Thank you Deb. Congratulations to all tonight’s honorees,… I always enjoy spending this time with all of you, and in big ways and in small ways you represent the future of Maryland’s economy.
You perhaps, more than anyone else, recognize that in this changing new economy, there will be states that win and states that lose. The states that win, will be those states which succeed in creating and saving jobs through innovation,… states which insist on protecting their priorities in tough times,… and states which recognize – as do all of you – that to be competitive in an increasingly connected world, we must look beyond our nation’s borders for partnerships that allow us to create jobs and expand opportunity.
And that’s why your state government teamed with one of tonight’s award winners — Mark Montgomery can you raise your hand? We teamed with Mark and his team at Ports America Chesapeake on an innovative public-private partnership to modernize the Port of Baltimore and create 5,700 Maryland jobs. (we can all applaud for that). This is a living, breathing example of what international business can mean for jobs, opportunity, and Maryland’s future.
I won’t take too much more of your time, but I did want to share a few thoughts about our global competitiveness and the urgent priority we share of creating jobs, expanding opportunity, and making this new economy ours.
Creating Jobs in the New Economy
To move Maryland forward, we must leverage the power of our diversity, or our geography, and of Maryland’s Innovation Economy: global trade, next generation manufacturing, bio-tech, green-tech, clean-tech, cyber security, information technology, and aerospace.
Today, international trade in Maryland supports nearly 800,000 jobs – more than 25% of our workforce. But with only 3% of Maryland companies actively exporting, we have significant room to grow.
More of our companies can be like Marlin Steel Wire Products here in Baltimore. They make wire baskets and fabricated metal items, and they project that by 2014 they will sell half their products in other countries.
If we continue to find ways to work together across sectors – business, government, education, non-profits – we are better positioned than any other state to make this new economy ours.
Why do I say that?
Because with your and your fellow citizens’ record investments, together we’ve built what Education Week magazine says are America’s #1 best public schools.
Because we’re one of only eight states which continue to defend a Triple a Bond rating, recently recertified by all three major agencies.
Because the United States Chamber of Commerce – hardly a mouthpiece for the Maryland Democratic Party – says we’re one of two best states for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Because the Milken Institute says we’re one of the two best science and technology states, and the Kauffman Foundation says we’re one of three states best positioned to win in the new economy.
Because unemployment in Maryland is the lowest it’s been since May 2009.
Because we have one of Americas most highly skilled workforces.
Because we’re home to some of the world’s greatest institutes of discovery and higher learning,… and because we’re home to 58 federal facilities,… That’s why.
And here’s another reason: with your hard work – and the benefit of our modernized Port of Baltimore – last year we increased our State’s exports 10% to $10.2 billion. We exported nearly double the amount to countries like The Netherlands and Chile, and increased exports to Korea 2 ½ times above where they were in 2009. And through the Maryland Export Initiative we announced last year, we are working to do even better.
Since 2007, working together we’ve brought 42 foreign-owned companies to our State. And the International Incubator at College Park, which we opened in 2009, is now home to 14 emerging foreign companies.
We want to bring even more companies like Alvarion to Maryland. Alvarion is an Israeli owned wireless broadband company. When it brings its U.S. headquarters to Maryland next year, it will create 25 new Maryland jobs.
In the past two years, we’ve opened offices in Russia, Colombia and India– at no upfront cost to taxpayers. We only pay them, if they bring business to Maryland. Our teams have met with delegations from Russia, China, France, Italy, Argentina, and Ukraine. And later this month, Maryland is hosting the first U.S. Balkans Summit at the University of Baltimore to open up trade and investment opportunities with the Western Balkans.
Thanks again for the opportunity to join you here.
It’s my honor to present the Governor’s International Leadership Award to a true visionary in Maryland’s business community who has made real progress in sustaining the world’s crab population – Steve Phillips, President and CEO of Phillips Foods.
A third generation waterman, Steve has spent his life as part of the fabric of Maryland’s seafood industry, moving with his parents, Brice and Shirley, in 1956 to open the first Phillips Crab House in Ocean City. That restaurant still stands today, a time honored tradition for thousands of beachgoing families each year. It is joined by seven more restaurants, 18 seafood processing facilities and global offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Please join me in congratulating Steve Phillips as the 2011 Governor’s International Leadership honoree!