Area development veteran is named to key post at DBED

Hannon will oversee 55 as assistant secretary

March 04, 2003|By Andrea K. Walker | Andrea K. Walker,SUN STAFF

The state Department of Business and Economic Development has tapped a longtime Baltimore area development official to serve as its assistant secretary for regional development.

Robert Hannon will be responsible for business development and retention throughout the state. He will also be in charge of strengthening the state's relationship with local jurisdictions.

Hannon will oversee 55 employees who work in five regional offices and the department's Baltimore headquarters.

DBED officials said Hannon, who was most recently executive director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic Development, brings a wide range of development experience to his new position.

Before his work in Baltimore County, Hannon was executive vice president of the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's economic development arm. He also served as senior vice president of MacKenzie and Associates, a private real estate and development firm.

"He's an economic development professional with a great track record," said DBED Secretary Aris Melissaratos. "He was available and he was local. I had known of his work because Baltimore County has done well over the last few years."

During Hannon's eight-year tenure, Baltimore County gained more than 38,000 jobs by following a strategy to attract and retain large employers.

Hannon said he has no changes in mind yet, but instead wants to continue to "drive the department forward."

He said his work has been mostly in the Baltimore area and he looks forward to expanding to other parts of the state.

"The opportunity to move up to the state level is a challenging thought," Hannon said yesterday. "The opportunity to extend myself to the southern region, the Eastern Shore and working with those jurisdictions to take on the challenges they face was very appealing."

Kathleen T. Snyder, president and chief executive officer of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, said Hannon works well with people and has a productive style. She said his experience will help DBED build its regional approach, which will improve the state's economic health.

"I think it's quite a coup for DBED to get somebody of that kind of caliber," Snyder said.

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