Half a year ago, the economic development leaders of six Maryland counties in the greater Washington, D.C., area formed an informal alliance to discuss common challenges and develop strategies for boosting the region’s economic competitiveness.
Last week, with the nation and region crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying financial crisis, the leaders took another step toward formalizing the alliance. With a nod to the urgency for greater regional cooperation brought about by COVID-19, the economic development officials signed what they’re calling a Joint Statement on Regional Collaboration.
In the newly-signed document, the economic development leaders agree to: explore joint marketing and promotion; establish shared rules for ethical marketing; formalize protocols for communications regarding business prospects; evaluate policy changes to address competitiveness; evaluate the joint pursuit of targeted industry sectors; and engage other regional economic development partners.
The leaders also pledge to coordinate joint efforts to help the region recover from the economic damage of emergencies and crises, such as COVID-19, that impact all communities.
“The above list is not exhaustive but represents a starting point for regional collaboration,” the document states.
The statement was signed by: Lawrence Twele, CEO of the Howard County Economic Development Authority; Jill Seamon, acting president and CEO of the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation; Darrell Brown, director of the Charles County Economic Development Department; Helen Propheter, executive director for economic and workforce development at the Frederick County Economic Development Corporation; Ben Wu, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation; and David S. Iannucci, president and CEO of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation.
These officials have been meeting by teleconference once a week since the coronavirus outbreak.
“While we have always worked collaboratively, this Joint Statement formalizes our cooperation and is more important in today’s COVID-challenged economy than when we first agreed to it in concept more than six months ago,” Twele said in a statement. “We look forward to working with our regional partners to help raise the profile of this region both now and in the years to come.”