Entrepreneurship Center Launches Free Startup Business Program

The Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC) will launch a new online training program April 3 to identify ideas and early stage business concepts for products and services that improve farming, fishing and the environment. The free six-week F³ Tech Pre-Accelerator runs through May 10 and is open to individuals and small groups looking to validate a business concept and potentially join a four-month accelerator.

“The F³ Tech Pre-Accelerator program is a specially-designed proof-of-concept process for startups and entrepreneurs looking to develop an idea or product to commercialization,” said Mike Thielke, Executive Director of the ESEC. “We’re targeting very early-stage startups to offer them an opportunity to validate their ideas, acquire valuable feedback from industry experts, and position themselves to take advantage of a more aggressive, traditional multi-month accelerator program such as the F³ Tech program beginning September 2018.”

Eight entrepreneur teams have already been accepted into the inaugural program from across Maryland including Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Kent, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Based in all F³ Tech sectors – agri, aqua and enviro – their business ideas call for recycling fruits and vegetables into high-protein edible spice mix, reversing the loss of bee hives, and creating hydroponic farms in urban areas.

In addition to Thielke, the training includes industry subject matter experts and mentors like Charles White, Founder and CEO of PaverGuide. White benefited from the innovation ecosystem supported by ESEC to create an enviro-tech company in Queen Anne’s county. White commercialized PaverGuide, a structural base for paving systems that is manufactured from recycled plastic and replaces impermeable stone surfaces with a massive reservoir to prevent nutrient runoff.

“As an entrepreneur and environmentalist, I’ve dedicated my career to improving storm water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the world. Thanks to the support of the ESEC and seed funding from multiple sources including ESEC’s Revolving Loan Fund Portfolio, I proved that our innovative technology could be profitable and sustainable. I look forward to sharing lessons learned and best practices with the pre-accelerator participants.”

The online program features two, one-hour interactive webinar sessions each week as well as a one-hour mentoring session with a designated mentor/coach. Topics include: Assessing an idea; validating the market; evaluating customer acquisition; business model preparation; handling intellectual property; branding and marketing strategies; and finances and raising capital

To learn more or to apply to the F³ Tech Pre-Accelerator visit f3tech.org or call (410) 770-9330.

About F3Tech

F³ Tech includes three sectors: Agritech, Aquatech and Envirotech. Agritech products improve farming yield, efficiency and profitability. Aquatech creates innovations to improve fish farming, aquatic plants, algae and aquatic organisms in controlled freshwater and saltwater conditions. Envirotech applies science, green chemistry, electronic devices and technologies to monitor, model and conserve environmental resources.

About ESEC

The Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created in 2004 to help advance an entrepreneurship ecosystem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore including Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

QHS and Delmarva Foundation Become Qlarant – Starting Today

Quality Health Strategies Inc. announced the comprehensive rebranding and new name of its subsidiaries. The rebranding program unifies the companies of Health Integrity, Quality Health Foundation and Delmarva Foundation under one brand umbrella: QLARANT. (Pronounced Clair-Ent) The new moniker comes a new logo, style, and website (www.Qlarant.com).

“It’s quite a challenge for one word to encapsulate everything that these unified groups stand for,” said Qlarant CEO Ron Forsythe. “The name Qlarant pulls it all together. It’s a strong name that represents our core values and emphasizes the quality and clarity our company brings to our clients.”

Quality Health Strategies has provided 45 years of quality service to a variety of industries through its subsidiaries. Delmarva Foundation is well respected for being a trustworthy quality and peer review organization. Health Integrity, LLC, has earned a reputation for excellence in program integrity, auditing and investigations. Both companies hold numerous contracts with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Quality Health Foundation has worked to improve the health status of underserved communities by providing charitable grants to organizations in Maryland and the District of Columbia. It has provided over $4.5 million in grants.

“The work we have done as Health Integrity, Delmarva Foundation, and Quality Health Foundation is remarkable,” commented Deborah Keller, Vice President of Human Resources. “By bringing our groups under one brand umbrella, we have the opportunity to really benefit our clients and unify our team in a way we’ve never seen before.”

Qlarant’s Solutions suite includes Quality Improvement; Fraud Waste and Abuse; and Data Sciences/Technology. These combined skills will benefit clients by focusing the wisdom of decades of experience under one brand.

A Good Recovery Sign: Lundberg is Hiring

Lundberg Builders, Inc., the leading full-service custom design and build firm serving Anne Arundel County and the Eastern Shore of Maryland has announced they are seeking site supervisors, carpenters and carpenters’ helpers to support the company’s growth a midst residential construction trade labor pool shortages.

The great economic downturn in 2007 hit the housing industry the hardest. As a result, many of the skilled construction tradesman who suffered catastrophic economic losses and bankruptcies left the building industry never to return. It was a loss that despite today’s housing industry rebound is still felt among homebuilders who rely on skilled tradespeople to support their growth.

Reuters reports a rise in new homes being built with a 13.7% surge in housing starts the highest level since October 2016 and the second-best reading in 10 years. Despite the leading economic indicators continuing to report rising and robust housing market numbers, the lack of skilled workers in the construction trades continues.  In fact, the trend has only worsened year-over-year with builders recording serious shortages in the labor pool from a low of 21% in 2012, to a rate of 56% in 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Founder and President, Brad Lundberg who has led Lundberg Builders to survive and thrive for over 40 years (even during the housing crisis)​ says the time has come to build the next generation of skilled craftsman to rebuild the residential construction labor pool. To address this shortfall, Lundberg Builders is providing an unprecedented opportunity for interested and motivated job seekers to learn a trade alongside its highly trained staff of industry professionals.

“With the current state of the economy strong and unemployment down, we need to begin the good work in our community and in our industry to identify, hire and train residential construction tradespeople. As such, we are launching a proactive and progressive response to the skilled labor shortfall with an announcement of jobs we are offering to support our growth. We are looking for motivated people to fill Site Supervisor, Carpenter and Carpenters’ Helper positions who want an opportunity to learn that will provide them with a lifelong highly-skilled vocational trade and economic empowerment.”

Employees typically work within a one-hour radius of our office on Kent Island. All applicants for Site Supervisor, Carpenter and Helper positions must have reliable transportation.

 

Interested parties can download an employment application here

Steven Ochse Chosen for Leadership Maryland Class of 2018

Leadership Maryland announced today that Steven Ochse ’18, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance at Easton Utilities Commission, has been chosen to participate in the professional development program dedicated to building a better Maryland by harnessing the strength of its local business and community leaders. Ochse is one of 52 individuals chosen for Leadership Maryland’s 26th class – the Class of 2018, who will complete the eight-month hands-on learning program focused on the state’s most vital social, economic and environmental issues.

Following a two-day opening retreat in April, the class will attend five two-day intense sessions traversing the state focusing on Maryland’s economic development, education, health and human services, criminal justice, the environment, and multi-culturalism/diversity. These sessions will be followed by a one-day closing retreat in November and a graduation celebration in December. More than 100 experts representing business, government, education, and the non-profit community will serve as panelists and guest speakers.

“The selection process for the Class of 2018 was very competitive this year, as we had an extraordinary pool of diverse and experienced applicants to choose from,” said Renée M. Winsky ‘05, president and Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Maryland. “The 52 selected participants represent a diverse and broad spectrum of highly-qualified executives from across the state, and we are confident that their Leadership Maryland experience will help them to play an even greater role in our unified effort to shape the future of our state.”

Leadership Maryland is open to senior-level executives with significant achievements in either their careers and/or their communities. Ideal Leadership Maryland members have a desire to learn more about Maryland’s most critical issues and a personal commitment to be a force for positive change in their organizations, their communities, and their state. For more information about Leadership Maryland, please visit www.LeadershipMD.org, call 410-841-2101 or email Info@LeadershipMD.org.

About Leadership Maryland

Leadership Maryland is a professional development program dedicated to building a better Maryland by harnessing the strength of its local business and community leaders. Each year, as many as 52 diverse and accomplished executives from Maryland’s public and private sectors are selected to come together as a class for an eight-month hands-on learning program focused on the state’s most vital social, economic and environmental issues. The first Leadership Maryland class graduated in 1993, and the organization’s alumni network now consists of more than 1,100 leaders from all industries and regions of the state. To learn more, please call Leadership Maryland at 410-841-2101 or visit www.LeadershipMD.org.

Bilbrough Joins CBMM Board of Governors

Pat Bilbrough recently joined the Board of Governors of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md.

Bilbrough has been a contributor to the community both professionally and charitably for most of his life. He leads the region’s largest “community bank,” as President & CEO of Shore United Bank. Having worked in the banking industry since 1995, he is a graduate of Salisbury State University with a Bachelor of Arts in accounting, and is also a CPA.

Bilbrough is active with the community in many capacities, including being a member of the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce. As a director on the Board of the Benedictine School, he serves as the Finance Committee Chair and Executive Committee. He has also served on the Caroline Center Board, Choptank Community Health Services Board, Greater Salisbury Committee, Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development Committee, Habitat for Humanity, and Boy Scouts of Caroline County.

A former waterman for a decade, Bilbrough is a native of Caroline County. He and his wife, Ann, live in Trappe.

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 80,000 guests each year, CBMM’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and 12 exhibition buildings, situated along the Miles River and St. Michaels’ harbor. For more information, visit cbmm.org.

CBMM Announces Education Staff Promotions

From left: Jill Ferris, Director of Education, Matthew Engel, Lead Educator, and Allison Speight, Volunteer & Education Programs Manager.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has recently promoted three staff members in its education department. Jill Ferris of Stevensville, Md. is the new Director of Education; Allison Speight of Trappe, Md. is Volunteer & Education Programs Manager; and Matthew Engel of St. Michaels, Md. is Lead Educator.

“Expanding CBMM’s education programs is critical to our mission,” commented CBMM President Kristen Greenaway. “These promotions help position CBMM for that growth, and with our role of helping children understand more clearly the history, environment and people​ ​of the Chesapeake Bay, ultimately more children will become stewards of the Bay.”

Jill Ferris is responsible for furthering CBMM’s mission by creating, evaluating, and managing innovative education programming of the highest caliber for diverse audiences of all ages. Ferris most recently served as CBMM’s School & Family Programs Manager, with prior experience as an eighth-grade teacher with Queen Anne’s County Public Schools, where she received the 2015 Outstanding Teacher Technology Award, and the 2014 Maryland History Day District Teacher Award. She was selected as a Master Teacher with Maryland State Department of Education in 2014 and 2015, where she instructed teachers and administrators on the implementation of inquiry learning in the social studies classroom.

Ferris holds a master’s degree in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, an academic division of the State University of New York at Oneonta. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, with distinction in the liberal arts core curriculum from Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., where she earned a bachelor’s degree and History and Secondary Education Teacher Certification. Ferris received Colgate University’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008, and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan from 2008-2009.

As the Volunteer & Education Programs Manager, Allison Speight creates, implements, and supervises programs and materials for families, students, and adults who use CBMM as a resource, including the CBMM Volunteer Program, and Lighthouse Overnight Adventures. Speight previously served as CBMM’s Education & Volunteer Coordinator, beginning her career at CBMM as an education intern in 2013. Speight graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington College with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a concentration in Chesapeake regional studies.

Matt Engel has been promoted to Lead Educator, after serving for more than two years as CBMM’s Shipwright Educator. As Lead Educator, Engel will continue to develop the Rising Tide After-School Boatbuilding Program in addition to supporting school tours and programs.

Engel brings more than ten years’ experience in boatbuilding, project management, and training program development. In addition to founding his own construction company, Engel most recently served as Senior Programs Manager with All Hands Volunteers in Leyte, Philippines, where he managed and mentored program managers across multiple reconstruction projects. Engel learned the aspects of wooden boat construction at The Landing School in Arundel, Me.

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 80,000 guests each year, CBMM’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats and numerous indoor and outdoor exhibitions situated in a park-like setting along the Miles River and St. Michaels’ harbor. For more information, visit cbmm.org.

Willow Construction Launches New Website

Willow Construction is inviting visitors to explore its new, improved and redesigned website at www.willowconstruction.com. The new website provides enhanced navigation and user experience, and aims at showcasing the company’s best practices, completed projects, and value-added services.

Willow Construction’s new website is designed with all stakeholders in mind, including architects, engineers, developers, and the communities we serve. Visitors seeking to find the best in construction solutions can now quickly locate information with ease of access to project delivery methods, types of construction services, completed projects in the region, as well as stay up-to-date with the latest news, press releases, and upcoming events. Willow Construction’s primary objective is to be an online resource center for customers and prospects looking to learn more about the industries advantages and best practices when considering a construction project.

About Willow Construction:

Willow Construction is one of the largest and most trusted commercial construction firms and residential builders on Delmarva. Headquartered in Easton, Maryland, we’ve completed hundreds of projects throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Virginia, and the state of Delaware. Willow construction delivers quality construction and trusted services.

Hair O’ The Dog Supports CBMM Restoration Efforts

Hair O’ The Dog Wine and Spirits of Easton, Md., recently made a generous donation to support the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s restoration of 1889 bugeye Edna Lockwood. Through her re-launch at OysterFest on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, $3 of every bottle of Boatman Red Blend wine sold at Hair O’ The Dog will go directly to CBMM. To learn about the Edna Lockwood restoration, visit ednalockwood.org. For more on CBMM, visit cbmm.org. Pictured in front of Edna Lockwood, from left, are CBMM’s Director of Development Liz LaCorte and Shipyard Manager Michael Gorman, and Hair O’ The Dog Wine Buyer Devon Harvey and Owner Joe Petro.

Shore Leadership Class of 2017 Graduates 23 Participants

The 23 participants of the 2017 Shore Leadership Class completed their nine -month program with a final Graduation Dinner on November 28th at Suicide Bridge Restaurant.  The class members were from Talbot, Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Wicomico and Dorchester Counties and represented education, non-profits, financial services, government, agriculture and business.

Members of the 2017 graduating class are: Leisl Ashby, Kathy Clark, Paul Hagood, Tom Hutchinson, Robert Kelly, Michael Kiko, Denise Lovelady, Kim Magaha, Beth Mathis, Gretchen Messick, Robin O’Brien, David Plotts, Maria Reichart, Candice Schroepfer,  Same Shoge, Lee Ann Shortall, Derek Simmons, Renee’ Stephens, Owen Sutherland, Sara Visintainer, Bob Weber, Tami Weber and Derek White.

During the nine month program the class learned and practiced a variety of leadership skills and visited different counties on the shore learning about agriculture, education, tourism, manufacturing, opioid epidemic and rural health, environment and legacy, and technology and workforce development.

Shore Leadership Chair, Debra Rich of Shore Bancshares, welcomed everyone to the graduation and stressed the importance of keeping in touch with fellow class members and connecting with other alumni.  In coming Chair, Jim Crowley of Easton Utilities, gave a toast to the class, congratulating them on their accomplishments and encouraging them to stay engaged with Shore Leadership by participating in alumni events.

Derek White made a presentation on behalf of the class, to highlight what each class member learned throughout the program and the impact that each of the sessions had made on their personal or professional growth.  Dr. Joe Thomas, Leadership Facilitator, gave the graduation address highlighting the lessons reviewed during the year.

Program Sponsors this past year included:  University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, Ms. Sue Simmons, Shore Bancshares, Inc., Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit, F3 Tech and Bob Rich, Advisor at SVN Miller Commercial Real Estate, Easton.

Upcoming Shore Leadership events include the Annual Breakfast Meeting on January 17th at the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center and LEADS (leadership development training) at the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore on March 28, 2018.

For more information about Shore Leadership or to apply to the Class of 2018 visit www.shoreleadership.org or contact info@shoreleadership.org.

The Caroline Foundation Awards Grants

The Board of Directors for the Caroline Foundation: Terry Mead, Bob Jarrell, Berl Lovelace, JoAnn Staples, Becky Loukides, Harry Cole, Richard Wheatley, Charlie Davis, Wayne Cole, Glen Plutschak, Michele Wayman, Miki Phillips, Jerry Garey and Tony Gianninoto and Mid-Shore Community Foundation President, Buck Duncan presented $564,570 in grant funding to the following organizations.

Caroline County Emergency Services – Response Services and Automated External Defibrillators, Caroline County Family YMCA – Open Doors Program,Caroline County Health Department – Addiction Treatment, Caroline County Public Schools – LifeSkills Training Program, Caroline County Public Schools – Weekend Food Program, Caroline County Sheriff’s Office – Drug Dog, Caroline Hospice Foundation – Patient Services, Caroline Medical Adult Day Care – Financial Aid, Channel Marker – Transportation Improvements, For All Seasons – Patient Services, His Hope Haven – Homeless Shelter, Partners in Care – Outreach Coordinator, Rebuilding Together Caroline County – Home Repair Services, St. Martin’s Ministries – Healthy Seniors Program, Upper Shore Aging – Patient Services.

The Caroline Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that awards grants to nonprofit organizations that provide medical and/or health-related services to residents of Caroline County.  The Mid-Shore Community Foundation provides administrative services and manages the grantmaking process on behalf of the Caroline Foundation.  Grant applications are available online at mscf.org/caroline-foundation and the deadline for submission is July 1, 2018.  Contributions to the Caroline Foundations are tax-deductible and should be directed to the Caroline Foundation, P.O. Box 607, Denton, MD.  Planned giving options are available.  For additional information, visit https://www.mscf.org/.