Business Outreach Program Planned

Howard County Executive Elizabeth Bobo and real estate developer Kingdon Gould will begin leading an effort this month to learn more about the county's growing business community. Before the end of the year, they hope to recruit at least 135 volunteers willing to visit local companies and ask, "What's it like doing business in Howard County?"

The purpose of the "business outreach program," which is being sponsored by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and the county's Office of Economic Development, is to identify the needs of local businesses, said Julie Koerth, the chamber's executive director.

"We want to know if they are satisfied with the level of police protection and the permit application process, to let them know what resources are there to help them and which ones they'd like to see," Koerth said.

The Chamber of Commerce and the economic development office also will be teaming up in the spring to publish a business directory.

Elkridge Study Funded

The Howard County Office of Planning and Zoning was recently awarded a $10,000 federal grant to study commercial activity in and around historic Elkridge.

County planner Gerald von Mayer said the aim of the project, which will also use $5,000 in county funds, is to develop a plan for revitalizing Elkridge's downtown area that can be used to apply for construction grants.

Von Mayer said that planners will begin their study by reviewing a 1980 general plan of the area and determining what changes have been made since then. A consultant will probably be hired to do a survey of Elkridge residents' unmet needs and to recommend which services would be necessary to support a business community there, he said.

Chamber Honors 4 Women

The Howard County Chamber of Commerce has announced that four women have been chosen to receive the honor of Outstanding Women in Business. The chamber's second annual awards honor one woman in each of the following categories: corporate, public sector, small business and professional.

Chris Pettingill, senior vice president and director of human resources for Paine Webber and the winner in the corporate division, came to Howard County 14 years ago when the Howard Community College recruited her from New York as director of placement and financial aid for the college. She was recently appointed to the board of the Community College Educational Foundation and serves on the community committee for "Education in the Year 2000" for Howard County.

The winner in the public sector is Meg Gerety, the county's director of employment and training. Her office administers federal funds through the Job Training and Partnership Act to income-eligible people who need job training. Gerety is a participant in Gov. William Donald Schaefer's Maryland Summer Program, the Private Industry Council, the Economic Development Advisory Council and the Vo-Tech Advisory Council.

Jacqueline Clark, owner of A Choice Nanny/Babysitting Referrals, won in the small-business division. Clark started the company, dedicated to helping families locate trustworthy day care providers, in 1983. She expects to have 15 franchise locations open by the end of next year. Clark developed a child-care program for employers and developed a child-care career course for Howard Community College's division of continuing education. She trains women in child safety through the American Red Cross and has worked as a counselor for low-income working women in need of child care.

June Roper, a resident of Columbia since 1970 and a financial consultant for Merrill Lynch, is the winner in the professional division. Before her position with Merrill Lynch, she worked for Alex Brown & Sons, a brokerage firm.

Roper was Columbia's first volunteer president of the Columbia Birthday Celebration and has served on the Howard County Hospital Board of Trustees, including two years as chairman.