2016 Honorees

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Robert Brewer

Managing Partner, Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd.

Robby Brewer has long been a leader in the Montgomery County business community. He currently serves as managing partner and a real estate attorney at Lerch, Early & Brewer, one of the county’s top law firms. He is vice chair of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and board chair of Strathmore Hall Foundation.

Robby represents major regional developers, institutional owners, retailers, and health care entities. Among his long-term clients are Adventist HealthCare, Lerner Enterprises, Tower Companies, Safeway, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Buchanan Partners, Miller and Smith, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Lutheran Communities & Services, and Trammell Crow Company. He also serves nonprofits, trade associations, automotive clients, and schools.

Robby grew up in Montgomery County and attended Montgomery County public schools. After earning his Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., Robby attended the University of Maryland School of Law where he received his Juris Doctor with honors. After graduation, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Richard B. Latham, 6th Judicial Circuit of Maryland. In 1977, Robby joined the firm that today bears his name.

For years, Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, and Super Lawyers have listed Robby as one of Maryland’s leading attorneys.

Robby has helped make community service an integral part of Lerch Early’s culture. He has been active in many prominent organizations, including the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, Imagination Stage, BCC High School Educational Foundation, and the Bethesda Urban Partnership. Robby has been recognized for his service by Rebuilding Together, Big Train Baseball, Washington Adventist Hospital, and the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, among others.

The Chevy Chase resident is the father of two grown children: a son who is a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps (communications) and a daughter who is a social worker.


Frank Islam
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Frank F. Islam

CEO, FI Investment Group

Frank F. Islam is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, civic leader and writer. Frank has a special commitment to civic, educational and artistic causes. In all of his endeavors, he strives to create opportunities that are sustainable and uplifting for humanity — guided by the virtues of hard work, focus, quality, innovation and kindness.

Frank currently heads the FI Investment Group, a private investment holding company established in 2007 after he sold his information technology firm, the QSS Group. Frank founded the QSS Group in 1994 and built it from one employee to more than 2,000 employees and revenues of approximately $300M before its sale.

Mr. Islam spends much of his time on a wide variety of civic and philanthropic activities. He served or continues to serve on numerous boards and advisory councils including, but not limited to: Kennedy Center; Strathmore Center for the Arts; International Advisory Council of the U.S. Institute of Peace (2009 to present); Brookings Institution Council.

He is also active on the Johns Hopkins University Advisory Council; University of Maryland School of Business Advisory Board; Board of Maryland-India Business Roundtable; George Mason University School of Management Dean’s Council (2012-present); American University School of International Service Dean’s Council (2013-present); Board of Trustees Marymount Univeristy.

Frank is also dedicated to “giving back” through the Frank Islam & Debbie Driesman Charitable Foundation, established by Frank and his Wife.

Frank has authored two books: Working the Pivot Points: To Make America Work Again (2013); and, Renewing the American Dream: A Citizen’s Guide for Restoring Our Competitive Advantage (2010). A third book on education is in the works.

Mr. Islam blogs regularly for The Huffington Post and also writes occasional columns and articles for Foreign Policy, the International Business Times and the Economic Times of India. He hosts his own TV show “Washington Current Review” on MHz Networks.

In 2014 he was awarded The Indus Entrepreneurs (Tie) Legends Award.
In 2015 he was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award for International Service.

Frank was active in information technology, aerospace engineering services, and systems integration for more than twenty-five years. Ernst and Young recognized him as Maryland Entrepreneur of the Year and the US SBA selected him as the Small Business Person of the Year of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area in 2001.

Frank received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Computer Science from the University of Colorado.

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Ginanne M. Italiano, IOM

President & CEO, The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce

Ginanne M. Italiano, IOM is President & CEO of The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, which with over 630 members, is the largest and oldest chamber in Montgomery County. In August 2006, The Chamber was honored with being given the highest distinction in the chamber industry – they were awarded the “Chamber of the Year” award from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, which represents over 1200 chambers of commerce nationwide.

As the chief executive officer, Italiano is responsible for the day-to-day operations and administration of this 4-person office, and is primarily involved in the strategic development, implementation and administration of all major programs related to local policy issues and the economic development of the B-CC area.

Before coming to the Bethesda Chamber in 2001, Italiano was with The Greater Washington Board of Trade for 23 years, where she directed a number of divisions including the economic development, community development, membership and workforce development departments.

She serves on the boards of a number of civic and professional organizations including Junior Achievement Finance Park Montgomery County Advisory Council; Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (At Large Board Member and Past President), Purple Line NOW! (a non-profit organization advocating for the Purple Line); and is an active member of the Rotary Club of Bethesda-Chevy Chase, where she is currently serving on their Foundation’s Board of Directors. Italiano represents The Greater Bethesda Chamber as a member of Walter Reed BRAC Integration Committee and the Woodmont Triangle Advisory Board.

Identified by Bethesda Magazine in November 2007 as one of “11 Wonder Women of the Bethesda Area,” Italiano was presented with the prestigious “Chairman’s Award” by Anne Martin, Chair of The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce in June 2007. In October 2008, she was honored by the Montgomery County Business and Professional Women with their distinctive annual “Woman of Achievement Award,” and in June 2011, she was voted by her peers in the State of Maryland to be the Chamber Executive of the Year for 2011-2012.

A Massachusetts native, Italiano received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Trinity College (now Trinity Washington University) in Washington, DC. She is a 2003 graduate of Leadership Montgomery, and as a graduate of the US Chamber’s Institute for Organizational Management (4-year advanced educational program for non-profit professionals), in August 2005 Italiano received her IOM designation. Italiano and her husband Tom live in Annapolis and are the proud parents of a 28-year-old son, Mark, who is an accountant with a local public accounting firm in Bethesda.

Alan MeltzerView Interview

Alan Meltzer

Founder, The Meltzer Group

Alan Meltzer founded The Meltzer Group in 1982 as a single insurance agent. He has since grown the company to one with over 200 dedicated employees across five divisions, and to a point where it is consistently recognized as the largest insurance consultant in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Alan’s strong core values and work ethic were the driving forces behind The Meltzer Group’s exponential growth – and remain today as cornerstones of the company. The Meltzer Group prides itself on the philosophy of “listening, learning and leveraging” in order to be as effective as possible in helping its clients.

Alan has earned MassMutual’s highest honor, Agent of the Year, an unprecedented 18 times in his career. He attributes his success to focusing all of his energy on serving his clients. Since 1982, Alan has built The Meltzer Group around his clients’ needs – a decision that has continuously earned him the highest awards and accolades in the industry, including induction into the Washington Business Hall of Fame in 2011.

Alan believes net worth is about what you do to help others, both from a business and philanthropic standpoint. He and his wife of nearly 40 years, Amy, and The Meltzer Group are one of the largest philanthropists in the Greater D.C. area, focusing on Juvenile Diabetes, the United States Holocaust Museum, and Beat the Streets, a youth wrestling program found in both public and charter schools, such as Washington Latin PCS and Cesar Chavez PCS for Public Policy. Alan is also on the board of American University and many other charitable organizations.

Prior to his career in the insurance industry, Alan owned and operated a successful bar and restaurant in Washington D.C.’s Tenley Circle, Mr. Henry’s. Alan met his future wife, Amy, when she walked into Mr. Henry’s one night. They have been married since 1978 and have four adult children: Jennifer, Elizabeth, Max, and Mark, along with two granddaughters, Ella and Cynna. Interestingly enough, Amy was also the catalyst for Alan’s career in the insurance industry – he joined her working at MassMutual the same year they were married and founded The Meltzer Group just four years later.

William SchlossenbergView Interview

William Schlossenberg

Former Director of Development & Community Partnerships, The Universities at Shady Grove

William Schlossenberg has been involved with the community since 1969. Will served as Vice President and General Manager of Bernard’s Ltd Men’s Wear locations in Maryland through 1988. In 1989 he began an eighteen year career as Vice President and Publisher of the Gazette Newspapers. In 2008 he accepted the newly created position as Director of Developent and Community Partnerships at the Universities at Shady Grove which he held until April of 2016.

While holding positions in these organizations, Will served on over 30 non-profit boards and task forces in Montgomery County, and continues to serve on a number of those groups today. He has served as President or Chair of the Gaithersburg Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Wells Robertson House, Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County, and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital Foundation. He was instrumental in the creation of the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown. As a member of the community, Will served as a board member and Vice President of Leadership Montgomery. Later, Will left the board to become a member of the Class of 1998.

While at USG, as the leader of the Development and Community Partnership department, his team was able to raise more than $10 million comprised of contributions, new endowments, programmatic funds and in-kind contributions. Within the 2015-2016 academic year alone, more than $1.3 million in scholarship funds have been awarded to students at the Universities at Shady Grove. Will has an ability to ignite within donors the same passion he shares for the students at USG. Will’s fervor, enthusiasm and dedication to USG students carry over to all his endeavors.

Will has received numerous recognitions for his service to the community and recently was honored by the City of Gaithersburg with its Distinguished Friend Award for 2016. This honor reflects his contributions to the Gaithersburg community for more than 40 years of volunteer efforts that have addressed homelessness, health, mental health, economic development, education and cultural activities.

Will and his wife Ann have lived in the Gaithersburg area since 1970. They have two children and three grandchildren who live in the area. Mark and Amy Schlossenberg have an 8 year old daughter, Jordyn. Lauren and Jason Volat have two children, Andrew 11 and Alexandra 9. Anyone who knows Will, knows how devoted he is to his family. Will boasts that his grandchildren are the best thing that ever happened to him and they are the “light of his life”.