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Getting to Know...

Jackie Taylor

Great Falls resident Jackie Taylor was recently elected as the new president of the Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA). The GFCA Executive Board meets the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Old School house. The next GFCA Board meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 1. GFCA General Membership meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Falls Grange from September through June. The next general meeting is Sept. 12, and the key topic will be coordinated by the GFCA environment committee.

Number of years in the community. 22 years –– moved here in November 1984.

Family. Chuck Taylor is my husband. I have a married daughter, Christine King, who lives in Silver Spring, Md.; three grandchildren: Michelle, Bobby and Nicole (Bobby is deceased)...they all attended schools in Great Falls and McLean for a number of years; one newborn great-granddaughter from my granddaughter, Michelle, now living in Florida.

Education. B.S. University of Maryland. Worked my way through college, including housing, and graduated with honors. After college I continued taking some graduate courses and then professional courses including professional selling skills courses. I believe that education should never end. My husband and I continue to take courses at Smithsonian, watch video courses from the Learning Company and usually have an audio-taped course working in the car.

Current job/primary occupation. Retired from a 30-year computer and software sales career since 2002. After teaching PE and Mechanical Drawing for three years in Montgomery County high schools, I went to IBM and became a Sales Representative. After four years at IBM, I started my own company to broker used IBM equipment through third party leases. After four years, and because the interest rates were sky high in early 1980s, I got a job at Applied Data Research selling system software. ADR was the first company to patent and license software for major computers. For 20 years I was in sales at software companies including Oracle and Siebel Systems, from which I retired. The stock options were an important factor in being able to retire early.

Achievements. I am pretty goal oriented. Various personal achievements through life included honor societies in high school and college; student council president; Miss Clinton/Honorary Fire Chief; Top Rookie recognition at IBM; #1 sales rep at ADR last 2 years; consistent quota achiever and frequent top performer recognition throughout sales career… However, to me the greatest achievement is in being with and married to my best friend for 24 years and living a life I love.

Activities/interests/hobbies. Travel would have to be at the top of the list. When we travel around a theme, we spend a lot of time planning and taking courses beforehand so we can maximize the experience. So far this year we went to St. Martin for New Year's, Italy (Florence and Venice) to study Renaissance Art, Belize for scuba, Germany and Austria (Salzburg and Vienna) to see Mozart events and the art museums (plus see the Rolling Stones in Munich). We love to walk to the river or around the trails on our 10+ wooded acres with the dogs. I love to spend time with my daughter and granddaughters. We have annual subscriptions at the Kennedy Center for a National Symphony Orchestra Series and have recently added an Opera Series. We frequently take and enjoy courses through the Resident Associate Program at the Smithsonian. We also enjoy hosting dinners (Chuck is a very good cook) and/or eating out with friends. At our lake place on Lake Gaston, N.C., we entertain family and close friends plus host a family reunion for 30-40 relatives every summer.

Favorite local restaurant or place in the community. Chez Francois. For celebrating our anniversaries, Valentines, some birthdays and just for the periodic romantic dinner. The outdoor tables are our favorite when the weather permits. When Jacques Herringer spoke at a Smithsonian course called "Seafood Glorios," we learned how they manage to serve incredibly fresh seafood.

What are your community concerns? What are some ideas you have on ways to improve your community? I love that Great Falls is still comparatively low density considering the proximity to D.C. With no townhouses and apartments, it seems less transient and safer than any other community in the D.C. area. At GFCA, we are working to preserve that low density character. There persists a concern that if sewer and water come in, the zoning will change to support development of much more density including multi-family housing. Considering the non-human residents of Great Falls — our co-habitant wildlife is getting pushed out and displaced or cut off in some areas as we continue the inevitable development of the remaining large land tracts. It is important to maintain corridors of wooded land for their movement from one area to another. This will be a primary focus of the Environment committee this year. Also, maintaining wildlife habitat and a healthy Chesapeake Bay Watershed is important to me. That's why I believe the current project to certify Great Falls as a Wildlife Habitat Community by the National Wildlife Foundation is so important. Trails are another big issue and opportunity to make a difference. The one thing that I would ding Great Falls for, today and since we moved here in 1984, is the streets are not safe to walk, jog, or ride bikes or horses. Great Falls Trails is an organization that is working to get the easements and funding to make trails happen. I would love to see a great community awareness and participation on getting trails established so people could get to the town center and parks safely from the various neighborhoods. Currently there is a large federal grant for a trail along part of Georgetown Pike that Great Falls needs to "use or lose."

What community "hidden treasure" do you think more people should know about? I always believed that if I had known about that walk along the river, I wouldn't have been able to negotiate such a low price on our house. We can walk down a lane and then a path through Fairfax regional parkland and get to the river. There is a path along the river that goes all the way to Riverbend Park and then to Great Falls Park. Since we see so few people during our walks, I think that it may be a "hidden treasure."

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you "grew up?" I wanted to explore the whole world. I am still doing that and still have so much to see.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? By 5 years from now, my husband will be retired and we will be traveling about 50 percent of the time. The rest of the time we will be enjoying our friendships in the area and taking courses at Smithsonian and other sources to prepare for the next trips. Always, we will be doing Kennedy Center concerts, operas and ballets. I'll continue to participate in the community but be limited by the travel schedule.

Personal goals? See as much of the world as I can; have a positive impact on the people I am around; continue learning.