Baltimore County Now
by 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.
by Rick Johnson, Business Development Representative
Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development
The next time you open a pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, pay close attention to the inner wrapping. Notice the thin brown paper that helps seal in the candy's freshness. How does each packet get cut to perfection? For this precision, thank Mann-Pak, a veteran and family-owned packaging company in Middle River.
Mann-Pak wraps more than just peanut butter cups. Thousands of products in grocery stores are sealed in shrink-wrapped packages from Mann-Pack, including paper towels, sponges, tissue multi-packs, confectionery wraps, and baked goods. In fact, Mann-Pak provides flexible packaging for major food industries and industrial organizations around the world.
Products include Go-Green packaging that uses a proprietary process that reduces CO2 emissions by using less material and less energy.
In business for more than 25 years, the company has become one of four major sources in the country for printing shrink film products in multiple markets. These markets include, poultry, bakery, candy, dairy, light industrial, and home table top paper goods. Mann-Pack serves companies internationally, including firms in South America, Mexico, Canada, and Asia.
Mann-Pak is proud to be known as a veteran-owned business. Working with the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development, Mann-Pak's goal is to hire veterans to fill positions in their production operation, with significant growth forecast for 2015.
Although a small company now, Mann-Pak is capable of big things. And they’ll keep on helping those peanut butter cups stay fresh!
For more information on locating in Baltimore County, contact the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development at email@example.com, call 410-887-8000 or visit online at www.BaltimoreCountyBusiness.com.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz
For almost 125 years, Sparrows Point was synonymous with steel; steel that built battleships and the Golden Gate Bridge. That proud tradition ended in 2012, when RG Steel closed the Sparrows Point steel mill.
We never viewed the Sparrows Point peninsula as the resting place of a declining smokestack industry, but as 5.3 square miles of land with a combination of assets rarely found in one place in the Northeast United States. We have every reason to believe the unique assets on the peninsula, led by explosive growth at the Port of Baltimore, will bring more than 10,000 new jobs to Eastern Baltimore County. Here’s why.
The Sparrows Point peninsula has 3,300 acres of industrially zoned land, over 6 miles of deepwater frontage, two commercial railroads, direct access to the Beltway and I-95, and a highly capable, motivated workforce. This combination is precisely what’s needed for industrial and maritime uses.
In February 2012, I established the Sparrows Point Partnership, a business advisory group chaired by Dan Gundersen, Executive Director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic Development, to study opportunities for business attraction and job growth on the peninsula. The Partnership identified four major market opportunities: port and maritime uses, clean energy, advanced manufacturing and assembly, and distribution, logistics and freight.
Port and Maritime
The expanded Panama Canal opens new global shipping opportunities, making a new marine terminal at Coke Point a real possibility for the peninsula. The Coke Point area can accommodate a dredge containment site that will allow maintenance, and therefore extended vitality, of existing port operations. Once the dredge containment site is filled out in about 10 years, a new marine terminal can be built on the site, creating an estimated 9,000 new family supporting jobs. Another 1,000 jobs could be created within three years on the east side of Coke Point near the turn-around basin, with a former iron ore pier immediately available for bulk commodities, including loading and unloading of automobiles.
Sparrows Point’s central location and available industrial land could accommodate clean, renewable energy facilities for solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas, and small hydroelectric power generation. Maryland’s newly authorized offshore wind operations will require vast assembly and equipment staging areas compatible with the peninsula.
Sparrows Point holds market opportunities in advanced manufacturing and value added assembly for a range of products including high speed, heavy and light rail transportation, rail cars and ships, and marine vehicles. Additional opportunities relate to key export sectors such as electrical equipment, advanced fabrication of metal products, and specialized machinery.
With direct rail, port and interstate access, Sparrows Point holds potential for distribution and logistics parks that add value to the supply chain. New concepts such as “freight villages,” for example, offer warehousing space for various term leases, along with equipment and services supporting logistics and distribution activities.
Environmental condition of the property
Despite environmental contamination from more than 100 years of steelmaking, the Partnership concluded that environmental constraints should not deter industrial redevelopment for the vast majority of Sparrows Point. Remediation and redevelopment of about 80% of the site – approximately 2,400 acres -- should be feasible in the not-too-distant future. Five areas with the most serious contamination, totaling about 600 acres primarily at Coke Point, would require extensive, challenging remediation, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment.
For generations, Sparrows Point and the industrial neighborhoods of East Baltimore County have represented the promise of good paying jobs and the potential for greater economic prosperity. We now have a broad vision for how we can return that promise back to reality.
In the coming weeks, we will present this vision to the community for feedback.
With the Port in the lead, we have every reason to be optimistic that the new Sparrows Point will bring at least 10,000 new jobs and millions of dollars in new investment. And that benefits everyone in Baltimore County.
The full Sparrows Point Partnership report is available on line at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/business .