Kent Center Receives $5,000 Award to Benefit Adults Needing Special Care

MACo leadership visits Kent Center to deliver $5,000 award check, sponsored by MD-DC-DE Beverage Association.

As part of MACo’s 2017 Summer Conference, the county exhibit booths competed to win a $5,000 award for a charity of their choice. The competition was sponsored by the MD-DC-DE Beverage Association and focused on economic development, county service innovation, and the work of the charities each county represented. The 800+ attendees who participated chose Kent County IT as the winning booth, with Kent Center being the recipient of the $5,000 award.

Group Shot
MACo Representatives Present Kent Center with $5,000 Award

On October 16, MACo President Jerry Walker (Council Vice Chair, Anne Arundel County) and Immediate Past President John Barr (Commissioner, Washington County), visited Kent Center in Chestertown, MD, to tour the facility and present the award. They were joined by Kent County Administrator Shelley Heller, Kent County IT Project Manager April Bitter, and MACo Member Services Director Virginia White.

Kent Center is the primary provider in Kent and northern Queen Anne’s Counties of daytime, vocational, CSLA, respite, supported employment, and/or residential services for 70 adults. Kent Center’s services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each person they serve, with a team of program coordinators and professionals who focus on enhancing their lives in multi-faceted ways. President Walker and Past President Barr took a tour of the Kent Center facility, meeting the clients and learning about the services provided.

As part of their programming, Kent Center runs a diverse business services program, including a mailing center, assembly and packaging services, confidential shredding, banquet hall rental, and the Kent House Kitchen. The Kitchen serves a daily boxed lunch menu and “cafe to go” meals prepared by their clients and led by Executive Chef Chris Bove.

Kent Center Executive Director Karine Ireland invited all of the participants of the program to be present so they could accept the award together, with special thanks to two of the program participants who traveled to Ocean City to help talk about Kent Center in the Kent County booth. Ms. Ireland noted that the award money would be used to help Kent Center buy new buses and vans to transport their clients and connect them with services and opportunities to make their dreams come true!

MACo and Kent Center thank the MD-DE-DC Beverage Association for their generous sponsorship of this award!

2017 Summer #MACoCon Photo Recap

MACo’s 2017 Summer Conference – “You’re Hired!” – on August 16-19 focused on Maryland’s economy, job growth, and ways to bring more businesses to Maryland.

This was MACo’s second record-breaking year in a row with final attendee registration totaling 1,135, exhibit booths coming in at 242, booth staff numbering well over 950, and nearly 50 Tech Expo booths. Thanks to all who participated!

The full conference schedule and program of events can be viewed online.

Save the date for MACo’s next Summer Conference: August 15-18, 2018 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD.

Photography was sponsored and provided by Grant L. Gursky Photography

Clean Energy Economy Discussed at 2017 #MACoCon

From Left to Right: Michael Richard, Dereck Davis, Mary Beth Tung, and Kelly Shulz

County officials received an overview on the jobs generated by the clean energy economy on August 17 at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference. The panel was called “The Clean Energy Economy – Generating Jobs, Producing Power” and moderated by House Economic Matters Committee Chair Dereck Davis.

Maryland Energy Administration Director Dr. Mary Beth Tung summarized the impact of renewable energy on Maryland’s economy.

Maryland Secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Kelly Schulz provided an overview of apprecticeship and training programs available for renewable energies.

Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) Commissioner Michael Richard discussed the role of the PSC and need for in-state renewable energy sources to meet Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements. Richard also discussed MACo’s 2017 solar energy legislation (HB 1350).

Maryland Clean Energy Center Kathy Magruder provided further statistics on energy sector jobs and career paths, noting that the solar and wind industries are creating jobs at a rate 12 times faster than other industries and is now 7% of the state’s total workforce.

Maryland DC Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association Executive Director David Murray noted that solar installation jobs cannot be exported and that their average wage is $18 per hour. Murray also discussed the different types of solar projects, including residential, commercial and industrial, and utility scale solar.


Phase III WIP & Bay TMDL Update at 2017 #MACoCon

From Left to Right: Adam Ortiz, Benjamin Grumbles, Bruce Williams, and Carin Bisland.

Attendees to the 2017 MACo Summer Conference heard an update on the status of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) on August 18. The facilitated discussion panel, “What Will We See in Phase III? A Bay TMDL Update”, was moderated by Local Government Advisory Committee Chair Bruce Williams. 

United States Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program Associate Director Carin Bisland provided a history of the Bay TMDL and gave an overview of entire TMDL and WIP process.

Maryland Secretary of the Environment Benjamin Grumbles stated that the “final targets for Bay TMDL are within reach” for Maryland, subject to sustained federal funding and proper use of enforcement backstops.  Grumbles cited the State’s targeted approach to the use of best available technology for nitrogen removal (BAT) for septic systems, the recent passage of the Clean Water Commerce Act, a the pending implementation of a nutrient credit trading system. Grumbles also stated that Maryland does not intend to have counties develop individual Phase III WIPs. Instead, the State will incorporate county actions into a statewide Phase III WIP.

Prince George’s County Environmental Resources Director Adam Ortiz stressed that counties are in the “delivery business” and faced various challenges in meeting the Bay TMDL goals, including funding and lack of project contractors. However, Ortiz was overall optimistic on restoration efforts and believed “We are entering a ‘golden age’ for the Chesapeake Bay.”

Panelists also dealt with audience questions concerning the Conowingo Dam, cross sector trading, sector specific accounting, and the use of oyster farming for nutrient credits.

Public Safety Hiring Best Practices at 2017 #MACoCon

A panel of county public safety experts discussed the hiring and retention challenges faced by public safety services on August 18 at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference. The panel was titled “The Key to Public Safety: Locking Down Your Hiring Process” and was moderated by Maryland Senator Cheryl Kagan.

From Left to Right: Anna Sierra, Cheryl Kagan, Lisa Myers, and Timothy Cameron

Captain Lisa Myers, Howard County Police Department Human Resources Bureau, focused on the broad challenges facing law enforcement personnel, including: (1) social media expectations; (2) cell phone and body camera video prevalence; and (3) proper training. Myers noted that millennials have different workplace expectations than previous generations, including a better work/life balance.

St. Mary’s County Sheriff Timothy Cameron expanded on the millennial issue for both law enforcement and corrections officers, noting that millennials like to be in charge/have independent authority, and offer and receive immediate feedback. Cameron noted that his department has worked to revise interview practices and forms . Cameron stated that while the number of employment applications for the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department have increased, the number of high quality candidates has actually decreased to about 1 in 100.

Dorchester Emergency Services Director Anna Sierra discussed the issue from a 9-1-1 center perspective, noting the significant skill set differential between call taking and dispatching. Sierra noted that even with a computerized aptitude test, the required background check and polygraph test can create a long application process.

The speakers also discussed retention strategies, including: (1) access to upgraded technology; (2) new training and career growth opportunities; (3) government support, such as through tax credits; (4) assignment rotation; and (5) recognition for performing well.

Anirban Basu Delivers Economic Forecast at #MACoCon

In the 2017 MACo Summer Conference session, “Markets, He Wrote: Looking for Clues into the Economy’s Direction“, economist, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group, Inc., Anirban Basu, provided audience members with a local, state, national, and global economic forecast.

Senator Middleton Introduces Economist Anirban Basu.
Senator Middleton Introduces Economist Anirban Basu.

Basu discussed positives such as the state’s overall job growth and economic standing. But tempered that news with recognition that there is regional disparity between Washington and Baltimore metro counties which are experiencing growth, while rural areas in the east and west are experiencing stagnation or decline. Overall, Basu had ominous predictions for the future with threats of a downturn as soon as 2019.

The session was moderated by Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton and held on Friday, August 18, 2017.

The MACo summer conference was  held August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland. This year’s theme was “You’re Hired!”.

Tackling Complex Public Works Projects at #MACoCon

During the 2017 MACo Summer Conference panel “Flushing Your Troubles Down the Drain, the South Kent Island Solution” attendees learned how Queen Anne’s County and the Maryland Departments of Planning and the Environment were able to address public health and environmental concerns by connecting 1,518 existing homes and eight commercial properties to a safe and effective public sewer system.

Todd Mohn, Director, Department of Public Works, Queen Anne’s County, began the session by providing an overview of the South Kent Island sewer project. Mr. Mohn discussed why the project is necessary and identified the numerous stakeholders involved with the planning and implementation of the project.

Steve Cohoon, Public Facilities Planner, Queen Anne’s County, discussed the areas impacted by the project. Mr. Mohn also described how the county was faced with an alarming septic system failure rate on South Kent Island (70-90%), and how environmental and health concerns made the project a top priority for Queen Anne’s County.

Julie Barown, P.E., Northeast Regional Municipal Systems, Orenco Systems, Inc. talked about the technical specifications of the South Kent Island sewer system, including why the STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Pumping) system is far superior to OSDS (On-Site Sewage Disposal Systems) systems. According to Mrs. Barown, in addition to reducing costs, the STEP system will greatly reduce the amount of nitrogen being discharged into the Chesapeake Bay from the South Kent Island service area.

Queen Anne’s County Commissioner At-Large Jim Moran concluded the panel by discussing how limited funding, Smart Growth requirements, and anti-growth concerns—among many other concerns and challenges—made it necessary to create a unique solution. Commissioner Moran also talked about the potential political consequences that can result from controversial public works projects, and how the county sought to mitigate concerns by seeking citizen input throughout the planning process.

The session was moderated by Delegate Shane Robinson and was held on Friday, August 18. The MACo Summer Conference was August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. This year the conference’s theme was “You’re Hired!”.

FBI “Chasing the Dragon” Documentary Screened at #MACoCon

2017 MACo Summer Conference attendees has the opportunity to watch a screening of the FBI and DEA’s documentary “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict“. 

Following the screening audience members were able to talk with representatives from the FBI who fielded questions and listened to members share their experiences.
Following the screening audience members were able to talk with representatives from the FBI who fielded questions and listened to members share their experiences.

The documentary is intended to educate students and young adults on the dangers of drug abuse through startling first-person accounts of those who have suffered the consequences. Audience members were given a free copy of the documentary which included educational materials to help spread awareness and start discussions.

The screening of Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict was held on Saturday, August 19, 2017. The MACo Summer Conference was August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. This year the conference’s theme was “You’re Hired!”.

Business Leaders Rock the Pitch at #MACoCon Competition

Five successful entrepreneurs who bring jobs and innovations came to the Maryland Association of Counties conference this year. The entrepreneurs represented five sectors of industry defined by StartUp Maryland: Cyber; Manufacturing; Rural Innovations; Health/Life Sciences; and Social Breakthrough.

Driven from within the startup community and led by/for entrepreneurs, Startup Maryland is peer-driven and focused on high-growth ventures. Forged on the themes spawned by national initiatives, Startup Maryland strives to connect innovation communities. Startup Maryland rallies entrepreneurs, supporters and other innovation stakeholders around four main mission themes:  Celebration | Coaching | Curation | Capital.

At MACo’s pitch competition, 5 business leaders were joined by five representatives of industry sectors to pitch their sector and start-up as the next big thing for the ‘old line state.’ An audience of more than 100 county government officials and conference attendees selected a fan favorite based on: passion of the pitch, potential for job growth, collaboration with other businesses within the sector, and funding.

(L-R) Bruce McIndoe of iJet, Julie Lenzer of the University of Maryland, and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger judging pitches from Maryland entrepreneurs.

An expert panel of judges, including Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, economic development guru Julie Lenzer of the University of Maryland, and investor and entrepreneur Bruce McIndoe of iJet grilled the pitchers on their business concepts and ultimately decided a winner.

The Health/Life Sciences category and Mike Geppi, CEO of Timbre Tech, Inc were selected as the best bet for Maryland. Geppi’s Timbre Tech advances modern medicine with a technology that enhances the precision and improves the safety of CAT scans, while taking advantage of Maryland’s anchor institutions in health — The University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins.

As winner of the competition, the Health/Life Sciences business sector will be the subject of a dedicated educational session at an upcoming Maryland Association of Counties Conference.




Pitch Scorecard1
Mike Geppi, CEO of Timbre Tech, Inc won MACo’s first pitch competition.

Timbre Tech’s radiation detection with direct gamma detection reduces time in tunnels for protons therapy patients and creates sharper images for doctors. This new method of radiation detection is smaller, faster, better, and safer.






Every business leader and sector representative came ready to impress and represented the strength of Maryland’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Pitches included:

Gregg Smith, CEO, Silent Circle represented Maryland’s cyber industry.

Silent Circle is a secure communications firm offering enterprise communications solutions including software, devices, and services. The Silent Circle Enterprise Mobile Privacy Platform offers a modular, zero-touch, simple deployment with no maintenance, no hardware, and no additional manpower. “Blanket your organization with trusted communications.”






Pitch Scorecard
Saundra Lamb, President, Semforex represented Maryland’s manufacturing industry.

Semforex is a ballistics performance apparel company that designs, manufactures, and markets innovative performance apparel and protective equipment for first responders. Semforex, Inc is a minority, veteran-owned company formed in Maryland in 2012. The Semforex mission is “. . .to help protect those who give their best to protect all of us.”





Pitch Scorecard
Scott Ackerson, CEO, Quidient represented entrepreneurship in rural Maryland.

Quidient is headquartered on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Its mission is to supply business and government customers with the best scene reconstruction engines (SREs) on the planet, thereby enabling users of their systems to realize the remarkable benefits of 3D imaging in their personal and professional lives. Scene Reconstruction Engines (SREs) are the “digital brains” of 3D imaging devices such as mobile phones and augmented reality (AR) glasses.






Pitch Scorecard
Paulo Gregory Harris, Cohado represented businesses driving social breakthroughs.

The Cohado game seeks to teach that all have a responsibility to utilize resources, connections, energy, voices and power to usher in an age of relationship, understanding and connectedness. “Play It Forward!”



#MACoCon Panelists Discuss a Collaborative Approach for Batting the Opioid Epidemic

During the 2017 MACo Summer Conference panel “Attacking the Opioid Epidemic: A Collaborative Approach” attendees learned about the ways counties are utilizing a collaborative approach in the fight against the opioid crisis in Maryland. A collaborative approach inspires all stakeholders—across the boundaries of criminal justice, public health, and human services—to act as a single, integrated community and point the way toward powerful new solutions.

Attacking the Opioid Epidemic panel from left to right: Clay Stamp, Kevin Aftung, Delegate Barron, Nancy Schrum, Jeff Amoros.
Attacking the Opioid Epidemic panel from left to right: Clay Stamp, Kevin Aftung, Delegate Barron, Nancy Schrum, Jeff Amoros.
Audience members raise hands as Clay Stamp gauges the impact of the opioid crisis.
Audience members raise hands as Clay Stamp gauges the impact of the opioid crisis.

Clay Stamp, Executive Director – Opioid Operational Command Center, Maryland Emergency Management Agency provided an overview of the opioid epidemic in Maryland and discussed how his team has been working with local governments to provide resources critical for combatting the crisis on a local level.

Kevin Aftung and Nancy Schrum
Kevin Aftung and Nancy Schrum


Kevin Aftung, President, MACo Emergency Managers Affiliate, discussed how Anne Arundel County has mobilized opioid intervention teams at the county level and in the City of Annapolis. These teams are providing essential resources for fighting the opioid epidemic on a local level. Mr. Aftung also gave an overview of the county’s “safe station” initiative. The initiative allows any individual suffering from a heroin/opioid addiction to go to the Annapolis Police Department, any Annapolis or Anne Arundel County Fire Station, or any Anne Arundel County Police Station to seek help. Individuals seeking assistance are required to drop any needles and paraphernalia into a sharps collection container available at each location. If the individual is in possession of any illegal drugs, the appropriate police agency will be notified for disposal purposes only. Mr. Aftung also shared that the county is working on developing a “beds available” software app that would help people find available treatment beds in the county.

Jeff Amorose
Jeff Amoros

Nancy Schrum, Director, Office of Constituent Services, Anne Arundel County, talked about the resources Anne Arundel County has made available to their citizens, including education, prevention, and treatment for opioid use and abuse. Of note, Ms. Schrum discussed the Not My Child” program, a multi-agency, collaborative initiative to promote awareness of opioid and addiction issues to parents, educators, and the community.

Jeff Amoros, Legislative Director, Baltimore City Health Department, gave a presentation that included Baltimore City’s plan of action for addressing the opioid epidemic. Jeff discussed both legislative and community initiatives being implemented across the City.

The session was moderated by Delegate Erek Barron and was held on Friday, August 18, 2017.