Baltimore County Business Advisory Council

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Mission: The Baltimore County Business Advisory Council serves as a sounding board for the GBC in Baltimore County. It engages local business involvement and resources in a regionally focused approach toward business climate issues. It also monitors changes in legislation that affect their jurisdiction and develops policy statements for the GBC to use to advocate on behalf of the business community to local and state legislators. 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 includes the following member companies: BB&T Corporation, Brown’s Communications, Business Volunteers Maryland, EMR, GBMC, Heritage Properties,  Mackenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, LLC, Mastix Medica LLC, McCormick & Company, Inc., Merritt Properties, LLC, MOI, Network 2000, Niles, Barton & Wilmer, LLP, Saul Ewing LLP, The Community College of Baltimore County, Towson University, Trane, Visions International and Weinstock, Friedman & Friedman, PA.

What does the committee do? The council provided the GBC with regional input, including, research, data and testimony for the GBC’s Chesapeake Conference of CEO’s. The conference is a facilitated, day-long series of workshops that focuses 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:

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.


Thursday, February 11, 2016 – Civiletti Conference Center (Room C)

Meeting agenda:

I. Introductions and Opening Comments

II. Presentation: Overview of Transportation Projects – State of Maryland and Baltimore County

  • Heather R. Murphy, Director, Office of Planning and Capital Programming, Maryland Department of Transportation


IV. Overview of 2016 Legislative Session and GBC Legislative Agenda

  • Donald C. Fry, President & CEO, Greater Baltimore Committee

V. Council Updates or Other Business

VI. Adjournment

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 – CANCELLED

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Thursday, December 8, 2016