Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan opened Maryland’s inaugural Governor’s Business Summit before a crowd of more than 700 business, education and community leaders at the Hilton Baltimore. The day-long economic development conference, hosted by the Maryland Marketing Partnership, highlighted the issues and industries driving Maryland’s economy, including developing workforce through innovation training, protecting businesses from cyberthreats, tapping into global markets and attracting venture capital, among other key topics.

Hogan described how his administration’s commitment to making Maryland “Open for Business” has delivered positive results around the state. Since January 2015, Maryland has added nearly 100,000 jobs and has successfully recruited major new investments from companies like Amazon, Lidl, Under Armour and Pinnacle Foods. Notable job creation wins include the announcement of Marriott’s $600 million new headquarters complex in Bethesda; the retention of McCormick’s headquarters in Baltimore County; Morgan Stanley’s 800-job expansion in Baltimore City; and $100 million in new investment by Northrop Grumman Corp., which directly supports more than 10,000 jobs in Maryland.

“Saying we are ‘Open for Business’ isn’t just a catchy slogan on road signs. It actually defines our mission, and it’s why I ran for governor,” said Hogan. “We said we were going to help our businesses grow, put more Marylanders to work and turn our economy around, and we have been doing exactly what we said we would do. Maryland’s economy is stronger than it’s been in more than a decade.”


New Strategies

To build on the progress of the last two years, Hogan announced that the administration is launching a new, comprehensive, statewide economic development strategy called Excel Maryland. The initiative will be focused on developing new, collaborative strategies to accelerate growth in the life sciences and cybersecurity industries, which are already flourishing in the state.
A steering committee includes officials from the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, in partnership with The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and the University System of Maryland (USM), along with the Maryland Economic Development Corp. The committee is being led by Susan Windham Bannister, the founding president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, who helped drive Massachusetts to become a leading state for life sciences employment per capita.
“With the launch of our comprehensive, statewide economic development strategy called Excel Maryland, we will focus on new, collaborative strategies to accelerate growth in some of the sectors where Maryland already leads, including the life sciences and cybersecurity industries,” said Hogan. “Excel Maryland will help pool the talents of our state agencies, our universities and our private sector industry experts to help us create an environment in Maryland where more companies can start up here and never stop growing here.”


Group Effort

The Excel Maryland steering committee co-chairs include Bob Caret, chancellor of USM, and Ronald Daniels, president of JHU. Steering committee members are Dr. Bahija Jallal, executive vice president, MedImmune and AstraZeneca; Stephanie Hill, vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin; Daniel Abdun-Nabi, CEO of Emergent BioSolutions and chair of the Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board; Tom Geddes, CEO of Plank Industries; Ron Gula, president of Gula Tech Adventures and co-founder of Tenable Network Security; Peter Barris, managing general partner of New Enterprise Associates; Bill Niland, CEO of Harpoon Medical; Larry Letow, president and CEO of Convergence Technology Consulting; Robert Lord, CEO of Protenus; Wendy Perrow, CEO of AsclepiX, Therapeutics; and Paul Silber, founding principal of Blu Venture Investors.

Ex-officio members are Sam Malhotra, chief of staff to Hogan; Secretary of Commerce Mike Gill; Secretary Kelly Schulz, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; Secretary of State John Wobensmith; General Linda Singh, adjutant general of Maryland; Sen. Robert Neall; John Wasilisin, president and chief operating officer of the Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO); and Bob Brennan, executive director of MEDCO.


‘Great Assets’

“As one of the nation’s leading states for university research and development, we have an enormous opportunity to help transform our state’s great assets in advanced industries into a compelling, visionary strategy that will ultimately accelerate economic development,” said Daniels. “Through the Excel Maryland initiative, we want to create a true public-private partnership of ideas and resources that will provide a compelling vision for the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland.”

The initiative will culminate in a report by the end of August, which will serve as a roadmap to securing Maryland’s position as the epicenter of cybersecurity and advancing Maryland’s leadership position in biohealth and life sciences.