Skip to main content

Cecil County Life

Megan McRay, Executive Director, Cecil County Chamber of Commerce

Dec 01, 2023 03:06PM ● By Tricia Hoadley

In January of 2023, Megan McRay became the new executive director for the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce -- an agency of connection for the goals, the ideas and the vision of nearly 500 members throughout the county. Recently, Megan met with Cecil County Life to talk about how the Chamber helps businesses grow, the thriving economic landscape of the county and the very special people she would like to invite to her dinner party.

Cecil County Life: You began your new role as the Executive Director for the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce this past January. What were your first personal initiatives at the Chamber, and nine months later, how have those initiatives been addressed and achieved?

Megan: The Chamber was well-established when I started my role here. So, my first initiative was to look at the internal processes already in place for how we connect with our members, how we market for our members, how we promote our members, and how we advocate for our members. I wanted to see if there were gaps and where those gaps were. I was coming in with a new eye for our events and our internal processes, and I knew that looking at it from within would be my first step in understanding how the Chamber functions.

Nine months later, I feel like I have grasped the foundation previously laid and have begun to build upon those foundational pieces.

The Cecil County Chamber of Commerce operates as a connector to opportunities for businesses and agencies, and throughout its existence, it has helped thousands of entrepreneurs through advocacy, networking and referrals. Can you share a recent story about how one Cecil County business has benefitted from the work you and your staff do?

Helping our members succeed is our primary goal. To help them do that, I do my best to meet with all our new members to hear what their initiatives and goals are with the Chamber. Recently, I met with a new member business and after talking with them, I was able to connect them with an investment group, who has helped them move forward with their business goals. We have also helped new businesses gain some traction, get in front of our members, and share what they do and through that, we’ve seen strategic partnerships being built.

At this point, we have heard many stories of members that have come to our networking events, created relationships, and started working with businesses they met specifically at our events.

To sort through the list of the Chamber’s events – networking opportunities, roundtable discussions and meet and greets -- is to understand the power of what effective communication between businesses can create. Yet not everyone is a natural-born salesperson – particularly when it comes to promoting their business. In what ways does the Chamber help those entrepreneurs who are reluctant to mix and mingle at a large event?

We have members from all over the county and all types of businesses. I completely understand not being that salesperson or not even being in that role in a business. You may have grown a

love for your business but aren’t quite sure how to network and market yourself and your business, so we introduce very low-key icebreaker games at our larger events. If you don’t want to engage with it you don’t have to, but if you want to it’s a really great opportunity to break the ice. Especially for the person who is a little bit more uncomfortable, it helps them be more comfortable with approaching people they don’t know.

We also make sure that our members know the point of our events is to meet new people and get to know each other in order to build business connections. My team and I are there to direct them to the right contact during large events, especially if they have voiced to us that branching out is difficult for them.

The Cecil County Chamber of Commerce plays a vital role in the promotion of Cecil County as a great economic opportunity for new businesses to start here, or established ones to move here. So, quite simply, what have become the proven advantages of starting a business in the county?

An obvious advantage is our location. Cecil County is right off I-95 in between two major cities with major airports. There are International Harbors near us. We are also located in certain zones that are beneficial for our businesses. For example, for international work the different tax zones that Cecil County falls in are beneficial. As a county, we are working hard to effectively communicate and be unified to efficiently work together for our businesses. I have worked closely with Cecil College, Cecil County Public Schools, Cecil County Library and Office of Economic Development, and plan to continue to do so.

I am working to continue to develop a relationship with each town and focus on their specific needs and goals. It’s important that we have strong communication and work as one for the benefit of all. Another advantage to doing business here in Cecil County is the relational aspect. I have seen so many businesses willing to help build up their community. Cecil County is a family and we take care of each other, and I’m blessed enough to see this at work every day.

In recent editions of Cecil County Life, there have been articles about the Bainbridge Logistics Center in Port Deposit, the opening of The Great Wolf Lodge in Perryville, the continuing revitalization of downtown Elkton and the plans to open the Southfields Sports Park in Elkton. Through these developments, Cecil County is establishing itself as a major center for business and entertainment in the Mid-Atlantic Region. How do you gauge the long-term business and commerce forecast for Cecil County, and in what ways will it have to attract growth but also keep it in line?

Cecil County has a lot of wonderful new business opportunities and economic growth. This is why it’s so important that we keep our finger on the heartbeat of our members, their goals and their initiatives. There’s a line that we walk that aspires to growth while wanting to preserve our hometown community, so this is why I do everything I can to keep strong communication with our members by meeting with them, taking surveys, talking to them over the phone, or communicating by email.

The work we do and the commitment we have to growth and preservation all come out of our members’ initiatives. This is just one of the reasons why being a part of the Chamber of Commerce as a business in Cecil County is so important. There are so many different opinions, and each business has its own focused initiatives, but we try to come together and find the balance. Part of my job is helping find that balance and knowing what our members’ needs,

initiatives, and goals are for their business and in the county. I get to come to the table on behalf of our members and so it’s important to really understand what it is that our members want.

What is your favorite spot in Cecil County?

I am a sucker for the outdoors. I love the trails at Fair Hill, the trails and lighthouse at Turkey Point, and Bohemia State Park. Cecil County has so many outdoor adventures and so many places to offer people in a variety of landscapes. We all love things close to our home, so I have my favorites that are close to our home, but overall, I really do explore all of Cecil County and have my favorites in each town. I also love the fresh Cecil Grown produce. It’s a staple in my house.

You throw a dinner party and can invite anyone you wish – living or not, famous or not. Who would you like to see around that table?

Maybe this is not an exciting answer, but I would like to invite my grandparents. I don’t know my grandparents on either side of my family. I would love to know more about my family history. I’d love to just see if I have any resemblance to them or if we have similar personality traits. I would also love to hear about what my parents were like as kids.

What items can always be found in your refrigerator?

I am a mom of three boys, so we always have milk. We also home cook almost every meal so there’s probably fixings for whatever we’re making like chicken and veggies, and one of our favorites - homemade pizza.

To learn more about the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce, visit, or call (410) 392-3833.

- Richard L. Gaw

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Cecil County's free newsletter to catch every headline