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Cocktails & Commerce with the French American Chamber

On Thursday, March 21, 2024, we had a fantastic evening of networking, collaboration, and inspiration as we brought together professionals from various industries.

We were able to network with our friends from the French American Chamber to facilitate meaningful connections and partnerships.
There were opportunities to exchange ideas, share experiences, and discover new possibilities.
Refreshments and hors d'oeuvres were served throughout the event, creating a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere at Fogo de Chao.  This event was sponsored by Beth Perell Communications Consutling, LLC, and Excluservice - European Automotive Repair.
View the full photo album, courtesy of ACB Precision Photography, here.

Ribbon Cutting at PremiumCare USA

On Friday, March 8, 2024 the Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce and REDI joined in welcoming Premium Care USA at their ribbon cutting.

Premium Care USA, a Virginia-based home healthcare provider opened its first Maryland location in Rockville at 1401 Rockville Pike.
Learn more about Premium Care USA on their website.
View the full photo booth photo album, courtesy of Epic Events, here.

Everybody Works

EveryOne Works is a Montgomery County based collaborative of four workforce development agencies – TLC - The Treatment and Learning Centers, Cornerstone Montgomery, SEEC and Kennedy Krieger Institute - that provide talented, screened and qualified candidates to businesses across all industries.  Our "first in the area" organization is bringing creative staffing solutions to local businesses, small and large, and the panel discussion will allow you to learn firsthand from four businesses who have leveraged the untapped potential of people with disabilities. Learn how your staffing challenges can be addressed by incredibly talented candidates through this "no cost to you" business solution.

Moderated by Steve Blanks and Panelists Include:

Matt Hardwick, President/CEO, Resinnova Labs-

“Dr. Hardwick is a thought leader in the field of infection prevention in the healthcare environment of care and is an expert in antimicrobial surface technologies. He has 20 years of academic research experience, at Georgetown University where he completed his PhD in Cell Biology, and at Johns Hopkins University, where he completed 2 postdoctoral fellowships, one in the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the second in the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute. Dr. Hardwick’s last academic appointment was with the MedStar Health Research Institute where he worked on numerous research initiatives including the use of antimicrobial surfaces in clinical healthcare environments. He is widely published, including several articles on the use of antimicrobials in clinical environments and the role of microbial surface contamination on infection rates in clinical settings.”

Bart Yablonksy, Owner, Dawson’s Market-

“Bart is from Baltimore and began his love of food as a teen by taking trips to DC with his father to sample the latest and greatest new restaurants. He attended college in New Orleans and continued to develop his interest there. Bart has worked in natural food store leadership in both metro DC and Atlanta.  As a small business owner, his interests expanded to wellness and green business design, owning all-natural Day Spas in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC.  Bart opened Dawson’s in 2012 as the General Manager. He has many years of experience in food and a passion for the environment, community, and a healthy lifestyle.  In October 2018, Dawson’s Market closed under previous ownership.  Just 7 weeks later, Bart reopened Dawson’s Market on December 15, 2018, bringing all of the things Rockville loved back to life. Bart is married to Paige who he met through one of his natural food customers, they have a wonderful son and enjoy traveling and finding the best new places to eat.” 

David Schek, Work Comp Staff Solutions

“With a career spanning 34 years in the staffing industry, David Schek has left an indelible mark through his dedicated work and entrepreneurial spirit. Having founded and managed a national staffing company for 17 years, which he successfully sold in 2004, David transitioned into his next venture, Work Comp Staff Solutions. In this role, he serves as a consultant, assisting staffing companies in securing work comp programs tailored to their needs.

Under his leadership, Work Comp Staff Solutions has flourished, boasting a diverse clientele of over 400 staffing clients. These clients encompass a wide spectrum, from those specializing in clerical and IT positions to those focused on heavy industrial roles. Driven by a passion for making a difference in people's lives, David finds great satisfaction in helping clients achieve their personal and professional goals. His commitment to providing information and innovative solutions is reflected in the success of his endeavors.

Beyond his professional achievements, David finds fulfillment in his family life. In 1999-2000, he and his wife welcomed three siblings from Romania into their home. Their youngest child, who graduated from KTS in 2019, now works alongside David's wife in her business. Meanwhile, their eldest child is currently undergoing Marine boot camp training, and the middle child assists David in managing the comp business. Together, they navigate the joys and challenges of both work and family life, creating a rich tapestry of experiences and accomplishments.”

Jerry Ellis, Owner, Ellis-Lopez Travel

Mr. Jerry Ellis created his company in 2018, starting with online travel reservation services. Subsequently he became a licensed travel agent and eventually added private car service in 2021. Keeping with his company's mission and identity as a Public Benefit LLC, Mr. Ellis chose to focus on the following six areas to make a difference in this world: protection of the environment, public safety, education, job creation, mental health, and the welfare of infants and children. He has had many campaigns to support the education of students through his travel and transportation services. Periodically Mr. Ellis launches programs that introduce new ways of charitable giving to Montgomery College, and his Alma Mater, Clark Atlanta University. Most recently, a new partnership provides travel sales proceeds to The Spirit Club Foundation based in Montgomery County. Mr. Ellis proudly employs a diverse workforce and partners with Cornerstone Montgomery to help fulfill his hiring needs.

Watch the full video...


Ribbon Cutting at Walk In Closet Beauty Bar

On February 14, 2024, we had the honor and privilege of welcoming Walk In Closet Beauty Bar to the Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce and conducting their ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Walk In Closet Beauty Bar is a one-stop shop for all your beauty needs. From haircuts and coloring to makeup and wardrobe styling, our team of experts is here to help you look and feel your best. We offer personalized services to meet the needs of each client, and we use only the highest quality products. Visit us today and see why Walk In Closet Beauty Bar is the premier beauty salon in Rockville, MD.

Thank you to all who came out to support this wonderful new business in our community.

See the full photo album.

Worksource Montgomery Programs

At our February Lunch & Learn held at Cooper's Hawk, we had a wonderful presentation by Jan Abraham with Worksource Montgomery.

Some of the programs that Jan highlighted were:

Connecting Small Businesses to Resources & Funding

MCEDC presents: Connecting Small Businesses to Resources & Funding

Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is the official public-private economic development organization representing Montgomery County, MD. Its mission is to help businesses start, grow, and relocate in Montgomery County by helping them gain access to top talent, business, market intelligence and prime locations.  During the presentation, you will learn about available resources to help you achieve business success in Montgomery County, MD. They will also discuss how they partner and collaborate with the county and state on funding, incentives, tax credits/programs, and much more for minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, and other key industry businesses.  MCEDC also helps companies relocate to Montgomery County by working with businesses to find the right location, resources, and incentives in our prime East Coast setting. MCEDC is a ‘go-to’ resource that links the local and regional workforce pipeline to companies to fuel success.”

Watch the full video here...

2023 Economic Development Panel

On Monday, November 20, 2023, the Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2023 Economic Development Panel at the Best Western Premier in Rockville.

Event Highlights:

  • Gain insights from industry leaders and experts.
  • Explore innovative strategies for economic growth.
  • Discuss challenges and opportunities in the current economic landscape.
  • Network with professionals and stakeholders in the field.



  • Carla Merritt - Maryland Department of Commerce
  • Cynthia Rivarde - Rockville Economic Development, Inc.
  • Bill Tompkins - Montgomery County Economic Development Commission
  • George Thomas - Connected DMV
  • Kelly Schulz - Maryland Tech Council

Watch the full video here.

8th Annual Rockstar Awards

For Immediate Release:
November 4, 2023
Contact: Marji Graf, President & CEO
Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce

It was an honor and pleasure for emcee Dr. Elizabeth Wheeler Julich and myself to award this years’ Rockstar Award winners on November 2, 2023 at the Manor Country Club.

I would like to thank our Title Sponsors:  Westat and DARCARS Automotive Group.

Our VIP sponsor: Montgomery College and their Jazz Tet for playing during cocktail hour.

Our Partners: Wesbanco, Skypoint Federal Credit Union, Interfaith Works, House to Home Solutions and John Marshall Bank.

Our Large Business of the Year award went to DARCARS Automotive Group and Jamie Darvish accepted the award. US Senator Chris Van Hollen sent a citation congratulating them on this award.

The Small Business of the Year award went to Intelligent Office – Rockville and was presented by last years’ Small Business of the Year awardee, Steve Suissa of SHS Payroll. Leslie & Chris Keenan along with business partner Rick Lowrie accepted the award. The MD Department of Commerce also sent a citation congratulating them on their 20-year anniversary and US Senator Chris Van Hollen sent a citation congratulating them on this award.

The Nonprofit of the Year award went to Comfort Cases. The award was presented by last year’s Nonprofit winner, Jackie DeCarlo of Manna Food. Accepting the award was Noelle Calfee and Reece Scheer. Rob attended via video. US Senator Chris Van Hollen sent a citation congratulating them on this award.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Glenn Noble of Proudly Gives. The award was presented by last year’s winner Kimberly Hubert-Mejia representing Architessa. US Senator Chris Van Hollen sent a citation congratulating them on this award.

The Young Professional of the Year went to Shane Senior of Cornerstone Montgomery. The award was presented by last year’s Young Professional Ethan Litvin of SEEC. US Senator Chris Van Hollen sent a citation congratulating him on this award.

Our emcee, Dr. Liz Wheeler Julich, asked Bill Chambers, President and CEO from the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE) to present the Maryland 2023 Chamber Executive of the Year Award to Marji Graf, President & CEO of the Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce. Marji thanked Bill for honoring her and MACCE for this award and her team, Dawn Hipsley and Connie Rhind Robey for contributing to our Chamber's success!

Other awards included:

Marji Graf awarded Dr. Liz Wheeler Julich an Outstanding Board Volunteer award for all of her contributions to the Chamber including Chairing our Health & Wealth mastermind and events committee.

Stakeholder awards:

Nikki Gachot from Marquis Health awarded a surprised Kerri Donnelly a 2023 Service Excellence award.

Derek Ellis from Westat awarded a surprised Suzanne Osborne a 2023 Service Excellence award.

Leslie & Chris Keenan & Rick Lowrie of Intelligent Office awarded a surprised Aretha Montgomery a 2023 Service Excellence award.

Marji acknowledged Edgardo Zuniga of Twin Valley Distillers a MD Department of Commerce citation for 10 years in business.

Robert Klein of Omega World Travel gave away 2 roundtrip domestic airfare tickets, won by Martha Hemingway!

Our board chair, Laura Nash ended the evening and reminded everyone to attend Launch 5k Charity walk/run on 11/11 and our Annual Meeting and Holiday party on 12/13 at Greencourt Innovation Center.

The evening ended with dancing and networking.

View the full photo album here.

Real Estate Panel Discussion

Panelists include:

Todd Pearson, B.F. Saul. Mr. Pearson is the President and COO for the B. F. Saul Company and affiliates. The Saul organization owns and operates approximately 8 million square feet of retail space, 5.2 million square feet of office and mixed-use space, over 1,400 apartments, 20 hotels, and has two large
developments under construction primarily in the DC metropolitan area.

Todd received his MBA from the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Information Systems from Virginia Polytechnic and State University. He serves on the Board of Directors of Saul Centers Inc., Rockville Economic Development Inc., and the Boys & Girls Club of Washington DC. He is the Past Chair of the Loudoun County Economic Development Advisory Commission, co-chaired Loudoun’s Nighttime Economy Ad Hoc Committee, is a member of the 2030 Group, and is an active member of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, International Council of Shopping Centers, and Urban Land Institute. He is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).

Todd currently lives in Washington DC with his wife Sarah and four children; Mage, Jack, Eleni, and

Mike Howard, Rappaport, Executive Director of Brokerage. As Executive Director of Brokerage, Michael Howard employs his two decades of experience, in-depth knowledge, and resolute determination when representing renowned owners and tenants within the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area. His trend-spotting, positive, and composed approach to closing deals and retail real estate cultivates equally positive and mutually beneficial partnerships amongst his peers, clients, and throughout the community. Since joining Rappaport in 2006, Mike has cultivated an impressive portfolio in both tenant and landlord representation, including Sephora, Sprouts Farmers Market, Raising Canes, PM Pediatrics, Panera Bread, Orangetheory Fitness, Federal Realty, ARES Management, Morguard, Principal Life Insurance, Northwestern Mutal and Foulger Pratt, among others.

C.J. Overly - Boston Properties. C.J. Overly is a Senior Project Manager of Development with BXP, formerly Boston Properties, in the Washington, D.C. Region, where he is responsible for the execution of new office, residential, and life science developments. C.J. is currently leading the strategic repositioning, master planning, and project deliveries at the Shady Grove Innovation District, an emerging life science hub with 1M+ SF of future development in Rockville, MD. Prior to Boston Properties, C.J. served in a variety of roles with Trammell Crow Residential, Montgomery County Public Schools (Md.), and JPMorgan Chase. He serves on the board of the Maryland Tech Council and is a member of the Urban Land Institute and NAIOP. He received an AA in Business from Montgomery College; a BSBA in Finance from Georgetown University; and, an MBA in Real Estate and Corporate Finance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Devin Zitelman, Advisory Lead, Scheer Partners.  Devin Zitelman is the Advisory Lead for Scheer Partners, advising on scientific real estate, commercial development, and investments in the Mid-Atlantic region. He offers agents and clients timely market analysis and forecasting on current trends. He previously served as the Regional Manager, Mid-Atlantic for Avison Young’s market intelligence platform developing data analytics and technology solutions. Earlier, he was the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Washington DC Economic Partnership overseeing external affairs and program development. Devin attended the University of Colorado and obtained his Master of Business Administration from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

Emcee - Brian Barkley of Barkley and Kennedy Chartered.

Watch the full video here.

Ribbon Cutting at Dill Dinkers - North Bethesda

Dill Dinkers' purpose is to bring people together in the community by offering a year-round venue dedicated to the sport of Pickleball. They aspire to create an atmosphere that inspires fun, learning, healthy competition, and lifelong friendships.

On September 26th, more than 100 people gathered to celebrate with Dill Dinkers - North Bethesda as the Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce conducted a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.  Please see the full photo album here.

Candidate Forum

Rockville Election 2023 Candidate Forum was hosted by the Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce, at the Thomas Farm Community Center on September 26, 2023.

Watch the full video here.

Ribbon Cutting at Therapeutique Salon & Spa

The Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce and Therapeutique Salon and Spa had a wonderful Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on September 11th.

Therapeutique (THere pyooTeek) Salon and Spa welcomes you to their eco-friendly, technology-driven luxury environment. Creating a healthy working atmosphere for artistic beauty professionals who are thriving for growth, education, and opportunities. They believe in leading with a high-end level of culture and professionalism. That will lead them to advanced exposure to the community and industry. Saving our environment around us, creating change within us, and providing a therapeutic service for everyone!

Visit the full photo album here.

Adapting to the AI Revolution

Please review the recorded program here.

In the face of rapid AI advancements, resistance to change and a fear of the unknown can leave businesses lagging in competitive markets. Delve into an exploration of current AI capabilities, its limitations, and its potential impact on your business. This presentation empowers participants to cast aside these fears, embrace technological evolution, and future-proof their businesses. Learn how to leverage current AI capabilities to increase your productivity, as well as which critical skills that will keep you indispensable in an AI-driven landscape.

Presented by Marcy Santos, Bahar Consulting. Bahar Consulting is a leading authority in small business consulting, coaching, strategic planning, financial management, marketing strategy, revenue growth, and technology. Marcy Santos joined Bahar Consulting in 2021. She brings her entrepreneurial spirit to the team, with a focus on helping business owners increase their company’s adaptability and resilience against changing market trends. She currently serves on the GRCC's Board of Directors and was honored as the 2021 Chamber’s Young Professional of the Year.

Access to Capital

On September 6th, we convened at the Cambria Suites Rockville to hear our panel discuss the current Access to Capital and grant availability.  Our panelists included:

Michael Clark, SVP of Business Development with AR Funding, Inc (Accounts Receivables Funding, Inc) for the last thirty-seven (37) years has worked financing businesses that engage with the Federal Government as either Prime or subcontractors.  Prior to AR Funding, Mike held various positions developing and managing portfolios of businesses for other banks and lending companies in and around the Northern Virginia area. He is well-steeped in the subtle differences between government contract lending and the subsequent structuring of effective lending programs to meet his customer and his enterprise needs.

Libo Suen, Marketing and Outreach Team Supervisor, U.S. Small Business Administration - Washington Metropolitan Area District Office (WMADO) leads WMADO’s Marketing and Outreach team. He is the primary point of contact for all external communications and special events associated with promoting WMADO’s business counseling, training and entrepreneurial support programs. In addition to supervising three Economic Development Specialists, Libo cultivates close working relationships with SBA’s portfolio of preferred lenders in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Libo is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hartford and an MBA from The George Washington University.

Horacio Chacon, Capital Bank. Horacio Chacon is a relationship manager whose work is focused in the commercial and industrial sector of commercial lending. He specializes in lending money for commercial purposes, such as funding business expansion, funding owner-occupied commercial real estate, purchasing equipment or inventory, and meeting working capital needs. Commercial lenders assess the background, industry, and creditworthiness of a borrower, analyze their financial statements and business plans, and determine the terms and conditions of a loan. Commercial lenders offer term loans, lines of credit, and asset-based financing.

Speaking on available grants:

Cynthia Rivarde, Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI). Cindy Rivarde serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI), which identifies and develops economic opportunities to help Rockville prosper and lead as a 21st-century city for business. With her 20+ year background in commercial real estate law and development, she leads REDI in new and inventive ways to create economic growth, attract and retain businesses, and highlight Rockville as a premier community for businesses, workers, visitors, and residents. She has previously served as a Deputy City Manager for Coral Springs, Florida, the Community and Economic Development Director for Modesto, California (which included oversight of the City’s Tourism and Convention Center), and the Economic and Cultural Development Director for Coral Gables, Florida. She obtained her law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law, a Master of Fine Art in painting from Towson University, and a bachelor of arts degree in dramatic art/studio art from the University of North Carolina.

Jan Abraham, Worksource Montgomery. Jan Abraham has been a skilled business development manager engaging with businesses providing solutions for 30+ years. Currently, she is with WorkSource Montgomery as a Business Solutions Consultant. WorkSource Montgomery is a community facilitator and connector identifying issues and acting with partners collaboratively to ensure mutually beneficial outcomes.

Prior to WorkSource Montgomery, she was an Employee Relations Manager with 22nd Century Technologies, Inc. staffing for the NIH contract and overseeing 70+ Virginia State Contracts. She has her MBA from Marymount University in Marketing and Management and her BA from Ohio Wesleyan University in Political Science.

EMCEE: Laura Nash - West Financial Services.Laura Nash is a Relationship Manager at West Financial Services serving business owners, high net-worth families and especially women in transition. Laura's specialty is transforming complex financial issues into manageable plans. She works with clients across the country offering financial planning and investment management, including retirement planning, estate planning, and philanthropic giving.

Laura is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. She earned her BA and MBA degrees from George Washington University. She has a Certificate in Organizational Development from Georgetown University. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce.

Please view the program which was recorded for your convenience.

CI Destinations Information Meeting

Did you miss the informational webinar by CI Destinations about the Amalfi Coast?  Have no fear, we recorded it for you and you can watch at our leisure.

Watch the full presentation here.

How to Recognize Fake Emails by KBIT Technologies

There are so many scams out there today, and the scam artists are getting good!! Join us to learn the who, what, why, and how of fake emails and how to save yourself from becoming a victim.

On this webinar, you will hear from KBIT Technologies President, Brian Arshawksy about the email scams they are seeing and how to avoid them.

Watch the full video.

How to Navigate Your Member Information Center

Learn how to maximize your Member Profile on the GRCC website, post job listings, and more on this webinar.

3rd Annual Golf Tournament


We had an amazing time at the 3rd Annual Golf Tournament held at Montgomery Country Club on July 17, 2023.  Thank you to all who came out to play and enjoyed the beautiful day with us.  The weather was perfect and the company was even better!

Thank you again, to our title sponsors, SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and DARCARS Automotive Group.

To view all of the images from the event, please visit the photo album courtesy of ACB Precision Focus Photography.

We're already excited for next year's tournament!!

Is Your Business Prepared for Recreational Use Cannabis?

For a full view of the PowerPoint Presentation, please download the slides here.

34th Annual Rockville Public Safety Awards

The Rockville Public Safety Awards Program, now in its 34th year, in cooperation with the City of Rockville and the Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce, honors members of the Rockville City Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Montgomery County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department.

The program aims to recognize outstanding achievements by the members of these public safety agencies based in Rockville. All of us have benefited from the fine service we receive from our public safety agencies. The awards are presented at a luncheon each year.  Click this link to review the images from this year's award ceremony.

PSA Official Sponor List

SBA's Video Series

The WOSB program is excited to announce that we are introducing a series of short videos addressing various aspects of our application process. In response to applicant feedback and aligned with SBA's objective to continually improve customer experience, we’ve identified six areas that will improve application submission.

The following videos are up and ready for viewing:

·       Tax/financial documents for participants applying for Economically Disadvantaged WOSB status. We cover different types of tax documents required for these applications and answer commonly asked questions.

·       Required letters of explanation for outside employment and ownership so firm owners understand what is being asked of them and how they can provide documentation to address full-time devotion.

·       Resume requirements to not only detail the firm owner’s work history, but to demonstrate the firm owner’s experience managing the daily operations of the applicant firm. 

·       Governing documents such as the Articles of Incorporation or the Articles of Organization. We address what these documents are and where firms can find them.


Shady Grove Innovation District

by C.J. Overly, Senior Project Manager, Development/ BXP Life Sciences

2022 Public Safety Awards

2022 GRCC Golf Tournament

Visit the full album of photos...

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