Marketing Professional to Lead College Relations and Marketing Team


College President Sheila Bair today announced that Rolando Irizarry, a marketing and communications professional, will join the Washington College senior leadership as Vice President for College Relations and Marketing, effective December 5, 2016. Irizarry, whose award-winning branding campaigns have positioned both MedStar Georgetown and the George Washington University Hospital as healthcare leaders in the region, brings a wealth of experience in brand management, strategic planning, business analytics, integrated marketing, and digital advertising.

irizarry“Our college relations and marketing team is integral to the success of the College’s strategic initiatives, and I am so proud of the work they have been doing to share the Washington College story in support of student recruitment, alumni engagement, fundraising, and elevating national visibility,” President Bair remarked. “Rolando is inheriting a strong and creative team, and I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of their collaboration, particularly as the College undertakes a comprehensive fundraising campaign.”

“The campaign will help provide the energy and awareness needed to advance our message on scholarships, campus diversity, and the quality of our faculty,” Irizarry says. “I’m fortunate to be part of a talented CRM team that is passionate about the Washington College legacy. We have the opportunity to elevate the College’s presence on the national stage. Everyone on campus and in the community has a vision of what the College could become. My job is to provide structure and a unified voice to what Washington College means to all of us.”

Irizarry’s career spans 20 years in higher education, healthcare, and agency work. As senior public affairs officer for Florida International University, Irizarry worked with one of the largest, most diverse media markets in the country and organized the largest press event in campus history—a visit from the Dalai Lama that involved more than 200 journalists. He was also responsible for crisis communications and collaborated with the university president on legislative matters.

At Miami Children’s Hospital, Irizarry managed marketing communications and business development, while also serving as managing editor for the hospital’s medical journal International Pediatrics.

 He has worked with leaders at the George Washington University School of Medicine and George Washington University Hospital on a number of successful campaigns that significantly increased market share, grew revenue, and promoted patient education. Those campaigns garnered more than four-dozen awards.

Most recently, Irizarry served as regional marketing director in the Washington region for MedStar Health, Inc., and was on the faculty at the George Washington University School of Business. He is moving to Chestertown with his fiancée, Julia Belanger, a general practitioner with the University of Maryland Community Medical Group in Chestertown.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at

Foreclosure Prevention Workshop


Maryland homeowners concerned about foreclosure will receive free, one-on-one legal advice on Saturday, December 10, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at Dorchester Career & Technology Center, 2465 Cambridge Beltway, Cambridge.

If you are interested in receiving a FREE foreclosure legal consultation at the event, please contact the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland at 1-800-396-1274 ext. 3052 or Mid-Shore Pro Bono at 410.690.8128 to pre-register.

Homeowners should bring the following documents (or copies) to their legal consult:
– All paperwork related to current and former mortgages, including loan application, settlement paperwork, lender statements, and any default notices received.
– Information about the monthly household budget (income and expenses).
– All foreclosure notices or threats received (if any).

Hosted by and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and Mid-Shore Pro Bono as part of the Maryland Foreclosure Prevention Pro Bono Project.

“Spend Local Stay Local” Gift Card Program Boosts Local Economy


In 2010, Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company introduced the innovative “Spend Local, Stay Local” gift card program. Since the program’s inception, over 2,600 gift cards have been issued, totaling over $72,000. These gift cards are targeted towards our local shops, restaurants and businesses.

The program highlights the wide variety of businesses that are located right in our backyard. Current participating retailers include hardware stores, coffee shops, bookstores, salons, gift shops and more. An up-to-date list of participating retailers is maintained on the program’s website.

“We are proud to offer this card, not to profit the Bank, but to support our community’s businesses.” – Glenn L. Wilson, President & CEO of Chesapeake Bank & Trust Company

As the Holiday Season approaches, consider supporting our local economy by giving the “Spend Local, Stay Local” gift card to friends, family and loved ones. Businesses may want to give them to their employees and customers. Gift cards may be purchased at Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company’s High Street location.

If you would like to accept the gift card, buy a gift card or learn more about the program, visit the website, send an email to or call 410-778-1600.

A Champion of Maryland Manufacturing Announcement from Kent County


Dixon Valve from Kent County has been recognized as champion of Maryland manufacturing in tribute to the company’s contributions to the community in an initiative being led by the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland (RMI) to change the way policymakers, the media and educators view manufacturing in the State.

More than 140 champions of Maryland manufacturing are being recognized, at least one from each county in the State, in the areas of philanthropy, innovation, products that improve our lives, inclusive workforce, visionary leadership, culture change or STEM engagement of students for manufacturing careers.  The Champions will be honored at RMI’s November 30 “Tribute to the Champions of Maryland Manufacturing” at Martin’s West in Baltimore County that will showcase individuals, organizations and projects that best exemplify the diversity of the manufacturing base in the State of Maryland.

“It was difficult to choose one category for Dixon to be recognized.  Celebrating 100 years in business Dixon is a cornerstone of our community.  Dixon’s leadership is committed to the education of our youth and workforce alike.  Contributing to their communities encompassed the dedication demonstrated by Dixon over the years.” said Jamie Williams, Kent County Economic Development Coordinator.  “Manufacturing is a leading economic driver in Kent County.”

The initiative is led by the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland (RMI) to change the way policymakers, the media and educators view manufacturing in the State.

All champions will be featured in the 2016 RMI Champions of Maryland Manufacturing Yearbook which will be distributed both at the Nov 30th event and following the event when copies will be provided to legislators, the media and educators as part of RMI’s efforts to enhance the image of the manufacturing industry.

“It’s going to be a great evening for our industry,” said RMI President Dr. Michael Galiazzo.  “Every champion should know that by being part of the tribute dinner, their great stories help RMI tell the larger Maryland story of how manufacturing operates at the county level in Maryland,” he said.  To see the list of champions and to register for the dinner celebration, visit the registration webpage at

For more information, contact Peter Gourlay at RMI at 443-275-2489.

One Small Step for Man; One Large Leap for Internet: ThinkBig Networks Cuts the Ribbon


ThinkBig Network celebrated their Grand Opening last Friday to much fanfare and lines of people signing up for the new high speed fiber optic broadband internet service.

For years Kent County has sought answers to rural internet problems. Businesses and households have long been stymied by the inability to access high speeds while many have had to try satellite dishes while others had no internet at all.

In February 2016, Kent County contracted FTS Fiber of Ocean City to bring in “dark fiber” from Rock Hall to Millington and surrounding areas offering service providers to offer a bridge between the fast fiber network to homes and business.

“One of the best ways to explain fiber optics speed is to know that fiber is not distance sensitive like copper. Let’s compare something like the download speeds for something like a 2-hour movie. If you have the fasted speed offered by your current broadband service provider, say 20Mbps (megabit per second) it would take approximately 10.5 minutes. With fiber optics with the speed of 1000 Mbps (one gigabit)—which is what we offer—the same movie would take 8s. The same movie in HD would take about 25 seconds,” Marketing Director Jennifer Lafleur says.

One time hook up charges are $400 to residential households and monthly fees are $99. Business hook-up charges vary according to needs.

During the Grand Opening, their office showed live-view examples of non-buffered 4K TVs and 3-D gaming as representatives talked to customers about the advantages of using a fiber optics connection.

ThinkBig is located at 903 Washington Avenue, Suite 5, next to the new Auto-Parts Store (old Happy Harry’s) and is open Monday through Friday 9:00-5:00.  888.318.1372


Kent County Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program on November 29


Calling all electrical, plumbing, HVAC contractors and commercial property owners. Learn how to make the Kent County Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program work for you!

Kent County Economic Development is hosting a PACE Program Registration and Informational Meeting on November 29, 2016 at the Kent County Community Center, 11041 Worton Road, Worton, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., with lunch served at 12:00 p.m. Registration is free! Join us for lunch, an informational presentation, and networking.

PACE financing provides 100% up-front capital to commercial property owners to implement building upgrades that save energy and lower operating costs. Improvements are repaid through a long-term surcharge on the property tax bill that transfers with sale of the property. The County adopted the program earlier this year, so business and contractors may participate.

Almost any commercial or industrial buildings, including offices, hotels, restaurants, farms, shopping centers and other retail properties, warehouses, garages, and factories, are eligible for PACE financing. Buildings used by nonprofit organizations may also be eligible.

Please contact Alexandra Nolan, Innovation Intern, Kent County Economic Development at to register.

Santa’s Arrival and Christmas Parade November 25-26


The Chestertown holiday season officially kicks off on Friday, November 25 at 6:45pm in Fountain Park when members of Kent County Community Marching Band herald Santa’s arrival by fire truck at 7:00pm. After he arrives, Santa will see children in his house until 8:00pm. Boy Scout Troop 130 will take pictures of children with Santa (donation encouraged), and will also selling hot chocolate in the park.

The Annual Kent County Christmas Parade takes place the following day, Saturday, November 26 at 10:00am (rain, snow or shine). This popular holiday event features marching bands, classic automobiles, various floats, Santa, Rudolph, Olaf, the Grinch and of course some of Santa’s trusty elves. Cash prizes will be awarded by parade judges to entrants in each category thanks to the support of Figg’s Ordinary, Chester River Wine & Cheese, Twigs & Teacups, Cassinelli Distilling and Spa Angels. Participation in the parade is open to everyone. If you are interested in participating, please call Kristen at 410-778-1600.

Santa will be in his Fountain Park house seeing children after the parade, from 11:00am to 1:00pm, and Kent County High School Music Boosters will be selling hot chocolate. Santa will also be available in his Fountain Park house on Saturdays December 3, 10 and 17 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Children will receive gift bags from Santa courtesy of Dukes-Moore Insurance Agency and Garfield Center for the Arts.

Also on Saturday, November 26, celebrate Small Business Saturday by shopping in Downtown Chestertown. This nationwide event spotlighting local, independently owned shops and businesses provides an opportunity to reinvest your holiday shopping dollars in your local community and find some unique gifts, too. This year to celebrate Small Business Saturday, members of the Downtown Chestertown Association are offering a shopping passport, which provides discounts if you shop at participating businesses and also gives you the opportunity to win prizes if you collect multiple passport stamps.

Chestertown’s holiday festivities continue the following weekend, December 2, 3 and 4 with Winterfest Weekend. In its third year, Winterfest is a town wide celebration that kicks off with a special illuminated First Friday, and continues through the weekend with The Soroptimists’ Festival of Trees, a gingerbread workshop, the Chester River Chorale’s holiday concert and many more family friendly events and activities.

For more information about these holiday activities and other events and projects sponsored by Downtown Chestertown Association, please visit

Grants Workshop on November 17


Join us 9am – 12nn, November 17, 2016 for Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area’s free grants workshop featuring Jennifer Ruffner, Robert Forloney, and Bill McGowan. Venue will be at Chesapeake College, Room 141, Health Professions Building.

Robert Forloney is a program developer and cultural institution consultant. Mr. Forloney lectures at the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and an adjunct professor at Goucher College. He has worked in the cultural institution field in a variety of ways as teacher for the New York Museum, as well as an educator, administrator and consultant at institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the Morgan Library, American of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art and the South Street Seaport Museum.

Whether working at an art institution or history museum, Forloney attempts to make objects and images accessible to audiences through facilitating conversations as well as utilizing experimental learning techniques. He has extensive experience in writing, managing, and accessing grants.

Jennifer Ruffner is the assistant administrator of the Maryland Heritage Area Program. The Maryland Heritage Area Program offers grants for capital projects and programing. Since 2005, this program has provided over 2.5 million dollars in grants to over 40 organizations in the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area.

Dr. William McGowan serves as the USDA Rural Development State Director for Delaware and Maryland. Dr. McGowan has been a leader in rural communities for over 35 years. His diverse background includes 12 years of management in the agriculture supply and horticulture industry. In 1989, he joined the University of Delaware as a Cooperative Extension agent. His 24-year extension career focused on helping people work through complex public issues. Bill believes that lasting solutions emerge from the community and guides the development and implementation of a path forward accordingly. His portfolio includes economic and community development, organizational and community leadership, water quality, land use and health care.

Space is limited.  RSVP 410-778-1460 or by email at

Stayed tuned for information concerning workshops planned for 2017.

Benchworks Notes Expansion


Benchworks, a comprehensive marketing services agency in Chestertown , held a grand opening at its newest division, Agency LRB on October 20. The well-attended event took place at the Agency LRB offices in the trendy Fishtown area of Philadelphia. Benchworks recently secured this additional 2,000 square feet of space due to the agency’s expansion.

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-1-54-33-pmThe name of the new division reflects the initials of Benchworks CEO Thad Bench’s father, Leigh R. Bench. LRB firmly believed in the value of a strong work ethic, the importance of character and a commitment to the highest standards of corporate relationships.

When asked about the event, Thad Bench said, “Agency LRB is the latest addition to the Benchworks’ family of businesses. The Philadelphia location is ideal for reaching our growing client roster. Plus, it gives us access to exceptional creative talent, which produces marketing solutions for our clients that get results. The agency name honors my father’s legacy and I know he would be proud of what our team has accomplished.”

Melissa Johnston, president of Benchworks, commented on the Agency LRB event saying, “I am very excited about our new location in Fishtown. Our expansion is a testament to the hard work of the entire Benchworks team, their dedication to our clients and the ongoing support of their marketing programs. We are looking forward to contributing to the economic growth of the Fishtown area as it continues to evolve as a creative hub.”