Cautious Optimism Over Maryland-India Trade


Despite exports from Maryland to India decreasing by almost 15 percent in recent years, Maryland businesses are optimistic about growth in trade between the two ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington.

Modi, who was elected earlier this year, will make his inaugural trip to Washington Sept. 29-30. It comes amid a downward trend in Maryland and India trade following a period of stalled diplomatic relations between the U.S. and India.

However, Maryland businesses are hopeful, based on Modi’s priorities and a recent trade delegation from the state, that they can benefit from trade with one of the largest economies in the world.

Economic Ties

Maryland exports to India have decreased from $233 million in 2010 to $202 million in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. During the same period, imports from India fell from $465 million to $416 million, a drop of more than 10 percent.

But Maryland is looking to change that.

One sign is an upcoming Montgomery County delegation to India, said Dr. Vinod Jain, president and CEO at the Maryland-based India-US World Affairs Institute.

The delegation, which will be led by County Executive Isiah Leggett and leaves for India in November, is focusing on culture, education and business, Jain said.

Currently, trade between the two varies wildly from information technology to coffee. For example, the U.S. subsidiary of the Indian IT company Infosys has its headquarters in Rockville, while Eight O’ Clock Coffee, which has a production plant in Landover, was bought by the Indian company Tata Coffee in 2005.

Jain said the upcoming delegation would focus on improving trade and investment specifically in the biotechnology, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries.

The trip is looking to build on another Maryland trade delegation in 2011, when Gov. Martin O’Malley led more than 100 business leaders, educators and government officials to India.

It was the largest delegation to India ever sent from Maryland, and the first ever by a sitting Maryland governor. Jain believes it was among the largest sent by any U.S. state to India.

The trade delegation resulted in business deals worth almost $60 million being signed, a press release from the governor’s office said.

The hope among analysts is that trade delegations can overcome some of the hurdles in improving economic ties between the two.

Despite being the third largest economy in the world based on a metric known as the purchasing power parity (PPP), India ranks only 18 out of Maryland’s top 25 international trading partners in terms of exports from the state. That is well below exports from Maryland to smaller economies like Saudi Arabia and Belgium, according to data from the Census Bureau.

This can primarily be explained by the internal situation in India under the previous government led by Manmohan Singh, said Elisha Pulivarti, executive director at the Maryland India Business Roundtable.

“There were a lot of problems in India,” said Pulivarti, mentioning low investor confidence because of the perception of high corruption and bureaucratic red tape.

Based on 2013 data, India ranked 186 out of 189 countries when it came to enforcing contracts, according to the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking. Only Timor-Leste (East Timor), Myanmar and Angola ranked lower, all countries that have suffered major internal conflicts in the past decade.

However, there is optimism that the issues can be overcome and Modi’s trip can foster better trade relations between India and Maryland.

“Economic ties are No. 1 on the list,” said Milan Vaishnav, an associate at the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank.

One Maryland business that made the 2011 trip to India was Shah and Kishore, a Rockville-based immigration law firm.

Calling the delegation a success and saying the results from the trip would take longer than three years to have an impact on Maryland, Devang Shah, the firm’s managing partner, said the future for Maryland-India trade is likely to improve.

Much of the optimism is based on Modi’s reputation as a business-friendly leader willing to create investor-friendly policies, said Shah.

Diplomatic Tensions

But bilateral ties must overcome recent diplomatic tensions at the national level, said Michael Kugelman, senior program associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank.

“In recent months relations have suffered from some of their greatest tensions in years, and certainly since the early 1990s, when decades of turbulent bilateral ties yielded to a new era of cooperation,” said Kugelman, in an email.

Diplomatic relations stalled last year when an Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, was arrested on charges of visa fraud and underpaying her nanny.

While Khobragade was eventually released to India, Indians were furious over what they perceived as high-handed tactics used by U.S. authorities, including her being strip-searched.

The Indian government responded to the arrest by, at one point, removing security barricades in front of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi and refusing to meet a visiting U.S. congressional delegation.

The meeting between President Barack Obama and Modi is likely to also, at least initially, focus on publicly making the Indian prime minister feel welcome in the U.S., said Jain from the India-US World Affairs Institute.

In 2005, Modi, at that time the chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, was the first person denied a U.S. visa under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. The primary reason were the riots in Gujarat in 2002 between Muslims and Hindus, which led to almost 1,000 people being killed.

While there was no evidence that Modi, from a Hindu nationalist party, was responsible for the killing of hundred of Muslims, “he was responsible for the performance of state institutions at that time,” said David Mulford, U.S. ambassador to India from 2004-2009, in a statement soon after the visa rejection.

There is an expectation that Modi’s trip will focus more on “ceremony than substance” in order to overcome that incident, said Vaishnav, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Optimism Moving Forward

As the Indian economy grows under Modi, it is imperative Maryland position itself to be the “gateway into the U.S.,” said Shah, from the law firm.

India’s economy is expected to become a “global economic giant” by 2050, with a GDP of $ 34 trillion – which would be more than three times that of Brazil – according to the “World in 2050,” a report by the accounting firm Price Waterhouse.

Economic ties between the two are “becoming more and more important,” he said, with the hope being that Maryland can benefit from India’s expected growth.

By Idrees Ali
Capital News Service

Mid-Shore Community Foundation Names Morris CFO


The Mid-Shore Community Foundation (MSCF) has announced that Michael Morris of Easton, Maryland has accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer.

MSCF Staff – Buck Duncan, Robbin Hill, Heather Pickens and Michael Morris

MSCF Staff – Buck Duncan, Robbin Hill, Heather Pickens and Michael Morris

Morris brings over 20 years of finance, accounting and human resource experience to the position. He also brings his knowledge of both the non-profit and for-profit sectors.

Michael and his wife relocated to Easton 4 years ago from Worcester, MA. Michael holds a BS in accounting from Boston University and graduate level credits from Clark University.

“We are pleased to welcome Michael to the Foundation,” said MSCF President Buck Duncan.

With over $52 million in assets, MSCF is the 4th largest community foundation in the State of Maryland and is the largest scholarship provider in the Mid-Shore Region. Since it’s founding (22 years ago), the Foundation has received over $48.3 million in contributions and has given more than $18.3 million in grants and scholarships.

In FY 2014, the MSCF awarded over $2.6 million in grants and related charitable expenses to 271 charities and 91 individuals. The individuals were recipients of $425,752 in scholarships with an average award of $4,700.

“Michael’s extensive experience will be integral as we continue to manage our growth and look for new opportunities to maximize the impact of our work in the community,” said Duncan.

“I am particularly impressed at the number and size of the scholarships that are funded by MSCF,” said Morris. “I look forward to contributing toward that support of educational opportunities for the young people of the Mid-Shore area, as well as supporting the Mid-Shore nonprofit organizations”.

For more information about the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, visit or call 410-820-8175.

Michigan Manufacturing International Dispels Manufacturing Myths


There are some common misconceptions in the manufacturing industry about managing suppliers and using specialty components. At the Atlantic Design and Manufacturing Show in June of this year, Jacob Prak, CEO of Michigan Manufacturing International (MMI), discussed how using specialty components can help customers save money.

Special components and assemblies made by MMI.

Special components and assemblies made by MMI.

Prak stated that customers may think it is easier to manage a supplier who is nearby, instead of one that is far away. He said, “The truth is that it is much more important to find the right supplier than to find one that is in close proximity. MMI easily sources products from all over the world.”

When a specialty component is desired, a common idea is that one should find a supplier who specializes in the processes required for that component. However, by sourcing a product from a company who specializes in a certain process, a customer can get locked into using that process. Prak offered a better solution, saying, “It’s better to find a manufacturer who can analyze the function of the part and then offer the most cost-effective, best-performing manufacturing process to suit the situation.”

While it is best to use standard components when possible, Prak noted that innovative products and designs will often require special components due to their new and unique characteristics. Special components are often designed to function more effectively in a given application or to take the place of multiple standard components, often saving money.

In a recent example, a customer came to MMI with a part that consisted of a bamboo shaft that had been reinforced with a carbon fiber rod. The challenge was how to maintain the same weight and strength, but cut the cost. Prak explained how MMI successfully met this goal. “We replaced the carbon fiber with an aluminum extrusion. The strength was maintained, and the result was a cost savings of about 25%.”

Founded in 1991, Michigan Manufacturing International (MMI) specializes in supplying manufactured to print assemblies and components to original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Products include assemblies, castings, stampings, machined parts, gears, bearings and more. Services include product engineering, manufacturing, inventory management and stocking programs — all designed to streamline client operations and increase profitability. MMI designs the most effective, highest quality solutions from anywhere in the world.

For more information about MMI, visit or call 800-677-0504.

Maryland Agricultural Education Grants Announced


The Rural Maryland Council is pleased to announce the winners of grant funding for Fiscal Year 2015 from the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund. Established in 2000, the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistant Fund (MAERDAF) offers important financial support to rural-serving nonprofit organizations that promote statewide and regional planning, economic and community development, and agricultural and forestry education efforts. The Fund also providestargeted financial assistance to community colleges that support small and agricultural businesses through enhanced training and technical assistance offerings.

During Fiscal Year 2015, a total of 54 rural-serving organizations submitted applications requesting more than $1,000,000 in grants from the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund. This year, however, only $170,000 was available which was distributed to 17 rural-serving nonprofits. Recipients are:

· Adkins Arboretum, Ltd: $6,850
· Caroline Economic Development Corporation: $11,504
· Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, Inc.: $10,000
· College of Southern Maryland Foundation: $11,500
· Crossroads Community, Inc.: $4,875
· Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center: $14,923
· Enchanted Haven Horse Rescue: $8,000
· Evergreen Heritage Center Foundation, Inc.: $23,500
· Habitat for Humanity Choptank: $6,150
· LEAD Maryland Foundation: $10,000
· Lower Shore Land Trust: $7,054
· Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts: $2,500
· Off Street Sports Performance: $15,000
· Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area: $15,500
· Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art: $12,795
· Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council: $4,882
· Women Supporting Women: $4,908

Between FY 2001 and FY 2014, the MAERDAF program has awarded more than $2.8 million in grants to 57 rural-serving nonprofit organizations. Many of these organizations have been able to establish or continue programs and projects that have had a significant and positive impact on Rural Maryland because of the MAERDAF program. Moreover, the Fund has helped many nonprofits develop
institutional capacity, improve grant-writing skills, and enhance the internal development of volunteer boards and staff.

The Rural Maryland Council administers MAERDAF in partnership with the Maryland Departments of Agriculture Health and Mental Hygiene Business and Economic Development, Housing and Community Development, and Natural Resources.

MBIA Adds Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center


The Maryland Business Incubation Association (MBIA) is pleased to announce that the organization has added five new members since January of 2014. The new members of MBIA include:

BioHealth Innovation (BHI) a regional innovation intermediary that accelerates and facilitates technology transfer and commercialization of market-relevant research in federal labs, universities, and biohealth companies. It is a private-public partnership in the form of a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that connects the Region’s innovation assets to provide integrated technical knowledge, financial means and entrepreneurial and managerial expertise to turn promise into prosperity for the region while advancing human health. The BHI Incubator is a dedicated co-working space at our headquarters in Rockville where we support our client companies with the goal of progressing the business model for the company. (Located in Montgomery County)

Canton Health Ventures (CHV) is located in one of Baltimore’s most desirable “new industrial” areas, and provides market acceleration services to disruptive health care entrepreneurs. Through its affiliation with Sage Growth Partners, a leading health care strategy and technology firm, CHV offers early stage firms access to invaluable commercial contacts and a continuum of health care specific strategy, technology, marketing, business development and thought leadership services – all aimed at bringing high impact companies to market. With a multi-disciplinary team of health care consultants, clinicians, technologists, strategists and entrepreneurs, CHV’s subject matter experts deliver hundreds of thought-provoking presentations annually at leading health care and technology conferences in the US and abroad. Co-located with Sage Growth Partners in 3,000 square feet of modernized warehouse space, entrepreneur partners enjoy a rich interchange while leveraging the deep expertise, broad capabilities and extensive commercial contacts that Canton Health Ventures and Sage Growth Partners can provide. (Located in Baltimore City)

Center for Entreprenuership and Innovation (CEI) at University of Baltimore is an on-campus incubator and co-working space for student-run ventures. Businesses at any stage–idea, start-up or growing ventures–are welcome. Tenants will have access to shared meeting space and technology. Teams have access to mentors, Entrepreneur in Residence and consultants. In addition, the CEI cultivates, develops and infuses entrepreneurial thinking. We are a “go-to” resource for entrepreneurship and value creation – a place where students, faculty, alumni and the entrepreneurial community connect. The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Public Affairs and the Merrick School of Business. ( Located in Baltimore City)

Supported by the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center, hotDesks serves as a core location for the startup, innovation, and creative communities to meet and collaborate together. The goal of hotDesks is to also serve as a conduit through which entrepreneurs and innovators on both Western and Eastern Shores of Maryland can connect and engage with each other.hotDesks is an Eastern Shore network of co-working spaces, with Salisbury being the first location opening in mid-2013. Bringing a style of working that is urban in origin to the rural Eastern Shore provides an opportunity for the region’s entrepreneurs and innovators to collide and collaborate as never before available.( Located in Salisbury, Wicomico County)

FastForward is Johns Hopkins’ technology accelerator and innovation ecosystem, focused on creating patent backed start-ups to commercialize the diverse research being done at all of JHU’s divisions. Located in the historic Stieff Silver building near the Homewood campus, FF occupies 12,000 sq. ft. and offers a shared core wet lab facility, individual wet and dry labs, work benches, offices, internet access, as well as conference and meeting rooms. FF’s mission includes local economic development, the entrepreneurial education and training of the JHU community, and growing a sustainable community of technology and innovation at Johns Hopkins. Tenancy in the accelerator is for up to two years, during which time FF staff work intensively with start-ups, providing cradle to IPO support. Support starts pre-tenancy for early stage ventures, and includes product models, development and validation plans, market assessment, and business structuring. Later stage ventures receive mentoring, networking, capital introductions, and continued support and guidance. ( Located in Baltimore City)

To learn more about incubator, co-working and accelerator programs and events in Maryland visit, and click on events and incubators to learn more.

Salisbury University Group Director Named Innovator of the Year


The Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative (ESRGC) at Salisbury University and its director, Dr. Michael Scott, have been named among the state’s Innovators of the Year for 2014.

Bestowed by the Maryland Daily Record, the honor recognizes those whose work “heralds new frontiers for how we live, work, play and give back” and those who have “created new products, services or programs that have improved their fields.”

“This is a well-deserved award for Dr. Scott and his ESRGC colleagues,” said Dr. Karen Olmstead, dean of SU’s Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology. “Not only do they innovatively provide data and analyses to solve challenging problems, they routinely engage students in high-impact experiential learning.”

Scott and the ESRGC were nominated specifically for developing customizable dashboards that support Maryland’s open data initiatives, said Dr. Memo Diriker, founding director of the Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) at SU and a partner in many dashboard initiatives.

Some dashboards were created for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development to allow users to compare counties or measure Maryland against other metropolitan areas and states. Other dashboards for Maryland and Oklahoma help bring job seekers, training programs and employers together to improve workforce development efforts. Two additional dashboards for Maryland’s BayStat program make data on the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries easily viewable by the public; one shows sources of pollution, while another shows actions taken to reduce it.

In addition to dashboard efforts, Scott and the ESRGC were applauded for developing innovative GIS tools to help the Maryland State Highway Administration mitigate the impacts of sea-level rise on infrastructure, as well as helping county planners and local jurisdictions accurately map and inventory impervious surfaces for future storm water plans.

Since its creation in 2004, the ESRGC has worked on 135 projects, totaling more than $5.6 million in grants and contracts. Staff have done many pro-bono projects for individuals, non-profits, schools, governments and businesses. The ESRGC is a joint effort between SU, the Mid-Shore Regional Council and the Tri-County Council of the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland. The team includes 14 full-time staff, as well as student interns and graduate assistants.

In 2013, Diriker was named an Influential Marylander by the Baltimore-based business newspaper. In 2012, SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach became the only University president to earn the newspaper’s inaugural award for Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs. She also has been among its Top 100 Women three times, placing her in the Circle of Excellence for that award.

Selected by Daily Record editors, the Innovators of the Year are recognized at an event on Wednesday, October 15, at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.  For tickets, visit

For more details about the ESRGC’s award, call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website at   


Sotheby’s Affiliate Expands Team with Addition of Lisa Hoon


Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby’s International Realty is expanding its presence on the Eastern Shore with the addition of veteran sales agent Lisa Hoon.

Originally from Baltimore, Hoon moved to Chestertown in 1982, where she and her husband Phil, an
attorney, raised their two sons. Previously with another Chestertown firm, Hoon combines decades of local knowledge with over 10 years of real estate experience.

“The addition of Lisa Hoon to our team is a big win for BFPSIR,” Says partner Laird Bunch, “We represent several high-end listings in Kent and Cecil counties, and she knows that market and understands the nuances of handling complex properties, which is hard to find in an agent.”

When she is not busy with real estate transactions, Lisa enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is an avid reader whose other interests include travel, her pets, cooking and gardening.

Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby’s International Realty represents buyers and sellers of exceptional properties in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Annapolis and the Eastern Shore.

CNB Announces New Chairman of the Board


CNB, member of Shore Bancshares Inc. community of companies, announced that Clyde V. Kelly, III has been appointed Chairman of the Board of CNB. Mr. Kelly has been a director of the bank since 2005. He is the President of Kelly Distributors, Easton, Maryland. Mr. Kelly is past President of the Kent Island Rotary, Prospect Homeowners Association, and the Maryland Beer Wholesalers Association. Mr. Kelly also served on the Anheuser Busch Wholesaler Advisory Panel Steering Team, the National Beer Wholesalers Board of Directors and currently serves on the vestry at Old Wye Parish.

It is CNB’s tradition to rotate the chairman of the board every three years. “We look forward to working with Clyde, as we guide the future of CNB. He is committed to the bank and the communities we serve and will offer solid direction to our board,” says F. Winfield Trice, Jr., President and CEO of CNB.

Outgoing chairman, Wm. Maurice Sanger has been a director of the bank since 1992 serving as Chairman the past three years and will continue to serve as a director of CNB. “CNB appreciates Maurice for his admirable leadership, and we thank him for the contributions he has delivered to CNB, during his tenure as chairman,” says Mr. Trice. “We look forward to continuing to work with him on our board.”

Jeffrey E. Thompson will serve as Vice Chairman. Mr. Thompson has been the bank’s attorney since 1986 and a director of the bank since 2005. He is a partner with Thompson and Richard, LLP, a law firm in Centreville, Maryland.

CNB is a community bank, headquartered in Centreville, Maryland, with $473 million in assets and is a member of the Shore Bancshares community of companies, the largest independent financial services company to offer banking, insurance and wealth management services to families and businesses on the Delmarva Peninsula.

L to R: New CNB Chairman of the Board, Clyde V. Kelly, III, with F. Winfield Trice, Jr., CNB President & CEO, Vice-Chairman Jeffrey E. Thompson and outgoing Chairman Wm. Maurice Sanger.

L to R: New CNB Chairman of the Board, Clyde V. Kelly, III, with F. Winfield Trice, Jr., CNB President & CEO, Vice-Chairman Jeffrey E. Thompson and outgoing Chairman Wm. Maurice Sanger.

J. Slocum Names Five Members to Advisory Board

L to R: Renee Bench, Lloyd Cooper, Tracy Slocum, Mike Slocum, Holly Vrotsos, Mark Myers. Not pictured: Simon Edwards

L to R: Renee Bench, Lloyd Cooper, Tracy Slocum, Mike Slocum, Holly Vrotsos, Mark Myers. Not pictured: Simon Edwards

Chestertown, Md., July 1, 2014 — In advance of the launch of its new apparel and accessories line, J. SlocumTM has named its advisory board. This panel will provide guidance regarding product development, marketing communications, pricing and brand strategy for the new line which will feature high-end products and builds on the legacy of Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail around the world alone. The advisory board members are Simon Edwards, Mark Myers, Lloyd Cooper, Holly Vrotsos and Renee Bench.

Simon Edwards is a delivery captain at Endurance Yacht Deliveries. He has crossed the Atlantic six times, including single handedly, and has made numerous trips to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Gulf of Mexico, most recently sailing from Annapolis to England.

Mark Myers is President of Atlantic Arts, Inc. and the Past Commodore of the Annapolis Yacht Club. He is co-chair of the Annapolis Newport Race 2015, a former US Sailing Sr. Judge and Umpire, and former Regatta Chairman of the Columbus Cup Regatta. Mark has been racing and cruising in boats since 1975, including extensive racing in the Chesapeake, and cruising in New England and the Caribbean.

Originally from England, Lloyd Cooper is a yacht broker with Forbes Horton in Annapolis, Maryland, specializing in blue water sailing boats. He has a comprehensive knowledge of yacht design, rigging and long-distance cruise equipment. Lloyd has sailed to the Caribbean and delivered boats up and down the Eastern seaboard.

Born in Boston, Holly Vrotsos is a lifelong sailor. Her career includes chartering, yacht delivery and ocean racing. She has more than 60,000 miles on various vessels as a captain, chef/mate and crew member. On the Slocum advisory board, Holly provides valuable insight and recommendations regarding product design and development.

Renee Bench is President of Benchworks, a full service marketing communications firm in Chestertown, Maryland. Renee serves on several boards in Chestertown, including the Kent Association of Riding Therapy, the Chester River Association, and the Library Foundation.

Benchworks, marketing partner for J. Slocum, planned the first meeting of the advisory board which was held in Annapolis, Maryland on May 20. The group discussed and decided on topics which ranged from defining the brand promise, identifying target demographics, and products to be included in the new line. The logo design and visual identity package are in development.

“The work done behind the scenes is very important to launching a successful brand,” said Tracy Slocum, direct descendant of Joshua Slocum. “We appreciate the wisdom and guidance of this very accomplished group.”

For more information, call Benchworks at 800-536-4670.