Mali R. Schantz-Feld (November 2010)
In Delaware, agriculture is expected to sow new projects as poultry, corn, and soybeans are processed into biotech products. The state already has approximately 100 bioscience companies, including Agilent Technologies, AstraZeneca, DuPont, Dade Behring, W.L. Gore and Associates, Schering-Plough, and Syngenta. Delaware also touts one of the largest concentrations of banking operations in the Mid-Atlantic.
The state is doing its part to draw investments. The Delaware Strategic Fund attracts new projects through low-interest loans and grants for businesses that pay sustainable wages. The fund is also the primary source for SBIR Bridge Grants and Brownfield Grants.
Clean energy is also in vogue in Delaware. Modular Carpet Recycling (MCR), a cleantech startup that recycles waste textiles and carpeting for its Renewlon™ nylon, is opening its first manufacturing facility in New Castle. The talented chemical manufacturing work force and standalone Mid-Atlantic location with access to raw materials led the firm to choose the site, says Ron Simonetti, MCR CEO and founder.
Finance companies have long been attracted to Delaware for its favorable tax climate. Sallie Mae, the country's leading provider of student loans and administrator of college savings plans, announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters from Reston, Virginia, to Newark, Delaware. The company will add employees to its existing Newark work force of 900 people over the next five years.
During its 2010 legislative session, Maryland established a three-point economic recovery agenda that included a Job Creation and Recovery Tax Credit, Small Business Credit Recovery Program, and modernizing the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This summer, Governor Martin O'Malley unveiled Invest Maryland, a new proposal to support expansion of the state's knowledge-based industries. The program allocates $100 million through the Maryland Venture Fund for investment in emerging businesses.
Throughout Maryland, companies are finding reasons to grow. QIAGEN, a global provider of medical diagnostic sample and assay technologies, is expanding its North American headquarters in Germantown with 117,000 square feet of new manufacturing and office space, and adding at least 90 full-time jobs by 2015. Sean Augerson, QIAGEN's Senior Director of North American Operations, called Maryland, "a region that is an epicenter of bioscience and genomics research, discovery, manufacturing, and commercialization." The company expects to complete the project by 2012. QIAGEN currently employs 580 people in Montgomery County and nearly 700 workers across the state.
Meanwhile, Limbach Facility Services, a Pittsburgh-based mechanical construction and service firm focusing on green-energy solutions, is expanding its regional office and fabrication facility in Beltsville, and will create 75 jobs in the next three years. The Laurel-Beltsville area is a prime spot for private sector and government customers in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore metro areas, according to Limbach branch manager Craig Sasser. For a construction and service company, accessibility to transportation infrastructure was vital to the decision.
Across the Mid-Atlantic states, the presence of a highly educated work force, diverse and vibrant industry clusters, and enviable quality of life have positioned the region for economic growth today and for years to come.