Md. capital region economic development agencies join forces

The leaders of the Maryland Capital Region's six economic development agencies sign pact to bolster local economies. (Submitted Photo)

The leaders of the Maryland Capital Region’s six economic development agencies, via video conference, sign a pact to bolster their local economies. (Submitted Photo)

Economic development agencies in the Washington region have banded together to form a regional alliance to help the area rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Maryland National Capital Region Economic Development Alliance includes economic development agencies from Anne Arundel, Charles, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The new alliance was announced Monday after those jurisdictions signed a formal agreement last week.

“This alliance underscores the importance of the National Capital region to our state. The road to Maryland’s eventual successful economic recovery from the devastation of COVID-19 will need to be led by this region. Solutions that help the region are good for each of our counties. Regional cooperation allows for a greater connection with our federal and state partners,” Benjamin H. Wu, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp., said in a statement.

While the COVID-19 pandemic provided impetus to finalize the alliance, it’s roots stretch back to October, when the organizations first met to discuss “issues of mutual concern” in the region.

The region, according to the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corp., covers 3.3 million residents who represent 52% of Maryland’s economy. The agreement covers areas that include setting standards for ethical marketing, establishing protocols for communication about business prospects and evaluating policy changes to address competitiveness.

“In a normal economic climate, which will return, we know that we are more competitive working together than separately. COVID-19 crystalizes for the six of us that collaboration is critical to getting through this unprecedented economic, and of course, health crisis,” said David S. Iannucci, president and CEO of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation.

Interim Anne Arundel County Development Corp. CEO Jill Seamon highlighted her county’s ties to the capital region in announcing her jurisdiction’s decision to sign on to the alliance. The county is home to Fort George G. Meade, the U.S. Cyber Command, and National Security Agency headquarters.

More than 71,500 Anne Arundel residents work in the capital region, according U.S. Census Bureau data from 2017, while more than 47,000 residents from areas around Washington work in Anne Arundel County.

“Our residents, workforce and many of our more than 58,000 businesses cross county and state boundaries every day with a lot of connection to the Capital Region,” Seamon said in a statement. “We look forward to working with our economic development colleagues, promoting the state’s assets and amplifying the strength of Maryland’s Capital Region.”

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