The Kent County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has selected Sam Shoge, former Chestertown town councilman, to serve as the next executive director.
“We are excited to introduce Sam as the new Executive Director of the Kent County Chamber of Commerce,” said Bryan Matthews, President of the Kent County Chamber. “Sam is the ideal person to help the Chamber grow and become an even bigger factor in the success of Kent County businesses. His experience in both Kent and Talbot Counties has prepared him to take on this challenging role and to be a dynamic leader for the organization.”
Currently, Shoge serves as economic development coordinator for the Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, a position he has held since the fall of 2016. He will assume his role as executive director on April 1.
“I am thrilled to serve as the next executive director of the Kent County Chamber,” says Shoge. “Helping my community thrive and be prosperous has always been a deep passion. I’m looking forward to continuing to fulfill this dream in my new role.”
As economic development coordinator, Shoge managed the county’s business attraction and retention efforts, helped draft a 5-year economic development strategic plan, and managed the launch of a new brand for the department. He led the development of a new website and marketing materials and contributed towards the leasing of a 224,000 square foot former manufacturing facility now owned by the County.
In addition to passionately undertaking the duty of assisting small business start-ups and businesses with their expansion efforts, Shoge played an instrumental role in administering and promoting several business incentives and financing programs. Shoge advocated for the designation of two Enterprise Zones in Talbot County—Easton and Tilghman Island—an Arts and Entertainment District, and Maryland Commercial PACE.
“Working for Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism had me interfacing with the business community on a daily basis,” says Sam Shoge. “I’m excited to take what I’ve learned from working closely with business leaders from a wide range of industries and applying it to the Kent County Chamber of Commerce. My goal is to enhance the way the Chamber engages its members and the community as a whole.”
Prior to joining the Talbot Economic Development and Tourism team, Sam was an assistant director of admissions at Washington College in Chestertown. This position had Sam traveling throughout the Greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area and the Southeast to recruit graduating high school students.
In addition, Sam served as government relations coordinator for Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling and actively led legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of the association. While working at Washington College, Sam was elected to a 4-year term on the Chestertown Town Council where he represented Chestertown’s largest and most diverse ward.
With a passion for community service, Shoge has served in various roles on public and non-profit boards and committees. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health and Board of Directors for the Chesapeake College Foundation. Shoge served briefly on the Chestertown Planning Commission, co-founded the Kent County Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals, was on the board of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties, and served as a volunteer firefighter.
Shoge is a graduate of Elon University and holds a B.A. in environmental studies. He is from Kent County and resides in Chestertown with his wife.
For more information, contact the Kent County Chamber of Commerce at (410) 810-2968.