The Board of Directors of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) has announced Benjamin H. Wu as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Wu, the current Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the Maryland Department of Commerce, will take the helm of Montgomery Countys public-private economic development organization starting on December 18, 2019.
An accomplished executive and internationally recognized technology policy expert, Wu brings to MCEDC a dynamic portfolio of over three decades of professional experience working directly with industry around the world and leading operations at the highest levels of our nation and state. He has a distinguished career focused on technology-led economic development, as well as a proven record of driving transformative initiatives and creating critical collaborative partnerships with industry, government, and academia throughout the country and in Maryland.
A Montgomery County native, Wu has a deep connection to both MCEDC and the County. He has sat on the MCEDC board since its inception and has supported job growth and business development in Montgomery County over the past three decades in his federal and state positions.
We are pleased to welcome Ben with his extensive Maryland economic development experience. He will strengthen ties with our partners in the state and, through his consensus building leadership style, work collaboratively with all our local and regional stakeholders to diversify Montgomery Countys economy and grow our jobs and tax base, said Robert G. Brewer, Jr., a principal with Lerch Early Brewer and the chair of the MCEDC Board of Directors.
A broad array of state and local officials welcomed the news of Wus appointment.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said, Over the past five years, Ben has been a key member of my economic development leadership team from the very start of my administrations transition to today. I want to take this opportunity to thank Ben for his distinguished service and being a leader in our states economic transformation. His efforts have helped to change Maryland for the better.
Since the Maryland Department of Commerce was first created, the Governors economic agenda has delivered record job growth and the lowest unemployment rate in over a decade. Ben has been there from the very beginning, said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. Montgomery County accounts for 25% of our states GDP so we are all vested in its economic vitality. Ben now has a terrific chance to replicate the states success in Montgomery County.
I am very excited that Ben will be joining the MCEDC team and leading our economic development efforts in Montgomery County, said County Executive Marc Elrich. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to change the business climate in the County and help us attract and retain businesses. Ben has a reputation as an innovative leader. I am confident that he will be a tremendous asset to us. I look forward to working with him as we promote Montgomery County as a great place to do business in Maryland and the Metro region.
I welcome Ben and his decades of economic development experience to this role and look forward to working closely with him and my County Council colleagues to ensure we are executing on a smart, comprehensive economic development strategy, said Councilmember Hans Riemer, Chair of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. Montgomery County has great economic strength and MCEDC has already made notable improvements that are resulting in businesses locating here. I am confident that, with Bens leadership, we will be ready to confront the challenges and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.
Gigi Godwin, President and CEO of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Marylands largest business organization, echoed the support for Wu. I have worked closely with Ben over the years and I couldnt be more pleased with his selection. Ben is a well-respected friend of the business community in Montgomery County and Maryland, said Godwin. The success of MCEDC is critical to the economic growth of our community. His credibility and significant record of accomplishments hold the promise that Ben can help bring together all crucial stakeholders to work towards a stronger economic direction for our County.
Wu welcomed the opportunity to give back to the community he calls home. I am committed to the Countys success. Not too many people get the chance to meaningfully change and shape the future of where they live and grew up. I thank the MCEDC Board for this unique opportunity, said Wu. I am also grateful to Governor Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Rutherford for being part of the team that has made Maryland Open for Business.
In the Hogan Administration, Wu led in the creation of the Maryland Department of Commerce in 2015 and helped transform the states competitiveness through employment growth and job creation to reverse previous years of business decline. He worked with the General Assembly and key stakeholders to change the states economic development structure, operations, and business-friendliness. He executed a bold Commerce strategic plan that focused on operational excellence through exceptional customer service, a more competitive business climate, advancement of innovation and entrepreneurship, and expansion of international trade.
Wu is a former U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy under President George W. Bush. He administered the nations technology and innovation strategy and exercised supervisory management over the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Wu served as the Co-Chair of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology, which led interagency coordination on national priorities with federal laboratories, including the National Institutes of Health.
Prior to joining the executive branch, Wu served as counsel for 13 years to Montgomery County Congresswoman Connie Morella and the Technology Subcommittee of the House Science Committee overseeing U.S. international competitiveness. He was the lead staff on the Speaker-appointed House Y2K Task Force and received the Harvey Wiley Medal for the legislative enactment of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters consolidation.
Wu has been active on the boards of multiple national and local Montgomery County-serving organizations. He is a past Trustee of Montgomery College and a graduate of Leadership Montgomery. His selection followed a national search conducted by Jorgenson Consulting. Wu succeeds David Petr, who left the position in September.
The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is the public-private organization, led by a Board of Directors of business executives, to grow the Countys economy through attracting, retaining, and expanding companies. Created in 2015, the MCEDC helps businesses start, grow, and relocate in Montgomery County by providing access to top talent, business and market intelligence, and prime locations. The MCEDC provides site location and business development assistance. Follow MCEDC on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
About Montgomery County
Montgomery County is the most populous county in Maryland. The County workforce has the highest percentage of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate degrees in the country. When measuring Maryland by gross domestic product (GDP), Montgomery County accounts for 25% of the states total with a GDP of more than $91.7 billion. The County ranks as the 31st largest GDP among all the counties in the nation. In the state, Montgomery County has the highest GDP per capita of $88,515 or 144% of Marylands per capita.
Robert G. Brewer, Jr.
Board Chair, MCEDC