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Special Update: BWCC President and CEO Townshend Announces Retirement

WaltTownshend (2)

June 16, 2016

Dear BWCC Member and Friends,

The Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber (BWCC) Board of Directors has announced that after 27 years, President and CEO H. Walter “Walt” Townshend will be retiring effective August 1.

“Walt has worked tirelessly to serve BWCC staff, members and their employees,” said Ray Plummer, CPA, BWCC board chair and a partner with the accounting firm of Bormel Grice & Huyett, P.A. “He has been instrumental in BWCC’s incredible legacy in the region and his day-to-day presence will be missed by the entire community.”

Townshend began working with BWCC in January 1989 and his tenure marks the longest of any current Maryland chamber executive. Under his leadership, the chamber was involved with the management of Maryland’s first highway information center, along with the creation and co-direction of Maryland’s first one-stop employment center. Most notable, Townshend was instrumental in the creation and management of America’s first and only chamber-managed regional transit system, Corridor Transportation Corp. (CTC) that was later renamed Central Maryland Regional Transit (CMRT) which grew from 225,000 passengers in its first year to nearly 2 million passengers over the next 22-years.

Under Townshend’s leadership, BWCC also developed a long-standing relationship with the National Security Agency, and has had nearly every director since Admiral William Studeman as a keynote speaker at BWCC events. Studeman’s address to a BWCC audience marked the first time a sitting director had spoken in an unclassified setting to a community-based organization.  In later years, BWCC became the first chamber to host a chamber membership briefing inside the Agency, with then-NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Deputy Director Chris Inglis both speaking.

Townshend with the chamber’s affiliate BWCC Foundation, directed and launched a Mathematics Symposium for math educators, which after two decades has evolved into a strategic alliance with the statewide organization, Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM). He has also led BWCC’s efforts in workforce development and currently serves as the board chairman for the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation. In addition, Townshend helped lead the chamber’s annual Government Procurement Fairs, which for more than two decades was the largest chamber-led program in the region, focusing on small and minority business enterprises.

A registered lobbyist in Maryland, Townshend has served on the Maryland Chamber’s Legislative Committee and was involved in the stormwater management fee issue, sick and safe leave legislation and most recently, the Dept. of Labor’s regulation concerning overtime.

“I can think of few opportunities that provide more fulfillment than leading a chamber,” said Townshend.  “Every day you have the opportunity to help businesses, nonprofits and institutions grow, link with one another and serve their own interests—as well as those of the region.  I am blessed to have worked with hundreds of board members over my tenure, and to be mentored by nearly 30 board chairs.”

Townshend plans to take time off to enjoy his retirement, but is also looking forward to be engaged in work that bridges education, government and business, serving the interests of Marylanders and creating new alliances. In addition, he also plans to remain committed in assisting the chamber as needed as it enters the next stage of its development.

“Walt’s shoes will be hard to fill, but the BWCC board is committed to moving forward expeditiously so we can best serve our members and the region and continue the good work of BWCC,” said  Plummer.

“We thank Walt for his contributions to the BWCC over the past 27 years and look forward to working with him during the transition,” said incoming Board Chair Eric Harris with Marathon Financial Group. “The board is dedicated to continue to provide our members with great services and benefits and working tirelessly to advocate for the Maryland community. And, we, of course, are already working on producing amazing events such as our recent annual meeting and 7th annual Showcase and Tasting..”

“BWCC has a very sound board,” said Townshend. “I am retiring with confidence that the chamber will continue to be a strong entity in the corridor for another seven decades.”

The board will be conducting a search for the right candidate to replace Townshend that will serve the diverse needs of BWCC’s membership. The staff will report to the board chair in the interim.

BWCC upcoming events include an August 17 Multi-Chamber networking breakfast and an Economic Forecast breakfast on November 19.  For more details on BWCC’s events and membership information, go to www.bwcc.org.

Walt Townshend Retirement Special Announcement

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