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Jun. 19, 2013 11:30 am

Maryland still struggles with retaining top tech talent [EVENT]

Despite 87 of every 1,000 private-sector jobs being in the technology sector, recruiting seems to be a recurring concern for tech companies.

The panelists, from left: Marc Mercilliott, Ira Levy, Ursula Powidzki, Yair Flicker and Denis Dunn.

You want a strong technology community, then make great cities with institutional guidance, through tax policy and matchmaking big companies with small ones.

There was the theme from several panelists during an event in Hanover held by the Greater Baltimore Committee. Maryland is still often cited as a net loser in college graduate retention, if gains are being made, as some said during the event.

In that interesting contrast, despite 87 of every 1,000 private-sector jobs being in the technology sector, recruiting seems to be a recurring concern for tech companies (and startups) here.

Appropriately enough, panelists shared those thoughts and more during the Tuesday morning event called “Tech Impact: Taking Maryland to the next level in tech.”

Here’s what they said:

  • Ursula Powidzki, assistant secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development: “Businesses do not make their decisions based on a one-time incentive,” but rather consider a variety of things in a state’s “support system” — the tax impact, access to capital funds and the labor market.
  • Ira Levy, chair of the Inter-County Broadband Network: “I don’t know that the relationship right now is conducive to long-term infrastructure initiatives.” Levy was talking about public-private partnerships between government and business, and whether the two in properly synced to, say, maintain a high-speed fiber network throughout the state.
  • Denis Dunn, AT&T public policy team: The telecom giant has invested $650 million in Maryland in the last two years, he said, because “it’s a phenomenal market for AT&T” with high-income families and a “top” state for college-level education.
  • Yair Flicker, founder of SmartLogic Solutions: Flicker was a bit more specific, and offered two proposals for keeping recent college grads in state: a tax incentive for employers hiring people who moved to Maryland to attend college, or some kind of tax break for college graduates looking for, and accepting, jobs locally.
  • Marc Mercilliott, senior VP for technical operations at Iron Bow Technologies: “Recruiting is our number one challenge as an organization,” he said. To that end, Iron Bow has recently taken a “more aggressive approach” to hiring college grads. which includes an in-depth mentorship program so new hires learn more about the company and their respective roles inside it.
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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is Technically Baltimore's lead reporter. Before joining Technically Baltimore, he was digital media editor for Urbanite magazine. He graduated from Loyola University Maryland in May 2011.

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