Our client, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, seeks a President & Chief Executive Officer. This individual will be responsible for marketing the Northern Virginia region as the best place to live and establish headquarters with businesses worldwide, while maintaining operational oversight of this $8 million organization.
Founded in 1964, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) is an independent authority chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia to promote Fairfax County as one of the best business locations in the world. The FCEDA ignites regional growth by identifying and recruiting best-in-class global businesses to relocate to or expand in Fairfax County. The FCEDA helps foster an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship that drives business and job growth while partnering with local government to ensure a favorable infrastructure to help businesses thrive.
The mission of FCEDA is to promote the competitive advantages of Fairfax County and influence the growth of a diverse and innovative ecosystem that enhances the tax base, creates demand for commercial space, and supports an extraordinary and equitable quality of life across Fairfax County. In order to accomplish this mission, the board of directors have authored a visionary list of strategic intents focused on creating new jobs, attracting more corporate headquarters to the area, diversifying the economic base, and creating a pro-business environment to inspire innovation and create a hub for entrepreneurism throughout the county.
The FCEDA has three marketing divisions -- National, International, and Business Diversity -- that work with companies interested in starting, expanding and relocating businesses to Fairfax County. The FCEDA also has market intelligence, real estate services, and communications divisions that work together to market the competitive advantages of the county. While Fairfax County continues to be an attractive location for government agencies and contractors, the FCEDA is sharpening its focus on companies in information technology, with particular emphasis on cybersecurity, data analytics, cloud computing, financial services, and health care.
It is an historic time for the region with Amazon announcing that Northern Virginia will serve as one of two locations for its east coast headquarters. Attracting companies like Amazon to the region helps spearhead innovation as these large global brands serve as business incubators and accelerators that will help generate spinoff companies which are all sources of high-paying jobs which will attract a highly educated, highly skilled workforce to our region.
The FCEDA operates on a budget of nearly $8 million, which is fully funded by the county’s general fund. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons Corner, the FCEDA has offices in Bangalore, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Seoul and Tel Aviv to assist with marketing and expanding the attraction of international companies interested in establishing operations on the east coast of the U.S. Backed by the region’s most influential business leaders, the FCEDA focuses on coordinating a regional economic development strategy and marketing efforts to promote the county’s assets, as well as a coordinated business retention, expansion, and recruitment program to stimulate capital investment and accelerate job creation.
About Fairfax County:
Fairfax County is located just minutes from Washington, D.C. and boasts one of the most robust business communities in the world. With a nearly $120 billion economy, Fairfax County ranks among the strongest local economies in the world and is highly regarded for its large and growing numbers of commercial IT, financial, software, communications and technology management service providers, along with emerging market sectors in personalized medicine, cyber security, and data analytics.
With 117 million square feet of space, it is the second-largest suburban office market in the United States and the largest in the Washington, D.C., area. The county is home to thriving businesses including 10 Fortune 500 company headquarters, more than 100 companies on the Inc. 5000 list, more than 400 foreign-owned firms, 8,900 technology companies, and a flourishing community of small and minority-owned businesses. Employers have access to a large and diverse talent pipeline fed by a regional network of degree, certificate and training programs offered by more than 60 colleges and universities across the region.
The county is the most populous jurisdiction in the national capital region with almost 1.2 million residents and roughly 400 square miles of land. Fairfax County Public Schools offer an excellent environment to raise and educate children as one of the highest rated school systems in America. Fairfax County’s hospitals are also ranked as best in the region by U.S. News & World Report.
Given its close proximity to the nation’s capital, Fairfax County is a burgeoning hub for travel and tourism which also helps drive a prosperous local economy. The county is surrounded by three major airports, and more than 300 cultural organizations (theater and opera companies, music and dance groups, community arts centers, festivals and more) are based in Fairfax.
Businesses in this region can find everything they need to prosper, including a highly educated workforce, a thriving community, and a network of some of the world’s biggest, most respected companies and supporting organizations.
The President & CEO reports directly to the Commission Board and leads all facets of oversight of the $8M organization. S/he will serve as the ambassador and chief spokesperson to represent Fairfax County as the best location to do business with investors, businesses, government entities and other key stakeholders. S/he will also serve as the ambassador to skilled professionals to represent Fairfax County as the best place to live and grow professionally. The President & CEO will work to drive business attraction and retention to Fairfax County, and will partner with industry, secondary and higher education, and public sector organizations to stimulate job growth in the region and to uphold FCEDA as a top tier organization with global recognition and renown.
Specifically, the President is responsible for the following:
- Marketing and Branding. Develops and implements an integrated strategic marketing and communications plan to advance the region’s image while promoting the benefits of relocating to Fairfax County to potential new businesses and professionals. Integrates cutting-edge tools and technologies to help increase visibility among key audiences within the United States and abroad, including a focus on attracting and retaining a diverse, technology savvy work force. Develops focused programs and resources to attract diverse business sectors to the region and support their long-term growth and staff development.
- Organizational Leadership. Fosters a culture of innovation and creativity through bold and visionary leadership. Provides oversight and leadership of approximately 42 highly respected, dedicated and skilled economic development professionals. Sets a clear vision for goals and expectations while encouraging an internal culture of creativity, diversity in all dimensions, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking.
- External Relations & Strategic Partnerships. Serves as the organization’s primary spokesperson with elected officials, the media, business leaders, and other key stakeholders. Develops strong relationships with business CEOs and industry leaders, and partnerships with other local community organizations, technology associations, and area chambers of commerce, leveraging equitable and sustainable approaches to grow the local economy. Identifies strategic partnership opportunities that will strengthen the mission of FCEDA through efforts to attract new businesses and professionals to the region. Collaborates effectively with elected officials to influence outcomes and persuade others to support economic development initiatives.
- Board Relations. Builds and maintains strong synergistic relationships with FCEDA’s highly engaged Commission Board. Acts as a servant leader, partnering with the Board to establish long range strategic focus on issues related to economic development and community building.
- Operations. Provides fiscally responsible administration, understanding all aspects of planning, budgeting, and investments in an effort to enhance the organization’s financial position. Streamlines internal operations by establishing an efficient internal reporting system, adopting innovative technology platforms, and enhancing data collection capabilities to support all facets of FCEDA (including marketing, messaging, resource allocation, and performance management). Implement internal metrics and measurement systems to drive accountability throughout the organization with a focus on continuous improvement in the delivery of services and programs.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
The President & CEO will be a dynamic, charismatic, and innovative leader who will build on the organization's strong legacy, while bringing a fresh approach to think broadly about the future of business and the economy for Fairfax County. S/He will be deeply committed to helping to grow and retain current business’s in the county while marketing the region as the best place to live and establish headquarters with businesses ranging from entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 500 companies.
Specific experience and qualifications will include:
- Genuine passion for the mission of FCEDA and a strong commitment to help positively influence the future economic vitality of the region.
- A minimum of 10 years of relevant and progressive levels of executive leadership experience, and a track record for creating dynamic, evolving organizations.
- Outstanding coalition building skills, key to forging and sustaining critical relationships with educational institutions, community partners, elected officials, and business leaders.
- Stellar interpersonal and communications skills with significant experience serving as a spokesperson for their organization and ability to inform, persuade, and inspire target audiences. Demonstrated sophistication and political savvy in working with a diverse set of interests.
- Demonstrated ability to think creatively and strategically regarding future business trends and their long-term effects on the local economy.
- A track record for effectively empowering and developing staff including recruiting and retaining top caliber professional talent.
- Proven management, business, and financial acumen within an organization of similar or larger scale and complexity.
- Demonstrated knowledge and experience implementing modern and innovative economic and community development practices.
- Unquestionable integrity, credibility and character, demonstrated high moral and ethical behavior.
Master’s degree is strongly preferred; Bachelor’s degree required.
A competitive compensation package will be made available to the qualified candidate.
For further information, please contact Becky Graham at Becky.Graham@KornFerry.com
Korn/Ferry shall provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified candidates, and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected basis.