Home Industry News Releases Kevin Atticks Transitions to Role as Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture

Kevin Atticks Transitions to Role as Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture


January 17th – (ANNAPOLIS, MD) – Grow & Fortify founder & CEO, Kevin Atticks, has announced his departure from the company to accept a new role as Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture. Appointed by Governor-elect Wes Moore, Atticks joins an administration aiming to create a more competitive Maryland, cure child poverty, and accelerate our green economy and protect our environment.

“With a competitive agricultural industry, we can support every aspect of the new administration’s mission,” says Atticks, who believes the increasingly diverse industry plays an integral role in the Moore-Miller administration’s priorities. “We need to expand our agricultural base, provide farmers with new opportunities to grow profit, and educate our citizens about the incredible products grown and produced locally,”

For more than two decades, Atticks has worked on behalf of local wineries and grape growers while promoting and advocating for Maryland’s wine industry. In 2015, Atticks founded Grow & Fortify to strengthen the state’s broader craft alcohol industry and support burgeoning value-added agriculture businesses.

In his role as the Executive Director of the Brewers Association of Maryland, the Maryland Distillers Guild and the Maryland Wineries Association, Atticks successfully advocated for legislation that changed the business landscape of Maryland’s alcohol industry. Examples of these successes include wine sales at wineries, self-distribution and direct shipping at local wineries, the legalization of on-premise sale and consumption of beer at local breweries, and the ability for a local distillery to prepare and sell cocktails in their retail spaces. Additionally, in 2018, Atticks led the effort that modernized Maryland’s beer franchise laws and helped to balance the rights of local breweries committed to in-state wholesale agreements.

“Kevin has served the Brewers Association of Maryland effectively,” said Brett Snyder, president of the Brewers Association of Maryland and co-founder of Waredaca Brewing Co. “He oversaw tremendous growth in all aspects of the brewing scene in the state. We sincerely thank him for his commitment and offer our best wishes on joining the Governor’s cabinet.”

“Kevin saw the benefits distilleries could bring to Maryland through tourism and agriculture, long before anyone else. Since then, he has provided outstanding leadership and guidance to our distiller’s community through his dedication and voice of reason,” says Brian Treacy, president of Sagamore Spirit and the Maryland Distillers Guild.

Grow & Fortify published the first assessment of the state’s value-added agricultural industry, illustrating the expansive impact generated by this previously unheralded sector. Wineries, creameries, meat processing, agritourism, equine and dozens of other industry segments yield 74,000 jobs and bring a total economic impact of over $20.6 billion annually to the state’s economy. This level of economic activity, in turn, adds nearly $875 million to the State’s fiscal resources.

Originally from Bowie, Atticks graduated with a journalism degree from Loyola University Maryland. Shortly thereafter, Atticks received a master’s degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO. Atticks later earned his doctorate in communications design from University of Baltimore. He holds a faculty position at Loyola University Maryland where he teaches book publishing.

Grow & Fortify will carry on managing the state’s three craft alcohol trade associations. Effective immediately, Janna Howley assumes the role of acting CEO at Grow & Fortify. The responsibilities of outreach and role of the Executive Director for the Brewers Association of Maryland, the Maryland Distillers Guild and the Maryland Wineries Association will be carried out by Kelly Dudeck. 

“I am honored and humbled to step into this role,” says Howley. “My goal is to provide a solid bridge between the important work that Kevin has done to date and the many opportunities we see on the horizon for craft alcohol and value-added agriculture. It’s a bright future and I feel privileged to lead such a strong team.”

For more information about Grow & Fortify and the work it does in the craft alcohol and value-added agriculture industries, please visit the Grow & Fortify website.

About Grow & Fortify

Grow & Fortify is built to support value-added agricultural organizations and the businesses they represent. We’ve gathered a team of professionals to support agricultural startups and ensure the financial viability of our land, and ultimately, our community.

Grow & Fortify is retained to represent and manage the Brewers Association of Maryland, the Maryland Distillers Guild, and the Maryland Wineries Association.



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