City’s Business Development Specialist Named to 2012 Maryland's Leading Women List

Frederick, MD – The City of Frederick’s own Business Development Specialist, Heather Gramm, was named to the Daily Record’s 2012 List of Maryland’s Leading Women. All the honorees were recognized at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor on Thursday, December 6, 2012.

A graduate of Hood College with a B.A. in Business Administration and Marketing, Heather has served the Frederick business community for over 10 years and is an accredited Economic Developer by the IEDC.

Heather serves on the board of the Maryland Economic Development Association and is the Chair of the MEDA Professional Development Committee. She also serves on the Downtown Frederick Partnership Business Development Committee and the Frederick County Chamber’s Public Policy Committee.

Top 100 Women honors women who are at the pinnacle of their career and making a sustained impact on their business, community and the state. Leading Women identifies women who are 40 years old or younger for the tremendous accomplishments they have made so far in their careers.
For more information and to see the list in its entirety, visit



The Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI) is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors is immediately seeking candidates for the position of Executive Director. This position replaces the current Executive Director, Michael Dailey, who recently announced his resignation effective December 31, 2012.  Mr. Dailey has been the Director and CEO of the non-profit technology business incubator since its inception in 2005.  Resumes will be accepted by the Frederick County Workforce Services Division at until the position is filled.  A job description is posted on the organization’s website

“Mike Dailey has provided exceptional service to FITCI’s start-up business clients as evidenced by 16 successful business graduates which have created more than 230 direct jobs during his tenure,” stated Mr. Don Schilling (Corp OHS), President of the Board of Directors.  “Mike has skillfully managed the organization through the recession and reduced government investment to position FITCI for the next business cycle.”

A serial entrepreneur, Mr. Dailey was selected in 2005 by the FITCI Board to lead the build-out and development of the initial 10,000 SF of incubator space at Hood College.  The space quickly filled and FITCI expanded to its current location at 4539 Metropolitan Court in Frederick which is now home to a number of emerging biotechnology, information technology, and green technology companies.  Several FITCI client companies have received statewide and national attention including Akonni Biosystems, WGS Systems, Imagilin Technologies, and Widearea Systems.

According to Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development for the City of Frederick, “High-tech business incubation is a critical economic development and job creation strategy of Frederick City and County.  We applaud Mike’s efforts to oversee the launch of incubation in this community and though sad to see him move on, we are excited about FITCI’s next chapter.”

FITCI is a non‐profit organization created in 2005 by Frederick County, The City of Frederick, the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development (DBED), and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) in conjunction with the local business community.  FITCI provides services for local entrepreneurs seeking quality entrepreneurial support services along with facilities such as offices, laboratories, shared equipment and conference space equipped with phone and web.  FITCI seeks to foster entrepreneurship in Frederick and accelerate the development of commercial viable high tech businesses and jobs.

Today, FITCI stands as a significant success story of how private-public partnerships can successfully work to meet public sector goals while operating efficiently and cost effectively in the private sector.  The 230 jobs created by FITCI clients have an annual payroll of $17 million and the 16 graduates generate $26 million in annual revenue and occupy commercial real estate in Frederick paying local real estate taxes of nearly a quarter million annually.

Brief Job Description
The FITCI Executive Director is a full-time, benefited position which requires normal weekday core hours and some participation at evening/weekend events.  The executive director serves as CEO of the organization, reports to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for all operational aspects of organization including facilities, staff, and day-to-day business and financial functions.  The position also requires providing entrepreneurial support and advice to FITCI clients.  The salary is negotiable.  For more information see the full job description on the FITCI website at

SPOTLIGHT: Fort Detrick & Federal Procurement

Colby Ferguson (Frederick County) and
Heather Gramm (City DED) with
Congressman Bartlett at SmartPROC 2012
DED staff enjoyed the opportunity to make new connections – and reconnect with many Frederick businesses – at the SmartPROC 2012 Conference on October 26th. This conference, co-hosted by SMART and Congressman Bartlett’s office, brings together the public and private sector from across the Mid-Atlantic region to help build and foster strong relationships, teaming opportunities and discuss upcoming procurement possibilities among industry, community, government and academia. If you missed the conference, you can access the speaker presentations online here.

There is no doubt that federal spending and government contracting is a major economic force in Frederick and throughout Maryland. Fort Detrick plays a significant role, as do the many other military installations in the region. While SmartPROC is a great one-day opportunity, there are resources here in Frederick County that assists businesses with federal procurement every day.

The Fort Detrick Business Development Office is dedicated to enhancing collaboration between Fort Detrick, the Mission Partners, and the business community. Located off post, at 201 Thomas Johnson Drive, the FDBDO provides the following services for those interested in federal procurement opportunities:

  • Individual Guidance Session
  • Training
  • Learning Library
  • Market Insight
  • Customized Opportunities
Learn more about the FDBDO at

The Fort Detrick Alliance is another resource for the business community. The Alliance facilitates communication and understanding between Federal agencies at Fort Detrick and the community at large. To accomplish this mission, the Fort Detrick Alliance works on a daily basis to build relationships between Fort Detrick and its constituencies in the region: individuals; businesses; civic, social, and educational organizations; and local and State government entities. Learn more, or become a sponsor, at

As always, City DED staff is here to assist the Frederick business community with access to information, resources, and business support services. If we can be of assistance to you, call our office at 301-600-6360 or visit us at 

City Announces Improvements to Permitting Process

Frederick, MD – On Tuesday the City of Frederick announced an improvement to the building permit process that will positively impact new businesses opening in the City. Beginning September 18th, zoning certificates will be accepted at the City’s One-Stop-Shop It is anticipated that this change will significantly improve the review time on these important permits for new commercial uses.

Zoning certificates are most commonly needed when a new business moves into an existing building and no construction or tenant fit-out is required. By adding this permit to the list of permits processed through the One-Stop-Shop, the City can reduce the turnaround time from as much as 2 weeks to same-day service.

The City’s One-Stop-Shop is held every Tuesday morning from 8:00am-11:00am at the Municipal Annex office – 140 W Patrick Street in downtown Frederick. In addition to zoning certificates, other commercial permits accepted at One-Stop include tenant fit-out (<5,000 square feet , no change in use), sign, and demolition permits. Several residential permits are accepted as well. For a full list of accepted permits and additional details about the One-Stop-Shop process, visit and select “Building/Permits” under the Departments listing.

DED is a full-service economic development department of the City of Frederick with the mission to create economic opportunity in the City through job creation, revitalization and reinvestment. To learn more visit or call at 301-600-6360.


2012 Frederick County Best Places to Work Winners

Five Frederick County companies were given awards last evening during the 2012 Best Places to Work awards ceremony held at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center. The event, now in its 10th year, promotes recognizing top family-friendly companies as a way to showcase the best places to work in Frederick County and to increase the awareness of the quality of life opportunities for employees working in Frederick.

This year’s campaign’s criteria included the promotion of enhanced workplace culture, strong professional development, benefits and amenitites to provide work and life balance, ecouragement of community and socal responsibilities and providing tools for healthy living.

These 5 family-friendly criteria and a review of each company’s median annual salary and the organization’s rate of voluntary turnover last years were evaluated and assigned points with a weighting scoring system.

Four awards are given, based on company size:
  • Small Employer (1-10 employees)
  • Medium Employer (11-50 employees)
  • Large Employer (51-200 employees)
  • Major Employer (200+)
A new category was added this year:  an Employees’ Choice award for the company that got the most employee votes for a total of five awards.

The winners for 2012 are:
Small Category Winner:
Medium Category Winner:
Large Category Winner:
Major Employer Winner:
Peoples Choice Award Winner:
This year's  winners join an elite group of businesses that have won in the previous nine years. Congratulations!



City Approves Economic Development Incentive Programs

Frederick, MD – The Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved a package of economic development incentives aimed at job creation, revitalization and capital investment during the July 19th Public Meeting at City Hall. The incentive package, which includes a combination of new and reauthorized property tax credit programs, provides the City’s Department of Economic Development with tools to encourage increased economic development activity.
The New Jobs and Enhanced New Jobs Property Tax Credit Program is a new program that provides an incentive to companies expanding both in physical space and in new job creation. Recognizing the importance both of small business as well as the attraction of major employers, the program is two-tiered. The first tier, or New Jobs Tax Credit, provides a property tax credit for businesses expanding by 5,000 square feet and adding 25 jobs over a two year period. The second tier of the program, the Enhanced New Jobs Tax Credit, targets large employers that occupy 250,000 square feet of newly-constructed space and employ more than 2,500 people.

Another new program is the Historic Preservation Property Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program, which provides the owners of designated historic properties with a tax credit on the real estate taxes for the rehabilitation of that historic building. The property tax credit is valued at 10% of the documented expenses for the exterior renovation of a historic property.   

In addition to the two new programs, the City made minor changes and reauthorized several existing property tax credit programs, including the Downtown Property Rehabilitation Tax Credit, the Golden Mile Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program, the Vacant Commercial Structures Rehabilitation Property Tax Credit, the Downtown Frederick Arts and Entertainment District Incentive Program, and the Brownfields Mitigation Property Tax Credit Program.

“The City strives to provide an environment that supports business growth, job creation and capital investment,” said Mayor Randy McClement. “These property tax credit programs are an important component to supporting continued economic development in our community, while also promoting the revitalization and rehabilitation of the City’s existing commercial property.”

“The goal of each program is to spur job creation, revitalization and capital reinvestment in the City of Frederick,” stated Richard Griffin, the City’s Director of Economic Development. “Property tax credits are one tool in economic development, and were recommended by the Blighted and Vacant Property Committee as an incentive for rehabilitating and filling vacant buildings.”

“We greatly appreciate the focus of the Mayor and Board on supporting existing businesses and attracting new firms to the City in these tough economic times,” said Matt Holbrook, Regional Partner at St. John’s Properties. “More than ever, businesses are seeking the greatest value in their decision to stay, relocate, and/or expand in any given locality. It’s critical for the City to stay competitive with all the other surrounding jurisdictions to ensure the long-term health of our business community.”

For more information on the City’s property tax credit programs, contact the Department of Economic Development at 301-600-6360.

DED is a full-service economic development department of the City of Frederick with the mission to create economic opportunity in the City through job creation, revitalization and reinvestment. To learn more visit or call at 301-600-6360.


FREDERICK, MD -- The Maryland Stadium Authority has released a Critique/Assessment of the Market and Economic Assessment for a Full-Service Hotel and Meeting Space in Downtown Frederick (2010 by Pinnacle/OPX).

The study update was prepared by Crossroads Consultants and Hospitality and Gaming Solutions under contract to the Stadium Authority.   It concludes that Frederick has sufficient market demand for a full-service, 200 room, branded hotel with 15,000 square feet of meeting space in Downtown Frederick. The study further finds that the hotel when stabilized will generate approximately 52,600 room nights, 280 jobs, and $25 million in economic impact.

These findings are generally consistent with the earlier study and confirms the need for such a facility in downtown Frederick. The Maryland Stadium Authority and its team of consultants is briefing key elected and business officials this morning at the Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders and the general public at 1PM today in City Hall.

“I am very pleased with the outcome of the study,” stated Earl H. Robbins, Jr. the appointed Project Chairman. “Based on the study findings, I believe that a privately-owned and operated hotel in downtown with sufficient meeting space to induce new meetings and conferences will be a game changer for this community,” he added.

The study was conducted at the request of The City of Frederick, using technical assistance grant funds from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The City was acting on behalf of the Downtown Hotel Advisory Team consisting of the following organizations:

  • The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce & Major Employers Group (MEG) –– Ric Adams, President & CEO
  • Tourism Council of Frederick County - John Fieseler, Director
  • East Frederick Rising - Bob McCutcheon, President
  • Downtown Frederick Partnership - Kara Norman, Executive Director 
  • Frederick County Business Development and Retention Division (BDRD) - Helen Riddle, Acting Director
  • The City of Frederick - Earl H. Robbins Jr. , Project Chairman
    • Josh Russin, Executive Assistant to the Mayor
    • Richard G. Griffin, AICP, CEcD, Director of Economic Development & Project Manager

Mayor Randy McClement offered that “the City of Frederick and this administration have focused its energy and resources on infrastructure projects which improve the quality of life and provide economic return for the community. Development of a privately owned, operated and financed full-service hotel in Downtown Frederick is part of that strategy, along with completion of Carroll Creek Park, Monocacy Boulevard, Frederick Municipal Airport Control Tower and increased sewer capacity.”

According to Ric Adams, President and CEO of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, ““the Chamber and its Major Employers Group (MEG) choose this project as its number one priority to retain and expand the business community in Frederick County. The Chamber and MEG have helped fund the original feasibility study and continue to advocate for this hotel project in downtown Frederick.””

The study confirms the Frederick area has a growing population base, with stable employment in the military and government sectors as well as bioscience and technology centers. Property annexed by the City of Frederick in recent years is nearing development which will also contribute to the tax base and employment opportunities.

Maryland Stadium Authority Chairman John Morton III added his thoughts. “MSA was happy to work with the City of Frederick and their hospitality community to evaluate the market for a downtown hotel/conference center,” he said. “This study provides stakeholders with the information they need to decide how best to proceed with the project.”

Currently, Frederick County has fewer than 1,000 hotel rooms, with an additional 100+ anticipated when the Marriott Towne Place Suites is completed this summer. Focus on Civil War history has increased interest in Frederick as a destination.

According to John Fieseler, Director of the Tourism Council, “Frederick is fortunate to have posted the highest increase in hotel room demand in Maryland during 2011 and over $300 million in tourism spending.” He added that “presently there is not a full-service hotel in Frederick and this downtown hotel will fill a gap not being met in the market.”

Based on research and analysis of the growing market and popularity of Frederick, Crossroads concurs with the Pinnacle/OPX study’s conclusion that the community would benefit on many levels from a hotel/conference center in the downtown historic district –– including the creation of 280 permanent, full-time jobs that would create $9 million in personal earnings and increased activity in the retail/hospitality outlets.

The study offers recommendations of what amenities and services should be included in the 200-room facility based on the evolving industry standards. In addition to a business center, Wi -Fi connectivity, a pool and fitness center, the hotel complex should also include a restaurant/lounge, room service, and retail outlets.

The meeting space recommendations are consistent with the high-end brand the city should attract. A 5,000 -6,000 ballroom should be included in the 15,000 square feet of conference space, along with a flexible layout to accommodate a variety of uses.

The feasibility study determined this type facility would generate approximately 52,600 room nights with $16.5 million in direct spending and almost $30 million in economic impact. In addition the operation would generate significant local property taxes based on the assessed value of the property. In conducting their research, Crossroads also found interest in this concept from several national hotel brands.

Because the study focuses on an unspecified downtown location, Crossroads cautions that parking and access will be major considerations and should be factored into any future decision.

The Downtown Frederick Hotel project originated from a business community need identified by the seventeen largest major employers (MEG) in Frederick County and the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce. In addition to championing this project, the initial feasibility study by Pinnacle / OPX in January 2010 was financed by the partners including the MEG Group and the local Chamber of Commerce.

Crossroads suggests that if the next steps include selecting a development site and a hotel developer. The hotel team is immediately issuing a Request for Information (RFI) from Downtown Frederick property owners who are interested in submitting their property as a potential location of a future Downtown Frederick hotel. A separate Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to select a hotel developer will be issued this fall.

The feasibility study is posted on the Maryland Stadium Authority website at:‑studies/city‑of‑frederick‑conference‑center and the report may also be viewed by visiting The City of Frederick’s Department of Economic Development website, 

Contact:    Josh Russin                                                            Gary A. McGuigan
                   Office of the Mayor                                                Project Executive
                   (301) 600-3834                                                        Maryland Stadium Authority
                                                (410) 333-1560

Chamber of Commerce Holds CIty Business Update

The Chamber of Commerce held its annual City Business Update at City Hall with the Mayor Randy McClement and the Board of Aldermen.   The City of Frederick Department of Economic Development was highlighted along with other city departments.   Attending the event were Heather Gramm and Richard Griffin.   Frederick is home to 3,500 businesses and 49,000 employees.

2012 Frederick County Entrepreneur Council Annual Awards

The Entrepreneur Council of Frederick hosted its annual awards dinner with 185 in attendance at Linganore Wine Cellars.   Winning awards were Carl Zukus (CV Wallets), Julia Schillaci (Soapprizes),  Phil Bowers (Fountain Rock Management), Dr. Maria Higgins (Unique Optique), Rob and Debbie Truelove (Signs by Tomorrow), Jean-Lois LePlage (Custom Imprints), and Jim Caruso (Flying Dog Brewery).  Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development for the City  was on hand for the awards.

Five Questions with Richard Griffin, City Economic Development

1. What does your office do?
We are advocates for the 3,500 businesses and 49,000 employees who call Frederick home. We focus on retaining them and helping them expand. This means working on permitting, workforce, development policies and regulations, infrastructure and business incentives. Recruiting new businesses is also an important part of our strategy and requires that we engage with companies regionally and internationally. 

2. What is your department's biggest challenge?
National economics aside, the biggest challenge is infrastructure capacity and cost. Utilities are difficult for some businesses, and transportation is equally challenging. That said, we know that most communities in our region face these issues. Frederick is well positioned to deliver talented employees and top-notch buildings as the economy continues to improve

3. How do you promote Frederick to businesses?
Frederick is a unique community with an enviable quality of life. Once a business executive visits Frederick, we know that our chances of landing that company and keeping it here is high. We use our website at, along with social media, advertising and trade shows to market Frederick. 

4. What is the biggest company you've landed?
More than 97 percent of Frederick's businesses are small, entrepreneurial shops. We are fortunate to have larger companies like MedImmune, US Silica, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Wegmans, Charles River Labs and others. Frederick's hi-tech business incubator has churned out over 200 jobs and dozens of businesses including Akonni Biosystems, WGS, Widearea Systems and Imagillin Technologies. All companies play a part in the Frederick economic ecosystem. 

5. How did you get involved in economic development?
I spent many years in city and regional planning in Greenville, S.C., Seattle, Frederick, and Leesburg. That evolved into becoming involved in urban revitalization as director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership and finally into my role at the City of Frederick as director of economic development for the past 10 years.

Networking for Small Business

Small businesses often depend on each other (b2b) networking and referrals for growth.   Frederick has a gem in RelyLocal, a locally owned Community Business Campaign which has the purpose to help strengthen small business owners and the local economy. Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development recently attended a Frederick RelyLocal networking event at the Cellar Door to connect with small Frederick based businesses.  Griffin offered that “Frederick has great resources for the small business owner – the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center as well as RelyLocal.”  Learn more about Frederick RelyLocal by checking out its website.


Technology was hot at last night’s Fort Detrick Alliance Annual Tech Showcase Event at the Frederick Innovative Technology Center Inc. (FITCI).  Nearly 100 attendees representing business, Fort Detrick, and community leadership were in attendance at the premier technology event of the year.  Attendees were treated to tours of FITCI and opportunities to hear from current FITCI clients companies and successful graduate businesses like WGS Systems, Akonni Biosystems, Biaera Technologies, Imagillin Technologies and the National Cancer Institute’s Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratories.

The Fort Detrick Alliance President Dr. Jim Romano officiated the event and provided insight into the importance of Fort Detrick in the nation, region, and community as well as the impact of technology transfer into and out of the federal laboratories at Detrick and the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.  Also recognized were the event sponsors – FITCI (Mike Dailey), TEDCO (Ron Kaese), and FDBDO (Steve Lamberson).  These sponsors provided critical in-kind and/or financial support for the event and each spoke for a few minutes about services provided by their organizations.  Special thanks to them since this event would not have been possible without their support.

Additionally special thanks goes to Kelly Miletich of the Fort Detrick Alliance who handled event logistics, Sherry Murray and Renee Wilson of FITCI who handled tours, client presentations, and registration, and Donna Goff of the City of Frederick Department of Economic Development who handled podium and PA system logistics.

Community leaders in attendance included Mayor Randy McClement, Alderwomen Kelly Russell and Karen Young, Fort Detrick Deputy Garrison Commander Eileen Mitchell and Helen Riddle, Acting Director of the Frederick County Business Development and Retention Division (BDRD). and Richard Griffin, Director Economic Development for the City of Frederick.

City of Frederick Awarded Community Legacy FY12 Funding

The City of Frederick was recently awarded $150,000 in grants through the State of Maryland’s Community Legacy program. The grant, spearheaded by the Department of Economic Development, will fund two major projects in the City of Frederick. DED is a full-service economic development department of the City of Frederick with the mission to create economic opportunity in the City through job creation, revitalization and reinvestment. To learn more visit or call at 301-600-6360.
The Carroll Creek Park project received $100,000 in Community Legacy funds, to be used towards the section of the Park between Carroll and East Patrick Streets. The City will issue a Request for Proposals for construction of this remaining section of the Park this summer. Construction is slated to begin in early 2013.
The Downtown Frederick Façade Improvement Program, administered by the Downtown Frederick Partnership, received $50,000 in Community Legacy funds. The Façade Improvement Program helps businesses and property owners make improvements to their store fronts and building facades. To date, the program has provided $129,000 in matching funds to support façade improvements downtown Frederick. Painting, awnings, lighting and signage are some of the improvements that are reimbursable.
The Community Legacy program is administered through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The purpose of the program is to preserve existing communities as desirable places to live and conduct business and provide financial assistance to sponsors or designees for the development of Community Legacy projects.

The Cherry Blossom Tree Tour Celebration Comes to Baker Park

On Sunday April 15th the “Cherry Blossom Tree Tour Celebration” will commemorate the Cherry Blossom Tree’s 100th Anniversary in the United States. The celebration will take place from 12noon-2pm in Baker Park at the bandshell.  The event will feature a ceremonial tree planting, ribbon cutting, a live performance by the award-winning Yamakiya Taiko Club from Fukushima, Japan and much more.

The Baker Park Cherry Blossom Tree Planting and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be held in historic downtown Frederick- Baker Park at 12:30pm-1:00pm near the Gazebo and Band Shell. The tree planting will be followed by the taiko drum performance in the bandshell.

The Yamakiya Taiko Club includes 13 students, ages 12-20, from the Yamakiya District of Kawamata Town in Fukushima Prefecture. In May 2011 they had to leave their homes in Yamakiya because of the high levels of radiation emanating from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Despite these circumstances, the Yamakiya Taiko Club, which has won first prize in a number of national competitions, has stayed together. The students continue to practice taiko drumming at a school in Kawamata Town.

In addition to the Baker Park performance on April 15th, the Yamakiya Taiko Club will also appear in the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Washington, DC and perform at the Kennedy Center on April 16th.

This Frederick event is coordinated by Cathy Allen, The Green Ambassador and supported in party by The City of Frederick Department of Economic Development, City of Frederick Parks & Recreation, Frederick County Office of Sustainability, Frederick County Tourism Council, Friends of Baker Park, and the Certified Tourism Ambassador’s Network.

Please visit for more information about The Green Ambassador’s Cherry Blossom Tree Tour Celebration Stops. 

 Cathy Allen, The Green Ambassador is a certified green-tourism ambassador, green real estate agent, green expert, award-winning environmentalist, social advocate, and Environmental and Green Technology Lobbyist for Maryland.  Her mission is to stimulate the urban community environmentally and socially. To be a part of this and other Green Ambassador campaigns please email or call 410.916.7043.

DED is a full-service economic development department of the City of Frederick with the mission to create economic opportunity in the City through job creation, revitalization and reinvestment. To learn more visit or call at 301-600-6360.