Thompson is moved up to deputy secretary at DBED

Second-in-command to Melissaratos

February 25, 2003|By Andrea K. Walker | Andrea K. Walker,SUN STAFF

A veteran of the Department of Business and Economic Development has been appointed to serve as the agency's deputy secretary, the governor's office announced yesterday.

Vernon Thompson, DBED assistant secretary for eight years, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department and its 362 employees.

He will be second-in-command to DBED Secretary Aris Melissaratos.

"His knowledge of the Maryland business community, combined with his comprehensive knowledge of the department and his programs will serve him well as he works to ensure that the economy continues to grow and bring high-quality jobs to Maryland," said Melissaratos, a former top Westinghouse Electric Corp. executive who became DBED chief last month.

Thompson said yesterday that the department faces new obstacles with the state's budget deficit.

"The challenge comes in how to make things happen with reduced money and how to improve the efficiency of the department in many different ways," he said.

During his tenure at DBED, Thompson most recently served as assistant secretary of DBED's division of regional development.

In that position, he was responsible for business development and retention within the state.

To strengthen the department's relationship with local jurisdictions and organizations, Thompson set up five regional offices.

He also established the Governor's Office of Business Advocacy and the Office of Military Affairs and Federal Facilities.

"Under his tenure, the department has strengthened its business development and retention efforts and initiated a number of programs and partnerships with the Maryland business and educational communities to support existing Maryland businesses," Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said in a statement.

Thompson said that in his new position he wants to continue to build relations with economic development agencies, colleges and associations throughout the state.

"More fundamentally, the internal workings of the department need to be streamlined and updated," he said.

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