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Networking Event Puts Local Businesses Face-To-Face With State Decision Makers

(l.to r.: PGCEDC President and CEO Jim Coleman; Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller; Prince George's County Chief Administrative Officer Nicholas Majett; Prince George's County Council Vice Chair Dannielle Glaros; Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford - far right) (Photo: Joe Andrucyk, Office of the Gov)LARGO, MD, February 3,2016 - Last night, business owners from across Prince George's County converged on Annapolis, Maryland for an opportunity to connect personally with some of the most powerful leaders in State and County government as the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) joined top level executives from Prince George's County at County Executive Rushern L. Baker's III '2016 Prince George's County Capitol Access VIP Reception.' More than 200 business owners, serious about growing their revenue packed into Harry Browne's restaurant on State Circle as the County unveiled its legislative priorities for the 2016 legislative session. Business owners also had the opportunity to share their feedback directly with Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Prince George's House Delegation Chair Jay Walker, Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill and Prince George's County Council Vice Chairman Dannielle Glaros.

"The possibilities are endless as to what this group of State and County elected officials can collectively do for the residents and businesses in Prince George's County and Maryland," said Prince George's County Chief Administrative Officer Nicholas Majett on behalf of County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. "The County's Legislative Agenda for 2016 focuses on safeguarding the County's budget priorities. We need our legislators to know that we cannot stand further cuts to funding for essential programs that make our County better for our residents, businesses and visitors. Our success as a County, in partnership with the State, is good for Prince George's County residents and business, and for the prosperity of the State of Maryland."

Mr. Majett outlined the County's legislative priorities, which included securing previously committed State funding for the Regional Medical Center, developing incentives to attract the Federal Bureau of Investigation's headquarters, and working to protect State funding for critical road projects, mass transportation, and pedestrian safety throughout the County, as well as funding for local road maintenance projects.

"The Prince George's Economic Development Corporation is your conduit to making the radical changes you may need to take your business to the next level," said Mr. Coleman. "My team and I are here 24/7 to personally connect you to the people that can 'Activate Prosperity' for yourself and your family. The connections made in this room tonight could be transformative for your business and that is what we are here for. We are here to serve."

Earlier this year, Coleman announced the EDC's 'Activate Prosperity' initiative in which the EDC released a three-year plan to reduce the county's poverty rate, close income inequality gaps and reduce joblessness. The plan includes maximizing the State's investment in County projects, securing federal grant funding to deploy a One-Stop Career Center in the Prince George's County Correction Facility, and hosting economic development summits throughout the County to build raise awareness of the job opportunities and business resources available to residents.

"There is a new sense of optimism in Maryland," said Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford. "We have been working to ensure that the 'anti-business' environment, once prevalent in Maryland, has changed and that we are Open for Business. We will continue to focus on business to business opportunities and to employ more of our citizens."

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller he rallied the capacity crowd on the latest development projects coming to Prince George's County.

"Not only does Prince George's County have MGM National Harbor currently looking to hire more than 9,000 people within the next six months, and the possible relocation of the FBI to Greenbelt or Landover, we are going to make sure Prince George's County has a teaching hospital by July of this year," said Senator Miller. "I cannot be more proud to be a part of the team that Prince George's County has in place today. We will work with the Governor, the House and Senate, the County Executive and County Council to get this done."

Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill shared great news about local company 2U announcing their expansion into previously unoccupied space in New Carrollton and adding more than 900 new jobs in the County over the next four years.

"I'm extremely excited about the sales organization that is the State of Maryland today," said Secretary Gill. "I have always said that economic development is a team sport and I am pleased to stand here today to let you all know that Prince George's County, the State of Maryland, and the Department of Commerce have never been more on the same page as Prince George's; taking it to a place that it has never been before. You can count on Commerce to be right there for Prince George's County to make sure these business opportunities happen."

After the short program, attendees took advantage of the opportunity to meet with their elected officials on issues their businesses are in need. Collectively, the business owners seemed pleased to know about the services available at the Economic Development Corporation and how Prince George's County was so engaged at all levels of government.

"Tonight's networking event was helpful for my business on many levels," said Michael Smith, Consultant with Smithmark Research Consumer Insights who has recently relocated to Prince George's County. "It gave me a better understanding of what our (County) objectives are relative to what we do in the State House for Prince George's County. As a new resident, you want to understand not only what you can do politically, but also what we are doing to manage businesses. The wonderful team at the Economic Development Center told me about this event this afternoon when I happened to search trade initiatives. I am glad I made the trip to Annapolis."

The next networking opportunity will be on March 14th when the EDC, in partnership with the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce will host its 'Connections for Success' forum that will address "Enhancing Relationships With Customers for Long Term Growth". It will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at 1801 McCormick Drive, Suite 140, Largo, MD 20772.

Admission and parking are free. Breakfast will be provided. Attendees must RSVP to Crystal Ballard cballard@co.pg.md.us at 301-583-4650. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Sangrea Watkins Swatkins@co.pg.md.us or 301-583-4619.