Industry and government leaders gathered Oct. 8-9 for CyberMaryland 2013, sponsored by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. The event showcased the state’s growing cybersecurity industry, challenged professionals and students and fostered networking. Find more information on the conference here, as well as the winners of the Maryland Cyber Challenge here.
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Stretching into its second week, the federal government’s shutdown is looming over Maryland businesses.
Governor Martin O’Malley’s blog has featured three accounts of successful Maryland companies now threatened by the budget gridlock in Congress.
- Baltimore-based Fyodor Biotechnologies Corp. was forced to place an important medical research project on hold after the shutdown prevented them from processing a National Science Foundation grant. The project could be shuttered permanently. Read more here.
- M. Luis Construction in Baltimore, which performs many paving and road construction projects across Maryland, is facing stalled bidding processes and possibly postponed payments as result of the shutdown. Read more here.
- Kloudtrack, with offices in Rockville and Annapolis, is an information technology subcontractor within the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security. They’re now uncertain how long they can continue to provide their high quality product without the promise of future payment. Read more here.
Tell us how the shutdown is impacting your business on the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Facebook page.
Looking to boost your community’s economy? Consider sprucing up the town’s welcome sign, organizing an outdoor farmers market or printing T-shirts with the town name on them.
These actions and more, shared during Tuesday’s Maryland Economic Development Association fall conference in Frederick, may not directly translate into new jobs, but the sense of place they create will help deliver sustainable long-term growth. Experts—ranging from a innovative mixed-use land developer to a social branding consultant—spoke on the importance of improving place to attract higher skilled workers, foster entrepreneurship and increase an area’s overall quality of life.
“Why would anyone invest in a city that doesn’t want to invest in itself?” asked keynote speaker Ed McMahon, Senior Fellow for Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute.
McMahon discussed the importance of basic aesthetics. “Every single day in America, people make decisions about where to live, where to work, where to retire, based almost entirely on what communities look like,” he said.
Frederick Mayor Randy McClement said he hoped the backdrop of his city would help inspire fellow community leaders to devote resources to place making.
Developing Frederick’s unique character has been a conscious ongoing effort for the city, which boasts a growing selection of restaurants, outdoor markets and festivals, following a sort of “Mayberry theme,” McClement said.
“You’ve got to find that niche, that thing people would want to come see, whether it’s that hometown charm we have here in Frederick, or maybe the excitement of more urban aspects. You need to find what’s good for you, but we can share the example of building on what you have,” he said.
Keasha Haythe, vice president of MEDA and Director of Economic Development of Dorchester City, said she hoped the conference would inspire fellow MEDA members to improve the perception of their own communities.
“Creating a sense of place is extremely important to economic development because that is what the residents and the business community draw on. That’s how they attract new investment,” Haythe said.
She praised MEDA for providing a platform to spread innovative ideas within the state’s business leadership community. “Events like this bring all the players together, the right policy makers and panelists and business leaders. Today was truly a great conference and we had a great turnout,” she said.
On behalf of Governor Martin O’Malley, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray presented a proclamation to MEDA, recognizing its support of Maryland’s third annual Economic Development Week.
“It’s such a pleasure to work with all of you as a team—we’ve got a tremendous team. All of us are dedicated to doing things that make Maryland a better place to live and work, it’s my honor and privilege to work with all of you,” Murray said.
Supporting Maryland manufacturing is a top priority here at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, and a recent event organized by Walmart shed some light on revitalizing industry in our state and across the nation.
Walmart has a goal of creating $50 billion in new manufacturing in the United States over the next decade, much of it by encouraging its suppliers to bring outsourced manufacturing back home. This plan was detailed in a summit attended by more than 1,500 participants, including the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the Honorable Penny Pritzker, and eight governors, as well as the CEOs of General Electric, Walmart, Sam’s Club and other corporate leaders.
The Good News: U.S. exports in the first six months of this year were $1.2 trillion, the total of all U.S. exports in 2003. Increased exports means increased manufacturing jobs as well. The output of U.S. workers is up 9 percent on average since the 2008 recession due to improved productivity, continuing innovation, research and development and the important economic development activities of U.S. universities. Manufacturing processes are being done with less labor, cheaper natural gas and at a lower cost of credit (thanks to the Federal Reserve). And three jobs are created for every one manufacturing job.
One speaker said we hear a lot about China’s robust economic growth and how it will “sink” the U.S. economy. The same thing was said of Japan in the 1970s. Today, the U.S. has 2.5 times more manufacturing value-added than five years ago. Chinese labor costs continue to rise, although still well behind average U.S. wages. However, the cost of transporting products continues to rise. In addition, import duties and delays in backfilling orders makes U.S. manufacturing increasingly more competitive with the fully-loaded cost of Chinese imports. In the case of flooring material, the U.S. now has a $.03 advantage over China and the product can be delivered to buyers within a matter of one to three days.
Some of the governors said they have eliminated state taxes on utilities, cut corporate taxes by 20-plus percent, provided tax incentives, improved infrastructure and implemented programs to provide the workforce needed to meet the demands of tomorrow’s job market. In fact, all of the governors who spoke said that the quality and availability of the workforce were the most important factors for companies looking to expand or relocate to their states. One governor spoke of a high school program in his state that allows qualified students to also complete a two-year associate degree at the same time that includes a mandatory internship in the skill area chosen by the student. Another state provides a certificate of “readiness” that confirms for an employer what it is that the prospective employee can do as a result of education and on-the-job training, certified by a professional trained in that skill area.
The CEO of General Electric commented that the U.S. can compete with any country anywhere in the world, and that manufacturing is getting better. The speakers concluded that we are at a tipping point and we should challenge our old assumptions about the capability and capacity of U.S. manufacturing. U.S. manufacturing can and will rebound and grow in light of U.S. leadership in research and development, innovation, productivity improvements and changes in China and elsewhere that will work to our advantage.
The good news that Maryland added 1,800 manufacturing jobs in July, the most of any job sector in the state, underscores the vitality of, and opportunity for, manufacturing in Maryland.
How has Maryland’s economy and quality of life improved since Governor Martin O’Malley’s inaugural speech in 2007?
A new video, released on Wednesday, details developments in health, education, public safety, the environment, job growth and innovation since the governor took office.
The video is part of an ongoing “Better Choices, Better Results” forum series. The first, held Wednesday at Goucher College in Towson, focused on jobs and the economy. Information on future forums is available on the governor’s website.
BALTIMORE, MD (August 26, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley today joined with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and City of Frederick Mayor Randy McClement to announce the expansion of a Montgomery County life sciences company which plans to add new jobs in Montgomery and Frederick counties over the next several years. Precision for Medicine, a leading provider of specialized services, technology and infrastructure for life sciences companies, will consolidate and expand its headquarters in a new location in Bethesda and will also expand its operations in the City of Frederick to be used for biorepository and lab operations. In total, the company will retain 81 jobs, and will create 170 new jobs between the two locations.
“By working with our partners in Montgomery County and the City of Frederick as well the leadership of Precision for Medicine, we are preserving 81 jobs, creating 170 new jobs and ensuring that this company will continue to grow and invest in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “Our most important priority continues to be creating and retaining the kinds of highly-skilled, innovative jobs that will help sustain Maryland’s economy for today and for decades to come.”
“Today’s announcement that Precision for Medicine will remain and expand in Montgomery County is exciting news, and reinforces why we are one of the top biotech clusters in the country,” said County Executive Leggett. “By strategically partnering with the State of Maryland and the City of Frederick, we show the regional and national business community that Montgomery County and Maryland are indeed business friendly and stand ready to assist companies who have demonstrated their ability and desire to grow here and add coveted, knowledge-based jobs to our local economy.”
An upcoming forum seeks to help American businesses navigate new opportunities with Mexico.
Scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, the Global Trade Forum will include a keynote address by Mexican Ambassador to the United States His Excellency Eduardo Medina-Mora. Panelists will include Trevor Gunn, Managing Director of International Relations for Medtronic, Inc., Catherine Robinson, Esq., Senior Manager of International Government Affairs for Amgen, Inc., a representative of the U.S. Commercial Services and a representative from ProMexico.
Trade channels are already active between Maryland and Mexican companies. In 2012, exported goods valued at $344 million traveled from Maryland to Mexico. Currently, Mexico is the United States’ third-largest goods trading partner. The forum will provide access to experts and information to expand the trade relationship, with a focus on bio-tech industries. Public and private sector representatives are urged to attend.
Admission is $49 with advance registration through the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development website required.
Optoro—a Lanham-based startup specializing in reselling items that have been returned to major retailers—is flexing its fundraising muscles.
Technically Baltimore reports that the 5-year-old company has raised $23.5 million in equity, based on its latest U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
The company’s innovative approach to asset recovery has attracted multiple investors. In 2010 and 2011, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development invested $200,000 in Optoro through the Maryland Venture Fund. Ted Leonsis, a world-renowned entrepreneur and owner of the Washington Capitals, the Washington Wizards, the Washington Mystics and the Verizon Center, has actively invested in the company and serves as a director. Lawson DeVries of Grotech Ventures is another active investor and director. Grotech Ventures, in 2012, was chosen as the state’s first InvestMaryland venture capital firm. Its Hunt Valley office was awarded $12 million to invest in Maryland startups.
Co-founder and CEO Tobin Moore sat down with MD BIZ News in February 2012 to discuss plans for expansion. At the time, it was focused almost exclusively on buying returned goods from Walmart, Best Buy, Staples and other retailers, and reselling them on websites like Amazon and eBay.
The company has since further developed OptiTurn, cloud-based inventory management software that allows the company to “simultaneously post inventory of all categories and conditions across the most popular online marketplaces, instantly connecting our clients’ products to the hundreds of millions of secondary buyers regularly searching for them,” according to its website. Moore said he believes the software is a major step toward growing the startup into a $500 million company.
Watch MD BIZ News’ interview with Moore below: