T. Rowe Price chairman and chief investment officer Brian C. Rogers began his tenure as chairman of the Greater Baltimore Committee on May 15 by offering some cogent comments on the topic of business competitiveness in Maryland.
Several competitive challenges that a recent Harvard study finds facing our nation – including our tax system, education and worker training, logistics infrastructure, and regulatory burden – also relate to Maryland’s business competitiveness, Rogers said.
For nations and states, competitiveness is defined as the ability to compete globally while raising living standards locally, said Rogers, referring to the Harvard Business School’s study on American competitiveness.
Earlier this month, Chief Executive magazine called attention to our state’s competitive challenges when it ranked Maryland 40th on its 2012 “Best and Worst States” for business list, Rogers pointed out to more than 850 members and guests at the GBC annual meeting.
“We can do a lot better than No. 40,” said Rogers. “What we must do is to foster an environment conducive to innovation, entrepreneurship and new business formation.”
While economic development conversations often revolve around luring “big fish” corporations to Maryland, our state should focus intently on “growing our own.” Maryland should be “stocking the pond with our own minnows and watching them grow,” he said.
“It’s highly unlikely that IBM and Merck are coming here anytime soon,” Rogers said, noting that emerging companies such as Under Armour, Medifast and the Cockeysville-based Curiosityville “have grown up here because their founders started here.
“Our best opportunities for improving competitiveness are to support local businesses and to nurture new ones.” Under his chairmanship, the GBC will continue to work with public officials to improve the state’s business climate, vowed Rogers.
“We want to be better than No. 40,” he said.
Complete prepared text of Rogers’ speech at the GBC annual meeting.