Economic development collaboration continues in Maryland
07/11/2022 | Amanda Winters
Maryland’s Regional Resources Teams are back in action and touring various projects throughout the state this summer.
The groups were last in-person prior to the pandemic, with a trip through Calvert County and its local businesses. Now in 2022, the teams have gotten together several times to enhance collaboration and tour various economic development projects in Maryland, including Tradepoint Atlantic in the Baltimore Metro; Choice Stairways in the Washington Metro; and the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas "Mac" Middleton Bridge in Southern Maryland.
Formed in 2019, the Maryland Regional Resources Teams help provide businesses with continued assistance and one-on-one customer service. Comprised of 10 state agencies that make up the Governor’s Commerce Subcabinet , including Maryland Commerce, the teams are divided into five specific regions to assist dedicated areas in Maryland.
The Baltimore Metro team’s recent meeting at Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore County included an overview of Maryland Commerce’s Office of Military and Federal Affairs as well as a briefing on the state’s offshore wind energy industry and opportunities for future growth.
Two wind energy companies, Orsted and US Wind, have leased space at the sprawling, multi-modal logistics hub. Easy access to port berths will allow the companies to load massive and cumbersome wind turbines and components directly onto the water without the cost and difficulty of transporting them overland.
The team also heard from Aaron Tomarchio, executive vice president of corporate affairs for Tradepoint Atlantic , who highlighted how collaboration and partnership were essential to making the ambitious transformation of Sparrow’s Point a reality – including working with the Maryland Transit Administration to ensure there was adequate bus service to and from Baltimore City so city residents could access the new jobs created by Tradepoint tenants.
Tomarchio then led the team on a bus tour through the Tradepoint Atlantic development – which is also home to distribution centers belonging to Amazon, Under Armour, Home Depot, Floor & Decor, and other companies.
LeRoy Thomas, veterans' program manager with the Maryland Department of Labor and member of the Baltimore Metro team, recalled what Sparrows Point looked like years ago, when he was helping people find work after Bethlehem Steel was sold.
“There were a lot of vacant areas,” Thomas said. “It’s good to see it renovated and bringing in new industries to help Maryland’s growth. It helps us develop as a state, but also develops the people and brings in gainful employment.”
The growth of Tradepoint Atlantic, illustrates why collaborative efforts like the Regional Resources Teams are important, Thomas said. “When you come together as a team, it goes so smoothly,” he said. “You can do so much more when you work together.”
In Prince George’s County, leading-edge stair and rail company Choice Stairways showed off its latest investment in the state with a newly-opened manufacturing facility and showroom. Todd Scott, deputy director of business development and strategic partnerships with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, is a member of the Washington Metro team who helped plan the visit.
Scott says these meetings are useful tools to talk to businesses and determine what additional assistance the state can provide, while discussing other happenings in the region.
Choice Stairways is the prime example of collaboration in Maryland state government. The company expanded in 2021 with help from the Department of Housing’s Neighborhood BusinessWorks program and various tax incentive programs administered by the Maryland Department of Commerce.
Teresa Mena, the former regional business solutions consultant at the Maryland Department of Labor, coordinated much of the Choice Stairways visit during her time at the agency. While meeting with the company and learning about their hiring efforts, she reminded them of the state’s Apprenticeship and Training Program , which has thousands of registered apprentices currently working, earning, and learning throughout the state.
“Looking at the big picture, this [team] is transformative on so many levels,” said Mena. “I think the workgroup helps streamline a lot, and removes many of the frustrations businesses have. It really means that we are serving our customers – our businesses and job seekers – in a bigger way.”
“I view it as a win because you’re not staying inside your ‘little box,’” said Mena. “I want to feel like I’m making a difference—you want to help the business.”
Mena has since become the recruitment specialist for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, but welcomes the opportunity to rejoin the resources team and expand its reach with both workforce development and youth opportunities.
Choice Stairways isn’t the only celebratory business our regional teams have visited recently—Capt. Billy's Crab House was a stop on the Southern Maryland team’s excursion. After having an up-close boat tour of the Nice/Middleton Bridge’s construction, the team visited the Charles County restaurant for lunch and presented a Governor’s citation for its 35th anniversary.
Located on the Potomac River, Capt. Billy’s is next door to Gilligan’s Pier , which was recently purchased in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Program Open Space and Charles County Government. The destination is a major water access point for local fishermen and this acquisition will help ensure the safety of the area's watershed and recreational assets.
Need assistance or want to learn more about collaboration among state agencies? Contact the Regional Resources Team in your area .
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