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Lynnette M. Jefferson Special to Soundoff! As the keynote speaker for the Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport business district's monthly meeting July 30, deemed the "Spirit of Success," Installation Commander Col. John W. Ives discussed the post and its relationship with the surrounding communities. The BWI Business Partnership, Inc., is a nonprofit economic and transportation management association. Ives welcomed the BWI Business District to seek new business opportunities at Fort Meade and to "continue raising community standards." "I want you to think about what Fort Meade means to you. What it means to your business, what it means to the community," stated Ives. Ives suggested several ideas for raising community standards. One way was by investing in the school systems. Ives mentioned the transformation of Meade Senior High School into a math and science magnet school. The installation commander also encouraged local community members to attend and sponsor special events like golf and bowling at Fort Meade. Ives also talked about events such as MeadeFest and Twilight Tattoo. "If you think of the number of retirees that work with you, why don't you come onto Fort Meade as their guest," he said. "There's nothing wrong with that." In addition, Ives spoke about the economic impact Fort Meade had on the surrounding community. "We are relevant to you by economic impact," Ives said. "Think of it in the terms that we (Fort Meade) generate $1.5 billion in federal salaries. That's not including contractors. We are one of the largest employers in central Maryland," he said. Ives talked about the Residential Community Initiative and how it would open business opportunities. He said that at least 80 percent of the work goes to contractors. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, senator for the state of Maryland, spoke about the contributions of service members and defense contractors' contributions to the United States. "The (BWI) partnership creates jobs and helps America to be secure," said Mikulski. "I just want to say this to our defense team, both in the uniform team and in the private sector. To the private sector _ thank you for creating the smartest weapons for the best military and to the greatest country in the world," said Mikulski. Mikulski thanked service members for serving their country. She sent out a salute to all service members _ active, reserve and National Guard. "They're there for us all over the world," she said. Editor's note: The writer is the noncommissioned officer-in-charge at the garrison Public Affairs Office.

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