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HCCC

Baltimore Metro Economic Development Luncheon

Howard County, while having one of the highest median household incomes in the country, is — unlike many wealthy counties — becoming more, not less, racially diverse. This was just one of the insights that Michael Kelly, the executive director of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) and part of the Opportunity Collaborative, provided to a recent gathering of local businesspeople.

The Opportunity Collaborative has been charged with developing a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD) for the Baltimore region. The RPSD will help the Baltimore region coordinate investments in housing, transportation and workforce development in order to reduce disparities and connect all citizens to a prosperous future.

Sept. 10: Learn at SHRM Half-Day Conference

The Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) and the Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) are partnering to ensure that its small business members are updated on the latest labor laws and employment practices.

Keynote Speaker Todd Marks, president and CEO of Mindgrub, will join the chamber while covering topics including attracting, retaining and development of employees; crisis management; employment law; and other valuable information for small businesses. For more information, visit howardchamber.com.

Sept: 17: Member Orientation

Join the chamber for breakfast from 8–9:30 a.m. at Eggspectation restaurant in Ellicott City, as chamber staff and board members offer an in-depth look at how it functions and its goals. Register at howardchamber.com.

Oct. 2: Signature Event

Join the HCCC for an enchanting evening and socialize with the chamber community, enjoy exciting entertainment and celebrate outstanding business leaders. The HCCC’s 2015 Signature Event, “Sense and Nonsensability,” promises to be an evening full of laughter for the membership, as comedian Jimmy Tingle will point out (and appreciate) life’s ironies.

The HCCC also will present the annual Awards for Chamber Excellence (ACE) to honor the achievements of outstanding local businesses, innovative and successful business leaders and exceptional volunteers.

Sept. 10: Cyber 6.0

This is the one-stop, one-day, regional gathering of experts on cloud migration and security. The morning keynote speaker, William Arbaugh, president and CTO of Five Directions, will discuss current cloud technology strengths and weaknesses, and will give a subject-matter-expert’s opinion of what future cloud use will be and what kind of attacks on clouds we’re likely to see in the next two years.

Breakout sessions will focus on Facilitating Critical Infrastructure Cloud Adoption with FedRAMP, Insider Threat vulnerabilities and solutions, Mobile IT (information technology) and Health IT. Then join in the Tech Talk Challenge, where pre-selected participants will have five minutes to convince a panel of judges about their product or service to win a prize.

Mentoring in a Minute provides the opportunity for small businesses to get one-on-one, real-time advice on IT security, accounting, cyber insurance, project management and myriad other topics.

The Cyber Central sponsor is Leidos, and Cyber Hub sponsors are Akamai and Dell Federal. There will be more than 30 exhibitors. Register at www.GovConnectsCyber.com or e-mail mthomas@govconnects.com.

BWCC

The Economy, 2016 and Making Maryland More Competitive The Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber (BWCC) has assembled speakers and presenters for two separate events that are scheduled for September and October.

On Sept. 30, from 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at the Sheraton College Park North, the BWCC’s annual national and regional economic forecast will be presented. This year’s program features Martin Regalia, chief economist and senior vice president for economic and tax policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who will be speaking on the national economy, with a focus on small business.

Joining him to provide a regional perspective are two noted economists. Terry Clower, deputy director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, will assess the economy in the greater Washington area; while Daraius Irani, chief economist at the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) at Towson University, will provide his outlook for the Baltimore area.

This will be the first time these economists co-present, and the first time Regalia speaks at any local chamber in the region.

Then, on Oct. 22, at The Hotel at Arundel Preserve, join us for a great luncheon program entitled, “Making Maryland More Competitive,“ from 11 a..m to 1:30 p.m., featuring a number of Maryland luminaries.

Calvin Butler, president/CEO of BGE, will provide welcoming remarks and introduce Maryland Senate President Mike Miller and Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Mike Busch, who will give brief remarks concerning the formation of the Augustine Commission, which was tasked to focus on the state’s economic development structure and incentive programs in order to make recommendations to the presiding officers.

Following the commission’s work and recommendations, specific legislation was promulgated and passed in the most recent legislative session.

The commission, named for and chaired by retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine, is reviewing Maryland’s tax structure. The report is due before the 2016 session.

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear directly from Augustine as he details the commission’s recommendations and provides an overview of the process and questions concerning tax policy in Maryland.

Following Augustine’s presentation, Michael Gill, secretary of Maryland’s Department of Business & Economic Development, will present an overview of changes being made in his department to better serve businesses in Maryland. A dramatic restructuring is underway, and this is your opportunity to hear first-hand what is taking place — and what additional resources you may expect for your business.

Looking quickly at the national scene, businesses need to be aware that sweeping changes are being proposed for overtime rules and regulations, and the Department of Labor is receiving public comment until Sept. 4.

What is being proposed? The proposed rule, overall, seeks to accomplish the following:

  • Increase the salary level threshold for exemption from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $970 per week ($50,440 per year), effective 2016;
  • Increase the total annual compensation requirement needed to exempt highly compensated employees to the annualized value of the 90th percentile of weekly earnings of full time salaried workers (approx. $122,148 annually); and,
  • Establish a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels going forward to ensure that they will continue to provide a useful and effective test for exemption.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published on July 6 in the Federal Register and invited interested parties to submit written comments on the proposed rule at www.regulations.gov on or before Sept. 4.

Chambers and other business organizations are collaboratively working to have the comment period extended, as “the Department of Labor’s methodology and the amount of the increase are unprecedented in the [Fair Labor Standards Act’s] 77-year history,“ testified Tammy McCutchen, before the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections in late July.

Stay tuned for more information.

WCC

The West County Chamber (WCC) has a very busy month planned for September, with something for everyone.

Odenton Town Center Master Plan Revisions

For those who are interested in the chamber’s advocacy efforts, the WCC’s Odenton Town Center Master Plan Review Task Force just completed a six-week review of the Odenton Master Plan and presented comprehensive revisions to Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh, Planning Officer Larry Tom and Assistant Planning Officer Lynn Miller.

The proposed revisions, developed by a team of developers, engineers and attorneys, as well as a handful of county officials, are designed to streamline development of the Odenton Town Center. Many developers have found that the intricacies of the Master Plan often result in conflicts with other county and state agencies resulting in project approval delays.

West County Silent Auction Wine & Cheese Party

Do you like what the WCC is doing and want to support its efforts while having a good time? Then come to the Experience West County Silent Auction Wine and Cheese Party on Thursday, Oct. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Walden Country Club.

Wines selected by Wine Cellars of Annapolis and appetizers will be provided. The chamber has a number of terrific auction items to offer, including a wine tasting for 10 at Wine Cellars of Annapolis, a wine-paired dinner for six at the home of Claire and Dave Louder, lunch and a State Capital tour with County Executive Steve Schuh, an Apple Watch and much more.

Cost to attend is $50 per person, and includes all food and beverages. Can’t attend but still want to participate? The WCC will be using an electronic bidding app to facilitate off-site bidding and allow attendees to enjoy the party without having to haunt the auction tables.

Women Mean Business, Getting in the Mix

Interested in making connections for your business? The WCC has a number of events during the next month that may be of interest. First is the West County Mixer, which will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. at J. King’s Seafood & Steakhouse, 329 Gambrills Road, Gambrills. There is no cost to attend for members and their guests, $25 for non-members. Light appetizers will be served, cash bar.

Then on Wednesday, Sept. 23, the chamber’s Women Mean Business group will meet for lunch and a presentation on Work Life Balance by Eileen Nonemaker of Paradigm Consultants (at a location to be determined). Cost to attend is $20 for members, $25/non-members, and all attendees will have the opportunity to promote their business.

Finally, on Oct. 7, the WCC will be joining the Northern Anne Arundel Chamber and the Greater Severna Park Chamber for a mixer at Hospice of the Chesapeake at its new John & Cathy Belcher Campus, located at 90 Ritchie Highway in Pasadena. Light refreshments will be provided along with a hard hat tour of the new inpatient facility. Cost to attend is $20 per person, and reservations must be made in advance.

In November: Tour & Taste West County

Need to be in the know about what’s happening in West County? This year’s Tour & Taste West County, the WCC’s annual development tour followed by the year’s best party at Maryland Live! Casino, is coming up on Wednesday, Nov. 5. Tours begin at 1 p.m., Taste West County at 4 p.m.; attend one or both. Cost for the event is $65 and includes a full-color book showcasing local development. Taste West County only is $20 per person.

Sponsors are being solicited now, so if you’re building in West County, give them a call. For more information on all events or to register, call 410-672-3422 or visit www.westcountychamber.org.