Members’ Corner: Darrell Brown
Director, Charles County Economic Development Department
Explain your background in economic development
From 2011-2015, served as executive director for the District of Columbia Small Business Development Center at Howard University. Prior to that, was counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee; director of Economic Development for the City of Cranston, Rhode Island; policy advisor for business and economic development for the governor of Rhode Island; Chief of Staff for Office of the Attorney General of RI, and director of Urban Policy and Development for RI Economic Development Corporation. I was also a prosecutor in the Virgin Islands and have experience as a small business owner.
What are your key priorities within your current position?
- To implement a 5-year strategic plan for the county.
- Build trust within the county at large.
- Revitalization of the Town of Indian Head.
- The Waldorf Urban Redevelopment Corridor (WURC) project, which will include redevelopment and transit services for Charles County, as well as a civic center.
- Creating a strong economic development eco-system in the County. 6. Connect and align the Charles County Economic Development Department with the State of Maryland activities.
Does one particular project spark your excitement? If so, describe it below.
The Civic Center (a part of the WURC project) will act as a gateway to Charles County and help create a sense of place.
What professional pressures keep you up at night?
Doing the right things, the right way, at the right time.
What attributes are unique to your community?
- Our strategic location. Our tagline is “Close to the Capital. Far from Ordinary.” We enjoy the benefits of being just 30 miles from Washington D.C. but have a lower cost of living and doing business than the D.C. Metro average. Physically, we’re the gateway to Southern Maryland. Also, dozens of military installations, including Charles County’s Indian Head Naval Support Facility, lie within a 40-mile radius of Waldorf, our largest city.
What are your locality’s top three “selling points” for future growth?
- Workforce. Charles County is one of Maryland’s fastest growing jurisdictions. The data demonstrate that we are a destination for young families and well-educated professionals with government and government contracting backgrounds. 2. Lower cost of doing business. 3. Flexible commercial options: We have an array of commercial and industrial real estate options: shovel-ready, build-to-suit sites, high-visibility retail, acreage in several employment and technology parks, and mixed-use projects.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you want to work with MEDA on to move Maryland forward?
Regional economic development and regional transportation.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with MEDA and your fellow members?
I would like more collaboration and sharing information with each other. I also think we need to keep aware of what is trending and align our county economic development efforts with state activities.