A Week In Business – December 1, 2023

A Week In Business – December 1, 2023
Blue Water Development's managed property honored as a cherished outdoor western experience for 60 years. Blue Water Development recently announced that its Sun Outdoors Frontier Town property has been named Mega Park of the Year Award at the 2023 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE), formerly known as the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) Awards. Above, Blue Water representatives are pictured with the company’s award. Submitted Photo

Promotions, New Hires

BERLIN – Taylor Bank is pleased to announce a series of recent leadership promotions and new hires.

Debbie Rickards was promoted to branch operations manager. In this position, Rickards will oversee branch operations for multiple branches in partnership with our regional branch managers. In addition, she will assess and mitigate risk through inspection of our processes. Rickards has been a member of the Taylor Bank team since 2018.

Shawn Jacobs was promoted to branch manager of the South Ocean City branch. Jacobs joined Taylor Bank in June of 2021 as customer service associate. He was promoted to team leader in 2022. In his new role, Jacobs will be responsible for oversight of the overall operation of the South Ocean City office.

Chris Murphy has joined the bank as branch manager of the North Ocean City branch. Murphy brings with her years of banking experience in Sussex County, where she has served in branch manager and relationship manager roles with Citizens Bank, County Bank and M&T Bank.

Kathy Warren was promoted to senior loan operations coordinator. A member of the Taylor Bank team since 2014, Warren previously served as senior loan processor and loan operations manager. In her new role, Warren will be the subject matter expert for the loan department, focusing on special projects, policy development, training, and processing complex loans.

Tammy Zink has joined the bank as loan operations manager. Zink brings with her 16 years of banking experience, where she has served in branch manager, loan officer, and loan processing roles. She will be responsible for loan closing and servicing functions, including leading the loan operations team.

Kristie Johnson has joined the bank as branch manager of the main office. Johnson brings with her 18 years of banking experience with banks including Wells Fargo, WSFS and Bank of America, formerly serving as senior branch manager for PNC in the Ocean City market.

Kayleigh Yarris has joined the bank as branch manager of the Ocean Pines branch. Yarris brings with her years of experience in branch management and personal banker roles with PNC Bank, Shore Bank and Fulton Bank. She is active in the community, volunteering for such organizations as the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce and Worcester Connects.

“It is a pleasure to congratulate Debbie, Shawn, and Kathy on their promotions and to welcome Chris, Tammy, Kristie, and Kayleigh to our team of outstanding banking professionals,” said Ray Thompson, president and CEO of Taylor Bank. “We look forward to the contributions their skills will provide to our banking operations, our customers, and our stockholders.”


Developer Recognized

SALISBURY – Gillis Gilkerson Founder Palmer Gillis was recently presented with the 2023 Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame award.

Gillis Gilkerson November

Palmer Gillis

The 2023 Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce and Wicomico County Tourism Annual Awards Luncheon, held on Oct. 26, boasted nearly 200 attendees. Each year, the awards luncheon acknowledges a variety of honorees for individual and professional achievements, however the Hall of Fame distinction is reserved for exceptional cases.

Recognizing the remarkable 40-year journey of Gillis Gilkerson in the business realm, the chamber found it fitting to confer the prestigious Hall of Fame honor upon Gillis in the same celebratory year.

The Hall of Fame award acknowledges an individual who has exhibited a history of career achievement, a sustained commitment to the advancement of the region through unselfish leadership, a commitment to making a difference and unparalleled professionalism among their peers.  Gillis accepted the award from Maurice Ames, executive director for Maryland Capital Enterprises, an organization for which Gillis has a long history of fervent support.  Community-minded with a passion for economic development, downtown development, and the preservation of historic structures, Palmer has devoted much of his time and efforts to local community boards such as the Salisbury Wicomico Chamber of Commerce, the TidalHealth Foundation, Salisbury University Foundation, Greater Salisbury Committee, Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development, Salisbury Wicomico Planning and Zoning, and the Downtown Salisbury Committee, just to name a few.

“This community and its leaders made it possible for Gillis Gilkerson to succeed,” Gillis said, as he accepted the award.  “Having leaders who all pull in the same direction is what makes a community succeed.”

A graduate of James M. Bennet High School and Salisbury University, Gillis drafted a business plan in the back of his Printing Plus office in downtown Salisbury in 1983 that would become Gillis Builders and soon broke ground on its first projects in Ocean City, Md. Gillis emphasizes that immediately upon obtaining his business license, his inaugural order of business was to become a member of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce.

Over 40 years and more than 2,000 major construction projects, Gillis, his partners, and team members transformed a small commercial construction firm into one of the largest, most versatile full-service general contractors on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Over the years, Gillis’ official role has changed from president to CEO, principal and now founder, but he has remained actively involved in many of the projects the company pursues.


College Unionizes

SALISBURY – Empowering themselves to improve working and learning conditions, the full-time faculty at Wor-Wic Community College (WWCC) have decided to unionize with the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA).

On October 27, the Public Employee Relations Board certified MSEA as the faculty’s bargaining agent.

“We advocated for years to give community college employees greater voice and strength,” said MSEA President Cheryl Bost. “Having union representation will improve their working conditions, economic livelihood, and the learning environment for community college faculty and their students.”

“I want WWCC to be the best community college it can be and that can only be done with a union helping to protect our rights and provide the unified voice we need to create an environment that professors will thrive in,” said WWCC computer studies professor and faculty organizer Kevin Justice.

Community college faculty obtained the right to organize through collective bargaining legislation, House Bill 894/Senate Bill 746, that MSEA and other labor allies advocated to pass in 2021. The law allowed faculty to begin organizing in the second half of 2022.

MSEA has raised awareness about the power of union voice, the success of organizing to improve working conditions, and the benefits of membership in a union of 75,000 educators across the state and three million across the country who will support their colleagues.