Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is Friday, two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454. This free listing is reserved for activities and events that are open to the public at no or minimal cost.

Benchmark Hospitality International has announced the appointment of Tom Manno as managing director for Lansdowne Resort, the luxury property located in Lansdowne.

A veteran hotelier with nearly three decades of marketing and operational experience, Manno was most recently corporate senior director of sales and operations for Regent International Hotels, where he was responsible for the preopening of hotels and resorts in the eastern United States, Europe and Asia. In this role he was active in the rebranding process for Regent's cruise line and hotels worldwide.

Manno previously served in the leadership role of vice president and general manager for the signature Doral Golf Resort & Spa of Miami, where for several years he led a team that significantly grew revenues each successive year. During this time, Manno also managed the $100 million resort-wide renovation program.

Manno has served as area manager for Westin Innisbrook Resort of Tampa, as general manager for The Ritz-Carlton of St. Louis, and as vice president and managing director of the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He was the executive vice president at The Biltmore Hotel Company and its subsidiary, the American Travel Academy, and served as executive director for the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce is holding the following events:

* Mixer, "Catch the Olympic Spirit," Thursday, Feb. 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at JJ's Deli at 909 Ferndale Drive. Includes games and prizes in a mini Olympic trivia competition. Fees: $10 for chamber members; $15 for nonmembers. Register in advance online at the Events page of or by e-mailing or by calling 571-323-5300.

* Workshop for Sales Professionals, "Closing the Deal,"

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7:30-11 a.m., at Holiday Inn Executive Conference & Training Center, 22685 Holiday Park Drive, Suite 60, Dulles. Presented by Taiesha Thaxton, director of sales, Lansdowne Resort and Conference Center. $60 fee covers workshop and continental breakfast. Register in advance online at the Events page of or by e-mailing or by calling 571-323-5300.

* Networking Breakfast and Program, Thursday, Feb. 23, 7:45-9:30 a.m., at Holiday Inn Select-Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly. Topic: Communications/Listening Skills. Rates: $20 members who prepay by 5 p.m., Feb. 21; otherwise $25 at the door; $30 for nonmembers. All are welcome. Register online at or by calling 571-323-5300, or e-mailing

Loudoun Chamber of Commerce has the following upcoming events:

* Feb. 16, Business After Hours Mixer, 5:30-7 p.m., Middleburg Bank, 211 Fort Evans Road, N.E., Leesburg. Cost: $5 for members; $10 for nonmembers. RSVP:

* Feb. 22, Work-Life Balance Seminar, 7:30-9 a.m., Holiday Inn Dulles, 1000 Sully Road (Route 28, Exit 9B from Route 267), Dulles. Join the Women in Business Alliance as it hosts its first event of 2006. This seminar provides the tools needed to develop a balance between work and life demands. Presented by Indra Books. Members $15; nonmembers $20. Cost includes breakfast. RSVP to

* March 9, Business Showcase Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., Belmont Country Club, 19961 Belmont manor Lane, Ashburn. Business attire required. Tickets $15 for members in advanced, $20 for members at the door, $25 for nonmembers. Preregister by March 7, at 5 p.m. RSVP to

Local area vendors are invited to the 2005 Loudoun County

Procurement's Buyer/Seller Information Exchange sessions. The purpose of these informal sessions is to give area businesses the opportunity to meet the county's procurement staff and become familiar with the county's procurement process. The next round of sessions are as follows:

* Friday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m.

* Thursday, March 23, 10:30 a.m.

* Friday, April 21, 2 p.m.

* Friday, May 19, 10:30 a.m.

* Thursday, June 22, 2 p.m.

* Monday, July 24, 10:30 a.m.

The sessions will be held in the Lovettsville Room on the first floor of the County Government Center, 1 Harrison St., S.E., in Leesburg. Call 703-771-5142 or send an e-mail to

Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association has the following upcoming events:

* March 30, Annual Meeting and Tourism Awards Luncheon, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at Washington Dulles Airport Marriott. Get the latest industry update and honor fellow tourism award winners. For information regarding sponsoring a table and other sponsorship opportunities, contact Chris Geno at LCVA at or by calling 703-771-2170, Ext. 17.

Provident Bank has launched a corporate-wide initiative and multicultural outreach model aimed at meeting the banking needs of Loudoun CountyÕs growing Hispanic community. Thirteen branches in the greater Washington area, including the Sterling Shoppers Food Warehouse (SFW) branch located at 47100 Community Plaza, will serve as pilot locations for the new initiative and will offer products, services, and community outreach programs targeted specifically toward Hispanics.

A range of services, including a ÒLanguage LineÓ interpreter service, have been put in place to meet the banking needs of Hispanic customers, while also providing them with better accessibility. These resources include acceptance of the Matricula Consular Card, bilingual Spanish ATM options and the ITIN Mortgage product for permanent and non-permanent residents.

Van Metre Companies donated $140,000 to four Loudoun County organizations as part of its 50th anniversary. Van Metre donated $35,000 each to the following programs: Loudoun Community Free Clinic, Loudoun County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management Department, Loudoun County Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department and the Loudoun Youth Initiative.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia and the Anthem Foundation have awarded grants totaling $30,000 to the Loudoun County Free Clinic. The grant allocates $20,000 to be used for cancer screening programs and $10,000 to help support the clinicÕs operational expenses.

Fitness Together, owned and operated by Eric Sutton, a certified personal trainer, is a new personal training studio that offers one-on-one training in private training suites. Located at 44335 Premier Plaza, Suite 130, the studio is the seventh franchise to open in Virginia.

Let's Dish! is opening its second site at Prosperity Center, 705 E. Market St., Leesburg. The store is a make-and-take, meal assembly location that allows customers to prepare meals that can be frozen until ready to be cooked. The first Loudoun location opened in Ashburn in August.

Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC, a registered investment advisory firm, announces that it has merged with Loudoun Investment Advisors LLC. The new company, Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC, will have close to $50 million in assets under management (AUM) and expected this year to surpass $100 million in AUM and growth of more than 100 percent.

The merged companies will have a total of four employees and will move into its headquarters at 19455 Deerfield Ave., Suite 307 in Lansdowne at the end of February.

The Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce announces that it has elevated its Hispanic Business Committee to a "council" level to reflect the importance of its mission, accomplishments, regional impact and important alliances in Northern Virginia. It will be called the Hispanic Business Council.

Since its formation in the spring of 2004, the chamber's Hispanic Business Council has been conducting outreach to the Hispanic business community by collaborating with Loudoun County Small Business Development Center, Liberty's Promise, the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The committee also reached out to the broader Hispanic community through organizing a Hispanic Business Reception, conducting community outreach at the annual Reston Multicultural Festival and the Hispanic Heritage Festival in Herndon, creating a Hispanic Resource Guide and distribution of brochures and flyers about the chamber translated into Spanish, assisting Congressman Frank Wolf's gang prevention efforts through an initiative to link businesses with young people.

The Hispanic Business Council is composed of 24 business members. The officers are Giovanni Cozzarelli, chairman; Ximena Savitch, vice chair and Jackie Krick, secretary. The council reports to Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors officer Chris Griffin, vice president of community relations.

Chuck Kuhn, president of JK Moving & Storage, located in Sterling, announces the companyÕs formal acceptance as a member of Latin American & Caribbean Association of International Movers (LACMA).

For six months, the LACMA Association and Board of Directors conducted an extensive review of JK Moving & StorageÕs international service record and documentation, along with an in-depth review of business operations, financial information, facilities and employees, prior to approving the companyÕs membership application. An association comprised of Latin American and Caribbean international movers, LACMA accounts for more than 90 percent of the moves to and from that region.

The Loudoun Arts Council (LAC) announces that it has developed a new logo to express its mission of supporting artistic expression throughout Loudoun County. LAC introduced its new logo Feb. 1.

Several area designers bid on the logo project. Following an extensive review process, the Arts Council selected SparkyÕs Garage, an award-winning advertising and design firm based in Leesburg.

LAC board member and past president, Gale Waldron, initiated the logo project last spring.

The Loudoun Arts Council is a nonprofit organization that promotes the development of artistic expression throughout Loudoun County by supporting visual, performing and literary artists and arts organizations.

Experienced dog-trainer Annette Scribner of Ashburn is now offering in-home dog training for the entire family to Loudoun and western Fairfax counties. Scribner educates dog lovers using scientifically-proven methods derived from the well-known discoveries of Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner.

Scribner's company, Wag 'n Train, specializes in offering in-home dog training because Scribner believes training is most successful when it involves the entire family, rather than just one person.

Peter Thi Ha and Jona Nila announce the opening of their new restaurant, A Taste of Burma, 126 Edds Lane, in the CountrySide Shopping Center. The pair has more than 17 years experience combined in the restaurant field in the Washington, D.C., area. The restaurant will focus on preparing and cooking authentic Burmese food.

The UPS Store, 44050 Ashburn Shopping Plaza in Ashburn Village, raised more than $3,000 for the Marine Toys-for-Tots Foundation as part of a nationwide campaign conducted in November and December. The money raised locally will benefit children in the Ashburn community and surrounding areas. Overall, The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. network raised more than $500,000.

At the request of Loudoun Board of Supervisors member Lori Waters, the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce was presented on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2006, with a Resolution of Commendation. The Board of Supervisors expressed its appreciation for the chamber's successful efforts in promoting Loudoun County by hosting the Jan. 19 visit by President George W. Bush to JK Moving & Storage in Sterling. The President's visit, leading up to the State of the Union address, highlighted the great benefits of doing business in Loudoun County.

Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce on hand to accept this Resolution, included, COO Bob Steere, second vice chairman of the board Paul Bice, vice president of communications Linda Roberts, past president and CEO Randy Collins and staff members.

This year marks the 85th anniversary of Armfield, Harrison & Thomas Inc. (AH&T), an employee-owned, independent insurance brokerage and consultancy founded in 1921. During the last eight and a half decades, AH&T has experienced constant growth, demonstrated community leadership, pioneered valuable client services and stayed true to its core values, even through world wars, failing national economies and dynamic market trends.

AH&T counts its support of Leesburg, and Loudoun County among its accomplishments. For the last 85 years AH&T has had its headquarters located within the two blocks that mark the heart of downtown Leesburg. It opened an office in Seattle, Wash., in 1999, and adds new employees to both offices monthly, but AH&T remains loyal to Leesburg.

Planned activities this year include a monthly exhibit in AH&TÕs lobby displaying fun and interesting artifacts from its archives, monthly AH&T trivia contests for its employees, and a celebration later in the year.