Shared Vision for NOVA’s Economic Vitality

Economic development directors from Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties, and the City of Alexandria, shared the stage on May 27, 2021 for a glimpse into the future of Northern Virginia.  They presented their perspectives on each of their locality's vision as well as how they are all working together regionally.  Nearly 120 attendees were on hand to listen as Victor Hoskins (FCEDA), Buddy Rizer (Loudoun County), Christina Winn (PWC) and Stephanie Landrumn (AEDP) shared news of ongoing and proposed development and plans for future growth in their respective localities. 

The four speakers in attendance are all part of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, a regional partnership created to ensure economic growth and vitality in our region. They displayed a camaraderie and common vision that clearly allows them to work well together on regional initiatives while also ensuring the best of success for their localites to develop and position themselves to move forward into the future. As one example, Victor highlighted some of the ongoing regional initiatives that include attracting and retaining top talent, helping small and diverse businesses to thrive in our region, and collaborating regionally to ensure job growth acceleration, increasing office leases and a solidified commercial base.  

It was also striking how each agency is using innovative ways to bring business into its locality. Alexandria has employed an Industrial Development Authority (IDA) as well as a Small Business Development Center. Christina spoke of Prince William County's use of Small Area Plans and Intergovernmental Support Agreements (IGSA) as methods to enhance the county's development opportunities.  

Everyone thinks of Loudoun County as our region's top destination for data centers, but Prince William County is also becoming a hub as the County looks to transition from a mostly agricultural/suburban community to “urban lite” town centers that allow for close proximity to employment hubs and robust transportation corridors such as I-95 and I-66. Meanwhile, there are other initiatives on the rise in Loudoun County with several urban policy areas that are sprouting up in anticipation of the Silver Line opening in 2022. Buddy shared details of Rivana at Innovation Station, Horsepen Park and Boulder Ridge developments. The ripples of the Amazon HQ2 are felt throughout the region, evident in Stephanie's presentation that included much new development in and around the National Landing area, spurred by the addition of Virginia Tech's Northern Virginia Innovation Campus. Another theme was the repurposing traditional malls like Landmark in the City of Alexandria and Dulles Town Center in Loudoun County. 

While the pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty over the last year and a half, each of our panelists had many positive developments to share and much optimism for the continued growth and vitality of the region. It's clear that our leaders are working in tandem to make the region a better place to live, work, and play!

This event was orchestrated by the ACEC/MW Virginia Municipal Committee.  If you work for an ACEC/MW member firm and are interested in ongoing collaboration with Northern Virginia localities, I highly encourage you to get involved in our committee.

Erin Donovan is Director of Engineering at T3 Design, a woman-owned engineering consulting firm located in Fairfax, Virginia. Erin earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and a M.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. Erin is responsible for managing a staff of engineers with a transportation business practice that includes Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Erin has been active in many professional organizations including holding leadership roles in ASCE and TRB as well as WTS-DC. Erin is an ACEC/MW member and currently serves as Chair of the Virginia Municipal Committee.


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