Carroll has land, labor for bioscience

Official sees opportunity to attract businesses

April 26, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

With a growing professional labor force and newly available industrial land, Carroll County should take advantage of Maryland's boom in bioscience, a state business development official said yesterday.

The industry has grown significantly in Maryland, with about 327 new biotech companies since 1988, making the state a national leader in the industry, said Linda R. Ellerton, senior industrial representative for biotechnology with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

"Carroll can certainly be a participant in this movement," Ellerton said in a meeting with Carroll's Economic Development Commission yesterday. "It certainly has the labor and it could attract more. Who wouldn't want to live here? Just look at the quality of life."

Ellerton said she had many prospects that would be interested in a Carroll location.

With federal and state regulations, it often takes several years to build a plant and make it operational, Ellerton said. Some drug manufacturers require a copious water supply - up to 500,000 gallons daily.

"We have companies that have developed drugs but have no place to manufacture them," she said. "A lot of creativity has to go into this development, but the return on the investment is incredible."

A county-funded labor study, soon to be released, shows that professionals account for 40 percent of Carroll's work force. The survey also shows about 55 percent of county residents leave Carroll every workday for jobs in other areas.

"They have said they would gladly stay in the county to work, if we had high-tech jobs," said John T. "Jack" Lyburn, county director of economic development, noting the survey.

Dr. Arthur Peck, chairman of the county's Industrial Development Authority, said, "It is amazing how many people we have in this county with a science background who commute from the county every day. It makes sense to supply them with jobs. Nobody likes to commute. It is the most useless time."

Lyburn expects to have about 1.5 million square feet of industrial space available in three Westminster-area business parks, some of it as early as fall.

"We have critical mass as far as land," Lyburn said. "We are trying to make a technology corridor along Route 97 north. We are getting the infrastructure in place."

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