Governor Larry Hogan today announced the formation of the Maryland Department of Commerce and appointed Mike Gill the state's first Secretary of Commerce.
Formerly known as the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), the new Department of Commerce will focus on attracting, retaining, and expanding businesses and creating jobs in Maryland. The department will also place a renewed focus on better serving the diverse industries and geographic regions of the state, and marketing Maryland's many assets to companies across the nation and abroad. To see the department's new logo, click here.
In addition to changes within the department to enhance business services and recruitment efforts, Commerce will take a larger role in coordinating a multi-state-agency effort to better respond to business issues. Secretary Gill, who has led DBED since January, will oversee a newly created Commerce Subcabinet consisting of six other state agencies – the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs; Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; Department of Transportation; Department of the Environment; Department of Planning; and Department of Housing and Community Development. Commerce will also work more closely with other state partners such as the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO), with Secretary Gill serving in an advisory role to both.
"Over the last eight months, we have begun to deliver on our promise to ensure that Maryland is open for business. Maryland is now adding jobs at a faster rate than any other state in our region, but there is still a great deal more work to be done to get our economy back on track," Governor Hogan said. "The new Department of Commerce and Secretary Mike Gill will work to accelerate the positive trends we are now seeing and will make our state more responsive to business needs and more competitive in the global marketplace. Our administration is committed and always will be to bringing jobs and greater economic opportunity to the people of our state."
"The words aren't in our name any longer, but the new Department of Commerce is going to make sure 'economic development' is in Maryland's DNA," Secretary Gill said. "Thanks to the unbelievably talented people who call Maryland home and the world-class research, education, transportation, and quality-of-life assets we have right here, our great state is one of the best places to live and work in the world. Governor Hogan has a pro-business and economic growth vision for Maryland, and it's our job at the Department of Commerce to make that vision a reality."
Headquartered in Baltimore, the Maryland Department of Commerce will roll out additional changes in the coming months and work with its sister state agencies to improve outreach to businesses. As part of Secretary Gill's plan to put more of Commerce's nearly 230 team members in customer-facing positions, the department is working to expand its team of business representatives, who can assist businesses with everything from expanding and finding a new location to financing assistance and navigating regulations.
The department is also hiring more regional and strategic industry representatives and putting more emphasis on core and growing industries in Maryland including life sciences, cybersecurity, manufacturing, and aerospace and defense. The department also will add a liaison to the State's higher education community, which combines two of the main ingredients for Maryland's economic success highly educated workers and cutting-edge research.
The formation of the new department follows the passage of Senate Bill 776 and House Bill 943, entitled "Economic Competitiveness and Commerce – Restructuring," based on a recommendation from the Economic Development & Business Climate Commission, also known as the Augustine Commission. The department was renamed the Department of Commerce through Executive Order 01.01.2015.22, signed by Governor Hogan.