BIOTECH BAIT: Can Maryland Net a Boom in Biotechnology?

Biotech industry leaders and experts share insights at MACo’s Summer Conference.

At a special panel featured in the MACo Summer Conference Tech Expo, co-hosted by the Maryland Tech Council, industry leaders share how Maryland counties can get in the chase for biotech, and starting taking advantage of Maryland’s assets to catalyze additional growth in the biotech industry.


Notes from the discussion:


Business executives want to make sure that the government is not going to get in the way and stop them from making a return. The government has to think about their response to community concerns, and its global effect. –Tim Lyden, Eli Lilly


The biotech industry needs a marketing campaign. How many people here can tell us what happens at Johns Hopkins? At the University of Maryland? At Eli Lilly? Some of the great work happening right down the street from us. The folks living in those communities do not know what is going on. Getting STEM teachers into classrooms is one way to do that.–Brian Gaines, MDBio Foundation

If you are seeking to answer the question for potential employees/talent: “Where do I plug in to the bio tech community?”, one answer is the biohive that BioBuzz is building. Check it out at –Chris Frew,  BioBuzz

Maryland has assets that are unreplicatable anywhere across the country:  federal institutions; universities…the list goes on. As a state we need to do a better job of how we represent ourselves, are we in the chase?–Henry Bernstein, Scheer Partners

Tom Sadowski, Vice Chancellor for Economic Development, University System of Maryland moderated the panel.


Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Opening Up To The Open Meetings Act

MACo Summer Conference attendees opened up on Wednesday, August 16 to one of the most important meetings at the conference: the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance’s Open Meetings course.  John S. Mathias, County Attorney, Frederick County delivered the course, and the Honorable Chris Trumbauer, Council Member, Anne Arundel County served as moderator (and simultaneously earned his final credits for the Academy of Excellence’s accreditation!)

During the 2017 Session, the Maryland General Assembly passed and Governor Larry Hogan signed into law new Open Meetings Act training requirements for public bodies (HB 880 / SB 450). Public bodies have until October 1, 2017, to comply with the new training requirements. Click here for everything you need to know about that. This session fullfilled the training requirement for many; the session enjoyed a packed room of public body members and other interested attendees.

Ins and Outs of Hiring, Firing, and Employment Issues at #MACoCon

Attendees of the 2017 MACo Summer Conference and students of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance Certificate Program learned about hiring, firing, promoting and disciplining employees at the “Academy Core: Employment Issues” session.

Prince George's County Council Member Deni Taveras (L) and Kevin Karpinski,Partner at Karpinski, Colaresi & Karp, PA (L) moderating and presenting, respectively, the Academy Core session on Employment Issues.
Prince George’s County Council Member Deni Taveras (L) and Kevin Karpinski,Partner at Karpinski, Colaresi & Karp, PA (L) moderating and presenting, respectively, the Academy Core session on Employment Issues.

Kevin Karpinski, Partner at Karpinski, Colaresi & Karp, PA, presented on who should conduct job interviews and how; what sorts of written policies should be in place and followed; the proper process for disciplining and terminating an employee; and all the important employment issues in between. Karpinski educated audience members on the types of lawsuits that can arise from failing to appropriately handle employment issues and how through smart management employers can avoid those litigation pitfalls.

For instance, Karpinski notes,”the most important person in an agency is a line supervisor” when it comes to employment discrimination cases. It is incumbent for that person to document issues with employees. If there is no documentation, the supervisor has failed to do his or her job, failed the company, and failed the employee as discrimination cases rise and fall on documentation.

The Academy for Excellence in Local Governance (The Academy) is a voluntary certificate program. The Academy is a collaborative effort involving MACo, the Maryland Municipal League (MML), the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT), and the School of Public Policy of the University of Maryland, College Park, that also serves as the program administrator. The Academy is provided as an educational response to the professional education needs of Maryland local government officials.

Attendees attentively listen in to the employment issues presentation.
Attendees attentively listen in to the employment issues presentation.

The Academy’s curriculum is designed to help local officials, especially newly elected officials, meet the challenges of their role. Specific objectives are (1) to increase understanding of local government and how it functions; (2) to promote high ethical standards in public service; (3) to provide an informational base for more informed policy making; (4) to develop capacity of local officials to govern effectively; and (5) to recognize local officials for their educational efforts. The Academy certificate program is voluntary. Enrolled county government officials are required to take 8 “core” classes and 6 “elective” classes, all available on a rotation basis during MACo Winter and Summer Conferences and at LGIT.

The session was moderated by Prince George’s County Council Member Deni Taveras and held on Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

Planning Commission & Board of Appeals Training Kicks Off 2017 #MACoCon

Lower Eastern Shore Regional Planner Keith Lackie discusses PFAs

The Maryland Department of Planning kicked off the 2017 MACo Summer Conference on 2017-08-16 by offering its free planning and land use course. The several hour course outlines the history of land use in Maryland, basics of planning and Smart Growth, engaging with elected officials and the public, and key land use issues currently facing the state.

While designed for planning commissioners and board of appeals members, any interested county official can attend. The course is required under state law and is offered at the MACo Summer Conference, MML Annual Convention, and online. You do not have to be registered for the MACo conference to attend this session.

Maryland Department of Planning staff, including Assistant Secretary for Operations Robert McCord, Lower Eastern Shore Regional Planner Keith Lackie, and Director of Planning Coordination Chuck Boyd walked attendees through the course materials.

Useful Links

Planning Commission/Board of Appeals Training Course Webpage

Tech Ready To IGNITE At #MACoCon

Tomorrow’s Tech Expo will kick off with a fast-paced session where vendors make their pitch to attendees – in under 60 seconds each.

Screenshot 2017-08-15 21.29.23
A slide from the IGNITE pitch for one of MACo’s Tech Expo vendors describe the cyber threat landscape of the modern workplace.

Join the excitement at MACo’s IGNITE Switch-Pitch, where you will also hear from the leadership of the Maryland Association of County Information Technology Officers with their asks of the private sector.

Here’s a sneak preview.

My Top 5 Picks for #MACoCon After 5 Years at MACo

This year I am celebrating my five year anniversary as a member of the Maryland Association of Counties staff. This year’s MACo Conference (#MACoCon) will be my sixth, and I have never been more excited about a MACo Conference.

MACo’s Research Director shares her picks from this year’s MACo Conference.

Here are my Top Five Picks from the MACo Conference Schedule:

  1. Wednesday’s Virtual Reality Panel

One of the reasons that I like going to conferences myself is to learn about new areas. The speakers in this panel were tapped by the Maryland Tech Council – MACo’s partner in the Tech Expo this year and they are true innovators. This session is an opportunity to meet people who make a living turning ideas into reality. I think you will come away surprised at how much sci-fi they have actualized into on-the-street solutions.

2. Wednesday’s Biotech Panel

On the Biotech panel at the Tech Expo, MACo and the MD Tech Council are bringing you the best-of-the best. Biotech is a big economic driver for Maryland, and something every Marylander should know a bit about. Meet the leaders who have made Maryland a biotech titan, and hear how you, as a local elected official, can support statewide growth of this high-earning industry.

3. Thursday’s Taste of Maryland

This new tradition is one of my favorite events at the conference (I confess I am a bit of a foodie). Sample treats from every county, and hear some tunes from a home-grown fiddle and guitar duo (Calvert county’s finest). Just don’t make this your only trip to the county- booth hall. There are many things to learn in these exhibits (and stop by the MACo Booth while you’re at it!).

4. Friday’s Pitch Competition

It’s on this Friday morning when entrepreneurs from 5 industry sectors battle for bragging rights as the best bet for Maryland’s economy — and a feature slot at the next MACo Conference. I have never been more impressed or inspired by what is happening right here in our state than while planning this session. These will not be off-the-cuff presentations by small start-ups; these are seasoned entrepreneurs who have already seen major success, and brought big dollars and many jobs to Maryland. Competitive by nature, they are taking this event seriously and despite the background I have I truly cannot predict who you — the audience, or our expert judges are going to select for top honors.

4. Saturday’s Education Session

2018 promises to be a big year for education in Maryland politics. We will see the wrap-up of the Knott Commission on school construction and the Kirwan Commission on education adequacy — two major statewide task forces that will make recommendations to the General Assembly for the coming Session. While there are many viewpoints in education policy, there is one perspective that many share — we have to make sure that we are preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce. One of the hot topics in this area is career and tech training in high schools, an area that has grown significantly in past years and is poised for another renovation. Hear more in this session.

I look forward to seeing you in Ocean City this week!

Coming To #MACoCon? Avoid US 50 Salisbury Bypass!

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration today (MDOT SHA) closed the eastbound US 50/US 13 Salisbury Bypass at the US 50 Business (Salisbury Boulevard) split due to pavement damage and drainage erosion just prior to US 13 Business. The right lane was already closed at the same location for a pipe repair. The westbound Salisbury Bypass is open and not impacted by the closure.
“Significant rainfall last weekend created additional erosion under the road. For the safety of the traveling public, we closed both lanes, began immediate repairs and are detouring traffic,” said MDOT SHA District Engineer Jay Meredith.
Motorists are being detoured on US 50 Business through the City of Salisbury, which served as the gateway to beach resorts before completion of the Salisbury Bypass. MDOT SHA is retiming traffic signals on US 50 business to provide additional ‘green’ time to through motorists. Drivers planning to travel to the beach resorts are strongly urged to plan additional travel time. Overhead message signs will alert motorists to the detour.

Looks Who’s Talking at #MACoCon

SC17 Promo Image


Register today

FRIDAY, August 11: Last day for pre-registration
WEDNESDAY, August 16: On-site registration opens

Featuring more than 126 Speakers – All Experts and Leaders in their Fields!

Here are a few of our distinguished speakers…

The Honorable Ben Cardin
United States Senator
Town Hall Forum with US Senator Cardin
Thursday, August 17
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

The Honorable Dutch Ruppersberger
United States Representative
The Voice of Entrepreneurship: Who Has the Perfect Pitch for Maryland?
Friday, August 18, 2017
9:00 am – 10:45 am


The Honorable Larry Hogan
Governor of Maryland
Governor’s Closing Address
Saturday, August 19, 2017
11:30 am – 12:30 pm


Rohit Bhargava
Founder, Influential Marketing Group
Keynote Presentation: How to Use Stories to Build Trust
Thursday, August 17, 2017
9:00 am – 10:00 am

Tami Howie

Tami Howie
Chief Executive Officer, Maryland Tech Council
The Voice of Entrepreneurship: Who Has the Perfect Pitch for Maryland?
Friday, August 18, 2017
9:00 am – 10:45 am

Gregory Branch, MD, MBA, CPW, FACP
President, Maryland Association of County Health Officers
Learn to Save a Life at #MACoCon – Overdose and CPR Training
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

caryn york

Caryn York
Executive Director, Job Opportunities Task Force
Second Chance for Workplace Success – A Good Program is Good for Your County
Thursday, August 17, 2017
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

julia lenzer

Julia Lenzer
Associate Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development and Co-Director of UM Ventures, University of Maryland
Headsets On: Get Ready for Virtual Reality and the Social Shake-Up
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

clay stamp

Clay Stamp
Executive Director, Governor’s Opioid Operational Command Center
Opioid Forum: Combating the Crisis
Saturday, August 19, 2017
10:00 am – 11:15 am

“Chasing the Dragon” Opioid Addiction Documentary at #MACoCon

The FBI and DEA have released Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict a documentary 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.

The 45-minute film, whose title refers to the never-ending pursuit of the original or ultimate high, features stark first-person accounts told by individuals who have abused opioids or whose children have abused opioids, with tragic consequences.

“This film may be difficult to watch,” explains FBI Director James Comey, “but we hope it educates our students and young adults about the tragic consequences that come with abusing these drugs and that it will cause people to think twice before becoming its next victim.”

And according to Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “The numbers are appalling—tens of thousands of Americans will die this year from drug-related deaths, and more than half of these deaths are from heroin and prescription opioid overdoses. I hope this [documentary] will be a wakeup call for folks.”

Visit the FBI Chasing the Dragon website for more information including discussion guides and behind the scenes materials.

Join us for a screening of Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference. The screening will be held from 9:00 am – 10:0 0am on Saturday, August 19.

The MACo Summer Conference is August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. This year the conference’s theme is “You’re Hired!”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


U.S. Senator Ben Cardin to Give Federal Update in #MACoCon Town Hall Forum

Senator Cardin is a national leader on health care, retirement security, and fiscal issues.

Congress’s decisions on transportation, education, healthcare, and the environment affect every state in the country and each county in Maryland. To learn more about Congressional policies and what they mean for your county, attend this year’s MACo Summer Conference.

At this year’s Conference, you can hear an update on the happenings in Congress directly from US Senator, Ben Cardin during a Town Hall meeting moderated by Brian Bowden, Associate Legislative Director, National Association of Counties.

Here are details of the Town Hall at MACo:

Title: Update with US Senator Cardin


In a town hall setting, Senator Cardin will give an update on legislation in the 115th Congress and speak with county elected officials about their top priorities. Senator Cardin has been a national leader on health care, retirement security, and fiscal issues as a member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. He is also a leading advocate for the Chesapeake Bay – the economic, historical, and cultural heart of Maryland. Senator Cardin was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. He is a senior member of the Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee and serves on the Senate Finance Committee (SFC).


Date/Time: Thursday, August 17, 2017; 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

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

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: