South­ern Mary­land of­fi­cials an­nounce new busi­ness ven­ture

Maryland Independent - - Business - By JA­SON BAB­COCK jbab­cock@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Ja­sonEn­tNews

South­ern Mary­land law­mak­ers an­nounced this week the for­ma­tion of a new busi­ness ini­tia­tive for Charles and St. Mary’s County, called AeroMary­land.

It is a ven­ture of lo­cal busi­nesses, the South­ern Mary­land Navy Al­liance, The Patux­ent Part­ner­ship and St. Mary’s County gov­ern­ment in an ef­fort to di­ver­sify the lo­cal econ­omy us­ing de­fense tech­nol­ogy and fo­cus­ing on un­manned aerial sys­tems.

Last week, St. Mary’s County Com­mis­sioner Tom Jar­boe (R) said the com­mis­sion­ers and the South­ern Mary­land law­mak­ers “do a lot of talk­ing be­hind the scenes. It is a team sport try­ing to do eco­nomic devel­op­ment for St. Mary’s.”

In lever­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy into com­mer­cial devel­op­ment, there is “still a huge mar­ket that is un­tapped,” he said.

“AeroMary­land will be an um­brella of busi­nesses pur­su­ing fast new con­tracts to de­liver crit­i­cal new tech­nolo­gies to the Depart­ment of De­fense,” said Sen. Steve Waugh (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) in a state­ment re­leased by his of­fice on Mon­day about the ini­tia­tive. “It will en­able busi­nesses and uni­ver­si­ties in St. Mary’s County to quickly re­spond to the needs of the Naval Air War­fare Cen­ter – Air­craft Divi­sion through AIRWORKS, their rapid pro­to­typ­ing and in­te­gra­tion of­fice.

“We’ve got to grow the econ­omy and di­ver­sify our in­dus­try in St. Mary’s County and the state. AeroMary­land is how,” Waugh said.

“AeroMar yland will un­cover hid­den tech­ni­cal po­ten­tial and value from re­search and devel­op­ment fa­cil­i­ties, first at NAS Pax River and then even­tu­ally Aberdeen Prov­ing Grounds,” Del. Deb Rey (R-St. Mary’s) said in another state­ment from that re­lease. “They will use com­mer­cial ser­vice con­tracts and co­op­er­a­tive re­search agree­ments to op­ti­mize and lever­age each other’s re­sources.”

“The Navy’s ac­qui­si­tion re­quire­ments are chang­ing and we have to change with them,” said Re­tired Rear Adm. Steve East­burg in a state­ment, who has spear­headed the AeroMary­land ef­fort for months.

Brian Nor­ris, the in­com­ing pres­i­dent of the South­ern Mary­land Navy Al­liance, said the group is ready to com­mit a share of the fund­ing needed for the ven­ture.

“Ex­cit­ing things are hap­pen­ing as Mary­land ex­pands the A, B, Cs of a new econ­omy,” said Del. Matt Mor­gan (R-St. Mary’s) in a state­ment. “For years, Mary­land’s Depart­ment of Com­merce has been fo­cused on build­ing biotech and cy­bertech as the state’s pri­mary in­dus­try for eco­nomic devel­op­ment. Adding Aero, a sec­tor of busi­ness that is pri­mar­ily lo­cated in St. Mary’s County, cre­ates a third leg to Mary­land’s econ­omy that will only con­tinue to ben­e­fit our lo­cal econ­omy.”

AeroMary­land will of­fi­cially launch with the hir­ing of an ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, who will be tasked with ex­e­cut­ing busi­ness plan­ning and mar­ket anal­y­sis.

“I’m all for grow­ing our tar­get in­dus­tries in Mary­land, and aerospace is one of the sec­tors that is so im­por­tant to the state as well as to the na­tion. With NAS Patux­ent River and In­dian Head, South­ern Mary­land is a cen­ter of naval avi­a­tion and I wouldn’t trade those as­sets for any­thing,” Mary­land Depart­ment of Com­merce Sec­re­tary Mike Gill said in a state­ment.

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