As a longtime Bel Air resident, Stephanie Hau is determined to help improve Harford County. As a geologist, she is fascinated by applying geographic data to help local jurisdictions better plan and build. Chesapeake Environmental Management, the company she started with her husband in 1993, does both.
CEM, which was recently named the fastest-growing woman-owned business in the Baltimore region, has a mission to "apply practical science to improve communities." CEM projects "run the gamut of all kinds of data collection, data analysis and presenting data in a meaningful way," says Hau. When a state agency wants to develop a water system, for example, CEM helps the staff evaluate existing data to create the most efficient, effective system.
As chief executive officer, Hau oversees processes and strategy; she also promotes the company's mission in her role as adviser to the Harford County Department of Public Works. But in CEM's office, located in a newly renovated federal building in downtown Bel Air, Hau also sets the tone for a fun work environment, where she is "Queen of Everything" and employees joke and laugh.
CEM's mission isn't pure business, either — the company has lofty philanthropic goals. "The goal is to donate a million dollars to charities," Hau explains. "We're getting there." Each year, CEM donates a minimum of 5 percent of profits to companies that "improve the human condition."
CEM donates to large organizations, such as Wounded Warrior Project, but also makes a point to fund local projects. (The company's simple application is available on its website, cemscience.com.) This year, CEM has given away about $75,000, including $25,000 to Harford Glen Environmental Education Center.
Environmental education is a pet project of Hau's; she participates in career days, and CEM runs a mentoring program for students interested in environmental science. With two children in Harford County schools, promoting environmental science in the county school system is important to her.
"Everyone's job is to work together to make Harford County a good place to live," says Hau. At CEM and out in the community, her efforts do exactly that.
Off the clock with Hau
Favorite book: "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "A Tale of Two Cities" Favorite movies: "The Color Purple" or "The Jerk" How she spends her free time: Cooking and gardening Who inspires her: Eleanor Roosevelt Something people might not know about her: "I had the first known case of Lyme disease in Maryland."