by Lisa Tome
If Chris Moyer were grading himself, he'd give himself a solid "B" for his first year as Cecil's Director of Economic Development.
"Cecil County's economy grew. The number of jobs and square feet (developed). We've been extremely successful as a team. I'm learning the community, cutting my teeth. That takes time to do," said Moyer.
Amazon, which opened in September, brought numerous jobs to the county.
In November they announced that 400 more jobs have been created. "Amazon is going gangbusters,” Moyer said. “They've been overwhelmed by the response. If you drive in their parking lot, it's like a casino. There are cars from New Jersey, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Those cars belong to the growing workforce.”
And in the shadow of Amazon, literally, is the Truaire, another new distribution center in Principio. And nearby is Lidl, with its grocery distribution center along Route 40 at Belvidere Road. That business was planning to come before Moyer arrived.
Medline will be bringing 450 jobs. "I hate to see it leave Harford County but we built a great relationship with Medline. We talked a lot about work force, utilities, lay of the land," said Moyer. "We knew they were coming and they waited so long that it built some doubts."
Medline moved forward despite the wait. Now they bought the land and are building their own building. The land they acquired allows for expansion.
Fortress Steel is an important business for Cecil County according to Moyer.
The manufacturing company, which relocating to Cecil from Delaware, will offer manufacturing jobs,
"Going forward, we need to diversify the jobs, not turning anyone away, but figure out how to pull other jobs in,” said Moyer. He said the county won't neglect professional services jobs which will support existing businesses such as Union Hospital, Perry Point, Ikea, and others. "The E in OED is economic,” Moyer said. “We need to serve the entire economy. He said that the newly renamed Cecil Catalyst Fund will help small businesses.
Moyer also has high hopes for 2018. He said the county is currently in talks with a half dozen business prospects and he said that two will be signing on "quite soon." He said other companies, yet to be announced are coming. A sure thing is that Orbital ATK will become Northrop Grumman. Moyer said having a Northrop Grumman sign along Route 40 will be prestigious. "That's a great addition. That will be a great logo sitting on Route 40," he said.
Cecil's Economic Development is also about to get branded. Moyer said later this spring, Cecil's brand will be rolled out and then more marketing will begin. "In the spring we'll build ads in a smart way to reach decision makers and get Cecil out there as an option," he said.
Moyer said that upcoming infrastructure projects will also make Cecil more attractive to business. Among those projects are wastewater at Bainbridge, natural gas at Principio, and wastewater along Route 40. In February a Broadband pilot project is forthcoming.
"We're going to be bigger, faster, better in 2018. We had a hell of a 2017 and we want more. The foot is still on the accelerator," added Moyer.