Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce turns 100

Chase Cook

The Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 100 year anniversary even as it prepares for a change of leadership.

The chamber was founded in 1918 as the Annapolis Chamber of Commerce. At the time, the city’s primary economic forces resided within Annapolis, but as the city grew so too did the chamber. Hundreds of businesses are chamber members.

Bob Burdon, the chamber’s longtime President and CEO, said the chamber stand out because of its flexibility and desire to grow the county’s businesses while also recognizing the need for environmental responsibility. Burdon has worked for the chamber for 21 years and will be retiring in about two weeks. He is the longest-serving leader of the chamber.

“As we have grown as an organization, we have grown in a sense that we position ourselves as a business organization that seeks to build consensus among all the constituent groups here,” Burdon said. “To improve the quality of life for those who work and live and recreate here in Anne Arundel County.”

Burdon said two projects had a significant impact on the county’s current business trajectory: Arundel Mills Mall and the Annapolis Town Centre. Those projects were examples of finding the right development at the right time and have served as economic engines since their development, Burdon said.

And as the county continues to grow — amid concerns that maybe it is growing too fast for schools that are now too crowded — Burdon said the chamber plays the role of advocating for “quality” development.

“We have been an advocate for understanding the importance of maintaining our infrastructure that supports residents and commercial activity,” Burdon said.

Much like the rest of the United States, the county grew quickly after the second world war. The chamber changed its name to the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, emphasizing growing businesses outside of the city.

The name was changed back to the Annapolis Chamber of Commerce again back in the 1950s. The Anne Arundel Trade Council spun off from the chamber’s committee on county business concerns.

The two organizations started to see duplicative efforts in the late 1990s and the Greater Annapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Anne Arundel Trade merged another time to form the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. The name was changed again last year to Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce.

There will be live music, food and an open bar at the anniversary celebration Wednesday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The event starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday and tickets — priced at $100 — can be purchased online at

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