Former U.S. Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley was honored at the Baltimore Museum of Industry's 2010 William Donald Schaefer Industrialist of the Year during a luncheon ceremony June 10 at Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
"Do I fit the dictionary definition of an industrialist? Probably not. I made my mark in maritime," said the past chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, speaking before an overflow crowd that spilled outside the museum's main building on Baltimore's waterfront.
"I accept this award because maritime is the mother of all industry, and the proof is in Baltimore's industrial history, which this museum celebrates."
Bentley cited Baltimore's industrial bulwarks like Bethlehem Steel and the B&O Railroad as industries that owed their very existence to the Baltimore's port, which was renamed the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore in 2006.
"Ports are a magnet for industries," she said, "because they solve the logistical puzzle of how to assemble the needed parts and raw materials, transform them into a finished product, and then deliver that product to market."
As America transitions to a knowledge-based economy that prizes invention and technology, ports leverage and export these assets into the global marketplace.
"Centers of trade like the Port of Baltimore are ignitors of innovation," said Bentley, "because they facilitate the exchange of ideas" that drive product development and jobs.