In the 40 years since, Loudoun County has welcomed thousands of businesses to the community, from farm businesses and home-grown startups to multinational corporations.
Loudoun Economic Development has played a leading role in those efforts, attracting tens of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars in commercial investment.
Within those businesses are millions of stories and moments that have shaped the course of Loudoun County. Here are 40 of the most impactful Loudoun business moments between 1979-2019:
The 1979 purchase of the Fort Evans site paved the way for continued expansion in the region. A second building, constructed in 2001, provides office and conference space for five local businesses in addition to a REHAU showroom. The modern office campus is a strategic part of American history and also of the global trajectory of REHAU. Fort Evans was constructed on top of a hill that provided a great vantage point of a strategic Potomac River crossing and played a key role in the Civil War Battle of Ball’s Bluff.
With the growth of Dulles International Airport and the commercial development happening alongside the airport access road, the Virginia Department of Transportation elected to make Rt. 267 a limited-access toll road that opened in 1984. Today, it is an eight-lane, 16.15-mile toll road that runs on either side of the airport access road (toll-free) and the new D.C. Metrorail Silver Line extension to Loudoun County.
The vineyards at Willowcroft date back to the early part of the modern viticulture era of Virginia. They were planted at a time when advisors from the Virginia Extension Service still considered growing European varieties to be very risky business indeed. The first vines were planted in 1980, Those first vines died and were replanted the following year. The second planting survived. Many of those vines grow to this day, and you can see them in the home vineyard.
The center was created in 1984 through a gift from the late Marion duPont Scott, the donation of 200 acres of land at Morven Park from the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation, and contributions from the private sector for equipment purchases. Located in the heart of Virginia’s horse country, it has since become a premier, full-service equine hospital that offers comprehensive specialty care, 24-hour emergency treatment, and diagnostic services for all ages and breeds of horses.
What was once the summer estate of American statesman John Janney has transformed into one of the best places to live, work and play in the U.S., according to rankings from MONEY and Realtor.com. Home to some of the best schools, the Washington Football Team and the largest data center hub in the world, Ashburn will celebrate the arrival of D.C. Metrorail in 2020.
A national ideas competition, backed by a $100,000 grant, was held in 1985 to generate concepts for a new building type. Perception of the building from the air was considered in the design due to proximity to Dulles International Airport. The design of the complex is comprised of an office tower, research building, auditorium, conference center and cafeteria totaling 150,000 square feet with a 430 car secure parking garage beneath the complex.
United first designated the airport as a hub in May 1986. At the time, United offered an average of 58 daily departures to 24 destinations. Today, United operates more than 200 daily departures to 83 destinations.
Old Dominion Brewing was founded in 1989 in Loudoun, kicking off a craft beer legacy in the county. Considering the location and the historical significance of being one of the first breweries in Washington, D.C., the name Old Dominion seemed fitting for the new brewery. The whitetail deer was selected for the brewery’s symbol to represent Virginia’s most noted species of wildlife, and to stand for Old Dominion Brewing’s values of purity and pride.
Starting out focused on limousine service with just five vehicles in 1990, Reston Limo has blossomed into a $26 million company with more than 240 sedans, SUVs, vans, buses, and yes—still a few limousines. Reston Limo employs more people than any other executive transportation service in the D.C. region, hiring an additional 120 drivers since January. It is also among the largest in total revenue.
In 1991, it opened a science and technology campus in Loudoun County through a gift of 50 acres from Charles E. Smith Construction Companies. The campus now encompasses 100 acres, and is home to more than 20 degree and certificate programs and 17 research labs, centers and institutes.
Set on 476 lush acres along the banks of the Potomac River, Lansdowne Resort and Spa was originally opened in 1991. Lansdowne features 296 newly renovated guest rooms including 14 suites, four restaurants, 55,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space, 45 holes of championship golf, water sports, tennis and the 12,000 sq. ft. Spa Minérale.
Months after winning the third Super Bowl in franchise history, the Washington Football Team relocated the team’s corporate headquarters and team practice facilities to a 162-acre facility in Ashburn. At the time, the facility was 65,000 square feet, and has since added an indoor practice field, office space and state-of-the-art training space.
After generating $195 million in 1993, Orbital Sciences Corporation relocated its headquarters to Dulles. The company’s fundamental goal is to make space more accessible and useful through highly affordable small space systems that incorporate innovative designs and advanced technologies to reduce the cost of using space.
The Leesburg Farmers Market started in the Spring of 1994 and became a year-round market in October 2006. The market expanded to four other seasonal locations around the county, providing consumers with “producer only” products, meaning that all vendors must produce what they sell, within 125 miles of Loudoun County.
Construction on the six-lane, 14-mile, $350 million road between Leesburg and Dulles Airport began in September 1993 and opened two years later. The Dulles Greenway was the first toll highway in the U.S. to be developed under a long-term design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) public-private partnership.
In mid-1996, AOL moved to 22000 AOL Way in Dulles, to provide room for future growth. AOL’s influence is still felt today, thanks to the valuable tech talent it attracted to Loudoun and the estimated 4,000 employee millionaires that it helped create before the dot-com bubble burst, creating a generation of entrepreneurs.
The main terminal was extended in 1996 to the present 1,240 feet—Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen’s original design length—which was slightly more than double its originally constructed length of 600 feet.
Telos Corporation is a cybersecurity company that relocated to Ashburn in 1996. The company’s name is derived from the Greek word for “purpose” or “goal”. Telos primarily serves government and enterprise clients, receiving a large number of its contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense.
In 1996, rapid-growth Internet infrastructure company UUNET was acquired by telecom service provider MFS Communications Company, Inc., which was bought by WorldCom, Inc. later in the year. In 1998, WorldCom acquired MCI for $37 billion, creating one of biggest telecom giants in the world, based right here in Loudoun.
The Metropolitan Area Exchange-East point, part of the MCI Internet Exchange, was founded in Vienna, Virginia, in the early 1990s. Thanks to the presence of AOL and other ISPs in Loudoun County, half of the world’s traffic passed through it by 1997 and it was relocated to Loudoun in 1998.
In 2000, Giesecke+Devrient established its North American headquarters in Dulles, marking one of the first international business forays into the county. G+D is a global leader in digital identity solutions. Their products are used by banks, mobile network operators, car and mobile device manufacturers, business enterprises, transit authorities and health insurances and their customers every day.
In 2000, Dupont Fabros purchased a 138-acre tract of land in Ashburn that would become Ashburn Corporate Center (ACC), its flagship data center campus. The company opened its first facility, designated as ACC2, on the campus in 2001, with completed the build-out by 2005.
Eric Major launched K2M Inc. out of his garage in Loudoun in 2004, using his years of selling medical equipment to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. Major launched K2M knowing that he would have to compete with the likes of Johnson & Johnson. The 2018 acquisition by Stryker Corp. made Loudoun home to Stryker’s Spinal Division.
What was then known as the Janelia Farm Research Campus, a scientific research campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, opened in Ashburn in October 2006. The campus is known for cutting-edge scientific research and modern architecture, and attracts research talent from around the world.
Envisioned as “Loudoun’s new downtown,” the mixed-use development at the intersection of Rt. 7 and Loudoun County Parkway has grown into a hotbed for retail, culture, entertainment, restaurants, housing, and Class-A office space. The development has become a model for what mixed-use amenities can provide.
Aaron Higbee and Rhoyt Belani used to teach Ultimate Hacking courses. In 2007 they started a company called PhishMe in Higbee’s house. In 2018, they were acquired by a private equity consortium for $400 million, moved into a larger Loudoun office, and rebranded as Cofense.
In 2009, Raytheon purchased a large portion of the former AOL campus, moving much of its Intelligence, Information and Services division to Loudoun County. Four years later, Raytheon chose to consolidate all Intel, Info and Services offices to its Dulles location.
Scott and Becky Harris started Loudoun’s first post-Prohibition distillery during the heart of the recession, with funding from personal finances, an SBA loan, and help from neighbors and friends in the community. Now sold in 26 U.S. states and in Europe and Asia, Catoctin Creek has won the most awards of any whiskey made in Virginia.
AeroTrain at Dulles International Airportoffers automated trains to move passengers between the Terminal and the midfield gates for domestic and international departing flights and domestic arriving flights. Train rides are less than two minutes between stations, reach speeds of 42 mph, and can be expanded to two full loops as the airport grows.
The Mason Enterprise Center incubator is an entrepreneurship program of George Mason University designed to foster innovative startups and the growth of emerging, scalable companies. The MEC-Leesburg provides office and meeting space, business services and training, in a shared-cost, peer-to-peer environment.
A 2012 vote by the Board of Supervisors cleared the way for approval and funding for the second phase of D.C. Metrorail’s Silver Line extension. The extension, which when finished will connect Ashburn to Dulles International Airport and the D.C. region beyond, is expected to be an economic development game-changer for the county.
Cuisine Solutions’ processing facility in Virginia was the first sous-vide operation in the U.S. Today, Cuisine Solutions supplies sous vide cuisine to fine restaurants, premier hotels, first-class airlines and cruise lines, the military, and passionate home chefs. After decades in business, the company has never had to recall any products.
By voting to approve a new farm brewery ordinance, officials in Loudoun County have opened the taps to become a leader in Virginia’s growing craft beer movement. Loudoun is the first county in the state to pass local legislation incorporating state code that permits farm breweries on agricultural land where ingredients used in the beer are grown on the farm.
AOL, which had since moved its headquarters to New York City but still has a large workforce, real estate and infrastructure investment in Loudoun, was acquired by telecom giant Verizon, which also had a large existing presence in the county. The deal was reportedly worth $4.4 billion.
Since opening in 2013, the 168-room resort has also been a major contributor to the town’s general fund revenues. In the resort’s first year of business, the town’s occupancy tax revenue increased by six times, from $41,000 in 2013 to $248,000 the next year.
The 10,000-square-foot Lucketts Mill & HopWorks processing facility can process hops grown in Loudoun County and the surrounding region, key for Loudoun’s farming and the craft brewing industries. The move coincided with Loudoun’s embrace of farm breweries in 2015.
In 2015, Loudoun County, already the world’s fastest-growing data center hub, passed New York as the world’s largest data center hub as well. The data center boom has positively affected Loudoun in many ways, including nearly $1 billion in commercial tax revenue, high-paying jobs, and latency that is attractive to other data-driven businesses.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) headquarters will occupy 445,000 square feet of Class-A office space at American Square at Quantum Park, located at 22001 Loudoun County Parkway, near the Ashburn Silver Line Metro station.
The deal calls for the construction of 40,000 square feet of office space, four full-sized soccer fields, a 5,000-seat stadium that is owned by the county, and the creation of 50 new jobs. As part of the deal, Loudoun is leasing county-owned land at Philip A. Bolen Park in Leesburg, and debt financing $15 million to construct the stadium.