Maryland Annual International Business Awards
March 12, 2009
Good evening,… thank you for inviting me to join you tonight, it’s great to be here once again with all of you. I want to thank Deb Kielty and her very talented team at the World Trade Center Institute for being such great partners.
Thanks as well to Rebecca Hoffberger and everyone with the Visionary Arts Museum – is this a great venue, or what? For those of you who don’t already know him, I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to someone who I believe you’ll find to be a terrific partner,… and that’s our new Secretary of Business and Economic Development, Christian Johansson.
When we opened up our search process for our new DBED Secretary, we set out to find someone who is forward-thinking, … someone with energy, ideas, and a commitment to progress. We were blessed to find that person in Christian, and in his first month on the job he’s already hit the ground running.
Under Secretary Johannson’s leadership – and with your partnership – DBED will be working over the coming weeks and months to boost business confidence in Maryland, strengthen and rebuild ties with our business community, and leverage our State’s assets to help us reach our economic potential.
I know that I don’t have to remind anyone in this room about the severity of this national economic crisis. But despite our great challenges, I truly believe we’re in position to climb out of this recession more quickly than other States.
Why do I say that? Because not only do we have some of the world’s leading intuitions of science, discovery, and higher learning; not only do we have an abundance of federal resources; not only are we home to more than 550 foreign owned companies; not only did we export record numbers of goods out of the Port of Baltimore last year; not only to we have one of America’s most highly skilled workforces,…
… But we also have what Education Week magazine says is the #1 best public school system in America. That’s why.
We are committed to working with you in the business community to leverage these assets for growth, particularly as we think more and more globally.
As Americans, no longer can we afford to ignore the fact that our world is growing smaller and more interconnected by the day. And here in Maryland, we’re feeling an increasingly greater calling to look beyond our national borders for partnerships and opportunity.
It’s why, last month when I presented our State School Board with our Administration’s vision for education, I asked them to begin benchmarking our students’ progress against students from other countries.
And it’s why, under Secretary Johannson’s and Bob Walker’s leadership, we’re putting a renewed focus on international business.
O’Malley-Brown Global Initiatives
Before we get to our awards presentation, I wanted to briefly run through a few of the initiatives we have underway in the O’Malley-Brown Administration for expanding our State’s global competitive position:
- We’re announcing here tonight that we will open a virtual Maryland International Business Center, which will be modeled on our State’s Biotechnology Center. This new “one stop shop” will bring together key State and federal partners for the first time, as we work in concert to attract international business opportunities and investments to Maryland, and assist Maryland companies with exporting their goods and services overseas.
- We are also announcing tonight that we’ve created what we call the Governor’s International Advisory Council, which will be chaired by Harold Adams. Harold is a co-founder of the World Trade Center Institute, and former Chairman of RTKL. This Council will be modeled on our Life Sciences Advisory Board, and we’ll turn to it for strategic advice, direction, and guidance. We have some of the best and brightest minds anywhere in America here in Maryland. We’re going to do everything we can to take advantage of that.
- We are working with partners at the University of Maryland College Park to develop an international business incubator. This will be our State’s first incubator which is dedicated exclusively to nurturing foreign companies and providing them access to the resources they need to grow – and we are confident that it will help us attract direct foreign investment and jobs to our State.
- In the past year we’ve doubled our international footprint by opening new international trade offices – at no upfront expense to taxpayers – in South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Montenegro and Canada.
- Through our Department of Business and Economic Development we’re stepping up our media and marketing initiatives to help attract international opportunities to our State – which will include growing our web presence and creating an international business newsletter through DBED.
- We’re launching targeted economic development missions to locations throughout the world. Since last April, our international development team has succeeded in attracting 14 foreign companies to Maryland – if you’re keeping score at home that averages to more than one new company a month.
With us tonight is Drew Deutsch (“doy-ch”) from International Baccalaureate, which just announced plans to bring 100 jobs to Montgomery County next year.
I also want to welcome our guests from Life:WIRE, Craig Research Continuum, and Biosystemix – three Canadian companies we hope will soon be calling Maryland home too.
- We’re working to grow our export economy, which last year produced a record high of $11.4 billion exports, a 27% increase. Our State’s exports reach 200 countries, but we believe we can reach even more – and we’re looking forward to continuing our work with all of you to make it happen.
Conclusion: Award Presentation
We have made tremendous strides just in the past year and we will keep moving Maryland forward with the help of leaders like you, leaders who are dedicated to helping build the stronger future all of us prefer for our State.
At this time, it’s my distinct honor and privilege to present the 2009 Governor’s International Leadership Award. I understand we are joined tonight by some prior honorees – Harold Adams, Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley, Ken Hackett and Frank Burd, among others.
Tonight, we add Dr. Robert C. Gallo to that distinguished list.
Dr. Gallo has dedicated his life to the higher cause of healing. His career embodies the notion that each individual can make a difference and all of us must try.
A pioneer in the field of virology, Dr. Gallo’s discoveries have led to both diagnostic and therapeutic advances in cancer and other diseases in every corner of world.
Two decades ago, when little was known about a mysterious disease that was fast becoming the deadliest in medical history, it was Dr. Gallo who discovered that AIDS is caused by the HIV virus. He has spent the years since working to combat this terrible epidemic.
Ladies and Gentleman, your 2009 Governor’s International Leadership Award Winner,… Robert Gallo.