Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Silverman Comments on Leggett, Knapp Biotech Editorials

Steve Silverman, the County's recently hired Director of Economic Development, submitted a comment on our post "Leggett, Knapp Issue Dueling Plans for Biotech." We reprint the comment below for the benefit of our readers.


I saw your blog entry regarding the “Dueling Plans for Biotech”. You stated that County Executive Leggett’s October 9th guest editorial for the Washington Business Journal was a “tit-for-tat” to Mr. Knapp’s 10-point Life Sciences Strategy proposal. That assumption is not reality.

First of all, County Executive Leggett welcomes and encourages Mr. Knapp’s contributions to our efforts and views Mr. Knapp’s proposal as complementary to the ongoing efforts we are making in this area. Secondly, County Executive Leggett recognized the importance of the biotech industry in Montgomery County early on in his long career on the County Council, helping to grow and nurture this industry during its early development in the County. He has continued that commitment to this vital industry as County Executive.

Since assuming office, County Executive Leggett has initiated three distinct efforts to strategically plan for our community’s economic future: 1) the development of the County’s Strategic Plan for Economic Development; 2) the establishment of a Biosciences Task Force, a group chaired by David Mott (former CEO of our own home grown MedImmune), which is developing a vision and roadmap to a successful life sciences industry; and 3) a Green Economy Task Force, whose end product will be a plan to develop the green industry, and jobs, in our community. Mr. Knapp’s proposals dovetail with these ongoing efforts.

The County Executive has been successful in leading the charge to have both the Maryland BioScience Center and the Maryland Clean Energy Center establish their operations in the County. He has funded and opened the fifth business incubator in the County’s Business Innovation Center on the Germantown campus of Montgomery College, a facility which builds on the College’s biotechnology and science programs.
And under his leadership, the County has successfully advocated for an expansion of the State’s much-in-demand biotechnology tax credit program.

Just to clarify, the guest editorial to the WBJ was drafted and sent to the WBJ on September 25 – more than least two weeks before it was published and five days before Mr. Knapp’s press release. (The “mainstream media” is not as nimble as you bloggers in printing posts). So, it should not be viewed as a “tit-for-tat”. For our efforts in growing and nurturing Montgomery County’s bioscience industry to succeed we must all work together. The County Executive knows this and I’m sure Mr. Knapp does as well.

Given your interest in this, I’ve attached the County Executive’s editorial on this issue.

Steve Silverman
Montgomery County Office of Economic Development