Maryland’s regional teams work to enhance collaboration in economic development
06/01/2021 | Amanda Winters
Even during the pandemic, the Maryland Department of Commerce and its fellow government agencies have been hard at work helping businesses grow and thrive throughout the state.
The Maryland Regional Resources team was formed in 2019 to help provide businesses with continued assistance and outstanding customer service. Comprised of 10 state agencies that make up the Governor’s Commerce Subcabinet, including Maryland Commerce, the team is divided into five specific regions to assist dedicated areas in Maryland.
Prior to the pandemic, the five regional teams met regularly to assist businesses and local jurisdictions with economic development efforts, including issues related to transportation, workforce development, licensing, planning, and permitting, among others. But when the first COVID-19 case hit the state, in-person meetings were put on hold for safety precautions. With that change, team meetings became virtual to continue economic development collaboration among the agencies.
“It’s more than just a spreadsheet with projects on it—we’re really doing it. We’re getting together and we’re trying to solve problems,” said Steve Wall, Maryland Commerce representative on the Southern Maryland regional resource team. “Prior to the pandemic, we toured Calvert County, including the business Kelly Generator & Equipment; local restaurant Hook & Vine; visited the Town of North Beach with Mayor Mike Benton; and discussed tidal and coastal flooding and remediation ideas, among other environmental concerns.”
Wall shared that they also brainstormed for the next quarterly meeting and tour of various places in Southern Maryland, saying that there is “always great dialogue among all the state agency representatives.”
“As Steve mentioned, we regularly held in-person meetings and tours to learn about regional opportunities and strengthen relationships among the team. So, when the state of emergency was announced, we pivoted to virtual meetings,” said Gretchen Hardman, Southern Maryland regional leader and liaison for the Governor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. “We have continued to leverage our resources and work collaboratively to ensure we exceed the needs of our Southern Maryland communities.”
From Labor and Veterans Affairs, to Education and Environment, this collaborative initiative gives every state agency a chance to learn about resources available for Maryland’s workforce and the business community. By dividing into teams and having each group bring a certain set of skills and resources to the table, we can ensure the best help is being provided to those in-need throughout the state.
“The Regional Resource teams streamline our work throughout several state agencies, allowing us to better serve the businesses in Maryland,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “These meetings allow our specialists to put their heads together and discuss the same opportunities. There may not always be a Commerce role or a state role in every project, but every agency is committed to seeing these projects thrive and seeing good jobs come to every part of Maryland.”
Looking for business assistance in your area? Check out the list of regional representatives hosted on the Maryland Business Express.
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