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MARYLAND BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY APPOINTS THREE TO LEADERSHIP ROLES

BALTIMORE, MD (August 5, 2015) – Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) Secretary Mike Gill has appointed three new senior staff members who will play key roles in attracting, retaining and growing businesses in the State and promoting Maryland as a great place to do business. The appointments, which are part of a larger new organization of the Department, are Allison Skipper as the Managing Director of Marketing and Communications; Greg Derwart as the Managing Director of Administration and Technology; and Steve Pennington as the Managing Director of Business and Industry Sector Development.

“We are fortunate to have attracted three very talented and experienced team members who will play an integral part in achieving our most important goal of bringing new businesses to Maryland, and helping our existing businesses grow and thrive,” said Secretary Gill. “Maryland has tremendous assets and opportunities, and I look forward to working closely with my entire team to tell our story to the world.”

In her new role, Ms. Skipper will oversee the Department’s marketing, media relations, creative services and interactive media units and lead a strategic branding and advertising campaign. Ms. Skipper previously served as the Director of Marketing and Communications for the South Carolina Department of Commerce, leading the agency’s strategic communications and marketing activities and serving as the Department’s spokeswoman. She also led the Department’s global marketing and advertising efforts and managed Palmetto Partners, the state’s public/private partnership for economic development and related “Just right” statewide branding campaign.  Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Ms. Skipper was the Public Relations Manager for the South Carolina Ports Authority. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina’s Honors College and is accredited in public relations.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the private sector and with government and nonprofit agencies, Mr. Derwart will oversee the administrative team, as well as the Department’s IT unit. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts (BOPA), where he worked on the Star-Spangled Spectacular celebration which generated $164 million in economic impact. He was also the Chief Operating Officer of the Arc of Baltimore, where he reduced turnover through emphasizing manager training and improved human resources outreach. Prior to those positions, Mr. Derwart was the Director of Administration for the Maryland Transportation Authority, as well as the Maryland State Bar Association. He has a Master’s degree from the University of Baltimore and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. A native Marylander, Mr. Derwart serves on the boards of a number of local organizations, including the University of Baltimore Foundation, the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board and the Chesapeake Human Resources Foundation.

Mr. Pennington will lead the Department’s business development efforts, working to drive Maryland’s growth in strategic industries like biohealth, cybersecurity and aerospace, boost innovation and entrepreneurship and enhance DBED’s regional development teams. He will also oversee DBED’s finance programs and tax credits. Mr. Pennington comes to the Department with extensive experience as a sales leader in the telecommunications industry. His experience ranges from start-ups to large national enterprises where he has led diverse sales teams targeting regional businesses and national accounts as well as teams focused on healthcare and public sector accounts. Throughout his more than 30-year career, Mr. Pennington led the sales and business development efforts at a number of companies, including Americom Inc., USA Mobility Inc., Bay Broadband and Sprint. Most recently, Mr. Pennington led the national business development efforts for Seattle-based start-up ATG Risk Solutions. He has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

About DBED
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit www.choosemaryland.org.

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