EDA director receives award

Patrick Barker

The executive director of the Frederick County Economic Development Authority was selected for an award in economic development, recognizing young talent in the profession.

Patrick Barker, 39, was selected as a winner of the “40 Under 40” award out of a pool of 157 candidates across the country by a five-member committee managed by Development Counselors International, an economic development and tourism marketing firm serving 400 cities, regions, states and countries since 1960.

Barker was the only person from Virginia to receive the award.

Barker said he is “humbled” to receive the award.

“It’s an honor for someone to think well about me enough to put my name into the running,” Barker said. “It’s an honor to get the award, but I always tell people it’s an honor working for this community because it’s a supremely great community full of supremely great people.”

Originally from Oklahoma, Barker received a bachelor’s degree in regional planning from Salisbury State University and a master’s degree in regional planning from University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Before joining the EDA in 1999, Barker worked for the State Office of Planning in Maryland.

Barker said while his background in planning touched on economic development from time to time, the EDA was his “first major venture into economic development.”

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to have some of the best in class mentors all along the way, from undergraduate to grad school and my profession outside of school,” Barker said. “It’s great to invoke upon their experience and learn more to do the job.”

Barker added, “I’m a constant learner, so it’s a process that continues. But I believe everything starts at home with your parents and the foundation they provide.”

Since becoming director in 2002, Barker has facilitated nearly $1 billion in capital investment and almost 5,000 jobs for Frederick County. Barker said he is happy with the area’s “top level of performance year in and year out.”

“The large job numbers and capital investment numbers are fantastic and very gratifying,” Barker said. “To me, I’m just very proud of the high level of consistent high level performance and being in the top 10 percent of economic development in the state.”

However, Barker said while receiving the award is nice, it does not mean the work stops at the Fredrick County EDA.

“If accolades and awards come with the EDA, they come with that, but the eye is on the mission of creating a business environment that will allow companies to grow and thrive and to create jobs for people to support themselves,” Barker said.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com