Talbot County business leaders gathered on Friday, May 3 for the 11th Annual Talbot County Business Appreciation Breakfast, an event that celebrates the strength and resiliency of the area’s businesses.

Hosted by the Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism in partnership with the Talbot County Economic Development Commission, the program included comments by Councilwoman Laura Price and a keynote address by Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly M. Schulz.

A total of six Community Impact Awards were presented to businesses, organizations, and individuals who positively impacted the Talbot County community over the past year. Each award recipient received an engraved pewter tray, handcrafted in Easton by Salisbury Pewter.

2019 Community Impact Award Winners:

  • Frederick Douglass 200 Committee
  • Kelley Phillips Cox
  • Out of the Fire Restaurant
  • RAUCH inc.
  • Talbot Mentors
  • Wylder Hotel Tilghman Island

Keynote Speaker

Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz

Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz delivering keynote address

Secretary of Maryland Department of Commerce, Kelly Schulz, was the keynote speaker. In the Secretary’s address, Schulz highlighted the success Maryland was achieving in economic expansion. “[The State of Maryland] added over 120,000 new jobs, our unemployment rate is 3.8%, and we’ve seen a rebound in the manufacturing sector.”

Award Winners

Frederick Douglass 200 Committee

Frederick Douglass 200 Committee Award Winner

Pictured: Secretary Kelly Schulz, Talbot County Economic Development Staff, and Harriette Lowery, Chairman of Frederick Douglass 200 Committee.

Talbot County found itself in the spotlight in 2018 when the world marked the 200th birthday of the great abolitionist, orator, and writer Frederick Douglass. Harriette Lowry of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society pulled together more than 45 local organizations to form the Frederick Douglass 200 Committee. The group created a year-long series of events designed to honor the life and legacy of Talbot County’s most famous native son.

Events included a wreath laying at Douglass statue at the County Courthouse, a February 14 birthday celebration on the banks of the Tuckahoe, a speaker series at the Talbot County Free Library, performances by reenactors throughout the year, and the annual Frederick Douglass Day celebration. These events laid the groundwork for future efforts to create tourism products to tell the story of Douglass’ youth and to attract visitors looking for Frederick Douglass.

Kelley Phillips Cox

Kelly Phillips Cox with award

Pictured: Secretary Kelly Schulz, Talbot County Economic Development staff, and Kelley P. Cox, Executive Director of Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, community activist, Tilghman Island native.

A native of Tilghman Island, Cox is the founder and executive director of Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, a non-profit organization that provides hands-on experiences and education with the animals and plants that inhabit the Chesapeake Bay region. She launched her own aquaculture farm and oyster brand, appropriately named Fisherman’s Daughter. She also operates an aquaculture training program to educate a new generation of watermen.

Kelley is actively involved with numerous regional organizations, including the Maryland Association of Outdoor and Environmental Educators, Mid-Atlantic Marine Educators Association, National Marine Educators Association, National Science Teachers Association, and Maryland Oyster Advisory Commission. She is the recipient of the 2014 Robert Finton Maryland Environmental Educator of the Year Award from Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education.

Out of the Fire

Amy Haines with award

Pictured: Secretary Kelly Schulz, Talbot County Economic Development staff, and Amy Haines, owner of Out of the Fire Restaurant.

For 19 years. Restaurateur Amy Haines has brought not only fine food, but jobs to Talbot County. High school students get their first work experience at Out of the Fire. Gifted chefs show their talents with food locally sourced food. Haines has created an oasis of excellent, locally sourced food in a congenial atmosphere. Her support of farmers, artists, and community projects is a source of inspiration, as is the excellent work environment she has created for employees. The business motto at Out of the Fire is “Eat well. Be well. Give back.”

RAUCH inc.

Robert Rauch with award

Pictured: Secretary Kelly Schulz, Talbot County Economic Development staff, and Robert Rauch, president of RAUCH inc.

This engineering company has provided innovative development concepts and cost-effective design services to its clients for more than 30 years. Local projects include the ongoing renovation of the Historic Avalon Theatre, the current expansion of Easton Premier Cinemas, the renovation of the Tred Avon Shopping Center, and the development of The Easton Club and Chesapeake del Webb. Rauch inc. recently announced that it will begin development of the Lakeside Community in Trappe that will feature a range of housing options.

The company has also partnered with Talbot County Public Schools and Junior Achievement to provide internship and career path programs and has been active in the ACE mentoring program for both engineering and architecture.  RAUCH inc. is currently partnering with Chesapeake College to develop coursework for paths in skilled trades. In 2018, it partnered with the Bryan Foundation to raise $20,000 for their “Building Dreams for Youth” campaign.

Talbot Mentors

Talbot Mentors staff with award

Pictured: Secretary Kelly Schulz, Talbot County Economic Development staff, and MaryKay Powell, president of Talbot Mentors Board of Directors. Also pictured are Talbot Mentors staff Jazmine Gibson and Alan Ibanez.

Executive Director Gerson Martinez believes that one-on-one mentoring can change lives. The non-profit organization connects young people with adult role models who reinforce the positive values and standards that will help them achieve their full potential. Over the years, hundreds of Talbot County youth have been mentored and more than 100 Talbot County kids are paired with mentors this year.

Wylder Hotel Tilghman Island

John Flannigan with award

Pictured: Secretary Kelly Schulz, Talbot County Economic Development staff, and John Flannigan, founder and CEO of Wylder Hotels.

Opened in April 2018, this property is the rebirth of an original 1898 boarding house where waterman ran the docks and crabs were piled high on picnic tables. The hotel sits on 9 acres and features 54 newly designed guest rooms, a restaurant, a crab shack, two bars,1,100 feet of waterfront, 25 boat slips on two docks, and a state-of-the-art saltwater heated pool with a pool deck. A New Yorker by birth, owner John Flannigan visited Tilghman often during his college days and fell in love with the island’s rustic beauty and charm.

About Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism

The Office of Economic Development and the Office of Tourism were merged in 2016 by the Talbot County County Council to fully leverage the synergy and common interest of the two offices. The mission of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism is to enhance and promote a business-friendly environment for current and prospective enterprises and to advocate for policies that support and strengthen the economic vitality of Talbot County. The vision the department sees for Talbot County is simple: Strong Communities. Empowered Businesses. Innovative Solutions.

If you own or operate a business here in Talbot County, or want to start one, you are encouraged to contact the Department of  Economic Development and Tourism at 410-770-8058 or visit their office at 215 Bay Street, Suite 5, Easton, MD.