Ask R. Michael Gill what business can expect from the state’s economic development agency under Governor Larry Hogan. The answer? Customer service.
“You (business) are the customer,” said Gill, secretary-nominee of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. “We’re trying our best to integrate that simple, simple philosophy about customer service into the organization.”
Gill addressed about 50 members of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Baltimore County Business Advisory Council at its January 29 meeting. He discussed the future of DBED and highlighted the importance of customer service and business retention in Maryland.
“The governor is serious and focused on economic development,” Gill said. “He is as serious as you could ever imagine.
“Every business matters,” he said. “Whether it’s the little guy or it’s the big guy, they all matter. The idea of customer retention is a big deal.”
Gill said Governor Hogan impressed upon him the importance of his cabinet position because “it’s all about business.”
“The governor’s focused on business and that’s a good thing,” Gill said. “He cares deeply about Maryland. He loves Maryland. He realizes that if you have a strong business community, everything’s possible.”
Maryland’s success depends on how prosperous its 24 jurisdictions are, not just a select few, Gill said.
“We can’t make it big time if we got two or three counties that are doing terrific and a dozen that are on the ropes,” Gill said. “From our department’s standpoint, we’re going to continue to be as focused and as creative and as innovative as we can. Everything matters.”
Gill described economic development as a team sport.
“That’s the only way we’re going to leverage the opportunities,” he said.
In the spirit of teamwork, Gill said DBED and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) plan to collaborate to strengthen Maryland’s business environment.
“Us working together translates into benefits to businesses,” he said. “The collaboration piece – that’s a big deal.”
“Mike is going to be a tremendous cheerleader for our state, he’s also someone who business can relate to,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “He’s somebody who understands the pressures of running a business. He brings the personality, excitement and the vigor to change that department.”