Commerce: Rise Partners Purchase Easton Marketplace

Rise Partners, an investment group focused on shopping center acquisitions, redevelopments and ground-up development, today announced its purchase of Easton Marketplace, a 126,650 square foot shopping center located in Easton, Maryland. This is Rise Partners second acquisition and is a solid fit to its strategy of buying premium location redevelopment opportunities.

“Easton Marketplace provided us with an excellent chance to enter a market with high barriers to entry, that has the added benefit of serving a large second home market, with additional drive-through traffic from the Washington D.C. metro en route to the Atlantic beaches,” said Greg Wilson, a Rise partner. “We are excited about working with retailers and the city of Easton to take this center to the next level.”

A redevelopment beginning this fall will subdivide a now-vacant 33,000 square foot former JCPenney building to create two new tenant spaces, which will be occupied by well-known national retailers. The project will complement the existing tenants, which include Weis Markets and shadow anchors Lowes and Kohls.

“Easton is such a beautiful and historic community with easy access to Washington DC and Baltimore. We are all excited to spend time there working to enhance Easton Marketplaces’ longstanding position within the market,” said Rise partner Geoff Smith. “

Andy Stape and Vito Lupo, of KLNB Retail Investment Sales Group, represented the seller.

The Power of Being Agile: Qlarant Embraces the Agile Manifesto

There’s a good chance that most people, even those running major businesses on the Mid-Shore, have never heard of the Agile Manifesto nor its twelve principles of project management but there is an equally good chance they will soon.

This project planning strategy, which was created in 1983 by software developers in a remote ski lodge over a long weekend, has been the go-to system for complex product development but rarely used beyond its intended silo. In most cases, upper management was pleased to get their products to market but didn’t pay too much attention to what system was used to create those products.

But in the last decade, all of that has changed dramatically. Hundreds of companies have now adopted this unique methodology and applied it to other functions like marketing, business administration, human resources, employee education, and countless other areas of a business.

The Agile approach has become so effective that companies are not only using it but in some cases will not even be able to bid on projects unless they are officially certified as an Agile-based business.

Easton-based Qlarant had been one of those companies who adopted the Agile principles early on in the development of their sophisticated software to uncover health insurance fraud and waste. So impressed with those results, management took the Agile model and has now used it in almost every part of the company’s mission. But more recently, the company took it to another level; they applied for and received approval to train and implement these techniques with their clients.

The reason is quite simple; the Agile method works exceptionally well. While a few large corporations have had some trouble in developing the cultural shift needed to successfully deploy the twelve principles, the vast majority of companies using Agile have shown remarkable success.

In fact, the enthusiasm for this simple approach has been so great that advocates demand that nonprofit organizations and schools to integrate its use while others have promoted its use to manage their family life

Needless to say, the Spy was intrigued by this new development and what it may mean for Qlarant  to be one of the first in the country to offer this as an important part of their tool chest. We sat down with Qlarant’s Ellen Evans and Andrew Welsh a few weeks ago to learn more. 

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Qlarant please go here.

Easton Utilities Welcomes High School Interns

Through a partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, Easton Utilities welcomed three students to participate in the internship program for the spring semester. “TCPS is thrilled Easton Utilities has expanded their internship program to accommodate our high school students by offering a unique and meaningful opportunity that will significantly help these students meet their college and career goals,” stated Jodie Colombo, TCPS School-to-Career Transition Facilitator.

L to R: Easton High School students Michael Clark, Maddie Book and Ethan Elms

The high school internship program at Easton Utilities is a formal, comprehensive experience designed for selected candidates to gain valuable experience in their field of interest. “Our program provides a foundation for learning professional etiquette in a structured workplace environment with realistic business situations,” said Melissa Book, Human Resources Generalist for Easton Utilities.

All three students are currently enrolled in the TCPS Career and Technology Education (CTE) program, a curriculum aimed to guide, educate and prepare students for today’s workforce. During the semester, interns will work with various team members of Easton Utilities to acquire the skills necessary to perform daily departmental tasks related to their CTE program. To culminate the internship, each participant will present their final project to their department and supervising staff.

For more information about the internship program at Easton Utilities, please visit or call 410-822-6110.

Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye Joins Fleetwood Insurance

Pictured from left to right: Scott Bramble, Bill Griffin, Josh Johnson and Creg Fleetwood

Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye, one of Talbot County’s oldest and best-established insurance agencies, has joined forces with Fleetwood Insurance Group, another prominent Eastern Shore agency based in Chestertown.

Effective January 2, 2019, the two Mid-Shore insurance agencies are uniting their resources to offer expanded services along with added convenience. According to Creg Fleetwood, president of Fleetwood Insurance Group, customers of both agencies will benefit from this in several important ways.

“This partnership of equals will allow us to offer our customers expanded services from more insurance carriers, along with accessibility to industry leaders,” Fleetwood states. “We’re also planning to introduce improved technology, including mobile apps and online account access.”

By acquiring BG&V, Fleetwood Insurance gains a desired presence in the Talbot market. Established in 1967, over the past half-century Bartlett Griffin & Vermilye has built a strong reputation for outstanding customer service and support. Fleetwood Insurance Group (formerly known as FAM&M), has a heritage of providing insurance services to the Eastern Shore region since 1946, going back more than 70 years. According to Fleetwood, those well-established relationships will continue, with services being provided by the same friendly and professional team members at both entities many of whom have 25 years or more of insurance industry experience in supporting their local customers.

Bill Griffin of Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye commented, “Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye will continue to provide the level of service our clients are accustomed to and remain locally owned and operated”.

In addition, as part of the new partnership, Spencer McAllister, Fleetwood’s agent in Easton, will join the staff at the Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye office.

For more information about the new partnership and the expanded services being offered by Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye, please call 410-822-2400.

Maryland Relay Announces New MAT Program Evaluation Centers

Maryland Relay, the free public service that allows people who are unable to use a standard telephone to make and receive calls, announces that it has entered into new agreements with five organizations to provide evaluations for the Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program.

The following organizations are now providing MAT program evaluations in 10 locations across the state:

Telecommunications Access of Maryland (TAM) oversees the MAT program and is serving applicants from Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil and Harford Counties at its Baltimore City location.

Independent Marylanders Achieving Growth through Empowerment (IMAGE) Center of Maryland, located in Towson, with Accessible Resources for Independence, located in Glen Burnie, is serving applicants from Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard Counties.

Easter Seals is serving applicants in Carroll, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Washington Counties at its Hagerstown and Silver Spring locations.

MAC, Inc. is serving applicants on Maryland’s Eastern Shore at its Salisbury and Easton locations.

Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MD TAP) is serving applicants in Baltimore City and Alleghany, Baltimore, Calvert, Charles, Garrett, and St. Mary’s Counties at its Baltimore City, Cumberland and Mechanicsville locations.

“Our main goal is always to make telecommunication easy and accessible for all Marylanders,” said Asia Johnson, Maryland Relay public relations officer. “It is vital to the MAT program that we have evaluation centers throughout the state to help us serve as many people as possible, and we are thrilled to have established new partnerships with these community organizations.”

Established in 1997, the MAT program was one of the first of its kind in the United States to offer no-cost assistive telecommunications equipment to qualified residents who cannot use a standard telephone. Equipment available through the MAT program includes amplified phones, captioned telephones, ring signalers, tablets, large-button telephones, hands-free phones, and more.

Qualified MAT applicants are those who do not use a standard telephone due to their hearing status, speech difficulty, low vision, low mobility, or cognitive factors. They must also meet specific financial requirements. Once approved, applicants will receive notification via their preferred method of communication (standard mail or email) and must then schedule an evaluation at a MAT center to ensure they receive the equipment best suited to meet their needs.

People wishing to apply for the MAT program, or who would like more information, may visit or contact Maryland Relay at 800-552-7724 (Voice/TTY),410-767-6960 (Voice/TTY), or 443-453-5970 (Video Phone).

About Maryland Relay
Maryland Relay provides a free public service that allows people, unable to use a standard telephone, to both make and receive calls. The Maryland Accessible Telecommunications (MAT) program distributes State-provided assistive telecommunication devices to qualified applicants. Maryland Relay is easily accessed by dialing 7-1-1 and is overseen by Telecommunications Access of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Information Technology. For more information about Maryland Relay and its services, please visit or call 800-552-7724 or 410-767-6960 (Voice/TTY) or 443-453-5970 (Video Phone).

Delmarva Power Energizes Two Major Projects on Eastern Shore

Delmarva Power has energized two major substations in Hebron and Centreville, part of the company’s ongoing efforts to deliver safe and reliable service for customers across the Eastern Shore. The new Hebron and Carville substations, totaling more than $24 million, will enhance electric service for more than 15,400 customers across Wicomico and Queen Anne’s counties.

“Maintaining the safe and reliable service our customers expect requires ongoing efforts to modernize the local energy grid,” said Tyler Anthony, senior vice president & COO, Pepco Holdings, which includes Delmarva Power. “Energizing these new substations helps us continue to meet this commitment and deliver record electric service reliability for our customers.”

Substations, like Hebron and Carville, reduce the voltage of electricity as it is delivered across the region to homes and businesses. Built by Delmarva Power and local contract crews, the new substations will help deliver energy more efficiently and create new configurations on the local energy grid that allow Delmarva Power to automatically restore service more quickly or isolate damage. By automating certain functions on the electric system, the new substations create a smarter energy grid and reduce the number of potential outages in the neighborhoods they serve.

Photo: Delmarva Power employees completing the final stages of preparation before energizing the new Carville substation in Centreville, Md.

The new substations are part of a broader reliability improvement plan Delmarva Power is implementing on the Eastern Shore to reduce outages and enhance the resiliency of the local energy grid. This effort includes modernizing infrastructure, such as transmission and distribution lines, and adding greater automation on the local energy grid with new substations and equipment.

Over the last five years, Delmarva Power has invested hundreds of millions of dollars across its service area to modernize the local energy grid. Delmarva Power customers continue to benefit from the enhancements being made and have seen the frequency of outages decrease 34 percent.

Energy delivery charges on customer bills pay for important projects, like these new substations, that help deliver energy to customers in Delmarva Power’s service area. In 2018, Delmarva Power spent more than $425 million to enhance the local energy grid and provide safe and reliable service for customers. Delivery charges for Maryland customers are reviewed and set by the Maryland Public Service Commission through a transparent regulatory rate review process.

To learn more about Delmarva Power, visit The Source, Delmarva Power’s online news room. Find additional information by visiting, on Facebook at and on Twitter at Delmarva Power’s mobile app is available at

About Delmarva Power: Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), provides safe and reliable energy to more than 520,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware and Maryland and approximately 132,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware.

Rob Billings Named to Pacesetter’s Club at Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley announced today that Robert M. Billings, a Financial Advisor in its Wealth Management office in Easton, has been named to the Firm’s Pacesetter’s Club, a global recognition program for Financial Advisors who, within their first five years, demonstrate the highest professional standards and first class client service.

Rob, who has been with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management since 2015, is a native of Easton, MD.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington College and a graduate degree from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Rob currently lives in Chestertown.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, a global leader, provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, banking services, annuities and insurance, retirement and trust services.  

Hopkins Original Art opens Vinyl Record and CD store in St Michaels

Hopkins Original Art combines music and art in St Michaels by opening a record store of 3000+ vinyl records and CDs as a welcomed addition to their art gallery.It is a handpicked collection ranging in genres of rock, alternative, new wave, jazz and more.

Visitors enjoy the listening station with headphones and also turntables with speakers to listen and add to the experience. Singing and dancing is a regular

This opportunity will be available while the supply lasts. No additions will be added to the collection. The hours are Thursday thru Sunday 10am to 5pm all
year. 310 S. Talbot 410-610-5785

Qlarant Named AgileCxO Transformation Partner

Today CEO Dr. Ron Forsythe, PhD announced that Qlarant, a leader in quality improvement for the nation’s most important agencies, is an AgileCxO Transformation Partner. As a licensed Partner, Qlarant will deploy certified individuals to deliver Agile assessment, coaching and training services, using AgileCxO’ s performance capability model, the Agile Performance Holarchy (APH) ®.

The APH is an organizational operating system for sustainable and scaled agility developed by AgileCxO, a research and development organization dedicated to studying agile leadership and building performance models, training, and organizational certifications for large agile organizations.  Qlarant is now able to assess a corporation’s overall Agile capability maturity level, and develop a course of action to enable it to be certified as a high-performing Agile organization.  Certification is available on three levels: Adopting, Transforming and Mastering.   Jeff Dalton, CEO at AgileCxO comments: “As a provider of world-class solutions that focus on discovering risks, driving quality improvement, and delivering customized solutions to solve complex, real-world problems, Qlarant is ideally positioned to help customers conquer large-scale agile using the Agile Performance Holarchy Model.”

“Corporations invest thousands of dollars in training their employees individually on agile philosophies” continues Dr. Forsythe “but to be effective, the entire organization needs to embrace an Agile mindset and culture.  Being certified in AgileCXO demonstrates a commitment to this leadership style.  Qlarant can help organizations gain that certification.”

Leaders today recognize the benefits of Agile management but are struggling to transition from traditional command & control hierarchies to self-organizing agile teams that operate transparently and collaboratively to adapt to an ever-changing customer-driven marketplace. Before organizations can effectively implement and truly reap the performance gains of Agile they need to fundamentally transform their core operating system, leadership structure and culture across the organization.  The Agile Performance Holarchy (APH) provides that operating system.

About Qlarant: Qlarant is a nationally respected solutions leader in fighting fraud, waste, and abuse—improving program quality, and optimizing performance through technology. The company uses subject matter experts and innovative data science and technology to help organizations see risks, solve problems, and seize opportunities. Solutions are customized for state and federal agencies as well as commercial industries across the nation. The Qlarant Foundation— the mission arm of the organization—provides grants to services provided in underserved communities. Qlarant employs nearly 500 people and has a 45-year record of accomplishment improving the performance of some of the Nation’s most important programs. Qlarant is a licensed AgileCxO Transformation Partner. For more information call  833-296-3146 or visit

Qlarant Recognized as One of the Nation’s Best and Brightest Companies

Qlarant announced today that they have received the national recognition of being selected a winner in the Best and Brightest Companies to work for in the Nation.  The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® annual competition strives to recognize the most influential, trend-setting companies across the country by reviewing answers to questions about communication, work-life balance, employee education,  and diversity.  It identifies and honors companies that deliver exceptional human resource practices and an impressive commitment to their employees. Participating companies have the opportunity to benchmark results with other cities such as Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, and Chicago.  Nationwide there were over 2400 nominations who met all the participation requirements.

The Qlarant Easton based employees participating in community service.

The competition identified Qlarant as a key industry leader, top influencer and best in class performer in this national annual competition.

Deborah Keller, Vice President of Human Resources at Qlarant commented, “We are thrilled that our associates nominated us for this award – it demonstrates that they believe Qlarant is an exceptional place to work; we are focused on offering affordable benefits that appeal to a broad workforce and providing a strong work/life balance.  Winning the award is a strong testament to commitment to our culture.”

About Qlarant

Qlarant is a not-for-profit, nationally respected leader in fighting fraud, waste, and abuse—improving program quality, and optimizing performance. The company uses subject matter experts and innovative data science and technology to help organizations see risks, solve problems, and seize opportunities. Solutions are customized for state and federal agencies as well as commercial industries across the nation. The Qlarant Foundation— the mission arm of the organization—provides grants to services provided in underserved communities. Qlarant employs nearly 500 people and has a 45-year record of accomplishment improving the performance of some of the Nation’s most important programs. Qlarant is a licensed AgileCxO Transformation Partner.

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