Maryland state officials who recently went mining for companies in Germany said the venture produced some strong prospects in technology, financial services and transportation.
Trips around the nation and world are increasingly common among economic developers, who say the face-to-face meetings help build contacts that pay off eventually in new and expanding businesses and jobs. But this time, officials, including the governor and the top business recruiter, said they talked about specific projects.
"Relationship building is essential and worth doing," said Richard C. Mike Lewin, state secretary of business and economic development. "But what's really worth doing is talking about specific opportunities in Maryland."
Lewin said he met with 18 business heads about moving or expanding in Maryland. State officials made contacts with dozens of others in groups. Many of the companies have operations in the Baltimore area. The hot prospects include:
Wavetek Wandel Goltermann Inc., which merged with Raleigh, N.C.-based Dynatech Corp., a communications holding company. A Dynatech subsidiary, TTC, is based in Germantown.
Deutsche Banc, which acquired Baltimore-based investment bank Alex. Brown.
Lufthansa. The state wants the airline to offer nonstop service to Europe from Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Aventis Pharmaceuticals, which has no presence in the state.
Allianz, an insurance concern that owns Baltimore-based American Credit Indemnity.
Bertelsmann, which operates a Random House distribution facility in Carroll County.
State officials travel several times a year around the country and world to market the state. Maryland also maintains offices in the Netherlands, China, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chili and Israel.