New residents are flocking to Washington County in Western Maryland, which comes as no surprise to the county’s economic development team. The county boasts a prime location, incentive programs and diverse job opportunities.
At the intersection of Interstate 81 and Interstate 70, between West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the county has become a hub for economic activity. Hagerstown, the county seat, is roughly equidistant from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., with easy access to several East Coast cities. It is dubbed the “Crossroads of the Mid-Atlantic.”
The Washington County, MD Department of Business Development has developed innovative tools for welcoming new businesses and streamlining regulations for existing industries. The county’s Fast Track Team has cut the waiting time for permits and approvals in half. The county also employs Project Liaisons who provide status updates on building projects and assist with design needs, permitting and funding. Additional financing, tax credit programs and worker training programs are detailed on the county’s website.
“We’ve taken a job-by-job approach with a focus on expanding economic development opportunities for our citizens,“ said Sarah Lankford Sprecher, Washington County assistant county administrator.
“Whether it’s through a partnership with the Maryland Small Business Development Center, a session with our in-house business consultant or a meeting with a Project Liaison—each interaction is personalized to help large and small organizations realize that opening or relocating in one of our great communities is the next step in growing their business,” Sprecher said.
The county prides itself on business retention efforts, including the Washington County Business Outreach Program. The Washington County Board of County Commissioners, elected local officials, various county and city staff and representatives from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development visit participating businesses, develop a relationship with the business owners and learn about their unique challenges and concerns.
Businesses of all industries and sizes may voluntarily participate in the program. Since its creation in 2012, nearly 80 local businesses, from apiaries to sheet metal manufacturers, have participated.
Through the program, representatives visited spiral staircase company Duvinage and helped the company discover ways to leverage funding and resources to purchase a competitor in Ohio. The company retained its 20 employees, added five additional positions and anticipates employing 60 workers by 2015. Program representatives helped another company, Hagerstown Kitchens, Inc., find a solution to a shortage of skilled labor through an internship program with Washington County Technical High School’s carpentry program.
Looking for more reasons to build your business in Maryland’s Washington County? Visit Washington County, MD Department of Business Development here.