Business leaders, community members, and economic developers joined the Economic Development Department's 2020 Fall Meeting, "Building a New and Better Normal," on Tuesday, Nov. 10. This meeting was held virtually and gave the audience economic updates and insights from the Economic Development Department, regional economic experts, and local business owners.
Commissioner President Reuben B Collins, II, began the program with an update on the state of the County’s economy, followed by a report from Economic Development Director Darréll Brown highlighting the Economic Development’s redirected efforts to business retention initiatives. Brown noted the expanded information efforts included newly developed business-education webinars, recently implemented loan and grant programs, and the creation of the Economic Development Department’s Recovery Task Force. He also gave fundamental updates on ongoing development projects throughout the County.
The program then introduced keynote speaker Chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group, Inc Anirban Basu, an economic expert. Basu's address gave the audience members insights on the economic state of Maryland and Charles County, deciphering trends and projecting outcomes for 2021 and beyond.
Garner Economics, the author of Charles County's five-year strategic plan, presented a "2020 Pivot Plan," which the Economic Development Department contracted to understand the economic challenges better – and opportunities – of the COVID crisis. Garner Economics gave a series of recommendations to the Economic Development Department, including new additions to the County's targeted industries. Jay Garner, President of Garner Economics, suggests, "the addition of pharma manufacturing, medical supplies and equipment manufacturing, food processing, and the distribution target industries will continue to grow the County despite COVID-19 impacts."
Attendees then heard economic development priorities in the General Assembly from Maryland Senator Arthur Ellis and Maryland House Delegate Edith Patterson, representing Maryland's 28th District of Charles County.
The program concluded with a riveting panel discussion entitled "The Future of Normal." The panel featured Regional Director of Maryland Small Business Development Center – Southern Maryland Region Wynne Briscoe; Co-Owner and Co-Manager of Island Music Company Keith Grasso; Co-Owner and Chief Marketing Officer for Dat Jerk Caribbean Chargrill Angela Melton Fray; Owner of Metropolitan Enterprises, Inc. Tony Jacobs; and Cardiologist for MedStar Health Dr. Amish Shah. President of Garner Economics Jay Garner moderated the panel.
"Though the 2020 Fall Meeting looked different this year, the event was remarkably successful," said Economic Development Department Director Darréll Brown. "We're pleased with the positive response and the incredible feedback we have received from the attendees and speakers."
The Fall Meeting is an annual event focused on providing necessary information and resources to local businesses and stakeholders. To learn more about the 2020 Fall Meeting and to read Economic Development’s 2020 Annual Report, visit www.MeetCharlesCounty.com/fallmeeting2020.