County Executive Glassman Merges Departments to Create Harford County Office of Community and Economic Development




Leonard Parrish Named Director


County Executive Barry Glassman issued an executive order today consolidating two county departments to create the Harford County Office of Community and Economic Development. The new office will improve efficiencies and strengthen opportunities for business development and community stability with a focus on jobs, transportation, and housing.  Effective immediately, Leonard Parrish, Harford County’s director of Housing and Community Development will become acting director of the new office, which merges his department with the county’s Office of Economic Development.


Before joining the Glassman administration, Mr. Parrish began as a teenager learning various aspects of his father’s civil engineering business. He has more than 15 years of professional experience in real estate, land acquisitions, and property management throughout the mid-Atlantic region. He once operated an independent consulting company specializing in construction management and site location services. He is a licensed Maryland Real Estate Broker. Additionally he has extensive public sector experience managing grants related to workforce development, housing, and community development. Mr. Parrish earned a Bachelor of Science degree in pre-law from Towson University and a Master of Science degree in land development from Johns Hopkins University.


The Cabinet position of director of economic development will be eliminated.  Karen Holt, who was serving as director, will become the county’s federal installation administrator. Prior to her role in the Glassman administration, Ms. Holt was the regional manager for Harford County’s Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor, a Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment growth initiative for Base Realignment and Closure. In this new position, she will reinforce the county’s relationship with Aberdeen Proving Ground and related contractors, identify tech transfer opportunities, and manage the county’s response to federal actions including future rounds of BRAC.


The reorganization will also eliminate one vacant, unfunded deputy director position in the former Department of Housing and Community Development, and one administrative support position.  All other roles will utilize existing staff.


Office locations for the existing departments will be maintained with expanded services to reflect their combined functions.  Economic development services will now be available in Bel Air, along with housing and community development, at 15 South Main Street. Conversely, housing and community development services will join economic development on the Route 40 corridor at 2021 D Pulaski Highway in Havre de Grace.


“Business development and strong communities work hand in hand in our economy,” County Executive Barry Glassman said. “The combined Office of Community and Economic Development will facilitate this work and promote investment in Harford County to enhance opportunities and quality of life for all.”


In accordance with the county charter, Mr. Parrish will serve in an acting capacity until his appointment is confirmed by the Harford County Council.


The mission of the Office of Community and Economic Development is to build strong communities, industries, and markets in the County and provide opportunities for all County residents. The Office seeks to facilitate business investment, entrepreneurial development, housing initiatives, and job creation to foster a diverse economy and expand the local tax base, enhancing quality of life for those who live, work, play, learn, invest, and stay in Harford County. For more information, please visit the county website

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