Easton’s Henker Group Wins Platinum Award for Work with Baltimore Metropolitan Council

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Easton-based Henker Group was recently honored as a Platinum winner in the 2014 Summit Marketing Effectiveness Award competition for their broadcast advertising work with Baltimore Metropolitan Council’sTeleworkbaltimore.com program.

The Summit Marketing Effectiveness Award (Summit MEA) responds to a common need in the advertising sector, which is to acknowledge the contribution of advertising and the achievement of the advertiser’s business goals. The Summit MEA is unique because it reinforces that the goal of marketing communications is to change, influence or reinforce a target audience’s knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs. Using this premise as a basis for its judging criteria, the competition has become a true arbiter of marketing communication effectiveness. Judges analyzed submissions and selected only eight percent to receive the top spots. A truly international competition, the Summit MEA received almost 900 submissions from the following twelve countries: Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Poland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

“Distinguishing between creativity and effectiveness is a difficult task so winning a Summit MEA is a significant achievement,” said Jocelyn Luciano, executive director for the Summit International Awards. “The combination of experienced judges and our tough criteria ensures that only deserving submissions receive Summit MEA recognition.” Additional information about the Summit International Awards and its programs is available at www.summitawards.com.

Founded in 2005 by Mary Ann Henker, The Henker Group LLC is an award-winning, full-service integrated marketing communications (IMC) firm specializing in marketing, public relations, business development and event planning. Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in Easton, The Henker Group serves local, national, and international markets and provides a unique and proven approach to support businesses growing to the next level or maintaining a premier position in the marketplace.

“It is such an honor to have won such a prestigious award. We are so proud of the work we have done in partnership with the BMC and the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to create an effective campaign targeted to both employers and employees in the Greater Baltimore region. BMC’s staff is highly committed to the purpose of the program,” said Mary Ann Henker, president of The Henker Group.

The BMC is a private nonprofit organization committed to identifying regional interests and developing collaborative strategies through plans and programs to improve the quality of life and economic vitality throughout the region. Teleworkbaltimore.com is a partnership between the BMC and the MDOT with a goal of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties by helping employers realize the benefits of a formal telework program.

“Formal telework programs can be so beneficial to businesses and they help improve air quality due to the reduced vehicle traffic. It was necessary to generate awareness about the Teleworkbaltimore.com program through a professional and effective marketing campaign. By working with The Henker Group, we have done just that.” Russ Ulrich, outreach coordinator for Air Quality & Traffic Safety Programs said.

Small-Business Initiatives Advance in Maryland Senate

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In his first State of the State address nearly two months ago, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan repeatedly referred to small businesses as a barometer for Maryland’s health, advocating for a focus on business-friendly policies to boost the state’s economy.

The state Senate agreed Tuesday, passing a bill that would create a small-business advisory panel in the Department of Business and Economic Development and advancing a tax-relief measure Hogan has said will benefit more than 70,000 small-business owners.

The advisory panel echoes Hogan’s promise to consider how each decision he makes will affect small businesses. The six-member council, which would include small-business owners, would review bills and help inform lawmakers about the legislation’s potential consequences for businesses.

“It gives the small-business community a voice in the regulatory process that they haven’t had before,” said Senator Thomas Middleton, D-Charles, the chair of the Finance Committee.

Meanwhile, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on Friday approved Hogan’s Small Business Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 2015. The bill would excuse a business from paying a tax on $10,000 or less in personal property, which includes work-related property such as office equipment.

The bill should save eligible businesses an average of $72 in taxes per year, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

The two measures advanced with strong support in the Senate chamber, though a few senators were concerned the advisory panel was a “feel-good bill” that would not make state regulations more business-friendly.

The proposed panel “makes the regulatory process in the state so bureaucratic as to slow down any effort to help improve working conditions,” said Senator Richard Madaleno Jr., D-Montgomery, vice-chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

But Madaleno described himself as the “floor leader” in the discussion of Hogan’s tax-relief bill.

“It’s more of a headache elimination for the smallest businesses,” he said. “To me, that had a real impact on reducing a burden on small businesses.”

Cambridge’s 1880 Bank to Merge with Easton Bank & Trust

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The Baltimore Sun is reporting today that the parent of Cambridge-based 1880 Bank has announced a plan to buy the Easton Bank & Trust Company for $8 million cash.

Parent Delmarva Bancshares expects to close on the deal later this year, after the approval of banking regulators and the shareholders of Easton Bank. 1880 Bank, which was known as National Bank of Cambridge until it was renamed in October, serves the Eastern Shore and has about $192 million in assets and $166 million in deposits.

Read the full story here

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to Make Address at Washington College

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Over the past month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has been making almost daily headlines with his agency’s groundbreaking policy on net neutrality. Wheeler, who stands at the center of a stormy dialogue on the issue, recently announced a set of strong, sustainable rules to protect the open Internet as a platform for innovation, free expression and economic growth. In the face of opposition from Republican lawmakers and some business leaders, Wheeler argued that the open Internet was at risk without federal regulations to ensure that America’s broadband networks will remain open, fast, and fair.

Wheeler will appear at Washington College on Thursday, April 2, for the Spring 2015 Richard Harwood Lecture in American Journalism, hosted by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. His talk, “On the Front Lines of the Digital Revolution,” will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall. Cosponsored by the Department of Business Management and the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, the program is free and open to the general public.

“We’re exceptionally honored to welcome Tom Wheeler as a lecturer in the Harwood Series at such a historic moment,” said Adam Goodheart, the Starr Center’s Hodson Trust-Griswold Director, who will lead an onstage conversation with Wheeler following the speaker’s formal remarks. “It’s a rare opportunity to hear from a leading policymaker right in the midst of the most critical chapter of his public life. Moreover, Wheeler is a distinguished historian who will also offer the ‘long view’ of how the ongoing digital revolution relates to past moments of epochal change in how human beings communicate.”

After the FCC’s vote on February 25, the Los Angeles Times called it “a landmark decision for the future of the Internet,” while the New York Times hailed “the longest, most sustained campaign of Internet activism in history, one that the little guys appear to have won.” Meanwhile, telecommunications giant Verizon issued a statement – in Morse code, no less – accusing Wheeler of trying to roll back telecommunications to the 1930s.

Appointed FCC chairman in 2013 by President Barack Obama, Wheeler brings to his position vast experience in the fast-paced and ever-evolving communications field. For more than three decades he has been one of the nation’s leading communications policy experts, advocates and entrepreneurs in both the public and private sector, and has been hailed as a top ten innovator in the history of wireless communications.

In addition his role in Washington at the helm of the agency tasked with communications law, regulation and technological innovation, Wheeler is also a historian of technology. His books, Take Command: Leadership Lessons of the Civil War (Doubleday, 2000) and Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War (HarperCollins, 2006), connect the current Digital Revolution to past eras of technological upheaval. Wheeler’s commentaries have been published in the Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and other publications. Wheeler has also served as a Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Foundation for the National Archives, and the Public Broadcasting Service.

Washington College’s Harwood Lecture Series in American Journalism was established to honor the distinguished career of the late Washington Post columnist and ombudsman Richard Harwood, who served as a trustee of the College, as well as a teacher and mentor of undergraduate journalists. Speakers in the series have included many leading figures in politics and the press. The journalistic tradition has also continued in Harwood’s own family; his son, John Harwood, has had a distinguished career as a political correspondent and columnist for CNBC, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large.

CNB Continues to Grow in Delaware

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CNB, headquartered in Centreville, MD and a member of the Shore Bancshares community of companies, was joined by the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce on March 12th in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of their new branch location at 800 S. Governors Avenue, Dover DE. Employees, customers, friends and local dignitaries and supporters came out to celebrate with the CNB staff.

“We are very excited to now have a branch location in Dover“, says Teresa Swartz, Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager. “We look forward to serving the Dover community and surrounding areas for many years to come. CNB is truly a community bank and we can offer the products and personal service that will make an impact on both your personal and business goals. We plan to be actively engaged in this community and will continually look for opportunities to support our customers and to help improve their lives.”

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Established in 1876, with 12 convenient locations in Maryland and Delaware, CNB serves the local needs of our customers and our community through personalized banking services and products, convenient operations and secure and reliable banking solutions. Stop in to see how banking with CNB can benefit you. You may also visit cnb-bank.com or call 410-758-1600 for the main Centreville branch and 302-734-2860 for the new Dover branch.

A Spy Introduction: New Chesapeake Bank CEO Glenn Wilson

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Glenn Wilson and his family never really debated where they wanted to live in retirement. The former Citizens National of Laurel executive and then CEO of AmeriServ Financial in Pennsylvania and his wife invested early in Chester River Landing to stake out a place for weekend visits and long -term retirement over ten years ago. In the meantime, he assumed his work life would continue until that golden age of sixty-six

But that was before a bank executive recruiter called him one day last year to suggest Glenn consider becoming heading up a small community bank called the Chesapeake Bank and Trust on the Eastern Shore in a town called Chestertown. Had he heard of the town, inquired the clueless headhunter? The rest, as they say, is history.

In his Spy interview, the new CEO of Chesapeake, who now facing a 75 second commute from his home to work every morning, talks about his background, the local banking climate, his confidence in the Eastern Shore’s economy.

This video is approximately six minutes in length

I’ve Got a Real Estate Question: How to Buy a Home in Rural Kent County from the Big City?

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The Spy recently inaugurated a Q and A series with Cross Street Realtors. In this first one, our customer asked Cross Street’s Stacey Kendall about retiring on the Eastern Shore.

Q: I’m retiring to the Eastern Shore from the city and have no experience with buying a home in a rural area. I’m worried that the condition of the house I’m interested in has not been fully disclosed. Is a home inspection a mortgage requirement, or optional, and do you offer this service to help me determine the real value?

A: There are a lot of questions within your one question – Let me try to answer as best I can….

The first step with buying anything is to determine your financial limits.  You should know what you can comfortably afford per month.  We then speak with lenders for qualification and back into the purchase price range determined by that monthly amount…for example, if you don’t want to exceed a payment of $1,050/month with taxes & insurance then you are looking at a loan amount of no more than $155,000.

Now that you know what you can afford, you need to decide on location.  Are you looking to live the “salt life” in or near Ocean City or a “country” life in a water oriented town……if so then Talbot and Kent Counties would be a better match.  If you want Target within 5 minutes Talbot Co is your best bet.  If you are looking for a sophisticated quaint small town where the big box stores aren’t in your back yard then Kent County is it.  Or do you want the convenience of being close to the city at an affordable price?  If so lower QA’s Co will be a fit.  Which area meets your needs?  In order to really determine this you should be working with a Realtor local to those specific areas.  They will not only be able to educate you in an effort for you to make an informed decision, but a good local Realtor will help you beyond the purchase of your home.

Once a buyer can commit to an area, finding the house is easy.  As for value – real estate is an equation.  Property condition doesn’t determine value, the condition of the market does.  A Buyer’s Agent can help determine value by finding sold comparable properties in like-kind condition.  All you need now is to come to a meeting of the minds with regard to price and terms with the Seller and you can schedule inspections to determine the real condition of the property.  Regardless of whether or not a Seller has disclosed or disclaimed – a Buyer should have a home inspection…not because the Seller is withholding information but because maybe a leak has sprung since they disclosed or simply missed disclosing a material defect by accident.

For more information, please go to Cross Street Realtors

Real Estate Report for Eastern Shore Shows Signs of Recovery

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Coldwell Banker Chesapeake Real Estate just released January 2015 monthly real estate market data for the Eastern Shore Of Maryland – including Caroline, Talbot Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, Kent, and Cecil Counties.

Highlights include:

Sold Dollar Volume: Sellers on the Upper Eastern Shore closed $61,386,729 in real estate sales in January– up 13.95% from the $53,873,985 closed in January last year. This is a positive sign for recovery. Another good sign are the 140 new pending contracts booked in January 2015, a 29.63% improvement over the previous year. Taken together these two metrics bode well for a stronger 2015 in all Eastern Shore real estate markets.

Our Guidance: there has never been a better time to buy. We have the bottom of the market in our rearview mirror and demand is starting to strengthen. Long –term mortgage rates are under 4% and the national economy is heating up. Our agents look for this trend to slowly accelerate in 2015 and thereafter as national economic fundamentals and consumer confidence continues to improve and waterfront buyers return to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

Average Sold Price: The average sold price of an Eastern Shore residential property in January 2015 was $290,932 – down from $297, 646 achieved in January 2014 down marginally (- 2.26%) year-over-year. The low average sold price illustrates the continued absence of luxury and waterfront buyers from the Eastern Shore markets but the marginal decline points to stabilizing prices. Look for this number to increase as we go into the spring. The average sold price is sensitive to periodic outliers in individual markets.

Median Sold Price – The median sold price in January 2015 of $185,000 continues to hover near the bottom of its 10-yr range and is a decline of 7.5% from January 2014. This reflects the continued high number of foreclosures and short sales in the market and the previously mentioned absence of luxury buyers. The median Sold Price will improve in 2015 and thereafter as the inventory of foreclosures declines and luxury buyers return to the market.

Absorption Rate – The inventory of properties on the market on the Eastern Shore (2,696 properties) at the end of January 2015 is at the bottom of its five-year range. In January 2015, 221 properties were SOLD up 11.8% from the 181 closed in January of 2014. This absorption rate suggests a 10.5 month inventory of properties, still well above the 6 month inventory considered to be a market in equilibrium but well below the 5 year average of 13.2 months. This inventory will continue to decline to healthier levels as spring progresses. Look for this trend to continue as gas prices continue to fall in 2015 and the Washington/Baltimore metroplex becomes more congested and expensive for first-time and first move-up buyers

Average Days On Market – the average of 172 Days On Market (DOM) for all sold listings in January 2015 is an improvement of 1.15% over the January 2014 (174 DOM). Look for this trend to continue in 2015 as value conscious buyers recognize the good values to be found in most Eastern Shore markets. A rising interest-rate environment will also prompt buyers to jump off the fence in 2015.

Average List Price For Solds – The average list price for solds in January 2015 of $322,306 is 8.43% below the $351,969 noted in January 2014. This metric has experienced considerable downwards pressure from short sellers and sellers will to make significant concessions to achieve timely sales for lifestyle reasons. Look for this trend to continue through 2015 as excess and shadow inventory continues to be absorbed.

Shore Bancshares Changes to “Living Wage” Base for Employees

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Easton, Maryland. Shore Bancshares, Inc. announced to its employees in December that they will be adopting a living wage increase beginning January 1, 2015. In April of 2014, Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill to increase the minimum wage in Maryland from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2018. “To provide employees with a sufficient salary that will help meet the basic needs of our employees and their families, we went a step above the minimum wage to a living wage increase in 2015”, says President & CEO Scott Beatty. The living wage is the minimum hourly wage that is sufficient to meet the basic living needs of a single employee working full-time. The living wage is not required by the state unless a company has a working contract with a local government agency or if they receive subsidies from them. Because taxes and expenses vary from county to county and state to state so does the living wage.

Although the minimum wage increase of $10.10 for the state of Maryland does not go into effect until 2018, Shore Bancshares made the increase to base salaries in January 2015. “In all cases our employee’s hourly wage is well above the minimum wage”, says PJ Dill, Chief Human Resources Officer of Shore Bancshares, Inc. “As part of our annual compensation review, we have made a conscious decision to set our base wage to above the average of the two highest counties (Talbot and Queen Anne’s) at $11.06”, says Scott Beatty President and Chief Executive Officer of Shore Bancshares, Inc. At Shore Bancshares, we believe it is important to not only support our employees who are our most valuable asset but to also support the growth in our communities where we live and work.

Shore Bancshares, Inc. is a $1.1 billion asset financial holding company headquartered in Easton Maryland who employs over 300 employees. It is the largest independent financial services company on the Delmarva Peninsula that offers banking, insurance and wealth management services through its community of companies. Two full service community banks, The Talbot Bank of Easton MD and CNB, headquartered in Centreville MD. Wye Financial & Trust a division of CNB located in Easton, MD who offers wealth management and trust services and personal, business, benefits, trucking and marine insurance solutions through Avon-Dixon Agency, Elliott Wilson Insurance, Freestate & Son, located in Easton and Centreville, MD and Jack Martin & Associates, headquartered in Annapolis, MD.