Tammi Thomas Interviews Colin Tarbert, President and CEO at The Baltimore Development Corporation

Colin Tarbert is the President and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), which serves as the economic development agency for Baltimore City. It is responsible for growing the city by retaining and attracting businesses, expanding job opportunities for city residents, and increasing investment in city neighborhoods.

Under his leadership, Tarbert recently championed the $250 public-private partnership to renovate the CFG Bank Arena and redevelopment of the historic Lexington Market. He also led the economic recovery post-pandemic with the disbursement of approximately $30 million in aid to small businesses.

Prior to his BDC appointment, Tarbert served in various leadership roles for nearly a decade at the Mayor’s Office of Baltimore City during three administrations, including the roles of Deputy Chief of Strategic Alliances and Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development.
In addition, Tarbert is active on numerous civic and non-profit boards, including chair of the Baltimore Hotel Corporation, chair of the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation and a member of the boards of the Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund and East Baltimore Development Inc. In 2013, Tarbert was named as a 40 under 40 honoree by the Baltimore Business Journal. He earned his Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) credential from the International Economic Development Council in 2024.

Previous to the role of President & CEO and his tenure in the Mayor’s Office, Tarbert was a Senior Economic Development Officer for the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC). He graduated with a B.S. in Architecture, summa cum laude, from the University of Maryland, where he subsequently earned his Master of Architecture degree.

A native of the Baltimore area, Tarbert lives in Baltimore City with his wife, Bonnie and their daughter.

Connect with Colin on LinkedIn

As TEDCO’s Chief Development & Marketing Officer, Tammi is primarily responsible for the overall strategic direction, leadership, execution and management of TEDCO’s marketing and fundraising strategies designed to broaden awareness of and resources for TEDCO and its various programs; this includes the development and implementation of the organization’s brand, marketing, and communications strategy.

Her leadership and knowledge are instrumental in forging relationships that will enable TEDCO to expand their reach and services, diversify resources and grow the innovation ecosystem as well as establishing TEDCO as the most recognized organization in Maryland for identifying, investing in, and growing technology-based businesses. Driven by this mission, she serves as TEDCO’s internal subject expert on media and public relations, social media, brand messaging, marketing, and special events.

Her resume includes C-suite positions as the Vice President of Strategic Management at Data Solutions & Technology Inc., a full-service technology solutions provider; and as the Director of Business Development and Marketing at the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Research Park & Business Incubator. Additionally, Tammi’s professional expertise was sought after to teach the next generation of communicators as an adjunct professor at Bowie State University and the University of Baltimore. She frequently speaks and publishes on such topics as leadership, entrepreneurship, and business development. 

Tammi has been recognized by her industry peers for excellence in communication and marketing. She has received the Maryland Economic Development Association’s Marketing award for TEDCO’s Entrepreneur Expo (2020), the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland’s 2017 Cybersecurity Industry Resource Award, the AMA Baltimore’s MX Award for Best Print Advertisement Campaign of the Year (2022 and 2023), was named one of The Daily Record’s Top 100 Women in Maryland (2023), and most recently received a Distinguished Women Award from the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland (2024). She graduated from Leadership Maryland’s Class of 2018, completing the eight-month hands-on learning program focused on the State’s most vital social, economic and environmental issues. 

She serves on the World Trade Center Institute’s CEO Council, Maryland Energy Innovation Institute Investment Committee, the Maryland Momentum Fund Advisory Board and MEDA Board of Directors, where she is currently serving as Vice President.

Tammi earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Alabama State University and an MBA from the University of Baltimore.

Connect with Tammi on LinkedIn

Interview Questions:

Q1. Professional Journey: Colin, can you share a bit about your professional journey that led you to your current role at the Baltimore Development Corporation?

Q2. CEcD Designation: Congratulations on your recent CEcD designation. Could you explain what this certification entails and why it is important in the field of economic development?

Q3. Impact on Work: How has obtaining this certification influenced your approach or strategy at BDC?

Q4. Unique Challenges: Baltimore is a city with unique economic and social dynamics. What specific challenges and wonderful opportunities do you face here compared to other cities?

Q5. Collaboration and Partnerships: Economic development often involves multiple stakeholders. How do you foster collaboration between local government, businesses, higher education, and communities?

Q6. Measuring Success: How do you measure the success of your economic development initiatives? Are there any key metrics or outcomes you focus on?

Q7. Future Vision: Looking forward, what are some of the major goals or projects you aim to achieve in the next few years in Baltimore?

Q8. Lessons Learned: What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned in your role that might benefit other cities looking to revitalize their economies?

Q9. Advice for Aspiring CEcDs: What advice would you give to professionals who are considering pursuing the CEcD designation?

Q10. Personal Motivation: What personally motivates you to work in economic development, especially in a vibrant city like Baltimore?

The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) is the economic development agency for the City of Baltimore. Our mission is to grow the city’s economy in an inclusive manner by retaining, expanding, and attracting businesses and promoting investment, thereby increasing career opportunities for residents.

Edwin Warfield, CEO of citybiz.co, conducts CEO Interviews.

If you’re interested in a citybiz CEO Interview, please contact
Edwin Warfield – edwin.warfield@citybizlist.com