Following in the footsteps of one whom many regarded as the state's biggest business salesman, David S. Iannucci will take over as Maryland's secretary of business and economic development, the governor's office announced yesterday.
Iannucci had been acting secretary since Richard C. Mike Lewin left the position Nov. 17. Iannucci was named deputy secretary in November 1998 at the same time Lewin was appointed secretary.
Iannucci, 48, inherits the leadership of a department that has more than 340 employees and a budget of $130 million.
"Maryland's economy is doing extremely well," Iannucci said yesterday. "We have the hottest economy of any state in the region; the unemployment rates remain low, and income levels were No. 1 in the nation ... the challenge will be to keep that up."
He said that during his tenure, he plans to focus on attracting and retaining "strategic" industries, such as biotechnology, information technology and manufacturing, as well as on regions of the state that haven't "shared equally in the prosperity."
Iannucci said he has worked closely with Lewin over the course of their two-year relationship to advertise the state to outside businesses and craft incentive programs for businesses to move to Maryland.
One of their recent successes was luring ClosetMaid Corp., a Florida-based storage products company, to Garrett County after it looked as if it would move to Pennsylvania or Ohio.
The company move means about 600 to 800 jobs in Maryland's westernmost county. The state provided Closet- Maid with $1 million in work- force training and recruitment money, and the company is eligible for up to $5.5 million in tax credits through the department's "One Maryland" program, which encourages companies to locate to areas with high unemployment.
"Mike Lewin was a passionate salesman for the state, and he deserves the credit for making this state understand how well things are going," said Iannucci. "I intend to carry forth the positive message that he began."
Before serving as deputy secretary, Iannucci was deputy chief of staff to Gov. Parris N. Glendening with direct program and administrative responsibilities over the Business and Economic Development, Transportation, Housing and Community Development and Agriculture departments.
"David is very strong in the policy area ... he is familiar with legislators, how the whole legislative process works. He is able to craft a program and present it to the legislature," said Michelle Byrnie, a spokeswoman with the governor's office.
From 1993 until 1996, Iannucci was vice president of policy and public affairs for Prudential Health Care Plan of the Mid-Atlantic. Before that, he was then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer's deputy legislative officer for two years.
Lewin said he and Iannucci essentially ran DBED as a team, with Iannucci focusing on the administrative side.
"David and I, and the entire department, have worked very well to turn the perception of Maryland as a place to do business, especially in technology," Lewin said. "He knows the job cold, having worked with me for two years."
David Edgerley, director of Montgomery County's Department of Economic Development, said Iannucci "is a consummate professional; he's a consensus builder.
"He's someone who has had an extraordinary career in Maryland government, so he brings with him all of the knowledge and leadership that the job of secretary requires."
Iannucci received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1974 and his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1979.