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From Daycare To DNA Sequencers: Alumnus Sees A Bright Future For PIC MC

The Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology, or PIC MC, has been making strides in bringing jobs to Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus. Last year, it became the first community college in Maryland, and the first location in Montgomery County, to be designated a Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone. Now, Robert Scheer ’76 and his team of commercial real estate professionals are working on attracting businesses to invest.

Rendering of the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology

Scheer, founder of Scheer Partners, is confident in the marketing prospects of PIC MC, Montgomery College’s integrated academic, business, and research campus.

“We think the College has much to offer prospective companies that would be located at this facility by way of association with faculty positions, developing training programs, and using shared infrastructure that the College already has,” he says. “From daycare to DNA sequencers, there is just a lot of opportunity for a company to do and get things they couldn’t get and do anywhere else in the region.”

The College gave me an opportunity. I think we are going to give a lot of kids an opportunity to further their careers through this project

He credits academics, government and the private sector with the growth of the region’s biotechnology sector. “That combination is the engine that has driven this area. It was political will together with the university systems and the NIH, coupled with the private sector that has been the great sauce that has made our biotech ecosystem thrive here.”

Matthew Brady, the broker working with PIC MC on behalf of Scheer Partners, said during an event at the Germantown Campus early last month that the industry is growing exponentially in the county.

“As the market matures, it begs for more diverse offerings,” he said during The I-270 Life Sciences and Biotech Corridor event back in December, hosted by PIC MC and sponsored by Bisnow. Talent is an essential component, Brady said, but so is real estate: “This partnership with MC is a fantastic opportunity because the cost to build a facility is huge. To have those opportunities to drive these forward is not insignificant.”

Benjamin H. Wu, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and a former Montgomery College Trustee, agrees. “The promise of Montgomery College’s Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology for the county is tremendous,” Wu said. “As a RISE Zone and Opportunity Zone site, PIC MC has the potential to link academia with private sector innovation for research and jobs. I am pleased that alumnus Robert Scheer is playing such an integral part in developing this important project for the college and the county.”

Matthew Brady (second from left), the broker working with PIC MC on behalf of Scheer Partners, at the Bisnow event at the Germantown Campus

Scheer points to high paying jobs in biotech in Montgomery County and says the area has a distinct competitive advantage, as it outperforms every other jurisdiction in the region when biotech is involved, including the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County, and Northern Virginia.

His own history with MC as an alumnus followed by two of his four daughters coming to the College, one of which became a part-time faculty member, makes the project more meaningful to him. “I guess on some level we see this as an opportunity to give back, an opportunity for the I-270 corridor to continue to grow, an opportunity to train young people in probably the most dynamic industry in the country now, which is biotechnology,” he said. “The College gave me an opportunity. I think we are going to give a lot of kids an opportunity to further their careers through this project.”

For additional information on PIC MC, please contact Martha Schoonmaker, Executive Director, martha.schoonmaker@montgomerycollege.edu

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