Omar Muhammad selected to chair the board for a second year
COLUMBIA, Md. (September 20, 2022)—TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, held its annual election for the board of directors’ executive officers, reaffirming a second term for Chair Omar Muhammad of Morgan State University (MSU).
TEDCO’s full slate of executive officers are:
- Chair – Omar S. Muhammad
- Vice Chair – Ellen Flowers-Fields
- Secretary – Jennifer Elisseeff
- Treasurer – Jeffrey Rhoda
- Assistant Treasurer – Eben Smith
“I am gratified to continue to lead the board of directors following an incredibly productive year. Our board has been laser focused on TEDCO’s mission of enhancing economic empowerment by fostering an inclusive and entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem, and that will continue in my second term,” said Omar Muhammad, chair of the board. “I’m particularly proud of the collaborative spirit of the board and the TEDCO team on projects as noteworthy as The Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence and our efforts to support Maryland’s leading tech entrepreneurs.”
Those efforts include a major infusion of funding—up to $50 million— from the Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative, which flows through Maryland’s small business relief plan to TEDCO. The funds will go to support recipients of TEDCO’s Venture Equity Fund, Venture Capital Limited Partnership Equity program, the Seeds Funds Equity program and the Social Impact Funds, which are aimed at providing investment and support to economically underserved founders and communities in Maryland.
“We appreciate the experience and talent our board brings to TEDCO, and their commitment to bringing wealth expansion and inclusion to more Marylanders is seen in our work each day,” said Troy LeMaile-Stovall, CEO, TEDCO. “We thank last year’s executive officers for their service and welcome the new officers, including our board chair. Omar exemplifies TEDCO’s values of accountability and integrity; he has been a tremendous support in these uncertain times as we seek to carry out TEDCO’s crucial mission.”
TEDCO is managed by a 19-member Board of Directors, 14 of whom are appointed by the Governor, two appointed by the President of the Maryland Senate; and two appointed by the Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates - each to staggered 4-year terms. The 19th member is the Maryland Secretary of Commerce, who serves ex officio. Each member appointed by the Governor is confirmed by the Senate.
TEDCO’s full board of directors are: Chair, Omar S. Muhammad, MSU; Vice Chair, Ellen Flowers-Fields, College of Southern Maryland; Secretary, Jennifer Elisseeff, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Treasurer, Jeffrey Rhoda; Assistant Treasurer, Eben Smith, Three|E Consulting Group; Rondall Allen, University of Maryland Eastern Shore; John Bohanan, Cornerstone Government Affairs; Kathie Callahan Brady, FITCI; Clifford Coppersmith, Chesapeake College; Mike Gill, Maryland Department of Commerce; Michael J. Howard, MJH Group; Matthew Lee, FASTech; Myra Norton, Arena Analytics; John Parris, Parriad, LLC; Amita Shukla, Vitamita; Chung Hei Sing, Applied Derivative Research; David Tohn, BTS Software Solutions; and Robert Wells, Baker Donelson.
Omar S. Muhammad is an entrepreneurship ecosystem builder working with entrepreneurs, small businesses, corporations and government entities. Currently serving as the director and EN-TRE-PRE-NEUR for the EDAC at MSU. He has been actively involved in entrepreneurship since the age of 12, served as a vice president for a non-profit organization where he operated a $4 million small business loan fund within Baltimore’s Empowerment Zone, provided small business counseling and entrepreneurial training for women and other budding and existing entrepreneurs. He served as a business columnist for a national business newspaper and a business radio talk show host for 22 years on National Public Radio. Omar is the board chair for TEDCO and serves on other committees to further build entrepreneurship ecosystems. Omar holds a master’s in technology entrepreneurship from the University of Maryland and a bachelor of science from MSU.
Ellen Flowers-Fields serves as associate vice president for Continuing Education and Workforce Development at the College of Southern Maryland. She oversees all areas of the non-credit economic and community development programming including the Center for Trades and Energy Training, Maryland Center for Environmental Training, the Workforce Center, the SBDC, the Non-Profit Institute, the Transportation Center and adult basic education. Ellen has over 25 years of experience in workforce development and human capital management. Her diverse background includes supporting entrepreneurship and small business development efforts, acquisition, project management and implementation of various federal, state and local programs that address community economic development needs. Throughout her career she has acquired and managed over $100 million in support of various economic and community development initiatives. Her affiliations include Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland Executive Board Member; National Association of Workforce Development Professionals Member; and the Maryland Economic Development Association Member.
Jennifer Elisseeff is the Morton Goldberg Professor and director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at Wilmer Eye Institute and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at JHU. In 2004, Elisseeff cofounded Cartilix, Inc, a startup that translated adhesive and biomaterial technologies for treating orthopedic disease, acquired by Biomet Inc in 2009. Also in that year, she founded Aegeria Soft Tissue, a startup focused on soft tissue regeneration and wound healing. She is a member of the National Academy of Inventors (and advises a number of biotech companies around the country). She received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in medical engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. In 2018, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine.
Jeffrey Rhoda has spent more than 40 years in the technology industry with IBM in areas including sales, marketing, channels, and ibm.com. Prior to retiring in June 2019, Jeff was the general manager, Greater China Group located in Beijing and responsible for IBM’s business in China. He held general manager roles in both Korea and Australia/New Zealand responsible for all business operations and results. Previously, he was the general manager of IBM’s government business worldwide responsible for industry performance and strategy after leading public sector sales in IBM’s Growth Markets Unit covering IBM’s business with governments in 149 countries. Jeff was an inaugural member of IBM’s Industry Academy and a member the corporate Acceleration Team comprised of IBM’s senior leadership. He has extensive global experience having lived in Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Seoul and Beijing in addition to his native USA.
Eben Smith is president of Three E Consulting Group with two decades of business management experience in both the public and private sector with key emphasis in supplier diversity, strategic sourcing, economic development, community engagement and contracting and procurement. Over the last 20 years he has worked closely with other regional, state and local leaders to create jobs, grow the economy and create capacity in the minority business community. His firm has provided consulting services on some of the biggest projects in the Washington metropolitan region including MGM National Harbor, The Clean Water Partnership P3, PSEG Keys Energy Center, Prince George's County P3 for School Construction and the I-495 and I-270 P3 Program.
Rondall Allen is the Chief Academic Policymaker at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Dr. Allen has over 30 years of experience in the profession of pharmacy. The last 17 years have been in academia. He has practiced in a variety of settings to include community pharmacy, acute care, ambulatory care, and the pharmaceutical industry. As a clinician, he developed and implemented two outpatient anticoagulation clinics in which he managed patients with deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary emboli, atrial fibrillation and other clotting disorders.
Former Delegate John L. Bohanan, Jr. joined Cornerstone Government Affairs in October 2015. He served on the staff of U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for 22 years, and as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates for St. Mary’s County from 1999 until 2015. During this time, he served on the Appropriations Committee, chairman of the Education and Economic Development Subcommittee, member of the Capital Budget Subcommittee, and chairman of the Spending Affordability Committee. For 21 years, John was principally responsible for interfacing with the Congressional District’s two largest military installations – Patuxent River Naval Air Station and Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center. John began his career on Capitol Hill and later became a senior staff member with Tracor Applied Sciences before opening an office as a project analyst and operations manager with SFA, Inc. His affiliations include: St. Mary’s County Historical Society; Historic Sotterley, Inc.; the Judith P. Hoyer Blue Ribbon Commission on the Financing of Early Child Care and Education; the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland; and the St. Mary’s County Juvenile Drug Court Team.
Kathie Callahan Brady is a passionate advocate for the start-up community because of its transformative impact on the lives of founders and team members as they, in turn, shape society’s future. As president and CEO of Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI) since 2016, Frederick’s first and largest incubator/accelerator, Kathie reenergized the organization, growing its client base by nearly 300% to 70 members in 2021. An entrepreneur and teacher, Kathie founded four successful companies in various industries and has over 30 years’ executive-level experience in IT, real estate and business development, which she draws upon to help others achieve success.
Clifford Coppersmith is in his fourth year as the president of Chesapeake College where he focuses on the mission to provide liberal arts transfer and workforce training programs for the region. Born in the West Indies, Cliff grew up in Western New York and began his college education at Jamestown Community College. A military veteran, he earned degrees at St. Bonaventure University and Oklahoma State University. He was also an intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. Cliff began his higher education career teaching history and anthropology at the College of Eastern Utah. He was later an administrator at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Before joining Chesapeake, he was dean and CEO at City College at Montana State University in Billings.
Former Maryland Secretary of Commerce Mike Gill has been named secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce, succeeding Secretary Kelly Schulz. Gill is chairman of Columbia-based Evergreen Advisors, which was his role prior to serving as Maryland’s secretary of commerce from 2015 to 2019. He has four decades of experience in business, which includes founding Hoyt Capital, an investment and advisory firm serving startups and growth companies. He served as a member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents from 2004 to 2009.
Michael J. Howard is a private investor, strategic advisor, board member and philanthropist. He is the founding member of the MJH Group, a private investment and management consulting firm. For more than 20 years, Michael has been able to translate his corporate vision and proprietary investment strategy into consistent economic returns and operational efficiencies for the firm and its clients. He was an early investor in several technology companies with successful exits. In addition, Michael was named by a national publication as one of the top private investors in early-stage technology companies. Prior to forming the MJH Group, Michael had a distinguished professional career with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance. Michael is a Certified Public Accountant who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Morgan State University.
Matthew Lee began his career designing optical data links for ground-based radar and circuits that serviced training devices at the Army Research Laboratory. As an electronics engineer, Matthew managed custom hybrid products in the Patriot Missile System used during Operation Desert Storm. He founded FASTech Inc, based in Rockville, Md., in 1990. FASTech offers a wide range of services including custom application and database design, network engineering and desktop support, web technologies, digital audiovisual technologies, and cybersecurity. He received his master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University. His affiliations include: KoBE Government Contracting Alliance President; Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation Board; U.S. International Development Center President; Acting board member and commissioner, Baltimore Changwon (South Korea) Sister City Committee; County-wide Recreation and Parks Advisory Board; and the Maryland Cybersecurity Council.
Myra Norton is the president & CEO of Arena, a technology company that helps organizations vitalize, stabilize, and diversify their workforces to improve organizational performance and impact. Previously, she was the CEO of Community Analytics, an analyst at Northrop Grumman, a professor in Mathematics and Statistics at Temple University, Towson University, and the US Naval Academy, and an Administrator in the College of Science & Technology at Temple University. She serves as Immediate Past Chair on the Executive Committee of TEDCO. Norton earned a BS in Math Education from the University of Alabama and earned an MA in Mathematics and an MS in Statistics at Temple University.
John Parris is co-founder and managing partner at Parraid, LLC, a St. Mary’s County, Maryland product engineering company focused on telemetry data and mission-critical communication solutions. Prior to Parraid, John was co-founder and CEO for Smartronix, Inc., which grew from a 3-person startup to a $650M global IT and engineering solutions provider before being recapitalized by New York City-based OceanSound Partners in December 2019. Specializing in Cloud Computing and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Smartronix was a multi-year leader in Gartner’s magic quadrant for global cloud transformation services and provided ISR support services for US Combatant Command clients on five continents. He is a 1986 graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.
Amita Shukla is an innovator, entrepreneur, and writer passionate about helping minds unlock their potential. She is the founder and CEO of Vitamita, which focuses on developing transformative ideas for human well-being, and the author of Enduring Edge: Transforming How We Think, Create and Change. Amita regularly advises individuals, teams, and organizations and delivers talks and workshops to diverse audiences. Previously, she spent close to nine years at the venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) where she evaluated and invested in healthcare innovations. Before NEA, she helped found and lead several startups. Amita serves as an Adjunct Lecturer at Johns Hopkins and previously served as a Mentor-in-Residence at the university’s School of Medicine. Amita was first appointed to the TEDCO board in 2010 and is currently its longest-serving member. She holds a BA in biochemistry from Harvard, an MBA from Stanford, and 10 patents.
Chung Hei Sing is currently the CEO of Applied Derivative Research, an impact-oriented research platform leveraging technology to preserve and grow wealth in a way that positively impacts society. Passionate about impact, he is an advisor to AARP, an aging-focused nonprofit and board member to Corporate Esports Association, an esports for charity and HR-solutions focused organization. Previously, he served in a vice president capacity for a hedge fund and COO for a fintech blockchain organization. Prior to that, he deployed his multi-disciplinary investment and business experience across industries and asset classes to support the growth of various multi-million-, multi-billion-dollar investment firms and their portfolio companies. Chung is a graduate of George Washington University and Harvard Business School.
David Tohn is a retired Army Colonel with over 24 years’ leadership experience in tactical and strategic intelligence, command, operations, strategic planning, and as a plank-holder in Army full-spectrum cyber operations, policy, planning, and capabilities development, David serves as the Chief Executive Officer of BTS Software Solutions.
Robert Wells is a Shareholder in Baker Donelson's Baltimore office who represents clients in health care regulatory and corporate matters. He draws upon more than 20 years of experience representing long established and startup health care companies to help clients meet their business goals and objectives while complying with applicable health care rules and regulations. He handles complex legal and operational matters, such as the development and implementation of corporate compliance programs that involve the integration of corporate governance, business operations, risk management, and compliance; and the challenging regulatory issues governing pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Robert has served on the governing bodies of educational institutions, including West Virginia University and Indian Creek School in Crownsville, MD, and has been selected for inclusion by Best Lawyers in America© and recognized as a leading lawyer for healthcare by Chambers USA©.