Welcome . . .
We’re glad that you are visiting our virtual center for citizens who are working together to make our area a better place to live and work. This site provides an area for information about the civic affairs of our eight-county Mid-Delmarva area.
Consider this center as your headquarters for background and information about our area including visioning, information, and “white paper” reports on area issues as well as public meeting schedules and agendas, civic information and project news.
Another section of this virtual center posts community issues and related information, including the results of periodic community surveys on key civic issues. A group of about 50 citizens have been systematically chosen from each of the eight counties to partipate in online surveys and those result summaries are posted on the Community Issues page.
The Civic Opportunities page shows you how to become positively involved by volunteering to serve on a number of committees, task forces, commissions, etc. through county and municipal governments and the school boards. Remember, democracy is NOT a spectator sport. It is government by the people. You are needed!
If you have questions or comments, please contact us via e-mail through the several links found throughout this website.
Thanks for participating in making our communities better!
Where is the Mid-Delmarva area?
We’re just two hours from Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Norfolk on America’s Eastern Seaboard, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. The Delmarva Peninsula is split among the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.
Who is the Greater Salisbury Committee?
GSC is a group of business and professional leaders in Wicomico, Somerset, Worcester, Sussex, and Accomack counties who, since 1967, have been helping make our area a better place in which to live and work. To be eligible to be invited to active membership, a person must (1) be a CEO or most senior local leader in a business, and (2) have considerable quality experience in volunteering in civic and/or community improvement.
Our mission is to help identify community problems, seek to find broad and sound solutions, and then assist in resolving these problems.
GSC takes a long-term view of challenges and seeks to develop situations which assist in creating the best possible future for the area. GSC is completely self-funding through membership dues.
GSC Leaders on Comcast
Two past GSC chairs, Tom Becker (left) and Charles (Chip) Dashiell, Jr., (right) talk about programs on different Comcast Spotlight programs.
Stopping the 'brain drain'
In GSC’s mission to help identify community problems, our organization looks for areas which pose a significant threat to the future of the area and then work with others to identify and correct the underlying causes.
Example of GSC’s problem-solving
One project that GSC is working on is stopping the “brain drain” on the Mid- and Lower Delmarva Peninsula which siphons our best and brightest young people away every year. There has been a lack of educational opportunity and jobs in the higher-paying engineering and high-tech fields.
Helping create MARS
In late 2002, GSC started work on stopping the “brain drain” by looking for a concentration of high-paying technical jobs and that was at the Wallops Flight Facility just over the border into Eastern Shore Virginia. GSC started working with the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Facility to grow their operation and in 2004 an agreement between the two state governm
ents helped create the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) which was a major stepping-stone in bringing in more space launch business and related firms. Currently, the major contract there is with Orbital Sciences which is building the cargo transport to supply the International Space Station (ISS) from 2011 through at least 2015.
An early supplement to MARS was the creation of the Mid-Atlantic Institute for Space and Technology (MIST) which brought together the MARS operations with educational institutions and space firms and it is headquartered in Pocomoke City, MD. This enables cooperation between several universities, their students, and the space companies to give the students hands-on projects and actual experience in the high-tech professions. GSC is the only permanent member of their board of directors in recognition of GSC’s assistance in launching the organization. Former GSC Chair Jim Thomas served as the first chairman of the MIST board until 2009 and now remains on the MIST Board of Directors.
Need for an engineering degree program
With the demand for more high-tech graduates now on the Eastern Shore and the only university engineering programs here requiring the third and fourth years of the degree to be completed off the Shore, the process became a “giant vacuum sucking our best and brightest” away.
GSC worked with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne to quickly gain state approval for expanding their engineering program from two to four years and awarding the bachelor’s degree here. That program is designed for four engineering specialties, all of which will be a strong support for the space industry as well as the other technical industries on the Shore.
Meanwhile, so as not to put all of our “eggs in one basket,” another GSC task force started looking at the possibility of diversifying our high tech industry so that would not be dependent upon one industry segment. Efforts are being made to assist the economic development agencies in locating complementary high tech industries.
Space Coast tourism
Looking to translate the growing interest in the space launches from the Eastern Shore, GSC started in mid-2009 working with tourism directors from three states and from counties and cities from Virginia Beach north to mid-Delaware to re-brand the area as a space industry tourism area, similar to how Florida translated the Cape Canaveral/Kennedy area into Florida’s Space Coast. This multi-year project is now underway to again diversify the Eastern Shore economy.
A further outgrowth of the original challenge of stopping the “brain drain,” is helping local school districts, community colleges, and universities in using the resources of the Wallops area, including the MARS program, to make the STEM program (science, technology, engineering and math) come alive in the classrooms and develop further interest of those areas among our youngsters.
Where does the challenge of keeping our “best and brightest” on the Shore go next? We don’t know, but GSC will be working to cooperatively improve our working and living environment.