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Who’s Behind the Scenes: Ellen Hemmerly, Executive Director of bwtech@UMBC

Hemmerly, 58, is executive director of the research and technology park at UMBC.

Catonsville Patch:  Where did you grow up and what brought you to Catonsville?

Ellen Hemmerly:  Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but now I live in Patapsco Woods.  I am married and I have two sons.  I moved here 24 years ago with my husband at the time, who had a position at the Woodholme Center.  I was pregnant with my first child, and I did consulting and part-time work for a few years. I came to this position in 1995.

Patch:  Tell us about your work.

Hemmerly: The mission of the bwtech@UMBC is not only to create good jobs for the region and the State of Maryland, but also to help promote collaboration between the University and the companies here, to provide companies with the resources of a top university and to enable our faculty to do innovative research and our students to work with dynamic new businesses. 

My work here is very varied, which is one of the reasons I’ve been here for so long.  I am responsible for overseeing the facilities and managing the properties that the university owns.  Basically, I act as the intermediary between many different individuals and different departments of the University in the areas of marketing, finance, and personnel.

Patch:  What other activities are you involved with in Catonsville?

Hemmerly:  The university has been very supportive of me being involved in Catonsville.  I am on the board of the .  I served on the 20/20 committee, and I co-chair the chamber’s Economic Development Committee.


Patch:  What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Hemmerly:  Building this park, bwtech North.  I am proud to have been a part of realizing the vision:  building a park that has close communication with the campus.

Patch:  Tell us about someone who had a strong influence on you, personally or professionally.

Hemmerly:  Professor Mark Behn was formerly the vice president for finance and administration here at UMBC.  I worked very closely with him in developing this park and purchasing bwtech South.  Mark was not only a senior executive, he was also very creative and very entrepreneurial.

Also everyone who works at UMBC feels so fortunate to be able to work with Dr. Freeman Hrabowski.  He is a real, significant leader in this country.  He has been very inspirational. 

Patch: What do you consider to be your greatest strength?

Hemmerly:  Most of the time, I am able to look at problems as challenges.  I get bored by routine, so this job really suits me, because every day something new and unexpected arises.

Patch:  What would you most like to improve about yourself?

Hemmerly:  I am impatient, and I get frustrated with bureaucracy.

Patch:  What is one of your unachieved professional goals?

Hemmerly:  We have 100 companies here and we support a lot of entrepreneurs.  I would like us to be seen as more of a regional entrepreneurial hub.

Patch:  Tell us about one of your hobbies.

Hemmerly:  I like to run, I like to read, and I’m hoping, one of these days, to find time to take up pottery again.  I have a potter’s wheel at home that I haven’t touched in a long time.

Patch:  What is your favorite room in your house?

Hemmerly:  I have a few, but it’s probably the family room.  It’s a cozy room with lots of windows, and it’s where I do most of my reading.  Plus it’s central, so I’m still in the middle of everything.

Patch:  Where is your favorite place in the world, other than home?

Hemmerly:  That’s easy, Martha’s Vineyard.  I have a little cottage up there and I’ve been going there for 25 years.


Patch:  What is your favorite thing about Catonsville?

Hemmerly:  Catonsville is convenient to everything:  downtown, DC; it’s a great location.  Also the restaurants, oh, and the park, Patapsco, absolutely the park.  We run there every weekend.

Patch:  What is one thing you would change about Catonsville?

Hemmerly:  I wish residents and business owners would cooperate more with one another to better realize the potential of this community.

Patch:  Share some of your vision for the future of Catonsville.

Hemmerly:  Catonsville could have a better mix of retail, more mixed use housing, and more activities on Frederick Road.  We could make the business district more attractive than it is.  I also would love for Catonsville and UMBC to be better integrated.  There is so much potential for both.

jane willeboordse August 13, 2012 at 09:13 PM
As a research park with 100 companies here and a lot of entrepreneurs, it would be great to by a regional entrepreneurial hub that encourages performance buildings. All of these structures built recently, could support renewable energy and match the state commitment to LEED silver building status. I see little planning for technologically innovative buildings or open space payback to the greater Catonsville area. This park seems to be just another big-box opportunity with no measures for sustainable, teachable architecture. Too bad, opportunity missed.

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