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Oertel named Chesapeake College trustee

Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Karen Harris Oertel will bring a business person’s perspective to the Chesapeake College Board of Trustees.

Oertel, appointed by Governor Robert J. Ehrlich, Jr., to the Queen Anne’s County seat previously held by Elizabeth Draper Brice, is the owner of Harris Crab House, Inc. and W. H. Harris Seafood, Inc. in Kent Narrows. She is also a past president of the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce and a current board member with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

"Any board that you have needs balance," said Oertel, who indicated there are some business-oriented issues she would like the college to explore.

"I’m interested in preparing students for high-quality jobs in this region to reduce the number of residents traveling away from here to work," said Oertel, who has earned business-person-of-the-year honors from several Queen Anne’s County organizations, including the Kent Island Rotary Club and Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce.

"Currently 62 percent of Queen Anne’s County residents work someplace else," added Oertel. "I think we need to do some things that create better balance."

Oertel, who has served on the Chesapeake College Curriculum Technology Board, said her appointment to the Board of Trustees simply brings her contact with the college to a different level.

"I’ve always worked with Chesapeake College, through service on the college’s curriculum committee and as a member of the (Queen Anne’s County) Chamber of Commerce," said Oertel.

Oertel, who is on the Title Fisheries Advisory Commission and the executive board of the Oyster Recovery Partnership, said she also hopes the college can play a bigger role in restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.

"I have a real interest in the environment, particularly issues dealing with the Chesapeake Bay," said Oertel.

Oertel served on the Queen Anne’s County Planning Commission from 1997 to 2001 and recently completed eight years on the Shore Health System Board of Directors. In fact, Oertel said the completion of her term on Shore Health System’s board gave her the opportunity to accept the appointment as a Chesapeake College trustee.

"I found I had some time I could devote to other community activities," said Oertel, an Eastern Shore native who served on Governor Ehrlich’s 2002 transition team.


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