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Alliance helped to bring 3 firms to area in 1998 Group's assistance lauded as pivotal in 1 company's decision


In its vision for the future, the Greater Baltimore Alliance hopes to build on its success of the past 11 months, when it helped to bring three firms to the Baltimore area -- two regional distribution centers and an engineering company.

The two distribution centers, County Seat Stores Inc., locating in Rosedale, and Aero Fulfillment Services, locating in the White Marsh area, together will employ 183. They will directly and indirectly generate more than 500 new jobs, $50 million in economic output and $18 million in annual personal income, and increase total business tax revenue by $4 million, according to an economic impact study conducted for GBA.

The engineering firm, Trident QRV, locating near Abingdon, will employ 40. The study projects that Trident will directly and indirectly generate more than 117 new jobs, $9 million in economic output, $3.7 million in annual personal income and more than $300,000 in additional business tax revenue.

"We would hope to grow our list of prospective companies that are considering greater Baltimore as a new location by 50 percent," D. Keith Watkins, GBA vice president, corporate locations, said in his projections for 1999. "I would look to see the [number of business that relocate to Baltimore] increase by 100 percent. Six for next year is a very attainable goal."

Between May 1997, when Ioanna T. Morfessis, GBA president and chief executive officer, arrived, and the end of 1997, GBA generated 29 prospects. During the first 11 months of 1998, the GBA developed 62 "prospects" -- companies with the potential to become a net new employer within 18 to 24 months. GBA expects to end the year with between 65 and 68 prospects.

At least one executive at a company that worked with GBA to come to the area was impressed with the help the organization provided.

John Gimpel, vice president of Aero Fulfillment Services, praised GBA's sales work as his company considered greater Baltimore, southern New Jersey, Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

"They were a very big part of our decision to come down here," he said. "Quite honestly, there was no group in the other areas that even approached us. They were very aggressive and very good at what they did. What the GBA did was make us very aware of the advantages."

Aero, a warehouse and distribution company for marketing materials, will have about 30 employees in place by the year's end and an additional 50 to 100 within a couple years, Gimpel said.

More than 500 people are expected to attend the GBA's annual meeting, "FutureQuest 1999," this morning to hear about its economic development successes for the year and its strategy for the future. The keynote speaker will be financier and philanthropist George Soros.

"He has phenomenal vision," said Morfessis. "He is one man who has had an incredible effect on many parts of the world."

Morfessis said the GBA viewed Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC, as a shining example of what can be accomplished through personal vision and its implications for communities.

In continuing to set the region apart from its competition, GBA this week will launch a new advertising campaign. Also, to assess the area's image, the group soon will commission a national CEO perception survey that will be used, along with business trend forecasting, to decide how to brand the region.

"We're ready to step up to bat with the major leagues," Morfessis said.

Pub Date: 12/15/98

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