Baltimore County Now
Executive Director, Baltimore County Department of Economic Development
You see BD’s blue and orange logo when you travel north on I-83, but how many people know what the company actually does? I recently joined County Executive Kamenetz on a visit to BD in Sparks – headquarters of its Diagnostics Systems unit – to find out more about one of the region’s largest life sciences employers.
Tom Polen, President of BD Diagnostics - Diagnostic Systems, spends a lot of time on the road, whether the road is in China, Canada, or BD’s corporate headquarters in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Tom briefed us on BD’s extensive Baltimore County operations.
BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) is a Fortune 500 company-- #316 to be exact. With more than 1,600 employees in Baltimore County, BD’s Diagnostics Systems unit develops, manufactures and sells advanced medical devices that help diagnose infectious diseases and cancers. BD has six locations in Sparks and Cockeysville in more than one million square feet of space – about the size of White Marsh mall if you put all the buildings together. BD products are designed, built and shipped from Baltimore County to hospitals, medical offices and pharmaceutical companies around the world.
At BD labs in Sparks, biomedical scientists have developed new software and instruments to more accurately and quickly identify which type of infection a patient has and which drug will be most effective to fight it. These extensive research and development operations will lead to the discovery of new diagnostic tools to improve people’s health and cut health care costs.
BD’s plant in Cockeysville operates 24/7 and manufactures millions (Or something less specific than the actual quantity) of petri dishes per year. Petri dishes are used in labs to grow cultures that help detect and diagnose diseases and develop new drugs.
BD’s Diagnostic Systems unit was born out of four Baltimore biotech start-up companies that commercialized research from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland. Today, the ideas, innovation and science born in Baltimore universities are key elements of BD, one of Baltimore County and Maryland’s largest employers and a worldwide leader in combating disease.
Tomorrow, I will have the honor of speaking at the annual Baltimore County Police Memorial Ceremony. Every year, family, friends, and co-workers from across the County come together next to the memorial that overlooks Patriot Plaza in Towson to recognize the bravery and heroism of the Baltimore County Police Officers who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
Recalling the bravery and dedication of these heroic men and women is always a humbling experience. I am sure that tomorrow will be no exception. However, what always strikes me the most about our fallen heroes is the nature of their bravery.
Like most of our jobs, our officers have their quiet days, but unlike the rest of us, the men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department can never relax. Each of our officers knows that on even the most boring and routine day of their careers, the worst case scenario can be right around the corner. They know that at any minute they may be asked to put their own safety at risk to protect their community.
Having the courage, discipline, and commitment to handle such a stark reality is remarkable. Yet it’s just another day in the life for the men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department. As Baltimore County Executive, and as a father raising a family here, I could not be more grateful that these officers are on the street each and everyday, prepared to do whatever it takes to keep our County safe.
For the past two years, Baltimore County has been finding innovative, new uses of technology to serve our communities as effectively as possible. Today, we are launching a new way for Baltimore County government to communicate with you: Baltimore County Now, the official blog of Baltimore County government.
Baltimore County Now will be your home to news you can use from every level of County government, from the County Executive’s office to the employees working with your neighborhoods every day. Want to know more about how your County is working for you? Ever wondered what those little cameras are at the top of stoplights? Want to take a behind the scenes look at one of our County’s largest life sciences companies? Then Baltimore County Now is the place for you.