Third gathering brings together leaders to discuss Harford County’s future
Third gathering brings together leaders to discuss Harford County’s future


“Maximizing Opportunities around Mobility and Connectivity in Harford County” is the theme of this year’s Connect Harford, taking place Tuesday, September 29, from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at APG Federal Credit Union Arena at Harford Community College.

Connect Harford was founded in 2013 and is a gathering of leaders in business, government and education dedicated to promoting and inspiring economic growth and prosperity for Harford County.

Last year, nearly 450 community members registered for the gathering.

Lisa Bodell, CEO of futurethink, an innovation-training firm that helps businesses embrace change and become world-class innovators, is the keynote speaker. She will discuss igniting innovation and leading change.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman will provide his vision for Harford County and open the floor to questions. He will also share closing remarks, inviting participants to get involved, innovate and create positive change in Harford County.

Following Bodell and Glassman will be breakout information sessions on attracting tomorrow’s workforce to Harford County; planning and innovation for transportation in Harford County; and community revitalization and redevelopment in Harford County.

Karen Holt, director, Harford County Office of Economic Development, will serve as the moderator of the session focusing on attracting tomorrow’s workforce.

Topics to be discussed include the employer perspective; changing generational trends; groundwork needing to be done today to attract the workforce of tomorrow; what kinds of amenities—such as restaurants and other hospitality entities—Harford County can attract; and how Harford County’s ability to attract a workforce impacts employers in the county; and succession planning.

Speakers include Tom Sadowski, president & CEO, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore; Sally L. Smoot, deputy director, Civilian Human Resources Agency – Northeast/Europe Region; Ted Wasielewski, director, human resources, Gordon Food Service, Mid-Atlantic Division; Daraius Irani, Ph.D., associate vice president, Division of Innovation & Applied Research, and chief economist, Regional Economic Studies Institute, Towson University; and Bruce England, executive director, Susquehanna Workforce Network.

Steve Overbay, deputy director, Harford County Office of Economic Development, will lead the breakout session about planning and innovation for transportation.

Topics will include common misperceptions about transportation; modes of transportation; transportation priorities; addressing the localized transportation problem; process and impediments; and how to get involved.

Panelists include Jim Ports, deputy secretary – operations, Maryland Department of Transportation; Michael Kelly, executive director, Baltimore Metropolitan Council; and Timothy Whittie, P.E., director, Harford County Department of Public Works.

Eric McLauchlin, chair of Harford County Economic Development Advisory Board and founding partner at Shaffer, McLauchlin & Stover, LLC, will moderate the session on community revitalization and redevelopment.

Topics discussed at this session include current and creative opportunities to redevelop and revitalize key areas within Harford County; understanding what’s possible in light of the County’s demographics; determining challenges that prevent community revitalization and redevelopment; realities of what can be done, how long it might take and necessary partnerships; and how participants can support forward movement.

Panelists include W. Paul Thompson, Jr., president, Architectural Design Works, Inc.; Clark Turner, owner, Clark Turner Homes; Stewart C. Lee, chief lending officer, 1st  Mariner Bank; Tom Fidler, executive vice president and principal, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate  Services, LLC; and Phyllis Grover, director of planning and community development, City of Aberdeen.

Harford County possesses many assets, such as an educated workforce, technological innovations, strong educational institutions, a healthy business environment and prime geographic location. By bringing together leaders in business, government and education, Connect Harford aims to identify economic opportunities, address barriers, share innovative solutions and provide access to information to take actions needed today to make the vision a reality in the future.

Connect Harford is presented by The Dresher Foundation and hosted by Harford Community College. Partnering organizations include APG Federal Credit Union, Army Alliance, City of Aberdeen, City of Havre de Grace, Harford Community College, Harford Community College Foundation, Inc., Harford County Chamber of Commerce, Harford County Office of Economic Development, Harford County Public Library, Harford County Public Schools, NMTC, and Town of Bel Air.

More information may be found at

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