Gillece is chair of `Economic Alliance'

He favors that short use for now-renamed GBA

November 14, 2003|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

David M. Gillece, one of the architects of the Greater Baltimore Alliance, yesterday was named chairman of the organization he helped create.

Gillece, president of commercial real estate firm Colliers Pinkard, took over leadership of the development organization the same day that the group voted to change its name to the Greater Baltimore Economic Alliance - a name he hopes will be abbreviated to the Economic Alliance rather than another jumble of letters.

"The old name told people everything except what we do," Gillece, 54, said yesterday. "By adding the term economic, we think it will eliminate some of the confusion to people not familiar with what we do. I think the assessments of the organizations have gotten everyone thinking about clarity of missions."

In May, the region's top three business development and advocacy groups - the Greater Baltimore Alliance, the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Downtown Partnership - agreed on a plan to clarify their missions after a study by an outside consultant.

The agreement called for better coordination, clear-cut goals and more accountability.

Gillece, once Baltimore's top development official, first started thinking about the public/private economic development group about 10 years ago when he ran his own consulting firm, Gillece & Assoc., and one of his clients, the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, asked him to look into the creation of such a group.

"For me to be able to go back and act as board chairman of an institution that I had a role in creating is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Gillece said yesterday. "I believe that good economic development in a metropolitan area only happens when you have a strong regional public/private effort in place. I believe passionately in the mission. When we're successful and create jobs in this community, that's a great reward."

Gillece was involved, in a review capacity, with the most recent business plan for the economic development organization, and he said he is excited about the identification of three target investment areas: life sciences, informational technology/ homeland security, and financial services.

He praised the existing and planned community assets in life sciences, including the planned biotech parks.

"This is basically the welcome mat that we're going to be selling nationally and internationally to attract investors," he said.

With the planned departure of Ioanna T. Morfessis, the organization's full-time president and chief executive, a national search is in the works, and the organization is weeks away from naming her successor, Gillece said.

The list has been narrowed to four finalists, including local and out-of-town candidates, he said.

Morfessis announced in April that she will depart at the end of the year to launch a consulting company.

She has led the region's economic development group for six years, arriving as founding president in May 1997. The regional economic development group was created in September 1993 by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council.

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