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About Commerce

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​How can we help?

Are you a new or existing business looking for help to retain workers or expand, or branch out internationally? Are you considering Maryland for your next location? The Maryland Department of Commerce is here to help.

As the state's primary economic development agency, we stimulate private investment and create jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing workforce training and financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department also promotes the state's many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism.

View our Annual Report to learn how Commerce assisted businesses in Fiscal Year 2021. 

​Key Services

  • Building and site location assistance
  • Finance programs, tax credits and job training grants
  • Business advocacy and consulting
  • Technology transfer
  • Foreign direct investment
  • Export consulting and marketing
  • Tradeshow and conference partnership

Our Customer Service Promise

The State of Maryland pledges to provide constituents, businesses, customers, and stakeholders with services in the following manner:
  • Friendly and Courteous:​​ We will be helpful and supportive and have a positive attitude and passion for what we do.
  • Timely and Responsive: We will be proactive, take initiative, and will try to anticipate your needs.
  • Accurate and Consistent: We will always aim for 100% accuracy, and be consistent in how we interpret and implement state policies and procedures.
  • Accessible and Convenient: We will continue to simplify and improve access to information and resources.
  • Truthful and Transparent: We will advance a culture of honesty, clarity, and trust.

Click here to complete a three-question customer experience survey. For more information on the State of Maryland's customer service program​, or to submit a suggestion, ​please visit​.​

How we're organized


Commerce Secretary R. Michael Gill

Commerce Secretary R. Michael Gill brings a wealth of knowledge to the Department from his years of experience working in the government and in the private sector. He previously served as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce from 2015-2019. View Secretary Gill's bio here.

One of 20 agencies within Maryland's Executive Branch, the agency is ​structured into three divisions:

  • Administration and Technology
  • Business and Industry Sector Development
  • Marketing, Tourism & the Arts

The Agency also has 13 public boards and commissions that provide recommendations and direction to Commerce. These boards focus on targeted groups and industry sectors such as small business, life sciences, federal facilities and manufacturing. They serve as a critical link to let the governor and our agency know the issues Maryland businesses are facing — and the best way to solve them.​

Check out this high-level organization chart​ to see how we're structured.​​

Deputy Secretary Signe Pringle 

As Deputy Secretary at Commerce, Signe Pringle works closely with the Secretary and leads a team of economic development professionals focusing on carrying out Department’s mission of attracting companies to the State, working with in-state companies to help them expand, and connecting companies with resources and partners on a local, national and international level. 

She brings with her more than 20 years of knowledge and experience of business development and management, and her most recent role was the Assistant Secretary for Commerce’s Division of Business and Industry Sector Development (BISD). She also previously served as the Director of the International Investment and Trade Office. Signe continues to oversee the functions of the BISD Division as well as provide oversight to the Division of Administration and Technology.

Administration and Technology

The agency's Division of Administration johnp.jpgand Technology, led by Chief Operating Officer John Papavasiliou, helps to keep the Agency running smoothly. Commerce support teams include Information and Technology Management, Budget and Finance, Human Resources, General Services and Contracts and Procurement.​

  • John Papavasiliou - Chief Operating Officer, Division of Administration & Technology | 410-767-6309

Business and Industry Sector Development

The Division of Business and Industry Sector Development focuses on job creation and deals primarily with business assistance, retention and attraction.

Business and Industry Sector Development team membe​​​​rs foster strong relationships with the state's economic development and industry organizations and leaders, making it easier for staff to assist you. Business development, site location, regional, small business and finance teams work collaboratively with partners at all levels to provide financial, counseling and technical assistance to businesses.​ See the quick industry contacts below for a list of industries we specialize in.

Business Development Contacts

  • Business and Industry Sector Development - Heather Gramm, Assistant Secretary | 410-598-0842
  • Business Development & Services - Jayson Knott​, Senior Director | 410-767-6978
  • Finance Programs - Andy Fish, Senior Director | 410-767-6376
  • Recruitment and Location Services - K​avita Verma​,​ Director | 443-930-3692

Office of Strategic Industries and Entrepreneurship

The Office of Strategic Industries and Entrepreneurship led by Senior Director Patrick J. Wynn works to support, attract and expand emerging industries ranging from Life Sciences, Cybersecurity and Aerospace, Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Energy, Entrepreneurship, and Education and Workforce. 

Industry Contacts

Office of Business Development - Business Retention 

The Office of Business Development - Business Retention is based geographically to assist businesses in every corner of the state. This team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals provides easy access to Commerce programs and services wherever your business is located. Our business development reps assist companies of all sizes seeking to expand their markets, their workforce or physical expansions within the state. They can also assist with a broad range of business needs, from identifying sources of funding, customer/supplier connections and networking, to accessing Commerce programs and resources, workforce and technical resources.

Contact a Maryland Commerce business development representative in your area:

Need another State Agency in your area? Check out the statewide regional resources team listed on the Maryland Business Express.

Office of International Investment​ & Trade

​​​The Office of International Investment & Trade provides support to Maryland companies planning to enter new foreign markets or advance export sales. Commerce's International Team also assists foreign companies seeking to establish a U.S. or North American presence in Maryland.​

Regional Manager Contacts

​Office of Military and Federal Affairs

​The Office of Military and Federal Affairs, led by Senior Director Lisa Swoboda, develops business relationships between U.S. military bases, federal laboratories and private companies in Maryland to help create and retain jobs. The team also helps businesses diversify to reduce their dependence on the federal government.​

​Marketing, Tourism & the Arts

Tom Riford photoThe Division of Marketing, Tourism & the Arts — led by Assistant Secretary Tom Riford (right) — serves as the voice of the Maryland Open for Business campaign, communicating the state's competitive business advantages, assets and quality of life.

Maryland businesses have a lot of great stories to tell, so we take those successful stories and share them through our many channels, using digital marketing, media relations, publications, advertising and research to market Maryland's business community. The team also plans events and tradeshows and works closely with our business development team to promote Maryland's key strengths.

​​The division is committed to giving you the insight, resources, publications and online tools that you need to grow your business in Maryland. Stay on top of state business news and information by subscribing to the MDBizNews blog and the Bu​siness Pulse​ monthly email newsletter.

Marketing & Communications Contacts

Office of Tourism & Film

The Office of Tourism & Film, led by Managing Director Liz Fitzsimmons, promotes Maryland's quality of life and all the fun stuff that Maryland offers in order to attract, create and retain jobs in the tourism and film industries.

Tourism and Film Contacts

Maryland State Arts Council

The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), led by Interim Executive Director Steven Skerritt-Davis supports artists and arts organizations looking for technical and financial assistance and incentives. For over 40 years, MSAC works daily to build an even stronger creative community across the state.