Is it time to think of the area from Baltimore-Richmond as a ‘super-city’? - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Dec. 15, 2016 7:31 am

Is it time to think of the area from Baltimore-Richmond as a ‘super-city’?

A group of high-powered business leaders think so. They launched the Greater Washington Partnership this week.
CEOs are ready to merge.

CEOs are ready to merge.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Baltimore-Washington area has already been identified as a potential megacity within the Boston-D.C. megalopolis.

Now, CEOs from the Baltimore, D.C. and Richmond areas are banding together to tout that area as one “super-city region.”

The idea behind the group, called the Greater Washington Partnership, is to get more recognition for the area as a “hub for business and innovation.” It grew out of the failed bid to bring the 2024 Olympics to DC, and is chaired by that effort’s leader, Russ Ramsey.

Along with notoriety, thinking regionally can help attract resources to address challenges. One immediate issue: GDP growth is expected to slightly trail other similar areas over the next five years.

Some of the foundational issues identified in the announcement of the partnership are familiar to many tech leaders:

  • Over-reliance on government contracting.
  • Losing entrepreneurs to other parts of the country.
  • Improving infrastructure, including transportation.
  • A gap between open jobs in emerging industries and the skills potential employees have to fill them.

As the Washington Post points out, there are already a host of other regionally-minded groups. One of this group’s asset appears to be the big names behind it.

Baltimore leaders joining the group include Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels and T. Rowe Price CEO Bill Stromberg, among others. Others include Ted Leonisis of Monumental Sports and leaders from JP Morgan Chase, EY, MedImmune, MedStar Health and Rally Health.

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“As we invest in Baltimore, we want to leverage those investments regionally,” Plank said in a statement. “Our city has geographic competitive advantages that can be maximized through region-wide coordination on key strategic priorities, including infrastructure and workforce development.”

Thinking regionally would require putting aside old rivalries, such as Baltimore-D.C. and Maryland-Virginia. They go beyond sports, and have been stoked by political leaders in the past. But a host of pols are signed on to this partnership, including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. In Maryland, there’s been more regionally-minded tech collaboration in areas like BioHealth and cybersecurity in recent years. The new partnership could add a further framework for connections.

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