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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: manufacturing

photo of Star of Bethlehem at Sparrows PointKevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive

It’s hard to find a longtime Baltimore County resident who doesn’t know someone who worked at Sparrows Point -- a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker.  Over more than 125 years, tens of thousands of men and women worked at the Sparrows Point steel mill, and at many other businesses connected to steelmaking.

The Point provided good paying jobs that supported families for generations.

Working here was more than a job.  Whether you were in the hot mill, the tin mill or the cold mill; whether you worked in the office or drove a truck, working at the Point meant knowing that your hard work was making a difference.

Baltimore County steel helped keep America strong -- it was vital to the effort during two World Wars. Baltimore County steel stands in our nation’s infrastructure, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.   

Part of my job as Baltimore County Executive is to step back and look at the big picture, to see how we can make the most of what makes our County great. At Sparrows Point, I see everything we need to bring back jobs for this generation -- and for generations to come.

The basis for our optimism is simple. Sparrows Point has a unique combination of assets that just can’t be found anywhere else along the East Coast: more than five square miles of industrially zoned land, deepwater access, and infrastructure and transportation, including rail service right to the front door.

Most exciting are the opportunities for expansion of the Port and port-related uses. We have every reason to believe that the Port could easily bring 10,000 new, family-supporting jobs back to the Point.  Advanced manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and clean energy could add even more jobs.    

There’s one more vital asset:  we have people who work hard and work smart.  These are workers who know what it means to put in a good day’s work for a good day’s pay. 

Let’s face it: being a steelworker wasn’t the easiest job. The work was always hard and often dangerous. It took a combination of brains and brawn. But talk to any steelworker from any generation, and you’ll learn there’s something about working here that created a special bond that will last for generations, through good times and bad.

Shortly after the mighty L-furnace was built, steelworkers welded the “Star of Bethlehem” to its tower and lit it as a symbol of strength, pride and hope. I am pleased that the new owners of the property, Sparrows Point Terminal, are preserving the Star to help all of us, and future generations, stay connected to these values.

Let’s join with former steelworkers and their families as we look toward a bright future for the men and women of steel. We can all learn from their legacy.


photo of Reliable Churchill ribbin-cutting

Rick Johnson, Business Development Representative, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development

It’s sometimes hard to say why a certain area seems to suddenly become hot for new business activity. In the case of White Marsh and Middle River, the attraction is clear: availability of industrially-zoned land, easy access to Interstate 95, Rte. 43, and Pulaski Highway, and opportunities to find or construct the perfect building that not only meets a company’s needs today, but allows room to grow.

The past few months have seen big momentum for these eastern Baltimore County business communities.  Here’s a snapshot of what’s new and what’s on the horizon in White Marsh Middle River.

Bottling Group, LLC, a division of PepsiCo, Inc. inked a lease for 25,400 square feet in a new 60,000 square foot warehouse and distribution facility under construction in the White Marsh Business Park. By mid-2015, you can expect trucks to start moving products such as Pepsi, 7-Up and Gatorade out of the new facility and onto the interstate.  With high demand for warehouse distribution space, there’s room to double the warehouse space at this transportation-advantage site.

After searching for more than five years, Reliable Churchill, the state’s largest spirits distributor, opened a new 449,000-square-foot office-warehouse complex off Tangier Drive in the Crossroads @95 complex.  Kevin Dunn, Reliable Churchill's CEO, said that "the building and the location are a perfect match. Our new office and warehouse operation is just minutes from I-95 and gives us the space we need to grow and be more efficient. The move to Baltimore County has allowed us to continue deliveries to our customers throughout the region without interruption."  More than 500 workers made the move with Reliable Churchill from Anne Arundel County to Middle River.

Vac Pac, a family-owned custom food packaging manufacturer, has moved to Middle River, purchasing a 46,000 square foot building on Middle River Road.  Vac Pac designs, prints and manufactures specialized bags and pouches for bakery, poultry, meat, seafood, and industrial applications. Founded in 1949, Vac Pac is a leader in high temperature packaging, holding patents for bag design and enjoys a close partnership with Reynolds Industrial Films. Vac Pac exports finished products around the world through partnerships in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Korea, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. “We are looking forward to a vast increase in operational efficiency, and the excellent location will help us serve our local, national, and global customers more effectively, said Matt Tary, President of Vac Pac. “This facility will serve as our center piece for continued expansion and development into new products and new markets. We are also incredibly grateful for the continued support of Baltimore County. Our whole team is excited and looking forward to the move.” 

What’s ahead.

Cheseapeake Real Estate Group has two buildings under construction along Route 43 in the Crossroads @95 business park. A 435,000 square foot Class A building on Tangier Drive will feature ample car and trailer parking. A 100,685 square foot warehouse and distribution building at 11501 Pocomoke Court is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015.  Carpet Consultants, a provider of residential and commercial flooring products, has signed a lease for approximately 18,000 square feet of space.  The company, which markets a full range of products including carpeting, hardwood, laminate, tile and stone, intends to relocate its entire operation to the new building.      

St. John Properties Inc. is nearing completion of a 51,000 SF Class A flex building at 11630 Crossroads Circle. The location is scheduled for occupancy by March, 2015.  St. John anticipates breaking ground on two more office and flex buildings in 2015.

“The business mo” just keeps moving forward. 


photo of County Executive Kamenetz with Direct Dimensions staffby Helga Weschke, Deputy Director
Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development

From a company that produces sorting machines to major corporations such as Lockheed Martin, teams from the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development met with over 300 companies in one week to deliver a single, clear message: “Your business is an important economic driver in the local economy.”

Baltimore County just finished its second annual Business 1st Week, a time dedicated to reaching out to the County’s business community to show appreciation and to remind companies about the many programs and services available to help them thrive.  Companies received an overview of financing opportunities, free workforce recruitment and training programs, tax credits, and innovation and commercialization programs available to Baltimore County businesses. We also showcased the new Boost loan fund for small, minority and women owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

“We are very fortunate that over 20,000 businesses call Baltimore County home,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in declaring October 20-24 Business 1st Week.  “We want to make sure that our diverse business community knows that Baltimore County has the resources in place to support their success.”

Business 1st Week is an opportunity for the County’s business and workforce development staff to hear what business issues keep company CEO’s up at night and how County resources can help support and grow their operations.

So what did we learn after a week blanketing the County?  Our business community is certainly diverse when you look at it from street level. In a single day, one team visited a machine shop, a 3D product design company, and a nut processing company.  We also learned that a well-trained  workforce is the key component to business success.  Most firms felt that the economy is stabilizing and improving, with many firms experiencing growth. 

We appreciated the chance to meet and thank companies for being part of our economic prosperity. And we’ll do it again – once our feet recover!

For more information on Baltimore County Economic and Workforce Development business programs and services, call 410-887-8000 or visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/business.   


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