Maryland State Officials And Business Leaders Gather To Discuss New Business Strategies

L-R: Wayne Frazier, Sr, (President, Md. Washington Minority Contractors Association); Daniel Wahlberg (Principal, Hertzbach & Company); Robert Carney (Attorney, WhitefordTaylorPreston); Beverly Swaim-Staley(Secretary, Maryland Department of Transportation); Christian Johasson (Secretary, Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development); & Luwanda Jenkins (Special Secretary, Governor's Office of minority Affairs). Photo by Ibrahim Dabo

L-R: Wayne Frazier, Sr, (President, Md. Washington Minority Contractors Association); Daniel Wahlberg (Principal, Hertzbach & Company); Robert Carney (Attorney, WhitefordTaylorPreston); Beverly Swaim-Staley(Secretary, Maryland Department of Transportation); Christian Johasson (Secretary, Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development); & Luwanda Jenkins (Special Secretary, Governor's Office of minority Affairs). Report and photos by Ibrahim Dabo

More than 100 business leaders from Maryland, including State officials, gathered at the BWI Marriott, Baltimore, on October 22 to discuss “21st Century Strategies for Successful Small Businesses.”

The conference served as a premise to empower business leaders with invaluable information to help them make better decisions in a troubling economy, and to raise awareness about essential issues such as new opportunities and laws.

Secretary Johansson

Secretary Johansson said Maryland has the leading Public School System in the U.S.

With eight million jobs lost and a 100,000 gained each month, and a growing population, Christian S. Johansson, Secretary, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) said there is going to be some challenges on how to deal with the issue of jobs.

Johansson said Maryland’s unemployment rate is around 7.2 percent and the national at 9.8 percent, putting the State more than 25 percent below the national average. He said a major reason why Maryland’s unemployment rate went up over the last 12 months is because half of 55,000 jobs lost were construction jobs. Looking at the trends, Johansson said Maryland has outperformed the rest of the U.S., adding that education of the workforce has also played a vital role.

“If you did not have a four-year college degree, in this recession, you are two to four times more likely to be unemployed,” Johansson said, adding that Maryland has the number one public school system in the country.

“We have held four-year college tuition steady for four years because we invest in it, making higher education affordable,” Johansson said.

He said minority-owned companies represent tremendous opportunities to the State and by 2045, minority purchasing power of this country is going to be between 35 and 45 percent, adding that by 2010, minority purchasing power is at 2 trillion dollars.

“If there was ever a time to lay out a plan for our small minority and women-owned businesses this is the time, not only for the State, but frankly for this country. Demographics are changing. The best way to grow our overall economy, the best way to grow the overall State economy is to figure out how to get creative to create the environments that allow these businesses to be successful,” Johansson said.

Secretary Jenkins

Secretary Jenkins' office will monitor the Licensee's compliance with MBE requirements of Operation Licenses

Talking on “Maryland Gaming,” Luwanda Jenkins, Special Secretary, Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA), said her office will monitor a Licensee’s compliance as it relates to construction procurement start-up operation for the VLT (Video Lottery Terminal) facilities. Jenkins said her office is obligated to report to the Lottery Commission on a six-month interval (on an unfunded mandate) on the compliance of Licensees with these requirements.

She said Senate Bill 3, which was passed in Fall 2008, authorized the Maryland State Lottery to regulate the operation of VLTs in the State, and also authorizing them to issue licensees to privatized groups of businesses to operate the VLT operations.

Jenkins said Senate Bill 3 has three provisions that support Minority Businesses: to allow the Maryland State Lottery through its VLT Licensees to at a minimum meet the State’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) requirements on the construction operation and procurement activities associated with the [VLT] sites; to encourage minority equity ownership in the VLT operations; and to allow for the creation of a special fund so that 1½ percent of the proceeds go into a special dedicated fund under the offices of the Board of Public Works so that that fund could be available to provide low interest loans and investment capital for small minority firms.

Wayne Frazier, Sr.

Wayne Frazier, Sr., 'love's Minority Business'

Prior to starting his comments, Wayne Frazier, Sr, President, Md. Washington Minority Contractors Association, revived the enthusiasm at the meeting as he asked attendees to stand, raise their hands and say, “Lord, I love Minority Business,” adding that “it is great

Frazier quickly captured the audience attention as he asked them to stand and stretch...

Frazier quickly captured the audience's attention as he asked them to stand and stretch...

for America and, it is especially great for Maryland.”

Frazier spoke on “Public Service Commission/Maryland State Utility MOU for MBE inclusion; and Federal stimulus funds coming for Energy related projects.” Frazier said way back in July 2008, himself and a group of people, with the leadership of Secretary Jenkins, got together along with the Public Service Commissioners to discuss bringing inclusion with all of the state- regulated utilities.

“Ultimately, over a six or seven month period the Utilities agreed to accept the Memorandum of Understanding and it was signed by the first group of Utilities this year down in the Senate chambers, in Annapolis, in January of ’09 and it calls for, One: uniform reporting. That means all of the Utilities will report utilizing the same processes; Second: it requires a 25 percent minority participation by the year 2012,” Frazier said.

“So we have this opening period and then over the next few years, up to 2012, the Utilities should be reaching annual 25 percent participation,” Frazier said adding that, third, there is 3 percent Service-disabled veterans inclusion package to our most patriotic Americans who served in our armed forces and sustained a disability.

Frazier wants Windmill manufacturing plants set up in Baltimore

Frazier wants to see Windmill manufacturing plants established in Baltimore

Regarding the overall Stimulus Package, Frazier said $40 billion has been carved out for renewable energy, adding that a couple of weeks ago, through the wisdom of Governor Martin O’Malley and the State of Maryland department of Energy, for the first time, the Governor asked for Developers to begin to research, plan, and submit proposals for the creation of a Windmill farm off the coast of Ocean City.

“We realize—the mandate is coming from the Federal government down to the State—that we have to do better, that we have to increase the capacities and the abilities to produce energy. They are off the coast of New Jersey right now, and off the coast of Delaware, so why not in Maryland?” Frazier said, adding that this project will bring forth opportunities in a wide spectrum for MBEs.

“My hope is that ultimately we can establish a manufacturing plant in Baltimore—because there are a lot of empty warehouses—that would house the manufacturing of Windmills, right here,” Frazier said, adding that he is constantly writing letters to the Governor and even to the president to say, “no, don’t take those jobs to Asia, don’t take those jobs to South America; create them right here, we’ve got folks that can build.”

Secretary Swaim-Staley...

Secretary Swaim-Staley spoke on the Stimulus Package...

Among other featured speakers were Beverly Swaim-Staley, Secretary, Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). Daniel Wahlberg, Hertzbach and Company, presented on “Strategic Planning: Structuring Your Financial Statements to Enhance Your Bonding Capacity,” while Robert Carney, Whiteford Taylor Preston, presented on “Federal and State Personal Net Worth Requirements for MBE/DBE Owners.”

The event was sponsored by the Md. Washington Minority Contractors Association, Inc., (MWMCA), an organization that has a renowned reputation for advocating for minority business inclusion; Hertzbach & Company, a leading accounting and business consulting firm; and Whiteford Taylor Preston, LLC., one of Maryland’s largest law firms.

Related Links:
· MWMCA
· Hertzbach & Company
· Whiteford Taylor Preston
· Click on the album below for photos taken at the meeting (All photos by Ibrahim Dabo)

21st Century Strategies for Success MBEs

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