Morgan is named director of economic development Ex-bank president appointed by Gary to take over April 1

March 27, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

One month after resigning as president and chief executive officer of Annapolis National Bank for reasons he says he cannot discuss, Richard J. Morgan has been named director of the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp.

Morgan, 49, of Davidsonville will take over April 1 from Michael S. Lofton, who is retiring after six years. County Executive John G. Gary praised Morgan's extensive background in finance and business and his understanding of economic issues important to Anne Arundel.

"He is a talented, insightful professional with a keen mind for finance and unique business opportunities. He will be a tremendous asset in our county," Gary said.

Morgan has already been an asset to Gary. During the past three years, he has contributed $1,200 to Gary's election campaigns, and he recently chaired the steering committee that worked out the new General Development Plan Gary is pushing as a guide to land use and commercial development for the next two decades.

Morgan, who was named "Business Leader of the Year" in 1994 by the County Trade Council that he headed, played a prominent role in the failed effort to build a stadium in Laurel for the Washington Redskins. The council and Morgan proposed a new plan for the stadium after a hearing officer rejected an original $160 million stadium plan because of traffic problems.

Morgan, who helped to create Annapolis National, made news again last month when word of a dispute with shareholders became public. Morgan said he had entered an agreement with the bank that precludes him from talking about his departure.

Morgan said he wanted to focus on long-term goals for the development corporation.

"Basically, our goal is to continue [Lofton's] initiatives," Morgan said in a telephone interview. "We want to continue bringing businesses into the county.

"We are also interested in preserving the businesses we have and in continuing in our role as a conduit between the government body and private sector."

The Economic Development Corp. will work on expanding Baltimore-Washington International Airport and the growth of the county's three town centers in Parole, Glen Burnie and Odenton.

Morgan also said he wanted to help manage growth and preserve the waterways and maritime industry in the county and Annapolis.

Lofton, who announced he was retiring earlier this month, took over the Anne Arundel County Office of Economic Development in December 1991. Two years later, Lofton supervised its privatization as the Economic Development Corp.

"I've had a chance to work with Rick over the last four or five years," Lofton said yesterday. "I think he's a great catch for Anne Arundel County. He's well-organized, focused and an aggressive businessman. He also has the county's best interest at heart, which has been demonstrated by his civic involvement in a number of capacities."

Morgan takes over when the county's economy is healthy, officials say. In his annual State of the County address in December, Gary told a group of local business people that the county economy grew by 5,000 jobs during his first year in office, a 3.2 percent growth rate.

"Speaking for the board of directors, we are very pleased" about Morgan's appointment, Jay Winer, chairman of the Economic Development Corp. said in a statement. "Rick has the key things we need. He is well known to our business community, he has a solid background in finance and he understands economic development."

Pub Date: 3/27/97

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