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Letter From the Chair Jeff Agnor

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Dear Chamber Members:

This has been an uplifting year for business in Howard County.
The continued development of Downtown Columbia has been breathtaking as a new skyline begins to emerge. The construction we see now represents only 10% of the cityscape we can expect under the Downtown Development Plan. The Downtown Columbia Partnership, working with its members and stakeholders (including the Chamber), is striving to create a vibrant urban environment that will entice more business owners and families to make downtown their home.

Our county is also becoming a regional destination for high tech business. Recently, County Executive Allan Kittleman and officials from the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) announced a plan for Columbia Gateway to become an innovation district. In addition, HCEDA is implementing a strategy to make Howard County the regional center for cybersecurity through its Howard County Cyber Central initiative. Remarkably, Howard County was specifically mentioned in a recent Fortune magazine article entitled, “7 Cities That Could Become the World’s Cybersecurity Capital.” Through Chamber programs such as our annual Cyber Conference, we are proud to work with HCEDA in helping to achieve the goal of transforming Howard County into an innovation hub.

Our community came together in a big way to support Ellicott City following the devastating flood last summer. We are looking forward to the continued revitalization of Ellicott City as our local government and business owners have the opportunity to bring a new vision to the city.

In the midst of this remarkable growth and innovation, the Chamber recognizes, now more than ever, that there is no one, single “business community” in Howard County. We are increasingly becoming home to many and varied business communities, and the Chamber is committed to serve all of them.

 

To that end, we continue to expand the diversity of our board, our membership and our programming. As a result, we are witnessing a significant increase in participation among minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses. And we are reaching more Millennials than ever through the Young Professionals Network (YPN).

There has never been a better time to be part of the Chamber community. If you haven’t been to a Chamber event recently, I encourage you to stop by. I believe you’ll see a lot of new faces and feel a new energy and optimism. We are committed to ensuring that everyone who attends a Chamber event or participates in a program feels welcomed and valued, regardless of the size of his or her business.

On behalf of the board of directors and staff of the Howard County Chamber, many thanks for your continued support of the Chamber. I’m looking forward to continuing our work together to make Howard County the best place in Maryland to do business.