HR Essentials Seminar

Nearly 100 small businesses came to listen and learn from CEOs, lawyers, marketing professionals and financial counselors who gathered to share their experiences (and lessons learned) on how to successfully nurture a growing business. With labor laws and employment practices changing frequently, attendees were updated on topics ranging from recruiting via social media, talent acquisition strategies, crisis management and the latest employment laws.

One of the highlights of the day was Todd Marks, founder and CEO of Mindgrub, of Baltimore, who served as the keynote speaker and shared his experiences of failed businesses to his most recent venture that started in the basement of his home. Marks honed in on the fact that culture often trumps talent and technology. The technology and multimedia entrepreneur stressed fostering an energetic and creative work culture that benefits the company two-fold, by keeping the employees engaged and cohesive, as well as making them attractive to new talent.

The HR Essentials conference marked the first time that the Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) and HR Society of Howard County partnered on an educational event. Discussions are underway to make the seminar and annual event; in the interim, interested parties can obtain information on future programs and events by visiting www.howardchamber.com or www.hocohrs-shrm.org.

Mark Your Calendar

Oct. 10: YPN Bus Trip to Running Hare Vineyard

All are welcome to join the HCCC for a day of refining our tastebuds on wine and beer. Woody or fruity? Hoppy or malty? Cost includes transportation, wine and beer tasting, and a bottle or growler to call your very own. Register at www.howardchamber.com or call 410-730-4111.

Oct. 14: Business After Business at Robinson Nature Center

Ready for an OctoberQuest? Our Business After Business event will explore the nature center on a seek-and-find adventure while you network with your friends and colleagues from 5–7 p.m., including a 6 p.m. tour and planetarium presentation. Register at www.howardchamber.com or call 410-730-4111.

Oct. 22: Lunch With USNA Superintendent Carter

United States Naval Academy (USNA) Superintendent Walter Carter is an amazing person (just Google him), and he’s coming to Columbia to talk with us about the economic impact of the USNA on the Maryland economy, as well as its role in shaping our national defense. The event will run from 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m., at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, in Columbia. Register at www.howardchamber.com or call 410-730-4111.

Nov. 4: YPN Mixer at Jailbreak

Laughter, friendship, networking, good beer. Need we say more? Register at www.howardchamber.com or call 410-730-4111.

Nov. 5: Learn About the 2016 Trip to Spain

Have you ever wanted to visit Costa del Sol, Spain? We can’t take you there this year, but we can get you ready for our trip in October 2016. Come, listen, learn and ask questions about our trip to the country’s sunny and beautiful southern coast, as well as its amazing historic architectural achievements, Moorish influences and friendly, welcoming people. Register at www.howardchamber.com or call 410-730-4111.


On Oct. 22, at The Hotel at Arundel Preserve, join the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber (BWCC) for a great luncheon program, entitled “Making Maryland More Competitive,” from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event will feature a number of Maryland luminaries.

Calvin Butler, president and 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 entity, which was named for and chaired by retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine, is now at work on reviewing Maryland’s tax structure. A 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.

It’s not uncommon to find that many business owners are still not aware that sweeping changes are being proposed for overtime rules and regulations. The Department of Labor closed the public comments period on Sept. 4. The BWCC provided significant commentary on behalf of its members.

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 (approximately $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. Go online and read some of the comments posted; they are truly eye-opening.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) commented about the proposed regulations, saying it would “affect nearly every employer in every industry and sector as well as disproportionately affect the nonprofit and service sector industries.”

To register for events or learn more about the BWCC, visit www.bwcc.org or call at 301-725-4000.


WCC Provides New Energy Option for Members

The West County Chamber of Commerce (WCC) has partnered with energy experts CQI Associates to announce the fall 2015 enrollment campaign for its Commercial Energy Co-Op. Joining the program provides increased purchasing power in procuring competitive electric and natural gas rates, budget stability by offering fixed rate energy supply costs and year-round customer support through CQI.

The WCC started the fall campaign one week earlier than normal because it is felt that the window of opportunity to obtain lower market rates will occur during the next 90 days. Several factors are cause for concern about the market rates into 2016, including presidential elections historically causing uncertainty in the markets with the potential for increases next summer prior to the election; and the fact that capacity charges have increased over the last several months, with a steady increase projected for next two years.

The chamber will be offering informational webinars to provide further explanation about the program. Questions? Visit www.cqiassociates.com or contact Joe Tabeling of CQI Associates at [email protected] or call 443-472-3870.

West County Mixer at Odenton Sports Center

Join us for the WCC’s October Mixer at the Odenton Sports Center on Oct. 13, from 5–7 p.m. Not only will there be great networking and light refreshments, but there will be an opportunity to join in for a fun game of volleyball. You’ll want to make sure you bring shoes so you can join in on the fun and maybe a change of clothes, too.

As always, there is no cost for members, $25 for others. R.S.V.P. in advance at www.westcountychamber.org or call 410-672-3422.

Monster Mini-Golf to Benefit Fort Meade

Attention all vampires, zombies, monster lovers and just plain creative folks. Come join the WCC for a fundraising event for the Military Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 5–8 p.m. Costumes are encouraged and there will be prizes and giveaways galore.

Monster Mini-Golf is an exciting, indoor, monster-themed glow in the dark course that offers a host of fun activities at every turn. You’ll feel the excitement and adventure of playing mini-golf among scary (but cool) monster decor with custom and animated props at every turn, plus a crazy DJ.

The courses are challenging enough for adults, yet very playable for kids. We’ll have pizza, chips, soft drinks and water available for purchase. Little Monsters (6–8 years) are $8, Big Monsters (9–99) are $9 and baby monsters age 5 and under are free.

For additional information, contact Laura English, subcommittee chair, at 410-672-2332 or call the chamber office at 410-672-3422. Proceeds from the Monster Mini-Golf will benefit the mission of the WCC’s Military Affairs Committee in support of the soldiers and families of Fort Meade.

Tour and Taste West County

The West County Chamber’s (WCC) Tour and Taste West County is coming up on Thursday, Nov. 5, and with continuing growth in the area, you won’t want to miss it. Our Tour West County development tour will begin at 1 p.m., departing from The Prime Rib at Maryland Live! Casino, and will return in time for the Taste West County event at 4 p.m.

Sponsorship opportunities are now available for those wishing to highlight projects in the area, as well as for restaurants who would like to participate in the Taste West County. Cost to attend is $65 for the Tour & Taste, which includes a full-color presentation book of the projects visited and $25 for Taste West County (only). Make your reservations early for the tour, since space is limited. For more information, visit www.westcountychamber.org or call 410-672-3422.

Help Sponsor the 240th Marine Corps Birthday Ball

The Marine Detachment Fort Meade (MDFM) is hosting the area’s 240th Marine Corps Birthday Ball on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at The Hotel at Arundel Preserve, beginning at 6 p.m.

They are in need of sponsors to help offset the cost of the event and it’s a great opportunity to support our local military. The MDFM’s goal is to raise $10,000. Sponsorships range from $500 to $5,000, and include rising levels of advertising, tickets, and recognition; all donations are deductible as a charitable expense beyond any value of tickets and advertising. For more information, contact Claire Louder at [email protected].