We need more George McGowans

November 11, 2009

The week that Black & Decker announced its plans to merge with Stanley Works and move its headquarters - one of only three Fortune 500 company headquarters still left in the Baltimore metropolitan area - is the same week that one of Baltimore's most ardent fans and successful businessmen died.

George McGowan, like Brooks Robinson, was a regular guy with extraordinary skills who remained humble and grateful for his opportunities throughout his life. He was part of the community and saw his company as an integral part of the city. He guided his company, Baltimore Gas and Electric, into the future though his engineering work that developed Calvert Cliffs, and he was the company's board chair and chief executive officer from 1988 to 1992. But he never forgot the value of his co-workers or the people who relied upon his utility for their work, homes and lives.

George served on numerous civic boards, including chairing the United Way of Central Maryland, CollegeBound Foundation and the University of Maryland Board of Regents.

It is not to say that corporate leaders in Connecticut cannot be contributing members of our community in Maryland, but in reality, home is where the heart is, and we need more George McGowans to call Baltimore home.

As Baltimore tries to grow new Fortune 500 companies in the new economy, I hope that emerging corporate leaders will follow George McGowan's example of civic engagement and hometown loyalty. It will be a benefit for all of us.Benjamin L. Cardin, Baltimore

The writer, a Democrat, is Maryland's junior United States senator.

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