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

Business Policy Conference


Interviewed live by former Senator Clarence Mitchell IV of “The C4 Show”, Gov. Hogan will join us for a policy event you won’t want to miss.

Do you have a question for Gov. Hogan? Attendees can submit them to us!


What will be your take away?

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 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, or meeting the governor—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 Buckel, Dr. Lynne Gilli, Sandra Kurtnitis, Jeffrey Gahler, Clay Stamp and more!

Tell your employer why you should go!

Special thanks to our sponsors: AT&T, Murthy Law Firm, Washington Gas, Whiting Turner, Ellin & Tucker, RALI Maryland, Correct RX, Purdue University Global, W.R. Grace.

Download a prospectus for more sponsorship opportunities

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, Senior Vice President for International Policy, 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, Vice President, Humanim
  • Kanika Feaster-Gordon, Vice President of Workforce Development and Youth Services, Humanim
  • Kurt Sommer, Director, Baltimore Integration Partnership
  • Cindy Plavier-Truitt, Chief Business Officer, Humanim

11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Networking break // Sponsor the break!

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: BREAK OUT SESSIONS

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 experts well-versed in government and politics about these trends, their negative effect on businesses, and how their negative effects can be mitigated.


  • Bryan Sears, Reporter, The 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?”


  • Bryan Moore, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Division of Unemployment Insurance, DLLR


  • Lynne Gilli, Ed.D., Assistant State Superintendent, Division of Career and College Readiness, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Sandra Kurtinitis, Ph.D., President, Community College of Baltimore County
  • Leah Summers, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Alban CAT
  • Christopher D. MacLarion, Director of Maryland Apprenticeship & Training

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Lunch // Be an exhibitor

1:35 p.m. – 2:35 p.m.: BREAK OUT SESSIONS

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, Professor of Law, University of Baltimore


  • Caryn York, Executive Director, Job Opportunities Task Force
  • Nikki Zaahir, National Director of Workforce Development & Training, Vehicles for Change
  • Senator Justin Ready (R-5), Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee

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, Tax Counsel, Council on State Taxation


  • Delegate Jason Buckel, (R-1B), House Ways & Means Committee, Maryland House of Delegates
  • Senator Craig Zucker, (D-14), Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee, Senate of Maryland
  • Renee P. Padousis, Director, State and Local Tax, PwC

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, Sustainability Program Director, Maryland Department of Environment
  • Delegate Dana Stein, Vice-Chair of the House Environment and Transportation Committee, Maryland House of Delegates
  • Michael Powell, Managing Member, Gordon Feinblatt LLC
  • John Quinn, Director of Governmental and External Affairs, 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., Associate Professor, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center
  • Jeffrey Gahler, Sheriff, Harford County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mona Gahunia, D.O., Associate Medical Director of Primary Care Strategy, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group
  • Clay Stamp, Executive Director, Opioid Operational Command Center
  • Delegate Eric Bromwell, (D-08), Vice Chair, House Health & Government Operations, Maryland House of Delegates

3:40 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Networking break // Sponsor it!

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Guest Speaker Governor Larry Hogan & former Senator Clarence Mitchell IV 

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

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


Cindy Plavier Truitt

Humanim @Humanim

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

Humanim @Humanim

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

Humanim @Humanim

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 @sommerkurt1

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 @bpsears

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. @Gov_Ehrlich

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. @DrK_CCBC

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. @lynnegilli1

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.

Leah Summers

Alban CAT @albancat1927

Leah Summers is the talent acquisition specialist for Alban CAT. In this role, she develops and implements recruiting strategies for Alban, which sells, rents and services heavy equipment and power generation equipment in the Mid-Atlantic region. She is a member of SHRM and the CHRA, and represents Alban on the strategic steering committee of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT). Prior to joining Alban, Leah was a divisional recruiter for Aaron’s Inc., a large nation-wide retailer, where she traveled throughout the northeast to lead the division’s recruitment efforts. She began her career 18 years ago in staffing, when she recruited creative professionals for Aquent, a global marketing and creative services staffing firm.


Caryn York

Job Opportunities Task Force @jotfmaryland

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 @EubieBee

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 @Dsawyer_COST

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.

Jason Buckel

(D-1B); House Ways & Means Committee

In over 15 years of practice, Hon. Jason Buckel has served as trial counsel in numerous complex cases, including some of the largest recent jury verdicts in Western Maryland. His practice focuses on the litigation of commercial and business disputes; trial and settlement of wrongful death and serious personal injury matters; construction litigation on behalf of both builders and developers and property owners; and the litigation of substantial real property and zoning disputes.

Buckel won a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in the fall of 2013, representing Allegany County in District 1-B. He is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, the Election Law Sub-Committee and the Finance Resources Sub-Committee.


Michael Powell

Gordon Feinblatt LLC @GordonFeinblatt

Michael Powell is the managing member of Gordon Feinblatt LLC as well as a member of the firm’s energy and environmental team. He was named Maryland “Lawyer of the Year” three times (2015, 2016 and 2017) for environmental law and environmental litigation. Powell was a founding member, and the first elected chairman, of the environmental section of the Maryland State Bar Association. Prior to joining Gordon Feinblatt, Powell served as principal counsel to the Maryland Department of the Environment and as an assistant attorney general advising the state.


John Quinn

Baltimore Gas & Electric @MyBGE

John Quinn is an environmental engineer with nearly 30 years of professional experience. Currently serving as director of governmental and external affairs with Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), Mr. Quinn is responsible for a broad range of regulatory and policy issues that affect BGE and the communities it serves. His professional career includes tenures with both state and local regulatory agencies. Quinn serves as chairman of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s Environmental Committee.

Laura Armstrong

Maryland Department of Environment @MDEnvironment

Armstrong is the director of the sustainability program at the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). She promotes sustainable business practices through technical assistance programs, demonstration projects and recognition programs. She also manages the Maryland Green Registry, a volunteer program of more than 500 organizations across the state, which encourages members to share their environmental best practices through online profiles which highlight their successes and inspire others to do the same. Prior to joining MDE, Laura was a senior analyst and legislative representative on environmental matters for the National Governors’ Association and an aide to U.S. Congressman Henry A. Waxman.


The Opioid Crisis: Battling the Epidemic

Jeffrey Gahler @JeffGahler

Harford County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Gahler was elected to the role of Harford County Sheriff in 2014. He leads a workforce of more than 600 sworn and civilian personnel and oversees an annual budget of $76,000,000. Gahler is a past member of the adjunct faculty within the Public Safety Leadership Program at the Johns Hopkins University and, until his election, served as an operating partner/owner of the Advanced Leadership Consortium. Gahler is also a veteran law enforcement officer, having previously served 28 years during a distinguished career with the Maryland State Police.

Mona Gahunia, D.O.

Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group @MAPermanente

Dr. Gahunia is the associate medical director of primary care strategy at the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group. She is an infectious disease specialist practicing in Baltimore. Dr. Gahunia attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency at Lankenau Hospital and Infectious Diseases fellowship at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. She became interested in infectious disease and HIV initially because of her appreciation of public health, preventative medicine and the value of keeping people healthy as a population. Later on in medical school she started a community outreach program in which she and other students volunteered at a nearby AIDS Hospice/Shelter in Philadelphia, which taught her how to provide holistic care and the importance of addressing social determinants of health.

Clay Stamp @ClayStamp

Opioid Operational Command Center

Clay Stamp is the senior emergency management advisor to Maryland’s Governor, Larry Hogan, and chair of the Governor’s Emergency Management Advisory Council. Stamp currently serves as executive director of the Opioid Operational Command Center, working with the emergency management system to effectively and efficiently coordinate statewide efforts in combating the heroin and opioid crisis in Maryland. Stamp is also the director of Talbot County Department of Emergency Services. He has extensive experience working in disasters, including the World Trade Center attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the civil unrest in Baltimore and previously served under Governor Robert Ehrlich, as deputy director of the Maryland EMS system and member of his senior homeland security group.

Marianne Cloeren, M.D. @mcloeren

University of Maryland Medical Center   

Dr. Marianne Cloeren is an associate professor in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and is a fellow in the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) and the American College of Physicians (ACP). She has served two terms on the ACOEM Board of Directors and is former chair and current member of ACOEM’s Council on Occupational and Environmental Medicine Practice. She is also a member of ACOEM’s Council on Education and Academic Affairs. Dr. Cloeren serves as chair of the Johns Hopkins Occupational Medicine Residency Advisory Committee/Program Evaluation Committee. She is Chair of the ACOEM Special Interest Section on Work Fitness and Disability.



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