Towson leader to give `a little shot of energy'

Change: Ann Mondell-Richard takes over a business committee and looks toward redevelopment.

October 13, 2003|By David Anderson | David Anderson,SUN STAFF

For Ann Mondell-Richard, becoming executive director of the Greater Towson Committee is a logical step in a long career working on behalf of Towson businesses.

"It was really kind of a natural progression for me," the 39-year-old Baltimore resident said. "I've worked in Towson for 10 years, and it just made sense for me to focus on Towson. This area has come so far, but it can go further; there's definitely some room for redevelopment."

Since 1979, the committee, originally called the Towson Development Corp., has worked to bring businesses to Towson.

Mondell-Richard served for 10 years as marketing and public relations director for the Towson-based Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce. Her new office is down the hall from that of the chamber.

She was selected for the position late last month and started work two weeks ago. Her predecessor, Don McCulloh, retired in July.

As executive director, Mondell-Richard said she wants to give the committee "a little shot of energy." She will work to increase membership and push members to serve on the group's marketing, planning and government relations panels.

"We're really a voice for business, and the more members you have, the bigger that voice is," Mondell-Richard said.

A top priority will be filling empty storefronts in downtown Towson, an area that has sparked revitalization efforts in recent years.

Stuart D. Kaplow, president of the committee, noted that the group helped Starbucks with its plans to open a drive-through coffee shop on the site of an abandoned gas station at the southern end of Towson.

The committee works with the county government to create a favorable business climate and helps those seeking to open businesses to navigate the county bureaucracy, Kaplow said.

"I think a lot of Annie's role will be advocacy on the part of Towson," he added.

Kaplow said Mondell-Richard was selected from "several dozen" applicants based on her experience in the county and her strong relationships with members of the board of directors, established through her work with the Chamber of Commerce.

Since starting two weeks ago, Mondell-Richard has been meeting with the board of directors, establishing a database of the committee's 40 members and reconnecting the office to the Internet.

"It's basically starting from scratch," she said. "It's everything involved in starting up a new program."

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