About 100 business professionals met in Ashburn on Wednesday to network, socialize and get an update on the state of the economy in the Dulles region.
The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce held its Ignite for Growth Mixer at Paul Davis Restoration’s Ashburn location, with guest speakers Colleen Kardasz, assistant director of the county’s department of economic development, and U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10).
Comstock took to the podium first, as she touched on the federal tax bill adopted last month. She talked briefly about how the bill’s provision on family leave, which gives a tax credit to companies that offer at least two weeks of paid family or medical leave for workers who make less than $72,000 annually, is less clear to many companies and workers. “We want to work with our local businesses, make sure they know about all of the things that are out there,” she said.
Comstock said her impetus to attend the session and other business-related meetings in the county is to interact with businesses and workers in a more relaxed setting.
“It’s always been about getting out and meeting a lot of the businesses,” she said. “It’s much easier to talk to people about their businesses and their issues and things in a setting like this.”
Kardasz was on hand to speak in place of Buddy Rizer, the executive director of the county’s economic development department. One of the first topics she brushed on was Amazon’s continued interest in opening a second headquarters—perhaps in Loudoun.
Kardasz also mentioned that in the past three years, the county has seen $10 billion in investments and the creation of more than 10,000 new jobs.
“There is an amazing opportunity in this region to grow,” she said. “This is a very exciting time to be here.”
One of the networkers at the mixer was Kwame Ntiako, a Cox Business employee. He said Kardasz’s mention of Amazon had him eager to get to work to talk with his boss. “Cox would like to be there with fiber,” he said.
The Dulles Chamber was founded in 1959, originally as the Herndon Chamber, to provide business leaders with a forum to develop and share ideas to boost business and community growth in the Dulles region.
The chamber’s Ignite for Growth Property Committee has a central goal to share success stories and showcase urban growth and development through property highlights, educational series, vendor nights out and mixers. Dulles Chamber President and CEO John Boylan said the committee was formed to help advocate commerce, community and communications. He said mixers would be held on a quarterly basis. “It’s getting people together,” he said.