Mike Gill kicks off Shore Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Talks

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRISTINA ACOSTA ca­costa@ches­pub.com

WYE MILLS — Mary­land Depart­ment of Com­merce Sec­re­tary Mike Gill kicked off the in­au­gu­ral Shore Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment (SED) Talks at Chesapeake Col­lege Fri­day morn­ing.

SED fea­tured six speak­ers of­fer­ing in­sights, trends, suc­cess sto­ries and busi­ness strate­gies rel­e­vant to Mary­land’s Eastern Shore. Gill’s speech, “Grow­ing Mary­land’s Econ­omy,” fo­cused on the im­por­tance of keep­ing a suc­cess­ful busi­ness as pro­vid­ing on where the state excels.

“I’m hop­ing (guests) re­flect on the pos­i­tive things that are tak­ing place in their area of fo­cus, and they build on those strengths,” said Gill. “If they face ob­sta­cles, they must plan to solve with the op­por­tu­ni­ties that are out there whether build­ing on man­u­fac­tur­ing or agri­cul­ture. We have a great team of peo­ple at com­merce that work with ju­ris­dic­tions.”

Gill said that Mary­land is open for busi­ness with the state ranked first with the per­cent­age of em­ployed PhD’s and en­gi­neers and in vac­cine de­vel­op­ment. In 2016, Bloomberg ranked Mary­land as the fifth most in­no­va­tive state.

Mary­land was ranked sec­ond in op­por­tu­nity, ac­cord­ing to U.S. News & World Re­port in 2018; and in that same year, Wal­letHub ranked Mary­land as the sec­ond most ed­u­cated state with top ranked schools. In­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing in­clud­ing the Univer­sity of Mary­land, the U.S. Naval Academy, Univer­sity of Mar yland Bal­ti­more County and Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity as the high­est ranked schools in the na­tion.

Mary­land is also the eastern cor­ri­dor be­tween At­lanta and Bos­ton. The Port of Bal­ti­more is the na­tion’s lead­ing Roll On/Roll Off port. It is served by two Class I freight rail lines, and of­fers im­me­di­ate ac­cess to I-95 and I-70, the ma­jor thor­ough­fares to points north, south and west. The Port of Bal­ti­more han­dled

10.7 mil­lion tons of gen­eral cargo in 2017.

Mary­land is also home to

100 of the fastest grow­ing com­pa­nies in the U.S. in­clud­ing Un­der Ar­mour and PAN­DORA Jew­elry. There are 20 mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties and more than 60 fed­eral agen­cies in­clud­ing the FDA, NASA and Na­tional In­sti­tute of Health.

In or­der to main­tain the high level of suc­cess, Gill said that busi­nesses must have pas­sion, good at­ti­tude and cul­ture to keep mov­ing for­ward. He also stated that the for­mula for great­ness in­cluded build­ing on strength.

“The thing that dawned on me the most was cus­tomers, and how to keep them happy, espe­cially when they give you busi­ness,” said Gill. “If you do a good enough job, you will carry a suc­cess­ful busi­ness. It goes to show that you have a lot of tal­ent, but you have to have the right cul­ture to be able to move things for­ward. I ad­vise to cre­ate a cul­ture of yes.”

Sec­re­tary Gill is a busi­ness leader with four decades of ex­pe­ri­ence as an en­tre­pre­neur, a tech­nol­ogy ex­ec­u­tive, an in­vest­ment banker and pub­lic ser­vant. He was tapped by Gover­nor Larry Ho­gan to lead the Mary­land Depart­ment of Com­merce, for­merly the Mary­land Depart­ment of Busi­ness and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, in Jan­uary 2015.

Prior to his ap­point­ment, Mike Gill led Ev­er­green Ad­vi­sors, an in­vest­ment bank, as chair­man and prin­ci­pal. Pre­vi­ously, Gill founded Hoyt Cap­i­tal, an in­vest­ment and ad­vi­sory firm serv­ing star­tups and growth com­pa­nies.

Gill was also a founder of First Page, which was ac­quired by Metro­call; served as chair­man of Cur­tis En­gine, a Bal­ti­more power gen­er­a­tor com­pany; and was chair­man of Blue­fire Se­cu­rity Tech­nolo­gies, a mo­bile cy­ber­se­cu­rity de­vel­oper, from 2006 to 2008. In 1984, Gill founded AMERICOM, a Bal­ti­more-based provider of cel­lu­lar prod­ucts and ser­vices to busi­nesses in the area. Un­der Gill’s lead­er­ship, AMERICOM ex­panded na­tion­wide with more than 1,200 team mem­bers. He started his ca­reer with IBM and held a num­ber of po­si­tions in sales and mar­ket­ing. He then be­came Di­rec­tor of Data Sys­tems in the mid-At­lantic re­gion for Ernst & Young.

PHOTO BY CHRISTINA ACOSTA

Mary­land Depart­ment of Com­merce Sec­re­tary Mike Gill kicked off the con­fer­ence that fea­tured dy­namic speak­ers of­fer­ing in­sights, trends, suc­cess sto­ries, and busi­ness strate­gies rel­e­vant to Mary­land’s Eastern Shore.

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