Mission BBQ to give free food to Korean War vets

Mission BBQ will honor the country’s Korean veterans with a free sandwich on July 27, the official holiday of “National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.” On this day, multiple nations signed an armistice suspending all hostilities and securing peace on the Korean peninsula. In remembrance of the “forgotten war,” Mission BBQ wishes to honor the brave men and women in service from that era. The event will be held on Saturday, July 27 at all locations from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Cultivate entrepreneurship with a coach

The University of Maryland Extension’s Entrepreneurial Coaching program provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a trained agriculture service provider. The goal of coaching sessions is to sound out business ideas or expansion plans and receive realistic and timely counsel on how to proceed. The coaches have resources, contacts and support materials to help entrepreneurs start, keep or grow a business. The bottom line? A coach can help the entrepreneur save time and money.

For more information, visit extension.umd.edu/mredc/business-modules/cultivating-entrepreneurship

Cool and Ramos receive national investment award

Joyce M. Cool and Robert T. Ramos of Wealth Management Partners LLC were presented the 2019 Ralph S. Devito Award at The Investment Center Inc.’s National Education Conference hosted in New Orleans. This is the first time in the history of the award that a team has been recognized and only the second time a woman has received the award.

The Ralph S. DeVito Award is a distinguished honor for those advisors who demonstrate excellence with their clients, execute on business development, give back to their community, deliver unparalleled service to their clients and have an exceptional reputation.

Joyce Cool is a chartered financial consultant and certified divorce financial analyst with 20 years of experience. Her partner, Robert Ramos, is a certified financial planner and chartered financial consultant with 25 years of experience. Their firm, Wealth Management Partners, was founded in 2005 and is in Waldorf. For more information, visit www.wealthmanagementpartners.biz or call 301-885-0955.

3 veteran-owned businesses receive loans

The Maryland Department of Commerce announced that three Maryland veteran-owned businesses have each received $50,0000 in financing through the Military Personnel and Veteran-Owned Small Business No-Interest Loan Program. The companies will use the funding to support expansions and infrastructure upgrades and equipment purchases and plan to create 75 jobs in total.

The businesses receiving financial assistance include SRL Total Source LLC, a Waldorf company that provides medical, cyber and healthcare staffing services for federal government agencies; Samson Protection Services LLC, an Upper Marlboro security and property protection startup specializing in executive protection, security officers and investigating; and PLAYLive Nation-Annapolis, a family entertainment center that operates a gaming lounge for video game enthusiasts.

The Military Personnel and Veteran-Owned Small Business No-Interest Loan Program was created in 2006 and is administered by the commerce department in consultation with the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs. Veterans, military reservists and National Guard members who own a business are eligible to apply. The program also accepts applications from small businesses that employ military reservists and National Guard members called to active duty, as well as companies owned by or employing service-disabled veterans.

Applications for the state’s veteran loan program will be accepted through Aug. 30. To learn more about the program, visit commerce.maryland.gov/fund/programs-for-businesses/mpvsblp.

State resource team, webpage launches

As part of a continuing effort to make Maryland state government faster and easier for businesses to navigate, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced the launch of the Maryland Regional Resources team and webpage. Comprised of the 10 state agencies that make up the Governor’s Commerce Subcabinet as well as the Governor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, the team meets regularly to assist businesses and local jurisdictions with economic development efforts, including issues related to transportation, workforce development, licensing and permitting.

The Maryland Regional Resources webpage, housed on the Maryland Business Express site, offer an easy-to-navigate state map with agency contacts for each region.

Making up the Governor’s Commerce Subcabinet is the Department of Assessments and Taxation, the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Environment, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Labor, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Planning, including the Office of Smart Growth, the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority and Women Business Affairs, and the Department of Transportation.

Local business owner named to NSBA Leadership Council

Bathsheba Smithen, CEO & Founder of Cage Free Voices in Waldorf, was recently named to the National Small Business Association Leadership Council. NSBA is the nation’s oldest small-business advocacy organization, and operates on a staunchly nonpartisan basis. Smithen joins the NSBA Leadership Council alongside other small-business advocates from across the country as they work to promote the interests of small business to policymakers in Washington, D.C.

Smithen is an educational consultant, motivational speaker, radio personality, performing artist, author, playwright and the CEO and founder of Cage Free Voices. Smithen provides training and curriculum development to school districts, church leaders and educational publishing companies such that they may infuse youth culture in educational materials. As a curriculum developer and consultant, Smithen has made contributions to PEARSON, US, Urban Learning and Leadership Center, GEAR UP, REAL Women, Kids & Culture Camp and others.

Smithen joined the NSBA Leadership Council as part of her efforts to tackle the many critical issues facing small business, including tax reform, regulatory restraint, health care costs and how the Affordable Care Act will impact small business. The NSBA Leadership Council is focused on providing valuable networking between small-business advocates from across the country while ensuring small business a seat at the table as Congress and regulators take up key small-business proposals.

For more on the NSBA Leadership Council, visit www.nsba.biz

Balancelogic unveils new brand campaign

Balancelogic is launching its latest integrated marketing campaign called “Quench Your Thirst for Success” highlighting its signature brand and how its unique business model can help small businesses achieve success. This campaign officially launched July 1 and will run through the remainder of the year.

The campaign will include Balancelogic’s brand ambassador, Logi, who will be traveling back to the place where he was created, a place where all great brand ambassadors are developed to help small businesses, called Ambassador Island. Logi’s objective will be to collect and share a ton of great information and technologies with the Balancelogic Creative Services Team so they can share the information with the small business community.

One of the key components of this campaign will be Logi and the Balancelogic team will be keeping everyone informed of his progress and saying hello from each location he visits. Also, as part of this campaign, Logi will be sending out postcards from every place he visits.

Examples of campaign advertisements, valuable information and special promotions can be found on all of the Balancelogic social media channels.

The campaign will be featured across print, cable TV as well as digital advertisements and awareness campaigns on social media. The campaign can be viewed directly at www.balancelogic.com and www.YouTube.com/balancelogic.

Learn all about hops

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission in partnership with University of Maryland Extension is hosting a Hops Farm Tour and Field Day workshop on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Workshop participants will get a close-up look at hop production, learn more about varieties best suited to Maryland, as well as the latest information on disease and insect management, harvesting, trellis systems, on-farm brewing and much more.

Two destinations will be toured during the full-day workshop. The first stop will be at the experimental research hopyard at University of Maryland’s Western Maryland Research and Education Center in Keedysville. Following an on-farm lunch, participants will tour Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm, a commercial brewery and hopyard in Mt. Airy.

The cost of the tour is $15, including lunch and charter bus transportation to and from the Charlotte Hall pick-up point. To register visit the “What’s New/News and Announcements” page at www.SMADC.com or email: info@smadc.com.

This is the third of SMADC’s Advanced Small Fruit workshops scheduled for 2019. The last workshop, ‘Advanced Marketing’, is tentatively scheduled for October.

Balancelogic gives away services at showcase

At the St. Mary’s County Business Showcase, Balancelogic gave small Southern Maryland businesses thousands of dollars in free services. Balancelogic, headquartered in Waldorf, set up a casino-themed booth where visitors dropped off their business cards and received a Plinko puck. This puck was used to win $100 to $500 in play money from the Balancelogic Plinko game. From there, visitors could head to the poker table and win up to $1,000 in play money which would then be exchanged for that same amount in free services from Balancelogic. If the visitor lost all their winnings, they still walked away with $100 towards any service Balancelogic offers.

Founded in 2004, Balancelogic is veteran owned and a provider of small business services and solutions to Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas. Balancelogic provides business support services with several departments including Marketing Services, IT Managed Services, Web Design & SEO Services, Graphic Design Services, Business Consulting Services and Voice Solution Services to small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

For more information about Balancelogic, visit www.balancelogic.com or find them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Survey: local business confidence dips to start 2019

The quarterly Maryland Business Climate Survey, a joint project between the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute and the nonpartisan Maryland Public Policy Institute, included more than 250 senior executives at Maryland businesses. It provides a quantitative glimpse into the sentiment of the state’s business leaders during the first quarter of 2019. Key findings include:

Declining optimism: Fewer firms are optimistic about market growth than in the fourth quarter of 2018. Further, 45% of businesses surveyed expected to increase employment in the coming year, down from 53%. Lastly, 43% of firms reported an increase in sales compared with the previous year, down from 57%.

Improving Outlook in Baltimore City: Fifty-two percent of firms in Baltimore City had a positive view of the state’s business climate while 15% had a negative view.

Declining Outlook in Washington Suburbs: Fifty percent of firms in the Washington suburbs had a positive view of the state’s business climate, down from 60% a year earlier.

Workforce Shortage Improving: Throughout 2018, more than half of Maryland businesses surveyed reported difficulties finding workers with the skills necessary to fill specific job requirements. In the first quarter of 2019, this fell to 39%.

Impact from Taxes: In the first quarter of 2019, 59% of businesses reported that taxes had some negative impact on their operations, down from 63% a year earlier.

Read the full survey findings and methodology at www.mdbusinessclimate.org.

LSM class of 2019 experiences energy, environment

On April 25 & 26, the Leadership Southern Maryland Class of 2019 participated in the last of nine educational sessions for LSM’s 2018-19 Executive Program — Energy and Environment.

Participants met with multiples businesses, owners and managers. They first met Captain Jack Russell, owner of Fins & Claws, who spoke on challenges facing the industry. Then they travelled to Exelon’s Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant where they received a briefing on nuclear energy and toured the facility.

At Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG Terminal, George Anas, external affairs manager state & local government for Dominion Energy, and Frank Brayton, director of LNG Operations, spoke with the participants on Dominion Energy’s transition to exportation of liquefied natural gas.

Participants visited the Loveville Produce Auction, where they observed interactions between the Mennonite and Amish agricultural community and local restaurateurs, grocers, and individuals who purchased from their harvests. Rob Plant, owner of Elements Eatery & Mixology in Lexington Park, shared his extensive knowledge and passion for buying local.

In Hughesville, participants were given a tour of the SMECO Solar Farm by Tom Dennison, SMECO’s managing director of government and public affairs. They also travelled to Farming 4 Hunger where they were introduced to tower gardens, one of the organization’s newest projects that provides outreach to local schools.

Leadership Southern Maryland is a nine-month tuition-based program and is designed and dedicated to educate and inspire a diverse group of current and emerging leaders to create collaborations and partnerships to impact the community needs of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties and incorporates a cross-section of the region to include diversity of geographic location, profession, ethnicity and gender.

Curtis receives ‘Realtor Emeritus’ status after 40 years

Sandy Curtis was recently approved for a unique honor: Realtor Emeritus status by the National Association of Realtors, at the organization’s conference in Boston. This status is awarded to those who have been members of the National Association of Realtors for 40 years.

Curtis began working in real estate in June 1978 while she was off for the summer from teaching. She has spent 40 years working with families to find their dream homes and in many cases, years later selling that dream home to find another one that would fit their current family needs. She loves to see the many relaxed, smiling faces at settlement.

Curtis is currently a member of the Southern Maryland Association of Realtors and is with Residential Plus Real Estate Services in White Plains. Her hobbies include walking, traveling, playing tennis and especially playing with her granddaughter and making people laugh.

Renner tapped to lead nonprofit MES

Craig J. Renner was named earlier this year to lead communications programs for the Maryland Environmental Service, a $155 million-revenue, Baltimore area, not-for-profit organization.

Immediately prior to his new role with MES, Renner worked at the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development as director of Maryland SmartBuy, a program designed to help first-time homebuyers eliminate college debt. Previously, Renner served as vice president of marketing and public relations for The St. Charles Companies, developers of a 9,100-acre planned community in Charles County. Renner is also a former president of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce and was public information officer for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.

Community Bank of the Chesapeake announces promotions

Community Bank of the Chesapeake announced the promotion of several employees to executive vice president.

Jim Di Misa, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Greg Cockerham, executive vice president and chief lending officer, retired earlier this year. Christy Lombardi became chief operating officer following Di Misa’s retirement on April 1. The bank implemented a leadership transition plan which also involved elevating other members of the bank’s management team to executive vice president:

• Daryl Motley, executive vice president, controller and treasurer, is responsible for oversight of treasury, asset liability management and SEC filings.

• Don Parsons, executive vice president, senior lender, is the lending teams in Calvert and Anne Arundel counties.

• Ernie Williams, executive vice president, senior lender, is responsible for overseeing the lending teams in Charles and St. Mary’s counties.

• John Chappelle, executive vice president, digital banking officer, leads the Commercial Services and Business Banker departments, while executing initiatives to further the bank’s progress in digital banking.

• Karrie Wood, executive vice president, director of retail banking, is responsible for overseeing the bank’s branch network and driving deposit and sales growth in the Maryland and Virginia markets.

• Lacey Pierce, executive vice president, administrative affairs officer, is accountable for corporate administration responsibilities and provide leadership to the Lending Administration, Marketing and Facilities departments.

• Patrick Pierce, executive vice president, Maryland market banking officer, oversees the Maryland lending teams and community wealth advisors.

• Talal Tay, executive vice president, risk officer, is responsible for enterprise risk management as well as oversight of the Compliance, Credit and Loan Review departments.

• Thomas Erickson, executive vice president, senior credit officer, leads the Credit Department and continues to monitor the bank’s loan portfolio.

• Tony Farland, executive vice president, senior lender, oversees the Virginia lending team and growth in that market.

AG settles with Maryland Speed

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) earlier this year announced that his Consumer Protection Division settled charges against Maryland Speed LLC, an online retailer specializing in the sale of auto parts, and its owner, Branden Farthing, according to a press release.

Charges against Maryland Speed and Farthing were initially brought in September 2018, and alleged that the retailer, based in Hollywood, Md., violated the Consumer Protection Act when it accepted payments for parts that it failed to provide to customers and refused to issue refunds. According to the settlement, at least 671 consumers placed orders with Maryland Speed but never received their purchased parts. Although many consumers were able to get refunds by contesting the charges on their credit cards, according to the Consent Order, at least 235 of those consumers are owed refunds totaling at least $220,877.14, the press release states.

The settlement requires Maryland Speed to stop selling parts it cannot provide and to provide the Consumer Protection Division with a $100,000 surety bond if it continues doing business in Maryland. The company and Farthing must also return all of the monies they owe to consumers and pay penalties and costs to the division in the amount of $100,000, which may be reduced if full refunds are made to consumers.

“This case demonstrates exactly why the Maryland Consumer Protection Act is so important,” Frosh said in the release. “Without the protections of the Act, customers who did not receive purchased goods from Maryland Speed, and were also denied refunds, had little recourse. Affected customers will now be able to obtain some restitution.”

Consumers who are owed refunds from Maryland Speed may call the Consumer Protection hotline at 410-528-8662 or 888-743-0023.

Companies EARN money for training program

Transmosis announced in early February it was named a recipient of EARN Maryland funding, a competitive workforce development grant program, from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

With the grant funding, the Maryland Cyber Skills Alliance will provide qualified Maryland residents with full scholarships that fast track them into high paying cybersecurity careers. The intensive cybersecurity training and certification program launched March 4, with 20 applicants being offered full scholarships worth $10,000 each. Led by the Computing Technology Industry Association, the MCSA will provide essential training for both incumbent workers and hard-to-reach unemployed and underemployed populations in Maryland. Upon completing the two-month training and certification program, Transmosis will offer graduates employer placement support or opportunities.

“Maryland is the second in the nation for emerging technologies and innovation,” said acting Labor Secretary James E. Rzepkowski. “Despite our already high share of STEM professionals, Maryland is continually working to ensure a pipeline of talent that can meet our existing and future hiring needs within the technology sectors. Industry-led partnerships like that with Transmosis and CompTIA will help us achieve that by putting Maryland residents on a pathway to high-paying, successful careers in cybersecurity.”

Supporting grant partners include Point3 Security, Cybrary, TrainACE, the Federal Business Council and the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland.

To learn more, visit pr.mytransmosis.com.

Mission presents $1.3 million to USO

Mission BBQ co-founders, Bill Kraus and Steve Newton presented a donation of nearly $1.3 million to the United Service Organizations on May 16, according to a company press release.

This donation was made possible by the generous support of customers who purchased an American Heroes Cup in 2018. The check was presented to Elaine Rogers, president of the USO Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore. Available at 53 restaurant locations, $2 from the purchase of an American Heroes Cup was donated to the USO.

The partnership between the USO and Mission BBQ began in March 2016. The donation will attribute to a total of more than $2.6 million for the non-profit organization.

“It’s our honor and privilege to serve and support such a renowned and giving organization like the USO. Whose volunteers, programs, and entertainers have supported American Heroes around the world for the last 78 years,” Newton said in the press release.