Leadership

‘It’s about turning on the light bulb for people’ By Mike Lewismlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com Tara Sargent pitches what she calls “three levels of benefit” people get by participating in Leadership Washington County. Each person can benefit by learning about various segments of the community and building relationships with classmates, she said. The sponsoring organization benefits by having an employee who has a deeper understanding of the area. And the community benefits by having more leaders in more places throughout the region. “It’s about turning the light bulb on for people,” Sargent said. Sargent is executive director of Leadership Washington County. There are […]

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On the books for November 2019

Several large commercial real estate transactions have been closed in the Crossroads Business Journal area in recent weeks. The map shows some of the details about those deals. The information was taken from records maintained by the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation as well as deed records held by county clerk’s offices in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The available details about property transactions vary from state to state. ­— Compiled by Mike Lewis […]

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‘We hope to be a hub’

Jessica Green, executive director of The Maryland Theatre, talks about the role the newly renovated venue will play in Hagerstown. By Mike Lewismlewis@herald-mail.com The Maryland Theatre is a performing arts center, a nonprofit organization and a key economic driver in downtown Hagerstown, Md. Jessica Green, the theater’s executive director, understands the connection. She hopes the theater can be “a hub of all things arts, entertainment, education and business happenings for Western Maryland.” The main theater auditorium was built in 1915 and can seat 1,300. It draws people downtown for stage shows and concerts. Thanks to some major construction, the facility […]

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Notes and quotes for November 2019

Things seen and overheard around the region last month, compiled by reporter Mike Lewis: Holiday spending up WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales during November and December to increase between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018 to a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. They compare with an average holiday sales increase of 3.7 percent over the previous five years. “The U.S. economy is continuing to grow, and consumer spending is still the primary engine behind that growth,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in […]

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‘We gather, we grow and we grant’

Michael Whalton, executive director of the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation By Mike Lewismlewis@herald-mail.com MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — In one way or another, Michael Whalton has been helping charitable organizations raise money for decades. Since May 2012, he been doing it as executive director of the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation. “I have just always loved working with nonprofit organizations,” said Whalton, 64. Whalton is originally from Key West, Fla. In the 1980s, he was the general manager of Sloppy Joe’s Bar. He also found a fondness for events. He founded the Hemingway Days Festival and worked on Fantasy Fest, which […]

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Cybersecurity courses changing with times

Businesses in the Crossroads area looking to find cybersecurity expertise have several options By Mike Lewismlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com Cybersecurity threats keep evolving, and cybersecurity training keeps changing, too. “I tell students it’s a really good job, because it’s different each day,” said Brad Rinard, chairman of the department of computer science and information technology at Frostburg State University in Maryland. Businesses looking to find or develop cybersecurity expertise have several options. Some cybersecurity companies offer training programs as part of their services. And colleges and universities throughout the Crossroads Business Journal region offer various cybersecurity courses and programs. Those range from Blue […]

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Notes and quotes

Things seen and overheard around the region last month, compiled by reporter Mike Lewis: ‘Dropped the ball’ “Frankly, we have dropped the ball on serving rural America (with high-speed internet).” — U.S. Rep. David Trone, D-Maryland, opening a rural broadband roundtable in Hagerstown, Md. Cybersecurity stats Cyber Defense Magazine rounded up some statistics to help people get a handle on cybersecurity threats. A few highlights from a long list: • 43% of all cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses • 91% of attacks launch with a phishing email • 30% of U.S. users open phishing emails • 85% of […]

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‘Personnel is the biggest challenge’

Laura M. Sherman is a member of the fourth generation to take a leadership role at family-owned Fayetteville Contractors Inc. By Mike Lewismlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com Some years ago, Laura M. Sherman’s plans didn’t include the family business. “It wasn’t my intention to go to school and come back here,” she said during an interview in the offices of Fayetteville Contractors Inc. “It was sort of an opportunity at the time.” That opportunity has worked out pretty well. Sherman has been president of the company since late 2018. FCI is a comprehensive contracting service for commercial and residential asphalt paving; asphalt manufacturing; commercial […]

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‘If you have access to the internet, then you are a target’

David Nathans, founder of SOCSoter, a cybersecurity firm based in Hagerstown By Mike Lewismlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com David Nathans cracked a big smile, then said his company delivers “champagne-tasting cybersecurity on a beer budget.” The company he founded, SOCSoter, is a managed security services provider. The company recently moved into revamped quarters in downtown Hagerstown, Md. “Good cybersecurity does not have to be expensive,” he said. Basically, Nathans said, the firm takes lessons learned from some of the largest computer breaches at large companies and boils that down to cost-effective cybersecurity protection for smaller companies. Nathans is more than familiar with the subject. […]

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Are you safe?

Broadband roundtable addresses access, security By Mike Lewismlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com HAGERSTOWN, Md. — These days, the words “online access” are often followed by the words “online security.” That was the case recently in Hagerstown, during a roundtable discussion about extending high-speed broadband access to rural areas. “We know what happened in Baltimore City with ransomware,” U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, said in opening remarks. What happened was a May ransomware attack on city computer servers. The attack cost Baltimore an estimated $18.2 million in restoration expenses and delayed or lost revenue, according to an Associated Press account.  In August, city officials […]

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