Richard G. Griffin, director, Frederick Department of Economic Development
1. What does your office do?
We are advocates for the 3,500 businesses and 49,000 employees who call Frederick home. We focus on retaining them and helping them expand. This means working on permitting, workforce, development policies and regulations, infrastructure and business incentives. Recruiting new businesses is also an important part of our strategy and requires that we engage with companies regionally and internationally.
2. What is your department's biggest challenge?
National economics aside, the biggest challenge is infrastructure capacity and cost. Utilities are difficult for some businesses, and transportation is equally challenging. That said, we know that most communities in our region face these issues. Frederick is well positioned to deliver talented employees and top-notch buildings as the economy continues to improve.
3. How do you promote Frederick to businesses?
Frederick is a unique community with an enviable quality of life. Once a business executive visits Frederick, we know that our chances of landing that company and keeping it here is high. We use our website at www.businessinfrederick.com, along with social media, advertising and trade shows to market Frederick.
4. What is the biggest company you've landed?
More than 97 percent of Frederick's businesses are small, entrepreneurial shops. We are fortunate to have larger companies like MedImmune, US Silica, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Wegmans, Charles River Labs and others. Frederick's hi-tech business incubator has churned out over 200 jobs and dozens of businesses including Akonni Biosystems, WGS, Widearea Systems and Imagillin Technologies. All companies play a part in the Frederick economic ecosystem.
5. How did you get involved in economic development?
I spent many years in city and regional planning in Greenville, S.C., Seattle, Frederick, and Leesburg. That evolved into becoming involved in urban revitalization as director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership and finally into my role at the City of Frederick as director of economic development for the past 10 years.