Legislative Meet & Greet

On a beautiful, low-humidity day in July, more than 20 representatives from Maryland joined 100 members of the local business community at Alexandra’s restaurant in Turf Valley for a chance to chat, mingle and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

The event provided a rare chance for Howard County citizens to talk, one-on-one, with elected and appointed officials and share their ideas about how to make Maryland a better place.

Aug. 5: 11th Annual Baltimore the Region

Come meet your neighbors. Join us from 5:30–7:30 p.m. at the Baltimore Museum of Industry for an evening of networking with professionals representing area business organizations: The Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, Associated Black Charities, Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. Register at howardchamber.com.

Aug. 18: Business After Business

Help us welcome Bay Bank, which just established its corporate headquarters in Columbia Gateway, to town. Come see the company’s new, 20,000-square-foot office and enjoy the food, beverages and great networking. Register at howardchamber.com.

Aug. 19: Multi-Chamber Breakfast

Come meet some new people, find out what’s going on in the region and take a chance on winning a JVC HDTV, iPad mini or Apple TV. Eleven organizations from around the region are hosting this event at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum, which promises to be the largest networking breakfast of the year. More information and registration are at howardchamber.com.

Sept. 10: Learn at SHRM Half-Day Conference

The Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) and the chamber are partnering to ensure our small business members are up to date on the latest labor laws and employment practices.

Keynote speaker Todd Marks, president and CEO of Mindgrub, will join us as we cover topics that include attracting, retaining and developing employees; crisis management; employment law; and other valuable information for small businesses. More information and registration are at howardchamber.com.

Save the Date

Oct. 2: Signature Event

This year we’ll be having a fun-filled evening with the comedic talents of Jimmy Tingle — comic writer, producer and Emmy award winner. We’d love to have you be part of our celebration.

Sept. 10: Cyber 6.0

Two keynote speakers, William Arbaugh, president and CTO of Five Directions; and LTG (R) Rhett Hernandez, West Point cyber chair, Army Cyber Institute, will set the tone for a day of discussion and networking for government customers and professionals in our regional cyber central community. The two will share their insights on the challenges of cybersecurity associated with migration to the cloud.

It will be a one-stop, one day, regional gathering of experts on cloud migration and security. Join us for Tech Talk Challenge, where participants will have five minutes to convince a panel of judges about their product or service, to win a prize. Mentoring in a Minute will provide the opportunity for small businesses seeking advice on cybersecurity and government contracting. We thank our Cyber Central sponsor, Leidos, and Cyber Hub sponsors, Akamai and Dell Federal.

GovConnects: Aberdeen Proving Ground Business Breakfast

Bryon Young, executive director of U.S. Army Contracting Command; and Jacob Chieffo, representing the U.S. Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command, provided valuable information to a sold-out crowd, discussing Aberdeen Proving Ground’s better buying power initiatives and the future.

Visit www.govconnectscyber.com for more information on sponsors, more than 40 exhibitors and panelists for breakout sessions on health information technology, mobile information technology, Insider Threat and FedRAMP; or e-mail [email protected].


Business Development: How Do You Do It?

On Aug. 19, from 7:30–9:30 a.m., more than 250 businesses and organizations from across the region will descend on the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute of Technology (CCMIT), in Linthicum. It’s a scene that has been replicated each August for about five years.

Led by the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber (BWCC), the breakfast event will involve more than 10 other chambers and business organizations, whose members will come to formally (and informally) meet scores of other businesses, developing opportunities through a process that’s intended to give maximum exposure in constrained timeframes. Some call it “speed dating” for business; I like to call it a great investment of time to meet a full range of resources to use for your existing clients — and potentially develop a new business opportunity as well.

I recently wrote an article for The Business Monthly entitled, “Have You Called on the Business Resources Information Bank?” I cited five reasons why the information bank used to be referred to as a chamber of commerce, and how the modern chamber is much more than your parents or grandparents ever envisioned, and how you can best utilize that resource.

One of the five reasons was subtitled: “Network Building, Internally & Externally.” While that article featured a number of examples of integrating your employees into helpful partnerships and business development opportunities, a key element was how you, and others from your company who want to develop external business relationships, can successfully use a breakfast such as this event at CCMIT.

The process is very simple. You come with a concise, clearly articulated overview of yourself and your company to share with the others at your table when your turn comes. You can provide business cards or tri-fold/single sheet capability statements. The goal is to be brief, to be memorable and to let others know whom you are seeking as a prospective client.

I still remember our first BWCC business development breakfast nearly 30 years ago, when a CPA introduced himself and said, “My job is to make you happy.” What will make people remember you?

Participants will have as many as four rotations with completely different businesses at your table — so the opportunities are great. Focus on what you can “give” to those who are present at your table. It may be a recent article you read that speaks about their industry, a contact that might assist them or a link to a web site that pertains to their industry. You’d be surprised how many great business opportunities come from someone to whom you have provided this “gift” — and more than likely, it may be another company that person refers to you because of how you related to him or her on that first meeting.

I have had many say to me following such a morning, “I didn’t get anything out of it — not one lead or contract.” My response is most always, “And what did you give? How many people will walk away from here being an unpaid sales representative for your company or organization simply by your attitude of being helpful to others?”

See you at the CCMIT on Aug. 19.

Walt Townshend is president of the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber. He can be reached at 301-725-4000 or 410-792-9714 and [email protected].


Odenton Town Center Master Plan Revisions

The members and staff of the West County Chamber (WCC) are deep into reviewing and recommending revisions of the Odenton Town Center Master Plan, which is undergoing its every five year mandatory review. Issues include the appropriateness of the urban vision for Odenton, application of signage and landscaping requirements to existing businesses (no grandfathering) and the creation of a new historic district with preservation requirements.

The review group, made up of developers, engineers, attorneys and county staff, will be completing its review on Aug. 12, and delivering comments to the Anne Arundel Office of Planning and Zoning and County Executive Steve Schuh on Aug. 18. Interested parties can also provide comments by e-mailing [email protected]; the Draft Master Plan is available for review at www.aacounty.org/PlanZone/MasterPlans/OTC/Odenton. Copies can also be purchased at the Office of Planning and Zoning, 2664 Riva Road, Annapolis, for $23 each.

Road Improvements on Maryland 175

Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent announcement regarding funding for expansion of Route 175 was welcome news to the members of the WCC, whose businesses are impacted by the growing congestion in the area. The $75 million infusion was allocated for reconfiguring the Route 175/Baltimore-Washington Parkway interchange; an additional $45 million was earmarked to widen Route 175 in front of Meade High School, which is a notorious bottleneck where the road goes from five lanes to two lanes, then back to six lanes.

While there are many more improvements that need to be made, given the growth at Fort Meade and the development in Odenton, Severn and Hanover, this is a good start that will benefit everyone.

Going to the Ballpark

In honor of the season, the WCC is, once again, hosting a family-friendly mixer in August. The Bowie Baysox have been kind enough to offer a suite for our Aug. 11 mixer, so we will convene, rain or shine, at 5 p.m., and those interested can stay for the game, which starts at 7:05 p.m.

Chamber members are free and can bring additional family members or prospective chamber members for $15 per person. On game day, you will check in at the WCC’s table, just outside the entrance gate to Prince George’s Stadium, to receive your ticket and your wristband for entrance to the suite. See you at the ballpark.

Women Mean Business

The WCC’s new Women Mean Business group will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at George Martin’s Grillfire, at The Hotel at Arundel Preserve. The meeting will begin at 11:30 a.m. and conclude by 1 p.m. Cost to attend is $20 for chamber members and $25 for non-members. Reservations can be made at www.westcountychamber.org or by calling 410-672-3422.

Arundel Feeder Back to School Fair

Chamber businesses and local schools will join together again on Saturday, Aug. 22, for the WCC’s annual Back-to-School Fair. This year we are expanding to include a health and wellness fair, and tenants throughout The Village at Waugh Chapel will also be participating.

Attendance is free, but cost for businesses wishing to exhibit is $75/chamber members, $150 for non-members, and includes a table and two chairs. Space is limited, so reserve now by calling 410-672-3422 or at www.westcountychamber.org.

West County Experience Silent Auction

Mark your calendars now for the WCC’s West County Experience Silent Auction, coming up on Thursday, Oct. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. Details are to come, but we encourage the donation of auction items.

We are particularly interested in unique experiences in Maryland (hence the theme). Items donated to date include a wine tasting for 10 at Wine Cellars of Annapolis, a six-course dinner for two and a night’s stay at Antrim 1844 in Taneytown, a wine-paired dinner for six at the home of Claire and Dave Louder, and lunch with Steve Schuh. Many more items are still in the works, so let us know if you have something to offer.