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LaMotte Company Presented Exports Award by US Commerce Secretary


U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker presented LaMotte Company’s Richard Rogers with the President’s “E” Award for Exports at a ceremony in Washington, DC on May 16th. The President’s “E” Award is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. The Chestertown firm was the only one from the state of Maryland honored this year.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 8.43.06 AM“LaMotte Company has demonstrated a sustained commitment to export expansion. The “E” Awards Committee was very impressed with LaMotte Company’s adaptation of its product line for export markets. The company’s use of strategic partnerships to gain market share in Europe was also particularly notable. LaMotte’s achievements have undoubtedly contributed to national export expansion efforts that support the U.S. economy and create American jobs,” said Secretary Pritzker in her congratulatory letter to the company announcing its selection as an award recipient.

LaMotte Company is a manufacturer of analysis equipment for water and soil. Much of their recent growth has come from the pool and spa industry as well as testing products for other water treatment applications around the globe.

“Exporting continues to be a foundation for sales growth, and we are honored to receive the “E” Award,” said Richard Rogers, Director of International Sales. “We have doubled our export sales in only 5 years! Now export sales account for 17 percent of our total sales and sales of seasonal products to regions below the equator have also contributed greatly to sustaining year-around jobs here at LaMotte.”

In 1961, President Kennedy signed an executive order reviving the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters. Today, Secretary Pritzker honored 123 U.S. companies with the President’s “E” Award for their outstanding work to reduce barriers to foreign markets and to open the door to more trade around the world.

In 2015, U.S. exports totaled $2.23 trillion, accounting for nearly 13 percent of U.S. GDP. Nationally, exports contributed to the U.S. economy, supporting an estimated 11.5 million jobs.

U.S. companies are nominated for the “E” Awards through the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service office network, located within the Department’s International Trade Administration, with offices in 108 U.S. cities and more than 70 countries.

Record years of successive export growth and an applicant’s demonstration of an innovative international marketing plan that led to the increase in exports is a significant factor in selecting the winners.


1 North Wealth Services Announces the Hire of Margo Cook


Margo Cook, with years of professional finance, philanthropic and fundraising experience and more than a decade of nonprofit management experience, has joined 1 North Wealth Services as an Investment Advisor Representative.    

For the past ten years, Cook has served in development director roles for Anne Arundel Medical Center Foundation, United States Naval Academy Foundation, and the University of Miami.    

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 8.10.32 AM1 North Wealth is a fee-only financial management and advisory firm providing customized investment management and financial plans for clients.  The firm works closely with each individual and family to ensure that their investments match their goals through active management and constant communication.  As a fee-only firm, they do not sell insurance or investment products and, as such, are a trusted fiduciary for their clients.  The main office is located in Annapolis, MD and has been in existence for more than 30 years, with satellite services in Centreville, MD and Dagsboro, DE. Margo Cook will join the team as a local representative servicing Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where she resides with her husband and two children.  In addition to providing investment management services and financial planning to clients, Margo also serves as a philanthropic advisor.

Jim Brennan, Managing Partner of 1 North Wealth Services praised Cook’s qualifications and went on to say, “Margo is dedicated and passionate about helping people and families plan for the future, enjoy the present, and live the lives they have always dreamed of.  Margo has a proven track record of success in strategic planning and excels in wealth management.   Her central focus has always been what is best for her clients.  She is passionate about the arts, financial education, healthcare, the Chesapeake Bay, and the welfare of children; we are pleased to welcome her to our team.”

Margo is a graduate of the University of Miami and St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis, MD.   She has deep roots in the community and intends to continue to invest in the success and betterment of the local community in any way she can for many years to come. The Cook family has been on the eastern shore for more than 40 years and been a part of the local waterman community for more than 35 years.  

Cook serves on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-MD, the board of the Chesapeake Planned Giving Council, and the board of The Betty Effect. She is also a member of the Annapolis Library Development Committee, and Special Olympics MD Development Committee, the Christ Church Episcopal Day School Development Committee, the Wye River Upper School Fall Fundraiser Committee and serves as an Anne Arundel Medical Center Patient & Family Advisor. She also supports and volunteers with other various nonprofits throughout the eastern shore region as a consultant and an advocate.

Shore Bancshares Merges Banking Divisions into Shore United Bank


Shore Bancshares, Inc., at its annual meeting discussed its plan to merge its two subsidiary banks, The Talbot Bank, headquartered in Easton, Maryland and CNB, headquartered in Centreville, Maryland, into one bank that will be known as Shore United Bank. “Merging our two banks provides efficiencies that will allow us to focus on strengthening client relationships while minimizing the ever increasing burden of regulation that banks face today,” said Shore Bancshares, Inc. President & CEO, Lloyd L. “Scott” Beatty.

The merger of the Talbot Bank with and into CNB and the corresponding name change to Shore United Bank is subject to regulatory approval. Applications for approval of the proposed merger have been or will be filed with the State of Maryland and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Shore Bancshares is not currently aware of any reasons that would preclude consummation of the merger. Subject to the satisfaction of all regulatory and corporate requirements and approvals, Shore Bancshares currently anticipates consummating the merger in the third quarter of 2016.

As a $1.1 billion bank, Shore United Bank will continue to operate all 18 existing branches, a loan production office, and wealth management office throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and Delaware. “Customers will now have the convenience of conducting all banking activity, not just account transactions, at any of our branch locations. The Shore United brand will make it easier for customers to recognize their bank,” said Shore Bancshares, Inc., V.P. Chief Marketing & Project Officer, Debra Rich. The Talbot Bank and CNB have been affiliated as members of Shore Bancshares, Inc. community of companies since 2000. The combination is intended to facilitate operational efficiencies, a consistent culture and united branding under Shore United Bank. “Our banks have a rich history that will continue with the same great people, products and service under a new name, Shore United Bank,” Beatty said.

Kyle Kirby Joins Rasin, Wootton & Hurd in Chestertown


Rasin, Wootton & Hurd, LLC is pleased to announce the addition of Kyle K. Kirby as an associate in the firm Kyle looks forward to continuing the firm’s long tradition and history of serving the community and plans to practice largely in the areas of civil litigation and real estate.

A graduate of Kent County High School, Kyle is looking forward to practicing in his home town of Chestertown. While at Kent County High, Kyle was a member of the National Honor Society, a three sport athlete and a member of the Academy of Finance. Kyle holds a B.A. in Business Management from James Madison University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore School of Law where he graduated with cum laude honors. Kyle is a member of the Maryland State and Kent County Bar Associations.

While in law school, Kyle served as an intern for Judge Paul M. Bowman in the Circuit Court for Kent County and as a law clerk for the Baltimore law firm of Marsden & Seledee, LLC. After graduation from law school, Kyle became an associate at the same firm where he handled insurance subrogation and creditors’ rights litigation. Before joining Rasin, Wootton & Hurd, LLC, Kyle spent two years as an associate with Stevens Palmer, LLC in Centreville, Maryland working primarily in the areas of real estate planning and zoning.

Kyle is the son of Keith Kirby and Gail Kendall Claggett. Kyle, his wife, Kristin, and their daughter, Bailey, reside in Chestertown.

A Family Tradition at Benchworks: Thad Bench II Joins Thad Bench Sr.


In the best tradition of family businesses, Benchworks is pleased to announce that Thad L. Bench II has joined the company that his father Thad L. Bench, Sr., co-founded. Thad II will be responsible for marketing activities for Benchworks and Safe Chain Solutions, a Benchworks company, along with business development initiatives.

Thad Bench II

Thad Bench II

“This is a very rewarding development for me, both personally and professionally,” said Benchworks CEO Thad L. Bench, Sr. He added that having his son join the team is a clear message to clients and employees that Benchworks is committed to a long-term strategy for growth and operational excellence.

“In an age when many companies are focused on short-term returns and an exit strategy, I hope that our clients appreciate the fact that the Benchworks approach to business harkens back to the day when long-term relationships mattered and were forged on a foundation of good work,” Thad Sr. said.

Prior to joining Benchworks, Thad II enjoyed a successful stint in commercial real estate while at Hyatt Commercial in Annapolis, MD. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and was part of the nationally ranked St. Mary’s sailing team.

“I am honored to join such a professional and growing company, and I am proud to work alongside my father and the rest of the executive team at Benchworks,” said Thad II. “As I focus on adding new accounts to the client list, I will do my best to exemplify the exceptional standards Benchworks has maintained since the company’s founding 25 years ago.”

Benchworks, a comprehensive marketing services firm headquartered in Chestertown, Maryland, was founded in 1991. The company specializes in the design, production, and launch of complete marketing and branding services. Clients include a wide variety of companies in the pharmaceutical, beverage, manufacturing, and education industries in North America and Europe. For additional information, please visit or call 800-536-4670. For more information on Safe Chain, visit or call 855-43PL-SCS (855-437-5727).


Commerce: Outlet Stores Expand in Queenstown


The Queenstown Premium Outlet continues to grow. The Center announced this week the completion of the Talbots renovation. Also this season, Kay Jewelers will undergo a complete remodel and Under Armour will relocate to a larger space.

Talbots, a leader in women’s contemporary fashion, completed its full remodel on Tuesday, March 8.

With updating shelving and expanded offerings, shoppers can expect to find classic and stylish trends with ease, including petites and plus size women’s clothing. Talbots, located near Kate Spade New York, will continue to impress guests with revamped flooring and renovated interior furnishings, also part of its complete renovation.

Kay Jewelers Outlet, the number one specialty jewelry brand in America committed to a superior in-store experience, will renovate its current space near Tommy Bahama. The luxury-style shop will remain open throughout the renovation in a nearby storefront located adjacent to Eddie Bauer.

Scheduled to reopen before the July 4th holiday, Maryland-based retailer Under Armour will relocate to an expanded 9,346 square-foot storefront near Coach. To complement its larger space, the performance apparel retailer will offer shoppers a wider array of merchandise including athletic gear for men and women, accessories and clothing, as well as a variety of superior sports equipment. The store will stay open in its current location, near St. John, until the relocation and expansion is complete.

“Queenstown Premium Outlets continues to grow,” said Susan Humphries, director of marketing and business development at Queenstown Premium Outlets. “The recent renovations and expansions mirror our future plans for the center and will make a positive impact on the overall shopping experience. Our goal is always to offer comfort and convenience on all levels, and in addition to our ever-growing retail roster, we’re confident these improvements will contribute to our mission and shoppers’ expectations.”

Top Wawa Executives to Speak on Its Enduring Brand March 8


Two top executives from Wawa, Inc., the business whose convenience stores are part of the fabric of the mid-Atlantic and whose brand has grown to make it one of the country’s largest privately owned companies, will keynote this year’s first George Washington Leadership Series address at Washington College.

Richard D. Wood III ’91, director of government relations and sustainability for Wawa, Inc., and Howard B. Stoeckel, vice chairman of the board, will speak on “How Wawa Has Become an Endearing and Enduring Brand.” The event on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, is at 2:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, and is free and open to the public.

Wood, who was an American studies major at Washington College, earned his masters in business at Saint Joseph University in Philadelphia. He’s been with Wawa for 17 years, after spending six years with the Coca-Cola Company. Stoeckel has been with Wawa for 27 years; prior to his current role, he served as president and CEO for eight years, as well as senior vice president of marketing, and vice president of human resources. He authored the book The Wawa Way in 2014.

Wawa, with its well-known goose logo, has more than 650 convenience stores specializing in foodservice and gasoline in five mid-Atlantic states and now Florida. With roots in George Wood’s turn-of-the-century dairy farm in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Grahame Wood opened the first Wawa Food Market in April 1964 in Folsom, Pennsylvania. The timing—at the cusp of the new convenience store trend—was ideal, and the stores continue to be known for their fresh food selections and dairy products. Today, Wawa is No. 34 on the Forbes list of America’s largest private companies, with revenues of $9.7 billion and more than 22,000 employees. Forbes also lists it among its “30 hall-of-fame companies” on its Private 30 Index.


Back by Popular Demand, Peoples Bank Guest Chef Dinner Returns to Help United Way


Back by popular demand, Guest Chef Dinner at the Lemon Leaf Café/J.R.’s Past-Time Pub in Chestertown to benefit United Way of Kent County and its 24 Member Agencies.

Ralph Dowling, President and CEO of The Peoples Bank, will again be preparing his famous Paella at The Lemon Leaf Café/J.R.’s Past-Time Pub on Tuesday, March 15th. Those attending will be treated to a savory buffet, including dessert, with paella as its centerpiece. United Way Executive Director, Beth Everett, said, “A function of this nature means a great deal to United Way. The need in Kent County is much greater than most people realize. Last year’s event netted the United Way of Kent County over $5,000. This gives us the opportunity to expand our work within the County and help many more of our Kent County residents.”

This type of fundraiser is something that both JR Alfree and Ralph Dowling enjoy doing. When they are put together, it is a guaranteed success.

Tickets are $40.00 per person, including tax and gratuity, and may be purchased from the United Way of Kent County by calling 410-778-3195 or stopping by the office at 819 High Street, Chestertown. All proceeds benefit the United Way of Kent County and its 24 Member Agencies.

Creg Fleetwood New President of FAM&M Insurance


The Board of Directors of The Peoples Bank, the parent company of FAM&M, are pleased to announce that Creg Fleetwood took over the role of President effective January 1, 2016. Creg stated, “I am very fortunate to have this opportunity. Scott has turned over the helm to me at a time when the Agency is thriving. We have some of the most talented and caring individuals here at FAM&M that truly make our office a team. Combine that with some of the best Company partners in the industry, and I am excited about our future.” While Scott is stepping down as President, he is not going anywhere. Scott states, “My goals going forward will include advancing our culture of providing superior service to our valued clients. With so many choices out there, we will continue to search for ways to stand out. It is also a priority that we continue to pursue with a passion our mission of giving back to the community we live and work in and which provides so much for us.”

Creg is the grandson of one of Chestertown’s “Local Legends”, the late Robert T. Fleetwood. He was a partner of the Agency from 1946 until his retirement in 1975. Creg stated “We still have customers who purchased their first policies from him and they like to remind me how great a man he was.” Creg started his career with the firm in 2003.

Creg is a graduate of Kent County High School and Washington College. He is a two-time All American and Captain of the Shoremen Men’s’ Lacrosse Team. He has and continues to serve on numerous Boards, to name a few: Kent County Community Food Pantry, Kent County Chamber of Commerce, and Washington College Hall of Fame Committee.

Scott Bramble commented, “This is clearly an exciting time for us at FAM&M. It’s great that Creg can continue a legacy founded by his grandfather, made great by Ed Athey, and perpetuated by so many wonderful and dedicated employees.”