Blog: Economic Development Transforms Lives Through Teamwork

MEDA President Danny Thompson


Economic Development Transforms Lives Through Teamwork

In the windy October air, the grating hum of road construction blends into the background of the hustle and bustle of the morning commute. Commuters and school buses share the freshly paved road and together, everyone heads to their destination. Maryland’s workforce is not separate from the community, as everyone, from school bus drivers to construction workers, represents the efforts and teamwork that it takes to build a successful economy. Through the efforts of economic developers, entrepreneurs, businesses, educational institutions, and public and private leaders, a sustainable economy can be built that promotes not only innovation but also fosters community. As the State of Maryland puts economic development center stage for Economic Development Week in Maryland (October 24-28, 2022), the teamwork and efforts of contributors to local economies are being recognized.

For more than 60 years, MEDA’s work in economic development has transcended beyond the impact of job creation, innovation, and education. It is a display of teamwork between communities, government, and economic developers; without the contributions of people from all different backgrounds, economic development would not have the same impact that it does in the communities it serves. 

Assistant Secretary for the Business & Industry Sector Development at the Maryland Department of Commerce, past MEDA president, and current MEDA board member, Heather Gramm, CEcD, comments, “The work we do in economic development, from creating job opportunities for our residents to attracting investment to our communities, allows for individuals to have accessible resources and feel invested in where they are living.”

For those inside the field, economic development is a tool for connecting people to their goals and for being able to take the time and have the financial means to take pleasure in their work and social activities. As Managing Director of Policy, Research & Government Affairs at the Maryland Department of Commerce, 2022 MEDA Rising Star Award winner, MEDA Public Policy Awareness committee member, and MEDA Young Leaders committee member Jennifer LeHatte explained, economic development is essential to the livelihood of all communities within the state. “When we say ‘economic development’ we’re talking about processes that have an impact. Economic development transforms lives by creating opportunities so that anyone, whether they are a single working mom or recent graduate, will have well-paying jobs available.” 

Economic development is a field built on working together to improve the business climate and promote professionalism to further the State of Maryland’s economic success. Executive Director at Somerset County Economic Development Commission and current MEDA President, Danny Thompson, commented, In economic development, everybody brings something to the table. We need a diversity of skills, visions, and talents. We need each other. Whether someone is a new colleague or established, everybody contributes to planting the seeds of progress.”

Remarking on the importance of economic developers working together, the Director at Charles County Economic Development Department and MEDA Program Development committee co-chair Kelly Robertson-Slagle, stated, “Teamwork is an important component of economic development, not just among businesses, but also for economic developers. By working together, economic development becomes about making each other’s goals come true and distinguishing our communities as places to live and work.”

With support in the form of economic development, Marylanders have the agency to succeed in their personal goals while also contributing to successful economic environment efforts. Rosa Cruz, CEcD, Vice President of Communications at Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) and MEDA Professional Development committee member, says, “As economic developers, our team always looks for ways to anticipate the needs of our business communities, as well as make sure that businesses have the support they need to be able to keep their employees and to keep their operations going, no matter the challenges that come their way.”

Laurie Boyer Babb, CEcD, Director of Economic Development at Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, MEDA past president, current MEDA board member, and MEDA Public Policy Awareness committe member, expanded on this sentiment, saying, “At the end of the day, economic development is about providing jobs, opportunities, and investments in our local communities that make a difference in the lives of the people who live here in the State of Maryland.” 

Together, both economic developers and community members will recognize the significant projects that have made Maryland a great place to live, work, and play during Economic Development Week in Maryland. 

How to Celebrate Economic Development Week in Maryland

Please check out our Toolkit, Proclamation Template, and Press Release Template  (click these links) to plan for your participation in Economic Development Week in Maryland. Whether elaborate or small, there is something for every level of participation.

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