Partner Spotlight: Fort Detrick Alliance

fort detrick.png


1. What is the mission of The Fort Detrick Alliance?
The FDA is a Maryland 501 (c)3 Non-Profit organization with the mission to build strong relationships and understanding between Fort Detrick and the region. The Fort Detrick Alliance is a member of the Maryland Military Installation Council and our work is done in partnership with the Maryland Division of Military and Federal Affairs and Frederick City and County Economic Development organizations.  Our work is largely focused on advocating for the retention and expansion of the federal missions at Fort Detrick and the 12,000 military, federal, and contractor jobs.  Fort Detrick is very unique in that there are five cabinet level organizations located at Fort Detrick including:

•    Department of Defense (DOD)
•    Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
•    Department of Agriculture (USDA)
•    Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
•    Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

alliance 6.jpg


2. What are your top priorities?
Building strong relationships and understanding between Fort Detrick and the region requires education, networking, communication and advocacy.   We use innovative programs and events coupled with digital and print media to accomplish this work.   For instance, hundreds attend our regular networking breakfasts throughout the year which feature talented speakers from various federal labs and facilities to educate community and business leaders on critical work ongoing at the Fort and at the National Cancer Institute-Frederick and Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. 

In addition to routine educational breakfasts, we also hold networking receptions and an annual Recognition Dinner and a Technology Showcase event with the Frederick Innovative Technology Center Inc, to highlight tech-transfer opportunities with the Federal Laboratories.  These events create opportunities for businesses and community leadership to connect and engage with each other.

Working with local, state, and federal elected officials, also focuses on advocating for key infrastructure, workforce and policies that support the health of Fort Detrick such as roads, airport, utilities, STEM education, and housing.   We advocate for the development and expansion of the work conducted at Fort Detrick in the areas of cancer research, biological research and vaccine development, medical protection of the nation’s Armed Forces, and global communications. 


3. How did the organization get started/tell us some history about your organization.

The Fort Detrick Alliance was founded in 2003 by the late Colonel Mark Hoke (formerly a Fort Detrick Garrison Commander and later Chairman of the Frederick County Commissioners) along with support from the Maryland Department of Commerce and Brigadier General (Ret) Mike Hayes – Director of the MarylandOffice of Military and Federal Affairs. The Fort Detrick Alliance is one of seven Military Alliances focused on supporting the missions, jobs, and economic impact in Maryland.  Maryland is focused on supporting the needs of making sure that national Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) activities result in job growth in Maryland. 

A Board of Directors governs the organization and the day-to-day activities are carried out by the Executive Director. Nearly 100 businesses, individuals and organizations financially support our mission as members of the organization. 

2016 Board photo.jpg

4. Can you share any news or upcoming events related to FDA?
New Executive Director
Amanda Johnston, a marketing professional with more than 15 years in nonprofit management has recently been hired as the Alliance’s new executive director. Amanda is replacing executive director Eileen Mitchell who is retiring from the Alliance. Eileen was a former Deputy Garrison Commander of Fort Detrick for 30 years.  Amanda Johnston joins the Fort Detrick Alliance with communications, marketing, fundraising, event planning, public relations, and management experience. She is active in the Frederick business community and currently serves on the board of directors for Celebrate Frederick. Amanda can be reached at or 301-788-9896. 

Upcoming Events
•    FITCI Technology Showcase
September 6, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Innovative renewable energy, biotechnology, and information research is being done in our community at the Frederick Innovative Technology Center. Meet with FITCI entrepreneurial businesses and hear Dr. Kenneth Bertram, Principal Assistant for Acquisition, US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick speak about research advancements at our 9th Annual FITCI Technology Showcase on September 6. The event kicks-off with a networking reception at 4:30 p.m. followed by presentations by County Executive Jan Gardner and Frederick City Mayor Randy McClement. Register online today!

•    Networking Breakfast at Hood College
Thursday, October 26, 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Featured Speaker: COL Brian J. Gentile from U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) will discuss the mission and research being conducted at USAMRIID

•    Technical Innovation Center at Hagerstown Community College
Technology Showcase during STEM Week
Thursday, November 9, 4:30 to 7 p.m.
More details to come visit

Networking breakfast April 4 GC, CE, at table.jpg

5. What type of companies are best positioned to take advantage of your services?
The Fort Detrick Alliance is seeking members which want to help support the critical work to advocate for and help sustain and grow the critical missions and jobs at Fort Detrick and the National Cancer Institute.  There are many opportunities to be involved in event planning and logistics, communication, networking, and much more.  Our members are varied with both large and small companies across many industry sectors including biotech, infotech, nanotech, healthcare, retail, government, and non-profit. 

The five cabinet level agencies at Fort Detrick employ many in various industries and backgrounds, including but not limited to biotech, technology, clinical and veterinary medicine, microbiology, biochemistry, pathology, molecular biology, immunology, virology, budget administration, regulatory affairs, security, personnel and administrative support, communications, logistics, maintenance, and resource management. There are opportunities for businesses across the region to network and grow through the work done at Fort Detrick.