Innovation in Your Own Backyard: The Case for Cecil County
Cecil County, Maryland is known for its rural charm and quality of life, but scrape just below the surface of the rolling hills and country life and you’ll find a county that is booming with innovation and growth in industries like biohealth and advanced manufacturing.
When talk of developments in Cecil County come up, they often center around Principio Business Park—6.1 million sq. ft. of existing space, and another 3.1 million sq. ft. to be developed. Principio houses massive warehouses—the largest coming in at 1.2 million square feet—for Amazon, Lidl, and Medline—all three totaling over 1,500 employees. And while these established companies have provided extensive economic opportunities for the Greater Baltimore region, Cecil County has been cultivating smaller companies that are quietly making significant impacts around the world.
Clene Nanomedicine, for example, has a new vision for a pharmaceutical future, developing groundbreaking, safe treatments that address a wide spectrum of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and Huntington’s Disease. While their clinical operations offices are located in Salt Lake City, Utah, the R&D and drug manufacturing are conducted in Cecil County.
“Nearly everyone in our company has been educated in the state of Maryland,” said Mark Mortenson, Chief Science Officer of Clene. “The original inventors of our novel process and product are all residents of Cecil or neighboring counties. I believe there is a workforce that exists here that can be trained as we grow.”
With Maryland universities like UMBC and Johns Hopkins that house top tier research and bio programs only a stone’s throw away, there isn’t a shortage of Maryland school graduates who would be prime candidates for Clene’s workforce.
And while Greater Baltimore’s reputation for a thriving biohealth industry is well-documented, the region is also leading the charge in innovative manufacturing. Of the top 5 most specialized areas of manufacturing, apparel ranks 2nd in Baltimore. W.L. Gore is a prime example of a company with a historical and economic footprint in the region, continuing to push the envelope with the development of advanced materials through the use of science. Gore produces fabrics that provide protection and comfort for the most extreme sports and weather.
“Gore’s presence in the region since 1972 is a testimony to the regional availability of a skilled workforce, favorable business climate, and access to the I-95 corridor,” said Michael Ratchford with Gore’s Government Relations.
Gore leads in creating innovative protective gear that is worn by everyone from Olympic athletes to United States soldiers. Holding over 5,000 patents, their revolutionary fabrics are used by some of the most popular brands around the world, including Burton, The North Face, and Marmot.
Home to 2,400 employees in this region alone, the building’s unassuming exterior is, in ways, much like Cecil County itself—drive by without knowing the story, and you’ll miss out on an impressive reality that exists in your own backyard.
Cecil County is a microcosm for Maryland—a diverse region that is quietly changing the future for healing, manufacturing, and economic development. Known for their landscape, Cecil County is changing their story, providing a bright future for innovation in the region.