundation initiative is the organization’s Building Better Business Behavior (B4) program, which focuses on BBB’s eight Standards for Trust. The B4 curriculum is an unparalleled approach to outfit entrepreneurs with recipes for conduct. The flexible modules help fledgling businesses instill buyers’ trust and customer loyalty for long-term success.

The startup community is a vital part of Maryland’s economy, and BBB is working to support them in their efforts to grow their businesses. BBB’s mission has been to create an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other, and this new addition of entrepreneurial business education will affect such positive change in our region.

Late last year, the foundation began utilizing BBB Standards for Trust, and real-life examples from its playbook of customer relations experience, to help Maryland’s entrepreneurs prepare their businesses for growth. The time-tested practices are backed by the latest market research and are offered at no cost to co-working groups, incubators and accelerators in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

“The B4 program gave me unique perspectives that I had not yet considered,” said Vera Moore of Apex Advantage, which has an office in Clarksville. “Although I am relatively new to business, the information provided will definitely help me when making decisions that involve integrity. BBB’s method of presentation was amazing too.”

To date, modules of the curriculum have been delivered in partnership with a number of organizations including The Cube Cowork, Impact Hub, the Small Business Association, the Baltimore Urban League and the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, which is located in Columbia.

The foundation also has a new board of directors to complement its new mission and programs. The board is chaired by Bill Thrush, of Owings Mills-based Friedman, Framme & Thrush.
For more information, visit bbb.org.

Angie Barnett is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland. She can be reached at 410-347-3990 and abarnett@greatermd.bbb.

Pounding the Keyboard

History Lesson

We were a herd of around 40 teenage boys at Baltimore’s Poly High School, back in the day when it was guys only (the neighborhood girls went to Eastern). On a typical day, as the bell rang at the end of our history class and our small stampede headed for the door, the teacher always asked, “Did anyone here learn anything today?”

We were, of course, too busy stampeding to answer. But looking back, I don’t think he was seeking validation for his work, as much as really wanting to know if we had, in fact, learned something.

I’ve often reflected on the question at the end of another one of life’s endless supply of “growth opportunities.”

Which leads us to Facebook.

We all knew it was mining our data for all it was worth, but we probably believed it was so it could hone in on exactly what kind, brand and color of car ads with which to bombard us. That, of course, was just the start of it.

But I’ve been telling people, for far too long, not to take those endless “quizzes” on Facebook — what kind of ice cream you like, what city should you live in, and the most dubious of all, to answer the 10 questions and it’ll tell you in what year you were born.

Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m betting you already know what year you were born. So you’re giving Facebook 10 pieces of information about yourself to add to its expanding profile of you. Throw in some events you mark as attending, an occasional click on a sponsored page and a “like” of another, and bang. Your privacy is toast.

And why? So you can see if it’s really smart enough to guess the year? And, if you say yes or no, you’ve given Facebook an 11th piece of data.
The wholesale pillaging of not just our data but our friends is the big overstep here. Just because I’m naïve enough to take a quiz doesn’t mean you thus have access to all the names, addresses and personal information of my friends who didn’t click on the “end usage” permission block without reading it, like everyone does.

Also, so much for the Facebook mantra of “we make our money by selling ads,” which was repeated by Mark Zuckerberg in his congressional testimony. Yeah, that payment from Cambridge Analytica was just beer money. Nothing to see here.

Perhaps one of the funniest images to come out of his appearance, by the way, was where his photo was edited to put him in the Star Trek uniform of Data, the android. The resemblance is somewhat uncanny, physically and especially in the manner of speaking.

So did anyone here learn anything today? Stop liking and sharing things, especially political, and for heaven’s sake stop asking me to like and share your post. No. Just don’t. Step away from the keyboard. Until Congress enacts something like the European privacy laws, you need to do it yourself.

And the Honest Ads Act, requiring notice of exactly who paid for that interesting political screed, would be a great step as well. Some of this is coming, but you’re still your best personal defense.

What If?

John Dvorak, PC Magazine’s resident curmudgeon, asked an interesting question in his recent posting: “What if Amazon closed up shop tomorrow?”

Besides being one of the world’s largest retailers, Amazon has the world’s largest cloud services business, with servers powering every part of modern commerce and services, such as streaming movies.
Is your life/business so tied up in Amazon that you would be harmed? If you sell on Amazon, and many people are discovering that as a way to expand their business, what happens to your inventory that it has and uses for quick shipping and, more importantly, your accounts receivable? Do you use it as a supplier, with two-day shipping and good prices, so you don’t have to keep as much inventory on hand?

And what if you, as an individual, lost your history of things routinely ordered? Would you be able to recreate sources for much of what you use? And Alexa would just be a shining paperweight.

What struck me, however, as a techno-wienie, was the number of people who depend on Amazon for their backups and other, “Oh my god, it’s gone” files, such as family photos. Being dependent on any online service is such a bad idea. Companies have gone out of business before, even giants like Amazon. Is it too big to fail? Do you think the feds would step in to help if it did? Not likely, especially if you listen to President Trump.

So how do you protect yourself? The retail angle may be hard to cover, but backups and photos? External hard drive prices are dropping to party-favor levels. Two terabyte drives are routinely under $70 and four terabytes under $100. They come with automatic backup software.

Buy one. Use it. Sleep better.

Cliff Feldwick is owner of Riverside Computing and does PC troubleshooting, network setups and data retrieval for small businesses, when not being far too overly amused by Photoshopped pictures of Mark Zuckerberg. He can be reached at 410-880-0171 or at cliff@feldwick.com. Older columns are available online at http://feldwick.com.

Lisbon Farmers Feed the Hungry Parade Raises More Than $15K

The Great Lisbon Farmers Feed the Hungry Christmas Parade, presented by the Howard County Farm Bureau and held on Dec. 9, 2017, raised more than $15,000. Snow added more merriment to the annual event, which attracted more than 1,500 people to historic Lisbon, in western Howard County.

Led by local farmers driving their festively-decorated tractors and hauling wagons full of spirited locals, plus the seasonally-adorned horse-drawn carriages and saddle horses trotting up Lisbon’s Main Street, the holiday parade with a mission went off without a hitch.

Sittin’ Down to Eat

More than 2,000 pounds (one ton) of nonperishable food was donated along the 2017 parade route and was evenly distributed to two food banks: the Howard County Food Bank and Carroll County Food Sunday. It marked an increase of more than 1,200 pounds from the 800 pounds of food that was donated in 2016.
The more than $15,000 total was raised at the event through the support of parade participants, sponsors and spectators. Since its beginning, the parade has raised more than $65,000 to feed the hungry.

A check was presented to the beneficiaries on April 12 during the Howard County Farm Bureau’s Annual Legislative Dinner. Both food banks received $5,000, while $2,000 was presented to the fire department and the charity.

Come December

The next Great Lisbon Farmers Feed the Hungry Christmas Parade will kick off at noon on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. Learn more by visiting www.LisbonChristmasParade.com.

Ellicott City Retailer Named SBA Small Business Person of the Year

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2018 Maryland Small Business Person of the Year is Tamara Beideman, owner of Sweet Elizabeth Jane in Ellicott City. Founded in 2011, Sweet Elizabeth Jane offers home décor, apparel, accessories and gifts.

Like many others, Beideman was faced with the aftermath of 2016’s “thousand-year storm” that dropped six inches of rain in Historic Ellicott City in 90 minutes, whisking away merchandise, fixtures and even her cash register. That beating would have put most entrepreneurs on the ropes, but not Beideman; with the help of SBA disaster recovery loans and other services, she rallied, rebuilt and came back better than ever.

“Tammy’s perseverance and resourcefulness following the disaster are inspiring,” Baltimore District Director Steve Umberger said. “She’s survived the worst and come back with record-breaking sales and is putting more Marylanders back to work.”
Beideman and the area’s other local winners include the following.

Small Business Person
Tammy Beideman
Sweet Elizabeth Jane
8289 Main Street
Ellicott City, MD 21043

Minority-Owned Small Business
Louben Repke
Repke Fitness
8268 Veterans Highway, Suite 3
Millersville, MD 21108

Family-Owned Small Business
Whitney & Scott Kerridge
Admiral Cleaners
10 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401

Attorney Advocate
Paul Skalny
Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny
10211 Wincopin Circle, Suite 600
Columbia, MD 21044

Financial Services Champion
Andrew Hines
The Bank of Glen Burnie
101 Crain Highway, S.E.
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Insurance Advocate
Mike Thomas
Lighthouse Insurance Services
1119 MD Rte. 3 North
Gambrills, MD 21054

Rising Star Student Entrepreneur
McKenzie & Gigi Crafton
Bracket Ears
10380 Old Columbia Road, Suite 102
Columbia, MD 21046

Veteran-Owned Small Business
Gordon Mumpower, Jr.
Commercial Insurance Managers
8170 Lark Brown Road, Suite 102
Elkridge, MD 21075

Wills: The Cornerstone of Your Estate Plan

If you care about what happens to your money, home and other property after you die, you need to do some estate planning. There are many tools you can use to achieve your estate planning goals, but a will is probably the most vital.

Even if you’re young or your estate is modest, you should always have a legally valid and up-to-date will. This is especially important if you have minor children because, in many states, your will is the only legal way you can name a guardian for them.

Although a will doesn’t have to be drafted by an attorney to be valid, seeking an attorney’s help can ensure that your will accomplishes what you intend.

• Wills avoid intestacy.
Probably the greatest advantage of a will is that it allows you to avoid intestacy. That is, with a will you get to choose who will get your property, rather than leave it up to state law. State intestate succession laws, in effect, provide a will for you if you die without one. This “intestate’s will” distributes your property, in general terms, to your closest blood relatives in proportions dictated by law.
However, the state’s distribution may not be what you would have wanted. Intestacy also has other disadvantages, which include the possibility that your estate will owe more taxes than it would if you had created a valid will.

• Wills distribute property according to your wishes.
Wills allow you to leave bequests (gifts) to anyone you want. You can leave your property to a surviving spouse, a child, other relatives, friends, a trust, a charity or anyone you choose. There are some limits, however, on how you can distribute property using a will. For instance, your spouse may have certain rights with respect to your property, regardless of the provisions of your will. Gifts through your will take the form of specific bequests (e.g., an heirloom, jewelry, furniture or cash), general bequests (e.g., a percentage of your property) or a residuary bequest of what’s left after your other gifts.
• Wills allow you to nominate a guardian for your minor children.
In many states, a will is your only means of stating who you want to act as legal guardian for your minor children if you die. You can name a personal guardian, who takes personal custody of the children, and a property guardian, who manages the children’s assets. This can be the same person or different people. The probate court has final approval, but courts usually will approve your choice of guardian unless there are compelling reasons not to.

• Wills allow you to nominate an executor.
A will allows you to designate a person as your executor to act as your legal representative after your death. An executor carries out many estate settlement tasks, including locating your will, collecting your assets, paying legitimate creditor claims, paying any taxes owed by your estate and distributing any remaining assets to your beneficiaries. Like naming a guardian, the probate court has final approval but will usually approve whomever you nominate.

• Wills specify how to pay estate taxes and other expenses.
The way in which estate taxes and other expenses are divided among your heirs is generally determined by state law, unless you direct otherwise in your will. To ensure that the specific bequests you make to your beneficiaries are not reduced by taxes and other expenses, you can provide in your will that these costs be paid from your residuary estate. Or, you can specify which assets should be used or sold to pay these costs.

• Wills can create a testamentary trust.
You can create a trust in your will, known as a testamentary trust, that comes into being when your will is probated. Your will sets out the terms of the trust, such as who the trustee is, who the beneficiaries are, how the trust is funded, how the distributions should be made and when the trust terminates. This can be especially important if you have a spouse or minor children who are unable to manage assets or property themselves.

• Wills can fund a living trust.
A living trust is a trust that you create during your lifetime. If you have a living trust, your will can transfer any assets that were not transferred to the trust while you were alive. This is known as a pour-over will, because the will “pours over” your estate to your living trust.

• Wills can help minimize taxes.
Your will gives you the chance to minimize taxes and other costs. For instance, if you draft a will that leaves your entire estate to your U.S. citizen spouse, none of your property will be taxable when you die (if your spouse survives you) because it is fully deductible under the unlimited marital deduction. However, if your estate is distributed according to intestacy rules, a portion of the property may be subject to estate taxes if it is distributed to heirs other than your U.S. citizen spouse.

• Assets disposed of through a will are subject to probate.
Probate is the court-supervised process of administering and proving a will. Probate can be expensive and time-consuming, and probate records are available to the public. Several factors can affect the length of probate, including the size and complexity of the estate, challenges to the will or its provisions, creditor claims against the estate, state probate laws, the state court system and tax issues.
Owning property in more than one state can result in multiple probate proceedings. This is known as ancillary probate. Generally, real estate is probated in the state in which it is located, and personal property is probated in the state in which you are domiciled (i.e., reside) at the time of your death.

• Will provisions can be challenged in court.
Although it doesn’t happen often, the validity of your will can be challenged, usually by an unhappy beneficiary or a disinherited heir.

Some common claims include the following.

• You lacked testamentary capacity when you signed the will.
• You were unduly influenced by another individual when you drew up the will.
• The will was forged or was otherwise improperly executed.
• The will was revoked.

John E. Day is a financial consultant with LPL Financial Services, in Columbia. He can be contacted at 410-290-1000, john.day@lpl.com or www.daywm.com.

People In Business

TEDCO Announces Executive Promotions, One Retirement

Columbia-based TEDCO has announced leadership promotions. They include Jennifer Hammaker, to vice president of business development; Arti Santhanam, to director of MII, replacing Hammaker; Angela Singleton and McKeever (Mac) Conwell, as new program managers for TEDCO’s new Pre-Seed Fund; and Anne Balduzzi, who will begin an expanded role as director of advisory services.

TEDCO also announced the retirement of Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List Manager Linda Saffer.

CFAAC Announces Leadership Transition

Melissa Curtin, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC), is transitioning from her executive role with the CFAAC after nearly three years of service. She will continue to provide professional support as a consultant; her last day on the job will be June 30.

Berkshire Hathaway Cites Local Award Winners

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty, one of the country’s fastest-growing real estate brokerages, has announced its top sales executives in its Columbia and Ellicott City offices.
Top honors in Columbia went to Din Khaled, who received the Chairman’s Circle Gold award; and in Ellicott City to The Bob and Ronna Group, who received the Chairman’s Circle Diamond award. In addition, the duo was ranked No. 38 in units and No. 43 in gross commission income among all Berkshire Hathaway affiliates in the country.

Hogan Appoints McChriston, Pardo

Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed five new commissioners to the Maryland Commission for Women. They include Brenda McChriston of Howard County, CEO and principal of Spectrum HR Solutions; and Roberta Pardo of Anne Arundel County, an artist who has lived in Maryland since 2000.

Two Howard Residents
Awarded by MSAC

The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) has awarded $225,000 to 78 Maryland artists, from a group of 367 applicants, through the 2018 Individual Artist Awards (IAA). The 2018 IAA awardees include Howard Countians Byung Kang, for non-classical music-solo performance; and Nakeya Cook, for photography.

Glover to Lead TEDCO’s Seed Investment Funds

TEDCO has announced that Frank Glover has joined the team as the lead director of the Seed Investment Funds and as an associate of the Maryland Venture Fund. Prior to joining TEDCO, Glover was an associate at global venture investment firm Greenspring Associates.

EXIT Right Realty’s Tutt Daniel Garners Award

EXIT Right Realty’s Terri Tutt Daniel was recently awarded PGCAR Bronze Award by Prince George’s County Association of Realtors (PGCAR). She sold more than $3 million of product in 2017 from the firm’s Laurel office.

Grau Named Leadership in Law Winner by TDR

Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny, of Columbia, has announced that Angela Grau has been selected by The Daily Record as a 2018 Leadership in Law winner. The top winner of this year’s awards will be announced at the celebration event on May 17, at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport.

Mount View’s Zhang Wins
Spelling Bee

Mount View Middle School eighth-grader Alan Zhang recently won the Maryland State Geography Bee. Zhang competed against 101 students to win the competition. More than 4,600 students from across the United States and its territories competed in National Geographic State Geography Bees.

Bass Joins Gable

Michele Bass has joined Gable, of Pasadena, to assist in expanding traditional signage and digital technology business opportunities within the gaming and hospitality industry. She will focus on identifying and developing branding, identity, wayfinding, operational and gaming floor signage.

Hamilton Bank Adds Morgan

Hamilton Bank has hired Matthew Morgan as a commercial loan officer. Morgan will develop and manage business lending and deposit relationships. He has more than 12 years of commercial banking experience and is a former U.S. Marine.

MES Names Harris Board Treasurer

The Maryland Environmental Service (MES) named Michael Harris as treasurer of the MES Board of Directors. He currently serves as MES managing director of finance. Previously, Harris served as director of finance for a nonprofit that provided mental health services.

Hunt Joins impactHR

Columbia-based impactHR has hired Janette Hunt as senior consultant. She has more than 20 years’ experience in organizational development, C-suite support and relationship building, and previously served as director of human resources for a Maryland-based federal contractor.

HCC 5K Challenge Jumpstarts Healthy Lifestyles

Cathleen Smith enjoyed her son’s engagement party last summer, but did not like the photos of herself at the event.

“I knew I had to do something,” she said. “I needed something to push me toward a healthier lifestyle.”

Around the same time, Smith learned that her employer, COPT, a real estate investment trust company, was putting together teams for Howard Community College’s (HCC) 5K Challenge Race, a wellness and team-building event that raises funds for student scholarships.
Smith, who had never run a race before, eagerly joined in.

On Oct. 14, she and her co-workers will return for the fifth annual race, where they’ll be joined by more than 500 employees from 50 area businesses. They’ll not only run, but complete a number of challenges on their way to the finish line and celebration village.

The HCC 5K Challenge Race differs from other races as it specifically targets businesses, with sponsorships ranging from $750 to $5,000. All employees of sponsoring companies have an opportunity to partake in bi-weekly group training runs and educate themselves on topics that improve participants’ health and wellness. Race participants also receive a 90-day Columbia Association (CA) family membership as an added benefit.

The Howard Community College Educational Foundation (HCCEF), which organizes the race and works in partnership with CA, announced that, for the first time Havtech will be the presenting sponsor.

Lifestyle Changes

Smith will participate in one of three teams at COPT and is excited for training to begin in August. She lost 30 pounds since training for last year’s event and has remained committed to her fitness rituals since. She continues to walk and run, and competes in no less than five FitBit challenges weekly. She cut out sugary drinks and changed her eating habits — “At least Monday through Friday,” she said with a laugh.

“I stuck with it and never looked back,” she said. “I saw the same in many of my co-workers, as well. Just a real positive experience. We were all part of a team, and it was nice to do something like this, motivate each other, outside of the office.

“I’m much [healthier] today because of it,” said Smith. “It was a first step in losing the weight and getting healthy. I’ll continue to do this as long as I can.”

The majority of the COPT team members, like Smith, were not runners when they signed up, said Elisa Wolf, principal analyst at COPT.

“Couch to 5K was huge for them,” Wolf said. “In promoting the race, we say you don’t have to be a runner. Show up and cross the finish line. It’s not you on your own; you’ve got a whole group supporting you. Many of those people want to do the race again this year.”

Coming Around Again

Suzanne Parrish, lease and billing administrator at COPT, ran her first HCC 5K last year. She said many of her co-workers kept up their healthy lifestyle, but admits she has slipped.

“I lost 12 pounds,” she said. “I felt more energized.” But she lost her motivation during the winter holidays and is excited to start training again, and this time, keep it up.

“I just felt really good while training for this race,” Parrish said. “I don’t like to sweat, but I got used to it. The Columbia Association Trainers are excellent. They’re really into it.”

Aside from the camaraderie and health benefits, Wolf says COPT likes its employees to support HCC.

“It’s important to support what’s in your backyard ­ [and] develop a higher educated workforce for Howard County,” she said.

In its first four years, the race has raised just more than $300,000. The HCC Educational Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports HCC and its students, expects to raise an additional $100,000 for student scholarships through this year’s Challenge Race. The scholarships, made possible by sponsoring businesses, greatly impact the lives of HCC students.

Everyone Wins

“It’s a win-win for all involved,” said Matt D’Amico, chair of the HCC 5K Challenge Race Committee, HCCEF board member and senior principal at Design Collective.

“Employees build relationships with each other and have the opportunity to network with other sponsors, all while exercising and learning about wellness and a healthy lifestyle,” said D’Amico.

“Companies have a healthier, happier and more productive workforce. HCC students have more scholarship dollars available to help them complete their educational goals.

“That’s the biggest win of all,” he said.

For more information about the race, visit howardcc.edu/hccchallenge or contact the college’s development office at 443-518-1970.

Fighting Back Against Tax Identity Theft

When it comes to filing our tax returns, we all have to put in the time and effort to complete every form accurately and according to the instructions. But even if we do everything by the book, a tax identity thief still may file a fraudulent return in your name. Unfortunately, this happens all too often; in fact, despite having prevented more than 787,000 fraudulent tax returns in 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paid out $239 million in “suspect” refunds.
So, what steps should you take if you find yourself a victim of tax identity theft? To help answer this question, consider how cyber criminals obtain your personal information.

How It Happens

Cyber criminals can obtain your personal information in a number of ways, including the following.
• Posing as an IRS representative and procuring information via phone or e-mail
• Sending phishing e-mails
• Stealing your W-2 from your mailbox
• Accessing personal information over non-secure Wi-Fi networks
To fraudulently file taxes, a thief needs your name, Social Security number (SSN), and date of birth. From there, s/he easily can falsify “your” W-2 information in the hopes of claiming a refund. You — the taxpayer — won’t find out about the fraud until you receive notification from the IRS that your real tax return has been rejected. By then, the damage has been done.

Now What?

Once your SSN has been compromised, it cannot be canceled or changed. But what you can do? Take the following steps to protect yourself from the fraudulent use of your SSN going forward.

• Notify Authorities
The faster you take action, the better. In addition to filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and notifying the Social Security Administration, be sure to call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 to report the theft.

• Form 14039
Submit IRS Form 14039 (i.e., the Identify Theft Affidavit), so that the IRS is aware that your future returns may be at risk.

• Use a PIN
Once you’ve been identified by the IRS that you have been an identity theft victim, you can apply for an Identity Protection PIN. This six-digit PIN, provided by the IRS, must be used for your future tax returns in order for them to be accepted.

• Credit Bureaus
Report the fraud to one of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion or Equifax), and place an alert on your credit report. When you file a report with one bureau, it is legally required to alert the other two. A fraud alert on your credit report will require potential creditors or lenders to contact you directly and obtain permission before opening a new line of credit.

• Credit Monitoring
With credit monitoring, you’ll be able to keep tabs on your credit report. Credit monitoring services will alert you when a new line of credit is attempted, but they will also monitor existing accounts and notify you of any changes. Many also offer recovery assistance services, monetary and legal assistance, and insurance that covers expert consulting regarding identity theft.

• Look Around
Your situation may run its course and go away for a couple of years. Unfortunately, you are likely to have another issue considering that your SSN is in the hands of at least one identity thief. As such, you must always stay aware.

The Future

As mentioned earlier, credit monitoring will help you keep tabs on your credit. You may also want to file your taxes as soon as possible each year to avoid another fraudulent filing.
Finally, remember that the IRS will never contact you electronically and almost never over the phone. It always communicates via letters sent through the U.S. Postal Service. If you do receive a phone call from someone saying that s/he is from the IRS, hang up and call your local IRS office directly.

Gary S. Williams, CFP, CRPC, AIF, is president and founder of Williams Asset Management, in Columbia. He can be contacted at 410-740-0220, Gary@WilliamsAsset.com and www.WilliamsAssetManagement.com. For information about his book, “The Art of Retirement” (with the foreword by NFL Legend Ronnie Lott), visit www.theartofretirement.org.

Howard Honors Businesses, Communities Going ‘Green’

At Howard County’s 11th annual GreenFest in late April, the county’s Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Environmental Services announced the winners of its inaugural Business Recycling and Waste Reduction and Green Community Leadership awards program.

In the Business Recycling and Waste Reduction award category, which recognizes Howard County businesses for their recycling and waste reduction efforts, the winners were as follows.

• BA Auto Care: The company developed a technique to capture the motor oil that typically clings to the sides of oil bottles, significantly reducing the amount of oil discarded as trash.
• DSM Nutritional Products: Employees started an office food scrap collection program. Employees collect roughly 25 pounds of food scraps a week, which is turned into compost.
• Howard County Conservancy: the Conservancy eveloped an initiative to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in its waste stream. At its events, the Conservancy eliminated the use of single-use plastics and now encourages outside organizations using the facility to use of reusable items.
• Taylor Service Co.: The company has adopted various strategies to provide recycling and reuse opportunities for its employees and building tenants. It donates reusable building materials to local nonprofits and allows Howard County’s Fire and Police departments use of its buildings for training purposes.
The Green Community Leadership Award recognizes groups and organizations that demonstrate efforts, projects or programs that help protect Howard County’s natural environment and preserve its resources. This year’s winners of the Green Community Leadership Award were as follows.
• Emmanuel United Methodist Church: With the help of its “Green Team,” the church has eliminated its use of disposable food service ware and has conducted energy audits of its building, as well as facilitates audits for its members. The church is also entirely powered by wind-sourced energy.
• Howard EcoWorks: In 2017, it launched its “Ellicott City: Soak It Up” campaign. Geared toward encouraging individual action for stormwater reduction on private property in the Tiber Hudson watershed, the goal of the campaign is to convert 700 acres of turf grass to native landscape to improve stormwater control.
• Roger Carter Community Center: The center approaches its LEED Silver certification as a launching point for other environmentally conscious programs. It regularly hosts community clean-ups, provides a variety of recycling opportunities to the public, maintains a composting program and has conducted internal waste audits.

For more information on this year’s award winners and other recognized Work Green Howard businesses, visit www.WorkGreenHoward.org.

Business Briefs

Komen Maryland Moving Race for the Cure to Columbia Gateway
Susan G. Komen Maryland has announced that the organization will host its 26th Annual Race for the Cure in Columbia, on Saturday, Oct. 13. The new location in central Maryland offers an opportunity for the event to grow and to attract new participants from a broader region.
“The work Komen Maryland has done across the state has been nothing short of life-changing for many people,” said Executive Director for Komen Maryland Michael Jessup. “Through events like the Race for the Cure and our generous donors, we have been able to invest $28 million in local breast cancer programs that provide critical support as well as contribute more than $11 million to national research.”
The Komen Maryland Race for the Cure is one of the largest single-day fundraisers in the state and is consistently ranked as a top charitable event in the metro area by the Baltimore Business Journal. It is expected to attract 5,000 participants this year, and the fundraising goal for the event is $850,000. Registration is open at www.komenmd.org/marylandrace.

‘Ready? Set? Good!’ Encourages Emergency Preparedness Planning at Home
Extreme weather, power outages and other disasters happen every day around the world. Residents in the Baltimore region are encouraged to prepare at home before an emergency occurs. “Ready? Set? Good!” is a call-to-action emergency preparedness campaign through the Baltimore Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).
The campaign encourages people to, at a minimum, put aside a portable, battery-powered radio, flashlight and one gallon of water per person, per day, to help get them through those first critical hours when basic services are down. The campaign targets homeowners, heads of households, moms, dads, caregivers and families to prepare for an emergency before one happens.
“Ready? Set? Good!” also encourages residents to use a checklist to prepare other items: blankets, non-perishable foods, family plans, pet supplies, etc. For more information, including tips and a checklist of recommended items, visit www.readysetgood.org.

Free KidsDay Event on Saturday, June 9, at Columbia SportsPark
KidsDay — the annual welcome-to-summer event for kids hosted by Columbia Association (CA) — returns on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Columbia SportsPark, 5453 Harpers Farm Road, toward the back of the Harper’s Choice Village Center.
Mini-golf and all-you-can-bat batting cage sessions will be free for all kids ages 12 and younger, as well as all CA Fit & Play, Play, 5Day Golf &Play, and Golf Fit & Play members of any age. Non-members and other CA members ages 13 and older will pay a fee. KidsDay is free and open to the public. Preregistration is requested at ColumbiaAssociation.org/kidsday.

Americana Recital at St. Louis Church, Clarksville, May 11
Violinist Destiny Mermagen and pianist Heather Adelsberger will perform a 19th-century program featuring the second violin sonata of Charles Ives — known as “The Walt Whitman of American sound” — and Henri Vieuxtemps’ “American Bouquet,” a virtuosic suite based on American folk tunes, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at St. Louis Church, Clarksville.
Widely known as one of America’s most important composers, Ives was able to “write pieces in traditional European style, but with an American accent,” according to NPR. Violinist Mermagen said Vieuxtemps’ pieces, composed in the 1850s and inspired by American popular music and Irish immigrants, “showcase a lot of other virtuosic melodies and tunes.”
No tickets are required for the free concert, which is the final performance of the St. Louis Concert & Artist Series 2017–18 season. For more information, see www.stlconcertseries.org or call 410-531-6040.

Journey Leadership Program for Howard Middle Girls Now Includes Seventh-Graders
Maryland Leadership Workshops, a division of Leadership Maryland, is expanding its 2018 Journey program for Howard County middle school girls to include girls who are rising into seventh grade, in addition to grades eight and nine. Registration for Journey is available online at www.mlw.org and closes May 15.
Journey will take place July 15–21 at UMBC. During this unique residential program, each student identifies her own leadership skills, strengths and weaknesses in a supportive and fun environment that fosters increased self-esteem and confidence. Journey graduates are equipped with leadership skills, tools and motivation to enhance their schools and communities.
This program includes workshops focusing on topics such as empowerment and motivation, communication, decision-making skills, self-awareness and building healthy relationships; group projects for girls to apply and get feedback on their leadership and interpersonal skills; small group interactions between staff and girls to address specific areas of individual growth and identify an action plan for post-site implementation; and recreational activities and team-building games.
Scholarships are available. For more information, call Anita Durall Anderson at 301-444-8623.

Asad Brings Mysteries of the Taj Dynasty to Artists’ Gallery
Sadaf Asad is exhibiting a group of paintings that highlight the beautiful and intricate artistic style of the Mughal Taj Dynasty, which ruled most of the Indian subcontinent from the late 7th century to the early 18th century. This area included what is today Asad’s native Pakistan. The show runs until May 27.
Asad has been influenced by the cultural and artistic life the Mughals brought to India; the jewel colors and interesting patterns in her work represent Asad’s interpretation of the exotic artistic period. She works mostly in charcoal, pastel and ink.

Kittleman Seeks Members for Board of Health
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is seeking one health professional, one mental health professional and one substance use disorders professional interested in serving on the county’s Board of Health.
Composed of 11 members, the board must include one environmental health professional; three health professionals, one of which may be a veterinarian; and seven members from the general public. Those representing the general public must meet one of the following qualifications.
• At least two may not have professional or administrative training in the health occupations;
• At least two may have had professional or administrative training in the health occupations, but have not worked as a health professional in the past five years;
• At least one shall have professional experience in mental health; and
• At least one shall have professional experience in substance use disorders.
Board members serve five-year terms and are responsible for the health and sanitary interests of the people of Howard County. With the exception of December, July and August, board meetings are held the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the administrative offices of the Howard County Health Department, located at 8930 Stanford Boulevard, Columbia.
Applicants should send a résumé and a brief letter explaining why they want to serve on the commission to Howard County Government, Office of the County Executive, Attn: David Lee, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 18. For more information, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Health/Boards or call the Howard County Health Department at 410-313-6300.

Kittleman Seeks Student Member for Howard’s Commission for Women
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is seeking a student applicant who is interested in serving on the Commission for Women. The commission is composed of 12 members, including one student, and helps promote the economic, social and political equality of women in Howard County. The student commission member will serve a one-year term from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019.
To be eligible for consideration, candidates must be a rising 11th- or 12th-grade student in a public or private Howard County school, have an interest in women’s equality and be able to attend the commission’s meetings. The meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Gateway Building, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia.
Applicants should send a résumé and a brief letter explaining why they want to serve on the commission to: Howard County Government, Office of the County Executive, Attn: David Lee, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. The names of eligible applicants will be submitted to the county executive for approval, and the nominee will be submitted to the County Council for confirmation. The deadline to apply is Thursday, May 31.
For more information, call the Department of Community Resources & Services at 410-313-6400 or visit www.howardcountymd.gov/CFW.

Howard County’s Volunteer of the Year Awards Announced
Howard County honored outstanding volunteers recently in a ceremony that recognized the generosity and achievements of two individuals, one nonprofit organization or governmental agency and one for-profit or community group. The annual event also included the announcement of Howard County’s Volunteer of the Year and other special award recipients.
Award winners will have an engraved brick installed in the “Pathway to Excellence” at the county’s Troy Park at Elkridge. The pathway is to be part of the park’s development. This year’s award winners are at follows.
• Volunteer of the Year: Mary Lasky
Lasky was recognized for her work with the Community Emergency Response Network since its inception in 2002 and the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center.
• Non-Profit Volunteer Organization of the Year: Lambda Gamma Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
For more than three decades, the Sorors of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s Lambda Gamma Zeta Chapter have focused their numerous outreach programs largely on scholarship, service and sisterhood.
• Community Volunteer Group of the Year: The Loan Closet of Howard County’s Volunteers
A clearing house for donated medical equipment, the Loan Closet is able to function because of its volunteers, in particular Dennis Fabel, Kathy Pelch and Sandy Reading.
• Unsung Hero: Monica Fabbri
Jumping immediately into action after the devastating 2016 flooding, Monica Fabbri is recognized for her dedication to ensuring continued care for the residents of Ellicott City’s West End.

Rising Stars Shine at HCAC’s Celebration of the Arts
Nearly 425 business and arts leaders were on hand in late March for the Howard County Arts Council’s (HCAC) 21st Annual Celebration of the Arts. Held at Howard Community College’s Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center, in Columbia, this year’s benefit gala netted approximately $73,000, with an additional $68,377 in donated goods and services.
Buddy and Sue Emerson, active supporters of a number of community and charitable organizations statewide, were the honorary chairs for the evening. Myron “Mo” Dutterer, recipient of the 2003 Howie Award for Outstanding Arts Educator and a pillar of the Howard County theater community, served as emcee.
The Rising Star Performing Arts Competition featured 10 emerging performing artists vying for the title of Rising Star and a professional development award of $5,000 won by pianist Junghoon Park.
Then the 2017 Howie Awards were presented to Ric Ryder (Outstanding Artist), Tolly Rumbaugh Peddicord (Outstanding Arts Educator) and Michael Clark (Outstanding Community Supporter of the Arts). The inaugural Howie Award for Outstanding Arts Leadership was also presented to Howard County Arts Council Executive Director Coleen West, in recognition of her 20 years of dedicated service and advocacy.
Since 1998, more than $1.5 million has been raised through the event.

Columbia Orchestra to ‘Taste the Music’
The Columbia Orchestra will hold a special event, “Taste the Music,” at Ten Oaks Ballroom on Sunday, May 6, at 5 p.m., to commemorate the orchestra’s 40th Anniversary. Music performed by members of the orchestra will be paired with Italian dishes.
The program will include selections from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” Verdi’s “La Traviata,” Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” and more; Music Director Jason Love will provide commentary. Cocktail attire preferred. Tickets are $100 each, or $700 for a table of eight.
The orchestra’s 40th season continues on Saturday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m., with a concert featuring French impressionists and romantic favorites. Listeners will recognize Dukas’ “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” which Walt Disney included in his 1940 animated film “Fantasia.” The orchestra also will perform Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” and two popular works by Ravel — “Bolero” and music from his ballet “Daphnis & Chloe.” Matthew Miller and Megan Rabe, two winners of the orchestra’s 2018 Young Artist Competition, also will perform.
For tickets and more information, call 410-465-8777 or visit www.columbiaorchestra.org.

HCAC Announces Two New Exhibits
The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) has announced two new exhibits: “Resident Visual Artists Exhibit 2018” and “Surface & Structure.”
In its 34th year at the HCAC, “Resident Visual Artists Exhibit” features recent work by artists with studios at the Center for the Arts: James Adkins, Stanley Agbontaen, Joan Bevelaqua, Myungsook Ryu Kim, Art Landerman, Diana Marta, Brendan Nass, Joyce Ritter, Jereme Scott, Alice St. Germain-Gray, Andrei Trach, Jamie Travers, Mary Jo Tydlacka and David Zuccarini. The artists work in a variety of media.
“Surface & Structure” features work by artists Sooo-z Mastropietro and Chloe Irla. Both artists create mixed-media work that often incorporates various textile materials.
Both exhibits run through June 22. A free reception will be held on June 21, from 6–8 p.m., in conjunction with the Columbia Festival of the Arts. For more information, call 410-313-ARTS (2787) or visit hocoarts.org.

Apps for Ryder Grant Due to HCAC June 29
Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) has announced that applications for the fiscal 2019 Mark Ryder Original Choreography Grant Program are available. This program was established at the bequest of Mark Ryder’s family, in honor of his life’s work, to recognize individual creative expression and to provide financial assistance to choreographers to create new original work. Ryder was an established dancer and choreographer in the dance community.
A fund has been established at the Columbia Foundation to enable monies to be awarded for this purpose in perpetuity. The grant award recipients will be announced in September at HCAC’s Annual Meeting and Grant Awards Ceremony. The minimum grant amount will be $500. Email info@hocoarts.org or call 410-313-ARTS (2787) for more information. The deadline to submit applications is June 29.

Whipps Annual Plant Sale Set for May 11, 12
On Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12, Ellicott City’s only public garden/park, run entirely by volunteers— the Whipps Garden Cemetery —will hold its annual fundraiser Plant Sale at the First Lutheran Church, at the corner of Chatham and Frederick roads, Dunloggin.
All proceeds from the annual plant sale go for the upkeep of the one-acre Whipps garden/park, and fund such projects as keeping fresh wood chips on all of the pathways and signage for trees, shrubs and selected perennials. For more information, text Aleta Gravelle at 410-274-7795 or email agravelle@verizon.net.

HCPSS Recognized as a Best Community for Music Education
The Howard County Public School System has been recognized as one of the 2018 Best Communities for Music Education Districts by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. The award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.
HCPSS is one of four Maryland districts, and one of 583 school districts across the United States, being recognized by the NAMM Foundation as among the Best Communities for Music Education. This is the third consecutive year HCPSS has received the award.

Nonprofit News and Charitable Giving

Komen Maryland Moving Race for the Cure to Columbia Gateway
Susan G. Komen Maryland has announced that the organization will host its 26th Annual Race for the Cure in Columbia, on Saturday, Oct. 13. The new location in central Maryland offers an opportunity for the event to grow and to attract new participants from a broader region.
“The work Komen Maryland has done across the state has been nothing short of life-changing for many people,” said Executive Director for Komen Maryland Michael Jessup. “Through events like the Race for the Cure and our generous donors, we have been able to invest $28 million in local breast cancer programs that provide critical support as well as contribute more than $11 million to national research.”
The Komen Maryland Race for the Cure is one of the largest single-day fundraisers in the state and is consistently ranked as a top charitable event in the metro area by the Baltimore Business Journal. It is expected to attract 5,000 participants this year, and the fundraising goal for the event is $850,000. Registration is open at www.komenmd.org/marylandrace.

‘Ready? Set? Good!’ Encourages Emergency Preparedness Planning at Home
Extreme weather, power outages and other disasters happen every day around the world. Residents in the Baltimore region are encouraged to prepare at home before an emergency occurs. “Ready? Set? Good!” is a call-to-action emergency preparedness campaign through the Baltimore Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).
The campaign encourages people to, at a minimum, put aside a portable, battery-powered radio, flashlight and one gallon of water per person, per day, to help get them through those first critical hours when basic services are down. The campaign targets homeowners, heads of households, moms, dads, caregivers and families to prepare for an emergency before one happens.
“Ready? Set? Good!” also encourages residents to use a checklist to prepare other items: blankets, non-perishable foods, family plans, pet supplies, etc. For more information, including tips and a checklist of recommended items, visit www.readysetgood.org.

Free KidsDay Event on Saturday, June 9, at Columbia SportsPark
KidsDay — the annual welcome-to-summer event for kids hosted by Columbia Association (CA) — returns on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Columbia SportsPark, 5453 Harpers Farm Road, toward the back of the Harper’s Choice Village Center.
Mini-golf and all-you-can-bat batting cage sessions will be free for all kids ages 12 and younger, as well as all CA Fit & Play, Play, 5Day Golf &Play, and Golf Fit & Play members of any age. Non-members and other CA members ages 13 and older will pay a fee. KidsDay is free and open to the public. Preregistration is requested at ColumbiaAssociation.org/kidsday.

Americana Recital at St. Louis Church, Clarksville, May 11
Violinist Destiny Mermagen and pianist Heather Adelsberger will perform a 19th-century program featuring the second violin sonata of Charles Ives — known as “The Walt Whitman of American sound” — and Henri Vieuxtemps’ “American Bouquet,” a virtuosic suite based on American folk tunes, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at St. Louis Church, Clarksville.
Widely known as one of America’s most important composers, Ives was able to “write pieces in traditional European style, but with an American accent,” according to NPR. Violinist Mermagen said Vieuxtemps’ pieces, composed in the 1850s and inspired by American popular music and Irish immigrants, “showcase a lot of other virtuosic melodies and tunes.”
No tickets are required for the free concert, which is the final performance of the St. Louis Concert & Artist Series 2017–18 season. For more information, see www.stlconcertseries.org or call 410-531-6040.

Journey Leadership Program for Howard Middle Girls Now Includes Seventh-Graders
Maryland Leadership Workshops, a division of Leadership Maryland, is expanding its 2018 Journey program for Howard County middle school girls to include girls who are rising into seventh grade, in addition to grades eight and nine. Registration for Journey is available online at www.mlw.org and closes May 15.
Journey will take place July 15–21 at UMBC. During this unique residential program, each student identifies her own leadership skills, strengths and weaknesses in a supportive and fun environment that fosters increased self-esteem and confidence. Journey graduates are equipped with leadership skills, tools and motivation to enhance their schools and communities.
This program includes workshops focusing on topics such as empowerment and motivation, communication, decision-making skills, self-awareness and building healthy relationships; group projects for girls to apply and get feedback on their leadership and interpersonal skills; small group interactions between staff and girls to address specific areas of individual growth and identify an action plan for post-site implementation; and recreational activities and team-building games.
Scholarships are available. For more information, call Anita Durall Anderson at 301-444-8623.

Asad Brings Mysteries of the Taj Dynasty to Artists’ Gallery
Sadaf Asad is exhibiting a group of paintings that highlight the beautiful and intricate artistic style of the Mughal Taj Dynasty, which ruled most of the Indian subcontinent from the late 7th century to the early 18th century. This area included what is today Asad’s native Pakistan. The show runs until May 27.
Asad has been influenced by the cultural and artistic life the Mughals brought to India; the jewel colors and interesting patterns in her work represent Asad’s interpretation of the exotic artistic period. She works mostly in charcoal, pastel and ink.

Kittleman Seeks Members for Board of Health
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is seeking one health professional, one mental health professional and one substance use disorders professional interested in serving on the county’s Board of Health.
Composed of 11 members, the board must include one environmental health professional; three health professionals, one of which may be a veterinarian; and seven members from the general public. Those representing the general public must meet one of the following qualifications.
• At least two may not have professional or administrative training in the health occupations;
• At least two may have had professional or administrative training in the health occupations, but have not worked as a health professional in the past five years;
• At least one shall have professional experience in mental health; and
• At least one shall have professional experience in substance use disorders.
Board members serve five-year terms and are responsible for the health and sanitary interests of the people of Howard County. With the exception of December, July and August, board meetings are held the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the administrative offices of the Howard County Health Department, located at 8930 Stanford Boulevard, Columbia.
Applicants should send a résumé and a brief letter explaining why they want to serve on the commission to Howard County Government, Office of the County Executive, Attn: David Lee, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 18. For more information, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Health/Boards or call the Howard County Health Department at 410-313-6300.

Kittleman Seeks Student Member for Howard’s Commission for Women
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman is seeking a student applicant who is interested in serving on the Commission for Women. The commission is composed of 12 members, including one student, and helps promote the economic, social and political equality of women in Howard County. The student commission member will serve a one-year term from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019.
To be eligible for consideration, candidates must be a rising 11th- or 12th-grade student in a public or private Howard County school, have an interest in women’s equality and be able to attend the commission’s meetings. The meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Gateway Building, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia.
Applicants should send a résumé and a brief letter explaining why they want to serve on the commission to: Howard County Government, Office of the County Executive, Attn: David Lee, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. The names of eligible applicants will be submitted to the county executive for approval, and the nominee will be submitted to the County Council for confirmation. The deadline to apply is Thursday, May 31.
For more information, call the Department of Community Resources & Services at 410-313-6400 or visit www.howardcountymd.gov/CFW.

Howard County’s Volunteer of the Year Awards Announced
Howard County honored outstanding volunteers recently in a ceremony that recognized the generosity and achievements of two individuals, one nonprofit organization or governmental agency and one for-profit or community group. The annual event also included the announcement of Howard County’s Volunteer of the Year and other special award recipients.
Award winners will have an engraved brick installed in the “Pathway to Excellence” at the county’s Troy Park at Elkridge. The pathway is to be part of the park’s development. This year’s award winners are at follows.
• Volunteer of the Year: Mary Lasky
Lasky was recognized for her work with the Community Emergency Response Network since its inception in 2002 and the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center.
• Non-Profit Volunteer Organization of the Year: Lambda Gamma Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
For more than three decades, the Sorors of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s Lambda Gamma Zeta Chapter have focused their numerous outreach programs largely on scholarship, service and sisterhood.
• Community Volunteer Group of the Year: The Loan Closet of Howard County’s Volunteers
A clearing house for donated medical equipment, the Loan Closet is able to function because of its volunteers, in particular Dennis Fabel, Kathy Pelch and Sandy Reading.
• Unsung Hero: Monica Fabbri
Jumping immediately into action after the devastating 2016 flooding, Monica Fabbri is recognized for her dedication to ensuring continued care for the residents of Ellicott City’s West End.

Rising Stars Shine at HCAC’s Celebration of the Arts
Nearly 425 business and arts leaders were on hand in late March for the Howard County Arts Council’s (HCAC) 21st Annual Celebration of the Arts. Held at Howard Community College’s Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center, in Columbia, this year’s benefit gala netted approximately $73,000, with an additional $68,377 in donated goods and services.
Buddy and Sue Emerson, active supporters of a number of community and charitable organizations statewide, were the honorary chairs for the evening. Myron “Mo” Dutterer, recipient of the 2003 Howie Award for Outstanding Arts Educator and a pillar of the Howard County theater community, served as emcee.
The Rising Star Performing Arts Competition featured 10 emerging performing artists vying for the title of Rising Star and a professional development award of $5,000 won by pianist Junghoon Park.
Then the 2017 Howie Awards were presented to Ric Ryder (Outstanding Artist), Tolly Rumbaugh Peddicord (Outstanding Arts Educator) and Michael Clark (Outstanding Community Supporter of the Arts). The inaugural Howie Award for Outstanding Arts Leadership was also presented to Howard County Arts Council Executive Director Coleen West, in recognition of her 20 years of dedicated service and advocacy.
Since 1998, more than $1.5 million has been raised through the event.

Columbia Orchestra to ‘Taste the Music’
The Columbia Orchestra will hold a special event, “Taste the Music,” at Ten Oaks Ballroom on Sunday, May 6, at 5 p.m., to commemorate the orchestra’s 40th Anniversary. Music performed by members of the orchestra will be paired with Italian dishes.
The program will include selections from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” Verdi’s “La Traviata,” Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” and more; Music Director Jason Love will provide commentary. Cocktail attire preferred. Tickets are $100 each, or $700 for a table of eight.
The orchestra’s 40th season continues on Saturday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m., with a concert featuring French impressionists and romantic favorites. Listeners will recognize Dukas’ “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” which Walt Disney included in his 1940 animated film “Fantasia.” The orchestra also will perform Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” and two popular works by Ravel — “Bolero” and music from his ballet “Daphnis & Chloe.” Matthew Miller and Megan Rabe, two winners of the orchestra’s 2018 Young Artist Competition, also will perform.
For tickets and more information, call 410-465-8777 or visit www.columbiaorchestra.org.

HCAC Announces Two New Exhibits
The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) has announced two new exhibits: “Resident Visual Artists Exhibit 2018” and “Surface & Structure.”
In its 34th year at the HCAC, “Resident Visual Artists Exhibit” features recent work by artists with studios at the Center for the Arts: James Adkins, Stanley Agbontaen, Joan Bevelaqua, Myungsook Ryu Kim, Art Landerman, Diana Marta, Brendan Nass, Joyce Ritter, Jereme Scott, Alice St. Germain-Gray, Andrei Trach, Jamie Travers, Mary Jo Tydlacka and David Zuccarini. The artists work in a variety of media.
“Surface & Structure” features work by artists Sooo-z Mastropietro and Chloe Irla. Both artists create mixed-media work that often incorporates various textile materials.
Both exhibits run through June 22. A free reception will be held on June 21, from 6–8 p.m., in conjunction with the Columbia Festival of the Arts. For more information, call 410-313-ARTS (2787) or visit hocoarts.org.

Apps for Ryder Grant Due to HCAC June 29
Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) has announced that applications for the fiscal 2019 Mark Ryder Original Choreography Grant Program are available. This program was established at the bequest of Mark Ryder’s family, in honor of his life’s work, to recognize individual creative expression and to provide financial assistance to choreographers to create new original work. Ryder was an established dancer and choreographer in the dance community.
A fund has been established at the Columbia Foundation to enable monies to be awarded for this purpose in perpetuity. The grant award recipients will be announced in September at HCAC’s Annual Meeting and Grant Awards Ceremony. The minimum grant amount will be $500. Email info@hocoarts.org or call 410-313-ARTS (2787) for more information. The deadline to submit applications is June 29.

Whipps Annual Plant Sale Set for May 11, 12
On Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12, Ellicott City’s only public garden/park, run entirely by volunteers— the Whipps Garden Cemetery —will hold its annual fundraiser Plant Sale at the First Lutheran Church, at the corner of Chatham and Frederick roads, Dunloggin.
All proceeds from the annual plant sale go for the upkeep of the one-acre Whipps garden/park, and fund such projects as keeping fresh wood chips on all of the pathways and signage for trees, shrubs and selected perennials. For more information, text Aleta Gravelle at 410-274-7795 or email agravelle@verizon.net.

HCPSS Recognized as a Best Community for Music Education
The Howard County Public School System has been recognized as one of the 2018 Best Communities for Music Education Districts by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. The award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.
HCPSS is one of four Maryland districts, and one of 583 school districts across the United States, being recognized by the NAMM Foundation as among the Best Communities for Music Education. This is the third consecutive year HCPSS has received the award.

In late spring, the nonprofit Cybersecurity Association of Maryland Inc. (CAMI), in partnership with PNC Bank and Point3 Security, hosted the Second Annual Maryland Cybersecurity Awards Celebration.

Before a sell-out of 300 attendees at the American Visionary Art Museum, in Baltimore, 13 awards were presented to companies, organizations and individuals judged to have outstanding cybersecurity products, services and/or programs or to have made a substantial contribution to the state’s cybersecurity industry.
Following opening remarks from CAMI’s Executive Director Stacey Smith, and CAMI Chairperson and Edwards Performance Solutions President and CEO Gina Abate, the program began with congratulatory videos from Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and from Gov. Larry Hogan, who expressed their support of Maryland’s cybersecurity ecosystem.

Next, Abate unveiled CAMI’s new “Connect to Protect” program, a brief multimedia presentation designed to educate business leaders at industry trade organization events, chamber of commerce meetings, Rotary member luncheons and other business gatherings. The video, with simple cybersecurity tips presented in as few as 20 minutes by an experienced cybersecurity professional, offers businesses the knowledge and resources needed to begin, expand or accelerate their efforts to make their businesses cybersecure.
The evening’s program was co-emceed by Evan Dornbush, co-founder and CEO of Point3 Security; and Jay Turakhia, vice president in the corporate and institutional banking division, Greater Maryland market, PNC Bank. It also and included remarks and award announcements from the following attendees.

• Rosa Cruz, Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. (AAEDC)
• Robel Worku, Montgomery County Economic Development Corp.
• Brian Levine, Greater Baltimore Committee
• Will Anderson, Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development
• Leonardo McClarty, Howard County Chamber
• Heather Gramm, Frederick County Office of Economic Development
• Spencer Wilcox, Exelon Corp.
• Michael Ryan, South River Technologies
• Brian Hubbard, Edwards Performance Solutions
• John Leitch, Winquest Cybersecurity
• Darrell Laffoon, EZShield
• Mike Volk, PSA Insurance & Financial Services
• Ron and Cyndi Gula, Gula Tech Adventures
The 2018 Maryland Cybersecurity Awards Celebration winners are as follows.
• Best of Anne Arundel County: Bridges
• Best of Baltimore City: Sally Kenyon Grant, Point3 Security
• Best of Baltimore County: Syncopated Engineering
• Best of Frederick County: Patriot Technologies
• Best of Howard County: Enveil
• Best of Montgomery County: Koolspan
• Innovator of the Year: Enveil, Howard County
• Cybersecurity Defender of the Year: CSIOS Corp., Charles County
Cybersecurity Company to Watch: Cyber Crucible, Baltimore County
Cybersecurity Champion Award: Ellen Hemmerly, bwtech@UMBC
Cybersecurity Industry Resource Award: AAEDC
Cybersecurity Diversity Award: The CyberWire, Howard County
People’s Choice Award: Emma Garrison-Alexander, UMUC
For more information about CAMI, visit www.MDcyber.com, email info@MDcyber.com or call 443-844-0047.

Howard County Chamber Changing Things Up for 2018 Trip

The Howard County Chamber (HCCC) is shaking things up for its 2018 Chamber Travel Program. For the first time ever, it’s heading to Iceland this fall.

Join the HCCC on a seven-day, five-night tour of Iceland, a land of geysers, glaciers, volcanoes and rich history. Iceland is an otherworldly place where the forces of nature have created a landscape that allows you to swim in geothermal heated pools, trek across a mossy lava field and drive over an icy glacier, all in one day. Become enchanted by the striking and raw beauty of this extraordinary and geologically young island.

The trip, which runs from Oct. 11–17, with an optional tour extension of two nights, will begin in Reykjavik and includes a tour of the city, a visit to the Viking World Museum and a trip to the Golden Circle. Travelers then will visit Thingvellir National Park and then stop in Fontana, Great Geysir and Gullfoss.

The trip will continue to the southern coast, home to a beautiful agricultural region. After a full night and day in Vik, travelers will take a morning walk along the black sand beach at Reynisfjara lined with basalt-filled caves. The tour also will visit Seljalanfoss and Skogafoss, Iceland’s most famous waterfalls. It continues with visits to Hekla and Eyjafjallajokull volcanoes and then a trip to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa.

The Iceland trip is open to all, but for the first time, member pricing is being offered to everyone. The purchase price of $2,899 includes: round trip airfare, quality hotels, superb cuisine including nine meals, day trips, a professional tour director, deluxe motor coaches and baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the airport.

For more information about the Howard County Chamber trip to Iceland this October, visit www.howardchamber.com or contact Karen O’Connor by email at koconnor@howardchamber.com or by phone at 410-730-4111, ext. 105.

From the Big Event to Small Gestures, Steve Wecker Has a Recipe for Caring

At the Iron Bridge Wine Company, first there’s the look of your plate: Crispy Brussels sprouts arrive nestled in garlic-ginger tamari glaze, carrot scallion kimchi, radish and toasted sesame seeds, all presented in a boat-shaped dish that could sail off to food-presentation heaven, even if you don’t actually like Brussels sprouts.

Then there’s the cleverness of the marketing: On Tuesdays, the day of the “Great Crème Brûlée Giveaway,” order a crème brûlée for dessert after dinner. If you get the one without chocolate in the bottom, you win a prize — and not some boring cut-out coupon but a real prize, like a six-pack of wine.

Finally, Iron Bridge has a track record. Now starting its 16th year in business, it has been named a Top 50 Restaurant in Baltimore Magazine eight times, has been featured in The Wine Enthusiast and USA Today, and has maintained its unspoiled culture in a rustic setting where you can watch sheep grazing out the window while you dine.

Science? Magic? Both?

How does Steve Wecker, who co-founded the restaurant with his brother Rob, do it? “Running a restaurant is not rocket science,” he insisted. But when he starts naming, out loud and on-the-fly, the items he keeps track of every day on the job, it appears that he has restaurant operation down to a science, and a complex one at that.
“Every week we get together on Tuesdays and we look at sales from last week, sales from the same week last year, sales from the current week last year, and what we want sales to be for this week next year,” said Wecker.

He’s running through the rest of his list rapid-fire: “We look at labor costs, what we’re spending overall, what we’re spending next week. We pay attention to our customers, and we do crazy things to thank them.”

His Wordsworth-style poetic cataloguing of job tasks finally ends with his summary: “Really, it’s a series of checks and balances that says: ‘Okay, all these things are going well, but what can we do to fix it?’”

At the heart of Wecker’s restaurant — and his involvement with the Howard County Chamber and the wider community — is a humble philosophy: Treat people like they’re family.

“We have built a restaurant that is more family than it is business,” he said. “Our employees have been here 12 years, 15 years. We value them as individuals and employees.”

Learning to Care

Last year, the Community Foundation of Howard County named Iron Bridge as its corporate Philanthropist of the Year. The restaurant has donated meals and helped raise funds for Howard County nonprofits and charitable organizations, including the Howard County Autism Society and the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center.

Wecker said he and his brother were taught from a young age to give to others and have made philanthropy a regular part of their business.

“I never think we do enough, but people tell me we do more than a lot of folks,” he said. “My dad taught me that you support the community in which you do business.”

And politics, he said, should be secondary, with community coming first. “I’m done with the Democrats, and I’m done with the Republicans,” he said. “We’re going to help people as an organization personally, whether I agree with their political stance or not. We’re here to support the community and make a difference. That’s what Dad would want us to do.”

He brushes off praise for his philanthropy. “People always say, ‘That’s amazing, that’s incredible.’ Well, I say it shouldn’t be. If we were all taking a little bit better care of each other, we’d all be a little bit better off.”

The Big Event …

For Wecker, supporting the Chamber is part of supporting the larger community. “When they changed the annual meeting from a lunch to the Big Event, I was on that committee,” he said. “We don’t write big checks, but we do a lot of little things.”

Wecker believes that, sometimes, people can contribute to the Chamber or to their community by simply showing up, and that means taking action instead of just voicing an opinion.

“For example, I think all this plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean is bad,” he said, “but don’t sign an online petition. Instead I ask: What’re you going to do about it right here? My dad was a guy who used to say, ‘If somebody needs help, the best thing to do is show up. Sometimes it’s picking up a shovel; sometimes it’s picking up a bag of groceries.’”

Wecker said he will keep looking for ways to do more for people. “Look at everybody on an individual basis,” he said. “I get a little intolerant of the intolerance. Everybody has value. Everybody has worth.”

Letter From the Incoming Chair David Anderson

Dear Fellow Chamber
Members and Friends,

First and foremost, thank you for your continued involvement and contributions to the positive environment and progress we’ve experienced within our Howard County Chamber community.

Over the past several years, it has been exhilarating to experience and be a part of the growth within our Howard County business community, as well as the Howard County community overall. As our county continues to evolve and earn acclaim as a regionally-preferred location for technology, health care, service, government contractors and other growth-minded organizations, it is exciting to feel the positive energy and observe the growth and development that surrounds us.

This is a particularly active time of year for the Chamber as we focus on reinvigorating an array of initiatives that support the execution of our Strategic Plan. These include the critical role the Chamber plays related to keeping our business community connected and informed and acting as the voice of business, advocating for a positive and productive local business climate.

During this time of year, we take some time to reflect upon and reiterate our appreciation for those who have dutifully served on our board and committees, particularly those who are at the completion of their respective terms — our Chamber and community have remarkably positive momentum, and we are eternally grateful for their contributions.

We also will have the distinct honor of announcing the appointments of our newest Chamber board members and committee participants — those whom we will count on to continue to contribute new energy and the incredible value that results from diverse perspectives.
There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in our Chamber community. I invite you to share my enthusiasm in anticipation of the continual refreshment of our programmatic offerings and the value our members will experience as a result of the collaborative efforts of our Chamber staff, members, committees, sponsors and board.

Thank you for your support and camaraderie. We look forward to continued prosperity together as a community.

David Anderson
Expense Reduction Analysts

Letter From President & CEO Leonardo McClarty

Dear Howard County Chamber
Members and Community Supporters,

It is hard to believe another year has gone by. Time flies when you are having fun! Nearly two years ago, we embarked upon a new strategic plan that focused on four distinct areas: Membership Recruitment & Engagement, Advocacy, Marketing & Communications and Organization Effectiveness. The past 12 months have been full of progress as we strive to fully implement our plan and attain our goal of making this chamber the best in the state.

Some of the past year’s highlights include adding new team members as we brought on Karen O’Connor as our new office administrator and Ronny Nadiv as director of membership. This coincides with moving our office from Sterrett Place to Old Dobbin Lane late last summer, not to mention that we unveiled a new look that visually brings us into a new millennium.

We also continued to serve as the voice of business by testifying orally and in writing on numerous legislative matters in both Annapolis and Ellicott City. Equally important is the fact that we strengthened our board of directors by bringing on men and women that represent the best and brightest this county has to offer.

The year ahead will see us launch a new website that we believe will enable us to more effectively communicate our events and community resources. We also will continue to serve as the Howard County business communities’ most trusted and reliable ally as we advocate for business-friendly policies locally and statewide. In the coming year we will continue to challenge ourselves to raise the bar of excellence.

The Howard County Chamber remains committed to providing relevant and beneficial programming. This means that some of the programs as you know them may change or be enhanced. We are focused on not allowing past successes to lead to complacency. We know that your time and monetary resources are limited, and we are committed to giving you the greatest return on your investment.

Incoming YPN Chair’s Perspective

They showed me to my desk — a phone, a computer and a copy of the Yellow Pages. It was the first day at my new job, and my job was to sell. I knew the product I was selling, but I had no idea who to sell to or where to begin.

My grandfather, a gifted salesman and silver-tongue in his day, offered some sage guidance: “See the people.” Heeding his advice, I joined the Howard County Chamber. After all, that’s where the people are, right?

Anyone starting a new job, new to an area or new to networking quickly realizes how daunting it can be walking into a room full of strangers hoping to make new contacts — especially when you’re 26 but look like you’re 17. Where do I start? Whom do I talk to? What questions do I ask?

After attending a few Chamber events, I started recognizing familiar faces and developing a rapport with a few of my fellow attendees. Looking to become more active within the Chamber and further develop these relationships, I was quickly drawn to the Young Professionals Network (YPN). There was a contagious energy with this group, and they quickly welcomed me with open arms.
More than just cocktail parties and exchanging business cards, it was actively engaging with likeminded business professionals looking to expand their spheres of influence in the community. My network, and my business, quickly began to grow.

Established more than 10 years ago, the Young Professionals Network was formed to provide younger Howard County Chamber members with opportunities to get in front of, as well as build relationships with, the county’s local community and business leaders. Its record-setting networking events, the “Celerate” professional development series and philanthropic activities continue to encapsulate YPN’s mission of empowering success through leadership, service, participation, innovation and enthusiasm. Since its founding, many of YPN’s members have developed into those community and business leaders themselves.

I’m proud to serve as the incoming chair for the Young Professionals Network. I’m proud of what this group has achieved in the past, and I’m proud of what we’ll continue to accomplish in and around Howard County for many years to come.

If you’re a young professional looking to get involved, we invite you to experience what YPN has to offer. Heck, even if you’re not young any more (and I find myself quickly falling into this category, with two kids and a mortgage in the suburbs), come see what YPN is all about. It’s almost become cliché now, but its events are always open to the young and the young at heart. Get involved, share your ideas, build your network and “See the people.”

 

Matt Anderson is a partner with McFarlin Insurance Agency LLP. He can be reached at 410-312-7800.

David Tohn: Part-Time Zombie, Full-Time Business Thinker

David Tohn has been through more life transitions than many people, and readily cites what was, for him, a life-changing book: “Transitions,” by William Bridges.

Now CEO of BTS Software Solutions, Tohn’s path to business leadership has traversed his childhood in a single-parent household, military service, a vow never to become a government contractor, a brief but impactful stint as a zombie, and ultimately becoming a “proud” defense contractor, continuing to serve his nation despite any previous vows.

Tohn, 52, is not afraid to talk about the challenges of life’s transitions, knowing that he’s not alone and that, as Bridges writes, “many Americans are caught in a semi-permanent condition of transitionality.”

For Tohn, dealing with change in his life has kept him from ending up in the limbo — the zombie state, if you will — of being “in-between,” whether it relates to jobs, communities, his family or his outlook on life.

Both Tohn and his favorite author acknowledge that transition can take you places you never thought you’d go. Bridges writes: “It is as if we are launched out from a riverside dock to cross to a landing on the opposite shore — only to discover in midstream that the landing was no longer there.”

Swimming in Many Currents

Growing up, Tohn said, “we had the opportunity to live in many places, up and down the East Coast as well as in St. Croix and Florida. I joined the military because the Army offered me an ROTC scholarship to go to college. At Gettysburg College, I fell in love with Baltimore over many weekend trips to visit friends at Hopkins.”

Upon his retirement, he left the military with more than 24 years of experience; six combat deployments; and a deep knowledge of policy, planning, military intelligence and cybersecurity operations. He also authored and coauthored several publications, including “On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom,” the Army’s official history of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Coming out of the military, then making a transition into the commercial world, “I explicitly wanted not to be a defense contractor or government services person. I wanted to do something else and see if I could succeed there as well.” He started his civilian career with the Baltimore-based company CyberPoint International, where he worked with commercial cyber products and solutions.

He stayed at CyberPoint until 2014, when a friend from his former Army years, a co-founder of BTS Software Solutions, asked Tohn to join BTS as the new CEO. BTS develops cutting-edge technology and engineering to support its federal partners, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Army and the Missile Defense Agency. “So despite my best efforts, I’m now a proud defense contractor,” smiled Tohn.

Thirst for Adventure: Check

His path is far from complete: Tohn has kept a sense of entrepreneurship and adventure intact in his professional and personal lives. “At BTS, I’m still hooked on the entrepreneurial and startup space,” he said.

Tohn is a father of three; one of his children, Joshua, is an entrepreneur as well, currently operations manager at FreeStyle Media, an audio production company in Baltimore. His daughter Rachel will earn her MBA from George Washington University this summer, and his other son, Adam, works with Freddie Mac. His wife Beth teaches at Golden Mean Academy.

When Adam competed in a “zombie run,” his father acted as a zombie, stationing himself under a bridge. (In the zombie run, runners wear “flags,” and then race the course while “zombies” try to tear off the flags.)

The runners were climbing over Tohn and other zombies on a cargo net. “I was doing one-armed pull-ups all night,” Tohn recalled, “and I felt a pop-pop, and my right bicep separated.”

He drove to the emergency room, still dressed like a zombie, complete with fake blood makeup, at midnight on a Saturday. “I wanted to say it was a freak gardening accident,” he joked, “but the triage nurses and doctors were pretty startled.”

He has since healed — and still highly recommends the zombie run — although he no longer does one-armed pull-ups.

Caring About the Community

Tohn meets regularly with his colleagues in the Howard County Chamber GovConnects program, which focuses on bridging the business-to-government gap, as well as how to educate and connect local industry leaders with opportunities and represent their interests in the wider community.

Tohn serves on the board of advisors for GovConnects, which he sees not just as a program, but as a community. “I moved around so much that I never had a hometown,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve realized that business leadership cares about the community. It’s not just about making money but about actually being involved and giving back.”

Another life-changing book for Tohn, entitled “Never Eat Alone,” by Keith Ferrazzi, is about the power of relationships, a power he often talks about when he’s speaking to young people.

“I tell them to network with everyone,” he said. “But I think my biggest takeaway for young people is that you’re only 21 once — don’t forget to have fun, and don’t forget to be who you are.”
He also tells young people to find out what they’re passionate about. “Then go after that, at least until your parents will no longer feed you.”

Howard County Chamber 2017–2018 Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Chair
Jeffrey T. Agnor, Esq.
Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny LLC

President & CEO
Leonardo McClarty
Howard County Chamber

Chair Elect
David R. Anderson
Expense Reduction Analysts

Secretary
Charles A. Phillips, Jr.
KCI Technologies Inc.

Treasurer
Stephen F. Wolf, CPA
bgr CPAs

Mary E. Cannon, CPA
Mary Cannon & Associates LLC

Milton Matthews
Columbia Association

Thomas M. Meachum, Esq.
Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr LLP

 

Directors

Gulnaz Anwar, The Columbia Bank
Ryan Brown, Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine
Andra Cain, Cain Contracting
Charlie Camp, M&T Bank
Luke Chow, Prime Manufacturing Technologies
Thomas Cormier, Ahold USA
Megan Eaves, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company
William E. Erskine, Esq., Counsel, Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law
Michael Finkel, SparkSoft Corporation
Gregory A. Fitchitt, The Howard Hughes Corporation
Susan Hasler, Loyola University Maryland
Kate Hetherington, Ed.D., Howard Community College
Lola Kayler, PNC Bank
Pete Mangione, Turf Valley Resort
Daniel Medinger, Advertising Media Plus
Kelly Mitchell, M.S., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, impactHR
Mike Muscatello, CPA, Aronson LLC
Barbara Nicklas, The Mall in Columbia
Linda Ostovitz, Esq., Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law
Jean Parker, Merriweather Post Pavilion
Eric Pfoutz, Edward Jones Investments (Young Professionals Network Chair)
Baxter (Mitch) Phillips, Jr., Howard Bank
Cole Schnorf, Manekin LLC
Ryan D. Sturm, CPA, KatzAbosch
Lawrence F. Twele, Howard County Economic Development Authority
Cathy Yost, The Business Monthly
David Yungmann, The Yungmann Group of Keller Williams Integrity

Chamber Recognizes Oustanding Leaders at Annual Signature Event

The Howard County Chamber’s 2017 Signature Event, “A Night of Illusion,” was one county business and community leaders will never forget. Illusionist Jason Bishop mesmerized guests with his sleights of hand, double levitation and grand illusions.

But the illusions were just part of the action-packed evening, which also included the presentation of HCCC’s annual Awards for Chamber Excellence.

2017 Business Person of the Year: Bita Dayhoff, Community Action Council of Howard County

When you hear Bita Dayhoff mentioned, you may automatically think of the Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC). For the past eight years, Dayhoff has served as the organization’s president, spearheading the council’s vision and expansion in its Head Start, Food, Weatherization and Energy Assistance programs, all while making the Baltimore Sun’s “Top 100 Employers” list.

Dayhoff is passionate about helping people, particularly children. She believes that, when a parent succeeds, a child succeeds, and so, under her leadership, CAC has taken a “two-generation approach” to serving low-income families in Howard County. Dayhoff explained that the two-generation approach “means that no family member is left out: Parents get connected to skills and career training, children are in quality learning environments, and families are connected to health care and other services to address their basic needs.”

She believes that same two-generation approach not only benefits the families who seek out the CAC for assistance, but also the community as a whole, including local businesses. Families who are doing well amount to “motivated employees, active consumers and engaged citizens.”

Dayhoff also believes in building connections and forming partnerships with local businesses. That is part of the reason that, under her leadership, the CAC first joined the Chamber. Although the CAC is mission-oriented rather than profit-driven, Dayhoff said that nonprofits should be run just like other businesses.

2017 Large Business of the Year: BGE

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) is the largest electric and natural gas utility in central Maryland, which helps to explain why it is committed to the growth of the economy both in Howard County and at the state level. BGE’s history in this area goes back more than 200 years to 1816, when Rembrandt Peale lit the first gas lamp in Baltimore.

BGE joined the Chamber back in 1970 to help bridge the gap between the company and Howard County’s small businesses. BGE representatives see Chamber events as a way to connect with their business customers. They want Chamber members to consider them partners, rather than simply bill collectors.

The company employs more than 3,200 people, but it is still keenly aware of the financial obstacles facing nearly every small business. In 2015, BGE launched its Smart Energy Economic Development (SEED) Program, offering incentives for new and expanding businesses and creating new, full-time employment through discounts on natural gas and electric connection and usage costs. In its first year, the SEED Program provided those incentives to 19 businesses, which BGE estimated would contribute to the addition of nearly 2,400 new jobs in Maryland.

Within Howard County, BGE is also active in several community service projects, including the Columbia Festival of the Arts, and environmental stewardship through its Green Grants program and Bright Ideas Teachers’ Grants. Bright Ideas Grants were born out of a desire to encourage innovation in local schools. Teachers are eligible for grants up to $500 to buy supplies to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or innovative technology projects in their classrooms.

BGE’s Megan Eaves currently serves on the Chamber’s board of directors as well as the Legislative Affairs Committee. The company also supports the Chamber through event sponsorship. Most recently, it was the presenting sponsor of the 2017 Legislative Wrap-Up Breakfast.

2017 Small Business of the Year: Commercial Insurance Managers

For nearly 30 years, Commercial Insurance Managers Inc. (CIM) and President Gordon M. Mumpower, Jr., have been active in the Howard County community. Mumpower started CIM in 1989 to create a business-to-business insurance agency that could work with clients in any industry. When asked what advice he would give to new entrepreneurs, he said it’s simple: “You have to spend at least 60 hours a week working.” Mumpower did just that, and CIM has flourished. Mumpower, the father of three daughters, with three grandchildren, told his daughters to find jobs that would make them happy. For his daughter Candice, that meant going to work for CIM. In August, Candice became CIM’s new president and CEO.

One thing that definitely won’t be changing with its leadership is CIM’s commitment to charitable work. Mumpower and the CIM staff have spent thousands of hours working on community service projects, sponsoring fundraising events and working on the homes of community members who are differently abled in and around Howard County. CIM is committed to putting community first, even cofounding many of the charitable organizations and events county residents have valued for years. It is one of the original investors of the Howard County Economic Development Authority and is a founding contributor to the Jim Rouse Entrepreneurial Fund, which helped fund and establish the Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Regarding the future of CIM, Mumpower said its No. 1 goal is to improve service continually for its clients. Recently, CIM launched an HR Hotline so that clients can call in and get free advice on insurance-related questions.

As far as a secret to success goes, CIM’s website has a quote from Mumpower that sums things up nicely. “So many of my clients have also become my best friends.”

2017 Entrepreneur of the Year: Justin Bonner and Kasey Turner, Jailbreak Brewing Company

On the company website, Justin Bonner and Kasey Turner write that: “Jailbreak is a freedom expression.” The name has dual meanings: Bonner explained that its craft beer is meant to be an escape for its customers, but the company itself also was an escape of sorts for its founders.

Bonner and Turner were both working in the government contracting and high tech fields in Howard County when they decided to take a big risk and take their lives in a completely different direction.
Although both live in Anne Arundel County, Bonner said Howard County was the obvious choice when it came to starting Jailbreak. He said Howard County’s government was willing to work with the partners on legislation that ultimately allowed Jailbreak to start as the first commercial brewery in Howard County. Their brewing operation started in 2013, but even though the company has been in business only a few years, Jailbreak is already talking expansion. In order to meet the demand the taproom now sees, the partners decided to change their liquor license to allow the taproom to stay open and produce their beers at the current rate.

While beer certainly has been flowing at Jailbreak’s taproom, the company’s founders also are always looking for ways to give back to the community. After the devastating flood of 2016 in Old Ellicott City, Jailbreak joined forces with Flying Dog Brewing to produce a special beer they called Watershed Moment Belgian IPA, with 100% of the profits going to flood relief.

Bonner and Turner are only a few years into the journey of Jailbreak Brewing, but that’s long enough to have some advice for anyone thinking about starting a business: “Find an opportunity, and take a risk.”

2017 GovConnects Business of the Year: Unanet

Unanet is relatively new to the Howard County Chamber, but it has managed to have a big impact on the business community in that time. Founded in 1988 by Chair and CEO Fran Craig, the company started by offering web timesheets. After just a few years, customers began asking for a way to manage their projects as well, so Unanet met the demand and has continued to grow ever since.

Although it isn’t based in Howard County, Unanet’s leadership realized how important this community is to the government contracting industry and knew that, to continue to serve their customers at the highest level, they would have to become an active part of Howard County’s business community. Unanet joined the Chamber and is heavily involved with its GovConnects program.

Currently, Unanet’s Jackie McGuigan is on the GovConnects Advisory Council, and Unanet is a sponsor of the program as well.
Unanet’s business philosophy includes an emphasis on charitable work. The company is a proud supporter of more than two-dozen philanthropic organizations, but it also encourages a culture of volunteerism among its own staff. The company offers two days each year for employees to spend working with the service organization of their choice.

In addition to a focus on connecting to the community around them, Unanet’s President & COO Christopher Craig has this advice for fellow businesses: “Get involved in the Chamber and get out to events, because you never know who you will meet.”

2017 Exemplar of the Year:
Pete Mangione, General Manager,
Turf Valley Resort

When you think of Turf Valley Resort, you think of Pete Mangione, and when you think of Pete Mangione, you think family. Mangione is one of 10 children born to Nicholas and Mary Mangione, and they are about as tight-knit as it gets. More than 30 years ago, Pete’s father bought the land that would become Turf Valley Resort, and since then the entire business has become a family affair. Every sibling in the family has had his or her hand in some aspect of the family’s businesses, but Pete is the face of Turf Valley Resort, and it’s a smiling face.

As hard as he works, Mangione clearly enjoys what he does. That applies to his role as general manager of the resort, but also to his role in dozens of Howard County’s charitable organizations. The list of volunteer work and fundraising that Mangione is a part of is extensive, from the Columbia Festival of the Arts, to Blossoms of Hope, to blood drives for the American Red Cross, and to serving on the Morgan State University Foundation Golf Committee, the Good Scout Committee (2013 recipient), and the Taste of Howard County Committee benefitting Gilchrist Hospice Care. He also assists with the Arc of Howard County’s Chocolate Ball.

Mangione is also one of the most active board members the Chamber has ever had. He has rarely missed a board meeting in nine years, he attends every luncheon and most ribbon-cutting ceremonies and is always willing to help in any way the Chamber needs. Mangione is quick to point out though, that what he’s given to the Chamber, he’s gotten back tenfold.

He is humble to the core, and credits his work ethic to his parents. Mangione said he and his siblings saw what his parents did, and followed their lead.

As for the future, Mangione said that his family will work to pass their values on to the next generation and continue to be a strong corporate partner in the community.

Spring Awardees

Awards were also presented earlier in the year at the Chamber’s 48th Annual Meeting. Those honorees were recognized at the Signature Event as well.

2017 Business Advocate of the Year: Michael Fowler, BGE
The Chamber has long taken great pride in being an advocate for small business and industry. Its 2017 Business Advocate of the Year Award was presented to Michael Fowler, who has served as the Legislative Committee’s co-chair and a member of the board of directors since 2014.

Fowler has been a long-time member, advocate and sponsor of the Chamber and its legislative efforts, and provided strategic insight regarding the electorates that was of immeasurable value. His support was available whenever requested, and many times he helped with drafting testimony and making contact with elected officials prior to events that involved the Howard County delegation. He recently retired as the external affairs manager in BGE’s Governmental & External Affairs Department, where he was employed for more than 40 years.

Because of his continued commitment to making sure the business community’s voice is heard, Michael Fowler was an obvious choice for 2017’s Business Advocate of the Year.

2017 GovConnects Advocate of the Year: Ronald Sroka, Jr., Esq., Evolve Consulting Group Inc.

As a founding member of the GovConnects Advisory Council, Ron Sroka, Jr., has dedicated five years of support to growing GovConnects into a highly respected program recognized for its contribution to the growth of the federal contracting community in Howard County. His company has supported the GovConnects program through both volunteerism and sponsorship over the past five years.

Sroka served as a member of the Education Subcommittee, has led sessions for the CFO Roundtable program and participated in GovConnects focus groups to help with future goals and the direction of the program. He has shown leadership within the program and has been a continuous support for the Chamber and GovConnects within the government contracting community.

2017 Ambassador of the Year: Kartik Shah, PNC Bank

The Chamber frequently counts on its ambassador volunteers to assist in member services and support. 2017’s Ambassador of the Year, Kartik Shah, of PNC Bank, has been an ambassador for three years and has shown a commitment to helping members reach their Chamber objectives.

Shah has been a mentor to more than a dozen new members, reaching out to them throughout the year to discuss their needs, meeting with them and providing them with additional support as needed. He has made himself readily available to participate at the ambassador meetings, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, Business After Business events, and at the luncheons where he can be found greeting attendees upon their arrival.

2017 Young Professional of the Year: Elyssa Auerbach, Lowe Wealth Advisors

The Howard County Chamber arguably has one of the best programs for young professionals in the greater Baltimore region. This is largely because of its dedicated board and committees. The Chamber presented the 2017 Young Professional of the Year award to Elyssa Auerbach, of Lowe Wealth Advisors, who has been on the Young Professionals Network Board of Directors since 2014.

Auerbach has been a driving force behind the new YPN education series, “Celerate,” designed to provide young professionals the mentorship and experience to meet and learn alongside their peers. Auerbach put together a committee of volunteers who came up with a name, found venues and marketed the program. Almost 70% of the attendees were from member firms that had not yet attended a Chamber mixer, and the engagement the Chamber has received from these members has been great. Auerbach has reinvigorated the YPN Events and Membership Committees and increased volunteer involvement.

 

2018 Cyber Conference: Navigating the Security Pitfalls of a Connected World

The GovConnects program has been organizing and hosting a Cyber Conference for eight years now, and it has become a can’t-miss event for anyone working in cybersecurity or related fields in the region.

For 2018, the conference will focus on “Navigating the Security Pitfalls of a Connected World.” Cyber touches all aspects of our life, from the myriad devices we have brought into our homes to those we employ on the job to increase and improve our productivity. At the ninth annual Cyber Conference, participants can expect cutting-edge discussions from some of the leading experts in the community, surrounding topics ranging from health care to trust to employment of open source technologies.

There will be two separate tracks, ensuring relevant, engaging discussions for both technologists designing and implementing cyberproducts and management staff making financial and risk decisions regarding cybertech­-
nology. The conference sessions also will address the challenging topic of hiring, training and retaining a cyber workforce in this 0% unemployment environment.

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger will open the conference, but there will be more than a dozen other panelists and speakers including the following.
• Matthew Johnson, Chief Technology Officer, Guardtime
• Daniel Yim, Principal, Noblis
• Shawn Wells, Chief Security Strategist, Red Hat
• Josh Lospinoso, Ph.D., Capt. U.S. Cyber Command
• Dr. Kate Hetherington, President, Howard Community College
• Diana Burley, Ph.D., Executive Director and Chair, Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection
• Col. Matthew Dunlop, U.S. Cyber Command
• Kelly Shultz, Secretary, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation
• Jason Taule, FEI Systems
• Terry J. Dunap, Jr., Co-Founder & CEO, ReFirm Labs Inc.
• Dr. Merlynn Carson, Myriddian
• Henry Chao, Solutions Architect and Strategic Advisor
• Bryson Bort, Founder of Grimm, Scythe and ICS_Village

Chamber Continues to Fight for Interests of the Business Community

The Howard County Chamber is the preeminent voice for the business community in Howard County, advocating for pro-business policy and free enterprise. Each year, as part of its effort to ensure members are informed about the issues the Chamber will advocate for or against, the Legislative Affairs Committee puts together a detailed “Issues for Legislative Action Brief.”

Issues Brief

The 2017 “Brief” was distributed to members at the Chamber’s annual Legislative Preview Breakfast in November 2016. The legislative category that the Chamber devoted the most time and energy to in 2017 was Labor, Employment and Health Care. Business owners have been inundated with workplace regulations that have costly penalties coupled with proposed legislation that potentially could lead to a decrease in jobs. The Chamber was concerned that implementing new legislation related to paid sick leave and mandated scheduling would cause labor costs to rise and lead to a decrease in jobs.

The Chamber was very active in 2017 fighting against HB-1, The Maryland Health Working Families Act, more commonly known as the Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Act. The Chamber was disappointed that, despite its efforts and the efforts of many other pro-business organizations, HB-1 was passed during the 2017 Legislative Session. However, the fight was not over, and the Chamber worked to make sure Gov. Hogan was aware that the Chamber opposed HB-1; ultimately, the governor vetoed the legislation.

Legislative Events

In 2017 the Chamber hosted four successful events providing members the opportunity to hear about the legislative agenda, and equally importantly, offering the chance to speak directly with elected officials, at the annual Business Day in Annapolis and Elected Officials Meet & Greet.

Face Time With Elected Officials

Congressman John Sarbanes visited the Chamber offices in May of 2017 to meet with Chamber President Leonardo McClarty and Board Chair Jeff Agnor, Esq. Sarbanes gave an update on all the latest policy discussions on Capitol Hill and detailed some of the recent changes that would directly impact the Chamber’s members. Sarbanes also asked to hear what the Chamber had been hearing from its members.

McClarty and Agnor expressed concerns from the Chamber’s small business members about access to financing and uncertainty about what health care benefits they would be required to offer employees in the future. In addition, they shared the Chamber’s concerns regarding Mandatory Paid Sick Leave and the Chamber’s active advocacy against it.

Sarbanes also discussed his passion for apprenticeships and the ways he is pushing for their return to help fill vacancies for qualified potential employees in the information technology, cybersecurity and engineering fields.

Small Business Listening Session with Sen. Chris Van Hollen
Also in May of 2017, seven Chamber members representing local small businesses were invited to sit down for a listening session with Sen. Chris Van Hollen to share some of the concerns and issues facing small businesses.

Representatives from Howard Bank, Hamilton Bank, BTS Software, Placement Ready, Bay Bank, Cain Contracting and the Howard County Economic Development Authority were invited by McClarty, and each got a chance to address Van Hollen.

The senator heard concerns regarding the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act and how the act has made it more difficult for small businesses to get access to capital.

The group also gave several examples of other areas where Van Hollen could aid small businesses by easing the regulatory burdens they face, including by raising the appraisal threshold for commercial real estate loans and simplifying the regulatory capital rules.

Women’s Leadership Conference Finds Success With New Focus

Legislative Affairs Committee

Public Policy Team
Andrew Robinson, Esq., Offit Kurman, Co-Chair
Cole Schnorf, Manekin LLC, Co-Chair
Leonardo McClarty, CCE, Howard County Chamber
Cheryl U. Brown, Esq., Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny LLC, Employment/Labor Law & Health Subcommittee Chair
Elizabeth Haynes, Howard County Library System, Education & Workforce Development Subcommittee Chair
Richard Ohnmacht, Bay Bank, Budget, Finance & Taxation Subcommittee Chair
Pete Maheridis, Esq., COGENT Commercial of Keller Williams Realty Centre, Environmental & Transportation Subcommittee Chair

Legislative Affairs Committee

Jeff Agnor, Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny LLC
Nellie Arrington, Long & Foster Columbia
Dr. Elise Benczkowski, The Bodhi Clinic
James Benjamin, Pessin Katz Law PA
Ellen Coren, Chesapeake Public Strategies
Tom Cormier, Giant – Ahold USA
Lin Eagan, The Eagan Team
Shaun Eddy, Oxford Planning Group
Greg Fitchitt, Howard Hughes Corporation
Caryn Lasser, Howard County Government
Peter Morgan, Howard County Association of Realtors
Michael Riemer, The Riemer Group Inc.
Joe Rutter, Land Design & Development Inc.
Mike Snyder, Dewberry
Michael Thompson, Kaiser Permanente
Peggy M. White, PE, KCI

Cyber Conference Committee

Michael J. Cameron, Noblis, Chair
Greg Boucher, The Braff Group
Jeff Cochran, ADG Creative
April Doss, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Col. Matthew Dunlop, U.S. Cyber Command
Michael Finkel, Sparksoft Corporation
Richard George, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Thomas Glaser, Howard Community College
Roy Horton, Leidos
Kiisha Jennings, Chaise Management Group LLC
Leonardo McClarty, Howard County Chamber
Ian Riddle, The Columbia Bank
Edward Rothstein, ERA Advisory Group
Kristi Simon, Howard County Chamber
Angela Singleton, TEDCO

Women in Government
Contracting Conference
Committee

Anna Fleeman Elhini, Creatrix, Co-Chair
Nicole Mitchell, Aronson LLC, Co-Chair
Lisa Anderson, Anavo Transformation Solutions
Dina Bell Nance, Training by Design Inc.
Dolly Davidson, GCubed Technology Inc.
Laura Drummer, Novetta
Leonardo McClarty, Howard County Chamber
Kelly Mitchell, impactHR LLC
Kristi Simon, Howard County Chamber
Kim Watters, Govrealm

YPN Board of Directors

Eric Pfoutz, Edward Jones, Chair
Dave Sciamarelli, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate, Immediate Past Chair
Nicholas Barrick, KCI Technologies, Treasurer
Matt Anderson, McFarlin Insurance, Vice Chair
Elyssa Auerbach, Maryland Association for Justice, Secretary
Jody Lenes, Eos Commercial Landscape Services LLC, Adviser
Courtney Banks, Level One Personnel
Mark Cruz, Tower Federal Credit Union
Mary Beth Dulin, Mary Kay
Jordana Guzman, Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny LLC
Antony Justin, The Howard Hughes Corporation
Kate McNichol
Andrew Robinson, Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law
JT Rohe, AXA Advisors
Kristi Simon, Howard County Chamber YPN Liaison

Business Recognition
Committee

Tom Burtzlaff, CMIT Solutions
Kate Hetherington, Ed.D., Howard Community College
Becky Mangus, The Business Monthly
Leonardo McClarty, Howard County Chamber
Jean Moon, Jean Moon & Associates
Bradley Myers, M&T Bank
Jean Parker, Merriweather Post Pavilion
Richard Story, Howard Bank
David Yungmann, The Yungmann Group, Keller Williams Integrity

Signature Event Committee

Angela Balsamo, Coffee News Maryland
Nakeata Boddie, Seasons 52
Ellen Budd, The Meeting House
Patty Flott
Regina Ford, Turf Valley Resort
JoAnn Hawkins
Bill Jones, Image 360
Kyle Robson, Lindsay Ford
Marty Rockenstire, Image 360
Sally Slater, Howard County Tourism
Cathy Yost, The Business Monthly

Jingle Mingle Committee

Justin Moffit, The Columbia Bank, Chair
Elizabeth Furr, Howard County Library System
Tracy Gokce, Lord & Taylor
Jessica Kellner, The Hotel at Arundel Preserve
Peggy Lessard-Menikheim, Joseph’s Refinishing & Upholstery
Debra May, Millennium Marketing Solutions
Sarah McMahon, Bay Bank
Greg Morgan, Sunnyfields Cabinetry/Delbert Adams Construction Group
Jen Nussbaum, ProActive Medical Consultants LLC
Linda Ostovitz, Offit Kurman
Shelley Romano, bgr CPAs
Sally Slater, Howard County Tourism & Promotion
Lisa Swan, The Columbia Bank

Women’s Leadership Conference Finds Success With New Focus

“If you want something done, give it to a busy woman.” A group of more than 200 busy women joined the Chamber March 8 for its annual Women’s Conference, and boy, did the speakers, panelists and moderators get the job done. This was the first year that the focus of the conference was changed to Women’s Leadership rather than Women in Government Contracting as it had been called in the past.

Chamber President Leonardo McClarty kicked things off by introducing the morning keynote speaker, Laura Gamble, regional vice president, PNC Bank. Gamble focused on tips, rather than challenges. She said some of the most important advice she could offer was to know yourself, and then work from your strengths.

Panel Discussions

The first panel of the day, moderated by Lisa Anderson, CPA and strategic business adviser & virtual CFO of Anavo Transformation Solutions, was focused on mentoring and championing. Anderson set the tone early by referring to her panel’s discussion as black coffee conversation.

The straight talk that followed, with panelists Margaret Davis, president, Maryland Hall; Sharon Pinder, president, Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council; and Holly Shook, executive director, CUPs Coffeehouse and Project I CAN, focused on how leaders can pass their skills on. All of the panelists talked about learning to lead, but also the importance of having people you can speak with openly and honestly.

The second panel, led by moderator Nicole Mitchell, partner, Aronson, included Lisa Cines, director of business development at Radius; Howard Community College President Kate Hetherington, Ed.D.; and Vice President of Population Health and Advancement for Howard County General Hospital Elizabeth Edsall Kromm, Ph.D., M.Sc. All of the panelists agreed that the struggles of the baby boomer generation are not always the same as today’s struggles. But they also emphasized the importance of “not making the next generation do things the hard way like we did.”

The third panel was about succeeding in male-dominated fields. Moderator Kim Watters, fearless leader at GovRealm, asked panelists Susan Brown, laboratory ombudsman, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab; Debra Cruz, managing partner, Levin & Gann Law; and Sallie Sweeney, principal cyber solutions architect, GDIT, about their experiences working in male-dominated industries. All three women talked about the importance of emotional intelligence and “picking your battles.” But above all else, the panelists agreed you have to know your audience, know your stuff and hold your own.

Distinguished Speakers

After a brief break, conference attendees received a visit from Maryland’s First Lady Yumi Hogan. The First Lady met with guests and exhibitors in the Exhibitor Hall and then addressed the entire conference, saying she was very pleased to be able to attend because of her connection to Howard County as a former resident and because the day was all about celebrating women. The First Lady shared some sage advice, offering that women should “continue helping each other and supporting each other.”

The last session was also one of the most inspiring, which is fitting considering the title was “Rising to and Inspiring From the Top.” Moderator Anna Fleeman Elhini, founder of Creatrix, introduced Major Gen. Linda Singh, Maryland National Guard; and Jane Campbell, director of Washington Office for Advocacy, National Development, and former mayor of Cleveland, who both shared their life stories.

Singh spoke about her hard-fought journey to success. She also said that, “when you get up here, you gotta start pulling.” Campbell talked about how she got into politics as a child through her religion and her family, but was consistently having to be the first woman to hold most offices in Ohio along the way.

Afternoon keynote speaker Col. (Ret.) Laurie Moe Buckhout, U.S. Army, and CEO of Corvus, kept the crowd laughing and riveted through her stories of public service, motherhood and entrepreneurship. She mentioned she had been reading a lot of presidential biographies and has learned that “the people who stand still in life aren’t the ones they write books about.”

McClarty closed out the conference by thanking everyone who attended, all of the speakers and panelists, the Chamber’s hard-working team of conference committee volunteers and the sponsors who make the Chamber’s events possible.