Press Release, Office of the Governor of Maryland
Appoints Kelly M. Schulz as Secretary of Maryland Department of Commerce
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced the appointment of Kelly M. Schulz as secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce. Schulz currently serves as secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR).
“Secretary Schulz is a strong advocate for Maryland’s job creators, and has a proven track record of working directly with our business community to create jobs, enhance economic growth, and expand opportunity for both businesses and workers,” said Governor Hogan. “I know that Kelly will be instrumental in ensuring that we build on our incredible progress.”
In her role at DLLR, Secretary Schulz is responsible for managing an agency with nearly 2,000 employees and an operating budget of more than $375 million. Schulz has been working successfully in that capacity since the beginning of the Hogan administration, and has received wide praise for initiatives to grow the state’s workforce and support Maryland’s small businesses.
“Business leaders’ number one concern is ensuring they have access to a talented workforce, and I am incredibly proud of the work we’ve been able to do thanks to Governor Hogan’s leadership to prepare Maryland workers for 21st century jobs,” said Secretary Schulz. “Having a leader at Commerce who understands workforce needs will help us grow our private sector and continue to foster an environment where businesses thrive and create even more jobs. I thank Governor Hogan for this honor, and I look forward to working to ensure that Maryland continues to be open for business.”
Under Secretary Schulz’s leadership, Maryland’s apprenticeship program has grown to its highest level since 2008, with more than 10,000 apprentices statewide, in leading industries ranging from construction to cybersecurity and hospitality to healthcare. DLLR’s Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) Maryland program received national recognition for both innovation and effectiveness and was named one of the Top 25 programs in the 2018 Innovations in American Government Award competition.
Prior to serving as secretary of DLLR, Schulz was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, representing Frederick County. She served on the Economic Matters Committee from 2011-2015, where she was a forceful advocate for measures to make Maryland more business friendly, including voting to reduce burdensome regulation on businesses and sponsoring legislation that provides freedom of commerce to small businesses to self-distribute their products.
Secretary Schulz obtained her associate’s degree from Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York and later obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Prior to embarking on a career of public service, Schulz sold real estate, worked as a program manager for a defense contractor, and was a part-owner of a cyber security firm. She has received several awards, including the Outstanding Recent Alumna Award from Hood College in 2011, and is involved in local community organizations, including the Libertytown-Unionville Lions Club and the Walkersville Volunteer Fire Company. Schulz is also a past board member of the Frederick County Habitat for Humanity.
Secretary Schulz will replace Secretary R. Michael Gill, who has led Commerce, formerly the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), since Governor Hogan took office. Secretary Gill plans to return to the private sector as chairman of Columbia-based Evergreen Advisors, the role he had before joining the Hogan administration in 2015.
“I want to thank Mike Gill for his distinguished service. Under his leadership, Commerce has played a pivotal role in transforming Maryland’s economy, and we owe him a debt of gratitude,” said Governor Hogan. “From implementing our More Jobs for Marylanders program to spearheading successful international trade missions, Secretary Gill has been instrumental in our work to change Maryland for the better.”
“When the governor first offered me this opportunity, we talked about the focus of his campaign – Change Maryland – and we did that,” said Secretary Gill. “The last four years have been the most exciting and rewarding four years that anyone could have. We have an unbelievable team of people at Commerce, incredible assets in the state, and a business-friendly culture under Governor Hogan’s leadership. Kelly and I have developed a great relationship serving together in the cabinet, and she will be outstanding in this new role.”
Additionally, James E. Rzepkowski has been named acting secretary at DLLR, where he currently serves as assistant secretary for the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning. Rzepkowski previously served as Director of Workforce Development at Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, LLC, as an assistant secretary within Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development, and spent nine years representing the 32nd legislative district in Anne Arundel County in the Maryland House of Delegates.
These appointments will take effect at the beginning of the new year. Secretary Schulz’s appointment is subject to Maryland Senate confirmation.