Official recovering after surgery Lyburn keeps working on development issues from hospital bed

June 26, 1998|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

County economic development director John T. "Jack" Lyburn Jr. underwent six-hour bypass surgery Wednesday at St. Joseph Hospital in Towson.

He remained in the cardiac surgery unit yesterday and is listed in good condition.

"We know he came through the operation OK, but, as yet, we have no idea when he will come out of the hospital," said County Commissioner Donald I. Dell. "I would think his recovery will take several weeks."

Lyburn, who is the driving force behind Carroll's efforts to increase its industrial and commercial base, has been in touch with his staff almost daily since he had a heart attack Saturday afternoon while mowing the lawn at his Gamber home.

His staff refused to discuss his illness, saying it is personal.

Dell mentioned Lyburn's illness at a zoning meeting Wednesday.

County officials have no plans to name an interim director but will rely on deputy director Paige Sunderland, Dell said.

"We don't have plans to do anything different," he said. "Paige will keep things moving. Jack has a good staff, well dedicated to the work."

Lyburn meets frequently with the commissioners, keeping them apprised of the latest prospects considering locating in the county and potential business deals.

"Jack always has a lot going on," said Dell. "Sometimes those deals come up pretty quickly."

For economic development, the most pressing issue is Sweetheart Cup Co. The Owings Mills-based manufacturer, the nation's largest producer of disposable paper plates and cups, is looking at property in Baltimore, Carroll and Harford counties for an expanded East Coast distribution center.

In Carroll, Sweetheart is eyeing property south of Hampstead near Houcksville Road to build a 900,000-square-foot distribution center that would employ about 120 people.

Negotiations will continue through the economic development department.

Lyburn oversees a staff of six, a $404,425 operating budget and a $1.1 million economic development trust fund designed to bring more business to the county and, according to Lyburn, "best the competition."

When the commissioners hired Lyburn four years ago, they made economic development their top priority and have increased his budget and the trust fund annually.

In Carroll, commercial and industrial property account for nearly 12 percent of the tax base, up 2 percent during Lyburn's tenure but far below neighboring counties. To reach Carroll's goal of 13 percent by 2000, Lyburn's office has aggressively marketed the county's industrial sites.

Lyburn works closely with the county Economic Development Commission, a 29-member group of business leaders that functions like a board of directors for his department.

"As the [commission] chair, I have been in touch with Lyburn's office," said Louna S. Primm, senior vice president of Carroll Bank and Trust Co. "I am on alert should they need me. For the short run, there is a strong staff that should function well."

Dell said he expects Lyburn to make a speedy recovery. Lyburn continues to call county staff almost daily and conducts business from his hospital bed.

Pub Date: 6/26/98

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