Habitat Choptank and Lowe’s to Host National Women Build Week

Next week, Habitat Choptank and Lowe’s will host the annual National Women Build Week from May 5-13 where women volunteers and Habitat homeowners will unite nationwide to build up their communities and gain skills in home construction.

National Women Build Week encourages women nationwide to devote at least one day to help build decent and affordable housing in our local communities. Women have the strength and determination necessary to build Habitat houses, addressing the problem of affordable housing in a concrete way so that families can achieve stability and independence through safe, decent and affordable homes.

Habitat Choptank will be offering the following build days for volunteers to get involved for a full day or a half day.  The build days will be hosted at one of the following locations in Talbot and Dorchester County: Tuesday, May 8th or Wednesday, May 9th in Cambridge; Friday, May 11th or Saturday May 12th in Easton; or Friday, May 11th or Saturday, May 12th in Hurlock.

“Since 2012, Habitat for Humanity Choptank has been uniting strong women volunteers of all experience levels in our Talbot and Dorchester Counties to build or repair homes alongside our hardworking, empowered Habitat homeowners,” said Habitat Choptank Executive Director JoAnn Hansen. “We would like to thank our local Lowe’s for partnering with us to educate, inspire and empower women to build up their communities.”

In fact, according to a 2018 national study by Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity, more than nine-in-10 American women believe providing and advocating for access to affordable housing for women can benefit society. The survey also found:

• Nearly all women (98 percent) agree access to affordable housing helps women heads of household thrive.
• Having a safe, stable home is a source of pride (96 percent) that makes women feel more confident (98 percent) and independent (97 percent).
• Three-in-five (62 percent) women say they cannot afford to purchase a home that meets their family’s needs in the neighborhood where they want to live.

“Lowe’s is proud to sponsor National Women Build Week to educate, inspire and empower women to volunteer alongside other women in their community to address the critical issue of affordable housing. We know women working together are an unstoppable force for creating meaningful change in our communities,” said Colleen B. Penhall, Lowe’s vice president of corporate social responsibility. “At Lowe’s, we believe that a safe, stable home is an important source of strength, pride and security for families. Together with Habitat, our Lowe’s Heroes volunteers and women nationwide, National Women Build Week will provide valuable support to advance accessible housing in the communities where we all live and work.”

Lowe’s and Habitat Choptank share the vision that every woman, man and child have a decent place to lay their heads at night. Far too often, low-income families are faced with choosing between paying their housing costs and buying basic necessities like food and medical care to provide for their family. National Women Build Week recruits, educates and inspires women to build, and advocate for decent and affordable houses in their communities alongside their future neighbors—making a difference in their community, one nail at a time.

Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 and has brought together more than 117,000 all-women construction volunteers to build or repair homes with nearly 5,000 families over the past 10 years. This year, Lowe’s donated $2 million to Habitat for Humanity to support the 2018 National Women Build Week, and provides how-to clinics at stores to help equip women volunteers for the builds. Since 2003, Lowe’s has committed over $30 million to Habitat for Humanity International and helped more than 6,500 Habitat families improve their living conditions.

Both women and men of all experience levels can participate by signing up to volunteer or by joining the conversation online. As part of National Women Build Week, Lowe’s and Habitat are activating a social movement to generate conversation about building one another up and sharing the message of women empowerment, positivity and action by using #BuildHer and #WomenBuild. To volunteer or to find out specific job site locations, please call Nora Skiver, Volunteer Coordinator at Habitat Choptank, at 410-476-3204.

About Habitat for Humanity Choptank

Since 1992, Habitat Choptank has made home ownership possible for 76 families and currently partners with 15 local home buyers. Income qualifying individuals and families are offered access to affordable mortgage financing in order to purchase a new construction or rehabbed home from the nonprofit’s inventory of durable and energy efficient houses.  After completing “sweat equity” hours, attending pre-homeownership classes, and meeting debt reduction and savings goals, these individuals and families will purchase homes that they helped construct and assume the full responsibilities of home ownership including maintaining their home, paying property taxes and repaying their mortgage over 30 to 33 years. Habitat accepts applications for its home ownership program throughout the year.  For more information, to make a donation or volunteer, call 410-476-3204 or visit www.HabitatChoptank.org.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in nearly 1,400 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

About Lowe’s in the Community

Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 60-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. In the past decade, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed nearly $300 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. For the latest news, visit Newsroom.Lowes.com or follow @LowesMedia on Twitter.

Qlarant Expands National Presence Opening 3 Locations

Qlarant, Inc., a national leader in quality improvement and the fight against fraud, waste, and abuse is pleased to announce an expansion of its national presence with the opening of three new regional offices.

Following the recent Unified Program Integrity Contractor (UPIC) awards for the Southwestern and Western Jurisdictions, Qlarant has expanded its footprint coast to coast to a total of twelve cities. By creating a new Cerritos, California regional hub and relocating its Houston, Texas and Tampa, Florida offices into improved spaces, Qlarant has accommodated the increased workforce and improved on already award winning services.

Jaysen Eisengrein – Sr. VP Qlarant (left) and Scott Ward – Sr. VP Qlarant

“Our new office here in Cerritos puts us in an accessible, visible area that is ideal for working with our existing clients and creating relationships with new customers,” said Jaysen Eisengrein, Qlarant’s Sr. Vice President for the UPIC Western Jurisdiction. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead our experienced team into new areas.”

Workforce expansion and increased customer demand have also necessitated a new office location for Qlarant’s existing Houston staff. With offices also in Dallas and McAllen, Texas, Qlarant’s presence in the Lone Star state continues to grow.

“We’ve called Texas home for nearly a decade and I’m proud that we are continuing our relationship with the State,” said Scott Ward, Qlarant’s Sr. Vice for the UPIC Southwestern Jurisdiction. “The new offices will allow us to grow and continue to improve on the important work we do every day.”

Qlarant’s new offices are part of a long term plan to expand the brand across the entire country. The recent UPIC awards have afforded the company the ability to hire many new associates. For more information on open positions visit www.qlarant.com/careers.

About Qlarant

Qlarant is a not-for-profit nationally respected leader in fighting fraud, waste & 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 health and human services organizations, government agencies, and financial and insurance companies. 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. www.qlarant.com

Shore United Bank Welcomes Kerry Nagle, Branch Manager

Shore United Bank, a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, is pleased to announce that Kerry Nagle has joined the company as Branch Manager at our location in Stevensville, Maryland. Kerry joins Shore United Bank with several years of banking experience.

“We are thrilled to have Kerry on our team. Her knowledge of community banking will allow for her branch to excel under her leadership,” said Jennifer Joseph, Chief Retail Banking Officer of Shore United Bank.

“I am greatly looking forward to working in the community and assisting our customers with any financial needs they may have,” said Ms. Nagle.

Kerry is a volunteer for Junior Achievement, attends Centreville United Methodist Church and is a prior member of the Kent County Chamber of Commerce. Kerry resides in Church Hill, Maryland with her husband, Ralph and their two children, Kendall and Conlan.

For more information about Shore United Bank, visit ShoreUnitedBank.com

Easton Utilities Moves to Tobacco Free Campus

Beginning April 5, 2018, Easton Utilities’ Customer Service Center shifted to a 100% smoke, tobacco and vape free campus. This encompasses the building and its immediate campus, the inside of all other facilities, inside company vehicles including aerial buckets and all drivable equipment, and while on residential or commercial customer’s property. “We fully support a healthy work environment and continue to work with our employees to establish safe, positive behaviors,” stated Vicki L. Petro, Director of Human Resources for Easton Utilities.

In addition, Easton Utilities offers a Cessation Program for employees and their spouses who wish to stop using tobacco products as one of the numerous wellness benefits the company provides. Several Easton Utilities employees have reaped the benefits of health coaching, group classes, phone counseling, and nicotine replacement therapy to eliminate tobacco from their lives. “We are impressed by the involvement of many team members who currently use tobacco products who helped establish these policies as they realize it is in their best interest,” Petro added.

Easton Utilities is a community-owned, not-for-profit utility and telecommunications company operating the Electric, Natural Gas, Water, Wastewater, Cable Television, and Internet services for the Town of Easton and portions of the surrounding area. Visit www.eastonutilities.com for more information.

Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency Supports Academy Art Museum

Ginny Biondi (right) of Avon-Dixon Agency and Ben Simons (left) of Academy Art Museum.

Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency, a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, recently donated to the Academy Art Museum of Easton, MD. Their donation is to help with costs associated with putting on events for the museum. “The Academy Art Museum has been a staple within the community for as long as I can remember, and we are proud to be able to support such an important local organization,” says Biondi, Agent for Avon-Dixon. Accepting the donation is Ben Simons, Executive Director of the museum. The Academy Art Museum is celebrating their 60th anniversary this year.

For more information about Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency, visit AvonDixon.com

WC Marketing and Communications Lands Five Awards in International Competition

Washington College’s Communications and Marketing team swept up five honors—three platinum and two gold—in the 2018 Hermes Creative Awards, showcasing its work across multiple disciplines and platforms, from the Washington College Magazine to the innovative BuzzFeed campaign to generate college awareness and support enrollment efforts.

Going up against some 6,000 entries in 195 categories from the U.S. and internationally, from sources including marketing and communications departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, and production companies, the College’s CRM team won:

• Platinum (scores of 90-100) for the College’s strategic co-branded content BuzzFeed campaign, for electronic media, social media, and interactive media in content campaigns;
• Platinum for the spring 2018 issue of the Washington College Magazine, “Like a Boss,” in print media and publications for magazines;
• Platinum for the customized yield piece for enrollment, “Read This, We Dare You,” for print media, marketing, and collateral branding;
• Gold (scores of 80-89) for the video “Washington College: You’ll Love This Place,” in electronic media, social media, and interactive media for recruitment,used during the BuzzFeed campaign;
• Gold for the River and Field Campus video “Washington College: The Year of the Bird,” for electronic media, social media, and interactive media for videography.

“This competition put our creative team in CRM up against some noteworthy agencies and industry giants with big budgets, names like AARP, Hilton, PepsiCo,UPS, Deloitte, Harvard Business School, the University of Maryland, Penn State, and the University of Pittsburgh,” says CRM Vice President Rolando Irizarry. “I am so proud of the work we have produced for Washington College. This team possesses that perfect strategic and creative balance necessary for successful marketing and communications tactics. All this while working on tight deadlines for constituencies across the College campus. They are true professionals and these awards just confirm that.”

The Hermes Creative Awards, administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (AMCP), honor creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of traditional and emerging media. According to a media release, judges “are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.”

The College’s co-branded content BuzzFeed campaign came in for special strategic recognition early on in the awards cycle, when it earned a “2018 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight.” In a blog post on “this year’s most noteworthy Hermes Creative Award entries,” the AMCP noted the collaborative WC-BuzzFeed campaign’s “overwhelming success” of gathering more than 82 million impressions across various social media and web platforms—including BuzzFeed, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram—that reached a targeted audience of prospective college students now in high school.

The Hermes Awards come on the heels of another award for the CRM team this spring, a Communitas Award for a story, video,and local and regional media coverage about the College’s Food Recovery Network project, led by the Student Environmental Alliance (SEA). The organization stated that, “Our judges found that your nominee clearly exhibits the spirit of communitas, a Latin word that means people coming together for the good of a community. Communitas winners are recognized for specific programs involving volunteerism, philanthropy and ethical, sustainable business practices.”

Here are some of the award-winning entries:
BuzzFeed:  https://www.buzzfeed.com/washingtoncollege
You’ll Love This Place: https://youtu.be/JfFvbF9BjyU
Year of the Bird: https://youtu.be/L2EDSsyII6Q
Like a Boss:
Food Recovery Network: https://www.washcoll.edu/live/news/10629-good-eats

For more on the Hermes Creative Awards, visit https://hermesawards.com/

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 washcoll.edu.

Town of Easton Proclaims April 2018 “Junior Achievement Financial Literacy Month”

Photo: L-R–Councilwoman Megan Cook; JA Talbot Chair Laura Heikes; JA board members George Koste of Maryland Capital Enterprises, and Talli Oxnam of Wye Financial & Trust

The Town of Easton, Maryland proclaimed April 2018 “Junior Achievement Financial Literacy Month” in recognition of the financial literacy education efforts of Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore, (JA). JA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship education to kindergarten-12th grade students at no cost to the schools. At Monday night’s Town Council meeting, Councilwoman Megan Cook presented the proclamation to JA board chair Laura Heikes of Shore United Bank, and board members George Koste of Maryland Capital Enterprises, and Talli Oxnam of Wye Trust in honor of Financial Literacy Month and JA’s work in promoting the financial well-being of Easton’s citizens.

In its 2017 fiscal year, Junior Achievement reached over 7,000 students across the Shore. To volunteer, donate, or learn more about Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore, email information@easternshoreja.org, or log on to www.easternshoreja.org.

Ralph F. Twilley Celebrates 40 Years with Shore United Bank

Shore United Bank, a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, is proud to recognize Ralph Twilley for his 40 years of dedicated service. Mr. Twilley began his career with Centreville National Bank in February of 1978. Mr. Twilley joined our lending team as a loan officer and continues to serve the community through his lending expertise today. Currently, Mr. Twilley is a Vice President, Commercial Lender, focusing on meeting customers personal and commercial lending needs. His office is located at our branch in Stevensville, MD.

Ralph graduated from Salisbury State College in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Mr. Twilley completed Maryland Bankers School in 1982. With the goal of continuing his education, he graduated from the Maryland Executive School of Banking in 2007.

“Ralph is an exceptional member of the lending team. His knowledge and experience are an asset to the loan process for all his customers. We are fortunate to have Ralph on our team for the past 40 years,” said Heather Bacher, Market Manager of Shore United Bank.

Mr. Twilley currently serves as a board member for the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce and Mid-Shore Pro Bono. Ralph is a past board member for the Queen Anne’s County Little League, the Queen Anne’s County Free Library, and the Centreville United Methodist Church.

For more information about Shore United Bank, visit ShoreUnitedBank.com.

Easton Velocity Amps Up Internet Speed

Easton Velocity is increasing the speeds for four of its five internet tiers for residential customers. The free upgrades will go into effect today, April 4, 2018.  “The demand for speed continues to grow and we must respond to provide our customers with high-performance, affordable solutions,” said Ted L. Book, Director of Cable and Communications for Easton Utilities.

The upgrades are automatic and most customers will experience the faster service instantly. However, some customers with the current Value Internet Tier (25 mbps) may need an updated modem to ensure the new speeds can be supported. Easton Velocity is requesting these specific customers [with current Value Internet Tier] contact Customer Service at 410-822-6110 to determine if a free modem upgrade is required. For those needing the upgrade, Easton Velocity will provide a new modem free of charge. “Our goal is to provide the best overall experience possible to our customers with respect to speed, value, and of course, exceptional customer service and technical support,” added Book.

Residential Internet Speeds/Pricing

Tier Former Speed Current Speed Price
Value 25/2 50/2 Mbps $48
Value PLUS 50/3 75/3 Mbps $60
Standard 100/5 125/5 Mbps $75
Ultimate 200/10 250/10 Mbps $100

Easton Velocity, a service of Easton Utilities, is committed to keeping our community connected and current with a variety of service offerings designed to meet the needs of both residential and commercial customers. Easton Utilities is a community-owned, not-for-profit utility and telecommunications company operating the Electric, Natural Gas, Water, Wastewater, Cable Television, and Internet services for the Town of Easton and portions of the surrounding area.

Please visit www.eastonvelocity.com or call 410-822-6110 to learn more.

Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency Donates to CASA of the Mid-Shore

Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency, member of the Shore Bancshares community of companies, recently donated $1,000 to CASA of the Mid-Shore. CASA of the Mid-Shore is a non-profit organization that allows for children to have an advocate within the court system due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or their parents’ inability to safely care for them. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are volunteers, much like Brandy Guy, who make it their mission to do all they can to ensure the child’s best interest is in mind.

Pictured L-R: Rich Trippe, President & CEO of Avon-Dixon Agency; Brandy Guy, Insurance Agent at Avon-Dixon and volunteer for CASA of the Mid-Shore; Robin Davenport, Executive Director of CASA of the Mid-Shore.

“We are deeply appreciative of this generous gift from the Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency. Community support is a critical component to our ability to provide Court Appointed Special Advocates to every child who needs our advocacy in Talbot, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, and Kent Counties,” says Robin Davenport.

For more information about Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency, visit AvonDixon.com.