(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
On Thursday afternoon, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot stepped outside one of the offices at Baltimore incubator Emerging Technology Centers to recognize a company that works inside.
Franchot presented Dundalk Dan’s Awesome Beef Jerky with a proclamation and a Comptroller’s Medallion in recognition of growth of the locally-made product so far. In his role as the state’s chief tax collector, Franchot looks to recognize small businesses and visit their headquarters. The comptroller makes regular stops, and also visited Tulkoff Food Products, Vinny’s Café and Key Brewing on Thursday, according to a spokesperson.
“This inspires me for the future. Baltimore city, I keep saying, buy local, shop local, live local,” Franchot said to assembled entrepreneurs and other workers at ETC, standing alongside Dundalk Dan’s Founder Dan Dawes and ETC President Deb Tillett.
Dawes is a cofounder of ETC–based digital CRM agency Response Labs. He began making beef jerky at home with his family in Dundalk in 2012. After bringing it to work to pass around, he quickly found approval. “Being the entrepreneur that I am that’s really all the fuel that I needed and I started taking it to the next level,” he said. The company began selling nationwide in 2016, and now has four flavors.
The business now works with about 60 retailers, and is sold through its website. The team also attends plenty of events. Dundalk Dan’s has its own office at ETC next to Response Labs, where orders are fulfilled. Dawes said they also started selling on Amazon.
“When you do that you’re able to leverage arguably the best logistics company in the world…on top of that they have an audience of the whole world,” Dawes said.
For Dawes, the visit from the comptroller represented a public-facing high point for a company where wins are often measured in day-to-day orders. He said being surrounded by creative people getting things done at ETC helps provide motivation.
“It’s not often that you get an email from the comptroller of your state and they want to give you a citation because you’re doing new things, you’re creating products, you’re creating value in the economy. And for them to come out and share it with the Beehive and the other folks at ETC is super cool,” he said.
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