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Governor’s Leadership Award

World Trade Center Institute

I was listening to Deb [Kielty] run through the tremendous accomplishments of so many of the entrepreneurs of Maryland companies that we are awarding this year. And I was thinking of just how blessed we are as a state. How can you not be proud of Maryland when we see all the terrific things that are going on – all of the ways that we are engaged in the life and economy of this globe.

Your entrepreneurial spirit, your perseverance and your leadership have helped us move toward our shared goal which is greater opportunities for more and more of our people.

The World Trade Center Institute exemplifies the kind of partnership between public and private sectors that we absolutely need to advance our opportunity agenda. Local, regional and international companies – along with government – reaching out to that much wider world.

You know, it’s an interesting thing about our American character that since our founding, we have been a revolutionary people – international in our perspective and conditions from day one. At the same time, there is that other aspect of our character, which from time to time can slip into a strange xenophobic condition.

But look at these companies, look at your neighbors around this room – successful people who are doing better in this increasingly smaller world with more and more fast-paced competition…

Change is happening rapidly. Our knowledge-based economy that we have in Maryland – with federal agencies, research facilities, institutions of discovery and technology – is growing.

And we have to come together, as One Maryland, to recognize that we have the power in one another to harness that change for the benefit of all. To harness coming opportunity and preserve our quality of life. To build a competitive and growing business community. And, to invest, not only in our infrastructure, but in our intellectual infrastructure, which is truly what makes us a world leader. And what makes us able to compete and win in a world economy.

One of the most important components of that is enhancing Maryland’s global profile. You do that so much better than government ever can. You are increasingly our ability to compete and win in an engaged way.

Just last Thursday and Friday, the Department of Business and Economic Development, under the leadership of Secretary Edgerley, hosted more than a dozen business executives from Turkey – bringing them together with 35 Maryland companies to take the first steps in opening up new and fertile markets.

And it is going to be our responsibility, together, to continue to identify those areas where we can create greater partnerships and diversify our investment.

Which is why, right now, we are working to boost our foreign investment in mature markets like Israel, Europe, and Japan.

It’s why we want to work with you to open up greater opportunities here in this hemisphere in Central and South America.

It’s why we want to build on the successes of the Maryland/Israel Development Center and the Maryland Center China while we cultivate opportunities in places like Africa and India.

And, we are also working to target intervention and investment in priority industries and growing business sectors – including bioscience, technology development and education.

Under David Edgerley’s leadership, and in partnership with all of you, we are going to increase our market presence, sustain critical investments – here and abroad, and harness our growth to expand opportunity.

In short, we are going to do everything we possibly can to make your Department of Business and Economic Development work and function and serve your talents so you can create greater opportunities for all of us…

So, we are excited about our international future, but we know that our ability to expand opportunity is not based solely on our institutional strength – but truly based on your talents, your brainpower, your courage, your willingness to risk action on the faith each of us makes a difference.

And that’s really what tonight’s award ceremony, I think anyway, is all about – honoring our strong, successful global leaders who have made our State a better and stronger place.

We are joined by so many terrific leaders here tonight, and it’s my great honor to be able to add Chip Mason to this distinguished list that you saw flashing on the screens before you.

Chip Mason has played a tremendous role over the years in shaping Maryland’s engagement of new global frontiers.

With his vision and leadership, Legg Mason has been an incredible corporate citizen and really one of the strongest pillars that our City has ever had. They now rank as the fifth largest asset manager in the world. I am really excited about their move to Inner Harbor East…

You know, there were many people when I was first elected Mayor that I had the chance to get to know. But there were very few that stuck up time and time again in very substantive way.

Also, I might add, he’s a humble guy. He was always quiet but consistent in his belief that our City is the core of our metropolitan economy and that we are all in this together.

I want to thank you Chip, for everything that you did for our City in these last years and for all that you do in our state as well.

Chip is a leader in his industry, but he is also deeply involved in our local business community – guiding the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education for a dozen years.

There are so many kids who now have the opportunity to learn reading and math and also have access to technology that would not have had those opportunities were it not for Chip’s leadership and his dogged determination to make sure we stay at it and give our kids the best education they can possibly have – also to compete in this new global economy.

But, at the end of the day, Chip Mason is an example – not only for his incredible global leadership – but really for his pivotal role as one of Maryland’s greater ambassadors.

He is a person who has always believed in this place that we love.

And Ladies and Gentleman, it is with great pleasure that I present this year’s Governor’s Leadership Award to the one, the only, Chip Mason.

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