Chamber Hosts DBED’s Gill

More than 200 members, friends and colleagues gathered on April 9 to welcome Michael Gill, secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), to the Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) luncheon. The event was held at the Sheraton Columbia.

Gill discussed his vision and current developments and activities presently underway in his office and across Maryland. When asked about how he plans to retain companies in Maryland, Gill stated that DBED developing a “team approach” to keeping the largest firms in all 24 jurisdictions. Their plan is to get in front of these businesses on a quarterly basis and talk with them, rather than waiting until they threaten to leave before devoting time and effort into keeping these companies in Maryland.

“Businesses don’t leave because of money, but because of something else,” he said, adding that he also plans to put more people in “customer-facing” positions in order to have more contact and interaction with businesses and their needs.

When asked how his department is promoting international trade, he mentioned several trade missions planned for the coming months to promote international investment.

May 21: Annual Meeting at Turf Valley

The HCCC will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, May 21, from 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m., at the Turf Valley in Ellicott City.

This year the chamber is going to do something a little different: that is, invite the four Pinnacle Entrepreneurial prize winners of the Howard Community College Center for Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence (CEBE).

Each of these winners will give their three-minute business pitch to HCCC members, who will vote for their favorite. The mission of the CEBE is to bring holistic entrepreneurial education and business growth to Howard County. All members are encouraged to attend. Registration is available at

May 27: Member Orientation

If you’re thinking about joining the chamber or are a new member or if you’ve been a member since 1970, join us at Eggspecation in Ellicott City to learn about the chamber, meet some of the staff, find out about the benefits offered by the HCCC, and in general, just enjoy some time with the chamber’s people.

Cyber 6.0

Migration to the Cloud: Threats and Challenges/Opportunities and Solutions

June 17, 2015, 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

The HCCC expects 300-plus people to exhibit, pitch, engage and learn during a one-day forum for commercial and federal government contracting businesses engaged in cloud and information technology (IT) cybersecurity or seeking those services and products.

Small- and medium-sized businesses and large primes will engage in a day-long program including industry and government keynotes; small discussion group sessions on Mobile IT, Insider Threat, Health IT and FedRAMP. The morning panel discussions will address the government and commercial cybersecurity issues related to moving business to the cloud, and the afternoon panel will present and discuss solutions and business opportunities that these challenges create.

Keynote speakers Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and CTO of CrowdStrike; and Lt. Gen. Rhett Hernandez, West Point Cyber Chair for the Army Cyber Institute, will assist in setting the framework for the discussions.

A full exhibit area of cybersecurity service and product businesses, with Tech Talks, mentoring sessions and Cyber Hub interactive rooms sponsored by Leidos, Akamai and Dell Federal also will provide one-on-one opportunities for businesses to make connections and identify solutions.

Tech Talks

Pitch your paper to the panel of judges representing large primes, research and academic entities specializing in cybersecurity. Topics must relate to conference subjects: Migration to the Cloud, Mobile IT products and solutions, the Internet of Things, Health IT products and solutions, Insider Threat products and solutions. Judges will award a prize for the best presentation.

This event provides a unique opportunity to small businesses to pitch your product and services to large primes and potential joint venture partners. Submissions are due by May 15.


Buy Maryland Cyber Partnership

The West County Chamber (WCC) has announced a new partnership with Buy Maryland Cyber (BMC), a public service program that was created to promote Maryland’s cybersecurity industry.

In partnership with Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), BMC works with business organizations to educate and connect businesses and government agencies with Maryland cyber companies. BMC also markets Maryland cyber nationally and globally through

While many people are focused on the government side of cyber, as exemplified by the creation of the U.S. CyberCommand, headquartered at Fort Meade, equally important is the commercial side. Experts say that there are two kinds of businesses: those who know they’ve been compromised and those who don’t. The WCC’s goal is to ensure that its member companies understand the risks and take advantage of Maryland-based resources to improve the security of their companies’ cyber assets. The entire state will benefit as we support the growth of Maryland’s commercial cyber industry, creating jobs and leading the nation in business security awareness and response.

For more information about Buy Maryland Cyber and the WCC’s partnership, contact chamber CEO Claire Louder at [email protected] or visit

Conference Room for Rent

The WCC, thanks to a sponsorship from The Bank of Glen Burnie, recently opened a new 20-seat conference room in space separated from its primary office. The addition, which is equipped with an extended conference table, rolling conference chairs, a whiteboard, projector, and coffee and water service, is available for rental by reservation by the hour or the half-day.

For more information, contact Marnea at the WCC office at 410-672-3422 or e-mail [email protected].

West County Mixer

The West County Chamber’s May Mixer will be at Newk’s Eatery, 1360 Main Chapel Way in The Village at Waugh Chapel, on Tuesday, May 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. This will be a great opportunity to try Newk’s delicious, fresh offerings while connecting with fellow chamber members.

The event is free to WCC members and their guests, and $25 for non-members. To register, visit or call 410-672-3422.

Box Talks: Put Your Business on the Map With Google

Google is rolling out a new program called “Put Your Business on the Map” that’s designed to help you share information about your business so that customers can find you more easily. Chamber member and Google Trusted Partner Frank Clark of Business Photos America will walk you through the process of registering your business, updating your company’s information and enhancing your listing.

The session will be held on Wednesday, May 20, at noon in the WCC conference room. Space is limited, and Clark’s last session sold out, so register in advance at or by calling 410-672-3422. And don’t forget to bring your lunch.

Military Affairs Casino Night

As a fundraiser to support its activities on Fort Meade serving post personnel and their families, the WCC’s Military Affairs Committee is hosting a Casino Night on Thursday, June 11, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Crofton Country Club. Cost to attend is $50 per person, and includes your evening’s game tokens, hors d’oeuvres and hours of entertainment playing craps, roulette, blackjack and poker. Cash bar, basket auction and raffles also will be available.

To purchase tickets, visit or call Laura English at 410-672-2332 for more information or to make a donation for the auction. All proceeds will benefit the mission of the WAC’s Military Affairs Committee in support of the personnel and families of Fort Meade, including hosting the annual Army-Navy Flag Football Game Tailgate Party, which more than 600 personnel and family members attended last year.


Two events focused on women in business will occur in May. The first, “The State of Women-Owned Small Businesses,” will feature a networking breakfast and contracting forum on May 6, from 8 a.m. to noon, at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, 14501 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel.

Hosted jointly by the BWCC’s Women in Business and GovCon Council, opening remarks will be provided by Kellyann Few, CEO of Earthlite Management Strategies, followed by keynote speaker Gloria Larkin, president of TargetGov, whose topic is “Small Business Contractoring Trends and Growth Opportunities.” Her talk will be followed by an overview of the federal requirements for certifying as a woman-owned small business (WOSB), given by the national organization, Women Impacting Public Policy.

Also presenting is Sharon Pinder, CEO of the National Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council, and a panel, to discuss, “Barriers, Best Practices & Big Ideas for Navigating Government & Rapid Growth for WOSB.” The panelists are April Wennerberg, project masters; Sharon Moore Jackson, Prince George’s Supplier Development & Diversity Division; Kim Watters, GovRealm LLC; Irina Vishnevetsky, VersaTech; and Connie Russell Gorum, C. L. Russell Group.

For more information, go to or call the BWCC at 301-725-4000 or 410-792-9714.

Ultimate Girl Power Luncheon

The world-famous Preakness Stakes will be preceded on Friday, May 15, with nearly 400 women gathered for the Black-Eyed Susan Day and the Morgan Stanley Ultimate Power Girls Luncheon.

The ticket includes a networking event, a luncheon, afternoon tea, live thoroughbred racing, the infield festival featuring The Girls Galleria & Concert, and a cash bar. A special feature will be the BWCC’s own Linda Penkala, a member of the Women Jockey Hall of Fame, who will provide trackside overviews of the race, how to read the racing form, what is taking place behind the scenes and more.

The luncheon speaker will be Carla Harris, vice chair, Global Wealth Management, managing director and senior client advisor for Morgan Stanley. She has written two books: Expect to Win and Strategize to Win, and in 2013 was appointed by President Obama to lead the National Women’s Business Council.

This is the second year for the event, which will be a fun and networking-filled day for women (and men) who want to be a part of an internationally-renowned sporting extravaganza. For more information, visit

Are You Prepared?

Every business needs to have an emergency preparedness plan. Do you have one? Is it up to date? Do you have close-at-hand resources for emergency preparedness, disaster planning, assistance, cleanup and recovery? And local, state and federal government information?

The Small Business Administration has extensive resources; also, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has developed a new streamlined business continuity program. It was created for small businesses that may not have the time (or resources) to create an extensive plan to recover from business interruptions, called OFB-EZ (Open for Business-EZ).

OFB-EZ is a free toolkit designed to help even the smallest businesses focus on planning for any type of business interruption. OFB-EZ is available as a downloadable Adobe Acrobat (pdf) toolkit and as individual module forms in both Adobe Acrobat (pdf) and Word formats that can be filled in and printed for safekeeping.

Need more information on these events or emergency planning resources? Contact the BWCC at 301-725-4000 or connect on the web at