Jimmy Rhee

Advisory Board Member

Jimmy Rhee was appointed Special Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority and Women Business Affairs (the state’s primary advocate for small business community) by Governor Larry Hogan and began service to the State of Maryland in January 2015.  He connects small businesses, including those owned by minorities and women, with resources that help them compete in the private, public and global markets.

As a member of the governor’s cabinet on economic development issues, he acts as a key advisor to the Administration on issues affecting Maryland’s 580,000+ small businesses.    He has direct oversight of the Small Business Reserve (SBR), Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Veterans procurement programs, sets contracting goals, establishes best practices, and monitors their implementa­tion across 70 state agencies including universities, utilities, casinos, etc.   Both SBR and MBE programs are considered a national gold standard for providing management and technical assistance and contracting opportunities to small businesses.   In addition, he serves as Maryland's liaison to a wide array of business organizations on economic development initiatives and issues ranging from offshore wind to rural connectivity, expanding opportunity for small business community.   In 2017, Maryland’s rate of growth ranked #1 among the Mid-Atlantic states, and its ranking improved from 49th to 3rd among 50 states on entrepreneurial business growth.  In 2018, Maryland ranked #1 in the U.S. for minority and women business formation and ownership.

Jimmy’s public service includes extensive international trade and investment activities as the Assistant Secretary of Virginia’s Department of Commerce and Trade (2010-13).  He recruited international companies, and facilitated National Export Initiative and Year of the Entrepreneur program in conjunction with the White House initiative Startup America.  During his tenure, Forbes and CNBC ranked Virginia as America’s top state for business for four straight years.

With over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in the private sector, Jimmy’s work has focused on enterprise creation, capital infusion, growth and change management in technology and energy sectors. He has consulted global conglomerates as well as mentored innovative start-ups throughout his career with focus on corporate competence within the context of globalization, connecting interdependent factors, and identifying new strategic growth opportunities.  Jimmy works closely with various Asian investment entities and facilitated a roll-up acquisition of 250 truck fuel stations.

Jimmy earned degrees in business from Johns Hopkins University (MAS/MBA) and the University of Maryland (BS); studied law for 2 years; holds a professional certificate in sustainable energy from Stanford University Center for Development; and is a certified performance improvement coach.

Jimmy is active in the community, serving as a board member on numerous professional and civic organizations.  He is a recipient of numerous awards from professional organizations and industry leaders including the 2011 Korean Presidential Medal as an Outstanding Korean American in the field of Economic Development.