Accolades Leading a group with such a magic

touch led Virginia Business magazine to name Gordon its 2010 Virginia Business Person of the Year and include him in its annual list of 50 Most Influential Virginians. His career accomplishments also

have been recognized by the International Economic Development Council, the Israel Bonds organization, the Catholic University of America and the Virginia Hispanic Chamber. Gordon demurs still when asked to

pick an accomplishment that he’s most proud of — there is no one favorite recruit- ment success that he’ll name. Instead, “the thing I’m most proud of,”

he says, “is having an extraordinary staff.” He ticks off a list of the assets he’s

recruited to his team of more than 40 pro- fessionals, including people with industry- specific knowledge, marketing acumen and focused research skills. “Across the board, they’re very strong because this region is very diverse,” he says. The FCEDA’s reach goes well beyond

the region, of course. “We developed an international foot-

print,” says Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity. In addition to U. S. offices in Tysons and Los Angeles, the authority has locations in Ban- galore, Berlin, London, Seoul and Tel Aviv. Herrity notes that Gordon’s success

is enabled by the strength of the product FCEDA has to offer: diverse demographics, a highly educated workforce, solid schools and comfortable neighborhoods. “Marketing the county is really telling a story,” Gordon explains.

Too pro-Fairfax? It could be argued, as a recent column

in the Washington Business Journal noted, that Gordon has focused intently on selling Fairfax at the expense of promoting the region at large. “I think that’s a fair assess- ment,” Bulova says. Nevertheless, the county board chair-

man notes that: “He has been pro-Fairfax, and that has been his mission. He’s done a terrific job.” Herrity and Cathy Lange, who chairs the FCEDA board, echo that statement. Lange, a partner at Human Capital

Advisors, adds: “His competitive nature is appropriate” for what he has been asked to do. Herrity points to the fact that Gordon

has, in fact, coalesced regional cooperation on issues such as transportation and that the capital investment needed for certain developments in the county meant reaching beyond Fairfax’s boundaries. “You don’t solve that problem locally,” he says. “You have to solve that regionally.” Both county supervisors point out,

too, that Fairfax joined Loudoun County in pitching one Northern Virginia site to Amazon for HQ2. Bulova says that whoever replaces Gor-

don — the search has just begun — will be challenged to broaden FCEDA’s scope toward more regional partnerships.

Teacher and author Gordon has proved himself to be a

dynamo, a man whose activities extend over the bounds of the economic development authority. Beyond the job, he has taught classes at

Catholic University, the University of Mary- land, George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University. He’s dispensed his knowledge on strategic planning and economic development in 13 books. Gordon’s idea of retirement, it seems,

may not be quite as sedate and recreational as most business people who hang up the suit.

His plans include a move to a

Seabrook Island just south of Charleston, S.C., with his wife, Barbara, to be closer to family living in the area. The move will mark a return to Gordon’s old college town. He earned his bachelor’s degree from The Citadel. Gordon also holds a master’s degree from The George Washington University and a doctorate in international economics from Catholic University. Whether he will continue writing

books is an open question. “I think I need to settle in a bit,” he says. He will continue to teach as a fellow

at the College of Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities. As Gordon’s economic development

career comes to a close, the question hangs there: Will Fairfax win the crown- ing jewel of Amazon and will his victory lap be that much sweeter? In any case, Herrity says, Gordon gave

his all. “When it came to winning one for the home team,” the supervisor says, “He won for the home team.”

School of Health Sciences

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This annual publication in May of 2019 will offer a valuable resource on Hampton Roads’ important maritime and international trade community. The publication will focus on the many facets of the Hampton Roads maritime community and the international business activity in the region.

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Advertising Deadlines: Space - 3/15 Material - 3/22 VIRGINIA BUSINESS 33 Published in May 2019


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