Howard County Recognized Five Business Stars at 13th Annual CBED Diversity Awards Program

COLUMBIA, MD (April 25, 2007) – Howard County recognized three outstanding business leaders and awarded two entrepreneurial scholarships at its 13th Annual Committee for Business and Economic Diversity Awards Program and Breakfast Gala held at Ten Oaks Ballroom on April 24, 2007.

As the nation celebrated Equal Pay Day in conjunction with Small Business Week, April 22-28, this event hosted by the Howard County Economic Development Authority honored:

Business Achievement
HR Anew
Founded by Deborah Stallings, President and CEO in 1999, Columbia-based HR Anew is a minority woman-owned, full service human resource consulting firm that helps organizations transform challenges into successful outcomes through employee retention, workforce development, improved performance and productivity, customer satisfaction, and business prosperity. Deborah Stallings and her team demonstrate their expertise in human resource management, training, professional services, and project management experience. The team has formed alliances with over 20 subject matter experts and professionals to help support clients with contracts and projects. The company’s revenue has risen from a mere $90,000 in its first year to over $1.2 million in 2006. Among HR Anew’s many satisfied clients are NASA, the National Library of Medicine/NIH, U.S. Department of Treasury, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Arbitron, Strayer University, and Afro American Newspapers.

Business Diversity Achievement
Founded by Elizabeth Rendón, President & CEO, in 1997, LinguaLISTek is the leading provider of technology, language, training and security services within the Intelligence Community. As a diversity-owned small business with a corporate infrastructure, LinguaLISTek’s services include business and development marketing, human resources, contract accounting and finance, recruiting, training and security. Taking pride in being a leader of quality products and services, LinguaLISTek’s staff strives to ensure each client feels like their only client, a personalized service that demonstrates their dedication to their clientele. The company combines technical and language services to provide, for example, software engineers who are also linguists. As an award-winning company, LinguaLISTek has encouraged and facilitated over 160 individuals from diverse cultures to establish their own consulting businesses within the U.S.

Individual Achievement
Rosa M. Scharf, Howard Bank
Her proudest professional accomplishment, says Rosa M. Scharf, Senior Vice President of Howard Bank, is staying true to her commitment to Howard County’s small business owners and helping people realize their dreams of entrepreneurship. Within her 20-year banking career, Rosa has risen from a bank teller to an assistant branch manager, a portfolio manager, and currently, a bank executive. Three years ago, Rosa moved to Howard Bank where she has been one of the key figures in attracting investors and customers. It is Rosa’s face-to-face style of banking, and her passion and dedication to the small and entrepreneurial businesses that have made her a recognized expert to the local and national Small Business Administration. Mentoring business owners toward the American dream of self-sufficiency, Rosa exemplifies success both personally and professionally.

Howard County General Hospital Rising Business Star Scholarship
Afton Vechery, Glenelg High School
As founder of SAFEH2OWEST, Afton Vechery has helped Western Howard County residents lead healthier lives. Through studying groundwater as a science fair project, Afton discovered major problems with Western Howard County’s well water quality. Then, through sponsorship from W.R. Grace, Afton demonstrated her entrepreneurial spirit by working countless hours throughout high school to start and promote her business to test water quality. SAFEH2OWEST provides low-cost water testing for a variety of harmful contaminants and then notifies the customers of the results. The business provides a dual benefit to the community through employing Glenelg High School students to perform a much needed service within the region. During college, Afton plans to focus her education on science and technology while also taking business and marketing classes.

Earl H. Saunders Entrepreneurial Scholarship
Carrie Gartner, Centennial High School
Starting when she was 13 to help a teacher who suffered from Crohn’s disease, Carrie Gartner demonstrated her ingenuity through organizing a walk-a-thon benefit for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Carrie learned to be persistent by contacting sponsors, volunteers, and members of the media. She relentlessly followed up and in doing so, she became a selfassured young adult. In its fourth year, the Miles for Miracles Walk has raised over $250,000. It has proven to be the biggest fundraiser for the Maryland/ Southern Delaware Chapter of the CCFA. Carrie’s ambition is to become a nurse practitioner and own a practice within a hospital. To reach her goal, she plans to attend nursing school at Pennsylvania State University, gain three years of practical experience, and then complete her masters studies to become a neonatal nurse.

Businesses owned by minorities, women and individuals with disabilities constitute a vital and thriving segment of Howard County's economy. Through the Committee for Business and Economic Diversity (CBED), the Business Resource Center, and in conjunction with its economic development partners, the Economic Development Authority recognizes, encourages and promotes economic diversity and equal business opportunity for minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities. The Howard County Economic Development Authority is a public-private partnership whose primary goal is to promote economic growth and stability by supporting existing businesses, targeting new businesses, and attracting corporate/regional headquarters. The Authority also maintains several programs aimed at the special needs of small, minority-owned, and agricultural business communities. Additionally, the Authority strives to preserve the distinctive quality of life in Howard County. The Authority can be reached on the Web at