I am honored to serve as the Greater Baltimore Chamber of Commerce’s Chair of the Board. I am grateful to the group of talented professionals who make up our board and to all the members of the Chamber for this opportunity to lead our chamber as we approach our 50th year (2027). There has never been a better time to be a part of this chamber, and the value of being connected to an engaged business community has never been more important. That’s because while the events of the last two years may be unprecedented, the ability of our chamber to support our business community during such economic turmoil is just what we do.

 

In 1977, just two years after the end of the OPEC Oil crisis, three business owners decided to create the Pikesville Chamber to connect the local main street retailers. From there, the Chamber grew and business flourished. In the mid-’80s, businesses began moving away from main streets. Malls were popular! Shortly after that, the Chamber hired its first Executive Director in 1988.

 

A main street revitalization effort in Pikesville followed, and the Chamber began to expand its reach. Then came the dot.com crisis and the Great Recession. With each new challenge, the Chamber was able to adapt and guide our local businesses. 2023 and beyond will be no different.

Now we have the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. I want to thank Immediate Past Chair Marc Hertzberg for his brilliant leadership during these difficult times, and our Board of Directors for their commitment to all of us.

 

We live and work in one of the most unique business and residential communities in the state. The Chamber serves Northwest Baltimore and Pikesville on one end of Reisterstown Road, and businesses all the way up to Reisterstown on the other end. Sandwiched in between we have one of Baltimore County’s two designated growth corridors, Owings Mills.

 

I drive these communities every day. My children attend preschool and public schools in Pikesville, Owings Mills, and Reisterstown. My insurance business is right next to the Owings Mills Post Office, and my home is near Foundry Row. The Greater Baltimore community is a place people want to invest in, and the Chamber is here to make sure it is a safe place people want to live, work, and play.

 

You’ve seen the growth here. You’ve watched it with your own eyes as projects like Foundry Row, Mill Station, and Metro Centre shape our community. CCBC and Stevenson University offer top-notch educations and contribute to our workforce. We watch as new homes spring up every year. And then, we come together at signature community events hosted by the Greater Baltimore Chamber of Commerce, like the Heads & Tails Pikesville 5K, the Pikesville Farmers Market, the Metro Centre Holiday Tree Lighting, and our Fall Festival at the Quarry.

 

Our chamber is at the heart of our community. If you’ve been watching, now is the time to join. Together, We are Building a Greater Baltimore!

Sincerely,

John

John Kneisly
Chair, Greater Baltimore Chamber Board of Directors
State Farm Insurance, the Kneisly Team

What Chamber Members Are Saying:

"Being an active member of the Chamber is such a meaningful & rewarding experience. The number of resources, networking opportunities, and connections throughout the county that come with being a member has made my time here well spent. Along with the Chamber’s resources, I’ve also received an enormous amount of support during the pandemic and with my business that I would not have received without my membership."

Heidi Hiller, CEO of Innovative Party Planners

"The Greater Baltimore Chamber of Commerce has given me a greater appreciation for entrepreneurship and insight into running a small business.  The networking opportunities are priceless. I’ve had the privilege to meet so many like-minded business owners who are passionate about their craft.  I’ve been a member since 2018 and have witnessed the chamber go through so many obstacles and changes, but the camaraderie, support, and willingness to rally together in tough times really sets this chamber apart.  As a business owner, it’s refreshing to know that this resource exists whose mission is to help us thrive and grow through networking, partnerships, and giving back to our community."

Kimberly Fernandez, Owner of Girlkin Lashes

"The Greater Baltimore Chamber of Commerce is a crucial pillar of my business plan. The Chamber offers direct support relevant to my strategies for growth and sustainability. GBCC connects me with business owners and consumers in the community and fosters the relationship-building process. I find colleagues and business partners within the Chamber, and more importantly, reach clients outside the organization. My GBCC membership keeps my services and brand ‘top of mind’ and is a key aspect of my direct and drip marketing efforts. I show up and participate, and the GBCC model delivers."

Heidi Marie Bell, Owner at Heidi Marie Bell Photography

"The Greater Baltimore Chamber of Commerce feels like home! It’s great to be around like-minded business owners who are invested in our community. These types of organizations are meant to be more than just a title, more than just a resume builder, but an impactful experience, and that can be found here. There’s passion at every event the chamber hosts, and I guarantee that if you’re invested and genuine about networking, you’ll find meaningful connections at the very first event you attend. I did!"

Marcellis Mosby II, Owner at Disinfect It

"Joining the Greater Baltimore Chamber of Commerce was one of the best decisions for our business. We have been in business for 9 years and belong to many chambers and business associations. This has by far been the best! Beth and team do exactly what a chamber is supposed to do: they support your business, help you generate leads, and promote your business. They hold networking and events that will help your business grow!"

Joni Elmore, Owner at Kona Ice of Central Baltimore County

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