Entrepreneurs / Hiring / Universities

Power Moves: Hutch incubator found its first director within Maryland’s entrepreneurship scene

Plus, hiring and promotion news from around the region at Fugue, JMI Equity and Loyola University Maryland.

Stephanie Chin joined Fearless as Hutch program manager. (Courtesy photo)

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? Tell us:

An incubator launched by downtown digital services firm Fearless to grow more companies in the government-facing digital services space has named Stephanie Chin as its first full-time program director.

Chin, who brings experience working with students and community members building companies as assistant director of entrepreneurship at MICA and a prior role at Towson University Incubator, started the leadership role with Hutch on Nov. 16. It comes as the program graduated a cohort of five Black-owned companies this month, and is set to kick off programming with a new group in 2021.

After four years working with student and recent alumni, Chin said she wanted to pursue an opportunity to grow by working with the professionals who are founding companies through Hutch. The incubator, launched by Fearless CEO Delali Dzirasa, has a focus on civic tech, and aims to grow the number of women and minority entrepreneurs in the government-facing IT space.

Chin is also active in the local entrepreneurship community, serving on the board of university-focused Innov8MD, makerspace Open Works and Baltimore Business Lending.

“When I think about the Baltimore entrepreneurial ecosystem, I think about so many of the wonderful people who have been supportive along the way, so many of the people that have offered their time and experience to nurture the next wave of entrepreneurs, so I’m excited to be able to continue doing that through Hutch,” Chin said.

With Hutch’s ties to Fearless, leaders with the company will lead sessions and contribute programming for the incubator. In Hutch, Chin sees a potentially replicable model for services firms, with a focus on growing the local base.

“There’s an emphasis on community and there’s an emphasis on having entrepreneurs be civically engaged and thinking about, as they’re building businesses, how they can they be better humans and how can they be doing good work,” Chin said.


Fugue cofounder Josh Stella is returning to the CEO role at the Frederick-based cloud security company, and a former colleague of the outgoing chief is joining as president.

Phillip Merrick, a noted tech CEO in the region who led Reston, Virginia-based webmethods to a record-setting IPO for the region in 2000, is stepping down from the CEO role. Merrick, who also previously led Columbia-based SparkPost, assumed the role in 2018 as the company sought to move from product development toward expanding in several market segments. The company has since launched a SaaS product and posted customer growth, it said.

Though Merrick will be stepping down, Fugue will still have a key leader from webmethods onboard: David Mitchell is joining the company as president, leading go-to-market strategy and operations. Mitchell was previously webmethods’ VP of worldwide sales and has also worked with Appian, Global360 and VersionOne.

Along with stepping in as CEO, Stella will retain the CTO role, and is still chair of the company’s board.


Loyola University Maryland named Dr. Michael Tangrea as an endowed professor focusing on innovation. In the role, he is seeking to expand biohealth research and raising awareness of biohealth careers available in the region, according to a university news release.

The professorship in the university’s department of natural and applied sciences is partially funded by the state Department of Commerce-administered Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund.

Michael Tangrea

Michael Tangrea (Courtesy photo)

It marks a return to York Road, as Dr. Tangrea earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at Loyola. Along with teaching, he will set out to establish a translational research program, and develop courses with Dr. Bill Romani, who is entrepreneur in residence at the university’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. He also plans to team with biology professor Dr. Christopher Thompson to launch a program called BioNavigators, which aims to raise awareness among undergrads of career opportunities in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia region. met Dr. Tangrea when he worked with LifeBridge Health to launch an incubator for biotech companies at North Baltimore’s Sinai Hospital. He has a 20-year career in biotechnology and cancer research, spending most of that at National Cancer Institute in Bethesda.


JMI Equity announced a pair of promotions Tuesday for team members in the private equity firm’s Baltimore office.

Larry Contrella was appointed to general partner. He has been with the firm since 2010, most recently serving as a principal. In the new role, he will continue to source investment opportunities and support portfolio companies.

Maggie Schmitt, who joined the firm in 2009, was appointed to chief financial officer. Previously a principal who oversaw some responsibilities for the firm’s finance team, this promotion will expand her leadership of the firm’s finance and accounting functions.

With these moves, Randy Guttman became general partner and head of operations, moving to that role from CFO.

The 28-year-old firm invests in software companies, and is based locally in Harbor East. It’s one of 75+ investment firms backing tech companies in the region.

Companies: Fearless / Loyola University Maryland
Series: Power Moves

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