State of Business in Carroll County: open to manufacturers

State of Business in Carroll County: open to manufacturers
Jack Lyburn, director of the Carroll County Department of Economic Development, spoke to a crowd of Carroll County Chamber of Commerce members at the chamber's "State of Business" luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Jennifer Turiano / Carroll County Times)

At the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce’s “State of Business” luncheon, county Department of Economic Development Director Jack Lyburn outlined why Carroll is the right place for business, and why now is the right time for new businesses — especially manufacturers — to come.

One reason is the county has sites ripe for the picking, like the Carroll County Commerce Center, Warfield at Historic Sykesville, Mount Airy Business Park, North Carroll Business Park and the Westminster Technology Park.


Lyburn said the Department of Economic Development is going to bring more site locators to the county to show them around and ask them to bring their businesses.

“Quality of life: It’s the safest county in the whole state of Maryland. Yes, we have a drug problem, but we’re working on it. Education: We are always in the top three. … Land prices are about a third of surrounding counties,” he said.

“Maryland is strong. Maryland has always had a triple-A [bond] rating. There’s 57 accredited universities here, and the Port of Baltimore just got a huge contract ... [and] quite a few federal agencies that are here.”

Plus, he said, U.S. Census Bureau data shows 92.1 percent of Carroll County residents achieved a high school education or higher — 1.5 percent higher than the state of Maryland and 5.1 percent higher than the nation as a whole — and 21 percent of Carroll County residents have a bachelor’s degree — 0.7 percent more than the state of Maryland and 2.6 percent more than the nation as a whole.

Carroll County also has a low unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics and Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

At 3.6 percent this year, the county’s unemployment rate is 1.3 percent lower than the state of Maryland and 0.4 percent lower than the nation as a whole — and has stayed lower than both consistently since 2009.

Carroll Broadband, the Carroll County Regional Airport, Carroll County Farm Museum, Business Employment Resource Center and Tourism Office are highlights that make the county desirable for businesses, Lyburn said.

“Tourism is stronger than ever at $120 million [in sales],” he said.

Some of the largest tourist ventures in the county, said Lyburn, are the PEEPshow at the Carroll Arts Center, county Barn Quilt Trail, Maryland Wine Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum and Common Ground on the Hill at McDaniel College.

With large manufacturers already in the county like Fuchs North America, Evapco, Penguin Random House, Strouse Corporation, Fairlawn Tool Inc. and Find Solid Corporation, Lyburn said the county’s focus will be on bringing more manufacturers to the county’s business parks in the coming years.

“The state has given us site locators all over the United States that we deal with. We are looking to send [our promotional video] out to them, and we’re going to send them a letter, have lunch with about 50 of them and we’re going to go to the community college,” Lyburn said.

“We’re going to send four or five sites to them and then we are going to go to the sites and say, ‘Please come to Carroll County.’ ”