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Business Spotlight: I. M. Systems Group, Inc.

Imelda Martin-Hum, I.M. Systems Group, Inc. President and CEO

"We've extended our experience and knowledge to tackle global environmental intelligence needs especially in the Southeast Asia and Pacific areas facing climate change challenges."

What is I.M. System Group’s primary area of expertise?

Founded in 1987, IMSG has grown from an IT company into a science-based company with broader applied research and development, research to operations, system engineering, and an IT services company over the past three decades, winning numerous notable awards including the former Vice President’s Hammer Award, Best Small Business of the Year, among others.

Who are your clients, and how does IMSG work with them?

We support the federal government (such as the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Services and the National Weather Service)  and private industry in a variety of contracts and partnerships. Our work with clients includes satellite environmental monitoring, numerical weather modeling, software engineering, and environmental visualization.

What unique qualities or strengths differentiate IMSG from others in your industry?

Over 85% of our employees have masters or doctoral degrees in earth science and engineering disciplines. We have further extended our experience and knowledge to tackle global environmental intelligence needs especially in the Southeast Asia and Pacific areas that are facing climate change challenges.

Why did IMSG choose to locate in Rockville?

We are a proud member of our local community, committed to contributing our proven capability to help build a robust and resilient infrastructure for the commonwealth, growing and sustaining the local economy.

How does IMSG stay current with industry trends and innovations?

Everything we do at IMSG is based on a foundation of integrity, agility, experience and a desire to not only meet the standards of our industry, but also exceed them at every turn, while we strongly embrace equity, diversity, and inclusion as parts of our core value.

About I. M. Systems Group, Inc.

I. M. Systems Group (IMSG) is a leader in environmental scientific and technical support for land, atmospheric, oceanic, and marine application. IMSG has implemented ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System, CMMI Level 2, ISO 27001:2013 Information Security Management, and ISO 20000-1:2011 IT Service Management System. Learn more at https://imsg.com/

Business Spotlight: The Monitor Group, LLC

Amy & Christopher Cox, Managing Partners, The Monitor Group, LLC

"Our policies ensure that we are committed to making a difference locally and globally by supporting businesses that also give back"

What does The Monitor Group offer?

We are a family-owned independent financial services and wealth management firm that strives to create long term relationships with our clients, our employees and the community at large.

How did The Monitor Group come to be?

We started The Monitor Group in 2005 out of the need to provide better advice and service to our clients. We saw the financial services industry shifting away from product sales and towards holistic financial planning. We chose the name because literally “we are monitoring” your progress towards financial freedom but also because the “monitor” lizard has dinosaurs in its lineage, thus connoting longevity, endurance, lastingness and continuity.

What makes The Monitor Group unique?

Our business is not just focused on our clients’ future, but we really want to provide an encouraging environment for our teammates and community.  We promote many non-compensation benefits including a culture calendar, professional development, and annual employee wish lists, to name a few and include an intrapreneurial mindset for growth.  These qualities and more shape our culture and lead to very low employee turnover. 

For the community, corporate social responsibility is vitally important to who we are as a company.  Our policies ensure that we are committed to making a difference locally and globally by supporting businesses that also give back, volunteering our time in the non-profit community and making financial donations.

Why did The Monitor Group decide to base its operations in Rockville?

Rockville chose us 🙂  We had been working for other businesses in Rockville since 1999 and decided we should stay in the area for the benefit of our clients.

What’s in The Monitor Group’s future?

We see our business having expanded by the clients we serve, the advisors we support and adding employment opportunities to assist with this growth. We have a corporate giving mission also and plan to expand our quarterly community philanthropy.

About The Monitor Group, LLC

The Monitor Group is a family-owned, independent financial services and wealth management firm located at 2600 Tower Oaks Boulevard, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20852. Learn more at https://www.tmg-llc.net/

Business Spotlight: Nature by Trejok

Dr. Kenia Garcia - Owner, Nature by Trejok

"We are a happy place that mixes art, creativity and product curation to bring unique pieces to our clients"

What does Nature by Trejok offer?

We are a happy place that mixes art, creativity, and product curation to bring unique pieces to our clients –  inspired by the vintage-contemporary vibes. We design ready-to-wear collections of clothing, shoes, and accessories, and curate vintage pieces including china, collector’s items, home goods and inspirational stationery.

 What motivated you to start Nature by Trejok?

I am a doctor who graduated abroad and in order to obtain the financial resources to get my medical license in the US. I used my talents and abilities to start an adventure in the world of business and entrepreneurship.

I was inspired by my grandmother’s life; her name was Josefa Trejo and my business name is in honor of her. She was a sophisticated lady who spent many years living in Europe, and she had collections from Limoges, Richard Ignore, and Royal Doulton among others.

My store reflects my childhood memories and my designs are inspired by her style combined with mine.

What makes Nature by Trejok unique?

We offer one kind of pieces in our clothing, shoes, and accessories collections. Almost all the time our pieces are personalized – that means that we speak with the client and according to their lifestyle, preferences, and style –  we make their dreams come true!

We have our creative laboratory on site where people can see how the products are made and they are able to choose materials, colors, and texture. We have a strong combination of creativity, originality, inspiration, and art.

Nature by Trejok Logo
Why did you choose to locate Nature by Trejok in Rockville?

We started our journey in Rockville in 2019 in the Maryland Women’s Business Center incubator – MWBC Shop Local. At the end of the program we felt a strong community connection which motivated us to find a home for Nature by Trejok in Rockville Town Square.

Where do see Nature by Trejok 5 years from now?

I see Nature by Trejok expanded with 2 or 3 more locations throughout the DMV, and probably in others states. We are working hard on the expansion process!

About Nature by Trejok

Nature by Trejok is a woman-owned retail boutique offering unique and eclectic clothing, accessories, stationery and home furnishings. The store is located at 130 Gibbs Street, Unit B, Rockville, MD 20850 in Rockville Town Square. Learn more at https://naturebytrejok.com/

Business Spotlight: BETAH Associates, Inc.

Michelle Taylor - President and CEO, BETAH Associates, Inc.

"BETAH means 'trust and confidence,' which we build and maintain through client experiences that truly surpass expectations."

What services does BETAH Associates, Inc. offer?

BETAH Associates is an award-winning communications and professional services firm with a 35-year record of success providing exceptional client experiences to government clients, as well as those in the private- and nonprofit sectors. Our core competencies are communications and creative services, event management (for in-person, virtual, and hybrid gatherings), training and technical assistance, peer review services, and other kinds of professional support. BETAH combines decades of expertise as strategists and implementors to bring a solutions-driven approach to help our clients achieve their missions, reach their audiences, and create stories and experiences that inform and inspire.

What is BETAH Associates’ origin story?

My journey to business ownership is different from the typical path. I’m not the original founder, and leading BETAH Associates is not a role I was prepared or groomed for. In fact, I never envisioned a role in government contracting – it wasn’t in my life plan. My background is in television and film production. I wanted to use my skills and creativity to raise awareness and to educate and affect change in communities. My mother, the founder and original CEO of BETAH, was a dynamic force in business with a stellar reputation with staff, partners, and clients. She was the previous leader and the leader I admired most. I worked in the company as a communications director and watched her wheel and deal with the best of them yet move with immense grace and integrity. Early on, she and I agreed that I would not take over the business. I enjoyed the creative role I held and had no desire to run a government contracting firm.

When my mother passed away after a long-fought battle with cancer, I felt compelled to keep the doors open – I believed in the business, mission, vision, and the clients and communities we impacted. So, I accepted the challenge and stepped into my mother’s position – a post I’ve been delighted to hold for 16 years as I developed my vision and shepherded the company through a period of healthy growth.

What makes BETAH Associates unique?

Our name says a lot about our business: BETAH means “trust and confidence,” which we build and maintain through client experiences that truly surpass expectations. We are proud to be a minority- and woman-owned small business that has been recognized three times on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest-growing companies in the nation. GrowthLab ranked BETAH #18 out of 100 of the top marketing communications firms in government contracting, based on FY2022 data for prime, unclassified contracts awarded across all US federal agencies. 

Our team is solutions-minded, inventive, passionate, and accountable — and we believe in doing well by doing good. Our values are based on what we call “The BETAH Way,” which drives employee engagement and productivity. The BETAH Way sparks creativity, curiosity, and completion of a well-done job. We are consistent and committed to being the best at what we do: Persevering with gratitude and uncompromising integrity, treating everyone with dignity and professionalism, and meeting challenges with compassion and wisdom. Great people make our company great, resulting in low turnover and high job satisfaction — a rarity among firms today. We take on an unpredictable tomorrow with the clarity of purpose and bravery of heart, knowing that confidence is in our name – We rise!

Why is Rockville, Maryland BETAH Associates’ headquarters?

Ours is a virtual business structure with employees located throughout Maryland, Virginia, DC, and other remote locations throughout the country. We chose Rockville as our headquarters because of its convenience, affordability, and proximity to many of our clients and partners located in Maryland and the nation’s capital. I’ve lived in Montgomery County for over 40 years and consider Rockville to be a vibrant center for business, entertainment, and families. We’re proud to be part of the Rockville community.

What’s next for BETAH Associates?

In November 2023, BETAH celebrated our 35th anniversary as a successful business. It was an exciting accomplishment for us! This year, we are thrilled to continue unveiling our updated branded identity for the business – showcasing that we will grow and excel by transforming communications to meet our clients’ needs and the constituents they serve for our next 35 years. As a leading communications and professional services firm, we will continue to strengthen our foundation in government contracting and serve even more corporate and nonprofit clients who want to transform their communications and deliver significant social change.

About BETAH Associates, Inc.

BETAH is a certified small, women-and-minority owned business headquartered at 199 E. Montgomery Avenue, Suite 100, Rockville, MD. Founded in 1988, BETAH Associates provides communications and creative services, event management, training and technical assistance, peer review services, and more. Learn more at www.betah.com

Business Spotlight: Èkó House

Francis Odiase (left) and Yomi Ajao (right) - Co-owners of Eko House

"Èkó House goes beyond being just a location you eat in to become a hub. A hub for music, entertainment, connections, beauty, art and inspiration."

What does Èkó House offer?

We are a Nigerian restaurant in the DMV, that offers authentic Nigerian food, as well as an array of Nigerian/American fusion meals. With a seating capacity of 250, we’re able to host large events and large groups of people (of 15 or more parties). We cater to events including wedding after parties,
pre-wedding parties, bridal showers, birthday parties, office get togethers, retreats, and private events.

What motivated you to start your business?

My business partner and I have lived in the United States for almost three decades. We noticed a gap in the availability of a combination of authentic Nigerian meals, visually appealing presentations and aesthetically pleasing environments. What we had become accustomed to was that brands that offered authentic Nigerian foods were either lacking in aesthetics and presentation or had a somewhat higher focus on the fusion selections in a way that sort of compromised on the authenticity of Nigerian tastes.

Even though we did not have a problem with prioritizing the fusion selections, we just desperately craved an environment that reminded us of home, not just in the food offerings but also in the feel of the environment. We craved an environment that mimicked the warmth and buzzing of Lagos, the vibe, the excitement and the feeling of community all in one, so we decided to bring that feeling here, to the United States of America. Through Èkó House, our aim is to bridge that gap, to introduce our culture to people in the DMV through our food, music, and expressions of art. We want them to see and fall in love with the “Naija spirit”. We want to give them a first-hand experience of all the best things of Nigeria.

 

What makes Èkó House unique?

Èkó House goes beyond being just a location you eat in to become a hub. A hub for music, entertainment, connections, beauty, art and inspiration. A hub for all things that celebrate life, love and community. We want everyone who walks into Èkó House to feel the love that Nigerians as a people have to give. We want people to walk into our establishment and be filled with peace and joy, those feelings of comfort and familiarity associated with their homes.

Why did you choose to run your business in Rockville?

My business partner and I have lived and been coming to Rockville for a few years now and we’ve been drawn to how community inclined it is.

The first thing you notice when you visit Rockville is how family friendly it is, with a healthy blend of young and middle-aged people. We noticed the variety of food brands around and could not help but feel like there was something missing. We finally determined what was missing, and that’s when we got the idea to establish a Nigerian brand here. We knew that was the flavor the community was missing. Starting Èkó House, we are bringing an additional variety to the collection of amazing restaurants in Rockville.

Where do you see Èkó House 5 years from now?

As a new business, we’re happy to say that we’re doing very well. Since our grand opening in July 2022, we’ve had an interesting few months. We’ve experimented, failed at some things, learned and grown. In the next 5 years, we hope to learn even more. We may be thinking about expanding into new territories soon. Plans are still underway.

 

About Èkó House

Èkó House opened in July 2022 at 150 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD 20850 in Rockville Town Square. Learn more about Èkó House at www.ekohousedmv.com

Business Spotlight: ACB Precision Focus Photography

Marcia and Paul Cole, owners of ACB Precision Focus Photography

"We believe in creating images that tell a story, make a lasting impact, and create memories that last a lifetime"

What does ACB Precision Focus Photography offer?

ACB Precision Focus Photography is a multimedia agency and studio. We offer photography and videography services to individuals, couples, families, and corporations.

What motivated you to start your business?

Building a legacy and generational wealth motivated us to start ACB. Our company’s name was inspired by our three children: Amaya, Charles and Bryce.  We strive to lead the way showing our future generations anything is possible with hard work, dedication, believe in yourself and use the talents you naturally have.

What makes ACB Precision Focus Photography unique?

It would have to be us. We make our business unique be we strive to provide the same high-quality service to all our clients regardless of how big or small the job. We want to make the client feel at ease and have 100% confidence we will exceed their expectations. We believe in adding so much value to our clients that our price becomes irrelevant in comparison.

We strive to give every client an enjoyable experience while creating beautiful, captivating images that serves their needs.  We believe in creating images that tell a story, make a lasting impact and create memories that last a lifetime.

Why did you choose to run your business in Rockville?

Montgomery County is our home, it’s where we started our family and continue to raise our children. Rockville provided us with the opportunity to open our first studio location.

Where do you see ACB Precision Focus Photography 5 years from now?

We envision expansion and the ability to provide jobs in our community. In 5 years, ACB will be a preferred vendor in the DMV photography and videography services.  We will open our second studio. We will have a team of associate photographers and videographers. ACB will be running a mentorship program helping young men and women enter the photography world and eventually run their own business.

About ACB Precision Focus Photography

Founded in 2020, ACB Precision Focus Photography is located at 15209 Frederick Road, Suite 209, Rockville, MD 20850. Learn more about ACB Precision Focus Photography at www.acbprecisionfocus.com