Baltimore County Business Advisory Council

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Mission: The Baltimore County Business Advisory Council allows members to participate in a regionally-focused approach toward business climate issues, by engaging with local business, institutional, and government leaders.. The BCBAC also gives members an opportunity to advocate on behalf of the business community to local and state elected officials and key figures. The council also promotes economic development opportunities and quality of life in the county.

Chair: This committee is chaired by John B. Chessare, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.H.E., President and CEO of the GBMC HealthCare system. The Greater Baltimore Medical Health Care System includes the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), a 270-bed acute care not-for-profit hospital, as well as a group of multi-specialty physician practices across the region.

Membership: The Baltimore County Business Advisory Council include the following member companies: GBMC, Mackenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, LLC, Comcast, Merritt Properties, LifeBridge Health, Trane, EMR, PSA Insurance, KOFA Public Affairs, the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, and Rosedale Federal Savings & Loan Association.

What does the committee do? The council provides the GBC with regional input, on issues related to strengthening Maryland’s business climate. In addition, the council often invites speakers to meetings in order to keep informed about developments in key areas, such as, higher education developments, including four year universities as well as community colleges, mega economic development projects in the county, public safety, transportation and workforce.

Contact: Sophia Silbergeld at 410-727-2820

2016 Baltimore County Business Advisory Council News:

At the December 8, 2016 Baltimore County Business Advisory Council meeting Donald C. Fry, President and CEO of the GBC, talked about the GBC’s new Ombudsman Program.

Heather Murphy, Director of Planning and Capitol Programming for the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), presented the state’s transportation agenda and priorities for 2017. While there are more than 1,000 transportation projects underway around the state, Murphy said many planned projects, such as lane widening and redesign of portions of I-695, are on hold because of declining gas prices and the state’s dependence on its gas tax to fund transportation and infrastructure projects.

Murphy also discussed BaltimoreLink as well as possible complementary future programs, including ride sharing and an expanded bike share program. Also complementing BaltimoreLink will be increased transit signal prioritization and an increased focus on transit demand management.

Specific to Baltimore County, Murphy said the major projects underway are the widening of I-695 on its west side and the redesign of the Leeds Avenue interchange.

Steve Walsh, Director of Public Works for Baltimore County, discussed the county’s transit agenda and priorities, as presented to MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn, and mentioned the letter sent by Baltimore County Councilmember Wade Kach to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz about the widening of York Road. Walsh discussed the needs of a county in which 90 percent of its population lives in the urbanized areas, including traffic congestion abatement measures and request for a second consideration of the Red Line or similar project.

Walsh also informed the council that transit-oriented developments are highly valued by the county, including the project under construction in Owings Mills.

Kim Schatzel, President of Towson University, spoke with and answered questions from the Baltimore County Business Advisory Council at its October 5, 2016 meeting.

In her remarks, President Schatzel discussed the university’s plans regarding development and expansion, including increasing on-campus residential capacity for students and a place-making strategy lead by Ken Ulman of Margrave Strategies.

Schatzel also discussed her four major initiatives, which are:

  • Re-telling Towson University’s contemporary story, so that  potential, current and past faculty, staff and students are aware of TU’s many accomplishments and contributions, through the TU Matters to Maryland initiative. The program will analyze and collect data on how the university is perceived.
  • Strengthening existing community partnerships and creating and strengthening “connective tissue” between each of these partnerships to create more and even stronger ones through the Baltimore + BTU Platform.
  • Becoming a thought leader in career education and support of both students and alumni, through the Towson University Career Center, which teaches students and aides graduates in managing their career over a lifetime.
  • A renewed commitment to diversity, which fosters and allows the best talent to work, study and thrive at any institution, with the creation of a new position, Vice President of Inclusion & Institutional Equity.

Schatzel also discussed the university’s UTeach program, which works to continue the institution’s heritage as a teaching university through mentorship and teaching opportunities for students as soon as their first year in the program, and her desire to increase the number of Baltimore City residents that the university attracts.

Ken Ulman of Margrave Strategies then spoke briefly about Towson University’s place-making initiative. He said the places that really have a chance to thrive in the 21st-century knowledge-based economy are usually tied to universities. Towson University is taking a block-by-block approach to new development in order to truly weave the institution into the community and support the university’s core mission while creating memorable buildings, physical spaces and locations that are memorable and engaging.

GBC President and CEO Donald C. Fry then provided the council with an update on the GBC’s work in 2016, the agenda for the balance of the year and expectations for 2017. He detailed the GBC’s relationship-building efforts with the new City Council members, which include informing them of the important and supportive role that Baltimore’s business community plays to the city as a whole. Fry also informed council members of the GBC’s newly-announced task forces, which will address the following areas: public safety, major infrastructure, education and workforce and community outreach. He echoed President Schatzel’s preference for increased public transportation options between Baltimore City and Baltimore County and asked council members to support and aid the GBC in that effort in any way possible.

The next meeting of the Baltimore County Business Advisory Council will take place at 8 a.m. December 8. Requests or ideas for presenters from council members should be directed to Sophia Silbergeld.

Heather R. Murphy, Director, Office of Planning and Capital Programming, Maryland Department of Transportation, presented to the Baltimore County Business Advisory Council at its February 11, 2016 meeting.

Murphy provided an overview of transportation projects in the state of Maryland and in Baltimore County. Her presentation focused on the following areas:

  • The 2016 Budget – where Governor Hogan plans to spend in highways, transit, Maryland Port, and BWI Airport.
  • Key transportation bills in 2016 Legislative Session.
  • Status of projects along the Baltimore Beltway.
  • BaltimoreLink.
  • Other Baltimore County transportation issues.

In addition, Donald C. Fry, President and CEO of the GBC, provided the council with an overview of 2016 Legislative Session – the Maryland General Assembly convened on January 13, 2016 – and GBC’s 2016 legislative priorities. Priorities include the creation of an Angel Investor Tax Credit or the passage of similar legislation to provide better access to capital for startup companies in a wide variety of industries.

2015 Baltimore County Business Advisory Council News:

The Baltimore County Business Advisory Council heard from R. Andrew Bauer, Regional Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond – Baltimore Office, at its December 15, 2015 meeting.

Bauer’s presentation focused on a regional economic outlook for 2016.

“I’m feeling optimistic about 2016,” he said.

Bauer offered the following observations about the regional economy in 2016:

  • Maryland’s economy is growing at approximately half the rate of the U.S. economy.
  • While Southern Maryland was greatly impacted by federal spending cuts, the Baltimore region fared better.
  • The creation of businesses in Baltimore County is down and in Maryland is flat.
  • The U.S. is growing jobs at a significant pace and small businesses are a huge driver of growth.
  • The state is slowly recovering from the collapse of the housing market during the recession.
  • The housing market continues to improve at a moderate pace and a mortgage rate increase signifies that the economy is improving.
  • Mortgage rates are at low levels that many may not see again in their lifetime.
  • Moderate growth in Maryland and the Baltimore region is strengthening business conditions.
  • Job growth in Maryland accelerated from 2014 to 2015.

The Baltimore County Business Advisory Council viewed Towson University’s 2015 Master Plan Update at its October 23, 2015 meeting.

The plan includes functionally realigning buildings in the campus’s academic core, a bicycle and pedestrian “beltway” with an expanded perimeter pathway system, and several long-term capital improvement plan projects, said Kris Phillips, Director of Planning, Facilities Management, for Towson University.

View the plan here.

Also at the meeting Don Fry, President and CEO of the GBC, made a presentation about the Baltimore Metro Export Market Assessment, which the GBC and four partners released at the GBC’s Economic Outlook Conference on October 19.

Fry shared the assessment’s five key findings and said the rationale for why the Baltimore metropolitan region is ripe for an export plan is because the region has relied heavily on federal government and defense funding.

View the export market assessment here.

Shaina Hernandez, the GBC’s Director of Policy and Research, provided the committee with an overview of the 2015 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session, which concluded at midnight on April 13, 2015, at its April 16, 2015 meeting. Click here to view a complete wrap-up of how the business community fared during the session.

R. Michael Gill, then-secretary-nominee of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, addressed about 50 members of the GBC’s Baltimore County Business Advisory Council at its January 29, 2015 meeting.

Baltimore County Business Advisory Council meetings

Meetings are from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), 6701 N. Charles St., Towson, MD 21204, unless otherwise noted. Directions and a campus map can be found here.

2017 Meeting Dates:

February 28, 2017

Additional 2017 meeting dates will be announced.