There’s a new word to describe Northern Virginia and its jurisdictions — coopetition. It’s probably not a spelling bee word yet, but if you asked for the definition and use in a sentence, the newly announced NOVA EDA, the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, could be the answer. Ten local entities signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together on regional brand creation and activities promoting Northern Virginia as a welcoming place for business and new residents.
Branding Northern Virginia has been challenging in the past. Competition and rivalries often prevented true cooperation between and among the local jurisdictions, which include the nation’s smallest county (Arlington’s 26 square miles), and one of the nation’s premier urban counties (Fairfax, with 1.2 million residents), as well as one of the fastest growing counties (Loudoun). Local jurisdictions like to tout their individual amenities over others, but many of Northern Virginia’s residents and visitors travel in and through multiple jurisdictions every day, without realizing that they’ve crossed a local border. Many don’t care, of course, as long as traffic keeps moving and they can get to their destination without delay. One easy guide about borders in the winter is that the cities and Arlington County plow their roads, while VDOT has responsibility for the other counties. Same with mowing in the summertime!
The new NOVA EDA builds on the competitive advantage Northern Virginia already has when it comes to a talented and skilled workforce. Those are among the assets that led to Amazon’s selection of National Landing as its new HQ2 location. Geographically, HQ2 is in Arlington County, sharing a border with the City of Alexandria. However, those 25,000 anticipated employees, many of whom may be here already, will contribute to the economies of multiple jurisdictions, just as we do today. It’s not unusual to live in one jurisdiction, work in another, and dine in a third, depending on preferred tastes. The NOVA EDA effort amplifies the innovation and economic development advantages we already enjoy, and will make Northern Virginia an even more desirable location for business. The new alliance hasn’t settled yet on a “brand” name, but coopetition might be the definition when you look up “Northern Virginia” in the not too distant future.
Northern Virginia also is home to many talented artists. One of those is Georges Hayek, an American French Lebanese artist, whose large and colorful abstract paintings are the current show in the Art in the Mason District Governmental Center program. Hayek, an entrepreneur, athlete, and actor, discovered painting as therapy. According to Hayek, “a vortex of colors pours out of his mind” and onto large canvases. The vibrant acrylics swirl and surge; bright greens and blues could represent oceans and coastlines, while others seem influenced by Jackson Pollock or exploding fireworks. Hayek’s creations will be on display at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., until the end of October.
The Westlawn Elementary School PTA invites you to dine with them on Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m., at Dogfish Head Alehouse, 6220 Leesburg Pike in Falls Church, where 15 percent of proceeds will be donated to the school. Treat your family to dinner, enjoy a silent auction and door prizes, while supporting a worthy cause.