The Entrepreneur of Hooper’s Island: Johnny Shockley Nationally Brands the Eastern Shore Oyster

While most of the Eastern Shore’s watermen had known for some time that their centuries old harvesting industry was dying over the last several decades, Johnny Shockley, along with friend Ricky Fitzhugh, did not take that news sitting down. Aware of how unique Chesapeake Bay oysters were, and the exceptional market demand they offered, Shockley and his family went back to the drawing board to re-invent the oyster business from the ground up.

The result of that hard work and creative effort was the founded of the Hooper’s Island Oyster Aquaculture Company, which stands as one of the best examples of blending age old tradition with high technology tools to keep one of the Bay’s iconic trades viable and environmentally sustainable.

In his interview with the Spy, Johnny Shockley outlines what it took to kick-start Hooper’s Island Oyster Co. into one of the most innovative aquaculture enterprises on the East Coast. Johnny also highlights the role his family plays with the business, the successful by-products which include the international sale of specialized equipment, ecotourism, and the ongoing marketing efforts, including entertaining tours of wholesalers and restaurant chefs in conjunction with the Dorchester County Tourism to get the world out.

This video is approximately five minutes in length

Maryland 3.0: The Emergence of 1880 Bank with CEO Kim Liddell

If one listed the top financial stories on the Eastern Shore so far this year, Cambridge’s 1880 Bank acquisition of Easton Bank a few months ago would lead that category. The purchase of the Talbot County bank founded by Dr. David Hill, by Dorchester County’s former National Bank of Cambridge is seen as a logical move by 1880 to grow sufficiently enough to remain a healthy institution in the world of community banking.

Heading this transition has been Kim Liddell, who was recruited in 2010 to help chart the 130-year-old community bank’s future in the post-recession era. With a career in bank management in the metro Washington DC region for over twenty years, the native North Carolinian talks to the Spy about his unique experience of finding a way forward for 1880, his impressions of a regulatory burdens for small banks in America, and memories of starting as the new kid on the block on the Eastern Shore but with advantage of having the late Mike Menzies, former CEO of Easton Bank and Trust, as a friend and mentor.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length.


The First Five Years: Ian Fleming & Mark Salter at the Robert Morris Inn

When Ian Fleming and Mark Salter started out on their own after leaving the Inn at Perry Cabin in 2010, it was hard to imagine a more perfect pairing of professional skills. Ian, with years of experience in the hospitality trade, including managing some of the world’s most exclusive resorts with Michelin top ratings, matched with Mark’s legendary tenure as Perry Cabin’s executive chef, seemed made in heaven as they began as co-owners of the Robert Morris Inn in Oxford.

In fact, that match was not made in heaven but Scotland. Almost thirty-two years ago, they became friends while working together at the Cromlix House Restaurant, one of country’s most successful dining venues at the time, and credited in helping ignited a new era of fine dining in the United Kingdom.

Fast forward to 2015, having survived the great recession and a host of major changes in the food and hospitality business, Ian and Mark look back in their Spy interview at their five years doing business on the Strand in Oxford.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length

hotDesks Profiles New Start-Up Water Monitoring Company

Lee Beauchamp, co-founder of O-P-S LLC, has over 12 years of leadership experience managing public works departments and facilities—specifically in area of water and wastewater treatment.

A licensed Professional Engineer, Lee was the Operator in Charge of the Cortlandt Manor Consolidated Water Department in New York and the Wicomico County Public Works Department on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Lee Beauchamp, co-founder of O-P-S LLC,

Lee Beauchamp, co-founder of O-P-S LLC,

His experience inspired him to launch O-P-S LLC with the creation of WaterOPS, a suite of cloud-based water monitoring software that helps municipalities meet and exceed water quality standards—and avoid potential costly violations.

His operational experience leading major public works projects has been crucial in the architecture of the compliance engine in WaterOPS that helps municipalities and facility managers meet the needs of engineers and licensed inspectors in the field.

“WaterOPS empowers facilities managers and municipalities with assurance and confidence when reporting to regulators,” Lee says.

Lee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from University of Delaware and a Master’s in Business Administration from Wilmington University. He is currently serving on the executive board for the County Engineers Association of Maryland and is a Staff Sergeant in the Delaware Army National Guard.

Lee credits the mentorship and programs offered at hotDesks for accelerating the development of his startup business.

“Membership in the coworking space at hotDesks is absolutely helping us launch our products and services way ahead of schedule,” he said.

He also said the hotDesks accelerator program moved at the pace of his days at Army bootcamp—where he was prepared “to meet major challenges in a relatively short period of time.”

Lee completed hotDesks’ first 6-week accelerator program in April and his company recently won a grant from the Shore Hatchery Entrepreneurship Competition at Salisbury University. The money will go to continue research and development of WaterOPS.

The company is seeking investors at this time, Lee says.



Federalsburg Becomes Caroline County’s First Enterprise Zone

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) today announced the designation of the Federalsburg Enterprise Zone in Caroline County. In addition, DBED also approved an expansion and re-designation of the Chesapeake Enterprise Zone in Baltimore County, as well as an expansion of the Cecil County Enterprise Zone. Enterprise Zones enable jurisdictions to provide businesses located within the zones with income tax and property tax credits to help create and retain jobs.

“I am pleased to designate Caroline County’s first Enterprise Zone and help expand zones in Baltimore and Cecil counties,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “The zones help sustain existing businesses and attract much-needed new businesses, allowing us to achieve our most important goal of creating and retaining jobs.”

Last year, businesses located in the State’s 28 Enterprise Zones received more than $17 million in property tax credits, which have contributed to $2.7 billion in capital investment in Maryland businesses in last year alone, and $13.7 billion over the past 5 years.

The Federalsburg Enterprise Zone covers more than 530 acres, including downtown Federalsburg, as well as three industrial parks and other key commercial buildings. The designation of an enterprise zone will help Federalsburg spur economic development, increase the number of jobs, and reduce poverty rates. This is the first time Caroline County has applied for the program.

“Federalsburg is the economic engine of Caroline County,” said Federalsburg Mayor William Beall.  “We have growing companies ready to take advantage of the Enterprise Zone benefits, and we’re excited about the new businesses that the Zone will attract.”

The North Point Enterprise Zone, which expires this year, has been renamed the Chesapeake Enterprise Zone and expanded by more than 3,000 acres. The re-designation will help Baltimore County retain and expand existing companies, while encouraging out-of-town companies to relocate and take advantage of the industrial, warehouse, distribution, and Port-related opportunities on the Sparrows Point Peninsula and the Middle River Depot, a former World War II aircraft factory.

“Over the past twenty years, enterprise zone designation has been a catalyst for more than $300 million in new private investment in eastern Baltimore County,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “With the expansion of the Chesapeake Enterprise Zone to 7,000 acres, we can further leverage these targeted tax benefits to bring new jobs and businesses to Sparrows Point, Dundalk and Middle River, the region’s traditional manufacturing and logistics center.”

Additionally, the Cecil County Enterprise Zone has been expanded to include more than 1,000 acres in the Town of Port Deposit, including the former U.S. Naval Bainbridge Training Center and the Tomes Landing Marina. This expansion gives the county nearly 6,000 acres of Enterprise Zone area.

The Enterprise Zone designation is a vital incentive for Cecil County and prospective businesses,” said Lisa Webb, Director of Economic Development for Cecil County. “It has been proven effective in creating job opportunities and encouraging capital investment in our community. We are pleased to include Port Deposit/Bainbridge in the expansion, and believe this positions Cecil to be more competitive and strengthens our growth corridor.”

DBED approves the State’s Enterprise Zones, while local governments are responsible for their administration. Businesses operating within an Enterprise Zone may be eligible for a tax credit towards their state income tax filings based upon the number of new jobs created, and a tax credit on their local real property taxes based upon their overall capital investment into a property.

HotDesks Coworking Members Launch Beta Testing of Nightlife App

NuVuHave you ever been out on the town and couldn’t find a good place to go? Nuvu Co-Founders Ryan Nuzum and Nick Simpson have developed a social media app that takes the time and guess work out of getting the most fun out of your evening.

“It’s a nightlife app that tells you all the exciting things that are happening at bars, night clubs and restaurants before you even get there,” says Nuvu Co-Founder Nick Simpson.

“Your night, your way” is that app’s promise to help users find a place to meet others with similar interests and profiles, says Simpson.

“You can login with Facebook or simply register your profile on the app,” says Co-Founder Ryan Nuzum.

The Internet-based app is free to users and the revenue stream will come from businesses that pay a subscriber fee to reach customers on their smartphones or other handheld devices.

“This is the essence of real-time target marketing because it reaches customers who are in the immediate area,” Simpson said.

These recent college grads say they plan to have the app on every smartphone in America.

Simpson and Nuzum said they were in Ocean City, Maryland one night in the summer of 2014 and wanted to know the best places to go—and that’s when they came up with the idea for an app to help businesses connect with customers in real-time.

Nuvu currently has a beta app with a restaurant in Washington, DC and “the results have far exceeded our expectations,” Simpson said.

Nuvu reaches users through Facebook or by simply registering your profile

The two credit much of their success to the programs and mentoring that comes with a membership at hotDesks.

“Affordable 24/7 access to modern office facilities in Easton and Salisbury has taken away the burden of maintaining an office,” Nuzum says.

“We’ve been able to keep our costs way down and focus on growing the business.”

“We’ve also been mentored by some very successful investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders who have proven success in bringing products and services to market,” Simpson says. “hotDesks and its partners have been invaluable to Nuvu.”

Simpson and Nuzum have won numerous business competitions to help fund the development of

Nuvu, including:

• 1st Place, Eastern Shore Business Competition, 2014

• 1st Place, Purdue School of Business Bernstein Entrepreneurship Completion, 2014

• Maryland Capital Enterprises People’s Choice Award for Most Investable Business, 2014

• InvestMaryland Finalist $10,000, 2015

• Award Philip E. & Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery Competition $25,000,

“All told we’ve raised about $80,000 towards the development of Nuvu,” Simpson said.

The app was also showcased at the Collision Tech Conference in Las Vegas in May.

hotDesks Executive Director Mike Thielke said the facilities and programs offered at the Easton and Salisbury facilities are critical for supporting innovative startups in the Delmarva region.

“There must continue to be a place to tap emerging talent in our own backyard,” Thielke said. “We must help grow these new businesses with all the resources at our disposal, which means providing access to capital and expertise for new startups like Nuvu, and we have more innovators taking advantage of the coworking space.”



Delmarva Programmers Work with NASA on Locating World’s Fresh Water

Computer programmers and engineers from the Delmarva region worked with NASA the weekend of April 11-12, to solve one of the world’s biggest challenges, locating fresh water resources around the globe.

Recent graduates from Salisbury University and University of Delaware participated in the annual NASA Space Apps Challenge — a two-day hackathon where engineers, programmers, scientists and artists from around the world connect in real time to solve 50 global challenges presented by the agency.

This year 133 locations from 80 countries participated.

Mike Gicking, Andrew Campbell, Matt Thorne and Rob Close test the functionality of their water mapping application they developed during the 2015 NASA Space Apps Challenge, Sunday, April 12 at the hotDesks Innovation Center in Salisbury, Maryland.

Mike Gicking, Andrew Campbell, Matt Thorne and Rob Close test the functionality of their water mapping application they developed during the 2015 NASA Space Apps Challenge, Sunday, April 12 at the hotDesks Innovation Center in Salisbury, Maryland.

As the clock ticked down on the weekend the Salisbury team had a working mobile Android application that connects with a database to map freshwater resources around the world, said Rob Close, a 2015 graduate of Salisbury University and the organizer of the team. He said the application works with a web service the team created over the weekend.

“Our application is a tool that field technicians can use to find, track, and monitor freshwater sources at any location on the planet,” Close said. “The website is designed and ready to be deployed to a hosting server.”

The applications gives technicians a Google map view to access and update information in the database.

Close said the application could be easily developed to work with other handheld devices.

“We think this [project] was pretty important because water stress is a pretty important issue that we’re seeing in America and all over the world, especially in developing nations,” said Andrew Campbell, who majored in information system and engineering at University of Delaware.

“Anyone can download [the application and use it] to give us information about usable water sources,” said Matt Thorne, who recently graduated from Salisbury with a degree in Math and Computer Science.

The team named their app, Where Did the Water Go?

The Salisbury team advanced to the next level of judging by NASA – as did another Maryland team from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, which also worked on the water mapping challenge.

The Salisbury Space Apps Team lay out the architecture for their global water mapping application, Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Salisbury Space Apps Team lay out the architecture for their global water mapping application, Saturday, April 11, 2015

But only five finalists in each category will advance in May for a final round of judging by NASA executives.

This was the fourth International Space Apps Challenge and the second year a team from the Shore was sponsored by in Salisbury.

“We are proud to sponsor this event because it’s becoming crystal clear that Delmarva isn’t just for agriculture anymore,” said Mike Thielke, Executive Director of Easton-based “We can be formidable where education, entrepreneurship and technology converge to grow innovative businesses right here on the peninsula. We have world class colleges and universities with robust business and science programs that can be leveraged to build job-creating enterprises in our communities.” is a co-working space, with locations in Easton and Salisbury that supports the growing technology sector on the Shore with office space, entrepreneurship programs and mentoring.


Solve Problems in Health & Wellness at Startup Weekend

Easton hotDesks will host Startup Weekend – Health, May 15-17, to help those with innovative ideas for improving health care.

The event is an opportunity to transform health care ideas into action in 54 hours.

Everyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams form around the top ideas and then spend 54 hours creating, coding, designing and marketing those ideas into action. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurs and business leaders with experience in finance and marketing. These leaders will offer critiques and feedback to help you get to the next step.

You do not need to be a designer, coder, or even a healthcare professional to join – the only requirements are curiosity and your passion for making the world a better place. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Startup Weekend will take place at 7 Goldsborough Street, Easton, MD 21601. Tickets are avaialble here: #SWDelmarva. Questions? or call 410.770.9330

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HotDesks Opens in Easton for Entrepreneurs opened a second co-working space on the Shore to support startup businesses and entrepreneurs bringing innovative solutions and products to market.

The new facility at 7A Goldsborough St. in Easton will offer startup businesses and individuals a professional office environment with high speed Internet, printer, fax, conference room and all the coffee you can drink.

The historic downtown location is convenient to banks, local government, shops, restaurants, and businesses. Memberships range from $25 to $99 month and come with 24/7 secure access to the facility. Executive Director Mike Thielke said memberships also come with access to the Salisbury location, which opened in 2012.

“If you’re a member of one you’re a member of both and you’re in two of the Shore’s largest business hubs,” Thielke said at the opening on Thursday, April 2.

“It’s a great way for entrepreneurs to drastically cut office expenses from the start and focus on bringing their ideas to market,” Thielke said. “It’s also an important place for entrepreneurs to build with others who too are striving to carve out a niche.”

Thielke said he got the idea for the first hotDesk location in Salisbury three years ago, when he realized that many entrepreneurs were working out of coffee shops. “If you’re camped out in a coffee shop all the time you’re at least spending $4 or $5 a day just to use Internet,” Thielke said. “Here you have access to high speed Internet and all the other technology and office provides.

Talbot Commissioner Dirck Bartlett: “We’re doing a lot of work on our infrastructure to make sure we have what entrepreneurs want.” Find a quiet spot in the facility for privacy. It’s also an ideal place when working from

your home comes with too many distractions.”

At the grand opening on Thursday local supporters poured in to show support for the project.

Talbot County Commissioner Dirck Bartlett said the location was prime for attracting businesses to Talbot.

“We’re always excited about attracting entrepreneurs to Talbot,” Bartlett said. “We’re doing a lot of work on our infrastructure to make sure we have what entrepreneurs want, like high speed broadband. We think Talbot is a great place to be and we hope hotDesks is way of attracting people who are starting a small company. These entrepreneurs will help grow the local economy and hopefully create jobs.”

“We’re really excited to have the opportunity to be a host community for hotDesks,” said

Talbot Chamber of Commerce President Alan I. Silverstein. “We think it’s a great concept, it’s cutting edge and it will bring entrepreneurs to the community, keep them here and help them grow. The goal is to help build them up so they can provide more employment opportunities here in the community.”

Easton hotDesks will offer the same programs and mentoring that have proved uccessful at the Salisbury co-working space. Visit to know more.

Maryland 3.0: The Yarn Way of Life on the Eastern Shore

The surprisingly consistent characteristic with many  successful entrepreneurs is the simple fact that they are not motivated by money. Financial compensation normally does arrive in some form with a successful business, but the driving force can only be described as a way of life.

And in the case of Gryphon Corpus, founder of the Easton-based The Verdant Gryphon, and her business partner Jamie Campbell, that way of life goes well beyond the manufacturing of some of the most sought after yarns in North America.

One clue that may suggest a more holistic approach to entrepreneurship is the extraordinary background of both women. Austrian-born Gryphon majored in philosophy and later spent the first four years of her professional life as a molecular biologist. Jamie, on the other end of the spectrum, studied classical ballet and worked in professional dance organizations.

Known for yarns of exquisite colors and the best material, the company grew to twenty-four employees  as a result of their hard-earned popularity. But that was the wrong direction they wanted to go.

Over the last few years, both Gryphon and Jamie have used their significantly different skill sets to scale back their business to make it more personally sustainable. In their interview with the Spy, they describe their approach to work and how they define entrepreneurial success.