Another HQ for Howard

Magellan: Move of managed-care firm here is latest acknowledgment of favorable business environment.

May 24, 1999

IF ATTRACTING the headquarters of one of America's largest publicly traded companies is a measure of good economic health, Howard County is in the pink.

Luring Magellan Health Services Inc. to move to Columbia from Atlanta, which of late has been a destination for corporate headquarters, is a coup.

It is further evidence that Maryland is an attractive place to do business.

One of the nation's largest managed-care organizations, Magellan is familiar with Maryland. It employs about 600 people in Columbia and another 300 around the state.

Its large presence in Maryland can be traced to its 1995 purchase of Green Spring Health Services, a mental health program manager based in Columbia.

In addition, Dr. Henry T. Harbin, Magellan's chief executive, was president and chief executive of Green Spring at the time of the acquisition four years ago. Before that, he was the state's top mental-health official. He has continued to maintain a home in Baltimore.

Magellan is not the only corporation to find Howard County an attractive headquarters location.

In January, W. R. Grace & Co., one of the nation's major chemical companies, announced it would be moving from Florida to Columbia. In 1998, 12 companies established headquarters in Howard.

These corporations are making hard-nosed business decisions. The cost of doing business must be competitive.

While state and county government have offered relocation incentive packages worth millions of dollars, other factors weigh heavily. These include quality of life, low crime, excellent public schools and a well-educated work force.

Given those criteria, Maryland, and Howard County in particular, will continue to be attractive locations for corporate headquarters.

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