COLUMBIA — Doug Howard, president of the Board of County Commissioners, this week made a presentation to members of a BRAC Business Initiative (BBI) meeting to highlight Carroll County's attributes for companies looking to relocate near military installations.
BRAC is the federal Base Realignment and Closure process, through which Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County, Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County and Fort Detrick in Frederick County are slated to receive additional military personnel — and associated contractor jobs — through the consolidation of military bases elsewhere.
At the Aug. 10 BBI meeting in Columbia, Howard, who represents the 5th District (Sykesville and Eldersburg) on the commissioner board, touted the county as a "premium place" to locate business.
"Our hope is that ... you find some opportunities to do business in Carroll County, to do business with some of the companies that are there, to recognize that there are opportunities, possibly, to do business with our government, and maybe even a few of you might find a home in Carroll County," Howard said. "That'd be fine, too."
He said part of the commissioners' mission regarding BRAC is to take what he called a "one time opportunity," and "translate that into opportunity for the business community."
He said Carroll is well-situated to accommodate BRAC-related business because of its location between Fort Meade, Fort Detrick and Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Howard told the group there are high-tech business parks with more than 500,000 square feet of space available in southern Carroll alone — some 300,000 at the Warfield Cultural and Commerce Center, and about 225,000 at the new Liberty Exchange development.
He also noted the county's effort to stretch fiber optic broadband across much of the county, crediting the previous board of commissioners for having, "the sense to expand" the fiber optic network beyond government uses.
He touted the county as "business friendly," and noted that the current board of commissioners has worked to streamline the development review process for new projects, reducing the time needed for approvals by an average of six weeks.
"This board of commissioners, I think, is very intent on making sure we continue to improve that process," he said.
He said the county offers workforce training services and facilities, including programs offered through Carroll Community College, as well as a Green Enterprise Development Training program and a cybersecurity careers consortium.
Howard also said other county attributes — including its educated work force, tax structure, recreation and open space, high quality of life and strong public school system — made the county a prime spot for employees as well.
Howard's presentation included a slide board and sound bites from business representatives who touted the county's business environment.
Barbara Biller, president of the Westminster-based Intellitech — a manufacturer of liquid packaging machinery for biotech and pharmaceutical industries — said in the presentation that, "I've traveled all over the world. I choose to live and grow my business in Carroll County for the supportive business environment, and quality of life."
Attending the meeting with Howard were commissioners David Roush, Richard Rothschild and Robin Frazier, as well as county business and economic development officials and representatives from the Warfield Development Corporation, the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, Carroll Community College and the City of Taneytown.
The Warfield Cultural and Commerce Center is a corporate park being developed in the Sykesville area, and St. John Properties is developing Liberty Exchange, a office and commercial project on Liberty Road, also in South Carroll.
The BRAC Business Initiative group was formed in 2009 as an offshoot of the Regional Growth Management Committee, which brought together the eight counties and two cities that surround Fort Meade. The committee was tasked with identifying impacts and opportunities that Fort Meade growth would bring to the region.
To view the presentation at the BRAC Business Initiative group, go to http://carrollcountymd.iqm2.com/citizens/VideoMain.aspx?MediaID=1767