Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and County Council President Roger Berliner on Aug. 19 announced the renaming of the Shady Grove Innovation Center in memory of the late former Montgomery County Council Member and Rockville City Mayor William E. Hanna Jr. The center, which opened in 1999, is located at 9700 Great Seneca Highway, Rockville.
“Bill Hanna pioneered the County’s investment in life sciences, directly leading to Montgomery County’s preeminent position as one of the world’s leading biotechnology centers,” said Leggett. “Renaming our first small business incubator facility after him pays tribute to his extraordinary efforts to make our County a leader in the field of biotechnology research, development and education.”
Hanna, a retired federal employee, entered local politics in the late 1960s as a member of the Rockville City Council. He went on to serve four terms as Rockville’s mayor from 1974 to 1982 when he was elected to the County Council. He served five terms on the Council until 1998, including three times as president.
In the early 1980s, Hanna worked with then-County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist, public agencies and private sector partners to create the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center, a research and industrial park devoted to biomedical and healthcare research.
“Bill Hanna made a tremendous contribution to Montgomery County as an unremitting champion of innovation, technology, and economic development,” said County Council President Roger Berliner. “Honoring him in this way could not be more fitting.”
“Bill Hanna was the greatest mayor in the history of the city of Rockville,” said former Rockville mayor Steven VanGrack. “He served as mayor when Rockville was awarded the All America City designation TWO times. His accomplishments include the creation of the Senior Citizens Center, the enhancement of the police department, the establishment of the Cultural Arts and Humanities Commissions and the Art in Public Places program and the first regular City newspaper. With the development of Research Boulevard, he began the concept of economic development in the I-270 corridor. He was a visionary as a public servant, and he saw the future.”
The Shady Grove Innovation Center is part of the county’s highly successful Business Innovation Network (BIN) incubator system. Since 1999, more than 100 companies have graduated from BIN, creating 1,700 jobs and occupying about 625,000 square feet of commercial space. With locations in Shady Grove, downtown Silver Spring, Wheaton, Rockville and Germantown, the network’s five facilities occupy more than 150,000 square feet of office and lab space, house more than 150 companies and support nearly 800 County-based jobs.
During the ceremony, Leggett and Berliner presented a proclamation to the Hanna family and unveiled new signage at the center.
For more information about the county’s Business Innovation Network, call John Korpela in the Department of Economic Development at 240-453-6348.