Members’ Corner: Steve Pennington

Steve Pennington, Managing Director
Department of Commerce State of Maryland

Steve Pennington
Steve Pennington

Explain your background in economic development

This is my first foray into the government sector, and I’m about 9 months into the position. Background prior to coming to Commerce was senior leadership positions with a variety of organizations ranging from national companies with 1000+ sales reps and multiple channels of distribution to small regional companies and several start-up organizations. Primary industry focus has been wireless, broadband and telematics.

What are your key priorities within your current position?

Key priorities include expanding our team to provide the proper level of contact and outreach to our business customers across the state on all growth, retention and attraction opportunities. Other areas are expanding the role of our strategic business units that are focused on cybersecurity, aerospace, biohealth, lifesciences, manufacturing, energy, education and professional services. The goal of these business units is to elevate the position and visibility of each ecosystem for these important sectors on a local, regional and national level.

Does one particular project spark your excitement? If so, describe it below.

While there are many important projects, alignment of workforce resources to support the business community is probably number one. Workforce is the number one topic in virtually every conversation. Bringing together a complex group of academic, non-profit, private sector and public sector resources for a common goal is an incredibly worthwhile effort.

What professional pressures keep you up at night?

Making sure we touch all of our business customers in a meaningful and timely manner to provide value and resolve issues if and when they arise.

What attributes are unique to your community?

If you define Commerce as a community our attributes are that our people are truly committed to making Maryland a better place to live, work and play.

What are your locality’s top three “selling points” for future growth?

  1. Customer Service
  2. Flexibility
  3. Willingness to get involved

If you could wave a magic wand, what would you want to work with MEDA on to move Maryland forward?

Expanding the balance of business locations and jobs that provide opportunity to every community and district in the state.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with MEDA and your fellow members?

Economic Development is a Team Sport. We are all in this game together!