Straight Talk


Did you know drug abuse in the workplace costs the American economy $81 billion annually? Perhaps even more surprising is that  70% of the 15 million Americans who use drugs are employed. Drug users will try to remain employed above all so that they have money to pay for the drugs.

With such an impact on the American business, The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce and The Frederick County Sheriff’s Department sponsored a Drugs in the Workplace Seminar on March 3, 2015 featuring speaker Mike Gimble. Mike Gimble has been in the field of substance abuse education, treatment and prevention for over 30 years and has developed programs for athletes, coaches and parents, and is certified by the NCAA to provide services to all college athletes across the United States. Mike has served on the SADD National Board of Directors, testified in front of Congress and received numerous awards for his work for those suffering from a substance abuse problem. He has over 40 year’s sobriety himself and brings a first hand knowledge to his presentations.

Mike Gimbel
Mike Gimbel

During the event, Mike discussed the types of drugs that commonly are being used in the workplace. Stimulants are frequently used to enhance performance on the job and common medications that are used to treat ADHD, such as Adderall and Ritalin, are easily available. Students are also using Adderall and Ritalin to help with studying and exams. They are even sharing the drugs at no cost with fellow students.

Sheriff Jenkins displayed for businesses the drugs that are frequently being used. From street drugs like Heroin and Marijuana, to pills such as Molly and prescription medications Oxyconton. He demonstrated ways employees will conceal their drugs in common items like highlighter pens, lipstick tubes, and more. Though it might be easy to think our community doesn’t have a significant drug problem, or that your business isn’t impacted, the statistics suggest otherwise. Frederick County had 98 Heroin related overdoes in 2014, 27 of which were fatal.

The need for Drug Free Workplace Policies and how to develop them were discussed. How does drug testing work and is it right for your business? Where do employers turn to seek help for their employees? There are training programs available to help employers learn the signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse as well as assist businesses with policies and procedures. Employee Assistance Programs are also available.

Business Health is a program of the Frederick Chamber designed to help businesses improve workplace wellness. For more information on Business Health programs, Employee Assistance Programs, and more contact Jenny Morgan at or 301-662-4164 x 220. If you think your business or any of your employees has a drug problem or have any questions please feel free to contact Sheriff Jenkins at Frederick County Sheriff’s office 301-600-1532.



This December we launched Chamber TV: On The Go & In The Know!

Special correspondents for the upcoming Season 4 On The Go include Justin Saltzman (Liberty Mutual Insurance), Jenna DeStefano (Healthy4Lyfe), Joe Porpiglia (D&D Consulting and Training), and Lauren Hagan (Frederick Chamber).

This month, we interviewed Danny Farrar, Founder of SoliderFit, about how to embody your brand. His advice: “YOU are you brand!” Check out the episode to learn more about why Danny believes Frederick is a great place to open a business, and how your team can help grow your brand and spread your message.

We also got a glimpse into Public Safety Day with the Leadership Frederick County class of 2014.

The episode wraps up with an interview with 2013 Young Professional of the Year, Michelle Day of Frederick County Workforce Services. Michelle discusses important qualities of leadership and shares her advice to young professionals. Tammy Feaster, Generation Connect co-chair, explains how and why Michelle was selected as YP2013 out of a total of 30 applicants.

Links in this episode:
Getting Employees to Act on Your Brand Promise
Leadership Frederick County: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Young Professional of the Year Event Recap
Frederick Chamber YouTube Channel

Do you have a topic for Chamber TV that explores leadership, advocacy, or education?  Email your suggestion to

Jennifer Alcorn (The Plamondon Companies), a member of the Generation Connect Steering Committee.

Generation Connect knows how to throw a party! The room was abuzz with excitement and networking at the Generation Connect Third Birthday Party & Chamber Networking Event on Wednesday, November 20, 2013.  A few words come to mind when reflecting on the event: Anticipation, energy, excitement, and accomplishment. As a steering committee member it gave me such a sense of fulfillment to see us bring a fantastic third year to a close. The venue — Hilton Garden Inn, Frederick — was fantastic and the staff provided top of the line food, drinks, and service.

Along with all 150 attendees, GenConnect celebrated the following accomplishments:

  • A new series of events featuring an educational breakfast and local experts
  • 10 networking events for professionals, especially those ages 21-40
  • The Second Annual Not Your Mama’s Crab Feast at Ceresville Mansion
  • $1,277.60 raised for Hospice of Frederick County from 2013 event proceeds
  • The first ever Young Professional of the Year

The excitement of the evening swirled around the inaugural Young Professional of the Year award. An amazing group of 30 nominees were narrowed to the Top 5 Finalists, and then one was named the YP of 2013. Continue reading “Michelle Day named Young Professional of the Year 2013”

South Mountain Creamery
Chris and her classmates scope out the homemade ice cream selection at South Mountain Creamery.

Ice cream for breakfast, a gourmet meal of locally-grown seasonal vegetables, grains, and meats, followed by wine and chocolate for dinner… Could Ag Day with Leadership Frederick County get any better?!

Weaving our way from Middletown to Mt. Airy, our Day in the Life of Frederick County Agriculture included South Mountain Creamery, Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch, England Acres Farm, Paradise Stables, and Black Ankle Vineyards.  This was just a “taste” of the 1,400+ farms that make Frederick County the largest agricultural county in Maryland!  With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s nice to know that we rank #1 in turkeys!

The ag industry is a vital part of the economy and quality of life in Frederick County. As the county grows and is able to provide more and better services to it’s citizens, so does the ag industry.  With 664 square miles of rolling mountains, flat river valleys, bubbling streams, and bright green pastures, I feel truly blessed to live in such a vibrant community.

Editor’s Note: Many thanks goes to the entire Ag Day team, especially Colby Ferguson of Frederick County Business Development and Retention.


Last week the Chamber team welcomed Stephanie Fitch as a Marketing Assistant, and she is eager to promote events and support the Chamber’s mission through visual design!

Stephanie was born and raised in sunny California where she received undergraduate degrees in Microbiology and Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since moving to Frederick in 2011, Stephanie has enjoyed getting to know the area and exploring what Maryland has to offer.

In her spare time, she enjoys trying her hand at 3D animation and motion graphics, as well as watching every kind of home renovation show on television.

With her love of Photoshop and technology, we are excited to have Stephanie as part of our Chamber Staff!

New Chamber team member Michael Kurtianyk
Michael Kurtianyk – Membership Representative

Welcome to Team Chamber, Michael Kurtianyk! Michael is our newest Membership Representative, ready to connect businesses with the Chamber.

Michael was born and raised in New York, and has undergraduate degrees in English and education, as well as a MBA in English education from Syracuse University.  He moved to Frederick in 2000, and has served on the Board of Directors for The Shakespeare Festival, Academy of Finance, and the Weinberg Center for the Arts.

In his spare time he enjoys playing chess and coaching his daughter’s soccer team.

As an active member of the Frederick community, we know Michael will make a great addition to the Chamber.

Click here for more info about the benefits of joining the Chamber!

Generation Connect Crab Fest
Crab Feast Photography provided by PhotoHog Photography

Matt Doyle, The Plamondon Companies, is an active member of the Generation Connect Steering Committee.

On Saturday, June 22, 2013, Generation Connect hosted the 2nd annual Not Your Momma’s Crab Feast! Nearly 100 participants came out and enjoyed all-you-can-eat crabs and other delicious offerings from Ceresville Mansion.  The outside pavilion at Ceresville Mansion was a perfect setting for anyone planning a picnic-style event.  “Kate Moreland and her staff were great hosts and GenConnect is enjoying our continued partnership with the facility,” said Jason Stanczyk, co-chair of Generation Connect. Continue reading “Not Your Momma’s Crab Feast”

June 21, 2013

Co-hosted by Joe Porpiglia (D&D Consulting and Training) and Lauren Hagan (Frederick Chamber).

Sandy Wagerman, research specialist at the Frederick County Office of Business Development & Retention, joined us to talk about the Best Places to Work Awards and how to celebrate success in the workplace.

We were also joined by Eileen Foley-Breck, owner of Aspire Women’s Clothing Boutique, discussed the do’s, dont’s, and don’t-even-think-about-it’s of workplace style. Continue reading “Chamber TV: Episode 31”

May 17, 2013

Co-hosted by Jon-Mikel Bailey (Wood Street) and Lauren Hagan (Frederick Chamber).

Angela Blair, Community Health Educator at the Frederick County Health Department, joined us to discuss the Healthy Business Forum on Friday, June 21. The forum will cover how to implement a workplace wellness program into your organization.

We were also joined by Cynthia Miller, President and Founder of Miller.Omni.Media. Cindy discussed the importance of branding your business for Business Improvement Month. Continue reading “Chamber TV: Episode 30”


Congratulations to Kara Norman for her ten years of service to Downtown Frederick Partnership.  Kara and her team work hard to make the events and programs with businesses in historic Downtown Frederick both unique and highly successful. It is a privilege to work with her as the Chamber liaison to the Partnership Board.

Jean Wright
Board of Directors
Downtown Frederick Partnership

Photo credit: Eli Roth, Downtown Frederick Partnership

Silver Medal of Bravery:Lieutenant Warren “Jay” Schwab, Firefighter III David Hubler, Technician Adam Steinberg, Firfighter III Jason Patten, Technician Leon Norris, and Technician David Millstein; Division of Fire & Rescue Services

Incident:Aided Injured Victim Despite Shooter at Large

“They would have waited for police to secure the scene … however, risking their own safety, they opted to care for the life threatening injuries of a victim at the scene.”

Silver Medal of Bravery:Lieutenant Charles Scott, Technician Daniel Hardin, Firefighter III Robert Ruch; Division of Fire & Rescue Services

Incident:Fatal House Fire on E. South Street

“The heat was extreme and there was nearly no visibility apart from the orange glow of the fire extending up from below … they located the victim, a woman, at the top of the stairs, curled in the fetal position, unconscious.”