LEONARDTOWN, Md. – The Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) Executive Program Class of 2023 met with regional economic development leaders Oct. 6 to learn about Southern Maryland’s economic and workforce development resources, opportunities, and challenges.
The executives got to hear up-to-the minute accounts from Southern Maryland’s top economic development experts and innovators about new initiatives to create entrepreneurial communities, foster a research and development economy, and meet new workforce development needs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and rapid technology growth.
“I have been hearing about numerous start-up efforts over the past 15 years to turn Southern Maryland into an innovation and technology corridor,” said LSM participant Kevin Switick, president and CEO of AVIAN, in Lexington Park, Md. “At this forum, I got to witness the collective result of those efforts, and I’ve come to realize that we, Southern Maryland, were successful. We have an innovation ecosystem—everything it takes to be an innovation hotspot today.”
LSM participants heard first from county government economic development directors Julie Oberg LSM ‘23 (Calvert), Kelly Robertson-Slagle LSM ‘10 (Charles), and Chris Kaselemis (St. Mary’s) about new initiatives, and challenges facing each county. They then discussed entrepreneurship and innovation in Southern Maryland with Dr. Dale L. Moore, founder and president of The Moore Group, LLC; Wynne Briscoe, director of the Southern Region, Small Business Development Center at the College of Southern Maryland; Kellie Hinkle, deputy director of St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development; Lesley Quattlebaum, executive director of the College of Southern Maryland Velocity Center at Indian Head.
Afternoon sessions showcased more of Southern Maryland’s technology, research, and workforce development resources. LSM participants saw drones fly as they toured USMSM’s new Southern Maryland Autonomous Research and Technology (SMART) Building with Research Lab Manager Joseph Copenhaver. They also learned about innovative regional workforce development partnerships from Ellen Flowers-Fields LSM ‘09, associate vice president of Continuing Education & Workforce Development, College of Southern Maryland, and Ruthy Davis LSM ‘14, director of Regional Workforce and Business Development, Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland. Participants then toured the JobSource Mobile Career Center with Hans Welch, coordinator of Mobile Career Center of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland.
Hard boiled eggs are a part of “Squeak” the otter’s daily meals at the Calvert Marine Museum the LSM participants learned when taking a behind the scene tour of the museum to further understand the importance of tourism and tourism dollars in the region. Following the tour led by museum director Jeffrey Murray and staff, the group joined the annual LSM Homecoming under Drum Point Lighthouse to receive warm welcomes from the nearly 100 LSM alumni in attendance.
“The Economic and Workforce Development Session is a productive day for us as we connect the dots about the current health of and future plans for Southern Maryland’s economy, infrastructure, and growth,” said LSM Executive Director Dr. Sybol Anderson. “We introduce local executives to other professionals and innovators who are working hard every day to make Southern Maryland a great place to live and work. It is always an eye-opening experience.”
LSM’s Economic and Workforce Development Session was held at the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland (USMSM) in California, Maryland, and was hosted by Director of the Charles County Economic Development Department Kelly Robertson-Slagle LSM ‘10.
Leadership Southern Maryland’s flagship Executive Program is an interactive and life-enriching nine-month, tuition-based “behind-the-scenes” experience designed to enhance the collaborative abilities of our region’s top senior professionals. LSM welcomes mid- to senior-level executives representing diverse geographic locations, industries, professions, ethnicities, genders, and other backgrounds who are committed to addressing the community needs of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties.