STEVENSVILLE — In a visit to Kent Island’s TechOps Specialty Vehicles Thursday, July 11, Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly M. Schulz toured the 18,000 square-foot work area and touted the importance of business development in the county.

During her visit, she watched as employees outfitted speciality vehicles with mission-specific technology for first responders and law enforcement agencies from across the area.

“Just like every region of the state, there are different areas that have differing types of business diversification,” said Schulz. “The Eastern Shore certainly has its set of industry needs not dissimilar for other rural areas in the state. When we look at the ecosystem of businesses, we want similar types of businesses for a chance of industry collaboration.”

With much of the workforce for TechOps Specialty Vehicles coming from Queen Anne’s County, Schulz also said that economic and workforce development go hand-in-hand. According to Schulz, “direct communication” with the public school system and community colleges ensures a consistent pipeline of employees.

The mission of the Maryland Department of Commerce is to grow, expand, retain and attract businesses internally and from outside the state for domestic and international commerce.

Jon Brianas, president of TechOps Specialty Vehicles, knows how support for the state can be an asset to sustaining market sectors like manufacturing.

“This company is a resource that’s in Maryland and can serve many metropolitan areas and is a hidden gem,” Brianas said. “If folks know we’re here, then there’s a number of local agencies that can benefit from us. State recognition is a huge step in that direction. Being in this county gives us a source of people familiar with mobile power systems.”

Given the company’s clientele, the pursuit of overall quality and functionality takes on a new meaning.

Brianas said that the available workforce clearly cares about the finished products and the vehicles the end users receive.

Also on hand for the tour were County Commissioners Jack Wilson and Chris Corchiarino, Queen Anne’s County Economic Development manager Jean Fabi, and County Administrator Todd Mohn.

Wilson, who has long been a proponent of career training partnerships between the county, Board of Education, and area businesses, was enthused by the use of a largely county-based workforce.

“What you see, especially in this business park, is niche businesses which is what this county will draw,” said Wilson. “Many people settle here because of the way of life and that is a major selling point. These are high paying jobs and very productive, and it’s good to have businesses that aren’t everywhere else. Where this company get its employees speaks to where we need to get in the future.”

Wilson also said a local workforce bolsters other economic areas ranging from the housing to leisure industries and ensures a stable tax base.

Following the tour, Schulz joined county officials for a luncheon where she heard about the challenges of bringing together community partners to prepare for emerging and thriving Queen Anne’s County industries.

More information on TechOps Specialty Vehicles is available at www.techop ssv.com.

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