The state of Maryland's highly publicized effort to woo computer firms away from the Silicon Valley area of California has produced its first result -- almost a year to the day after Gov. Harry Hughes led a courting delegation west.
Hughes announced that ESL Inc., a data systems technology subsidiary of TRW Inc., will move into a plant in Anne Arundel County next month.
The move is the first in what state officials hope will become a steady migration of high-technology firms to the state from the West Coast. The part of California targeted by Maryland for industrial recruitment was the Silicon Valley, an area dominated by semi-conductor companies that miniaturized and polularized computers by figuring out how to put more and more complicated functions on increasingly smaller wafers of silicon.
Last April, Hughes, state secretary for economic and community development James Roberson and a slew of business leaders went to Santa Clara, where computer companies are hard pressed by rising land and housing costs and a shortage of skilled workers.
ESL will lease a 22,000-square-foot site in a new building in the Parkway Center industrial park in Dorsey, Md. According to state officials, the facility will be ESL's East Coast center for designing and development computerized data systems.
The firm will initially employ a staff of only 20 technical employes. According to state officials, the firm expects to grow significantly in the next three years.
ESL was one of 35 Silicon Valley firms whose representatives attended a luncheon show-and-tell session about the glories of Maryland during the April expedition. It was one of more than a dozen firms that subsequently expressed interest in looking at opportunities at Maryland. Later it followed up by sending representatives to Maryland.
"We are hopeful that ESL will be the first of several high-tech manufacturers to agree with us that Maryland is the right location for their expanding operations," said Roberson.