Southern Maryland officials announce new business venture
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.