Georgette “Gigi” Godwin is president and chief executive of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. David Harrington is president and chief executive of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce.
The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and the Prince George's County Chamber of Commerce support moving the FBI headquarters to Prince George's.
The move makes good business sense for the General Services Administration, the agency in charge of managing the development of a new location. The physical assets are in place — buildable space in a secure setting with close proximity to transit. The intangible asset of a highly talented workforce is where Maryland’s true strength lies.
The GSA has narrowed the list of cities under consideration to Landover and Greenbelt in Maryland and Springfield, Va.
Maryland continues to invest in education from prekindergarten programs through community colleges and the world-renowned University of Maryland system. According to Wallace Loh, president of the University of Maryland, the university is one of the country’s main contributors of criminology, terrorism, computer forensics and foreign-language graduates to the FBI. Other agencies can attest to the benefit of having a critical mass of qualified people able to meet the demands of a changing world.
In addition to developing a workforce that is ready for 21st-century challenges, Maryland boasts a quality of life that is sought after by employees thanks to our parks, transportation infrastructure and other benefits that make our region desirable. This is important in ensuring the ability to recruit the best and brightest to our federal agencies to address the most pressing challenges in our society.
Maryland is home to more than 20 federal-agency headquarters, many of which are located in Montgomery County. NASA’s Goddard Space Center, located in Greenbelt, has had a long and mutually beneficial presence in Prince George’s County. Our chambers recognize these valuable strategic assets and have forged important partnerships to connect U.S. government agencies with the private sector and with one another. This helps the government meet its goal of contracting with small businesses.
Government contracting is an important part of our local and regional economies. The best example of our collaborations is seen each year at Montgomery County’s procurement conference held at the Universities at Shady Grove. Federal, state and local agencies are represented as small-business owners make connections to grow their businesses and contribute to a prosperous economy. A new FBI headquarters in Maryland would foster even more interactions that would help all agencies achieve their goals.
There is palpable excitement in Maryland with new activity centers from National Harbor to the recently approved White Oak Science Gateway in Eastern Montgomery County. Local, state and federal leaders are joining forces to coordinate and collaborate to promote and support the economic development initiatives that benefit the entire region. The time is right for the FBI to relocate, and Prince George’s County offers the best opportunity for GSA to leverage the strategic assets Maryland has to offer.