St. Mary's Puts Spotlight on Small Business Success

Networking and learning opportunities drew small business owners to the Southern Md. Higher Education Center Thursday, May 27 for the St. Mary's Spotlight on Small Business event. The County's Department of Economic and Community Development hosted the event, with complimentary breakfast by the local Dunkin Donuts. Director Bob Schaller said more than 200 R.S.V.Ps were received.

Smartronix, Inc. CEO John Parris served as the entertaining keynote speaker, sharing how the power of the three original owners team work propelled the company's evolution from three guys in a basement to the multi-million dollar company that remains headquartered in St. Mary's County. Parris said over the years, it's been the diversity and hard work within the company that contributed to continuous revenue growth. He reminded attendees to "celebrate the small successes."

Commissioner Mattingly presented the company with an accomodation and called Smartronix "the perfect example of small business success."

Eagan, McAllister Associates, Inc., now SAIC, was the first recipient of the Spotlight Hall of Fame Award, recognized as another homegrown St. Mary's business with 25 years of entrepreneurial spirit and success. Rex Eagan attributed EMA's success to "a philosophy of believing in people." Todd Morgan commented that the company also looked for goods locally when possible and said, "Buying local helps the community become more prosperous." 

Other groups that advance small businesses throughout the County were also acknowedged with accomodations and awards courtesy of Hilltop Graphics. The Patuxent Partnership, St. Mary's Chamber of Commerce and newly-formed Independent Business Association along with the business associations were applauded for their collaborations and creative ideas. Lenny's Restaurant was also awarded for its support through the small business roundtables it facilitated.

Schaller said, "When you bring people together, great things happen." He said he left the event with an upbeat feeling and while the turn out was substantial, Schaller said that's only 10 percent of our small businesses.  He urges business owners to "stay connected" and said "we're just getting started."

Schaller also attributed the event's success to DECD staff efforts, particularly Cynthia Dellagatta, saying, "If it weren't for her, it wouldn't have happened."

Attendees benefitted from the lobby exhibits and two free workshops: "Roadmap to Doing Business with the Navy" and "The Secrets of Using Facebook to Market Your Small Business". 

For upcoming small business events, group meetings and assistance information, click here


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