"In my own quiet way, I like giving others opportunities to grow and become their best selves so, collectively, we can help the world become a better, richer place, and I can watch from the sidelines."
"I’ve learned to forgive myself for my weaknesses, honor what I am, and celebrate others who have complementary skills."
Founder & CEO, Mind Over Machines
Influencer & Innovator
Maryland Chamber Executive Committee Member
Mind Over Machines helps businesses with smarter tech use. How important is innovation to business today?
Innovation is everything! It’s a primal urge. It’s what moves humanity forward. And it’s essential to business. Business without innovation is stagnation, which leads to extinction. On top of that, our world and markets change constantly. Innovation is everything.
What has been one of your biggest challenges and how did you overcome it?
Defeating the so-called Maryland Tech Tax of 2007.
So many things were wrong with this. First, business people are smart; they would figure out how to move their IT work out-of-state where it wouldn’t be taxed. Thousands of stable, high-paying jobs would disappear. And all the smart IT professionals – highly-desired, tax-paying citizens – would follow the work.
Second, by taxing computer services, our government was taxing innovation statewide – the exact opposite of sane policy. I didn’t know anyone in state government or how Annapolis worked, but in my bones, I knew this law had to be undone.
I co-founded the first statewide IT-industry lobbying association in Maryland, raised six figures of contributions, engaged multiple lobbying teams and political communication firms, collaborated with premier Maryland business associations, and fired up one of the largest grassroots campaigns the General Assembly had ever seen. And we got it all done – the General Assembly repealed the law and produced a better budget solution – in 100 days.
You’ve been a leader in a lot of ways. What are some characteristics you believe every leader should possess?
Passion. Courage. Resilience. And a willingness to reframe the question at hand.
How does being on the Maryland Chamber Executive Committee help you?
Participation in the Maryland Chamber of Commerce brings me greater awareness of issues and opportunities that could affect my industry, all companies, and our broader community. And it brings and strengthens additional personal relationships, which are always wonderful. The two together help me be more effective connecting people and sharing ideas for our collective good.
Next month, we will feature KCI Technologies Inc. President Nathan Beil with a focus on partnerships. Be a part of the REPLY ALL series—submit your questions for Nathan here!