Carroll County Times
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Q&A: New Carroll County Chamber of Commerce chair talks about goals and state of business during COVID-19

Steven Aquino brings 25 years of experience providing financial and wealth management advisory services to the community.

Aquino was recently named chair of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and he started this one-year position on Jan. 12. This is his second term as chair of the chamber, having served his first term in 2011.


Aquino, originally from New Jersey, was recruited to play football for McDaniel College in 1992. He graduated in 1996 and started Aquino Financial Group, LLC. Aquino said his company offers extensive knowledge and expertise in the areas of financial planning, business planning and wealth management for families and businesses.

Aquino said he got involved with the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, networking and volunteering for various non-profit boards after starting his business. He is also a registered financial consultant, certified senior advisor, and investment advisor representative.


The Times caught up with Aquino to talk about his responsibilities as chair, his goals for the organization and more.

Q: What will some of your primary responsibilities be as chair of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce board of directors?

A: As chair, I will be leading the board’s decisions and structuring and enhancing member benefits to serve the chamber’s business community members. The board is comprised of 18 members. The chamber will continue to enhance the value of its unique programs; emphasize support for members; continue to promote the value of buying local; and continue a fine tradition of presenting local awards, programs and recognitions within Carroll County.

I wish to thank the chamber’s dedicated staff and board of directors, who are committed to continue providing our members with the best opportunities to sustain and grow their businesses. I also wish to thank chamber President and CEO Mike McMullin. I previously worked with him in 2011, his first year at the chamber, when I was chair of the chamber for the first time. I will work closely with everyone to persevere after a tough year in 2020 and we will actively move forward in 2021.

Q: How do you think your previous experience has helped to enhance your knowledge of the business community in Carroll County?

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A: My long-term involvement in the community has allowed me to get to know the business members in the county. I understand their needs and goals. I know that the chamber can help them through its programming. Business members can achieve greater visibility and credibility by joining the chamber. I know this because of all of the business success stories I have personally witnessed. As I mentioned, this is my second year serving as chair and I have all of those previous experiences under my belt now. Serving once before as chair was a wonderful opportunity to gain experience, which I will again apply during my upcoming year as chair.

Q: How would you describe the state of the business environment in Carroll County due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: The year 2020 had its share of challenges and hardships. Last year was characterized by unusual times. Yet, we have persevered to overcome those challenges, including organizational shut downs, limitations of face-to-face interactions, and new technologies which help to keep businesses running, in growth mode and successful. The chamber is well-positioned to be here for our business community. We are in this together and will get through this together. Our theme for 2021 is “Stay Strong!”


Q: What do you think makes Carroll County a special community?

A: Carroll County organizations and individuals come together to help one another make sure that we support shopping local. We stay close to one another. Businesses support our residents and vice versa. Small businesses co-exist in the community with larger businesses. The chamber has representation throughout the area, from Westminster to towns in the northern, eastern, western and southern parts of the county. Community connections are especially important, in light of the bigger economic picture. A variety of people and businesses make up the fabric of such a great place to live and work.

Q: What are some of the goals for the Chamber of Commerce, moving forward in 2021?

A: Some of the chamber’s goals include keeping our members involved and committed — a top priority. We strive to sustain and grow our membership by offering opportunities to bring businesses together. The chamber strives to continue to inform, notify, and educate about the impact of the pandemic on the community. We will share opportunities which are available to our members, using the many resources that are out there for businesses in need. The chamber will keep our relationships strong with our public officials to assist our members and to continue to offer a range of services. We will do all that it takes to make 2021 a great year!