Power Moves: A look at recent hiring and leadership changes around Baltimore's tech community - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Oct. 15, 2018 5:21 pm

Power Moves: A look at recent hiring and leadership changes around Baltimore’s tech community

Our column looks at news from companies, universities and boards around the region.

The Baltimore skyline.

(Photo via Wikimedia user Nfutvol)

Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, new gig or promotion? Email us.


Nick Hammond was recently named Executive Director of Entrepreneurship at Towson University. In the new role, he will be responsible for “integrating, unifying and strategizing entrepreneurial activities already happening on campus,” according to TU. Those activities include the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Towson University Incubator, where he will provide oversight and support.

“I am looking forward to my new role at Towson that will allow me to join the team of a larger institution and have a significantly larger positive impact on students and faculty,” Hammond told us via emial. I see this move as taking a larger role in growing the next generation of innovators for the Maryland region.

Hammond joined TU from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, where he was associate vice president for innovation and economic development. He worked with entrepreneurs at Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, and oversaw creation of the Harbor Launch incubator at the Inner Harbor research center.

“During my time at IMET, I have had a chance to create and lead many programs and projects that support the idea of turning the region into a biotech hub,” Hammond said. “I have enjoyed my time at IMET integrating academia and industry at the interface of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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Lindsay D’Ambrosio, who served as the founding manager of Harbor Launch, recently started a new role as Venture Development Director for the University System of Maryland. The new role didn’t require a move from Baltimore, as she is based out of Inner Harbor’s Columbus Center.

“As the founding manager of Harbor Launch at IMET, I had accomplished the goal of starting up. At the same time, this opportunity to help more entrepreneurs throughout the ecosystem was too good to pass up,” she said. “I’m excited for both of our next phases.”

USM helps coordinate activities between the dozen public institutions and two regional higher education centers in the state. In the role, D’Ambrosio will help find ways that the system can work toward economic development goals together, and help to develop and create resources for the whole system. Last year, USM launched the Maryland Momentum Fund, which provided a new source of venture funding for startups in the university community

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“Pragmatically, I’m looking at it as how can we smartly bolster resources and opportunities for Maryland innovators and entrepreneurs,” she said. As such, D’Ambrosio plans to remain a familiar face in the local tech community.

“I want to make sure the projects that we work on are meeting the needs of entrepreneurs and innovators. If I’ve learned anything from working with startups, it’s been that you can’t assume you know what the customers need,” she said.

[Check out both IMET-related job openings in this month’s On the Market.]

Nick Hammond and Lindsay D'Ambrosio. ((Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Nick Hammond and Lindsay D’Ambrosio. ((Photo by Stephen Babcock)

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Chris Jeffery was removed as CEO of Seattle-based cannabis recommendation site Leafly, according to a report in GeekWire. Jeffery, the cofounder and former CEO of Baltimore food delivery company OrderUp, joined Leafly in November 2017. Here’s the full text of a statement issued by Zack Hutson, vice president of corporate affairs with Privateer Holdings, which is Leafly’s parent company:

“On September 24 2018,  the Board of Directors of Leafly removed Chris Jeffery from his role as Chief Executive Officer. The Board made the decision to replace Mr. Jeffery as CEO after careful consideration due to concerns about his management of the company. The Board has full confidence in Leafly’s senior leadership team and has initiated a search for a new CEO. Out of respect for Mr. Jeffery and the contributions he has made to Leafly, we are not going to go into detail about the circumstances surrounding his departure. The Board’s decision was not a reflection of the state of the business. Leafly is experiencing rapid growth with more than 150 employees on the ground in 5 countries and 7 states. The health of Leafly’s business and the strength of the company’s team are stronger than ever before. We have never been more excited about the global growth prospects in front of the company. “

Over the summer, Leafly opened a Baltimore office as its East Coast hub, which remains in operation, Hutson said.

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The Baltimore Development Corporation on Monday said Benjamin Seigel will serve as Baltimore Opportunity Zones Coordinator. Seigel recently concluded a stint as the inaugural executive director of Johns Hopkins University’s 21st Century Cities Initiative. 

Opportunity Zones were created as part of the federal 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to provide tax incentives for investment in underserved areas. Of the 149 designated Census tracts in Maryland, 42 are in Baltimore city.

Seigel will work to provide information about opportunity zones, create a comprehensive plan for the opportunity zones in the city, identify investors and match projects.

He also has federal government experience, having previously served as a senior advisor to former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and the initial team lead for an Obama administration task force focusing on Baltimore.

The position was funded through a grant from the Abell Foundation.

Baltimore city is well positioned to leverage resources presented by the Opportunity Zones,” Abell Foundation President Robert C. Embry, Jr., said in a statement. “Mr. Seigel brings a unique skill set that positions him to lead this effort to bring economic investment and new jobs to Baltimore.”

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Kerrie Carden joined Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures as Director of Student Ventures over the summer. Last month, we met Carden at the university’s new FastForward U space for student entrepreneurs in Remington. In the role, she is overseeing that space and another in East Baltimore, as well as leading the initiative’s efforts to serve as an entry point for students interested in entrepreneurship and support for businesses that are getting started.

There are not too many institutions that are centralizing resources in this way for student entrepreneurship

A Maryland native, Carden moved to Baltimore from Boston, where she held a leadership role at a startup. She previously worked as a vice president at Maryland Energy Advisors. While there, she mentored with JHU’s Social Innovation Lab and met then-director Darius Graham, who later became Director of Student Ventures and recently departed for a new role at the Weinberg Foundation.

Carden said she is interested in helping students from the “curious to the committed,” and lowering barriers to entry to start something new.

“This is not just a place for founders,” she said. “It’s meant for anybody who wants to solve problems.”

Kerrie Carden, Director of Student Ventures at Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures, inside FastForward U Homewood.

Kerrie Carden, Director of Student Ventures at Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures, inside FastForward U Homewood.

Evergreen Advisors named Sam DiPaola as President. DiPaola joined the Baltimore-based middle market investment banking and corporate advisory firm after departing a role as Market President of SunTrust Bank Maryland.

Having spent 20 years in financial services and corporate development, DiPaola has closed deals ranging between $50-$1 billion, according to Evergreen. In the four years he was market president, his team produced growth each year. CEO Rick Kohr called him “a perfect fit for Evergreen in terms of vision, values, and reputation for strategically guiding clients to meet their goals.”

DiPaola said Evergreen’s work in the local community, including involvement with EAGB as well as tech incubators like ETC and bwtech@UMBC, was a key motivator in joining the team.

“I’m joining Evergreen Advisors not only because they’re an exceptional group of financial professionals but also because they’re focused on making a positive impact in the Baltimore community,” he said in a statement. “The Evergreen philosophy of building long-term relationships across a variety of industries in the region is an ideal fit for me.

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Todd Marks, CEO of Baltimore-based tech and creative agency Mindgrub, was named chair of the Maryland Tech Council’s executive committee. Marks succeeds Rene LaVigne as chair of the committee overseeing the trade association that was formed in 2017 after a merger of the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council and Tech Council of Maryland.

“As a long-time supporter of the MTC, I am both humbled and energized by the new responsibility with which I’ve been entrusted,” Marks said in a statement. “I am a passionate believer that the technology and life sciences sectors will be responsible for solving some of our region’s most challenging problems, and that supporting our state’s innovative business leaders will lead to positive change for all Marylanders.”

The news comes a few weeks after the Maryland Tech Council named Marty Rosendale as its new CEO.

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News of a pair of moves on boards that fall under the umbrella of TEDCO was announced in recent weeks.

The quasi-public Maryland agency that provides support to early-stage tech companies said Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Tina Williams-Koroma to its board of directors. Williams-Koroma is the CEO of TCecure, a Silver Spring–based cybersecurity company. She also serves as an adjunct professor at UMBC’s Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity.

“I am confident that Ms. Williams-Koroma’s notable experience, as well as her entrepreneurial enthusiasm and focus on promoting STEM education initiatives, will be a significant asset to TEDCO’s Board,” Hogan said in a statement.

Tina Williams-Koroma joined TEDCO's board. (Courtesy photo)

Tina Williams-Koroma joined TEDCO’s board. (Courtesy photo)

TEDCO also announced new board members for the Maryland Innovation Initiative, which provides funding and programming to promote commercialization of research across Johns Hopkins, Morgan State, UMBC, UMB and UMD.

New board members of MII include:

  • Renee Winsky, President and CEO of Leadership Maryland, who previously served as President and Executive Director of TEDCO.
  • Wendy Martin, Director of Technology Development at UMBC.
  • Dr. Willie May, the former Director of National Institute of Standards and Technology who was appointed VP of Research and Economic Development at Morgan State University earlier this year.

Along with the new board members, TEDCO said current board member and Associate Director of Johns Hopkins FastForward Nina Urban was elected to serve as Vice-Chair of the MII Board.

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