Diversification and Innovation: Pathways to Economic Growth in Fairfax County

Published on
02/01/2024
Image of County Executive Bryan Hill with Rebecca Moudry, director of the Department of Economic Initiatives, and Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority

 

In the February edition of the "Connect with County Leaders" podcast, Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill hosted Rebecca Moudry, director of the Department of Economic Initiatives, and Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority, to discuss the county's economic development, providing perspective and predictions for the county’s future.

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The guests reflected on Fairfax County's resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite challenges, the county's gross domestic product remains robust at $134 billion - more than half of Northern Virginia's total GDP.

Moudry credited the county's strength to strategic investments and support for businesses.

"What we did starting in 2020, right off the bat, and what the Board and county leadership have done well before that is invest in our future. And that has really put us into a position that we are today, which is a continued strong economic position."

"One of the most important things that we need to do to position ourselves for the next 5, 20, 50 years is to invest in the opportunities that are here." - Rebecca Moudry, director of the Fairfax County Department of economic Initiatives

 

Looking ahead, Hoskins highlighted talent recruitment as a priority. With over 58,000 job openings in the county, he said that "equity is infused into our seeking of talent. We bring that diverse talent here to our companies to help them grow." 

Moudry agreed, stating that "equitable development is economic development. Economic development is equitable development.” She discussed county programs aimed at supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, especially those facing pandemic recovery and transition. 
 
In terms of innovation, Hoskins predicted growth in space commercialization, saying the county has "just begun to talk about it" but has already attracted companies manufacturing satellites. Moudry emphasized the importance of partnerships, including engagement with federal partners like Fort Belvoir, research institutions and private companies.

“Talent is the new currency of economic development. Helping our companies attract talent will help them grown and thrive here.”

Hill, Moudry and Hoskins all agreed that articulating the county’s strong economic position is essential. As Moudry stated, “We’re in a good place. We have the land use policies. We have the plans in place to allow flexible uses that allow our private sector to come in and transition with the economy.” She stressed that placemaking and vibrant communities are key to economic development, helping attract and retain talent.

 

FAIRFAX COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC INITIATIVES

The Department of Economic Initiatives leverages county resources and develops policy recommendations to foster economic development and position Fairfax to be an economically competitive and prosperous community. It also works closely with small, local businesses to advise and guide them as they grow.

 

FAIRFAX COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is here to help businesses start, expand or relocate in Fairfax County. Chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the FCEDA is led by a board of county business leaders and funded by the Fairfax County government to promote the county as one of the world’s best business locations and build the county’s commercial tax base.

 

CONNECT WITH THE COUNTY LEADERS PODCAST

The “Connect with County Leaders” podcast is a monthly opportunity to meet and connect with Fairfax County leaders, to learn about the latest county news and information, and hear more on specific programs and services in Fairfax County.

Listen or watch past episodes of “Connect with County Leaders” on SoundCloud, on YouTube and on Channel 16’s podcast on demand page. For other Fairfax County podcasts, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/podcasts, and for additional audio content, tune in to Fairfax County Government Radio at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/radio.

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