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Westminster councilman talks business and airports

Greg Pecoraro
Greg Pecoraro

Westminster councilman Greg Pecoraro has a new day job. On Sept. 3, he was appointed the new executive director of the BWI Business Partnership and will be leading efforts to improve and facilitate transit and business not just around Baltimore Washington International Airport, but also throughout central Maryland. He will take over from Linda Greene when she retires on Sept. 30.

Pecoraro has worked in numerous positions, public and private, involving transportation over the past two and a half decades, including a stint as the assistant secretary for administration at the Maryland Department of Transportation as well as serving as vice president of government affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He served on the Westminster Common Council from 1994 to 2003, again from 2005 to 2011, and was elected to the council for a third time in May for a term to last into 2019.

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The Times caught up with Pecoraro to learn more about his new position, what it means for people in Carroll County, and what types of airplanes he likes best.

Q: For those who are unfamiliar, what is the BWI Business Partnership and what does it do?

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The BWI Business Partnership is an alliance of major regional businesses and local, state and federal government agencies focused on economic and transportation issues in the Central Maryland region. Key elements of its focus are BWI Airport, NSA, Fort Meade and Arundel Mills Mall as major economic engines and job creators. Our unique partnership of business and government creates unique opportunities to influence and encourage the region's growth, as well as promote and sometimes provide effective transportation solutions for employers and employees.

One of our most interesting features is that we are a Transportation Management Association. TMAs are non-profit, member-controlled organizations that provide transportation services in a particular area. We were created as the TMA for northern Anne Arundel County, and have grown to provide services in a broader area.

Q: When is your first official day on the job as executive director and what will your responsibilities be?

I joined the Partnership staff on September 1, and, after a few weeks of transition with the outgoing executive director, take over on October 1. In my role, I will be working with our members and other stakeholders to improve transit and ride sharing opportunities in the region to help employers get the people they need to their job sites, and encouraging state and local governments to support those transportation needs.

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Q: Are there any particular experiences you've had in your career you believe will inform your work in this new position? For instance, the work you did with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association?

There have been some great opportunities in my past that have prepared me for this role, particularly my time in Maryland state government, especially the years I served as assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, as well as time spent working on economic development issues under Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith. In my time with AOPA I was the association's chief advocate on issues affecting airports and General Aviation in states all across the country and I expect that experience will be valuable as I return to Annapolis to advocate on Central Maryland transportation issues.

Q: Do you have any particular set of initiatives you would like to undertake as Executive Director?

First, I'm looking forward to building on the great work done by my predecessor, who is leaving me with a very strong organization. Beyond that, I am interested in growing the Partnership's activities into some other Central Maryland communities that could benefit from our services as a TMA. I'd also like to build a stronger connection south to the capital beltway communities to better collaborate on moving people, goods, and services through the Baltimore Washington region. Finally, I'm very keen to ensure the Partnership's members are well represented in the current debate on meeting the very real need for better transit opportunities between Baltimore and its suburban areas.

Q: In what ways does the BWI Business Partnership affect the people of Carroll County?

We are part of Central Maryland. Many Carroll County residents commute to jobs in Central Maryland and throughout the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, and many of our local businesses do business in that area. To the extent that I can help promote better understanding of the regions' issues here at home, and our local concerns to policy-makers and business leaders to the south and east, I think that is good for everyone in the region.

Q: Do you have a favorite aircraft?

I did some flight training during my years at AOPA, although I never finished my certificate. Even so, in my travels around the country I had the opportunity to fly some pretty cool airplanes. I don't think I have a favorite aircraft, but my favorite experiences were flying in a Cirrus SR-22 along the coast past New York City, some mountain flying in Alaska, and doing "touch and goes" in an amphibious aircraft on lakes in Florida.

Q: What's one thing people don't usually know about Central Maryland that you think is important to understand?

I think people need to understand how interconnected the economies are of all the communities are in our region. If one area suffers, we all do.

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