BALTIMORE — Carroll County is on the right track with its efforts to promote economic growth, Maryland's top economic development official said Wednesday.
But to attract more business the county should push for better connections to major highways, airport expansion and adequate water supplies to accommodate growth, said J. Randall Evans.
Evans, secretary of the Department of Economic and Employment Development, said he has talked with county Economic Development Director James C. Threatte and the commissioners and is encouraged by their efforts.
The county economic development office assists companies interested in locating here with tours and information. Representatives attend trade fairs to promote the county, and a commission of county business people and municipal officials meets regularly to generate ideas.
Evans said Carroll also should continue its programs to educate and train workers through its Bureau of Job Training Partnership.
The secretary spoke about the state's economy at a briefing for county officials and the press at the Maryland Communications Center in the Legg Mason Tower.
Evans said he talked with Threatte about compiling a county profile that would include industrial parks, highways, schools, the permit process and policies affecting businesses.
Interested companies also can watch "Carroll County Works," a videotape at the Maryland Communications Center that touts the advantages of doing business in a rural county not far from metropolitan areas.
"Our rural heritage brings a legacy of honest, hard work," the announcer says.
The video includes testimonials from officials at several county companies, including John F. Gambatese, senior vice president at Random House Inc., the county's largest private employer.
"I like everything about Carroll County," he says on the tape, including the weather, the people and the freedom to leave his car door unlocked.
The tape is available in several languages, including Japanese.
Evans said it's important for Maryland businesses to seek out international markets for their products.
"To prosper in these difficult economic times, companies must work smarter, be more productive and compete more effectively in a global marketplace," he said.
Steven D. Powell, director of the county's management and budget office, said state and county businesses should take advantage of the new markets in Europe and the Soviet Union.
"They provide ample opportunities," he said after the briefing.
The county wants to participate in a state program that assists businesses interested in exporting, said Eileen Fisher, a business and industrial representative in Carroll's economic development office.
The office has set aside $5,000 in its budget for the program and is waiting to hear if matching state money will be available, she said.
The program would enable businesses to attend international trade fairs and translate literature into foreign languages.
Powell said the county also should work to expand its visibility in the region and the state.
"We are an important and viable component of the Baltimore metropolitan region," he said.
When people think of the region they think of Howard and Anne Arundel, but they also should think of Carroll, he said.
In his briefing, Evans said growth in Maryland slowed in 1990, but said the state's diverse economy will help it weather the recession.
Maryland's strengths include a highly trained work force, a strong concentration of scientists and engineers, high income levels, access to a large consumer market and the "dynamic Baltimore-Washington corridor," Evans said.