Maryland Lt.-Gov. recruiting Israeli hi-tech companies to his state

Rutherford presented at Cybertech and then he and his team met with several promising Israeli companies

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford at CyberTech (photo credit: Courtesy)
Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford at CyberTech
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will leave Israel on Sunday after spending several days promoting his state’s health and cyber industries in the Jewish state.
“I am trying to encourage those international companies, and particularly Israeli companies and entrepreneurs looking to enter the US market, that Maryland is the place to be,” Rutherford told The Jerusalem Post.
The Republican lieutenant governor was in the country as the head of a delegation of state employees and Maryland-based businesses. The group first traveled to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and then came to Israel to take part in Cybertech Tel Aviv 2020, which ran from January 28 to 30.
His visit to Israel was arranged by the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC). Rutherford was accompanied by four state employees.
The lieutenant governor said that Israel and Maryland have some long-standing business relationships, including for example that the headquarters of the Israeli-owned defense manufacturer ELTA is in the state. He said that as defense technologies increasingly shift toward cybersecurity, there are additional opportunities for collaboration.
Parts of Maryland sit minutes from Washington and the state is heavily engaged with the federal government. Fort George G. Meade army base, which provides services to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as to several federal agencies including the National Security Agency (NSA), is situated in Annapolis.
The NSA, United States Cyber Command and National Institute of Standards and Technology are all in Maryland, too. Add that to the state’s 16 universities, many of which have been certified as National Center of Academic Excellence in the realm of cybersecurity, and Rutherford said the state becomes an ideal landing spot for an Israeli defense company looking to enter the US marketplace.
“Out State Department of Commerce can help in terms of any incentives that could be provided,” Rutherford explained. “And MIDC does a lot of hand-holding through the process, making connections to the people at the state and county levels, and just helping them deal with the strange culture of America and Maryland in particular.”
Rutherford presented at Cybertech and then he and his team met with several promising Israeli companies in the cyber realm and in biotech, where Maryland, according to Rutherford, is equally dominant.
One company in particular that he said he feels could make the move to Maryland within the next two years is Orgenesis, which according to its website, “developed a unique, proprietary technology platform that transforms the patient’s own liver cell into a fully functional and physiologically glucose-responsive insulin-producing cell, designed to provide long-term insulin independence.”
Rutherford said they are working on a potential alignment between Orgenesis and Johns Hopkins University, in which the company and the school and its accompanying medical facility could work together to make Orgenesis’s breakthrough technology more affordable “so we can deal with cancer patients and get them treatment and cured at 10% of the cost of what it is today,” Rutherford said. “This looks very promising.”
Rutherford said he does not foresee a quick return to the Holy Land because of budgetary reasons, but MIDC’s CEO Barry Bogage said he will help arrange visits by some of the Israeli companies to Maryland.
“We could host them and show them what have to offer,” Bogage said, noting that he has arranged dozens of these missions in the past, most of which eventually result in collaboration or some other kind of deal, if not a physical move to Maryland.
The Maryland government is considered pro-Israel. In 2017, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order prohibiting all executive branch agencies from entering contracts or conducting official state business with any entity unless they certify that they will not engage in a boycott of Israel during the duration of the contract.
The governor led a mission to Israel in 2016.