The Loudoun County Department of Economic Development was honored today with the coveted Gold Award for “Economic Development Organization of the Year” by the International Economic Development Council at their annual conference in Nashville.
“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Tom Kucharski.
The award recognizes the top organization working in communities between 200,000 and 500,000 residents that successfully demonstrates excellence in categories such as program innovation and continuity, leadership quality and consistency, measured metrics and performance benchmarks, and community interaction and impact.
Loudoun Economic Development’s Executive Director Buddy Rizer was in attendance on Tuesday to accept the award. He credited his community’s long-term vision for strategic economic development as a key factor in the resilience Loudoun has shown over the last two years.
“Loudoun’s ongoing commitment to economic development starts with the stewardship of our Board of Supervisors, the leadership of our County Administration and the hard work of each of our county departments and partners. It is this commitment that guides everything we do,” Rizer said. “I’m also fortunate to work with an incredible team of talented economic professionals who have dedicated themselves to our mission of creating a diverse and sustainable economy.”
According to DED’s Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report, released today, Loudoun Economic Development worked with 2,043 total businesses, successfully attracting, or retaining:
- 145 business projects;
- 4,239 total jobs;
- $6.55 billion in new commercial investment;
- 71 million square feet of space.
“I’ve said for years that Loudoun is the best county in the country, and the way our community rallied around our local businesses during the pandemic is further proof of that fact,” Board of Supervisors Chair at Large Phyllis J. Randall said. “A diverse and resilient economy is essential to building desirable places to live, work, learn and play. I couldn’t be prouder of the Loudoun Economic Development team and the collaborative work they do to strengthen our community.”
Signature projects for FY21 included the retention of the Raytheon Technologies’ Intelligence & Space campus; the announcement of 3,000 new jobs for United Airlines; the successful attraction of international startup Zasti Inc.; the addition of Virginia’s first farm brewery, distillery and restaurant at Flying Ace Farm; and the relocation of commercial kitchen and food business incubator Frontier Kitchen to Loudoun.
“I’m extremely proud of the work that our Department of Economic Development has done to establish itself as one of the premier agencies in the nation, and I’m glad that our team is receiving the recognition they deserve,” said Supervisor Matt Letourneau (Dulles), Chairman of the Board’s Finance, Government Operations and Economic Development Committee. “Loudoun County continues to lead, thanks to our highly-educated workforce, proximity to the nation’s Capital, connectivity to the world through Dulles International Airport, and investments in infrastructure. With Metro’s Silver Line coming to Loudoun in 2022 and the focused efforts of our team to diversify our economy and leverage our position as one of the top technology hubs in the world, I’m just as optimistic about the future.”
In addition to continuing many successful services, Loudoun Economic Development also launched the following programs during FY21:
- Work In Loudoun: This comprehensive workforce development program provides resources to regional employees and jobseekers, current Loudoun businesses, and businesses that are considering investing in Loudoun County.
- Regional Minority-Owned Business Report: Loudoun Economic Development was proud to partner with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, Northern Virginia Regional Commission, and its neighboring counterparts to compile data and recommendations for best serving the minority-owned business community in the aftermath of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Business Relief Grants: Loudoun dedicated nearly $8 million to COVID-19 business relief in FY21, including $7.6 million for the Business Interruption Fund and $250,000 for the Outdoor Seating Grant. Over the last two years, Loudoun disbursed nearly $12 million to 2,000 businesses.
- FireUp Business Mentor and Coaching Program: Loudoun sponsored 15 entrepreneurs for the 12-week program operated by Ureeka, an inclusive online community of entrepreneurs providing resources that are tailored to female and minority-owned small businesses.
- International Data Center Day Celebration: Loudoun is home to the world’s largest concentration of data centers, and Loudoun Economic Development partnered with the Data Center Coalition and 7×24 Exchange DC to celebrate Data Center Alley with a week of education, collaboration and community service programming.
“Loudoun has had record economic years before, and we never take that success for granted. But what made this year award-winning is the measurable impact on workers and small businesses, as well as the inclusion of women-, veteran- and minority-owned businesses,” Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet said. “These new programs addressed feedback from the community, were marketed to diverse audiences, and are built to deliver on our promise of an equitable economic future in Loudoun County, Va.”
To learn more about Loudoun Economic Development’s award-winning year, please download the department’s annual report at Biz.Loudoun.Gov/AnnualReport.