Six of Region’s Top Businesses to Be Recognized During 9th Annual Leading Edge Awards, June 17

Southern Maryland’s leading businesses and executives will be honored at the ninth annual Leading Edge Awards ceremony, beginning at 6 p.m., June 17 at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center, Waldorf.

The annual event celebrates individuals and businesses that spur economic growth within the region, and this year’s honorees exemplify the qualities synonymous with business success: performance excellence, innovation and an unwavering dedication to customers and staff.

“The organizations and individuals that comprise our Leading Edge Award recipients this year showcase the highest level of excellence of Southern Maryland’s business community,” said Alan Kutz, vice president of the Corporate and Community Training Institute at the College of Southern Maryland.

Among those to be recognized this year are Wyle, Keep It Simple Computer Training, St. Mary’s Hospital Chief Executive Officer Christine Wray, Port Tobacco Consulting, LLC, The Carol M. Porto Treatment Center and Compass Systems, Inc.

Co-hosting this year’s Leading Edge Awards with CSM are the Calvert County Department of Economic and Community Development, the Charles County Technology Council, the Patuxent Partnership, and the Small Business Development Center for the Southern Region of Maryland (SBDC). 

CEO of the Year, to be presented by CSM’s Corporate Center, is Christine Wray, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Hospital since 1992. Wray has been the driving force in establishing St. Mary’s Hospital as a jewel among healthcare organizations in the United States. She earned a bachelor of arts from The Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in Health Planning and Administration from The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She serves as a representative to state and national healthcare organizations and is active in the community, serving as a member of the Southern Maryland Naval Alliance and the Rotary Club. During Wray’s tenure, St. Mary’s Hospital was named as one of only four hospitals within Maryland to achieve the Delmarva Foundation’s Gold Achievement Award for Quality of patient care.

Keep It Simple Computer Training will be recognized as the Calvert County Technology Company of the Year, presented by the Calvert County Department of Economic Development. Since 1993, Keep It Simple Computer Training has offered top quality instructor-led computer software training classes to corporations and individuals in Southern Maryland. Whether provided on-site at a customer's location or in its own comfortable classrooms, programs are designed to help individuals pursue advancement by developing their computer skills and delivering measurable performance improvements, increased profitability for companies and better productivity for employees. Keep It Simple also gives back to the community by supporting several non-profit agencies with financial contributions and pro bono computer training service and training.

Port Tobacco Consulting, LLC will be recognized as Charles County Technology Company of the Year, presented by the Charles County Technology Council. Port Tobacco Consulting was awarded prime contractor status for the Navy’s SeaPort-e contract, and has experienced steady growth with revenues projected for 2009 approaching $1 million. Its accomplishments include leading the development and application of the Maryland Virtual Emergency Response System in Charles County as a prototype and model for future statewide implementation, and leading an Integrated Program Team approach to developing facilities for the Indian Head Science and Technology Park in Bryans Road and the Indian Head Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center. Under its newly launched publishing division of “PTC Press,” Port Tobacco Consulting is collaborating with the Indian Head Division to capture the scientific knowledge of their aging workforce in a series of textbooks that will benefit their future workforce.

Compass Systems, Inc. will be recognized as the Patuxent Partnership Member Firm of the Year, presented by the Patuxent Partnership. Compass Systems, founded in 1997, is a customer-focused, full-spectrum engineering services and program management firm employing 80 full-time professionals and support staff.  As both a prime and a sub-contractor, Compass engages in all government and Navy acquisition program phases and primarily focuses on military avionics systems, unmanned vehicles and surveillance and video/imagery solutions.  Its customer base, although mainly the Navy, includes the Army, Marines, Air Force and other Department of Defense (DOD) agencies. Compass has experienced phenomenal growth for 2008 with revenue from sales growing more than 138 percent over 2007 to $20.5 million. It has also emerged from relative obscurity in the past three years to become a respected member of the defense community. Since 2005, the company has grown 327 percent.

Wyle will be recognized with the Partnership in Education Award, presented by CSM. As one of the nation’s leading providers of specialized engineering services to the Department of Defense (DOD) and a variety of commercial clients, Wyle serves its customers in the areas of test and evaluation, systems engineering and information technology, life cycle and acquisition program management, life sciences research, space medical operations and engineering, and qualification testing for natural and induced environments. Founded in 1949, Wyle employs approximately 4,200 professionals at more than 40 facilities throughout the United States with more than 800 employed in Southern Maryland. Wyle is committed to the professional development of its employees and looks to the College of Southern Maryland to provide training in many areas including the Grassroots Leadership Workshop and courses in public speaking and communication. In addition to using CSM as an educational provider, Wyle is a supporter of the College of Southern Maryland Foundation.

The Carol M. Porto Treatment Center will be recognized as Small Business of the Year, presented by the Small Business Development Center. The treatment center is a state-certified residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment program for adults. Having recently moved to a new 15,000-square-foot building in Calvert County, the center has expanded to 48 beds for in-patient care. It provides patients with a weight room, recreation rooms for men and women, special needs areas for the handicapped, and a chapel. The center’s program, originally designed for DWI offenders, has expanded to treat alcohol and other drug addictions. Each of their therapists has been trained at the master’s degree level and Carol Porto personally has more than 24 years of experience in the implementation and management of short- and long-term residential treatment. Statewide evaluation studies show that the Carol M. Porto Treatment Center has achieved the highest success rate for clients completing the entire 28-day program as compared to similar residential programs.

The Leading Edge Awards program will include a reception and banquet, 6 to 9:30 p.m., June 17 at the Jaycees Hall in Waldorf. Platinum sponsors for this year’s LEA include Comcast, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Southern Maryland Newspapers and CSM. Gold sponsors include Chaney Enterprises, Community Bank of Tri-County, Indian Head Division Naval Surface Warfare Center, PNC Bank, St. Mary’s Hospital and Wyle. Silver sponsors include Charles County Technology Council, Constellation Energy, Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland.

For information about sponsorship opportunities or tickets, call 301-934-7585 or 301-870-2309, Ext. 7585 for Charles County; 240-725-5499, Ext. 7585 for St. Mary’s County or 443-550-6199, Ext. 7585 for Calvert County or visit