County Adding President To Business Development Group


A Montgomery County-created nonprofit charged with retaining and attracting businesses has its first ever president, a move officials hope can kickstart a business development effort some say is lagging. The Council created the quasi-public Montgomery Business Development Corporation as a board of local business leaders in 2010, but last week announced the hiring of Holly Sears as its full-time president. Money for that position was added to the program recently, in the same period of time multiple reports chronicled the stark contrasts between job growth in Montgomery and neighboring Fairfax County, long viewed as a competitor for new businesses. In March, the Washington Business Journal reported Fairfax spent around $7 million in business development in the last year and saw 8,765 new jobs. In that same period, Montgomery County spent $6.25 million and saw 556 new jobs. Sears, who will start after the Thanksgiving holiday, previously served as the Vice President of Economic Development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, near Nashville, Tenn. A county press release announcing the hiring said Sears recruited and negotiated more than $6 billion in capital investments there in her seven-year tenure. The MBDC's website still lists retired schools Superintendent Jerry Weast and departed Planning Department Director Rollin Stanley as non-voting members. There are no projects or resources listed on the site. Meanwhile, Fairfax County, which has a county-funded but more independent Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, has attempted to expand its reach. The FCEDA has offices in Los Angeles, Bangalore, London, Munich, Seoul and Tel Aviv. Montgomery officials have said international offices are not practical financially and that state economic development offices can do the job. Today, County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) declined to say the county was lagging its neighbors in attracting the type of large corporations that is spurring development in Fairfax. Bethesda is home to a number of major companies (including Lockheed Martin and Marriot) and fast-growing start-ups. "We need to do more and we need the business community's guidance," Berliner said. "One of the models that Fairfax uses is to have an independent development corporation. We don't. The MBDC is sort of a hybrid approach. We retain our authority but we have the advice and counsel of business leaders. So we're trying to have, if you will, the best of both worlds and hopefully with this new president we'll achieve that." Flickr photo by kgunnar

Back to Bethesda Beat

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Opponents in Term-Limits Debate Take Low-Key Approach to Election

Those in favor post lawn signs; those against plan to distribute fliers

County Libraries, MC311 Add Services To Help Commuters During Upcoming SafeTrack Surge

Metro repair blitz to tie up Red Line from Saturday through Nov. 22

Clarksburg Premium Outlets To Open Thursday

Local business chamber president calls site a ‘destination’

School Overcrowding Dominates Discussion at Candidates Forum

Parents press four of six school board candidates
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored Content

Martina McBride at Strathmore for CSAAC

See country music star Martina McBride in support of her new album ‘Reckless’ – stay for a post-performance live auction of Martina autographed items!

Your Fitness Revolution Awaits!

Now open! Rock Creeks Studios in Chevy Chase: Welcoming world class coaches and innovative programming in a beautiful brand new studio! Come see with a free 7-day pass!
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module


Your Guides to Leading
Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags