When Barry Bogage first started working at the Maryland/Israel Development Center on June 12, 1992, he hadn’t originally been planning on staying there for three decades.
Bogage — formerly the executive director of MIDC and now an adviser to the current executive director, David Speer — was only 34 at the time and had only had two previous positions after graduating college, he said. As such, he expected to eventually move on to something else down the road.
On June 12 of this year, however, he will be celebrating at his official retirement party, marking 30 years to the day that he has been at MIDC. His contract runs through the summer.
Bogage’s retirement party will be held at noon at the University of Maryland’s Baltimore Elm Ballroom. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will give remarks.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said Bogage, a resident of Columbia. “Thirty years is a long time, and it’s not just leaving the MIDC. It’s kind of wrapping up my career. I never expected to be there for 30 years. But that’s really a testament to it being a nice job that I didn’t want to leave.”
MIDC’s mission is to encourage cooperation and partnership between businesses in Israel and those in Maryland. As its former executive director, Bogage’s efforts focused on meeting with Maryland businesses to discuss their needs and pitching the idea of starting a new venture in Israel, and vice versa.
Bogage noted that the support he received from the board to use his creative side and try new things was a significant factor in his decision to remain. This included creating a venture capital fund and leading trade missions with governors.
“I got to do a lot of things, and it was all up to me to come up with the new ideas,” Bogage said. “So that was very rewarding.”
Lynn Shapiro Snyder, a former board member of MIDC, first met Bogage during a party in 2006, and she remembered how well he articulated MIDC’s mission to her.
“Several of us traveled to Israel several times to educate the Israelis on the U.S. health care regulatory and reimbursement pathways for new health care items and services,” said Snyder, a resident of Boca Raton, Fla., in an email. “I also helped Barry and the staff create a compelling set of marketing materials for why Maryland is an especially attractive location for Israeli companies to set up their U.S. operations.
“These Israeli companies have options and are wooed by various states and cities,” Snyder continued, “so MIDC has to be proactive in marketing Maryland as the place for these Israeli companies to locate.”
Snyder added that Bogage is “a very warm and friendly person whose passion for Israel and for business shines when you meet him.”
Bogage is grateful to the members of MIDC for the work they have done in the past. This included Nancy Boguslaw, MIDC’s deputy director, whom he described as energetic, creative and a pleasure to work with, and Hanan Sibel, the founding chairman, whom Bogage described as “a real mentor.” He is also grateful to Chairman of the Board Alvin Katz and former Chairman Steve Dubin for their work and support.
Looking forward, Bogage expects he’ll do more volunteer work in the future, he said, noting that he has already joined the board of Howard County’s Jewish Community Relations Council. In addition to continuing to work in the Jewish community, he also imagines his volunteer work may involve social services and arts organizations.
Asked for his advice on how MIDC can continue to succeed after his departure, Bogage emphasized having a clear understanding of MIDC’s audience.
“You’ve got to figure out, particularly for a nonprofit, how do you add value to your … target audience, your target market,” Bogage said. “So for us, it’s primarily the Maryland and Israeli business communities. So figuring out how do you add value, what do they need and how can we, as an organization, deliver it.
“So constantly looking for that is what keeps us relevant,” Bogage added.