Nominee sets sights on small businesses

Smith's pick also focuses on retail revitalization

January 13, 2003|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

David S. Iannucci, nominated to be Baltimore County's next economic development director, comes to the job with high-profile endorsements and a pledge to focus new attention on the county's small businesses and aging retail centers.

County Executive James T. Smith Jr. chose Iannucci last week to replace Robert L. Hannon, a highly regarded administrator who held the post for eight years under former Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger. The nomination must be confirmed by the County Council.

Under Ruppersberger and Hannon, the office focused on attracting and maintaining large employers, particularly manufacturers. Iannucci, who has been secretary of the state Department of Business and Economic Development for the past two years, was involved in some of those efforts and said he would continue to pursue those goals for the county.

However, he said he is excited about Smith's focus on revitalizing the county's older retail centers and on developing small and minority-owned businesses. Iannucci said he has tried to steer the state department in that direction as well.

"If you look at state economic development efforts around the nation, you almost universally find a focus on what I would call traditionally the midsize or larger companies, essentially people going elephant hunting, and you have to do that," he said. "But we made a strategic decision in DBED to put significant resources in support of the small- and minority-business community."

Councilman Kenneth N. Oliver, a Randallstown Democrat who is a senior vice president at the Development Credit Fund, said he has known Iannucci for years and has had a "wonderful" working relationship with him.

"He's particularly attuned to small businesses, which are important in Baltimore County, especially in the 4th Councilmanic District," Oliver said, referring to the heavily African-American west side that he represents.

Iannucci graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in government and politics and a minor in economics. He earned his law degree from the University of Maryland in 1979.

He served as chief legislative officer for Gov. William Donald Schaefer and was deputy chief of staff for Gov. Parris N. Glendening before moving to the economic development department in 1998.

Hannon said he has had an excellent working relationship with Iannucci on a number of economic development efforts.

"He's always been supportive of all our projects in Baltimore County," Hannon said.

Schaefer, now state comptroller, said he has been consistently impressed with Iannucci's abilities.

"He's dedicated, he's loyal, he's smart, and I think Jim Smith made a wonderful appointment," Schaefer said. "Outside of that, I don't think he's any good," he joked about Iannucci.

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