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Staff Listing

Please see below for our staff listing and biographies.

Lawrence F. Twele

CEO, HCEDA

ltwele@hceda.org

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Before joining the Authority, Larry was the Director of the Carroll County Department of Economic Development, where he developed strategies for guiding business development, business retention, workforce development and tourism. Prior to this, Larry spent several years with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, where he held several positions including managing the statewide regional office system.

Larry’s major accomplishments include launching a regional business retention program while playing a key role in coordinating and facilitating major expansion projects in the Baltimore Region. Larry also spent seven years on the management team of a Fortune Global 500 manufacturing firm and three years as a manager of a small business. From 2013 to 2015, Larry served as the President of Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA). He currently serves as Vice Chair of the MEDA Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Larry holds a Master’s Degree of Business Administration from Loyola University, Maryland and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland. He earned Certified Economic Developer credentials in 2009.

Elaine Brown, CPA, CGMA

CFO and Chief Operating Officer, HCEDA

embrown@hceda.org

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Elaine Brown is the Chief Financial Officer of Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) where she is responsible for planning, implementing, managing, and reporting the financial activities of the organization. Prior to joining HCEDA, Elaine was the Chief Financial Officer for L3Harris Applied Defense Solutions, a $95M business unit of a publicly traded technology company, defense contractor and information technology services provider. Prior to being acquired by L3 Technologies and by Harris Corporation, Elaine was Chief Financial Officer and corporate Secretary/Treasurer at Applied Defense Solutions (ADS) in Columbia, MD.

Elaine has more than 30 years of public company and government contracting experience and is a Certified Public Accountant for the State of Maryland and a Chartered Global Management Accountant.

Marilyn D. Kimmie, SHRM-CP

Chief Human Resource & Administration Officer, HCEDA

mdkimmie@hceda.org

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Marilyn joined the HCEDA in 2011 and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer. Marilyn is a top-tier executive with oversight of human resources, design, plan and implement human resource program and policies for staffing, as well as administration of benefits, 401(k) plan, employee relations and health and safety. Marilyn also performs a strategic role in managing staff and maintaining healthy workplace culture and environment. Serving as point of contact for all HR-related inquiries and issues, she maintains appropriate internal controls and personnel procedures ensuring compliance with various federal, state and local labor laws and reporting requirements. As an active member of the senior executive management team, she is charged with understanding and interpreting the organization’s bylaws as well as identifying and implement policies and procedures to improve the overall operation and effectiveness of office functions, administrative challenges, and developing solutions. Marilyn also manages the physical infrastructure and systems including facilities requests, risk management, technology and IT support as well as consulting with legal counsel on a variety of issues as needed.

With over 30 years of experience as an Office Administrator, Marilyn brings unique knowledge, skills and abilities to the organization which promotes cohesion of the EDA team and its culture. She is a Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Certified Professional and a member of the Howard County Human Resource Society.

Chuck J. Bubeck

Executive Director of the Innovation Center, Maryland Innovation Center

cjbubeck@hceda.org

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With over 40 years in the technology industry, including a decade at Apple, Chuck’s experience as a serial entrepreneur resulted in several successful startups and subsidiaries. During his time with Apple, Chuck helped launch the original 1984 Macintosh and later was one the companies first Regional Systems Engineering Managers.

In 1993, Chuck founded Ease Technologies, Inc. a regionally recognized Managed Services Provider. EaseTech spinoffs included one of the first commercially available FIX digital trading systems on the market, as well as a legal document management system. Since its inception, Ease has successfully marketed and sold its spinoff products to over 100 investment banks, as well as top legal firms nationally. The company has been regularly recognized among the fastest-growing Managed Services Providers in the U.S. EaseTech was recently acquired by Thrive Networks, a leading NexGen MSP headquartered in Boston.

Chuck has received a number of awards throughout his career in technology and entrepreneurship, including being recognized as a Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist (1997), a Fast 50 Winner (1997), and a National Fast 500 Winner (1998).

Chris Moyer

Managing Director of Business Development and Marketing, HCEDA

cmoyer@hceda.org

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Chris joined the Authority in September 2021. Chris has been a leader in the economic development and commercial real estate industries since 2005, having served as the Director of the Cecil County Office of Economic Development, Agriculture, and Tourism for four years and as a Director of Business Development at the Baltimore Development Corporation for a decade. In his four years at Cecil County, the county experienced unprecedented economic growth. Companies such as Amazon, Great Wolf Resorts, Lidl, Northrop Grumman, Smithfield, and WL Gore committed to investing more than $1 billion dollars and creating thousands of jobs. At BDC, the projects Chris led exceeded $2 billion in value and resulted in approximately 11,000 jobs by the likes of AOL, Carefirst, Emergent Biosolutions, Pandora Jewelry, and Under Armour. Prior to his work in economic development, Chris worked for ten years in corporate finance roles at T. Rowe Price and MBNA.

In 2019, Chris was named one of the Top 50 Economic Developers in North America by Consultant Connect, a consortium of site selection consultants and economic developers. Chris holds an MBA in Marketing from Loyola University Maryland and a B.S. in Finance from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

Ali Bliss

Associate Director of Events & Marketing, HCEDA

abliss@hceda.org

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Ali Bliss joined the Howard County Economic Development Authority in September 2015. She comes to the HCEDA with a background in marketing, communications, and event planning. In her position she manages the events and space rentals for HCEDA and MIC, as well as support the marketing and communication efforts. She is a graduate of Hood College in Frederick, MD with a BA in Communications, concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Studio Art. In 2020, Ali also received a Professional Event Management Certificate from the George Washington University School of Business. Ali is also a member of the Gilchrist Hospice Taste Event Committee where she assists in the planning of the annual Taste of Howard County. During her free time, Ali enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and dog at the beach.

Tracy Deik

Community Engagement Coordinator, Maryland Innovation Center

tdeik@howardcountymd.gov

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Tracy Deik joined the HCEDA in September 2021 as the Innovation Center’s Community Engagement Coordinator. Tracy plays a central role in supporting the various programs and events within the MIC community.

In her previous position at Howard County Government, Tracy has been recognized for her skills in customer service, listening and providing appropriate resources and services to assist residents. Tracy’s work has familiarized her with services offered by departments and agencies throughout the County. Tracy’s assistance with education and outreach events has led to improved access and equity for residents in the County.

Tracy gained experience in the small business sector before focusing her career in Howard County. With a background in administration, program coordination, marketing and technical support, Tracy’s experience has given her the tools necessary to effectively take on new challenges. Tracy is a graduate of the University of Maryland and holds a BA degree in English, with a concentration in Communications.

Aphaia L. Harper

Strategic Engagement Manager, Maryland Innovation Center

aharper@hceda.org

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Aphaia joined the HCEDA in 2019. As the Strategic Engagement Manager, Aphaia supports and implements the community, partner, and sponsorship engagement strategies of the Maryland Innovation Center (MIC). Aphaia leads HCEDA’s internship program and enjoys making connections between talented students and innovative employers. She comes to the HCEDA with a background in community engagement and outreach, volunteer management, and community development. Aphaia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Religion from the University of Vermont. After graduation, she worked as the Community Engagement Coordinator for Winooski, Vermont where she implemented the City’s first-ever Parklet Project on Main Street. Aphaia brings an eclectic and creative energy and is dedicated to instilling positive and productivity in any environment. Born in Burlington, VT and raised in Monkton, MD, Aphaia brings an appreciation for vibrant communities which integrate sustainability in her community and economic development practice.

Melanie House

Financial Analyst / Staff Accountant, HCEDA

mhouse@hceda.org

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Melanie began with the HCEDA in 2021 as the Staff Accountant and Financial Analyst. Prior to that, Melanie worked as a staff accountant in the nonprofit circuit where she provided accounting support to fast growing nonprofit organizations. Venturing out to California, Melanie landed the position of Assistant Controller at Target Medical Pharma where she assisted in the development of strategies to increase pharma awareness of small private practices. Melanie holds a bachelor’s in business accounting from Bowie State University.

Jason Jannati

Director of Strategic Partnerships, HCEDA

jjannati@hceda.org

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Jason Jannati is a highly motivated community developer, and a leader within the clean-tech and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Recognized by the Obama White House for efforts in sustainability and job creation, also Baltimore Sun’s Top 10 under 30 to watch and 2011 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Jannati graduated from Oakland Mills High School and shortly began building greeNEWit, a company that helped homes and businesses become more energy efficient. Jannati then lead the land development strategy for Power 52 Energy Solutions which developed many of the solar farms that are being built today in Howard County.

Raised in Columbia MD, principles of equality, diversity and community impact were instilled from an early age. With a mother who was a social worker, and a father who immigrated here while in his early 20’s – ingenuity, compassion and the spirit of entrepreneurship are at the core of Jason’s values as a father, husband, and man.

Kathy L. Johnson

Director of Agricultural Business Development, HCEDA

kljohnson@hceda.org

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As the Director of Agricultural Business Development for HCEDA, Kathy is the first point of contact for Howard County farmers wanting to start or grow a farm. Kathy helps farmers navigate through the process by assisting them with the preparation of business plans, zoning or other permitting issues needed to operate in Howard County; she also provides assistance to farms looking to diversify. Growing up on her family’s dairy farm in Dickerson, MD, Kathy brings a unique and personal perspective to the position — one that garners respect from the farmers she assists.

Kathy holds a degree in Dairy Science with a minor in Agriculture Business from Delaware Valley College and is a LEAD Maryland Class VIII fellow.

Zachary C. Jones

Director of Research, HCEDA

zjones@hceda.org

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Zach Jones joined the HCEDA in January 2019, where he leads the research and data analysis efforts of the organization. His research focuses on benchmarking Howard County’s industry and labor markets against its peers to identify strengths and opportunities in the county. Additionally, Zach is tasked with the management and analysis of internal HCEDA data to increase the efficacy of the organizations operations and report on outcomes.

Prior to his time with HCEDA, Zach was the Director of Market Research at the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB). There he provided research consulting services for partners like Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), Betamore, and numerous economic development organizations within the region. In partnership with the Maryland Department of Commerce, Zach has developed the Maryland Cybersecurity Asset Map, which catalogues the State’s world-class cyber ecosystem. Zach graduated from Towson University, where he spent three years of his undergraduate career conducting economic research with the Regional Economic Studies Institute. After graduating, Zach continued to conduct economic and policy research at Towson University, while concurrently building an extracurricular student entrepreneurship experience at the university.

Jill A. Joubert

Director of Innovation Center Client Services, Maryland Innovation Center

jjoubert@hceda.org

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As Director of Innovation Center Client Services for the Maryland Innovation Center, Jill is responsible for the day to day running of the Center. She is responsible for keeping the facility running smoothly, staying in touch with residents and affiliates and creating a welcoming environment. She is also responsible for managing leases, addressing facility issues, overseeing communication, and community involvement.

Jill has been with the HCEDA since 2003, starting as an Administrative Assistant then progressing to Operations Manager for the Maryland Center of Entrepreneurship and promoted to her current position in 2018. Before joining the HCEDA, Jill was an Agency Office Administrator for two major insurance companies and an Account Executive and Branch Secretary for several banks in the Boston and the D.C. Metropolitan area.

Jill is a 2016 Leadership Howard County Premier graduate and continues to work on several committees within LHC. Jill holds a Business Incubation Management Certificate from the International Business Innovation Association and is a graduate of Eastern Nazarene College with a Bachelor of Science Degree.

Kierra D. Kimmie

Business Process Manager, HCEDA

kkimmie@hceda.org

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Kierra Kimmie is the Business Operations Analyst for HCEDA. She provides highly-specialized administrative and operational support to the executive management team, Board of Directors, and marketing and business development departments of the HCEDA. Kierra’s exceptional communication skills, and keen eye for detail make her an important asset to the team.
She began as an intern in 2011 and has continued to expand her role within the organization over the years. Kierra currently resides in Howard County and is a proud Wilde Lake High School alumna. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA and earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education from McDaniel College. Kierra brings her background in situational assessment and analysis, problem solving and developing outcome-driven development plans to help improve processes and find innovative solutions.

Kierra is a member of MEDA’s Young Leader’s professional group and also serves as a mentor for the Junior Achievement Rising Women program, a program designed to teach entrepreneurial and leaderships skills to young women.

Deborah R. Leake

Administrative Services Manager, HCEDA

dleake@hceda.org

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Deborah Leake, joined HCEDA in April 2000 and presently works as the organizations Incubator Operations Coordinator at the MCE. In her role, she assists the Director of Innovation Center Client Services and is responsible for updating information in Salesforce, overseeing MCE facility agreements, scheduling facility reservations, creating facility access badges and handling payments from residents and affiliates. She works daily with the MCE’s small business development partners SCORE, PTAC & SBDC greeting their clients and scheduling their appointments. Deborah was named Advocate/Supporter of the year for SCORE in 2017 and received recognition for working with the Project Program for Howard County in 2018.

Darshni H. Patel

Director, Business Incentives Programs, HCEDA

dhpatel@hceda.org

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Darshni joined the HCEDA in May 2016. Since that time, she has held various positions in the organization and is currently the Loan Fund Manager for the Catalyst Fund Loans for Small Businesses. She is responsible for portfolio management, conducting risk analysis, tracking, and monitoring of each loan transaction. Prior to this position, she was the Financial Program Analyst where she was involved in financial analysis and underwriting process for loans.

Darshni holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Sociology from Pennsylvania State University. Darshni is a resident of Howard County.

Maria Angelica Vargas

Director of International Business Development, HCEDA

mvargas@hceda.org

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Maria Angelica Vargas comes to HCEDA with extensive international business experience having uniquely worked in all three sectors at a leadership level– corporate, government, and civil society. She has worked at C-level as CFO of a government Ministry; Owner/Principal in business and as a Director in a major philanthropic foundation. She has successfully assisted companies to identify, negotiate and build long term international partnerships. She has also advised companies on their financial, marketing, and human capital development strategies. She has supported companies in improving their operational standards to obtain international certifications and secured US, EU and other international best practices accreditations in USA, India and Latin America.

Maria Angelica has served for the last seven years, as the Director for Economic Development of The Nabha Foundation a leading Indian philanthropic foundation founded by a global business family. She successfully launched commercially viable sustainable and scalable models for the economic development of the region. Previously, she has worked for the Maryland Department of Commerce, Office of International Investment and Trade, with direct responsibilities to develop and implement policies and programs to increase commercial opportunities in the Latin America region, and supporting the teams in China, India, Japan, Taiwan and South Africa. In her native Paraguay, she has served as Chief Financial Officer in the National Secretariat of Tourism of Paraguay, and worked as Director for Import and Exports in three of the largest Paraguayan import/export corporations conducting business on five continents.

Maria Angelica has been a regular participant at the World Economic Forum in Davos for Global Fortune 500 companies, and their meetings in New Delhi and Casablanca. Maria Angelica has a Master’s of Public Administration Degree.

Jinal Contractor

Small and Minority Business Development Officer, HCEDA

jcontractor@hceda.org

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Jinal Contractor joined Howard County Economic Development Authority in Fall of 2022 as Small and Minority Business Officer.

Jinal is certified LEED AP and an experienced architect. During her tenure in architecture she worked for various small and large firms in India, Philadelphia and Baltimore. She worked on projects ranging from schools, healthcare, retail, restaurants and offices, locally as well as nationwide. This gave her insight into the collaborations essential to business development. In addition, she has gained experience in the small business sector before focusing her career with Howard County, Business Development team.

Starting a small business blends trial-and-error with hard-fought triumphs. Jinal Contractor, HCEDA’s new Small and Minority Business Development Officer, understands the challenge faced by business owners from her personal experiences as an entrepreneur. In her new position at HCEDA, she is eager to share what she learned and promote many internal and external resources that Howard County offers to small and minority entrepreneurs. While her role is focused on emphasizing the growth and development of small and minority businesses, she works with entrepreneurs across broad spectrum to ensure a truly diverse economic infrastructure for Howard County. Jinal hold Masters in Architecture from Drexel University, Philadelphia and a B.Arch from M.S. University, India