Baker Lauded as 'Most Innovative Executive'

WI Staff | 5/23/2012, 12:16 p.m.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III was recently awarded the 2012 "Most Innovative Executive of the Year for Minority Business" by the Maryland/Washington Minority Contractors Association (MWMCA) during their Ninth Annual 2012 Spring Business Showcase Expo at Martin's West in Baltimore. County Executive Baker received the award for his innovative approach to attracting and retaining minority businesses in Prince George's County. He proudly accepted the award on behalf of the administration, as well as the work of the Prince George's County Minority Business Development Division (MBDD) and the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

"I want to thank the Maryland/Washington Minority Contractors Association for this incredible honor," said Baker. "Since taking office, my administration has focused on being innovative and aggressive in our economic development pursuits. Minority contracting is an important industry to the economy of the state and region, but their strength and ability to compete is critical to the Prince George's economy. My administration will continue to strive for innovation and improvement of services to the minority business community so they may grow, create jobs, and remain competitive."

Michael A. Schlegel, President of Bozzuto Construction Company in Greenbelt, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and former World Champion Boxer "Sugar" Ray C. Leonard, who is Chairman of LandMatters, LLC, were also among the 22 honorees.

Since taking office in December 2010, the Baker administration has implemented several innovative programs and system improvements that serve the minority business community. The administration proposed and succeeded in the passage of legislation to establish a $50 million Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Fund that is designed to spur minority business opportunities. Furthermore, the administration has addressed and continues to reform the permitting process as well as created CountyStat to improve efficiency, accountability and service delivery by and within County Government.

Most recently, the County Executive launched the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI) that targets six communities geographically located within the inner beltway. This initiative takes a novel and holistic approach to improving these communities in terms of public safety, education, health care access, as well as economic development. Minority business outreach, coordination, and investment are critical components to the success of the TNI focus areas.

Since the beginning of the Baker Administration, the Prince George's County Minority Business Development Division has renewed their mission and focus to improve the five major areas that the Division is responsible for - Procurement Assistance, Business Development, Certification, Education and Training, and Advocacy. Since the beginning of the Baker Administration, MBDD has registered over 1,000 certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) within Prince George's County. On a daily basis, MBDD engages minority companies to increase the pool of MBEs as contracting sources.

Over the past 18 months, MBDD has steadfastly worked to increase their visibility and awareness in the minority business community, the community at large and among the citizens of Prince George's County. To that end, MBDD has held and participated in over 30 outreach events attracting over 2,000 MBEs. It has collaborated with members of the County Council and held these events in various Council districts to expand the participation of council members and to accommodate the small and minority business community.

Finally, County Executive Baker introduced legislation last year to add Native Americans to the definition of minority individuals in Prince George's County. In response to the new legislation, MBDD has identified over 125 certified Native American companies in the region to engage and certify within Prince George's County.

Since 2002, MWMCA has been a member organization that advocates for minority business inclusion in all public and private procurement and aligns itself with strategic corporate partners that add value to its organization. The Association constantly seeks out areas where necessary change needs to occur, then strategically develop a plan to implement it. The organization believes that all sectors in America should be open to diversity inclusion.