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Governor O’Malley Announces New Special Secretary of Minority Affairs

ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 23, 2012) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the appointment of Zenita Wickham Hurley as Special Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs. Ms. Wickham Hurley will assume her new role on February 29th, and oversee efforts to expand opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses in the State of Maryland.

“I am pleased to appoint Zenita Wickham Hurley as the Special Secretary of Minority Affairs for the O’Malley-Brown Administration,” Governor O’Malley said. “We are committed to expanding opportunities for all Maryland families and small businesses, and I look forward to working with Ms. Hurley to encourage and expand minority and women-owned business enterprise while improving services and making the Office of Minority Affairs more accountable.”

“I look forward to taking my work with the MBE Program to the next level at the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs,” said Zenita Wickham Hurley. “It will be an honor to work directly for Governor O’Malley, who is so committed to expanding opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses to grow and thrive in Maryland’s marketplace. I truly believe that business ownership is the key pathway to bridging the wealth gap facing so many minorities and women in this country.”

Since 2007, Wickham Hurley has served as the Director of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise at the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). As director, she administered the statewide certification of minority business enterprises for the Maryland Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs. Her significant achievements while at MDOT include the creation of process improvements that reduced the turnaround time for processing MBE/DBE certification by nearly 50%, while increasing the number of certified firms by 29%. She also developed and executed a Memorandum of Understanding for streamlining DBE certification for Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia DBE firms, the first such agreement of its kind in the country. Wickham Hurley also drafted, edited and negotiated legislation enhancing and further developing the Maryland MBE program for consideration by the Maryland General Assembly.

“In addition to bringing an unprecedented level of accountability and transparency to Maryland’s MBE program, Zenita has worked with un-daunting focus and passion to expand the opportunities for minority and disadvantaged businesses,” said Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley. “From creating new statewide outreach programs to certifying more firms, Zenita has been a strong advocate for this growing business community.”

Prior to serving as director, Wickham Hurley was an assistant attorney general for MDOT’s Office of Minority Business Enterprise. She advised the agency on matters concerning MBE and DBE certification, contract monitoring, and compliance with federal and constitutional standards for affirmative action in public contracting. She has also served as a staff attorney in the Child Advocacy Unit of the Legal Aid Bureau and as an associate with the Washington, DD law firm Steptoe and Johnson, LLP.

Wickham Hurley received her BA in Government and Politics and Afro-American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her JD from the New York University School of Law.

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