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by ARLnow.com — July 20, 2015 at 5:00 pm 2,155 0

Rendering of the retail building along S. Hayes Street (file photo)(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) Arlington has a new action plan for improving the prospects of retail businesses in the county.

The County Board voted 4-1 on Saturday to approve the plan, which has been years in the making and will replace an outdated retail plan originally passed in 2001. The new plan moves Arlington from a “retail everywhere” approach — policies designed to put ground floor retail in most commercial buildings, regardless of whether a business could actually survive in a given location — to what’s billed as a flexible but “curated” approach.

Color-coded maps will now define where the county would like certain types of retail businesses to set up shop. The owners of buildings in high foot traffic areas will be encouraged to adopt certain building standards that are conducive to ground floor retailers, from higher ceilings to smaller building lobbies.

Retail plan color coded map for Clarendon“By partnering with our business community and our residents, we’ve developed a plan that takes important steps to improve and strengthen the retail sector in Arlington,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “We believe the consistent, clear guidance and definitions, as well as flexibility of use, design and timing in the plan will better serve those who live and work here when they shop, dine, get their hair cut and bank on streets throughout the County.”

The plan passed with two notable amendments, both proposed by County Board member John Vihstadt and both addressing concerns of the local business community.

The first further codified that the plan is intended as a guiding principle — to be applied primarily during development approval processes — rather than explicit county rules and regulations. The second added service and repair businesses to the types of businesses encouraged in “red zones” — the parts of Arlington’s business districts with the highest foot traffic. In the draft plan, staff had recommended limiting those zones to shopping, dining and entertainment.

“This plan has come a long, long way,” Vihstadt said after the motions passed by 4-1 and 3-2 respectively. “It was not a good plan when it started out.”

The plan passed with tepid support from the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, which had expressed concern about earlier versions of the plan it deemed “too proscriptive.”

Retail plan color coding before John Vihstadt's motioned passed“Explicit addition of a statement that the retail plan is not regulatory is paramount,” Chamber President and CEO Kate Roche told the Board. “Moving forward into implementation, we emphasize the importance of the plan being understood as a guideline… we want to make sure this plan isn’t codifying anything that will prevent Arlington from becoming the great, flexible place that we all want it to be.”

The changes still weren’t enough for Libby Garvey, who was the lone vote against the plan.

“I’m much more conformable with the plan with the changes, but still not comfortable enough to support it,” she said. “Both the people who have to make it work and the people we serve are saying, ‘it’s too proscriptive.'”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — June 24, 2015 at 10:30 am 2,469 0

County Board Chair Mary Hynes delivers her final State of the County address on June 24, 2015Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes told the Arlington Chamber of Commerce today that the cancellation of Arlington’s streetcar project was the toughest decision she made during 20 years in office — and she’s still not sure of the long-term consequences.

Hynes, who’s retiring at the end of the year, made the remarks during a question-and-answer session following her “State of the County” address.

“The hardest decision I had to make not just on the County Board but in 20 years of elected office was to discontinue the streetcar,” said Hynes, who previously served on the School Board for 12 years.

“The reasons had to do with my belief and care for the community overall,” Hynes explained. Given the strong opposition to the streetcar, “I really didn’t believe there was enough bandwidth in our community to address these other pressing needs. Everything was being evaluated under this streetcar lens, not on its own merits. I was worried that we were going to miss other things that needed to be attended to if we continued to keep it alive.”

Hynes still suggested that the streetcar was a sound plan to improve transportation on Columbia Pike.

“Let me just say for myself personally, if the plan that the Board adopted for Columbia Pike continues to build out, I don’t have a whisper of a doubt that bus service will be insufficient in the long run,” Hynes said. “But our community wasn’t there, our community didn’t understand it, and it was just coloring the conversation to an extent where we couldn’t move forward.”

Hynes said her second-toughest decision was on the 2012 update to the county’s sign ordinance. The Board was considering more restrictive measures, including a ban on roofline signs on office buildings that was supported by Walter Tejada and Chris Zimmerman. Ultimately, Hynes sided with Board members Jay Fisette and Libby Garvey, plus county staff and the business community, in arguing that banning such signs would discourage businesses from locating in Arlington.

“I was the swing vote,” she recounted. “I thought my job was to find the compromise.”

During the speech, Hynes said Arlington is unlikely to experience the rapid economic growth of the early- and mid-aughts again, at least any time soon, due to economic pressures from federal government belt-tightening to regional competition with Fairfax County and the District.

“The reality is that those incredible ups that Arlington experienced will not be coming again,” she said.

Hynes encouraged the business community and the next generation of Arlington leaders — she and Tejada are both retiring from the Board at the end of the year — to continue to honor Arlington’s values of diversity and inclusiveness, make long-term investments in infrastructure like Metro, and build consensus for decisions through robust community processes involving residents and other stakeholders.

“I challenge each of you to be part of the solution,” she said. “I look forward to watching it on TV.”

by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2015 at 11:45 am 917 0

The following op-ed article is written by Kate Roche, president & CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

Kate RocheArlington currently faces trying economic conditions. Approximately 50 percent of the County’s tax base comes from business. Thus, these challenges affect Arlington as a whole and matter not just to businesses, but to all County residents.

The current office vacancy rate is 21.7%, over ten percent higher than the 15-year historical average. A ten percent improvement in occupancy rates (4.4 million sq. ft.) would represent $34 million annually in local tax revenues. No matter what issues are important to you as a citizen – great schools, social services, parks, art – a healthy business community is utterly essential to sustainably fund those initiatives.

As a community, we can’t keep operating the way we have been and expect to attract businesses. We have grown complacent that our strengths, our location, amazing workforce, and early adoption of transit-oriented development would entice companies to Arlington.

Arlington Chamber of Commerce logoThis may have been sufficient in the past, but Arlington faces rapidly growing competitiveness in the region as other localities copy our successful blueprint. To some degree we are a victim of our prior success, in the form of higher property costs and rental rates. Pressure on commercial real estate is accelerated by the dramatic shift in the way companies utilize space to maximize employees per square foot.

So what can Arlington do?

We can be proactive in attracting business and fostering a more welcoming culture for business:

  • We are encouraged by the recent high-level appointments made by County Manager Barbara Donnellan, including Carol Mitten, Steven Cover, Victor Hoskins, and Shannon Flanagan-Watson. Arlington needs to ensure that the enthusiasm and willingness to work with businesses to find solutions at the highest levels percolates throughout the County staff.
  • The recent funding of Arlington Economic Development by the County Board above what the County Manager specified in her base budget is another good sign. However, Arlington still remains significantly behind competing localities when it comes to funding the core components of economic development. More can be done.
  • Long term planning efforts should incorporate more robust economic analysis so that decision makers can better understand the trade-offs when making their decisions. For example, the County is in the process of possibly reducing previously planned density from Rosslyn without studying the effects on our long term tax base.
  • We must review and revamp both the site plan and permit processes for length, focus, and consistency. The site plan process is currently both overly lengthy and sometimes uncertain in terms of any type resolution. The permit process has gotten a bit better in recent years, but can still be frustratingly inconsistent.
  • Better communication is crucial. This includes better communication by the County with businesses, but also better communication by the County about business to the community.

The onus for better communication lies not just with the County, but also with the business community itself.

This article is the first in an ongoing opinion column authored by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce to share that business perspective for the benefit of the Arlington community. We look forward to participating in helping steward Arlington to a vibrant and exciting future.

by ARLnow.com — May 28, 2015 at 9:10 am 1,560 0

Rainbow over Ballston (photo courtesy Valerie)

School Bus Stop Violations in Arlington — There were 155 traffic violations issued over a three year period in Arlington for drivers who passed school buses at bus stops. That compares 655 such violations issued in Fairfax County over a three year period. [NBC Washington]

County Board Art Debate? — The operatic organization Opera Nova is trying to host a forum among Democratic Arlington County Board candidates that will cover the topics of the arts, humanities and civic engagement. Should the candidates accept their invitation, the candidate forum will be held on Friday, June 5, just a few days before the June 9 Democratic primary. [InsideNova]

40 Under 40 Nominations Underway — Leadership Arlington is currently accepting nominees for its Arlington 40 Under 40 honors. The group is seeking individuals under the age of 40 who “demonstrate impact through leadership personally and/or professionally.” Nominations are being conducted online. [Survey Monkey]

Chamber Names ‘Business of the Year’ — Rosslyn-based LMO Advertising, which bills itself at the largest advertising agency in the D.C. area, has been named Business of the Year by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. “Our team loves working in Arlington and I am proud that we have been recognized as one of the community’s best businesses,” LMO CEO Chris Laughlin said, in a press release. “I look forward to many more years of doing business in Arlington.” [LMO Advertising]

Photo courtesy Valerie

by Ethan Rothstein — April 29, 2015 at 3:30 pm 703 0

(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) Some of Arlington’s most ambitious teenagers will go before a panel of judges, “Shark Tank”-style, to present business ideas they have cultivated for weeks.

The event is called the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Investor Panel, is May 7 at Marymount University’s Reinsch Library (2807 N. Glebe Road), from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. It’s hosted by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, which has taken a dozen students from ages 12 to 18 from Arlington schools and taught them the fundamentals of starting a business, every Wednesday evening since Jan. 7.

“It’s important for them to see how the process of starting a business works,” Chamber Communications Manager Meredith Smith said. Each business group will go through the process of applying for business licenses. “It’s been really good seeing these kids develop their businesses.”

The 12 students have split into seven different businesses, and each startup will have six minutes to present to a panel of eight members of the Arlington business community, including from Vornado, Graham Holdings Company and the Ballston BID. Those judges will ask questions, debate and “invest,” just like on the ABC reality show “Shark Tank.”

Among the businesses the kids have come up with are custom-denim shorts, mobile apps and an e-commerce marketplace for “local streetwear/lifestyle brands,” according to the Chamber. They have been instructed by Charlie Sibbald, an entrepreneur and adjunct business professory at MU.

“[The academy] helps the Chamber build the next generation of business leaders by introducing young people early to entrepreneurship and its rewards and challenges,” Chamber President and CEO Kate Roche said in an email. “The program also provides a significant number of meaningful ways for our members to engage with the students. Business leaders are instrumental to the curriculum and the program, serving as mentors, guest speakers, graphic designers, and business plan reviewers.”

Tickets for the event are $10, and it is open to the public. The winning team will be entered into a national scholarship competition and could present its idea to the Americas Small Business Summit in D.C. this June.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm 3,703 0

The Key Bridge Marriott(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) One of the world’s biggest companies is looking for a new corporate headquarters, and Arlington wants to be in the running.

Marriott International occupies 900,000 square feet of office space in Bethesda, but CEO Arne Sorenson told the Washington Post last month that the hotel chain with more than $12 billion in annual revenue “will be moving.” Sorenson said he still wants the company to stay in the D.C. region, and made more comments sure to make Arlington real estate owners’ ears perk up.

“I think it’s essential we be accessible to Metro and that limits the options,” Sorenson told the Post’s Jonathan O’Connell. “I think as with many other things our younger folks are more inclined to be Metro-accessible and more urban.”

Sorenson also said Marriott has engaged with “local leaders,” but the company won’t move for several years; its lease in Bethesda expires in 2022.

A giant tenant like Marriott doesn’t come to market very often, and it would be a huge get for Arlington Economic Development, which is still reeling from the impending loss of some large tenants like the National Science Foundation. If the hotel chain moves its headquarters to Arlington, it could occupy almost triple the combined space of recently touted deals for Accenture (90,000 square feet in Ballston), CNA (175,000 square feet in Clarendon) and Graham Holdings (35,000 square feet in Rosslyn).

“Because Marriott is, from what I’m reading, a 700,000-800,000-square-foot group, they would sign a long-term deal with probably some new construction,” Arlington Chamber of Commerce Chairman Kevin Shooshan told ARLnow.com today. Shooshan is also the vice president of Shooshan Company, a Ballston-based real estate firm. “Because of the size of that deal, it’s very attractive to everyone involved in the real estate market. Marriott has good credit. It would be twice the size of [Rosslyn-based] Corporate Executive Board. All parties on the commercial side are interested.”

Shooshan said the number of jobs Marriott would bring — more than 2,000 work in Bethesda — could be a boon for the county’s economy, including the added employee spending on retail, restaurants and housing. Another benefit would be the real estate revenue. Arlington’s commercial real estate market has stagnated in recent years, and landing Marriott would be a financial windfall.

“A headquarters tenant like that brings in tens of millions of dollars in real estate taxes over a 10-15 year lease term,” Shooshan said, “and hopefully that term turns into a true long term headquarters location, resulting in hundreds of millions, not to mention more sales and entertainment spending, more residents, more traffic for hotels, restaurants, etc.”

Where could Marriott go in Arlington? Real estate publication Bisnow created a list of 16 potential places it could relocate in the D.C. area that fit its criteria, and four are in Arlington:

  • The site of the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn, the longest continually operating Marriott in the company’s portfolio
  • 1812 N. Moore Street, the Monday Properties skyscraper in Rosslyn that opened in October 2013 but still sits vacant. That building holds 560,000 square feet, so it could be paired with planned, 513,000-square-foot redevelopment of 1400 Key Blvd just steps away
  • PenPlace in Pentagon City, a sprawling, 2.1 million-square-foot planned office park owned by Vornado and already approved by the Arlington County Board
  • Crystal City, where Vornado owns a number of office towers that are already vacant and ripe for redevelopment

Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell couldn’t confirm if AED or anyone else from the county have been in talks with Marriott. She did, however, make it known that Arlington will be lobbying hard for the hotel powerhouse.

“Marriott’s corporate headquarters would be an ideal fit for Arlington,” O’Donnell said in an email. “We are known for our urban villages and metro accessibility, which have been cited as important factors both in Marriott’s search criteria and in hiring and retaining the best workforce.

“Arlington has several existing and build-to suit sites that accommodate Marriott’s needs for a corporate campus,” she added. “Additionally, Arlington is also already home to nine Marriott properties and 3,300 Marriott rooms. These factors all demonstrate Arlington would be a model location for a headquarters of a premier hotel operator.”

Marriott is expected to have its pick of just about every local jurisdiction, in Maryland, the District and Virginia. We’re told also Tysons Corner figures to be a premiere player with its new Metro stops and massive redevelopment plans.

Marriott’s decision is several years away, and the competition will only get fiercer. Although AED would not comment on what type of package it would offer Marriott, it’s worth looking at what CEB received in exchange for simply staying in the county and the state: $4.5 million from the governor’s office, $5 million from the Virginia Economic Development Fund and a pledge from Arlington County to match any funding for infrastructure improvements.

CEB’s 15 stories in the under-construction tower that will bear its namesake will contain 350,000 square feet of floor area. Marriott should occupy at least twice that. Wherever it goes, it likely will see a significant financial commitment from its new home.

by Ethan Rothstein — October 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm 1,764 0

Polling place signs outside Barrett Elementary SchoolArlington County taxpayers will be asked to approve $218.7 million in general bond obligations at the ballot box on Nov. 4.

The big-ticket question in that referendum will be $105.7 million for Arlington Public Schools, $50.25 million of which will pay for either a new elementary school adjacent to Thomas Jefferson Middle School, or additions onto Randolph and Barcroft elementary schools.

The voting public can only vote to approve or reject to each of the four bond questions on the ballot — for public schools, Metro and transportation, parks and recreation funding and community infrastructure. Each question requests at least $13 million in funding, and all of the referenda roll multiple projects into the larger categories.

The items in the $105.7 million schools bond, aside from the $50 million elementary school, are:

  • $28.75 million for a 136-seat expansion at Abingdon Elementary School;
  • $10.31 million for “minor construction/maintenance” at school facilities;
  • $7.47 million toward a 241-seat addition and renovation at McKinley Elementary School;
  • $5 million for a 300-seat expansion at Washington-Lee High School;
  • $4 million in planning and design for a new, 1,300-seat secondary school at a yet-undetermined location.

The funding items in the $59.74 million transportation bond question:

  • $39 million for continuing funding of the Metro system;
  • $15.5 million for road paving;
  • $1.3 million for bridge renovations;
  • $2.39 million to be divvied up among WALKArlington, BikeArlington and “improvements to major travel corridors [outside] principal boundaries.”

The biggest items in the $40.15 million community infrastructure bond are:

  • $12 million for neighborhood conservation projects; $10 million for facilities maintenance;
  • $2.2 million for planning of the Salt Dome site on 26th Street N.;
  • $1.4 million toward a new Lubber Run Community Center;
  • $6.1 million combined for a new parking deck, wash bay and fueling station at the Arlington Trades Center.

The $13 million parks and recreation bond question includes:

  • $10 million for parks maintenance;
  • $2 million for land acquisition and open space;
  • $450,000 for Crystal City parks and open space;
  • $220,000 for Four Mile Run near-stream improvements.

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the transportation and education bond packages, with assurances from county officials that the additional debt  won’t affect the county’s triple-AAA bond rating. The chamber doesn’t take a position on the community infrastructure and parks and rec bonds because they “are not directly tied to economic development.”

“Maintaining and improving quality transportation and education are two of the key components of our public-policy positions, and these bonds will assist in easing the traffic crunch and provide seats for Arlington’s growing student population,” Chamber Chair Timothy Hughes said in a press release.

by ARLnow.com — September 29, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,146 0

Office building in Rosslyn in front of a deep blue sky (Photo courtesy @jdsonder)

GOP, Democrats Support Amendment — The Arlington County Republican and Democratic committees agree on at least one thing: they both support a proposed Virginia constitutional amendment that would exempt the the principal residence of a fallen U.S. servicemember’s spouse from taxation. [InsideNova]

Chamber Launches Program for Young Entrepreneurs — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has launched a local affiliate of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy program. The program will help students ages 11-18 develop entrepreneurial skills after school. [Patch]

AAA Warns of Sun Glare — AAA is warning that sun glare could make the evening commute more hazardous for east-to-west commuters through the end of daylight saving time on Nov. 3. “Motorists should take additional precautions to avoid being blinded by the light including wearing sunglasses, cleaning their windshields, slowing down, and altering their commutes whenever possible,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic’s John Townsend.

Photo courtesy @jdsonder

by Ethan Rothstein — June 25, 2014 at 4:35 pm 1,826 0

New Arlington Chamber of Commerce President Kate Roche(Updated at 9:30 a.m.) New Arlington Chamber of Commerce President Kate Roche, 29, knows she will face questions about her age, but she and the Board of Directors that promoted her view it as an asset.

“My age is a positive,” Roche told ARLnow.com, days after her new promotion was announced. “It’s a change for the business community. When people traditionally think of business, they think of older men, not younger women. Appealing to more demographics makes it a more welcoming place.”

Roche replaces now-retired President Rich Doud, 71. Doud hired Roche as the chamber’s director of member services and development in 2007 after she worked at D.C. nonprofit Women in Government. Roche called Doud “a great mentor and leader,” and said Doud was in tears when they spoke last Friday after she was officially given the job.

The chamber’s Board of Directors Chairman Tim Hughes, an attorney in the Bean, Kinney and Korman law firm, said the search committee for a new president agreed that Roche’s youth was a good thing for the chamber in the midst of changing times.

“She has had just unparalleled enthusiasm, energy, passion and commitment,” Hughes said. “I would say that Kate brings a really interesting and intriguing mix of continuity and experience, along with obvious youth, energy and a change in the face of an organization.”

Roche said she’s focused on partnerships she’s already been building as vice president — her last position. That means working with the Ballston Business Improvement District, Arlington Economic Development and other business and community groups. Roche said leveraging those partnerships will allow the chamber to attract new members, a crucial mission in the changing economy.

“Chambers are being pushed harder to prove why people should join and to demonstrate their value,” Roche said. “There was a time when you joined the chamber just because that’s what you do.”

Hughes said that means attracting more of the tech businesses sprouting up seemingly every week in Arlington and enticing them to join the chamber.

“You think about the people starting businesses and developing software products doing all kinds of great and interesting things,” Hughes said. “We’re attracting these types of folks to the county, so they see why membership in the chamber helps them be effective in their business.”

Coming up, Roche plans to roll out a “Shop Chamber” initiative —  member businesses will encourage their customers to shop at other member businesses, with the chamber ultimately keeping track of how much additional money a business can earn from being a chamber member.

Roche said she’s also focused on retaining and engaging current businesses, which includes seeing which members haven’t been to a meeting or event in six months, and reaching out to them. She said the chamber should play a big role in helping local businesses, whether it’s via networking events or by helping to shape county policy.

“The chamber is the only all-county business organization,” she said. “The chamber’s role is to help businesses do business well. When business issues come up, we’re not part of the government, so we can do the lobbying that you can’t do if you’re a part of the county.”

by ARLnow.com — June 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm 2,481 0

Streetcars in Toronto held up by a car accident (photo by Rick Eglinton/GetStock)

(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette says the streetcar is a “strategic investment” that will drive economic development. But he acknowledges that it has an image problem.

Delivering his State of the County address to members of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Fisette said “the workhorse modern streetcar” gets a bad rap from critics who say it would be waylaid frequently by vehicle accidents and other possible obstructions on the tracks.

Fisette pointed to an image that has popped up on blogs and in Powerpoint presentations given by critics. The image, above, shows the aftermath of a minor vehicle accident in Toronto that caused at least a half dozen streetcars to back up behind a damaged car on the tracks.

“It’s an image emblazoned in people’s minds that has distorted the debate a bit,” Fisette told the crowd.

In reality, Fisette said, such accidents will happen “very infrequently.” When it does, obstructions will be cleared from the tracks as expediently as possible. “There is a protocol in place for dealing with that quickly,” Fisette said.

Plus, Fisette argued, it’s not exactly uncommon for accidents to cause delays for vehicle traffic.

“Backups happen daily on the Beltway due to broken down cars and accidents,” he said.

(Those who oppose the streetcar also point out that streetcars themselves are sometimes involved in serious accidents with vehicles and pedestrians.)

Streetcar-like bus in Las Vegas (photo via Twitter)Critics, like Board members Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt, say an enhanced bus system would offer many of the benefits of streetcar without the high cost and inflexibility of fixed rail. They have at times pointed to a “streetcar-like bus” in use in Las Vegas (pictured, right) as an alternative.

Fisette said fixed rail is, at least partially, the point. People — himself included — are more likely to ride a train with a fixed route than get on a bus.

“I fundamentally disagree” that buses are better than streetcar, Fisette said. “Streetcar is much more comfortable, much more accessible… multiple doors, better for wheelchairs, much smoother ride. I myself know that when I go to another city, do I jump on buses? No. Really, would I get on a rail system that’s fixed and tells you where you’re going? Yes.”

Fisette’s most oft-repeated argument for the streetcar was its higher ridership capacity. He said that prior to the Board’s streetcar approval, during a long planning process that asked Columbia Pike residents what they wanted, the community signaled that it did not want Metro and the density that would come with it, but did want more amenities.

In order to continue to revitalize Columbia Pike — and thus build more housing and retail — Fisette said there needs to be more capacity for transit than buses can provide. Already, the Pike is Virginia’s busiest bus corridor, with 600 bus trips daily carrying more than 17,000 passengers. With the Pike and Crystal City expected to account for 65 percent of the county’s population growth and 44 percent of its job growth over the next 30 years, Fisette said the streetcar is the right system to get people to where they need to go.

Jay Fisette delivers his 2014 State of the County speech“No possible bus system can handle that ridership growth,” he said.

On the issue of how to pay for the streetcar — which carries a total price tag of more than half a billion dollars — Fisette said 93 percent of streetcar funding will come from “federal, state and regional money,” including a 12.5 cent commercial real estate tax designated for transit. He said he opposes using homeowner tax dollars for streetcar

At the same time, Fisette said he’s looking for a possible way to move forward without federal funds, since federal funding would come with strings attached, would increase costs and would slow the project down.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — June 20, 2014 at 3:45 pm 2,002 0

Kate Roche (photo via Arlington Chamber of Commerce)(Updated at 4:20 p.m.) Kate Roche has been promoted to president of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

Roche, 29, will succeed retiring president Rich Doud, 71. She began her career with the chamber in 2007 and most recently served as the organization’s vice president.

“To me, working for the Chamber has always been much more than just a job,” said Roche said in a statement. “The business community continues to evolve and so do the needs of our members. As President and CEO, I will work to keep the Chamber progressing, growing and improving to become the essential partner for business success.”

The chamber issued the following press release about the leadership change.

The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Katharine (Kate) Roche has been selected as the Chamber’s new President & CEO. On June 20, 2014, the Chamber’s Board of Directors voted to approve Roche for the position after the Chamber engaged in an extensive nationwide search through retained search firm, Sterling Martin. Roche began with the Arlington Chamber of Commerce in 2007 and most recently served as Vice President.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the Arlington Chamber of Commerce in this capacity,” said Roche. She added, “To me, working for the Chamber has always been much more than just a job. This is truly my community. The Chamber has an incredibly solid organizational foundation, and I look forward to building upon that. The business community continues to evolve and so do the needs of our members. As President and CEO, I will work to keep the Chamber progressing, growing and improving to become the essential partner for business success.”

2014 Chair of the Chamber’s Board Tim Hughes, of Bean, Kinney & Korman, P.C., said, “As Vice President, Kate Roche has already given tremendous energy, enthusiasm and engagement to the community of our Chamber. She brings to the table a unique ability to build on our existing success and culture while dynamically leading our Chamber into the future. We are excited to continue our mission to strengthen businesses and the economic environment in Arlington with Kate Roche at the helm as President and CEO.”

Roche is a graduate of The George Washington University with a B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs. Prior to joining the Chamber, Roche worked for Women In Government, a national nonpartisan association of women state legislators based in Washington, DC.

A proud Arlington resident, she currently serves on several boards in the community including her Condo Association Board of Directors. She is also an active volunteer with several groups including the Junior League of Washington and the Arlington Community Foundation Scholarship Review Committee.

Photo via Arlington Chamber of Commerce

by ARLnow.com — March 19, 2014 at 8:35 am 2,275 0

Courthouse Plaza (Flickr pool photo by Keithhall)

Noise Ordinance Approval Delayed — The Arlington County Board decided to delay approval of an update to the county’s noise ordinance after hearing concern from swim clubs that the ordinance could make cheering at swim meets illegal and punishable by fines or jail time. County staff will now try to craft an exemption for the summer swim leagues. In addition to strengthening prohibitions on loud TVs and music, the noise ordinance update calls for a “quiet period” in single-family home neighborhoods that would impact morning swim meets. [InsideNoVa]

Chatman Addresses Fraud Conviction — Fresh off the announcement that Oprah Winfrey would headline her upcoming fundraiser in Arlington, congressional candidate Lavern Chatman is trying to downplay word that she was found liable for $1.4 million in damages in a decade-old fraud case involving a D.C. nursing home operator. Chatman called the case a “nightmare” and said she “didn’t pay much attention to the details” when she agreed to provide a loan to a “trusted friend” — a friend who ended up withholding the wages of nearly 300 employees of the nursing home company. [Blue Virginia]

Arlington Honors ‘Women of Vision’ — Arlington County’s Commission on the Status of Women has announced the winners of the 2014 Arlington County Women of Vision awards. They are political strategist and Young Democrats of America president Atima Omara, Dominion regional manager Deborah Tompkins Johnson and Bowen McCauley Dance founder Lucy Bowen McCauley. [Arlington County]

Chamber Honors Hospitality Workers — On Tuesday the Arlington Chamber of Commerce honored more than 80 “frontline” hospitality workers at its 10th annual Hospitality Awards. One winner was Gadisa Bulla, who rescued a co-worker’s son from a fire across from the Sheraton hotel on Columbia Pike. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Rosslyn Company Scores Angel Investment Encore Alert, a Rosslyn-based social analytics startup, has raised a $390,000 seed round from the local investment group NextGen Angels. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Keithhall

by ARLnow.com — January 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm 395 0

Rich Doud (photo via Arlington Chamber of Commerse)Rich Doud, the long-time president of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, will be retiring in May.

The announcement was sent to Chamber members this afternoon. This year’s Chamber chairman, Tim Hughes of the law firm Hughes, Bean, Kinney & Korman P.C., will lead a search committee to find Doud’s successor.

The Chamber issued the following press release about Doud’s retirement.

After 23 years as President of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Rich Doud has announced that he will retire from his position effective May 15, 2014.

Doud joined the Arlington Chamber in September of 1990 to begin his tenure as the membership-based, nonprofit organization’s President, then called Executive Vice President. Under Doud’s leadership, the Chamber has made a number of achievements, including creating the Arlington Business Hall of Fame to recognize impactful business leaders in the community, developing the Community Action Committee to build stronger relationships between businesses and nonprofits, ensuring firm financial stability for the Chamber, and founding Leadership Arlington.

“It is impossible to fully express the satisfaction I have experienced working to build a better Arlington and increase opportunities for businesses,” said Doud. “I appreciate being given the chance by this great organization and the incredibly capable people who comprise our membership and staff who have bettered the lives of many. The achievements of the Chamber over the past two decades have been collaborative efforts between members and staff.”

As a sixty year resident of Arlington, Doud has immersed himself into and become a prominent figure within the community. During his tenure, Doud has received honors such as: Chamber Executive of the Year, Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives; Outstanding Civilian Service Medal (twice); United State Army; Legacy Award, Leadership Arlington; Spirit of Community Award, Arlington Community Foundation; and more.

His involvement in Arlington extends to his participation in community organizations and serving on various commissions and committees. A few highlights over the years include: founder and member of the Board of Regents of Leadership Arlington; assisted with the publishing of Where Valor Rests, a book about Arlington Cemetery which is given at burials there to the families; member of the Arlington County Economic Development Commission; member of the County Manager’s Institutional Leaders Roundtable; volunteer for Volunteer Arlington programs; member of the Police Chief’s Advisory Council; and member of the Washington Business Journal’s Thought Leadership Panel.

Doud came to the Chamber after a series of successful entrepreneurial ventures running small businesses. In 1984, his company was ranked 35th in the nation on Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 500 fastest growing companies in the United States.

Doud retires to spend time with his wife, as well as enjoy more family time with his three grown children and two grandsons (with a third on the way!).

2014 Chamber Chair Tim Hughes, Bean, Kinney & Korman P.C., will head a search committee seeking candidates to fill the position of President at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. Plans for a celebration honoring Doud and his service throughout the years will be announced at a later date.

by ARLnow.com — December 20, 2013 at 9:10 am 1,463 0

Tuckered out Santas at the Pentagon City Metro station

Chamber Doesn’t Support ‘Kings Dominion Rule’ Change — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is supporting two out of three items on Arlington Public Schools’ 2014 state legislative agenda. The chamber supports in-state tuition for immigrant students who are working toward legal status in the U.S., and higher state funding for Northern Virginia schools. It did not support, however, a change in the law that would allow Virginia school systems to start school before Labor Day. [Sun Gazette]

Another John Boehner Spotting at Guapo’s — Speaker of the House John Boehner was again spotted at Guapo’s restaurant in Shirlington last week, just a couple of days after a bipartisan budget deal was announced. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]

Satisfaction with ART Grows — An Arlington County-sponsored survey revealed that 90 percent of riders are satisfied with Arlington Transit bus service. “The survey results show that the investments we made to expand this service, not only in main arteries but also deep into residential neighborhoods, have paid off with riders,” said County Board Chair Walter Tejada, in a press release. [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — October 18, 2013 at 8:55 am 798 0

Nights Edge (Flickr pool photo by Ddimick)

No Metro Work This Weekend — In an occurrence that’s somewhat rare these days, there is no Metro rebuilding work planned on the Blue, Orange or Yellow Lines this weekend. [WMATA]

New Rosslyn Cafe to Open Monday — Caffe Aficionado, a new independent coffee shop at 1919 N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn, is scheduled to officially open on Monday, according to  owner Adiam Berhane. The cafe is also holding events for neighbors today and Saturday.

Chamber Joins Small Biz Shopping Initiative — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the organizers of Arlington Small Business Day. The Chamber will help promote the holiday shopping day, which debuted last year and is scheduled for Nov. 30. [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

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