Corridor Inc.: A County by County Economic Roundup

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Editor's Note: This is one in a series of articles in Corridor Inc.'s "Economic Impact" issue, which was published this month. Click here to sign up to receive a complimentary copy of the entire print issue.

Corridor Inc. asked economic development leaders from across the Baltimore-Washington corridor to contribute their thoughts on local economic issues facing their jurisdictions. Here is what each of them had to say:

Baltimore City: Tom Sadowski

Competition, in many ways, is the essence of life. It drives business and our nation’s economy. When considering our regional economy, Greater Baltimore has many competitive advantages, but being competitive is not enough. The question is asked, “Are we winning?”

In the past ten years, Greater Baltimore’s base of talent in scientific, professional and technical service jobs has grown by more than 25 percent. In the past year, we have grown more in this area than any major city in the nation. Though Silicon Valley is often regarded as the top tech market in the United States, the Baltimore-Washington Corridor actually has a high concentration of IT professionals, with more than 75,000 people.

Virginia, Maryland’s most significant Mid-Atlantic competitor, reports similar IT industry employment figures. Both are tied closely to critical mission operations related to the federal government. The Economic Alliance analyzed the two states in receipt of private venture capital investment in the area of information technology, using data provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers. From 1997 to 2006, Virginia held a distinct advantage in capturing private VC investment, but beginning in 2007 the game changed.

Since then, Maryland has reversed the trend and has taken a significant lead, accounting today for two-thirds of all VC invested in IT in the Baltimore-Washington market (Virginia, the District and Maryland included). Venture capital is critical to commercialize federal research, spawn new commercial enterprise, create high paying jobs and ultimately become less dependent on federal dollars. These investments have made it possible to expand access to the product of world-class medical practices and research and have helped solidify our emergence as the global center of IT and cybersecurity.

In the competitive national and global marketplace, you must know your product and sell to your strengths. Our organization works every day to promote Greater Baltimore as a world-class market for business, employment and new investment.

What is most vital in this effort is the knowledge that we are a “world-class” market. We are winning across many industry sectors today and are capable of greater success. Let’s acknowledge the strengths of our product, support creation of vital networks and leverage increasing investor activity. Let’s not just win the day, let’s cultivate a culture of moving forward.

Tom Sadowski is President/CEO of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore.

Howard County: Laurie Neuman

Entrepreneurship is the fastest growing business sector in the country. By establishing the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, we hope it will be the impetus for more businesses to form and be successful in Howard County. HCEDA will be re-branding its very successful NeoTech Incubator to allow for the changing business climate and will be expanding its current Business Resource Center.

The burgeoning cyber industry is what will take the Howard County economy to the next level. HCEDA is on target with that through its Howard Technology Council. In just three short years it has grown to over 70 members and 14 sponsors. The HTC was formed to promote business growth in the Technology sector. It does this by hosting a variety of educational and networking events.

Come September when the Base Realignment and Closure movement at Ft. Meade is officially ending, the defense industry influx and influence will continue to present major opportunities to the business community. HCEDA is partnering with organizations like the BRAC Business Initiative (BBI) and the Howard County Chamber to help businesses navigate the federal and state contracting labyrinth.

Partnering with the HC Office of Workforce Development, HCEDA shares the advantages of federal training dollars available in cyber and green industries for job seekers and companies alike. Howard County has always had a highly skilled workforce in abundance. The more we foster that, the more we can retain and attract business.

Howard County is home to 335 farms that generate over $22 million per year from direct farm sales. This segment of the business community is critical to our quality of life and is an important piece of the economic pie. It needs our support. A full-time staff person is dedicated to ensuring the growth and stability of this market segment. New Agriculture Education programs will be unveiled during the local farm fall festival the last two weeks of September. With the approval of new zoning laws on wineries, new opportunities exist for wineries right here in the county.

Laura Neuman is CEO of Howard County's Economic Development Authority.

Harford County: David R. Craig

This is an interesting time to be County Executive of a growing county. Harford County is enjoying a much better economy than most of the country, during these challenging times.

BRAC is in full implementation at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), bringing significant growth to the professional and technical workforce of the region. Growth is also occurring in new technology sectors, from communications, electronics and cybersecurity to the research, development, testing and evaluation (RDTE) focus at APG. This has implications for the Harford County business community as it absorbs and accommodates a growing defense contractor community and recognizes the criticality for higher education involvement, while balancing a diversified portfolio across industry sectors. The Office of Economic Development is looking at smart growth initiatives, workforce readiness and education attainment, and developing mechanisms to nurture and expand new technologies seeded in Harford County.

Harford County has welcomed 63 defense contractors since 2007, most within the past 18 months. These contractors have positioned themselves to provide support services to APG and the defense community. With the post-BRAC 2012 population at APG expected to reach 21,000, Harford County is experiencing its largest population boom since World War II.

Harford County is seeing more retail businesses locating or expressing interest in moving to our area. In September, we will welcome the opening of Wegmans at The Boulevard at Box Hill, a new and growing regional retail center. Kohl’s e-fulfillment center in Edgewood has begun renovations and new construction. Kohl’s will hire approximately 1,200 people to staff the new Harford County facility. Other new restaurants and retailers coming to Harford County include Ashley Furniture, DSW, HomeGoods, Sonic, Joe’s Crab Shack and Panera Bread.

Additionally, medical support services are expanding. Upper Chesapeake Hospital is adding a new cancer center to their Bel Air campus and has plans for a new hospital in Havre de Grace.

This past year I established Harford County’s first Banking and Finance Commission to review the business and banking climate. The Harford County Banking and Finance Commission Report is available at Economic Development’s website: harfordbusiness.org.

During our June Economic Outlook Summit, Pike Powers shared his advice and vision for Harford County’s future as part of the rising “Technopolis” of the Mid-Atlantic region. Mr. Powers led the establishment of the technology-driven economic development of Austin, Texas. During the sold-out conference, Mr. Powers discussed how government, business and education united to bring about a technology hub in Austin.

BRAC will impact all industry sectors and further solidify Harford County’s role as a technology and research supportive market. Businesses who position themselves and invest accordingly will find value in what Harford County has to offer.

David R. Craig is Harford County Executive.

Anne Arundel County: Robert Hannon

At a time when the stress of national economic conditions has resulted in the scrutiny of every aspect of county and municipal spending, the value of a jurisdiction’s economic development programs is worthy of explanation. Anne Arundel County chose to “privatize” its economic program in 1993 through the establishment of the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Its purpose was to gain maximum employment and business growth while leveraging its “private corporate” status to create a responsive and efficient resource for private enterprise throughout the county. To that end, it has been successful. The economic development program supports over 14,000 businesses -- which employ approximately 240,000 workers – even through the fluctuations of the most severe recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In addition to the direct services – real estate, workforce training/ recruitment, marketing, business development, permit assistance, small business financing, commercial revitalization, early stage technology acceleration, agriculture and environmental advocacy – rendered to the county and regional business community, there are measurable impacts and outcomes that are felt inside of county commercial and industrial expansion whose benefits are long lasting.

County revenue sources show that five categories – property tax, income tax, recordation/transfer tax, local sales tax and license and permit fees – comprise 85 percent of total revenue. These revenue
sources are enhanced by the professional work of the EDC. They are the lifeblood of essential services delivered every day to county residents: public education, police and fire, public health services, building and code inspection, and basic utilities (sewer and water). Without these revenues derived from the working and business government. There are positive near-term fiscal impacts that register on the county’s revenue intake on an annual basis and there is a physical development change that paves the way for longer term population of Anne Arundel, the high living standards enjoyed by county residents would be far less.

Anne Arundel County’s Operating Plan uses the tools of land use, zoning, capital improvements and public service delivery to implement the community goals detailed in the General Development Plan (GDP). The EDC plays a central role in ensuring that the GDP is implemented. Organizing support for expansion of the industrial commercial base through land use designation, correct zoning application and extension of utilities supported by financing is the primary work of the EDC. It participates with County Budget and Finance in the sale of capital bonds, creation of tax increment financing districts, special taxing districts, and other incentives that drive development to town centers, revitalization districts and other priority areas within the development envelope.

Robert Hannon is President/CEO of Anne Arundel County's Economic Development Corporation.

Prince George’s County: Gwen McCall

Prince George’s County has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade and is rapidly becoming the epicenter for economic development in the Washington metropolitan region. We have a Triple-A Bond rating, a highly skilled workforce and a large supply of ready-to-develop land. These attributes, along with our proximity to the nation’s capital and the presence of several federal agencies, have made Prince George’s County the new destination for developers, businesses and residents.

In 2008, we welcomed National Harbor, a $4 billion, 300-acre waterfront complex of destination hotels, entertainment, condominiums, restaurants and retailers. It is anchored by the Gaylord National Hotel and Resort and has served as a catalyst for attracting national conventions, high-end retail and commercial development projects.

We’re also proud that the coveted Wegmans Food Market chose Prince George’s County to locate its first store in the Washington metropolitan region. Its grand opening was the most successful of any of its stores.

In May, County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III stood with Milt Peterson of Peterson Companies to announce proudly that the popular Tanger Outlets would be coming to National Harbor. This development will include about 80 designer outlet stores and has
proven to be a magnet for tourism and regional shopping.

We were pleased to welcome a TGI Friday’s to District Heights earlier this year and we’re delighted that a second one will be moving to Boulevard at the Capital Center later this year. Busboys and Poets will also be opening soon in the Hyattsville Arts District.

While we are excited about these and many other projects, there are still tremendous opportunities for growth and investment in Prince George’s County, from Konterra to the north, Woodmore and Steeplechase in the center, and the National Harbor to the south. We also have tremendous potential for creating live-work communities around our 15 major Metro stations and many MARC train stations. Development Incentive Fund to encourage development, create jobs, and grow our commercial tax base. It was designed to attract developers and big companies, but it will also nurture small and emerging businesses that are so fundamental to our economy. And the most important part of the EDI Fund, which bears repeating, is that it will help create jobs, jobs and more jobs.

This fund would add to the wealth of incentives, programs and resources available to any developer or business considering whether to locate, or expand, their business in Prince George’s County.

We are home to an educated and dedicated work force. We are home to Joint Base Andrews, NASA-Goddard, the Census Bureau, the University of Maryland’s flagship campus, the Beltsville Agriculture Research Center (BARC), many FDA and NOAA labs, the Washington Redskins, and a diverse base of strong businesses.

The Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation, along with its local and state financial partners, offers many attractive incentives, including direct financial support, start-up and operating capital assistance, loans and loan guarantees, enterprise zone tax credits, foreign trade zone tax credits, job creation tax credits, R&D tax credits, and workforce development grants. The EDC also has a technology assistance program and business incubator to help grow biotechnology business.

So, for the record: Prince George’s County is serious about economic development. Great things are happening in that area, and we anticipate much, much more.

Gwen McCall is President/CEO of Prince George's County's Economic Development Corporation.

Montgomery County: Steve Silverman

Choice Hotels just signed a lease for a new 130,000-square-foot headquarters in Rockville. Radio One recently signed a lease to move from Lanham to Silver Spring. Boeing/DRT broke ground in June for a new 162,000-square-foot office and manufacturing facility in Germantown. Advanced Bioscience Laboratories recently expanded into a new 72,000-square-foot headquarters in the county’s Shady Grove Life Sciences Center in Rockville.

Montgomery County realized over three decades ago the tremendous advantage of being home to such federal agencies as the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology – 19 in all. This led to the county’s creation, 30-plus years ago, of the 300-acre Shady Grove Life Sciences Center – the nation’s first business park zoned specifically for the life sciences industry. This Center is again on the cusp of great transformation; it will be the heart of the 900-acre, master-planned Great Seneca Science Corridor that will turn a large section along the county’s I-270 Technology Corridor into a next generation “science city,” with some 17 million-plus square feet of commercial development, 50,000-plus high-level jobs and 9,000-plus residential units.

Montgomery County is one of the top five biotech clusters in the nation. 330-plus biotech companies – including MedImmune, Human Genome Sciences, QIAGEN, United Therapeutics and Novavax – are located here. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett recently submitted a request to the Montgomery County Council to commit one million dollars over fiscal years 2012 and 2013 to support a local biotech tax credit to further spur investment in local biotech companies.

The DED has facilitated job creation through our successful Business Innovation Network, which offers tenants turnkey office or wet lab space, fully-integrated conference rooms and critical business resources and support services. The Network has graduated more than 100 companies during its ten-year existence. With five facilities located throughout the county, it provides over 150,000 square feet of incubator office and lab space to roughly 170 companies that support some 670 jobs.

Since inception of the county’s Economic Development Fund in 1995, over $32 million in financial assistance has gone to nearly 300 local businesses, nearly two-thirds being small businesses, to support job growth in the county. Since inception of the county’s Small Business Revolving Loan Fund (SBRLF) in 2002, over $2 million in loans have been distributed to 37 local small businesses.

Our department’s strategic partners include the Maryland Small Business Development Center, the Latino Economic Development Corporation, Rockville Economic Development, Inc., Rockville Women’s Business Center and local Chambers of Commerce – all of whom provide direct counseling and support programs for local businesses.

Steve Silverman is Montgomery County's Director of Department of Economic Development.

Baltimore County: Dan Gunderson

Baltimore County’s diverse business community of 21,000 companies can be found on corporate campuses in White Marsh, Hunt Valley and Owings Mills, in R&D facilities at UMBC and
Towson University, inside federal headquarters of the Social Security Administration and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in manufacturers of advanced and green technologies and along thriving business corridors near I-83, I-95 and the Port of Baltimore.

Federal Center at Woodlawn
Baltimore County recently launched a new initiative to spur
investment and job creation near the headquarters of the Social Security Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Together, these agencies employ nearly 16,000 people, with contractors including Lockheed Martin, Maricom Systems, MITRE, and ViPS employing thousands more.

Bwtech@UMBC
Entrepreneurs at bwtech@UMBC, the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s research park, business incubator and accelerator, are making headlines at 70 life sciences, information technology, clean energy, and cybersecurity companies. The 71-acre research and technology center, just ten miles from Fort Meade, is rapidly becoming a cybersecurity hub, with 16 cyber firms moving there since 2010.

Owings Mills Growth Area
A drive along Red Run Boulevard highlights the Owings Mills business community: corporate headquarters for CareFirst, Baltimore Life Companies, and Euler Hermes insurance, East Coast headquarters for Toyota Financial Services and major operations for Global Payment Systems. Nearby is the T. Rowe Price Financial Center with over 2,200 workers, Stevenson University’s Owings Mills campus and Owings Mills Mall. At the Metro Center at Owings Mills, a transit-oriented town center, construction began in July 2011 for the county’s largest public library branch and a center for the Community College of Baltimore County.

Downtown Towson
Towson’s vibrant residential communities are also home to three regional medical centers, two universities, a mall, and the seat of Baltimore County government. More than 12,000 people work in central Towson, with major employers including Stanley Black & Decker Construction and DIY Headquarters, General Dynamics ViPs, and government agencies. Towson is also a college town, with more than 25,000 students attending Towson University and Goucher College.

I-83 Technology Corridor
The I-83 Corridor mixes flavoring science at McCormick with engineering of unmanned aerial vehicles at AAI, R&D and production of lithium ion batteries at SAFT America, medical diagnostics and research at BD Diagnostic Systems, financial systems at E-Bay/Bill Me Later and Bank of America, and game development at Zynga East, Big Huge Games, ZeniMax Online, and Firaxis Games.

I-95 White Marsh and Middle River
GM is investing over $249 million to expand its White Marsh plant, adding production of electric motors for plug-in and hybrid vehicles to its medium-duty and hybrid transmission manufacturing lines. GE Aviation has invested more than $200 million in its Middle River Aircraft Systems (MRAS) facility and programs over the last five years. As one of the world’s leading suppliers of jet engine thrust reversers, MRAS added 300 new jobs in the past year.

Middle River Station offers a unique redevelopment opportunity in a vast 1.9 million-square-foot building where the Glenn L. Martin Company built World War II aircraft, near Martin State Airport.

Baltimore Crossroads @ 95, a 1,000-acre mixed use development on Route 43 between White Marsh and the Baltimore County waterfront, features over 1.5 million square feet of space completed or under construction. Thirty companies employing over 1,250 people have moved to the business park, including Social Solutions, BGE HOME, Pevco, and Danfoss.

Dundalk
Dundalk’s proximity to the deepwater Port of Baltimore makes it an ideal location for serving global markets. RG Steel purchased the integrated steel and cold roll mill at Sparrows Point in Spring 2011, choosing to locate the firm‘s corporate headquarters on the peninsula. Surplus industrial properties near the Port, as well as rail and interstate access, attract port-related users and manufacturers.

Dan Gunderson is Baltimore County's Executive Director of Department of Economic Development.
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