Training: Federalsburg Enterprise Zone Tax Credit
Calling all Federalsburg businesses! We will be hosting a training session on the Federalsburg Enterprise Zone on Wednesday August 16th, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. at the Federalsburg Library (124 Morris Ave., Federalsburg).
The Enterprise Zone offers two types of incentives:
- Real Property Tax Credits – for businesses investing at least $100,000 in capital improvements
- State Income Tax Credits – for businesses hiring at least one net new employee working a minimum of 35 hours per week and paid at least 150% of the federal minimum wage
The training session will review the application process (it’s easy!), benefits, and FAQs. You should plan to attend if you will be hiring full-time employees AND/OR making an investment of at least $100,000 in your property.
The Federalsburg Enterprise Zone encompasses all three industrial parks, most commercial areas within town limits, and some industrial properties just outside town limits. If you would like to verify that your business is located within the Zone, please contact the Town of Federalsburg at 410.754.8173.
If you plan to attend the training session, please email us to let us know. If you have any questions, you can also call us at 410.479.4188.
Anco Inc. Moves Manufacturing Operations to Federalsburg
Caroline County Economic Development has announced that Anco Inc. is relocating part of its operations to Federalsburg. Anco is headquartered in Bowie. The company has purchased a property in the Caroline Industrial Park and is relocating its manufacturing operations from Delaware. Anco will be bringing at least 15 new jobs to Federalsburg.
Anco is a family-owned glazing contractor that has been in business for more than 25 years. The company fabricates, installs, and services glass facades for multistory commercial and residential buildings. It also provides interior glass systems. Anco has completed projects for many prominent construction companies and developers throughout Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.
“We’re very excited to welcome Anco to Caroline County,” said Rachel Barry, Economic Development Coordinator for Caroline County. “They are a well-run company with a great reputation and will be a great addition to our business community.”
Anco will be eligible for the manufacturing tax credit offered by the Town of Federalsburg, as well as the Enterprise Zone income tax credits offered by the State of Maryland.
Anco is the third manufacturer to expand or relocate to Federalsburg within the past eight months. Caroline County Economic Development and the Federalsburg Economic Development Commission worked closely to help Anco with their relocation plans.
To learn more about Anco Inc., please visit their website at www.ancoglass.com. Questions about their relocation may be directed to Rachel Barry at Caroline County Economic Development at 410-479-4188.
Caroline County Announces the Expansion of Eastern Shore Forest Products to Federalsburg; 45 New Jobs
Caroline County Economic Development has announced the expansion of Eastern Shore Forest Products to Federalsburg. Eastern Shore Forest Products is headquartered in Salisbury, MD and operates four other locations in Millington, Salisbury and Pocomoke, MD and Frankford, DE. The company purchased the former Kraft-Heinz property that ceased operations earlier this year. Eastern Shore Forest Products will be making a total investment of $5 million in the property and adding at least 45 new jobs.
Eastern Shore Forest Products is a family-owned business that has been operating for 37 years. It produces specialty consumer wood products, industrial wood fiber, mulch, fuel and specialty soil mixes. Its Federalsburg facility will produce animal bedding and fuel products that is distributed primarily through major national retailers. The company is making improvements to the facility to sound-proof its operations from outside the building. It is also in the process of building its own proprietary equipment used in the production process.
“We are excited to welcome another great company to our community,” said Rachel Barry, Economic Development Coordinator for Caroline County. “Eastern Shore Forest Products has won quality and service awards from its customers, and it has a very strong management team. We’re proud they chose to expand their business to Federalsburg and Caroline County.
Eastern Shore Forest Products may be utilizing the manufacturing tax credits offered by the Town of Federalsburg and Caroline County, as well as the Enterprise Zone tax credits offered by the State of Maryland.
Eastern Shore Forest Products is one of three manufacturers to expand to Federalsburg within the past eight months. Chuck Planner, Mayor of Federalsburg, credits the responsiveness of the Town’s staff, its dedicated economic development commission, and a strong relationship with County economic development for its recent success. “When businesses like Eastern Shore Forest Products visit our town, they see a team of people who are excited to help them.”
Dan Franklin, President of the Caroline County Commissioners, agrees. “We are privileged and excited to have Eastern Shore Forest Products coming to Caroline County. They are innovators in their field, and have been very successful. We welcome them with open arms into our business community. We look forward to seeing Eastern Shore Forest Products continue their success with the citizens of Caroline County.”
Eastern Shore Forest Products will begin hiring for several key positions immediately and has expressed interest in interviewing former Kraft-Heinz employees affected by the merger and plant consolidation. Tom Johnson, CEO of Eastern Shore Forest Products, said the availability of experienced manufacturing talent was one of the things that made Federalsburg an appealing location. “We’re looking for dedicated people who can grow with us. Most of our employees have been with us for years. I believe if you treat people right, they will treat you right and they will want to stay with you.”
Anyone interested in applying for a position with Eastern Shore Forest Products may complete an application on their website at www.esforest.com. Questions about economic development in Caroline County may be directed to 410-479-4188 or [email protected]
Caroline County Launches New Manufacturing Curriculum
The Caroline County Board of Education and Caroline County Commissioners have announced the launch of a new manufacturing curriculum for high school students. The Advanced Manufacturing Professionals (AMP) curriculum was developed to prepare Caroline County students for careers with local and regional manufacturers. The Maryland State Department of Education has approved the new curriculum, which will begin enrolling students for the 2017 – 2018 school year.
The AMP curriculum was developed in response to Caroline County Economic Development’s five-year strategic plan, which identified workforce development for the manufacturing sector as a top priority. The Board of Education, economic development, and local manufacturers began working together to develop AMP nearly three years ago.
“We are very excited about the opportunities AMP will provide our students,” said Dr. Patricia Saelens, Interim Superintendent of Caroline County Public Schools. “The new curriculum is very robust. It will prepare students for modern manufacturing, which requires creativity, problem solving, and teamwork.”
The manufacturing sector employs more than 1,200 people in Caroline County, representing 12.2% of all jobs in the County, according to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation. There are more than 6,500 people employed in manufacturing in the broader Mid-Shore region. The Board of Education received fifteen letters of support for the AMP curriculum from manufacturers located in all five Mid-Shore counties. These companies expressed concern that it has become increasingly difficult to find skilled technical workers. They expect this trend to continue as their most experienced workers are aging and retiring out of the workforce.
The local shortage of skilled manufacturing labor reflects broader national trends. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the industry expects to add a total of 3.5 million manufacturing jobs over the next ten years. In a recent survey, 80% of manufacturers reported that they are already facing a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled or highly-skilled positions. This is despite the fact that the average manufacturing worker’s wages are $26.00 per hour, excluding benefits. This is higher than the average wages for workers in other sectors.
“The AMP program will begin developing the next generation of manufacturing talent, which is absolutely vital to Caroline County,” said Dan Franklin, president of the Caroline County Commissioners. “We’ve seen significant growth with new manufacturers moving to the County, and our existing companies growing and expanding. We are very fortunate to have a Board of Education that is so eager to work with our businesses. There’s a true partnership between the schools and our economic development office.”
The AMP curriculum will give students the opportunity to work on equipment like 3D printers, CNC machines, and state-of-the-art welding kits. Students will work on real-world projects provided by local manufacturers. Local manufacturers have also volunteered to help co-teach lessons, provide feedback to students on completed projects, and provide internship opportunities.
Josh Zimmerman, Business Liaison for Caroline County Public Schools, said the manufacturing community has helped make AMP a reality. “We have incredible business leaders who have already invested a tremendous amount of their time to support this curriculum. Tanglewood Conservatories has been part of this effort from the beginning, and has gone above and beyond what we could have ever asked. Other manufacturers like Dart Container and Crystal Steel have also been very generous with their support.”
Students enrolled in the AMP curriculum will begin taking classes in their sophomore year and will move through the program as a cohort. They will begin by learning the principles of safety, quality, measurements, and lean manufacturing. They will apply those concepts as they move through the curriculum, working on projects related to product design and development, process automation, and production management.
Gene Smith, Principal of the Caroline Career & Technology Center where AMP will be taught, says the curriculum will have a heavy emphasis on soft skills. “Businesses have told us that they’re looking for people who are good at problem solving and working in teams. We’ll be providing students with projects that challenge them. They’ll have to work together to figure out solutions, just like in a real manufacturing environment,” said Smith.
Students who complete the AMP curriculum will be prepared to go to work immediately, or to pursue further education. The Board of Education has secured articulation agreements with Chesapeake College and Delaware Technical Community College.
Smith said students and parents interested in AMP should contact their guidance counselors. Businesses interested in getting involved with AMP may contact Josh Zimmerman, Business Liaison for Caroline County Public Schools at 410-479-1460; or Rachel Barry, Economic Development Coordinator at 410-479-4188.
New Ag Business Hiring Management Positions
There will soon be a new agricultural business in Ridgely, and they are hiring!
BSD Farms is a large-scale hydroponic greenhouse operation. The company will be producing lettuce, herbs, and vegetables for sale to Kosher markets throughout the east coast. BSD Farms will be building their operation in the Mid-Shore Technology Park located in Ridgely, MD.
BSD Farms is currently seeking candidates for two important management positions. Please click the links below for the complete job descriptions:
BSD Farms is tentatively scheduled to conduct initial interviews on March 16, 2017. Anyone who would like to be considered should submit a resume and cover letter as soon as possible to [email protected] Please do not mail your cover letter and resume; they should be sent via email only. Cover Letters may be addressed to:
Mr. Asaff Bagg
BSD Farms, Inc.
Mid-Shore Technology Park
Ridgely, MD 21660
Candidates selected for consideration will be contacted to schedule an interview. Please share this post with anyone you know who may be interested.
Caroline County Commissioners Hire Rachel Barry as Economic Development Coordinator
The Caroline County Commissioners are pleased to announce the selection of Rachel Barry as Economic Development Coordinator.
Barry comes to the County with three years’ experience in economic development. Prior to being hired by the County, she served as the Manager of Small Business Services for Caroline Economic Development Corporation, where she was responsible for all aspects of the organization’s small business strategy and outreach. This included managing the Caroline County Small Business Loan Program, business plan review, site selection, troubleshooting permitting and regulatory issues, and assistance securing project financing.
In her new role, Barry will be responsible for implementing the County’s strategic plan for economic development. Her duties include working with the County Commissioners and the Economic Development Advisory Board to establish objectives in business retention and expansion, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and marketing and business attraction.
County Commission President Dan Franklin stated, “I’ve had the privilege of working with Rachel in her former position with CEDC, where I was on the Board of Directors. I am excited to have her aboard as Caroline County’s Economic Development Coordinator, and have no doubt that she will continue to provide outstanding service to our business community and citizens. We’re proud to have Rachel on our team.”
A native of Caroline County, Barry holds an A.S. in Business Administration from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. She moved back to Denton with her husband after he completed military service in 2012. Barry previously worked in the logistics and financial sectors and is active in several local organizations, including Caroline Imagination Library Partnership. She has also served on the Board of Directors for SCORE Mid-Shore, a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed, since 2013.
Barry began her position effective March 1, 2017.
Caroline Economic Development Corporation Launches New Brand
“You Belong Here” brand will attract businesses, talent, and visitors to Caroline County
Caroline Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) has launched a new brand to attract businesses, talent, and visitors to Caroline County. The new brand will be implemented by both Economic Development and the Office of Tourism. Establishing a strong brand for the County was identified as a top priority in CEDC’s five-year strategic plan for economic development.
The new brand was built around the tagline “You Belong Here,” which was chosen after extensive community input. CEDC hired Choptank Communications, a marketing firm based on the Eastern Shore, to conduct focus groups, a public survey, and one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders throughout Caroline County. Participants were asked to provide their insight into the culture and characteristics that best define the County. In total, nearly 400 people who live and/or work in Caroline County provided input that helped shape the brand.
“It was interesting to see how consistent feedback was across demographic groups and industries,” said Angela Visintainer, Director of Economic Development. “There were very clear themes that emerged. Almost everyone talked about how warm and down-to-earth Caroline County is, and how it just feels like home. Many people also spoke about how collaborative and close relationships are in the County. There are a lot of very strong partnerships.”
Based on the input from the community, Choptank Communications proposed the tagline “You Belong Here” to serve as the foundation of the new brand. This was reflected back to many of the same people who participated in the focus groups and interviews to get their feedback on the concept. There was overwhelming consensus that “You Belong Here” accurately captures the character of Caroline County.
Community feedback was also used to guide the design of the logo for the new brand. “There was again a lot of consistency from the focus groups and survey results,” said Visintainer. “People talked about how much they love the rural landscapes in Caroline County, including the farmland, rivers, and parks. There were very vivid descriptions of the green in the fields, the yellow of the corn that grows throughout the county, and the blue of the rivers and open sky.”
CEDC contracted Christina Lippincott Designs to incorporate this imagery into a logo design that is both modern and versatile. The resulting logo includes an icon of graceful arches in blue, green, and yellow to represent the County’s landscape. The “You Belong Here” tagline is presented in a bright green, casual script that feels friendly and welcoming.
“We wanted a logo that is bright and cheerful to appeal to visitors coming to the County,” said Kathy Mackel, Director of Tourism. “The logo looks friendly and welcoming, and I think it really sends the message that when you visit Caroline County, we’ll make you feel right at home.”
Both Economic Development and Tourism will be incorporating the new “You Belong Here” brand into all future marketing efforts. CEDC will also offer to share the tagline with other County agencies, departments, and non-profits, as well as the various municipalities throughout the County.
“We’re developing guidelines for other organizations that would like to incorporate the ‘You Belong Here’ tagline into their own marketing and communications efforts,” said Visintainer. “Our hope is that the brand will be widely adopted, which will create a consistent message and experience for everyone visiting, living, or working in the County.”
Caroline County Welcomes Crystal Steel Fabricators; 126 New Jobs Coming to Federalsburg
Caroline Economic Development Corp. has announced that Crystal Steel Fabricators, Inc. is expanding to Federalsburg. Crystal Steel is headquartered in Delmar, Delaware and has facilities in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and the Philippines. The company is continuing operations in its current locations and adding additional manufacturing capacity in Federalsburg.
Crystal Steel is a family-owned structural steel fabricator specializing in large-scale projects such as stadiums, hospitals, bridges, and schools. Significant projects completed in Maryland include MGM Resort Casino at National Harbor, the Ocean City Convention Center, and Salisbury University Perdue School of Business, among others.
Crystal Steel has acquired the former ES Steel building in the Frank Adams Industrial Park, which totals 100,000 square feet. The company is also acquiring a 4.8 acre lot in the Park for additional development. Over the next two years, Crystal Steel expects to create 126 new jobs at its Federalsburg facility.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Crystal Steel to Federalsburg and Caroline County,” said Angela Visintainer, Director of Economic Development. “We’re thrilled about the job creation and investment they’ll be making of course, but we’re also excited that they’re such a good cultural fit for our County. They have a hardworking, down-to-earth culture. Members of their team have already begun working with Caroline County Public Schools to advise on the new manufacturing curriculum launching in the spring.”
Crystal Steel is currently accepting applications for a variety of positions including CNC Machine Operators, Structural Steel Fabricators, Welders, and Structural Steel Helpers. The company offers a robust training program and will consider applicants with limited experience as long as they can demonstrate a strong work ethic.
“We are always excited to provide people with great career opportunities, and many of our employees have been with us for ten years or more,” said Emad Mohamed, Executive Vice President at Crystal Steel. “We expect strong growth, which will provide folks in Federalsburg with the chance to move up and become leaders.”
Crystal Steel was initially attracted to Federalsburg because the building site has direct rail access and was designed for steel fabrication. The State of Maryland offered strong incentives including the One Maryland Tax Credit and the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit programs, as well as a $315,000 conditional loan through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF), which is based upon the company’s commitment to job creation and capital expenditures.
“Crystal Steel’s plan to invest more than $4 million and create more than 126 jobs is exactly the kind of economic development our administration pledged to bring to Maryland,” said Governor Hogan, a strong advocate for Maryland manufacturing jobs. “In addition to bringing high-paying jobs to the Eastern Shore, employees will learn new skills like lean manufacturing and CNC programming. This project is a win for Crystal Steel, a win for the Caroline County, and a win for the citizens of Maryland.”
Crystal Steel will also utilize the manufacturing tax credits offered by both The Town of Federalsburg and Caroline County. These tax credits incentivize local investment for new and/or expanding manufacturing businesses.
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Crystal Steel to our business community,” said Federalsburg Mayor Chuck Planner. “It’s an honor to have a company of Crystal Steel’s caliber choose our community for their future growth.”
Caroline County Commissioner Dan Franklin, who also serves on the Caroline Economic Development Corp. board of directors, said he is pleased to see more manufacturing come to the County. “Caroline County has a great workforce for manufacturing,” he said. “Because of our agricultural roots, we have a lot of people who like to work with their hands and tackle mechanical challenges. It’s very exciting to have new career opportunities open up for our residents, especially at a business as strong as Crystal Steel.”
The Crystal Steel team has met with Caroline County Warden Ruth Coulbourne to discuss the possibility of training inmates on work release. “Sometimes people make a mistake in life that they regret, and they need a second chance to get on a positive track,” said Jeff Weaver, Director of Operations at Crystal Steel. “We’re happy to provide that chance to anyone who is willing to work hard.”
Crystal Steel will begin filling some positions immediately and will continue to scale up over the next two years. Anyone interested in applying for a position with Crystal Steel should submit a resume to [email protected]
Notice of a Public Regional Meeting to Modernize State Procurement
COMMISSION TO MODERNIZE STATE PROCUREMENT
Public Regional Meeting
Governor Larry Hogan’s Commission to Modernize State Procurement, chaired by Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, will host three regional meetings.
The third Public Regional Meeting will be held:
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
10 AM to 12 Noon
Easton Fire Hall
315 Aurora Park Drive Easton, Maryland 21601
Plenty of parking is available at the Easton Fire Hall
Because the State of Maryland spends $ 4 billion annually on goods and services, the Commission seeks to engage Marylanders in its efforts to ensure that State contracting is efficient, transparent, and equitable for businesses and produces the best value at reasonable prices for Marylanders.
Everyone is invited to attend this public meeting. You will have the opportunity to address the Commissioners. Business owners are encouraged to share their experiences with the State procurement process and their ideas on improving it.
Executive Order 01.01.2016.05
Spotlight on Small Business: Nice Farms Creamery
You may have heard June is National Dairy Month so we thought it would be appropriate to spotlight one of Caroline County’s dairy farms, Nice Farms Creamery in Federalsburg.
The Miller’s story began in New Jersey but in 1989 they decided to relocate to American Corner in order to expand their acreage and produce a high quality milk.
In 2009 their oldest son, Bob Miller resigned his commission as an officer in the US Army to build a creamery on the dairy farm. Bob invested his own savings and began with one 35 gallon pasteurizer and a four gallon bottler, pump and chiller. By October of that year they were producing creamline whole milk, chocolate milk, and yogurt. Since then they have added skim milk and butter as well as seasonal eggnog and ice cream.
Even with the expansions over the years they have maintained the highest quality and all of their products are made on site with their own milk. They have always believed in the importance of a pastured diet to maintain optimal health of the herd. The cows rotate between pastures each day feasting on seasonal grasses.
If you are interested in purchasing any of their products you can visit the farm 3pm-6pm. However, they recommend calling first to ensure staff is available and products are in stock. Also, keep an eye on their Facebook page for special events and farmers market locations.
Leadercast 2016 Speaker Lineup
Leadercast Delmarva is a one-day event broadcast live from Atlanta, GA that features some our nations most well-known leaders. It is a day filled with leadership development and opportunities to network with business leaders from across the Mid-Shore. This is the third year that CEDC has partnered with Caroline County Public Schools to host this event at Colonel Richardson High School. Read on for a short introduction to this years speakers. Click here to purchase tickets.
We hope you will join us on May 6, 2016 Leadercast Delmarva: Architects of Tomorrow. Click here to purchase your tickets.
Press Release from Choptank Transport: New Construction Has Begun
We are pleased to share the following press release from Choptank Transport. Congratulations to Choptank for their continued growth and success! You make Caroline County proud!
Choptank Transport Begins New Construction – Adds Jobs
Expands Preston Headquarters, Adds New Jobs
12/10/2015 Press Release
Preston, MD – Choptank Transport, a rapidly growing third-party logistics company, has announced that it has started construction on a new 11,000 square-foot expansion of its headquarters in Preston, Maryland which will allow them to hire an additional 130 people in the next two years. This is its third expansion at this location within the last decade. The new space will mirror the existing facility, with large open spaces to preserve the collaborative environment that is part of the company culture.
In addition to the construction, Choptank has acquired 4,000 square feet of additional office space by purchasing another pre-existing building on Main Street in Preston within a few miles of the main offices. This location will further accommodate the increase in employees needed to service the company’s growing customer base.
“We have been blessed with outstanding growth,” says Steve Covey, Executive Vice President at Choptank. “Our strategy has been and will continue to be our results driven culture. Our employee’s dedication and focus on exceeding customer expectations has allowed this growth. The new addition will allow for further investment into our culture through business intelligence and staff additions. Those additions will foster collaborative technologies that will allow us to successfully manage and grow in a logistics world that faces unprecedented legislation for over-the-road safety and cargo security.”
“Logistics is a hot career right now. It’s not only a great place to begin your career; it’s a great place to advance it,” says Pam Hutchinson, Choptank’s Vice President of Human Relations. Recruiting top talent has been a priority in her department over the last several years. “Nearly all of our management staff has been promoted from within. We’ve partnered with Salisbury University’s sales initiative and Stevenson University’s Sales Club to attract recent graduates and also work with local veteran’s groups and community organizations. And for our existing staff, the team just gets better every day at developing and mentoring new leaders.”
With such a large hiring goal, the company is focusing on non-traditional means to recruit new talent. “The buzz surrounding our company culture is definitely our biggest recruitment asset. Lots of companies have their management make claims about great culture or publish testimonials by selected employees. We haven’t really had to push culture from the top down because it’s something that starts at our grass roots. Our people share their success stories daily with their personal connections. The culture is something people want to be a part of,” says Hutchinson.
About Choptank Transport
Choptank Transport is a nationally recognized, award-winning 3PL with over 25 years of experience in the field of shipping and logistics. Specializing in truckload freight, Choptank’s expertise includes refrigerated and frozen transport, dry van and flatbed services. For those requiring additional services, Choptank has dedicated divisions for refrigerated LTL and intermodal shipping. Office locations include Maryland, Denver, Dallas, Tampa, Atlanta and Nashville.
Interested candidates can apply at any of our locations through our website at www.choptanktransport.com/careers. New classes begin in January and will continue throughout 2016.
5 Marketing Strategies for Success
We came across this article, 35 Ways to Grow Your Brand by Isadora Badi on one of our most-visited sites, marketingprofs.com, and couldn’t wait to share it. While the whole article is loaded with helpful ideas for marketing, we’ve pulled out our five favorites:
1. Adapt your formula to meet consumer concerns: Once, Aspartame was OK. Now, consumers are worried it might be dangerous for their health. PepsiCo has announced it will stop using aspartame as a sweetener in its drinks.
This is a tricky one so be careful. You will not please everyone all the time; however, if you start to hear the same concerns voiced over and over, start taking steps to reassure the customer you have their best interest at heart, even if that means rethinking an entire recipe..
2. Dominate your vertical: Planters knows everything about peanuts; therefore, Planter’s Peanut Butter must be great.
Once you develop a solid market for your product or service, and a trusting relationship with your customers, they may assume you are an expert in your industry. Treat this trust with great care, and cultivate it as it will allow you to expand your market and customer base down the road.
3. Become a sponsor: P&G’s sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympic Games alongside its “Thank you mom” campaign offered heart-warming ads featuring athletes and their families.
While we can’t all sponsor the Olympic Games, there are always opportunities you can take advantage of, even on a limited budget. Strategically using sponsorship dollars will do much more for your brand than mailers and newspaper ads; they tell your customers that you support your community, and that is worth its weight in gold.
Need sponsorship ideas?
- How about sponsoring a youth sports team that places your business name on a dozen little jerseys?
- Check with local non-profits to see what they offer in terms of an affiliate membership or event sponsorship.
- Keep an eye on local community events such as festivals or races that are in need of sponsorship funding.
- Look into sponsoring professional events within your own industry.
4. Show you truly care: Become the Zappos in your industry. Make customer care your thing, and go above and beyond. Your clients will come back—and bring their friends.
Have you ever heard the saying “good news travels fast; bad news travels faster”? That’s particularly true in this age of social media. When a customer has a bad experience, this will be shared with friends, family, and anyone who will listen. Granted, you will never be able to please everyone; however, consistent, reliable customer service builds your reputation over time. If someone does have a bad experience, do everything you can to make it right, even if you are not at fault. Remember: word of mouth can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
5. Be an authority in your field: Rachel Zoe started as a stylist, telling people what to wear and creating a name as an expert in fashion. Once she launched her fashion line, it became an instant success.
Remember how your customers presume you are the expert? Focus on what you are good at it and become the expert. Don’t let your vision become clouded with ideas that do not fit into your area of expertise. Once you have established a solid customer base, you can begin to expand your products or services slowly, methodically, and strategically. Starting out too broad and growing too fast are mistakes that will have the opposite desired effect.
Response to Kraft Plant Closing
Yesterday, we received word that the Kraft plant in Federalsburg will be closing within the next 12 – 24 months. This is certainly very disappointing news. The plant has been part of Federalsburg and Caroline County for decades, and we’ve always been proud to be the home of Stove Top Stuffing.
The decision to close the plant is a result of the recent merger between Kraft Foods and the Heinz Company. Whenever a merger like this takes place, there is risk that it will impact local facilities. Since the merger was announced several months ago, we have been in contact with the Federalsburg plant and have been monitoring the situation. It appeared that the Federalsburg facility may come through the merger unscathed. The company was adding jobs at the plant and doing some minor renovations to the facility.
Unfortunately, Kraft Heinz Company has initiated a new round of consolidations, and the Federalsburg plant is part of that. Companies merge because they see opportunities to streamline their operations and improve efficiency. This is a good move for shareholders, but it often has a very negative impact for individual plants and the people who work there.
So what’s next? We are working with the Maryland Department of Commerce to reach out to corporate executives at the Kraft Heinz Company to see if there is anything at all that can be done to keep the Federalsburg plant open. We’re also working with the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board to help the affected local employees find new jobs in the area. Fortunately, our other manufacturing companies in Caroline County are growing and adding jobs. Dart Container alone is currently hiring 50 production employees. Smaller manufacturers are also adding jobs, like Shoreline Vinyl Systems, which is currently adding five new production positions. These are just a couple of examples that indicate there are good opportunities for Kraft employees to find new jobs in the area.
Our hearts are with our fellow citizens who are directly impacted by this decision made by Kraft Heinz Company. We’ll do everything we can to help them through the transition. We take care of each other here in Caroline County, and we’ll do our absolute best to ensure that the local employees find new opportunities right here at home.
If you have questions about the plant closing or would like to know more about the response by Caroline Economic Development Corporation, please contact us at 410.479.4188.
— Angela Visintainer, Director
Meet CEDC’s New Board Members
Town Manager for the Town of Greensboro
Jeannette DeLude is best known as the Town Manager for the Town of Greensboro, but she also owns a travel consultant business that organizes group tours to the Dominican Republic.
Originally Jeannette is from Corning, NY but she has been living on the Eastern Shore for the past twenty years with her husband. They have a son who is currently serving in the U.S. Marines. In her free time, Jeannette enjoys traveling and spending quality time with her family.
Commissioner for the Town of Ridgely
In 2010, at the age of 25, Anthony Casey became Ridgely town commissioner. With that election, Anthony also gained the title of the youngest commissioner in Maryland, the first commissioner to win through a write-in vote in Caroline County, and the youngest past President of Caroline County Municipalities.
Anthony is a current member of the 5th Annual Ridgely Pharmacy and Ice Cream Parlor car/motorcycle show, a current advisor for Danny’s Walk, and a current administrative member in the Ridgely Volunteer Fire Department.
Anthony currently resides in Ridgely with his wife, Amy and their son, Nolan. In his free time, Anthony enjoys playing golf and participating in community events.
Vice President of Shoreline Vinyl Systems
Chris is a Caroline County native and graduated from North Caroline High School. After graduation, he went on to Wesley College to earn his Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Management. Through his education, Chris gained skills in business development, customer service, team building, and efficient operational execution.
Chris currently serves as the Vice President of Sales and Operation of Shoreline Vinyl Systems, the region’s leading manufacturer of vinyl fencing and deck railing systems. Chris is responsible for managing the daily operations and expanding Shoreline’s sales and product distribution into new markets.
Prior to his role at Shoreline Vinyl Systems, Chris worked for 10 years at Foxfire Printing located in Newark, DE. Chris was a fundamental piece of a team that took Foxfire from a ten million dollar company to a forty-five million dollar company.
Chris lives in Townsend, DE with his wife Katy and their two daughters Ava and Mara. In his free time he enjoys quality time with his family, playing golf with his friends, and rooting for the New York Giants and New York Rangers.
Government Affairs Officer for MidAtlantic Farm Credit, ACA
Kurt Fuchs graduated from McDaniel College with a bachelors degree in Political Science. Kurt is also a Class IV graduate of LEAD Maryland, the state’s agricultural leadership development program. He remains actively involved as the program’s Treasurer.
Kurt is the past Chair of the MidShore Regional Council and more recently serves as the President of the Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., the trade association for the peninsula’s meat chicken industry. Before his career with MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Kurt worked for nine years as the Assistant Director of Government Relations for the Maryland Farm Bureau.
Kurt lives in Denton, MD on the Eastern Shore through which he serves the association’s five-state territory. In his free time, Kurt enjoys outdoor activities such as kayaking and home-brewing beer.
Owner of Reliable Linen
Mickey Fluharty attended Colonel Richardson High School, while he grew up in Federalsburg, where he continues to live today. He opened his dry cleaning business, Reliable Linens in Federalsburg in 1993 as has been serving the entire Eastern Shore ever since. Mickey attributes much of his success to his loyal employees, holding the belief that nobody works for him but rather they work with him.
Mickey has shown his dedication to Federalsburg and Caroline County through his multiple positions and contributions that have helped improve the community. In the early 90’s, Mickey served as a Federalsburg town councilman and mayor for 10 years. Mickey also served as a circuit rider town manager for four years with the Maryland Rural Development Corporation.
Mickey lives in Federalsburg with his wife. In his free time, Mickey enjoys spending time with his family and surf fishing.
Caroline County Commissioner/Denton Police Department
Dan Franklin moved to Caroline County in 2001 from Scranton, PA to pursue his career in public safety. He attended Luzerne County Community College and is a graduate of Police Academies at Lackawanna College in Scranton, PA, as well as Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy in Salisbury.
Dan has devoted most of his adult life to public service. In the past he served in several leadership roles within the Denton Volunteer Fire Department. In addition to his volunteer work, he worked for the Caroline County Department of Emergency Services for 11 years. Along with his passion for his community, he loves animals and was able to combine these two passions when he began the Denton Police Department K9 Unit.
Dan lives in Denton with his wife Stephanie, his K9 partner Bart, and several adopted pets. In his free time, Dan enjoys the many outdoor recreational opportunities Caroline County offers such as hunting, fishing, boating and golf.
Owner of the Best Western Hotel-Denton Inn
Before deciding to open The Best Western hotel in Denton, Jay was an Electronic Engineer where he spent over 10 years in this industry before moving to the United States in 1999.
The hotel is independently owned and operated by Jay featuring 60 rooms, a seasonal outdoor pool, as well as serving a continental breakfast each morning. Jay is invested in his community and offers the use of the hotels pool to Caroline County Parks & Recreation for their swimming program for the past three years.
Jay lives in Denton with his wife Kavita, and their son Om. In his free time, he enjoys spending quality time with his family and friends.
On Your Mark Lighting
Former President of the United States, George Bush and WWF star, Hulk Hogan are two names you don’t often see in the same sentence. As different as these two worlds seem, they have at least one thing in common, the need for a professional lighting designer. These are just a few of the people Mark Peach has worked with during his 34+ years in the profession. Mark is the owner of On Your Mark Lighting, a lighting design and equipment rental company in Denton, Maryland.
Mark’s career has taken him across the world and back again. He started out as an intern at Baltimore Stage Lighting and quickly discovered his passion for lighting design. He traveled throughout the U.S and Canada with the WWF, a world tour with Michael Jackson, Amman, Jordan with Voice of America, and participated in the last six presidential inaugurations. He also worked on the sets of popular movies like He Said She Said and Sleepless in Seattle.
In 2012 On Your Mark Lighting began to focus on corporate and special event lighting here on the shore. Mark is using new and innovative wireless technology to ensure his customers have a professional and unique experience. He takes pride in his friendly working style and his ability to listen to the clients’ needs for aesthetics and budget. He says, “I’m happy to be here on the Eastern Shore raising my family and growing my business.”
Social Media and Small Business
When it comes to small businesses, the most common problem we notice is marketing. Small business owners often have very limited resources and don’t know where to begin with advertising and drawing customers. Marketing is critical to the success of your business but it doesn’t always have to cost a lot. In fact, thanks to technology today, many marketing avenues are free.
The first place to start is by becoming familiar with social media. Did you know that if Facebook were a country it would be #1 in population? That means there are more people using Facebook than live in China! If you are still not convinced, check out this video.
Let’s talk about some guidelines.
1. There are literally hundreds of platforms you can use but to start just pick one or two. A few of the most common options are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Vimeo, LinkedIn, and blogging.
2. This is not a one size fits all approach. Understand the culture within each social media site. While you can and should be on multiple sites, you should not copy and paste your content to all of them. The wording that works on Facebook is too informal for your LinkedIn page or may be too wordy for Twitter’s 140 character maximum.
3. Keep it short. The average attention span of your follower is less than that of a goldfish so don’t be too wordy.
4. Real friends don’t spam. Nobody likes being harassed. Be consistent and active but don’t overload your followers.
5. Do your research. There are few things worse than finding out you have been deceived. Be sure the information you share with your followers is accurate.
6. Socialize. This is the foundation of social media. Engage your followers by asking questions and interacting with them as much as possible. Refer to #4.
7. Tell your story. People are going to be curious about who you are and what you do so tell them!
8. Unless you are a church or a politician stay away from these subjects on your businesses page. This goes back to keeping things relevant for your followers and your business page is not the place to talk about these things.
Spotlight on Small Business: Joviality
In the midst of the economic downturn in 2010, Abby McNinch and her former partner decided to open a gift shop in downtown Denton, calling it Joviality. Some doubted their timing, but they preferred to view it as a wonderful challenge.
Abby understood early on that one of her greatest challenges would be marketing her business on a very tight budget. Although Abby no longer has a business partner per se, she recognizes that she has many allies in the community. She partners with a variety of local organizations to promote events and reach a broad audience. Joviality participates in Downtown Denton’s Third Thursday campaign, offering Sip and Shop sales once a month. Also, the shop hosts a kid-friendly Fairy Garden Party with Denton Child Development Center each spring. Abby relies heavily on free marketing through social media and word of mouth. She stands firm in her belief that success is not achieved alone and offers advice to other business owners to “never stop marketing”.
Enterprise Zones 101
As you may have heard, we are actively working to establish an Enterprise Zone in Federalsburg. So what exactly is an Enterprise Zone? Read on for some basic info. If you’d like to know more, feel free to call our office (410.479.4188) or attend a public hearing on Monday, February 2nd at 6:00 p.m. at the Federalsburg Town Office located at 204 South Main Street.
What is the purpose of an Enterprise Zone?
An Enterprise Zone (EZ) is intended to spur development and investment in economically disadvantaged areas within the state. By stimulating investment by businesses, new and better jobs are created. The ultimate goal is to realize an increase in income levels and employment rates for the citizens living in and around the EZ.
What are the benefits of an Enterprise Zone
The EZ provides a reduction on real property taxes for businesses that make significant improvements within the zone. It is important to note that the tax breaks are on the increased property value resulting from improvements only. In other words, there is no tax break on the existing value of the property, so there is no reduction in current local tax revenues.
The following is the schedule of real property tax reductions on improvements for qualifying businesses located within the EZ:
Years 1 – 5: 80%
Year 6: 70%
Year 7: 60%
Year 8: 50%
Year 9: 40%
Year 10: 30%
Regular tax rates resume after Year 10.
What is the cost of the Enterprise Zone to the Town of Federalsburg and Caroline County?
Fortunately, the EZ program has no cost to local jurisdictions. As described above, it does not impact current tax revenues. Although both the county and town will be forgoing a portion of future tax revenues, the State of Maryland reimburses 50% of the uncollected tax revenue to each jurisdiction. So, as companies move to or expand within the EZ, both the town and county will be collecting more tax revenue than they otherwise would have.
Which properties are included within the proposed Enterprise Zone?
The EZ will encompass all three industrial parks located in Federalsburg, additional industrial properties (such as Kraft and Maryland Plastics), the commercial properties along Main Street, undeveloped commercial properties in other areas of the town, and several industrial and commercially zoned properties within the county near Federalsburg. Check back at this blog soon; we’ll be adding a map that shows each parcel to be included. We will also have a large map available at the public hearing on February 2nd.
Grant available for farmers and small businesses
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service Agency is now accepting applications for grants under the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This program is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption, as well as encourage you to integrate renewable energy technologies into your facilities.
- Earn at least 51 percent of your income from farming or ranching? OR Operate a privately owned, for-profit small business located in a rural area or town of 50,000 people or less?
- Want to install a system that will generate renewable energy or reduce energy costs?
- Is the project’s technology readily available for purchase?
If you answered YES to these three questions, your project may be eligible for assistance of up to 25% of energy improvements through REAP.
Click here for the Notice of Solicitation for Applications
Small Business Saturday-November 29
This time of year is full of traditions starting with this week. Most Americans will fill themselves silly with turkey on Thursday. Then many will not even go to bed Thursday evening as they prepare to fight the large crowds and spend their life savings at the big box stores for another tradition, Black Friday.
A few years back American Express started a new campaign to highlight small businesses. This has become known as Small Business Saturday and it takes place each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. This is a great opportunity for small business owners to showcase their unique products and for the community to support their neighbors by spending thier money locally.
Small businesses are vital to rural counties like ours and cannot survive without your support. There are salons and barbers in all our towns who can give you a fresh look for the season. Retail shops will be offering unique gifts, special discounts and extended hours to help you start off your holiday shopping. After a day of shopping nobody wants to go home and cook dinner so don’t forget to dine small too. Our downtown’s need your support; will you #shopsmall and #dinesmall this Saturday?
Contact the town offices for more details.
Strategic Plan – Now Available for Download
The CEDC’s five-year plan for Strategic Development is now available for download. CLICK HERE to view the plan and learn more about how we’ll be working to serve the businesses and citizens of Caroline County in each of the following areas:
- Infrastructure, Policy, and Business Retention
- Workforce Development
- Marketing & Business Attraction
Check back for updates on where we are with accomplishing each of our objectives. Onward and upward!
Edwards Classic Barber Shop
Have you ever watched the classic show Andy Griffith and found yourself wanting to visit Floyd’s Barber Shop in Mayberry? Well now you can… sort of. You may have noticed there is a new face on Market Street in Denton. Jordan Jarrett, the owner of Edwards Classic Barber Shop, opened his doors in August. I decided to stop by for a visit and was greeted by a friendly face and welcoming atmosphere.
Jordan is originally from Caroline County. He began his career by serving his country as a paratrooper in the United States Army. He enjoyed his job with the Army but was ready to settle down and enjoy his family. After seeing the world, he decided to come back to hometown. He loved the idea of the vintage style barber shop and figured there was no one better to open this classic place than himself. And what better location to do this than Historic Downtown Denton?
Jordan has created a retro feel by lining the walls with vintage barber shop photos and installing classic style barber chairs, complete with a red and blue spinning pole out front. However, he has a vision that goes beyond cutting hair. He wants to create a place where the community feels welcome – a place like Floyd’s Barber Shop in Mayberry. From our conversation, I can say he is well on his way to doing just that.
Next time you find a need for a trim or shave, stop by and see Jordan.
Edwards Classic Barber Shop
223 Market Street
Denton, MD 21629
Closed Sunday and Wednesday
Strategic Plan Presentation – Register Now!
If you have a stake in Caroline County’s future, you need to be at this event! Anirban Basu will provide a snapshot of the county’s demographic and economic profile and how it relates to the broader region. If you’ve never been to one of Anirban’s presentations, you’re in for a treat. He is funny and insightful, and he is sure to share some surprising facts about our county.
Immediately following, the CEDC will present our five-year strategic plan for economic development. This plan has objectives in four key strategic areas:
- Infrastructure, Policy & Business Retention
- Workforce Development
- Marketing & Business Attraction
This is a FREE event if you register in advance; $5 at the door. See you there!
Economic Development Annual Report for FY2014
We are pleased to present the annual report for Economic Development for the CEDC! The report covers fiscal year 2014 (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014). Just click below to read the full report. If you would like a printed copy of the report, please contact our office and we’ll be happy to send you one.
Leadercast Delmarva 2015 Speaker Reveal
For those of you who missed Leadercast Delmarva last year, you won’t want to make that mistake again this time. The theme for this year is “The Brave Ones” and all of the speakers have demonstrated bravery in one form or another. You may recognize some of the speakers but some you may not, so here is a little introduction.
“If your leadership isn’t all about you, it will live beyond you.”
Andy Stanley is back again this year! He was first on stage last year and set the bar high for the remainder of the day.
The Leadercast website describes him very well as a Leadership Author and Communicator. He has written numerous books but perhaps his most famous are Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication and Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future. Leadership is obviously his passion and calling in life. In his spare time between writing books and speaking at large conferences across the nation, he is also the founder of North Point Ministries. He is the Senior Pastor of five large churches in Georgia that are attended by more than 33,000 people each week.
(Source: Andy Stanley)
“Education is neither eastern nor western. Education is education and it’s the right of every human being.”
If your life was actually being threatened if you decided to continue your education, would you do it? Malala did. She decided she was going to continue getting her education and this decision alone landed her a death threat from one of the worlds most feared terror groups, the Taliban.
In the fall of 2012, the Taliban finally caught up to her. The 14 year old girl boarded a bus home after school. A member of the Taliban boarded the bus behind her and shot her in the face. She survived the attack and has become an advocate for girls’ education. She is still considered a target by the Taliban.
CNN called Malala the “Bravest Girl in the World” and I can’t think of a better way to describe her. Her accomplishments are nothing less than remarkable. She celebrated her 16th birthday by giving a speech at the United Nations. She is a two-time Nobel Peace prize nominee, an International Children’s Peace Prize nominee, and winner of Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize. She wrote the biography I am Malala: the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. (Source: Malala’s Biography)
Ed Catmull is most famously known for being the President of Disney Animation Studios and co-founder of Pixar. His accomplishments include five Academy Awards in the categories of Technical Achievement (1), Scientific & Engineering (2), Merit (1), and the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for his lifetime of technical contributions and leadership in the field of computer graphics for the motion picture industry. If he isn’t busy winning awards you could probably find him in one of several leading technology centers of computer graphics he has founded, the computer graphics laboratory at the New York Institute of Technology or the computer division of Lucsfilm, LTD.(Source: www.computerhistory.org )
“Being aware of your fear is smart. Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person.”
Seth Godin has been described as an innovative thinker and he is able to sell books in record timing. He has 12 best-selling books including Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip, Purple Cow and most recently “The Icarus Deception”. In his past life, he was the Vice President of Direct Marketing at Yahoo! (Source: Seth Godin)
Rudy Giuliani is most famously known for his calm in the face of terror and death during those crucial hours following the attacks on 9/11. Tragically, many men and women would not come home that day, but because of the rescue efforts he coordinated, tens of thousands of people would do just that. Aside from leading New York through 9/11, his accomplishments are many. He has held many prestigious titles in his lifetime from Associate Attorney General under President Reagan (the 3rd highest position in Dept. of Justice), to Mayor of one of the largest cities in the world, to candidate for President of the United States, to CEO of Giuliani Partners– founded in 2002.
During his term as Mayor, he was able to establish one of the largest and most successful welfare-to-work initiatives in the country, moving hundreds of thousands to self-sufficiency. He fronted efforts to keep organized crime off the streets by prosecuting the Italian mafia.
This young community developer won the mayoral election in the City of Compton in 2013. Aja Brown made history as the youngest Mayor in the history of the city. With an education and experience in Urban Planning and Economic Development, she has big dreams for Compton. Before being elected, she made big strides in reviving this distressed community. She was responsible for initiating legislation and revitalization efforts for the downtown community. She also led the marketing and rebranding efforts of the community redevelopment agency. She initiated Compton’s Apprentice Program intended to create jobs for local residents on city funded or assisted capital improvement projects.
(Source: City of Compton)
Bill McDermott is also back from last year! He started out as a young entrepreneur, owning his own delicatessen on Long Island, New York and has since become one of the world’s top-ranked CEOs. Bill is the CEO of SAP, the leading provider of business software. He has over 66,000 people working for him, with a 99% internal approval rating and serves customers in over 188 different countries. Under his leadership, the company has reached record growth in all major areas including customers, revenue and market value. In his spare time he serves on the board of Directors for Under Armour and ANSYS, Inc.
For most of its history, US Navy SEAL’s missions and training have been kept confidential. Everyone recognizes how courageous these men are but society was never privileged enough for much more detail. In more recent years this has changed as more and more have taken the opportunity to accurately tell their stories through books and major motion pictures.
Rorke Denver is most famously known for the movie Act of Valor and his best-selling book Damn Few. The theme for this year’s Leadercast is “The Brave Ones” and this man is the embodiment of that. He exhibits bravery and strength to the highest degree.
If you know anything about the Eastern Shore of Maryland, it’s that we take our seafood pretty seriously. With that in mind, last week we visited with Glenn Blough, the owner of Blough’s Seafood in Denton.
Over the years, Glenn worked in a few different industries but nothing satisfied him quite like being on the water. Armed with a passion, he set out to start his own seafood business and would not dream of doing it anywhere but Caroline County. He and his wife started out of their home seven years ago, only selling about five pounds of crab meat a week. Despite the economic downturn of the past few years that was coupled with some of the toughest seasons the seafood industry has ever seen, the owners of Blough’s Seafood have not just survived the rough waters – they’ve thrived and are now selling anywhere from 80-120 pounds of crab meat a week.
Blough’s Seafood has grown almost exclusively through word of mouth by offering fast service, competitive prices, and the best customer service around. They offer crabs steamed or prepared in just about any way one could imagine. From personal experience, I can tell you the homemade crab cakes are some of the best in town. Once the warm summer months are over, they quickly shift gears as the oyster season begins. Did I mention everything he sells is local? If he isn’t able to catch the seafood himself he is only willing to purchase from other local vendors.
Glenn has a small but mighty army helping him at his shop. If you don’t have a taste for crabs or oysters, that’s not a problem for them. They offer just about any other kind of seafood you can think of from lobster to fillets and whole fish. Even with all that going on, he manages to have the cleanest seafood operation I have ever seen.
We are proud to have passionate entrepreneurs like Glenn call Caroline County home. Give him a call or stop by!
Open 7 days a week until 6pm
9620 New Bridge Road
What a Conference Call Would Look Like in Real Life
Conference calls are a necessary evil in the business world. They are inevitably awkward, confusing, and frustrating, but we all have to suffer through them from time to time.
Tripp Crosby, one of the 2014 Leadercast hosts, has produced a fantastically funny video that shows what a conference call would look like if it was taking place within an actual conference room. I think you’ll find that this all looks very familiar… Enjoy!
Key Takeaways from the IEDC Conference
I recently had the opportunity to attend the International Economic Development Council’s annual conference in Philadelphia. The conference provides economic developers with information about best practices, new technologies, and networking opportunities. Here are my top three takeaways from the conference:
Workforce development is the #1 priority for the country’s most successful economic development organizations.
Successful economic development organizations have learned that the best way to keep businesses in their area and to attract new ones is to provide a talented, dynamic workforce. This is an ongoing effort. Technologies and markets are ever-changing, so training programs and educational initiatives must keep pace.
Traditional economic development incentives are not very effective.
Presenter Henry Loewendahl, an expert in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), presented statistical data about the efficacy of traditional incentives such as tax breaks and cash grants. The data clearly show that these incentives have little impact on a company’s site selection for expansion or relocation. The number one factor that does influence site selection? The quality and supply of the local workforce.
Regional branding and cooperation is increasingly necessary for economic development success.
A successful local economy requires great infrastructure, leading workforce development programs, and top-notch branding and PR (you have to let the world know that your region is a great place to do business). All of these things are expensive. A more regional approach to economic development maximizes resources and achieves better results than a city or county going it alone. This is especially true in a rural area like Caroline County and the greater Eastern Shore region.
Do any of these findings surprise you? I was surprised to learn just how ineffective traditional incentives are. This information and the other key takeaways will help shape CEDC priorities and focus our efforts.
AMPing up Caroline’s Workforce
There’s a new effort underway to develop Caroline County’s homegrown engineering and technical talent. The Advanced Manufacturing Professionals (AMP) program will connect high school students with local manufacturers and other technical and industrial sectors.
What is the purpose of AMP?
AMP is designed to educate students about the career opportunities available in manufacturing, which is Caroline County’s largest employment sector. It also allows businesses to build relationships with students who have strong potential for future employment. The ultimate goal of AMP is to provide Caroline’s brightest students with a career pathway that leads them to our own local employers.
Who’s participating in AMP?
The AMP program is open to top pre-engineering and technical students at each of the county’s high schools. Students are nominated by their teachers and must meet attendance requirements and show genuine commitment to their future careers. On the business side, six Caroline companies have expressed interest in participating in AMP thus far.
How does AMP work?
AMP kicks off with a visit to several local manufacturers. At the first stop, students get a broad overview of the manufacturing industry and learn about the types of careers available. They then learn more about the specific companies they will be visiting that day. After that, the students tour the companies’ plants and interact with their engineering and technical employees.
After students have completed the tours, they can apply for internships with companies participating in AMP. If the companies’ business needs and resources allow, they bring on interns to work half days during the school year and/or full time in the summer.
The first group of AMP students will be visiting manufacturers in January 2014.
Spotlight on Innovation
Have you heard about the fascinating, game-changing, and all around AWESOME innovation taking place here in Caroline County? You might be surprised to know:
- Ridgely-based Combined Technology Solutions has developed an ultra-lean burn system for natural gas engines that dramatically reduces NOx and CO2 emissions. They’ve also designed a Cadillac CTS engine that gets 72 MPG.
- M&M Refrigeration is one of the few companies in the world that has developed ground freezing technology used when drilling mineshafts. They have completed projects all over the world.
- Knaggs Guitars, one of the world’s best guitar makers, is producing works of art and technology at their Greensboro factory. Knaggs Guitars are used by artists such as Grammy Award winner Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, Kings of Chaos), Nils Lofgren (E-Street Band), and Doug Rappoport (Edgar Winter Band).
Want to know more? Each monthly edition of The Vantage, the CEDC’s e-newsletter, features a “Spotlight on Innovation” column that highlights the achievements of a Caroline County business. Click here to see previous editions of The Vantage, or subscribe to our newsletter by submitting the form below.
What’s Up at the CEDC?
Whenever someone new takes the helm of an organization, people are always interested to hear how things will change and what the new leader’s goals and priorities are. I’ve had a chance to discuss my plans with many folks, but I thought it would be a good idea to share a bit more information about my vision and plans for economic development in Caroline County.
Priority #1: Workforce development
Businesses are most successful when they have great people at every level in their organization. With rapid advancements in technology and globalization, a region’s workforce must be dynamic. This requires strong resources for training and education, as well as strong coalitions between businesses, schools, and governmental agencies.
Priority #2: Working with existing Caroline businesses to help them stay strong, healthy, and HERE!
This is the best part of my job. Working with businesses to help them solve problems or to grow and expand is incredibly rewarding. It means that hard working people will keep their jobs, and hopefully even have new opportunities open up for them.
Priority #3: Branding Caroline County as a great place to do business
Marketers like to use the word “branding” because it makes us sound smart, but branding is really just story telling. Telling the stories of Caroline County’s innovation, opportunities, and great way of life helps attract businesses and talented workers to our area. It also lets those of us who are already here learn about new opportunities, whether that’s a great career move or the chance to start a business that meets local needs.
What about business attraction?
Attracting new and expanding businesses to Caroline County is also an important part of my job, but focusing on the three priorities listed above will get us pretty far in that effort. The number one factor businesses consider when they relocate to a new area is the local workforce. By making workforce development a priority, the CEDC is not only serving existing businesses, we’re building up our strongest asset to attract new companies. Keeping existing businesses strong also ensures that we maintain a vibrant local economy that can support new companies that come to Caroline. And of course, branding is how we let the world know that we’re here and open for business.
I am so excited about all the great things happening here in Caroline County. I’m honored to be in a position to help businesses and my fellow citizens pursue new opportunities. Check back here often to stay current on all the latest economic development news!