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Posted at 6:58 PM ET, 08/25/2010

Fairfax County, a magnet for private-sector jobs

By editors

By Gerald L. Gordon,

Columnist Robert McCartney is right that that a regional economy should not be based on any one industry [“Federal dollars alone can no longer fuel region’s job growth,” Metro, Aug. 22]. Seattle nearly went bankrupt in the 1970s when Boeing almost went out of business, and Houston’s economy declined in the 1980s when oil prices fell below $20 a barrel.

The Washington area is in good shape because employment centers such as Fairfax County have worked hard to attract a wide range of companies.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’s recommendations to scale back defense contracting and the “in-sourcing” happening with federal agencies would have had an even more serious impact a generation ago before this area became a headquarters for software, telecommunications and Internet-related companies.

Fortunately, many qualities that sustain federal contractors in this area — especially a highly educated and creative workforce, access to high-quality educational offerings from kindergarten through graduate school, and a diverse, vibrant community — also are important to companies that don’t rely on federal contracts. Hilton Hotels and Volkswagen Group of America relocated to Fairfax County in recent years and are excellent examples of companies that can take advantage of the business culture that the community has worked hard to build.

The writer is president and chief executive of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

By editors  | August 25, 2010; 6:58 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax County, HotTopic, Virginia, development, economy  
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