Spring is always a busy time at the West County Chamber (WCC), and this year is no exception. After an extraordinarily soggy golf tournament in early May, the chamber is turning its attention to activities focused on business growth.

Mixer at the Steakhouse

The WCC’s monthly mixer will be held on Tuesday, June 14, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., at the All-American Steakhouse, located at the corner of Route 175 and Berger Street, Odenton (across from Fort Meade). There is no cost to attend, and members are encouraged to bring prospective members and guests. Please register online at www.westcountychamber.org so our hosts know how much food to provide.

Small Business Forum

The West County Global Business Alliance, a group dedicated to ensuring inclusion of all segments of the business community, will hold a Small Business Resource Forum on Tuesday, June 21, from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at Anne Arundel Community College’s Cade Building, in Room 219. The program will begin with a panel discussion with representatives from state and county agencies about available resources for small business, and will be followed by breakout sessions on financing, 8a certification, marketing, getting started with NSA contracting and doing business with Maryland Live! Casino.

There is no cost to attend and non-chamber members are welcome; register online at www.westcountychamber.org so we can ensure adequate food is available. Special thanks to Maryland Live! for sponsoring this forum.

Women Mean Business

Women Mean Business, a group of women business owners and leaders in West County, will hold its monthly luncheon on Wednesday, June 22. The speaker will be announced; this month’s meeting will be held in the Chamber Conference Room, at 8379 Piney Orchard Parkway, Suite D, Odenton, with lunch provided by The Brown Box. Cost to attend is $20 per person.

Farewell to Foley

Amazingly enough, it’s that time again: time to say goodbye to one garrison commander and welcome the next. The Fort Meade Community Covenant Council is hosting a farewell luncheon for Col. Brian Foley, current Fort Meade garrison commander, on Thursday, June 23, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the BWI Marriott, 1749 Nursery Road, Linthicum. The cost is $55 per ticket, and reservations can be made through the Fort Meade Alliance (FMA) at www.ftmeadealliance.org.

Space is limited, so plan ahead. For more information, contact the FMA at 410-850-4940 or the WCC at 410-672-3422.

Rider Appreciation Day

The WCC is teaming with the BWI Business Partnership and the Maryland Transit Administration to host their third MARC Rider Appreciation Day on the afternoon of June 23 at the Odenton MARC Station. The three organizations will be joined on the train platform by Baltimore Coffee & Tea, The Hideaway and Ruth’s Chris Steak House (which will open soon in Odenton Town Center) and will be providing information, food and beverages, free of charge, to MARC riders. Weather permitting, music may be part of the mix, too. It’s just a way of saying thanks to citizens who support public transit.


69th Annual Meeting Featured Exelon CEO

The Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber’s (BWCC) 69th Annual Meeting featured President/CEO Christopher Crane of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, which does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

Crane oversees a family of companies representing every stage of the energy value chain, including Exelon Generation, one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, with more than 32,700 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets; Constellation, which provides energy products and services to approximately 2 million residential, public sector and business customers, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100; and Exelon’s six utilities, which deliver electricity and natural gas to approximately 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania through its Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco subsidiaries.

Ronald Peterson, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine (the umbrella alliance of the Health System and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) was presented the BWCC’s Freeman Hrabowski Visionary Leadership Award for his leadership.

In conferring the award, Hrabowski, president of UMBC and one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, noted that “The Johns Hopkins Hospital, which Ron Peterson has led since 1996, has been the top-ranked facility nationally for 22 of the 26 years in which U.S. News & World Report has rated hospitals.”

Peterson is also vice chairman of the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and holds an appointment to the Notre Dame of Maryland University President’s Advisory Council. He serves as a member of the boards of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, the Living Classrooms Foundation, the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Center Club.

New BWCC Hall of Famers The Berman Family

Three generations of Bermans have built a large real estate and investment holding enterprise under the corporate names of Berman Enterprises and its affiliate, BECO Management. The Rockville-based companies own and manage more than 9 million square feet of commercial office, retail, industrial/flex and residential properties in Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

The first generation, Melvin and Wolford Berman, moved to the Baltimore-Washington area from their small Florida hometown in the midst of the Depression. They started with a dairy manufacturing business, then invested in real estate and developed suburban shopping centers. Melvin also was involved in the creation of the new town of Columbia.

Melvin’s son, Dennis, and Wolford’s son, Gary, joined with their fathers and also partnered on independent commercial development projects in the 1970s. The third generation — Gary’s sons Kevin, Adam and Casey, and Dennis’ sons Brian, Jeffrey and Benjamin — now run the family’s business interests.

Major Riddick

Major Riddick has excelled in the public and private sectors. In the late 1970s, he became a budget analyst for Prince George’s County, and during the next 17 years, he rose to the top position of chief administrative officer.

In 1995 his boss, Parris Glendening, became governor and appointed Riddick as the state’s first African-American chief of staff, running state government’s day-to-day operations.

In 2001 Riddick left state government and began a Landover-based business consulting firm, whose clients include universities, intergovernmental agencies, Fortune 500 companies and scientific research laboratories. He also is managing member of Great Foods LLC, which operates three restaurants at BWI Thurgood Marshall and Pittsburgh International airports.

Robert Wallace

Robert Wallace worked as a mechanical engineer for DuPont and IBM before creating his own information technology services company, BITHGROUP Technologies, in 1993. Based in Baltimore, it specializes in managed security services, health information systems, infrastructure information technology services, wireless engineering and biometrics.

In 2009 Wallace created a second company, BITHENERGY, focusing on energy management information systems, energy consulting and renewable energy power generation systems. In 2015 BITHENERGY installed more than 250,000 solar panels, making it that year’s eighth largest solar developer in the country.

Wallace’s third company, EntreTeach Learning Systems, provides instruction to minority and women entrepreneurs on keys to success. Wallace has written five books on entrepreneurship, with three more on the way, and has spoken nationally and internationally on that topic.


About the Annual Meeting

The Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) celebrated a year of successful events and programs at its annual meeting on May 19 at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center. The meeting included an outline for the chamber’s “Vision for 2020,” the strategic plan for 2016–19 (which is also on the HCCC website).

For the second consecutive year, the chamber also welcomed winners of the Howard Community College Center for Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence Fall and Spring Pinnacle Entrepreneurial competition. James Gerst (The Best Request), Kayleigh Harkay (Perdido Fido, see story on page 3) and Sean Parler (Ride of Your Life) all gave short business pitches to HCCC members, who voted for their favorite. The winner was Harkay, who received a package of consulting services from several chamber members.

The general membership also ratified the slate of candidates proposed by the HCCC Board of Directors to serve on the board next year and into the future. The new members are Ryan Brown, Howard County General Hospital; Andra Cain, Cain Contracting; Michael Finkel, Sparksoft Corp.; Daniel Medinger, Advertising Media Plus; Bradley Myers, Sandy Spring Bank; Linda Ostovitz, Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law; David Sciamarelli, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate; and Ryan Sturm, KatzAbosch; retiring from the board in 2016 were Ryan Rom, Comcast Spotlight; Anita Sheckells, KatzAbosch; Patrick Shurney, Sandy Spring Bank; Kim Townsend, Maryland Live! Casino; and Jim Young, Howard County General Hospital.

In addition, the attendees welcomed Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny’s (DARS) Jeff Agnor to the role of board chair. Agnor took over the position from Miles Coffman of M&T Bank, who led the HCCC for the past two years. He led the organization in its search for a new president and CEO, and developed a new three-year strategic plan.

The chamber also recognized outstanding volunteers who dedicated their time, energy and talent during the previous year. The GovConnects Advocate of the Year was presented to Mike Muscatello, Aronson LLC; the Young Professional of the Year is Kyle Robson, Apple Ford Lincoln; the Business Advocate of the Year is Cheryl Brown, DARS; the Chairman’s Award for Volunteer Service, Anita Sheckells of KatzAbosch; and the Ambassador of the Year is Randy Gartner, Integrated Marketing Services.

Spain Trip:

Oct. 18–26

Space is almost full for the HCCC’s annual overseas trip. If you’re thinking warm thoughts for fall, Spain should definitely be considered. Spain’s southern Costa del Sol stretches along 90 miles of the Malaga province, offering beautiful landscapes, delicious food, fabulous beaches, amazing architecture and charming villages. For $2,999, we’ll take you from Columbia to Spain and back again, worry-free and filled with the sights, sounds and photos from your amazing vacation.

For information and registration for these events, visit www.howardchamber.com or call 410-730-4111.

Cyber 7.0/Critical Infrastructure

From home security alarms and personal medical devices to major efforts such hospitals, utility companies and banks, key facilities and systems are exposed to major vulnerabilities. How do these need to change? How do we need to change our habits and practices? How does increasing use of mobile devices affect our security?

Delve into the methods and systems for how we guard our critical infrastructures, as well as related wireless technologies. Cyber 7.0 breakout sessions include “The Internet of Things,” “Integrity of the Supply Chain: Treat the Weakest Link” and “Health: Privacy & Data Integrity.”

Join regional experts from Leidos, AT&T Services, The PMC Group and others to discuss strategies, threats and the future of cybersecurity in the United States. Gib Sorebo, chief cybersecurity technologist at Leidos, will serve as the afternoon keynote speaker.

For details and registration, visit govconnectscyber.com. We are seeking sponsors and exhibitors. For further information, email [email protected] or contact the HCCC at 410-430-4111.