Chamber in the News
By carefully developing and scrupulously maintaining a culture based on sound governance, exemplary leadership, transparency, and accountability, and a business ethics that rests upon the six principles of Character Counts!, the Chamber has become an influential advocate for the business community and the community at large and, at the same time, it has been also extraordinarily successful in being portrayed accurately by the news media.
Morevoer, our strategically selective and low-key approach in addressing a variety of business and social issues has yielded significant goodwill and results, and has enabled the Chamber to maintain high visibility in the community and be a consequential player in local and regional affairs.
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Jorge Ribas, el nuevo presidente de la Cámara de Comercio de Maryland, toma las riendas de la organización en momentos en que la clase empresarial hispana del área enfrenta desafíos para avanzar su agenda local y para aprovechar las ventajas que ofrecen las negociaciones de comercio que llevan adelante los gobiernos de sus países de origen con Estados Unidos.
Maria Shuck believes a recent donation of 200 Spanish-language books to Frederick's C. Burr Artz Public Library will better connect the local Hispanic community to the resources available to them at the library. Shuck, a Spanish interpreter at Frederick Memorial Hospital and active member in the area's Hispanic community, said the availability of the books will help the library seem like a less foreign place. "Latinos feel alienated from the library because nothing is there for them," Shuck said.
Maria Shuck believes a recent donation of 200 Spanish-language books to Frederick's C. Burr Artz Public Library will better connect the local Hispanic community to the resources available to them at the library. Shuck, a Spanish interpreter at Frederick Memorial Hospital and active member in the area's Hispanic community, said the availability of the books will help the library seem like a less foreign place.
Entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs can take advantage of free “how to” business classes thanks to a collaborative effort by the Western Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (WMHCC) and the local Small Business Administration. For the past several months, SBA consultant Katherine Iacovelli, of the Frederick County Office of the Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC), has worked with the Hispanic Chamber on the project, which is intended to encourage Hispanic participation in the SBA’s program.
Luego de varios años de arduo trabajo por un grupo motivado de comerciantes del área, la nueva Cámara de Comercio Hispana del Oeste de Maryland (WMHCC, por sus siglas en inglés) se ha convertido en el primer enlace hispano/latino de los condados de Montgomery, Frederick y Washington. El único lugar donde los hispanos pueden encontrarse, conocerse y conectarse para fortalecer nuestra comunidad empresarial.
Anticipating the future can be a hazardous task. Yet, it is a useful exercise that forces us to make an educated guess about what might happen based on previous experiences and, ultimately, it guides us to make it happen. Already the second majority in this country at nearly 40 million, Hispanics—or Latinos—are still a curiosity in the United States. For this reason, they are occasionally targets of intermittent xenophobia and sometimes casualties in politically driven cultural wars.
Edilberto Ore measured his success by empty shelves. The Peruvian immigrant who came to the United States 16 years ago never dreamed of owning a grocery store. But when the opportunity cropped up in 1995, he took his chance.
Hispanic business is thriving in the county and leading the growth for small businesses around the nation, Montgomery County's county executive told local Hispanic business owners in Gaithersburg.
"We are not the white Montgomery County we used to be," said County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, addressing more than 60 local business owners at a Western Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce lunch last week. "(Hispanics) are here, have big numbers, and will be a force for economic growth in the community."
It's been called a political ploy and an attempt to help specific candidates qualify for the upcoming mayoral race. But according to Alderman Dave Lenhart, his proposal to reduce residency requirements for the city's mayor is just an effort to open up the political playing field.
The federal government's stepped-up efforts to bolster the nation's biodefense systems will mean more business for the Frederick County business community in general and minority-owned businesses in particular. Maj. Gen. Lester Martinez-Lopez, commanding general of the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick, carried this message to members of the Western Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at its monthly luncheon last week.
About 1,515 more Hispanics called Frederick County home in 2003 than in 2000, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau earlier this year. The county’s Hispanic population (who may be of any race) grew from 4,664 in 2000 to 6,179 in 2003, marking a 32.5 percent increase, said Mark Goldstein, an economist with the Maryland Department of Planning.
Luncheons sponsored by the Western Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (WMHCC) have become a big draw among the increasing number of Hispanic businesses and professional people in Montgomery County. The increase could be symptomatic of the drive that many foreign-born residents exemplify in their quest for the American Dream.
The time is overdue for banks to meet the banking needs of the Hispanic community, said Jorge Ribas, president of the Western Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a multi-county nonprofit organization aligned to the I-270 and I-70 corridors and spanning from Gaithersburg, through Frederick, Hagerstown, and beyond. Hispanics have almost a trillion dollars in disposable income. Their annual remittances to their native countries are among the highest, if not the highest, in the history of this country for any ethnic group [except Israel], and exceed many fold the entire annual U.S. foreign aid to the entire world, Dr. Ribas said.
In these days of terrorist alerts and threats, Ricardo Martinez and his company, Project Enhancement Corp. of Germantown, are working to protect some of America's most potentially lethal targets: its nuclear facilities. "Some of PEC's work involves the protection of nuclear materials and nuclear facilities," said Martinez, who has a top secret clearance.
Linda Hanson frequently witnesses unsafe behavior around the train tracks that run though Gaithersburg. MARC train passengers put themselves in danger when they get off the train in Olde Towne because they don't clear away from the tracks, said Hanson, manager of the Christian Science Reading Room in the heart of Olde Towne Gaithersburg. "They don't move away from the train except for a couple of feet," she said. "I see it every day -- it scares me."
OUTSIDE Pimlico Race Course yesterday, there was Michael Steele, the lieutenant governor of Maryland. He was talking with a couple of horse breeders, Yu Wang and Richard Wang. This looked dangerous, and possibly un-American, as perceived by Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. The Wang brothers are Chinese. Steele is an African-American. "This looks like multiculturalism to me," I said.