State lost Northrop fight but will win others

May 01, 2010

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s announcement earlier this year that it was on the hunt for a new corporate headquarters in the Washington, D.C., region presented Maryland with a rare opportunity to not only attract another Fortune 100 company to its fold, but also take a new and more aggressive approach to economic development.

Maryland leaders recognized that attracting quality firms requires a high-level, coordinated effort. Gov. Martin O'Malley and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development brought together Team Maryland, a unified, nonpartisan group that included the state's congressional leaders, state, county and legislative partners, and a CEO Workgroup that included top members of Maryland's business community to present Maryland's case to Northrop Grumman. For the past several months, Team Maryland focused on reaching out to key Northrop Grumman decision makers and board members, promoting Maryland as an outstanding corporate headquarters location because of our highly educated work force, quality K-12 and higher education system, proximity to many of the nation's top federal and military facilities and outstanding quality of life.

I was proud to lead the CEO Workgroup, not only because I believe in supporting the state's economic development efforts, but also because I believe the Team Maryland approach should be standard operating procedure for all the state's business attraction and retention efforts, and not just something reserved for Fortune 100 companies.

In my own experience as the former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp., nearly 20 years ago we had to make a decision to either keep the company's corporate headquarters in Maryland or move to California. Both states had a highly skilled work force and access to many of our suppliers.

While it was widely known that a move to California was an option, we were not approached by any Maryland representative to see if there was anything they could do to keep the firm here. We decided to remain in Maryland, largely due to California's challenging business policies. But had the latter not been the case, it was quite possible that the company would have been moved there or elsewhere.

Norman R. Augustine

The writer is the retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp.

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