Ocean City Today
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MACo will focus on economy

Annual conference in Ocean City will look at building business
By Brian Gilliland | Aug 10, 2017

(Aug. 11, 2017) Economic development is the name of the game during this year’s Maryland Association of Counties Conference next week at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, as government officials and staff from all over the state convene to share notes and attend classes, panels and seminars.

“This year the theme is ‘You’re Hired!,’ which focuses on economic development challenges and solutions. We’re exploring what we can do to bring in new businesses while nurturing existing entrepreneurs,” Virginia White, member services director of MACo, said.

MACo’s annual conference attracts more than 2,000 people who serve in Maryland’s local governments. County elected officials and staff, state officials and department leaders, senators and delegates, congressmen, and representatives from commercial and nonprofit organizations will gather next Wednesday through Saturday to discuss challenges and opportunities facing Maryland’s residents.

Gov. Larry Hogan, Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, and cabinet members are expected to participate throughout the conference, with featured events including the Governor’s Cabinet Reception and the governor’s closing address.

The conference will begin with Wednesday’s Tech Expo, hosted by the Maryland Tech Council and the association. This trade show will include sessions on the kinds of technology available, as well as a nearly 50-booth expo of products, services, and programs.

“We’re offering 30 seminars during the course of the conference,” White said. “And a 250-booth trade show, plus numerous meetings and briefings offering partnership opportunities.”

The goal, she continued, is to provide a forum for public and private sectors to all work together for the benefit of the state.

“Ocean City is a great place, and we’ve had a great relationship during the last 50 years — the resort is as much a part of the conference as anything else,” White said. “We can pull our membership in together to get together with fewer office-type distractions.”

Clay Stamp, Ocean City’s first Emergency Services Director who has also been tapped to run both the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Opioid Operational Command Center, will be leading a forum on the topic, along with a team of experts.

Other session topics include economic development opportunities around specific industries in Maryland, including agri-tourism, energy, technology, manufacturing and the sharing economy.

The conference will adjourn on Saturday following a closing address by Gov. Hogan.

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