Every year, FSC First recognizes employees and clients who have contributed exceptionally to our mission and the community. These businesses and individuals exemplify our commitment to excellence and share our dedication to improving the health of Maryland’s economy.
Woman-Owned Business of the Year
The Superior Martial Arts Academy
Owner: Marvara Isaac
Owned by skilled practitioner Marvara Isaac, The Superior Martial Arts Academy enriches children physically and mentally. In addition to offering classes for students of all skill levels aged five and older, the Academy is also a licensed childcare facility with a team of professionals that provides before and after-school programs, summer camps, and other educational programming needs for students in kindergarten through 7th grade.
Veteran-Owned Business of the Year
Keller Williams Preferred Properties
Owners: Emerick Peace and Patricia Long
With 558 agents, Keller Williams Preferred Properties is the leading real estate brokerage in Prince George’s County. Emerick Peace is an Air Force veteran and the company’s visionary leader, while Patricia Long oversees day-to-day operations. They’re also involved with philanthropic endeavors like participating in Habitat for Humanity builds and leading free homeowner education and financial literacy programs.
Strategic Partner of the Year
Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation
The Economic Development Corporation, or EDC, works tirelessly with FSC First to promote the attraction, expansion, and retention of businesses throughout Prince George’s County. One program, the Prince George’s County $50 Million Economic Development Incentive Fund, has created and retained over 14,000 jobs and awarded $45.7 million. This, in turn, supported 62 projects that leveraged over $1.33 billion. FSC First and the EDC worked together during the pandemic to award more than $37 million to more than 1,700 businesses in Prince George’s County.
Community Partner of the Year
Ron Hopkins, Director of Economic Development, City of Mount Rainier
In his role with the City of Mount Rainier, Ron Hopkins has been a tireless advocate for the city’s well-being and the overall economic growth of Prince George’s County. Ron has partnered with FSC First’s Level Up Program to help offer educational initiatives to a wider range of business owners.
Bank Partner of the Year
Pamela Scott, M&T Bank
M&T Bank is one of 11 banks in FSC’s Small Business Growth Fund’s bank pool that provides financing for our SBA Community Advantage Program, with Pam Scott serving as the bank representative for the pool. In her role, Pam has helped provide the most loan referrals and has proven to be an enthusiastic and exceptional partner.
Trailblazer of the Year
Ken White, Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce
Ken White has been a friend, fierce supporter, and advocate of FSC First for over 20 years, even before assuming his role as Executive Director of the Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce. He has served on FSC First’s loan review committee, multiple advisory committees, and as the Chair of the Board of Directors. Ken continues to be a major influence in the mission to expand equity and access to minority businesses throughout the State of Maryland.
Shelly Gross-Wade Legacy Grant
The inaugural round of this grant will be presented to two businesses.
Southern Belle Cleaners
Southern Belle Cleaners has been open since 2020, uses eco-friendly products, and boasts an experienced environmental engineer janitorial team. CEO Emmalyne Head has attended several Level Up programs hosted by FSC First and partners
Honeycomb Nursing & Concierge Services
Honeycomb Nursing & Concierge Services offers many high-quality resources, ranging from lactation consultants and postpartum support to post-surgical care and transportation to appointments. Deborah and Marlon Ragin have regularly attended Level Up programs hosted by FSC First partners, including the City of Mt. Rainier and the Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce.
Minority-Owned Business of the Year
Cori’s Modern Kitchen + Bar
Owners: Ryan Wallen and Cindy Chang
Chef Ryan Wallen brought his 20 years of restaurant operation experience to Cori’s Modern Kitchen + Bar, also known as Cori’s, to create the chef-driven concept of American food with noticeable southern influences. In addition to a tasty menu, Cori’s Modern Kitchen + Bar has created nearly 30 jobs in Prince George’s County since opening.
Our last award, Employee of the Year, will be presented during our Annual Awards ceremony on March 29 during our 45th Anniversary Celebration. We look forward to seeing you there and celebrating with you!