Chairman’s Blog: Fall Into Action

The fall season has bounded into our region, not just with football and kids going back to school, but for the Maryland Chamber’s continuing efforts to help our state become more competitive. I am extremely proud of the Maryland Chamber’s initiative that has attracted 60 organizations across the state into a new coalition to create a new vision for Maryland over the next few years. The time is right for action.

The Maryland Competitiveness Coalition, led by former DBED Secretary Aris Melissaratos and two former Chamber chairs Bill Couper and Bill Roberts, hosted an economic summit at Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Lab in Laurel on September 6. More than 200 business executives, nonprofit leaders and elected officials attended the daylong session to develop a strong consensus on how to make Maryland a global leader in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. Facilitated by Stevenson University President Kevin Manning, with the help of our great partner Tom Hood of MACPA, the summit achieved its goal. Keynote speaker Tom Friedman exhorted those assembled to move past “average” and “invent” new jobs and bring your unique value contribution every day in order to be competitive in a global economy. Special thanks to IWIF, The Murthy Law Firm, Whiting Turner Contracting Co. and dozens of other companies who partnered with us to pull off an enormously successful summit.

Our push doesn’t end at the summit – rather that this is a critical step in helping our state become more competitive. The coalition’s co-chairs, Kevin and our CEO Kathy Snyder continue to lead the coalition towards short- and long-term change that will more rapidly accelerate private sector job growth and business investment.

I am especially grateful to our local chamber partners and sister business organizations for all their hard work and cooperation this past year to get the coalition under way. No one group can affect this kind of positive economic change in Maryland alone – it truly takes a strong, collaborative effort to make a difference. The Maryland Chamber has done an extraordinary job in moving towards real results for our members and employers throughout the state. The effort is about increasing jobs for everyone in Maryland and will require advocacy, B-to-B connections, collaboration with our elected leaders, marketing and education. Thanks to the coalition partners for ensuring our success!

Membership Update

I am also grateful to our regional and industry membership chairs who are working with Tom Morey of Washington REIT and me to grow the Maryland Chamber’s membership base. Joe Mezzanotte of Whiteford Taylor Preston and Mark Cissel of KatzAbosch hosted a successful reception at Turf Valley in Ellicott City last month. Wayne Curry of NAI Michael Companies joined me in sponsoring one at the Country Club at Woodmore in Prince George’s. Stever Woerner of BGE and Ken Banks of Banks Contracting Co. hosted the hugely successful Baltimore Regional Council reception at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel in Baltimore earlier this week.

Shout outs also go to Pegeen Townsend of MedStar Health, Nate Beil of KCI Technologies, Jim Cornelsen of Old Line Bank, Mary Ann Scully of Howard Bank, Jim Hayden of BDO and Al DeLeon of DeLeon & Stang for leading our industry efforts. There are dozens of other board members who are carrying out a personal membership drives, and you can help us as well. Board members such as Bancroft Gordon, Drew Cobbs, Nate Beil, and Terry Butler have already recruited new members. Please help us grow the influence and membership base of the Maryland Chamber. Contact Greg Buckler, Vice President of Membership, at gbuckler@mdchamber.org for more details about a personal membership drive that will only take a few hours over a two-week period.

Members not only want good advocacy from our organization but great connections. Terry Butler of Expense Reduction Analysts chairs our small business committee known as Business Development Council (BDC). Terry held what I’ve heard was a great strategic planning session for the council last month and will shortly announce the 2014 plan to better connect our small, minority-owned and mid-sized members to larger employers and to each other in a very focused way. The BDC’s work is a great example of how our competitiveness coalition can help a business grow beyond their local communities and connect with possible contracts throughout Maryland. See the Chamber’s other blog post for details about some of the BDC efforts in the next few months.

Finally, you know I am a strong believer in getting connected to business executives wherever they are. My final push for the Maryland Chamber Cup golf tournament is for you to consider signing up to play as an individual or the golf clinic this Monday, October 7, at Woodmore Country Club. If you don’t play golf, then sponsor one of our competitive holes. Organizational recognition with this group could be key to a new relationship. Join us October 7 for a day of fun and with some of the best business executives I know. Personally, I am aiming to take back the championship trophy from CohnReznick this year.

Categories: Chairman’s Blog

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