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EAGB’s December Newsletter, “2020: The End…and the Beginning

2020 Year in Review

To say that we are all eager to bring 2020 to a close is an understatement. This year brought us COVID-19 and the firmly entrenched pandemic it has caused, civil unrest that has shined a global spotlight on systemic racism and social justice issues, a seemingly endless number of natural disasters from raging fires to a record-setting number of hurricanes, and a presidential election like none we have seen before. However, it is the pandemic that has impacted every aspect of our lives by shattering our routines, personal and professional, and left us with no manual on how to put the pieces back together and return to “normal.” There are few who thought – in March when COVID-19 took root throughout the country – that we would still be in the throes of the pandemic over nine months later. The fact that there are several vaccines poised for FDA approval any day (with the first wave of vaccinations possibly beginning before the end of the year) has given us hope that COVID-19 will be significantly curtailed if not eradicated, even though we also know that the next several months will require even more diligence from every one of us in order to bring this national nightmare to an end. 

Without a doubt, the impact on the economy has been wide and deep, and particularly devastating for the retail, hospitality, entertainment and tourism sectors. Temporary closings have become permanent and thousands are unemployed with little idea of when establishments can begin to operate at levels closer to normal, or operate at all.  For many other sectors, the work has continued but it has hardly been “business as usual.” Working from home – WFH – is the new normal for most “non-essential” businesses and offices have instituted comprehensive health and safety protocols for those who do have to enter the workplace. Short-term business plans have had to adjust, and the unpredictability of the pandemic has wreaked havoc on longer-term planning.   

To continue operations and proceed with activities and programs, businesses’ have had to continually pivot to accommodate changing circumstances, and Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB) is no exception. Our 2020 work plan included a robust menu of activities that would continue to elevate Greater Baltimore as an economically asset-rich Region and a location of choice for businesses, talent and investment. The pandemic hit two months into implementing elements of the plan and without warning, much like any business, we pivoted.

2020 YEAR IN REVIEW CALL OUT BOX

With activities requiring any degree of significant personal contact extremely limited, EAGB sought out relationships with organizations with a broader audience beyond the Greater Baltimore region and the state, such as the Association of University Research Parks and BioHealth Innovation. We were able to sponsor several of their virtual events focused on one of Greater Baltimore’s premier industry sectors: the life sciences. We also assisted several other organizations with sponsorships and messaging for their events, including the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, bwtech @ UMBC, and the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland. These relationships will continue to be strengthened in 2021 with collaborative virtual events and marketing.

Always searching for ways to improve our website and ultimately drive visitors to seek more information from our local economic development organizations, EAGB undertook a search engine optimization (SEO) audit in 2020, and over the course of several months implemented many of the recommendations in order to maximize the reader’s experience in discovering information about the Region’s assets. These assets prioritize the industry sectors that support growing economies in our local jurisdictions: Healthcare, Life Sciences, Logistics, Cybersecurity, IT and Manufacturing. Recognizing that we could tell the story of these industries on our website in a more informative, interactive way, a detailed StoryMap displaying significant industry activity and a jurisdictional analysis was created for each primary industry showcasing our jurisdictional partners: Baltimore City and Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford and Howard Counties. The new maps expanded upon EAGB’s Industry Profiles for these priority sectors. We’ve also added new Industry Profiles for three growing “sub-sectors” - the defense industry, higher education, and digital health:

DEC 2020 NEWSLETTER    2020 GREATER PERSPECTIVE

2020 GREATER PERSPECTIVE

As the pandemic continued and digital communication was the name of the game, we’ve continued to expand our email distribution list as well as enhance the quality of the list to reach more individuals with an interest in the economic development story of Greater Baltimore. Social media posts have increased with many of our partners reposting and linking to EAGB’s monthly newsletter “Region on Point.” The virtual world of Zoom meetings have allowed us to continue to meet on a monthly basis with our Advisory Committee made up of the economic development officers for our local jurisdictions, all of whom provide input and ideas for newsletters, virtual events and improvements to the website. The Marketing and Communications SubCommittee has continued its quarterly meetings with 40 active participants from the public, non-profit, private sector and academic communities. Their collective goal is to amplfy the positive news and activities from the Region. 

Last but hardly least, we have repeatedly sought to tell the incredible story of Greater Baltimore’s economic activity that has accelerated due in large part to the pandemic. Greater Baltimore’s life science industry has received national attention, including the Region’s premier academic research institutions and private sector pharmaceutical R&D and manufacturing facilities. With virtual meetings, remote work access and digital learning the norm, the need to protect data has many organizations recognizing that cybersecurity has to be part of their business plan. On-line shopping has produced an explosion in e-commerce, and the Region’s excellent transportation network and strategic location on the east coast has the logistics companies – distribution and warehousing – locating and expanding throughout Greater Baltimore.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc, no doubt. But, it has also acted as a catalyst for these industries, all of which are pillars of economic growth in the Region.  For more information, see “Fighting Covid-19:  Special Report From Greater Baltimore.” 

We are all ready to say goodbye to 2020. The new year will  bring challenges as the pandemic continues and we will pivot whenever and however necessary to move forward in 2021 to advance our mission – to market the economic development assets and opportunities of Greater Baltimore and elevate the Region as a location of choice for businesses, talent and investment.

Wishing all of you a very happy New Year, and “see” you in 2021.


Access the full EAGB December 2020 Region On Point newsletter here.


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