IBM Expands Fair Lakes Operations

IBM Expands Fair Lakes Operations

Computer firm adds 1,250 new jobs to its Fair Lakes offices.

IBM will expand its Fair Lakes operations over the next 18 months as it adds 1,250 new jobs to its existing facility. "The hiring has already started," said Andy Kendzie, a spokesperson for IBM.

The new hires are going to help to expand IBM's operations in its Fair Lakes building near the intersection of I-66 and Route 50 at 12902 Federal Systems Park Drive. "They will be primarily working for IBM federal business practice," Kendzie said.

The total number of jobs that might result from this could be even higher, said Gerald Gordon, president of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. "Every job in the primary sector spins off two or three jobs in the secondary economy," he said.

Each of the people filling these jobs will necessitate more jobs and sales in the service sector. "The potential of this 1,250 could be 3,600 jobs," Gordon said.

Additionally, Gordon said that the move puts other corporations on notice that Fairfax County is a good location. "This announcement touts to the world that IBM chose Fairfax County," he said.

THE NEW JOBS, which Kendzie said will have an average salary of more than $90,000, will primarily involve "large-scale, complex software programs" and hardware for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies.

"We are lucky in Virginia to have strong Homeland Security and IT sectors that power our economy," said Ellen Qualls, press secretary for Gov. Mark Warner (D).

A $600,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund was used to help the county in its effort to attract IBM. "These IBM jobs are some of the best for Fairfax County," Qualls said.

The grant was offered because of the competition to lure IBM to Virginia, said Jill Vaughan, communications manager for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. "We were in competition with other states," she said.

Although other states were offering larger incentive packages, Gordon said, Virginia won because IBM appreciates the way the state and local governments are run. "We don't need to buy businesses," he said.

The state money will be used for IBM to train its workers, Gordon said. Fairfax County's matching program will be used to speed up planned improvements along Stringfellow Road.

As the office develops, Kendzie said, they hope to expand their operations to work with other government agencies and large corporations.

While a decision has not been made about the building, Kendzie said that IBM may have to expand its facility in order to accommodate the new workers.

If it does need to expand the building, it may need to include traffic mitigation for the cars these new workers will drive. "We certainly would be looking at adding new infrastructure," Kendzie said.

Currently, 3,043 people are based at the Fair Lakes office, Kendzie said. He noted that many of those people have consulting positions, which means they spend substantial amounts of time working in their clients' offices, not in Fair Lakes. "That should alleviate some concerns about the traffic," Kendzie said.