2021 MEDA Rural Economic Development Session – Mid and Lower Shore

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This event is open to MEDA Members, and Mid and Lower Shore elected and appointed officials. 

To grow and thrive, our communities need small businesses and small businesses need our communities. The challenges that small businesses face in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic touch all aspects of economic development and community needs – recovery and resiliency, equity and inclusion, and financing and monetary support – are the same challenges of Eastern Shore communities. The Rural Economic Development Session will provide an overview of programs and initiatives to support rural small businesses.

8:30 AM           Welcome Remarks
Danny Thompson, Director, Somerset County Economic Development Commission

Dr. Heidi Anderson, President, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

8:45 AM           PNC Bank Welcome

Christopher Rockey, SVP, Northeast Territory Executive, Community Development Banking
Ramsey Harris, Vice President, Greater Maryland Market Manager, Community Development Banking


How can we be better prepared for the next economic disruption?

The COVID19 pandemic response impacted businesses across all sectors. What did those impacts look like, and how can economic development offices use data and information to implement programs to be even more ready to respond to an economic emergency? Through a collaborative partnership, Salisbury University built data tools and gathered intel to help economic development offices and businesses long- and short-term economic disruptions.

Introduction by: Deborah Bowden, Director, Economic Development, Caroline County

Presenter: Dr. Michael Scott, Dean, Henson School of Science and Technology, Salisbury University

9:30-10:15        EQUITY AND INCLUSION:

What does it mean to have equity and inclusion in a small business?

Economic developers need to understand how to support businesses in their efforts to serve the vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations. Also, in furthering recovery effort, we must ensure that economic development opportunities are accessible to everyone in a community.

Introduction by: Susan Banks, Director, Economic Development, Dorchester County

  • Moderator: Imani Black, Founder & President, Minorities in Aquaculture
  • Cassandra Brown, Owner, Una Bella Salute
  • Shawna N. Kearsley, Director of Corporate and Community Relations, Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art
  • Ruby Vanags, Owner, Ruby’s Cakes Shoppe and Pastries

10:15- 11:15     ACCESSING CAPITAL:

What resources are available to small businesses, and how does money management lead to success?

Capital and credit are the lifeblood of any business. Even when everything else lines up, the lack of credit or too-expensive capital can bring a viable project to a halt. Learn about the resources that businesses have available to them from the private and public sector and hear from business owners on how they were able to obtain the resources they needed to open and stay in business.

Introduction by: Cassandra Vanhooser, Director, Economic Development and Tourism, Talbot County

  • Moderator: Derick Daly, CPA, Executive Director, Building African American Minds (BAAM)
  • John Hickman, Director, Small Business Development Center, Salisbury University
  • Stephen Auvil, Chief Program Operations Officer, TEDCO
  • Maurice Ames, Executive Director, Maryland Capital Enterprise

11:15 – 12:00    “BROUGHT TO YOU BY…”

How to reengage the workforce? How do we grow local talent and keep talent our educational institutions?

The labor market is the best challenge facing businesses now. There are many organizations trying to help solve the problem – hear how some are approaching solutions to the labor market issue.

Introduction by: Melanie Pursel, Director, Office of Tourism & Economic Development, Worcester County

  • Moderator: Gregory Padgham, Executive Director, Tri-County Council Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland
  • Michelle Anders, HR Director, Dart Container
  • Michael E. Haynie, CTA, Founder, The Maryland Center for Hospitality Training

12:00 – 12:30    KEYNOTE SPEAKER WITH Q&A

Introduction by: David Ryan, Executive Director, Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development, Inc.

Signe Pringle, Deputy Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce


Thu, Oct 28, 2021 @ 8:30 am - 12:30 pm




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Conference Speakers

The 2021 MEDA Rural Economic Development Session – Mid and Lower Shore Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Conference Sponsors

The 2021 MEDA Rural Economic Development Session – Mid and Lower Shore Sponsors


2021 MEDA Rural Economic Development Session – Mid and Lower Shore