9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Sheraton Columbia Town Center Columbia, MD

Business Policy Conference

The Business Policy Conference is the premier business related public policy conference in the state attracting hundreds of business executives, administration officials, and legislative leaders. Attendees gain a greater understanding of the public policy issues that affect our business community through a series of keynote speakers, expert panelists and the networking surrounding the event.

This year we tackle issues like:

  • tariff effects on Maryland
  • the opioid epidemic
  • Maryland’s business climate
  • environmental policy
  • reinventing the talent pipeline
  • and more!

Whether you’re interested in advocacy that affects your bottom line, staying informed about key policy issues, promoting your company and/or networking—you will find it all at the Business Policy Conference.


Lead the way, BE A SPONSOR.

Hear from panelist like: Former Gov. Parris Glendening, former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, Jr., Delegate Jason Bucket, Delegate Kumar Barve, Dr. Lynne Gilli, Sandra Kurtnitis, Jeffrey Gahler, Clay Stamp and more!

Special thanks to our sponsors: Washington Gas and Ellin & Tucker.


9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Registration & coffee

9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

United States tariffs: What they mean for Maryland

With the talk of trade wars and retaliation tariffs making headlines daily, the concern for local businesses looms. Tariffs equate to a tax increase for both Maryland businesses and consumers. In-kind retaliatory tariffs will result in American-made goods becoming more costly—which means lost sales and jobs. Take a deep dive into how they will impact the state with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Speaker: John Murphy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Community matters: Making meaningful impact

Corporate social responsibility is not just about good public relations, it’s about meaningful impacts in the communities you serve. Hear from Humanim about its partnerships and what they are doing to help the community around them. Walk away with inspiration and ideas for how you can engage or continue to engage in your community.


  • Jeff Carroll, Humanim
  • Kanika Feaster-Gordon, Humanim
  • Kurt Sommer, Baltimore Integration Partnership
  • Cindy Plavier-Truitt, Humanim

11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Networking break // Sponsor the break!

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.

The death of moderation: How a polarizing political climate affects Maryland’s business climate

With the rise of political polarization on not only the federal level, but the state and local levels too, it seems bleaker and bleaker for compromise and moderate-minded solutions to our issues. This often leaves individuals and businesses feeling more and more pressure to pick sides. Come hear from a panel of well-versed in government and politics about these trends, their negative effect on businesses, and how their negative effects can be mitigated.


  • Moderator: Bryan Sears, Daily Record
  • Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Governor of Maryland (2003-2007)
  • Parris Glendening, Governor of Maryland (1995-2003)

Reinventing the education pipeline: Workforce development that works

Being pro-business and pro-jobs does not just mean advocating for competitive tax structures and fighting against increased regulations; it also means advocating for education, especially education that leads students to high-skilled, high-wage jobs. Hear from the leaders and partners of two incredibly successful workforce development models – Career and Technical Education (CTE) and ApprenticeshipMD –about how they work with business to provide the necessary education and experiences for students to take on these roles. Walk away from this panel asking yourself, “How can I get involved?”


  • Lynne Gilli, Ed.D., Maryland State Department of Education
  • Sandra Kurtinitis, Ph.D., Community College of Baltimore County

12:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Lunch // Be an exhibitor

1:35 p.m. – 2:35 p.m.

Breaking down barriers: Second chance hiring

In breaking down barriers and connecting with communities that have been historically marginalized, hear from businesses who have worked tirelessly to improve the job prospects of individuals with criminal records. Explore the strides that have been made through business, non-profit and governmental partnerships and examine what smart legislation and regulations could be made to increase the employment prospects for those looking for a second chance. Employing those with criminal records, we believe, reduces recidivism and creates safer communities.


  • Jose Anderson, University of Baltimore
  • Caryn York, Job Opportunities Task Force

Deep in the heart of taxes: The Tax Cut & Jobs Act

The recent federal tax reform legislation, “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA) has both helped and harmed businesses. With almost a year under this new law, find out how it has affected the general business community and what can be done to improve it moving forward. Additionally, be prepared to engage in a productive discussion on how the state tax system can be changed to help you and your business.


  • David Sawyer, Council on State Taxation
  • Jason Buckle, (D-1B), House Ways & Means Committee
  • James Dawson, Stein, Sperling, Bennett, De Jong, Driscoll & Greenfeig, P.C.

2:40 p.m. – 3:40 p.m.

Why we care: Environment policy that makes cents

Come hear about the ways in which businesses and the state have partnered to address and answer our planet’s environmental concerns. Learn how Maryland businesses continue to meet and exceed both state and federal environmental standards and lead the country in innovative solutions for reducing their footprint. Find out how you can reduce your own business’ footprint and reduce your overhead costs.


  • Laura Armstrong, Maryland Department of Environment
  • Kumar Brave, (D-16), House Environment & Transportation Committee
  • Michael Powell, Gordon Feinblatt LLC
  • John Quinn, Baltimore Gas & Electric

The opioid crisis: Battling the epidemic

The alarming rise in opioid addiction, both locally and nationally, is destroying lives and families. Its impact on business is real – job retention, employability and workforce development suffer from its effects. Hear from leaders in policy, health care, and law enforcement on what you can do to help your employees, your customers, and your community to address this epidemic.  Hear also about ways you can mitigate the increasing costs of health care for both you and your employees.


  • Marianne Cloeren, M.D., University of Maryland Medical Center
  • Jeffrey Gahler, Harford County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mona Gahunia, D.O., Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group
  • Clay Stamp, Opioid Operational Command Center

3:40 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Networking break // Sponsor it!

4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Special event // More to come!

5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Networking cocktail reception // Be the talk of the reception.


Cindy Plavier Truitt


Cindy Plavier Truitt serves as the chief business officer of Humanim, a NPO which provides workforce development and human services to over 4,500 individuals a year throughout Maryland and employs over 500 staff. Truitt has been employed by Humanim for over 29 years and oversees the social enterprise division, marketing and public relations.

She held the position of chair of the Social Enterprise Alliance, Maryland Chapter and currently serves on the advisory board of Baltimore Racial Justice Action, the board of the Business Network for Offshore Wind and on the advisory board for CORE Staffing.

Jeff Carroll


Jeff Carroll is a vice president at Humanim and oversees the construction related social enterprises. Under Jeff’s leadership, Humanim launched their first deconstruction enterprise in 2012 which has grown to provide employment for over 185 Baltimore residents with barriers to employment. Along with his team, Carroll expanded Details Deconstruction to include the first municipal contract for blight removal in the country which has developed into a collaboration between the federal, state, and city governments and private industry. A second social enterprise developed under his leadership, Brick+Board has maximized the processing and sale of material reclaimed from deconstruction sites, putting both people to work and saving material from the landfill.

Kanika Feaster-Gordon


As the vice president of workforce development and youth services for Humanim, Kanika Feaster-Gordon has been an advocate within the Baltimore community for over 15 years, addressing issues related to disadvantaged job seekers and their access to quality career training and employment opportunities. In her role at Humanim, Feaster-Gordon oversees all career training programs and initiatives that examine the role race, equity and inclusion plays on workforce services and employer hiring practices. Prior to joining Humanim, Feaster-Gordon was appointed by former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to manage, develop and implement a comprehensive community outreach and recruitment strategy, to ensure 50 percent of Baltimore City residents were identified for employment opportunities at Caesars Entertainment Horseshoe Casino.

Kurt Sommer

Baltimore Integration Partnership

Kurt Sommer is the director of the Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) which is a collaborative partnership of anchor institutions, funders, nonprofits and public organizations focused on establishing economic inclusion as the business culture of norm in the Baltimore region. The BIP is supported by national and local partners and is a part of the Living Cities Integration Initiative. Prior to joining the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, Sommer has held positions in public policy and research with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Baltimore Housing, and the Brookings Institution.


Bryan Sears

Daily Record

Bryan Sears is a government reporter at the Daily Record, where he produces content on government affairs. He is a journalist with experience covering state and local government, breaking news and investigative reporting.

Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.

Governor of Maryland (2003-2007)

The Honorable Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. is senior counsel in the government advocacy practice at King & Spalding. He advises clients on a broad array of policy matters and their interactions with the federal government. Having served as governor, U.S. Congressman, state legislator and civil litigator, he counsels clients on an array of government matters, with particular expertise in health care, finance and economic development.

Parris Glendening

Governor of Maryland (1995-2003)

Parris Glendening is president of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute and the Governor’s Institute on Community Design. In these roles, he travels across the country and around the world advising state and local governments on smart growth, transit and sustainability policies and practices. Glendening served as governor of the State of Maryland from 1995-2003 where he created the nation’s first state-level smart growth policy package. Prior to being elected governor, Glendening served three terms as elected county executive of Prince George’s County, Maryland


Sandra Kurtinitis, Ph.D.

Community College of Baltimore County

President of the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) since 2005, Dr. Sandra L. Kurtinitis, Ph.D., is an experienced and respected educator, administrator and author. As she embarks on her 50th year as a community college professional, Dr. Kurtinitis remains a tireless and dynamic supporter of CCBC’s mission: to provide an accessible, affordable, and high-quality education that prepares students for transfer and career success, strengthens the regional workforce, and enriches our community.

She has been a member of the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges since 2015, and is currently the organization’s chair-elect. She assumes the chair position of the organization in July 2018.

Lynne Gilli, Ed.D.

Maryland State Department of Education 

Lynne Gilli, Ed.D. is the assistant state superintendent for the Division of Career and College Readiness at the Maryland State Department of Education. She has been a leader in Career Technical Education (CTE) for over 30 years, starting as an instructor and teacher and rising the ranks to run the division. Under Dr. Gilli’s leadership she has helped transform CTE from a narrowly focused terminal vocational program into one that train students for high-skilled, high-wage professions in field such as engineering, bio-medical, computer and homeland security studies.


Caryn York

Job Opportunities Task Force

Caryn York is executive director of the Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF), an independent, statewide nonprofit organization that promotes policies and programs to help low-wage workers advance to high-wage jobs. York is the first African American Female to lead the twenty-two-year organization.

York works tirelessly to encourage key policymakers and stakeholders to adopt and support policies and programs that eliminate educational and employment barriers to facilitate the successful entry, or re-entry, of low income adult workers and jobseekers into the workforce. York has been instrumental in leading numerous state and local policy reform efforts that focus on individuals with a criminal background.

Jose Anderson

University of Baltimore

Anderson began teaching at the University of Baltimore in 1989 as part of the Legal Analysis Research and Writing program. Later, he played a key role in the development of the University of Baltimore Appellate Practice Clinic. From 2000 to 2008 he served as the founding director of the Stephen L. Snyder Center for Litigation Skills. Anderson served for nine years in the Maryland Public Defender’s Office, where he was an assistant public defender and supervising attorney in the Appellate Division. He later served as special assistant public defender, responsible for a number of statewide litigation and legislative matters, and was also counsel to Stephen E. Harris, the state public defender for Maryland. Anderson has represented clients in major death penalty, felony and civil litigation cases in trial and appellate courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Deep in the Heart of Taxes: The Tax Cut & Jobs Act

David Sawyer

Council on State Taxation

David C. Sawyer is tax counsel for the Council on State Taxation (COST). Sawyer’s responsibilities at COST include identifying, analyzing, communicating and tracking legislation and regulations of concern to COST members and supporting COST’s legislative and regulatory advocacy and participating in and supporting COST’s educational programs. Sawyer came to COST from Tax Analysts, where for over two years he was a prolific state tax legal reporter, covering emerging judicial, administrative and legislative issues in all 50 states.