Talking the Talk

Today’s episode of the Maryland Construction Network includes newly released information from two Maryland government agencies.

First, the Department of Assessments and Taxation unveiled on March 12th the Maryland Business Express, a new website that will make it easier for Maryland’s small business owners and entrepreneurs to plan, start, manage, and grow their business. Accessible at businessexpress.maryland.gov, the new site combines information previously spread across many state agencies into one, easy-to-navigate site, while also providing a clear outline of the steps involved in starting a business.

Maryland Business Express also features a digital assistant designed to communicate with and deliver guidance to Marylanders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Since taking office, our administration has been committed to ensuring Maryland is Open for Business, and since that time, we have become one of the top states in the country for entrepreneurial business growth,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Now, Maryland Business Express will make it easier than ever to start a business, and will provide quick access to the many tools and resources that Maryland agencies have to offer to support our small business job creators.”

“Our Department’s goal is to allow Marylanders to interact with the state any time it’s convenient for them, and the new Maryland Business Express will move us closer to that goal than ever before,” said SDAT Director Michael Higgs. “This new website will be a tremendous benefit to Maryland’s business community, and the feedback we receive will allow us to continually update content to better suit their needs.”

Over the past few years, SDAT has focused on making government services more accessible to the hundreds of thousands of Maryland businesses that interact with the Department annually. Recent efforts to provide more services online have resulted in dramatic improvements in processing times, including a reduction from 10 to four weeks to start a business. Today, more than 50 percent of all documents are filed online, 40 percent of which occur outside of normal business hours and 20 percent of which are done through a mobile device. SDAT’s online services process more than 250,000 transactions annually.

Second, on March 10th, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) released Additional Guidance including Model Policies and Updated FAQs to the recently implemented Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.

To date, the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance received more than 2,000 emails from employers and employees with specific questions about complying with the law. The most common of these questions have been compiled into a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document, available at www.dllr.maryland.gov/paidleave.

In addition to the updated FAQs, the department has provided an updated employee notice poster for your place of business, and model policies for your employee handbook or other employee benefits documents. These resources are also available on the paid leave website.

These documents will assist employers with compliance as well as facilitating a discussion with employees regarding their rights under the law. Responses are preliminary and subject to change. Please note that the department cannot provide legal advice regarding specific employer leave policies or employee exemptions under the law. These documents are for informational purposes and are intended to provide general guidance to employers and employees about the requirements of the law.

Further, Governor Larry Hogan issued Executive Order 01.01.2018.04 creating the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance to assist small businesses in complying with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. Questions can be sent to this office at small.business@maryland.gov.

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MCN is proud to be featured in the 2017 Fall/Winter edition of The Blue Book’s “The Who’s Who In Building & Construction” magazine. Please read the “behind the scenes” story of MCN and see how MCN has changed the face of construction industry associations.

You can place your cursor over the picture and scroll down to read the article or use the controls at the bottom of the graphic to view the pdf.

Blue Book Features MCN

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The 2nd Annual Maryland Construction Industry Survey, hosted by Gross Mendelsohn & Associates in conjunction with MCN, is now open and ready for your participation. Our survey is designed to determine the state of the construction industry while identifying areas of optimism and concern for all companies involved in the construction process in Maryland. We sincerely hope you will take 10 minutes or less to participate in this important survey. The larger the sample group, the better the data. More than 200 companies participated in our 2016 survey.

Gross Mendelson’s Steve Ball will present the survey results at Maryland Construction Network’s May 4th, 2017 Direct Connect Networking Event. Information provided from the survey will allow you to measure and compare your company to others doing business within the state. Survey data will also help you identify trends and markets to examine and target for upcoming work.

As always, your responses and private information will be kept confidential. Participants will be entered into a drawing for a $500 Home Depot Gift Card.

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The following links will open pdf’s of the three PowerPoint presentations delivered at MCN’s March Direct Connect meeting in February.

Frederick County Public Schools

Frederick County Department of Economic Development

Howard County Economic Forecast

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Rob Bertazon - Host and Moderator of The Maryland Construction Network

Rob Bertazon – Host and Moderator of The Maryland Construction Network

I recorded another MCN podcast on December 10th with Steve Ball, a partner with Gross Mendelsohn CPA’s. We were taping a segment about succession planning to help make people aware of the importance of this vital, but often overlooked, part of the business plan.

Steve will be giving a seminar on February 17th for anyone interested in learning more about the reason for having an exit plan, variables to consider, different types of exit strategies and many other aspects of the process. Let me simply say that if your company does not have a succession plan in place at this time, there is no better place for you to be on February 17th than at this presentation.

Steve and I have recorded podcasts together a few times before and I always enjoy going to the GM offices because it affords me an opportunity to talk about the construction industry with an extremely knowledgeable and well-informed individual who is not a construction person. I get a whole different perspective on the industry and Steve always brings to light new information from the technical side of his profession (accounting) that I may have never considered.

Reflecting upon the time spent with Steve made me realize what I really enjoy about podcasting and why I have been drawn to it. It is that I get a chance to relay quality information to construction professionals which is not always readily available, and to do it in a very relaxed and easily accessible manner. And since it doesn’t cost anything to listen, everyone gets to learn without breaking the bank. That’s especially nice.

Sometime in the future I think I will do a program (in a little different format) where I will show the people not familiar with the different ways to access podcasts how to take advantage of this media. It really is as easy as turning on a mobile device.

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MCN’s 1st Anniversary for Memberships

April 26th 2013. That was the day MCN accepted it’s very first membership application. A year (and two weeks) later MCN has 189 members. That averages to exactly 1 new member every other day. Not every other work day, but every other day! Only a year or so in business, MCN is already one of the largest […]

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Out and About

MCN had a very busy week making the rounds at various events this past week. It was good to see so many of our present “connections” as well as to meet so many new people we hope will make their “connection” in the near future. Both the Meet the Primes event and the Blue Book […]

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