Society of St. Vincent de Paul Awarded $5,000 by Koons Toyota


Koons Toyota of Easton donated $5,000 in support of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s “Dine Out and Feed the Hungry” discount card. The card provides savings at 14 Talbot County restaurants to those who purchase the card for $25. Koons has been an ongoing supporter of St. Vincent de Paul for the last several years. Pictured here are (L-R) Society President Alex Handy, Society Marketing Rep Ed Marcoon and Koons Toyota/Scion General Manager J.T. Thompson Sr.

One may purchase the card by calling the Society at 410-770-4505

Maryland 3.0: A Look Back at Entrepreneurship in Chestertown 30 Years Ago

While it seems to be common these days to celebrate Eastern Shore entrepreneurship, as it should be, it is sometimes hard to remember that this entrepreneurial spirit has been in Chestertown for some time. While it can be seen currently with new retail stores, manufacturing, or even courageously starting a local brewery, it is important to remember these younger people do walk in the footsteps of some very special folks who came before them.

And one story like that from the past is the remarkable founding of the Chesapeake Bank and Trust thirty years ago.

The young man at the time was a Washington College graduate named Michael Macielag who had been mentored by Roger Simpkins, the highly respected president of the Chestertown Bank for seven years but then found himself unemployed in the spring of 1986 when that Bank was to be sold off in a merger.

Facing very few prospects which would allow him to continue to live on the Shore, Mike assumed he would need to move to the Western Shore for job opportunities, but then stumbled on the news that Maryland National Bank would be selling off its Chestertown branch. Suddenly, the opportunity of a lifetime miraculously presented itself to start a new bank, and Mike made his move.

In less than a few months time, Macielag was able to attract close to 20 investors willing to put up $100,000 each or more to found the Chesapeake Bank and Trust. And the motive was a simple one from the start; they all wanted a bank to be focused on local interests and local needs without the influence and the interference of a large and distant parent corporation.

That was 30 years ago. Since then Chesapeake Bank and Trust has been faithful to the original investors mission statement and continues to be a critical resource for starting new businesses, helping with higher education loans, or allowing young couples to purchase their first home.

The Spy spent a few moments last week talking to Michael about the founding of the bank, its original mission, and how he sees the Chesapeake Bank and Trust playing a critical role in a 21st century Kent County.

Marketing Professional to Lead College Relations and Marketing Team

College President Sheila Bair today announced that Rolando Irizarry, a marketing and communications professional, will join the Washington College senior leadership as Vice President for College Relations and Marketing, effective December 5, 2016. Irizarry, whose award-winning branding campaigns have positioned both MedStar Georgetown and the George Washington University Hospital as healthcare leaders in the region, brings a wealth of experience in brand management, strategic planning, business analytics, integrated marketing, and digital advertising.

irizarry“Our college relations and marketing team is integral to the success of the College’s strategic initiatives, and I am so proud of the work they have been doing to share the Washington College story in support of student recruitment, alumni engagement, fundraising, and elevating national visibility,” President Bair remarked. “Rolando is inheriting a strong and creative team, and I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of their collaboration, particularly as the College undertakes a comprehensive fundraising campaign.”

“The campaign will help provide the energy and awareness needed to advance our message on scholarships, campus diversity, and the quality of our faculty,” Irizarry says. “I’m fortunate to be part of a talented CRM team that is passionate about the Washington College legacy. We have the opportunity to elevate the College’s presence on the national stage. Everyone on campus and in the community has a vision of what the College could become. My job is to provide structure and a unified voice to what Washington College means to all of us.”

Irizarry’s career spans 20 years in higher education, healthcare, and agency work. As senior public affairs officer for Florida International University, Irizarry worked with one of the largest, most diverse media markets in the country and organized the largest press event in campus history—a visit from the Dalai Lama that involved more than 200 journalists. He was also responsible for crisis communications and collaborated with the university president on legislative matters.

At Miami Children’s Hospital, Irizarry managed marketing communications and business development, while also serving as managing editor for the hospital’s medical journal International Pediatrics.

 He has worked with leaders at the George Washington University School of Medicine and George Washington University Hospital on a number of successful campaigns that significantly increased market share, grew revenue, and promoted patient education. Those campaigns garnered more than four-dozen awards.

Most recently, Irizarry served as regional marketing director in the Washington region for MedStar Health, Inc., and was on the faculty at the George Washington University School of Business. He is moving to Chestertown with his fiancée, Julia Belanger, a general practitioner with the University of Maryland Community Medical Group in Chestertown.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at

Foreclosure Prevention Workshop

Maryland homeowners concerned about foreclosure will receive free, one-on-one legal advice on Saturday, December 10, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at Dorchester Career & Technology Center, 2465 Cambridge Beltway, Cambridge.

If you are interested in receiving a FREE foreclosure legal consultation at the event, please contact the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland at 1-800-396-1274 ext. 3052 or Mid-Shore Pro Bono at 410.690.8128 to pre-register.

Homeowners should bring the following documents (or copies) to their legal consult:
– All paperwork related to current and former mortgages, including loan application, settlement paperwork, lender statements, and any default notices received.
– Information about the monthly household budget (income and expenses).
– All foreclosure notices or threats received (if any).

Hosted by and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and Mid-Shore Pro Bono as part of the Maryland Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project.

County Merges Economic Development and Tourism; Shoge Named Economic Development Coordinator

The Talbot County Council has announced that it will merge its offices of economic development and tourism to form a single department.

Cassandra Vanhooser, who currently serves as tourism director, has been tapped to lead the new Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
Vanhooser assumed the role of tourism director in February 2013 after many years as a travel writer. Since coming to Talbot County, she has overseen the remaking of the county’s image as a premier travel destination. The Office of Tourism has redesigned its website, expanded its presence on social media, and partnered with Chesapeake Bay Magazine to develop a widely circulated destination guide for the county.

Cassandra Vanhooser

Cassandra Vanhooser

In 2015, the Talbot County Office of Tourism won the Maryland Office of Tourism Development’s Visit Maryland Award for outstanding investment and performance in improving and promoting Maryland’s image as a travel destination. The office also recently won the Maryland Tourism Coalition’s 2016 Visionary Impact Award for its efforts in hosting travel writers and destination representatives in Talbot County for a three-day conference and familiarization trip this past September.

Before coming to Talbot County, Vanhooser spent more than 14 years as a travel and features writer at Southern Living magazine, where she first covered Georgia, then Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. She also served as the magazine’s football editor and wrote the narrative sections of Southern Living’s Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook. She is a winner of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for excellence in travel writing.

“I have traveled the world, and I truly believe Talbot County’s is one of the most beautiful and special places in the United States,” Vanhooser says. “A strong business community ensures that both residents and visitors alike will enjoy this place we love so much for generations to come.”

Samuel Shoge also joins the department as economic development coordinator.

A native of Chestertown, Shoge currently serves on the Chestertown Town Council and has served on the Chestertown Planning Commission. He is one of the founders of the Kent County Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals, where he helped grow membership and engage working professionals to get them involved in the community.
In addition to his public service, Shoge previously worked as assistant director of the Office of Admissions at Washington College. He also chaired the government relations committee for the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling where he lobbied the Maryland state legislature for higher education initiatives.

Sam Shoge

Sam Shoge

“I was raised on the Eastern Shore, and I have chosen to stay on the Eastern Shore,” Shoge says. “This is where I am most at home. I have always been a champion of the people I serve, and I will be a champion for Talbot County. I look forward to meeting with our businesses and learning more about their industries and specific needs.”
The Talbot County Council believes it makes sense to more closely align the efforts of economic development and tourism both of which share marketing and communications as foundations. Research shows that the perception of an area’s business climate is positively influenced by marketing to leisure travelers. People who choose Talbot County as a vacation destination may also be potential business leads.

Further, the visitor economy supports quality-of-life amenities that attract investment from other business sectors. Talbot County has a terrific culinary scene, beautiful accommodations, amazing arts and culture, and a wealth of activities that not only appeal to visitors, but also make this a great place to live and work.
“We look forward to the energy and collaboration the new structure will bring to this department,” says Talbot County Council President Corey Pack. “We have built a department that we believe can help us better support our business community and help lead us toward a bright future. Cassandra and Sam will make a great team. Talbot County is open for business!”


AAUW Business Women’s Panel

The Easton branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will present a panel discussion with Talbot County business women to be held Monday, November 21 at 7:00PM at the Chesapeake College Cambridge Center in Cambridge. The panel will feature Susan Schauer John, affectionately referred to as the “Head Honcho” of SpiderWeb Connections®, a full-service Internet marketing firm that specializes in web design, graphic design, content marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization); Margaret Enloe, Executive Director of Waterfowl Chesapeake in Easton, MD; and Katie Reedy, Assistant Engineer for the Town of Easton. The speakers will discuss their respective professional positions, backgrounds, mentors, challenges, rewards and educational preparation. Time has been allotted for questions and discussion. Refreshments will be served.

This meeting is open to the public. AAUW advances equity for all women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. For membership information, call Janet Harford 410-476-5961.

Shore United Bank Donates Food to the Neighborhood Service Center


(L to R) Johnny Fells and Marilyn Neal of the Neighborhood Service Center; Cassie Guy, Binal Patel and Joyce Malik of Shore United Bank.

Through the generosity of the community members that participated in the October 22nd Shred Day event at Shore United Bank, a member of the Shore Bancshares community of companies, the Neighborhood Service Center was recently presented with multiple bags of food for their food pantry. The Neighborhood Service Center is a non-profit Community Action Agency located in Easton, Maryland. The center works to equip low-income citizens with a combination of resources, encouragement, and incentives to promote self-sufficiency. “We sincerely appreciate the contributions from our valued customers and their continuous support of our mission to improve the communities we serve,” said Joyce Malik, VP and BSA Officer at Shore United Bank. . Visit Shore United Bank at and the Neighborhood Service Center at to learn more about our commitment to our communities.

Grants Workshop on November 17

Join us 9am – 12nn, November 17, 2016 for Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area’s free grants workshop featuring Jennifer Ruffner, Robert Forloney, and Bill McGowan. Venue will be at Chesapeake College, Room 141, Health Professions Building.

Robert Forloney is a program developer and cultural institution consultant. Mr. Forloney lectures at the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and an adjunct professor at Goucher College. He has worked in the cultural institution field in a variety of ways as teacher for the New York Museum, as well as an educator, administrator and consultant at institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the Morgan Library, American of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art and the South Street Seaport Museum.

Whether working at an art institution or history museum, Forloney attempts to make objects and images accessible to audiences through facilitating conversations as well as utilizing experimental learning techniques. He has extensive experience in writing, managing, and accessing grants.

Jennifer Ruffner is the assistant administrator of the Maryland Heritage Area Program. The Maryland Heritage Area Program offers grants for capital projects and programing. Since 2005, this program has provided over 2.5 million dollars in grants to over 40 organizations in the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area.

Dr. William McGowan serves as the USDA Rural Development State Director for Delaware and Maryland. Dr. McGowan has been a leader in rural communities for over 35 years. His diverse background includes 12 years of management in the agriculture supply and horticulture industry. In 1989, he joined the University of Delaware as a Cooperative Extension agent. His 24-year extension career focused on helping people work through complex public issues. Bill believes that lasting solutions emerge from the community and guides the development and implementation of a path forward accordingly. His portfolio includes economic and community development, organizational and community leadership, water quality, land use and health care.

Space is limited.  RSVP 410-778-1460 or by email at

Stayed tuned for information concerning workshops planned for 2017.

Meredith joins CBMM as Vice President of Finance

M. Branden Meredith of Easton, Md. has recently joined the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum as Vice President of Finance. Meredith is responsible for the implementation and management of finances, risk management, and human resources.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-2-28-18-pmMeredith holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md. and brings more than 15 years of nonprofit accounting experience to the position. In his previous work in public accounting, Meredith focused on providing audit, tax, and consulting services to nonprofit organizations, government entities, employee benefit plans, and mid-sized for-profit companies, serving many nonprofit organizations throughout the mid-Shore.

An Eastern Shore native, Meredith has always been connected to the Chesapeake Bay, growing up hunting, fishing, and boating with family, and appreciates the Chesapeake Bay’s history and traditions.

“It feels natural to be a part of an organization that promotes the same appreciation and respect to my children and future generations,” commented Meredith. “I am looking forward to building upon the strong financial position and community relationships that CBMM has built over the last 50 years.”

Meredith also has nonprofit volunteer experience serving on Boards, coaching several local youth sports organizations, and volunteering with teacher parent teacher associations.

“CBMM is thrilled to welcome Branden as part of our leadership team,” said CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “His nonprofit experience and interest in furthering the mission of our organization are sure to help CBMM in our efforts to preserve all that we cherish about the Chesapeake Bay.”

Established in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a world-class maritime museum dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and people of the entire Chesapeake Bay, with the values of relevancy, authenticity, and stewardship guiding its mission. Serving nearly 70,000 guests each year, the museum’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and 12 exhibition buildings, situated in a park-like, waterfront setting along the Miles River and St Michaels harbor.

For more information about CBMM, visit

Business Networking Coffee Hour Celebrates Waterfowl Festival

The Talbot County Office of Economic Development, Waterfowl Chesapeake, and Easton Utilities have teamed up to host “Coffee and Conservation,” a networking event to celebrate the opening of the 46th Annual Waterfowl Festival.

The coffee hour will be held in the Waterfowl Conservation Pavilion at 11 South Harrison Street from 8:30-9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 11. It is designed to connect the business community with the mission of Waterfowl Chesapeake and celebrate the business of conserving our environmental resources.

Waterfowl Chesapeake is dedicated to being a funder of initiatives that help conserve waterfowl and their habitat, to being a convener of organizations and groups that support education and conservation, and to act as a source for information on waterfowl-related programs.

“We are thrilled with the response to this year’s “Coffee and Conservation” networking event,” says Waterfowl Chesapeake Executive Director Margaret Enloe. “Waterfowl is all about community, all year round, and we are looking forward to working with the business community on innovative conservation initiatives across Delmarva.”

At 9:45 a.m., attendees will be invited to walk over to the Waterfowl Building for the Festival’s Flag Raising Ceremony at 10 a.m. in honor of Veterans Day. Easton High School Junior ROTC will present the colors.

For more information, contact the Talbot County Office of Economic Development at (410) 770-8058.