The currents of change, innovation and adaptation remained strong in 2021 and are seen in every aspect of our lives - from the way we learn and socialize to how we buy groceries or receive medical care - but especially in the way we work and in the way we engage with customers. The unfailing spirit of determination, creativity and forward-looking vision continue to be seen across our community and represent the best outcomes of this year. From rebuilding to starting new, there is much going on in Frederick that gives us hope for a bright future. This year’s Top 50 under 40 highlights the rising entrepreneurs, creators, community activists and young leaders that are confidently paving the way for what comes next. The young people featured here have worked hard to get where they are, and they are definitely not finished. They are setting the tone and pace for tomorrow.
In 2021 Livability surveyed over 1,000 millennials about the factors that are most important to them when deciding where to live, including affordability, job opportunities, diversity, and inclusion. Frederick ranked 4th in the 100 Best Places to Live. As one of the Top 10 Remote-Ready Cities in the US, Frederick is a hot spot for remote workers. With a median age of 38 there is a lot the county has to offer Under 40s such as outdoor recreation, history and museums, arts and theater, culinary delights and shopping.
Frederick County Office of Economic Development and Workforce Services are where employees and big ideas grow. We collaborate, we are bold, we are innovative, we connect and we lead.
Meet Our Under 40s
Katie Stevens is the Associate Director of Agriculture Business Development and comprises part of OED’s leadership team. She is passionate about the agriculture community and is committed to helping farmers sustain economic viability and continue the tradition of agriculture. For much of 2021, Katie spearheaded two rounds of Ag Innovation Grants to foster innovation and new opportunities for the local farm community to diversify into value added production. Katie is an instrumental resource for craft beverage entrepreneurs – an industry that is rapidly growing and garnering interest in Frederick.
Solash Aviles-Montanez is a Business Development Specialist for the Biotech and Technology Industries. She did not let the pandemic stop her from supporting Frederick County businesses and successfully spotlighting our important Life Sciences industry. She worked closely with Ellume as they chose to settle in Frederick County. Her enthusiasm for her role is getting noticed and she was selected as a finalist for the 2021 BioBuzz Community Builder Award.
“I find it very rewarding to work with projects like Ellume and the Biotech Boot Camp because I can make connections and watch the project come to life.” Solash Aviles-Montanez
Shana Knight is a Senior Business Development Manager leading OED’s Diversity and Inclusion program, including EmPOWER programs and events. She is the primary point of contact for underrepresented businesses needing expansion, location and other economic development services. Shana is in the process of developing a business retention strategy to support, retain and grow underrepresented businesses and the Service industry.
Amanda Lee is the go to person for information. As the Manager of Market Research and Data Analysis she creates presentations and writes for publications such as the economic development bond rating presentation, the economic impact survey, the newsletter and the annual Top 50 publication. Amanda created and maintained our COVID-19 resources webpage and business directories. She cares deeply about her local community and sits on the board of Downtown Frederick Partnership.
Britt Swartzlander is OED’s Marketing Specialist and is the voice of OED. She is often the very first OED point of contact with the public, and she is the social media coordinator. Britt continues to increase our social media presence, keep the public informed and up to date and maneuvers the virtual world to bring our EMPOWER events to the community. She can also be found interviewing businesses around Frederick County for OED’s blog.
Becca Tucker is a Business Development Specialist for Agriculture. Becca is working to help farmers start and expand their operation and economic vitality. She is in the process of developing a plan to expand the Homegrown Frederick Brand and market agriculture producers.
Laura Brown brings creativity and enthusiasm to her role working with youth and young adults. Throughout the pandemic she has used technology to keep youth engaged and making progress towards their employment goals. She led a group of young adults through our Youth Pathways program, teaching them critical soft skills and connecting them to paid internships with local businesses.
Kara Fritz not only successfully leads our youth and young adult workforce programs, she recently achieved a professional milestone by earning her designation as a “Certified Workforce Development Professional” credential from the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals.
Sara Hanewinckel serves the diverse Frederick County community in a caring, professional manner. She is one of the first people many of our job seekers interact with. She provides a warm welcome and introduction to the one on one career coaching and support we provide to job seekers.
Wesley Leatherman is a Business Services Consultant. He put his passion of helping others to work during 2021 and dedicated his time supporting Frederick County businesses as they pivoted and traversed unique times and a unique workforce. Wes creatively utilized a combination of programs and resources as well as funding streams, offered through Frederick County Workforce Services, to develop case-by-case solutions for each engaged business. Wes looks forward to continuing to find innovative strategies for workforce solutions and contributing to the viability of our local employers.
“By understanding the individual concerns and challenge of each business, I was able to help more than 100 businesses take a different approach at attracting, developing, and retaining their workforce.” Wesley Leatherman
Jaz Parks is a recent addition and has joined the workforce youth team. In her role Jaz will connect with our younger residents and help shape the future of the Frederick County workforce. One of the projects she will be working on is finding creative ways to leverage social media as a tool to engage youth in career exploration and talent pipeline development efforts.
Haleigh Sylvester recently joined the department and we are excited to have her on the team. As part of the team working with individuals seeking employment, Haleigh will be developing and delivering a wide range of instructional content for job seekers.
Mark Tumulty is a man of many talents who recently shifted roles within Frederick County Workforce Services. Mark previously supported the department as part of the fiscal team. Looking to expand his professional expertise, Mark has just transitioned to a new position to provide one on one career coaching and support to job seekers.