I am pleased to welcome you to Northern Virginia on behalf of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce (Northern Virginia Chamber) and the regional business community.
The Northern Virginia Chamber is The Voice of Business in Northern Virginia, representing nearly 700 member companies which in total employ more than 500,000 members of our regional community.
While our direct actions are targeted towards our business members, we always have this wonderful community in mind. Our strong economy provides a base on which families may flourish.
Northern Virginia is one of our country’s greatest success stories, and without a thriving business community, we would not have the flourishing retail centers, competitive real estate, or world-class education system that our region proudly boasts. Because of this, Northern Virginia attracts the nation’s leading businesses, including nine Fortune 500 headquarters and 125 Inc. 5000 companies.
Our business community is not only successful in keeping our economy healthy, but also in working to better our community and quality of life. Between 2014 and 2016 the Chamber made more than $60,000 in direct cash donations to nonprofits through the collective power of our members and distributed more than $60,000 in scholarships to family members of our first responders. It is exciting to see companies step up and support the many worthy causes across our region.
The Northern Virginia Chamber advocates for issues that impact businesses, workers, and residents alike, specifically transportation improvements. We are the leading advocate for innovative solutions our region’s connectivity challenges.
The Northern Virginia Chamber was and continues to be a supporter of Metro expansion via the Silver Line and safety improvements system wide. The Chamber was also a long-time supporter of the I-495 HOT Lanes and I-95 Express Lanes. Whether you use these or not, their availability has reduced congestion. Both projects were funded through unique public-private partnerships, bringing together government and business to solve regional transportation issues. We are excited to watch the same public-private solutions be applied to I-66 in the coming years. We were proud to advocate for these improvements in Richmond, and we stand ready to end the gridlock and unlock I-66 in our growing region.
And grow we shall. There is much to look forward to in Northern Virginia. We continue to attract and develop emerging industries, particularly cybersecurity, bioscience, and hospitality. Businesses and academia that have been strongholds in the area are expanding and innovating in their own industries. For example, the new Inova Center for Personalized Health will explore human genomics and George Mason University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship provides students and alumni experiential learning opportunities to create value in the business world.
While Northern Virginia’s economy has grown over the past few decades as compared to other major metropolitan regions, we have trailed over the last five years due to cutbacks in federal spending. In order to regain our region’s standing as a leading economy, we must see the private, academic, nonprofit, and government sectors innovate. Our future growth lies in our ability to cooperate as a region.
If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to visit www.novachamber.org to learn more about what we’re doing to build up the business community and better our region.
I look forward to working with you to ensure Northern Virginia remains a great place to live with support from an exceptional business community.