GBC focuses on jobs, economic growth at 61st Annual Meeting

Leaders of the Greater Baltimore Committee focused their remarks on the organization’s efforts to foster job and economic growth in the Greater Baltimore region over the past year and going forward.

“Our ability to tackle tough issues – growing the economy, reliable and effective transportation, workforce development and training – grows in direct proportion to the number of members that actively engage in GBC activities,” said Donald C. Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “It’s through membership engagement that great ideas emerge and turn into meaningful action.”

Fry highlighted the GBC’s Coalition for a Second Chance and the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development’s Hire One Youth summer jobs program and invited GBC members to get involved with these initiatives. Fry made his remarks at the GBC’s 61st Annual Meeting on May 16 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore. The event drew more than 800 business leaders.

“It’s easy to become engaged in the work of the Greater Baltimore Committee,” Fry said. “We want you to join us, to push us, and to work with us in the year ahead so that we can all be part of the sense of accomplishment that comes from moving our city and region forward.”

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GBC Board Chair Stephanie C. Hill said the Greater Baltimore region is a strong economic engine poised for success, but business leaders and elected officials must work collaboratively to move the needle forward.

“Meaningful change cannot come to Baltimore without strong businesses that fuel job growth and a robust economy,” Hill said. “The GBC joins with others who contend that more job opportunities are essential to the health of the city.

“As long-term investors in Baltimore City, business leaders agree that economic expansion and job creation are the top priority,” she said. “The city’s vitality and future depend on a welcoming and supportive environment for business –  and a positive business climate is an absolute must to ensure job creation.”

In addition to addressing how the business community can contribute to Baltimore’s future, the event also celebrated the impact the GBC and its members have had on Baltimore City and the five surrounding counties since its founding in 1955. The GBC has advanced significant economic development projects, developed strategies for change and served as a thought leader and action-oriented advocate for fresh ideas regarding public policies and strategies impacting the economic success, vitality and quality of life of the Greater Baltimore region.

The GBC celebrated three individuals who, over the years, have contributed to the region.

The GBC presented Carla Hayden, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, with the Regional Visionary Award; Ronald Peterson, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Executive Vice President of Johns Hopkins Medicine, with the Walter Sondheim Jr. Public Service Award; and U.S. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings with the Howard “Pete” Rawlings Courage in Public Service Award.

Since 1997, the GBC has presented Regional Visionary Awards to individuals who have significantly contributed to the betterment of the Greater Baltimore region. The award has been presented to political, education and business leaders for their vision and roles in improving the region. Past recipients have included Walter Sondheim, Chip Mason, George Roche, former Governor Martin O’Malley, Willard Hackerman, Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch, University System of Maryland Chancellor William “Brit” Kirwan, and last year’s awardee – former Baltimore Museum of Art Doreen Bolger.

The Walter Sondheim Public Service Award is presented to individuals, other than elected officials, who make outstanding contributions to the community without seeking recognition or accolades. Since 2007, the GBC has bestowed awards occasionally but not annually to Fred Lazarus, Bob Bogomolny, Joe Jones, Robert C. Embry Jr., Eddie Brown, Sylvia Brown and Sally J. Michel.

Since 2006 the GBC has presented the Howard “Pete” Rawlings Courage in Public Service Award, occasionally but not annually, to honor public officials who demonstrate exceptional courage while serving in elected or appointed public office. Previous award recipients were U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, former Baltimore City Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld, former Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso and former United States Representative and Congressman Paul S. Sarbanes.

View photos from the GBC’s 61st Annual Meeting.

Read what they’re saying about the GBC’s 2016 Annual Meeting.

Photo credit: Harry Bosk

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