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Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development To Reorganize In Hopes Of Growing State's Biotechnology Industry

9/9/2008 7:32:27 AM

Washington Business Journal -- The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development said Monday it is reorganizing in hopes of growing the state’s biotechnology industry and boosting its international profile.

The changes were unveiled by DBED Secretary David Edgerley. The operational structure “better aligns DBED staff and resources with its core missions: Growing Maryland’s biotechnology industry; expanding the state’s global presence; improving service to Maryland businesses; supporting tourism, film and the arts; and create new jobs and economic opportunities for Marylanders,” Edgerley wrote.

The new framework will enable DBED to operate more efficiently and improve its service delivery during a time of great economic uncertainty on many levels. No jobs at the agency will be cut, Edgerley said in an interview Monday, but none will be added, either. The department also won’t be seeking an increase to its roughly $130 million budget — a tough sell at a time when lawmakers grapple with budgetary shortfalls brought on by slumping revenue from taxes and fees.

“The work is the same game but the playbook will be new,” Edergley said. “We plan to do the same job with the same people for less [money].”

DBED was organized into seven divisions, which have been consolidated to three — economic development, marketing and business development, and tourism, film and the arts.

The Maryland Biotechnology Center, a cornerstone of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s push to invest $1.1 billion in the state’s bioscience industry over the next 10 years, will fall under DBED’s purview. Envisioned by O’Malley as a “one-stop shop to showcase and support biotechnology innovation and entrepreneurship,” it will coordinate a variety of state, higher education and private sector initiatives to fund and grow companies and train a life sciences work force.

The state’s new Office of International Trade and Investment, meanwhile, will boost marketing efforts across the globe in hopes of attracting more foreign investment. An advisory council of private-sector executives will counsel the department on doing business internationally.

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