First African American Elected Chair of TEDCO’s Board of Directors
Including a diverse slate of executive officers
TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced today that its board of directors elected four new Executive Officers at its annual election and welcomed a number of new members. The newly appointed chair of the board is Morgan State University’s (MSU) Omar Muhammad, replacing Myra Norton, CEO of Arena Analytics.
The newly appointed chair of the board is Morgan State University’s Omar Muhammad.
“I don’t take this opportunity for granted. Working with other board members several years ago, we were able to provide diversity by investing in entrepreneurs (African American and women) and staffing. It is an honor to take the role of chair for this innovative and driven organization,” said Omar Muhammad, chair of the board, and director of MSU’s Entrepreneurial Development and Assistance Center (EDAC). “Myra served as chair with the utmost integrity and I intend to continue the momentum in this next year. After the challenges (Global Pandemic and Racial Inequities) posed on all of us last year, we plan to find more ways to support our entrepreneurs as we navigate this new economy.”
“Omar brings many years of experience leading support for Maryland’s entrepreneurs. His service as board chair for TEDCO will be a gift both to TEDCO and to the State” said Myra Norton, former chair of the board, and CEO of Arena Analytics. “I’m looking forward to seeing this new board leadership continue building the organization for its next stage of growth in service of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Maryland.”
TEDCO’s new elected officials include the following diverse slate:
- Chair – Omar S. Muhammad, MSU’s EDAC
- Vice Chair – Chung Hei Sing, Applied Derivative Research
- Treasurer – Michael J. Howard, MJH Group
- Secretary – Jennifer Elisseeff, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Medicine
“There aren’t enough words available for me to express my sincere gratitude for Myra’s support and encouragement,” said Troy LeMaile-Stovall, CEO, TEDCO. “I felt it from our first chat during the interview process and it continues to this day and always. TEDCO and I are truly indebted to her.”
“Excited seems too small a word for how I feel about having Omar as TEDCO chair,” said LeMaile-Stovall. “His energy, passion and creativity will amplify TEDCO’s mission to new heights. And having both he and I as black men leading TEDCO at this juncture of history isn’t an accident. I can’t wait to work with him and the TEDCO Board to bring real wealth expansion and inclusion to more Marylanders.”
TEDCO is managed by a
TEDCO’s full board of directors are: Chair, Omar S. Muhammad, MSU; Vice Chair, Chung Hei Sing, Applied Derivative Research; Treasurer, Michael J. Howard, MJH Group; Secretary, Jennifer Elisseeff, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; John Bohanan, Cornerstone Government Affairs; Kathie Callahan Brany, FITCI; Cliff Coppersmith, Chesapeake College; Ellen Flowers-Fields, College of Southern Maryland; Matthew Lee, FASTech; Myra Norton, Arena Analytics; John Parris, Parriad, LLC; Kelly M. Schulz, Maryland Department of Commerce; Amita Shukla, Vitamita; Eben Smith, Three|E Consulting Group; Francis Smyth, Century Engineering; and Robert Wells, Miles & Stockbridge.
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 Masters in Technology Entrepreneurship from the University of Maryland and a Bachelors of Science from Morgan State University.
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.
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.
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.
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 P. Coppersmithis 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.
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.
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 C. 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.
Kelly M. Schulz is the secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce, with experience working in the government, private sector and as a small business owner. She is a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates and previously served as the secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor. At Labor, she managed an agency with nearly 2,000 employees and an operating budget of more than $375 million. While representing Frederick County in the Maryland House of Delegates, she served on the Economic Matters Committee with a special interest in legislation relating to financial institutions, economic development, labor and employment, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. Secretary Schulz obtained her Associates degree from Monroe Community College and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hood College.
Amita Shuklais 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.
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.
Francis X. Smyth has served as the CEO and president for Century Engineering, Inc. since December 1996, on numerous charitable boards and is a past chairman of TEDCO. Beginning his career by founding and growing a mid-Atlantic regional document storage company to one of the largest in the country, he orchestrated a sale to Iron Mountain Records Management. Continuing with Iron Mountain as a senior executive charged with growth through acquisition, Francis successfully transitioned to acquire his own company, Century Engineering, when Iron Mountain went public. Guiding Century from a 90 person company to over 600 professionals offering services throughout six states, Century is now a partnership of key personnel building for the future. Francis graduated Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in history, Loyola University Sellinger School of Business with an MBA and was awarded the 2007 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for business services in Maryland.
Robert Wells is a principal attorney at Miles & Stockbridge. He focuses his legal work on healthcare regulatory and corporate matters, advising clients on a broad array of complex legal and operational matters, including corporate compliance and complex regulatory issues. His entire career has focused on counseling leaders and executives to help organizations achieve their business goals and objectives. Robert has served on the governing bodies of educational institutions, including West Virginia University and Indian Creek School 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©.
TEDCO, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, enhances economic empowerment growth through the fostering of an inclusive entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. TEDCO identifies, invests in, and helps grow technology and life science-based companies in Maryland. Learn more at www.tedcomd.com.