Updated: Mar 29, 2020
Engage Mountain Maryland held its annual meeting for paid members at the Oakland B&O Railroad Station, Thursday, December 12. President, Mark Stutzman presented an overview of the nonprofit's work since its founding in 2015 on behalf of the organization's board members.
EMM's founding centered on the controversial fracking issue but as Stutzman pointed out, it was a symptom of a larger concern – governance and leadership.
"It's important that our elected officials take all businesses into account when making sweeping economic decisions," he said. "With tourism being our strongest economic engine, fracking could have potentially destroyed it and then the county would be at the mercy of the oil and gas industry."
Following the fracking ban that passed in the 2017 General Assembly, EMM began to focus on economic solutions that would be "compatible with existing business" according to Stutzman. One solution has been branded as Adventure Capital and was conceived of by board member and treasurer, Eric Robison.
"We're not looking to reinvent the wheel here," said Robison. "Moving businesses located in densely populated and expensive urban markets like Baltimore, D.C., and Northern Virginia to Garrett County makes sense. With a broadband connection, companies can save money and provide a more pleasant work/play environment for employees."
Member Jim Long pointed out that not all corners of Garrett County are equipped with broadband service yet. Robison confirmed that but added the industrial parks are ready to go with high-speed fiber connections that would be a great starting point. Through further discussion, everyone agreed countywide broadband should be a priority to make the county ready to accept potential businesses who may be seeking a rural location to set up shop.