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Relocation Reflects on County

MCI shows 'long-term commitment' to Loudoun

MCI’s decision to bring its corporate headquarters to Loudoun is "another notch in our brand-name capital," said Larry Rosenstrauch, director of the Department of Economic Development.

"It’s always nice to list Fortune 100 companies," Rosenstrauch said, adding that some of MCI’s suppliers may follow MCI’s relocation from Clinton, Miss. to Loudoun, though the direct impact of the move is too soon to tell.

"It’s like any other big corporation … you not only will have the direct benefit they provide in terms of additional jobs, you also will have other businesses that benefit from them being here," said Loudoun Supervisor William Bogard (R-Sugarland Run).

ON APRIL 14, WorldCom, Inc. filed a proposed corporate reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and announced the headquarters relocation, along with a brand name change to MCI, which WorldCom purchased in 1998. On July 22, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly after revealing an accounting scandal and expects to emerge from bankruptcy in September or October.

"We have been a proud employer in Ashburn. We're proud to make it our corporate headquarters," said Julie Moore, MCI spokesperson located out of the Ashburn campus. "The Washington, D.C. metro area is home to our largest concentration of employees and it's a large technology hub for us, so it really was a natural fit for us to move the headquarters to Ashburn."

WorldCom opened the Ashburn campus, which includes nine office buildings and spans 2 million square feet, in 1999.

"The big news is the fact they are committed to the area in the long term," said Sandy Denham, communications and special project coordinator for the county's Department of Economic Development. "Many of the employees are residents, so it’s good for Loudoun. … They have a highly skilled work force, which is good for our highly educated population."

MCI’S CHAIRMAN and CEO Michael Capellas and most of his leadership team have been working out of the Ashburn campus for several months, Denham said. The team includes Fred Briggs, president of operations and technology, and Wayne Huyard, president of MCI mass markets. The campus has a total of 3,200 employees.

"The company is in the process of adding new employees to its Ashburn campus both in the areas of finance and small business," Moore said, adding that the number of employees and when their move will be made has not been determined.

MCI has already moved employees from the Pentagon City office to the Ashburn campus.

"This is good news for Loudoun County. If it weren’t for us, the Northern Virginia region wouldn’t have gained jobs," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (R-At large).

The Ashburn campus includes office space and operations capabilities, along with 600,000 square feet of unoccupied shell space, Rosenstrauch said.

"Anytime folks locate a national headquarters in the region, one would hope that shows a sign of permanence and dedication to the area," said Supervisor Charles Harris (D-Broad Run).

MCI has local operations in 65 countries worldwide. The company became the first nationwide local phone company in March.