As a longtime Howard County resident, Lawrence F. Twele said he is looking forward to working for the community he loves.
Having lived in Elkridge the past 16 years, Twele said he believes his knowledge of the community will help him in his new role as the chief executive officer of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. After serving in this role in a temporary capacity, Twele was unanimously selected by the HCEDA’s Board of Directors to become the new permanent CEO last week.
Before Twele came to HCEDA, he was the Director of the Carroll County Department of Economic Development, where he spent six years.
He recently spoke with Patch.com to talk about his goals as CEO and what kind of initiatives he’ll look to implement.
Where are some of the areas you see the county improving in business-wise? And what responsibilities do you feel the need to take on?
Howard County has enjoyed a long tradition of success. It’s a very attractive place to do business and we hope to build on that. We want to expand our efforts, particularly helping along the Route 1 corridor and the redevelopment that’s happening there. Ellicott City’s Main Street will continue to be a focus for us. We’re going to be very active in the downtown redevelopment projects. We’re going to continue our efforts with all of our communities, and also our agriculture community. We’ll continue to promote farmer’s markets on Route 40. We’re getting involved in all areas of the county.
It sounds like you have a good idea of what you want to implement, but how important is that agriculture sector that you just mentioned?
It’s very important. We’re starting to see a growing interest in folks wanting to buy locally. We’re very interested in helping to make sure our farms can be sustainable. This past year we launched an agricultural innovation grant, to help farmers diversify their business. We’re going to be announcing the second round of grantees shortly. That continues to be an important part of work here. As far as other industries, we are trying hard not to discriminate. We go from manufacturing to distribution. We have healthcare, IT, cyber security, infotech. Really, our pipeline is full with a broad array of industries to work with.
When you step in as CEO of a new job, what’s first on the agenda?
Short term, we are looking forward to building on the momentum we’ve been working on here, in terms of helping our small businesses and continuing our business outreach efforts. We’re going to be focusing on building partnerships with stakeholder organizations, Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Alliance. There are a lot of stakeholder organizations we need to build better partnerships with. Longer term, we’re looking at more strategic initiatives to enhance our business support programs.