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Economic Development Panel
November 20 @ 8:30 am - 10:00 am
Please join the Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce for our Economic Development Panel on November 20, 2023 at the Best Western Premier.
Carla Merritt, Maryland Department of Commerce. Carla is an experienced development professional with the Maryland Department of Commerce, serving as, Sr. Business Development Representative within the Division of business and Industry Sector Development’s Regional Growth and Retention Business Unit.
Cynthia Rivarde, Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI). Cindy Rivarde serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI), which identifies and develops economic opportunities to help Rockville prosper and lead as a 21st-century city for business. With her 20+ year background in commercial real estate law and development, she leads REDI in new and inventive ways to create economic growth, attract and retain businesses, and highlight Rockville as a premier community for businesses, workers, visitors, and residents. She has previously served as a Deputy City Manager for Coral Springs, Florida, the Community and Economic Development Director for Modesto, California (which included oversight of the City’s Tourism and Convention Center), and the Economic and Cultural Development Director for Coral Gables, Florida. She obtained her law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law, a Master of Fine Art in painting from Towson University, and a bachelor of arts degree in dramatic art/studio art from the University of North Carolina.
Bill Thompkins, Montgomery County Economic Development Commission. Bill Tompkins is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC), based in Rockville, Maryland. He leads a team of 25 diverse professionals who work to fulfill the mission of making Montgomery County one of the most diverse, equitable and best places to be in business in the country. Bill was previously Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and has been with MCEDC since January of 2019.
Bill has a deep background in marketing, business operations, strategic planning and nonprofit management, with most of his career serving as a senior executive in the media and entertainment industries with Fortune 500 companies. From 2009 until 2018, Bill ran a consulting practice which advised companies on strategic business opportunities and brand transformation strategies.
George Thomas, Connected DMV. George Thomas is a thought leader and adviser to public and private sector organizations in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. A dynamic leader and team builder, George helps clients develop successful strategies and execute transformational projects in business operations, capital improvement, enterprise processes, change management and strategic planning. George serves as Chief Innovation Officer for Connected DMV, and leads the DMV Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS), and serves as Director for the Potomac Quantum Innovation Center (PQIC).
George also founded New Urban Informatics, a boutique business advisory firm, providing expertise to some of the most innovative companies and governments focused on Public Sector Analytics and Smart Cities. Among key clients, George served as Global Director, Smart Infrastructure, for Hatch Ltd. In this role, he led Hatch’s efforts in helping clients maximize value across all Infrastructure and Urban Solution domains.
Kelly Schulz, Maryland Tech Council. Kelly Schulz is a mother, wife, successful small business owner, and served seven years in Governor Hogan’s administration as the Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Commerce.
In her most recent role as Secretary of Commerce, Kelly oversaw the state’s primary economic development agency, responsible for attracting new businesses, job growth, and workforce development. Under Kelly’s leadership, the department also served as the largest resource to provide financial assistance to struggling Maryland companies adversely impacted by COVID-19.
Prior to entering her career in public service, Kelly was always focused on her community. While raising her boys, Kelly put herself through college and worked as a server and bartender in the evenings and on weekends, yet always made time to serve on the school PTA and to volunteer with Brandon and Bradley’s sports teams.