Friday, January 30, 2009

Herrity vs. Bulova - Fairfax County Supervisor Chairman Vote 2/3

One thing's for sure in this coming Tuesday's special election for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor's Chairman position, there's a lot at stake. On the one hand, there's a massive budget shortfall and prospect of significant cuts in world-class services, education and other amenities of the county. On the other hand, there's some absolute imperatives required to maintain Fairfax county's ability to attract and retain businesses, residents, and other generators of county income. On the other, other hand, it's time to be seriously fiscally prudent yet wise in the balance of change needed for financial investment and cuts; expertise, wisdom and non-partisanship that seems to have been in short supply over the past years as Fairfax slipped to its 17% budget shortfall. So, who to vote for, Herrity or Bulova?

Tough choice, but one that needs to be made by as many of those both responsible for participating in the outcome (i.e. business owners, politicians, organizations and consumers), as those responsible for past errors and lack of appropriate wisdom (i.e. business owners, politicians, organizations and consumers). Everybody needs to get out and vote, and vote not from a National perspective, but from a very local and regional perspective.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Loudoun County Dulles South Middle School Site Approval - MS-5

From Dulles District Supervisor Stevens Miller, regarding MS-5 approval -

"Leesburg Today is reporting that, at Tuesday night's meeting, the Loudoun County school board voted to approve acquisition of land for MS-5. The school is now scheduled for opening in the fall of 2011.

I applaud the school board for its speedy location of, review of, and decision to purchase this site, which I personally see as highly desirable for its size, location, and price. Under the new process for site acquisition that allows the board of supervisors to comment early on potential sites, the school board has known from the beginning that no supervisor has raised any objection to this assemblage (known as the "Williamson" and "Bailey" properties) for use in hosting MS-5. At the earliest possible board meeting, I will move to have all administrative and legislative processing of applications related to MS-5 and this site designated for expedited handling.

My thanks to the school board and the land-acquisition staff members of LCPS for their hard work on this purchase. I know that the process of finding a good location for MS-5 has tested their skills and dedication, just has it has tested the patience of parents all over the area MS-5 will serve. But, I believe this resolution proves that everyone involved has shown their commitment to the welfare of the children of the south part of the Dulles district. I also believe that this announcement marks the start of further cooperative efforts between the school board and the board of supervisors, to the benefit of everyone in Loudoun county.

I have invited school board chairman Robert DuPree to join in me in a community meeting, to be scheduled soon, to meet with parents in the MS-5 service area. We'll be eager to discuss the new process that lead to the purchase of this site, how it can be improved, and what's next for schools
in the Dulles district.

Best Wishes,


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Biggest Snow of the Year? Loudoun Schools Closed today?

This morning's WAPO headline "Biggest Snow of the Year" is pretty misleading (the point is, this expected "inch" is all we're probably getting) - but must have certainly helped provoke all the school closings....

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Loudoun Rt. 50 Dulles South Hospital Status - and Dulles South District Swimming

Here's a few Loudoun County news items of note:

Loudoun Hospital in Dulles South on Rt. 50

From the folks at

As you all may know, we are quickly approaching what will be THE LAST PUBLIC HEARING on BRMC!!!! This hearing will be held at 6:30pm at the Government Center on 1 Harrison Street on February 2nd. Then the Board of Supervisors will vote on BRMC on February 3rd.

Please attend the public hearing or send your letter to the Board of Supervisors no later than February 2nd and let them know that we DO NOT want the next Loudoun hospital in Broadlands, and we DO want it on Route 50. More information can be found at our website: Please tell your Loudoun friends and family.

This is YOUR LAST CHANCE to voice your opposition to this plan. Don't count on someone else to do it for you.

Kudos to Dulles South, Freedom High School Swimmers!

Competing against Park View High School last Friday, 1/16 - the Freedom High School Swim Team brok three school records in a single meet...Nick Campbell broke the 500 Free record, and both the Boy's and Girl's Free Relay teams broke records (Nick Campbell, Ian Le, Chris Crampton and Brian Tan - 200 Free Relay, 1:40:50) and (Rachel Moffitt, Allison Gong, Stephanie Clark and Amanda Smith - 400 Free Relay, 4:06:12).

As reported by, "The Potomac Falls High School Girls Swim team and the Broad Run Boys team earned Dulles District Titles on Friday at the Dulles District Championship meet at Claude Moore Recreational Center. The Panthers have now won four consecutive District Titles, while the Spartan boys are on a two-year winning streak. Both teams went undefeated in the regular season."

Per the Loudoun Times, here were the end standings:


  1. Broad Run 355
  2. Potomac Falls 297
  3. Heritage 282
  4. Dominion 268
  5. Freedom 245
  6. Briar Woods 235
  7. Loudoun County 176
  8. Park View 24


  1. Potomac Falls 396
  2. Briar Woods 326
  3. Heritage 311
  4. Freedom 267
  5. Broad Run 198
  6. Park View 149
  7. Loudoun County 145
  8. Dominion 90

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Northern Virginia Home Remodeling - Leesburg Historic District Example

This message just in from a local business providing exception service to Loudoun customers - Architectural Construction Northern Virginia Home Renovation and Construction.

Home Sweet Home...Home Improvement is one of the smartest investments a homeowner can make - and is many times overlooked. Yes there is dust, dirt but the end result will be well worth the inconvenience. With real estate in such turmoil many are choosing to remodel and renovate Northern Virginia homes - their own homes. Give your home a ”facelift” or makeover that provides an updated or new look, while not uprooting your family to a new location (i.e. no need to move!).

Here's a truly inspiring example of a home renovation in the Leesburg Historic district and Great Falls - both the "before" and "after" pictures. The "Miles Carriage House" in Leesburg received a commendation from the Town of Leesburg for outstanding adherence to historical design standards.

Architectural Construction provides home renovation and remodeling services throughout Northern Virginia, including Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties.

leesburg historic home renovation

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Take advantage of your ability to make changes to your home that will enable you and your family to live in a more functional and aesthetically pleasing environment. By making modifications to your existing home, you can actually end up saving money by adding more energy-efficient windows, doors, insulation, appliances and more while still retaining a cost-effective budget. Adding a room, updating a bathroom or extending your kitchen with new state-of-the-art appliances can completely change the look and feel of your home.

Maybe you've always dreamed of living in the New England area. By making some changes to your existing home's outdoor appearance you can have that "New England" style home, without having to move. Adding paint, siding, shingles, stone, stucco, or new windows and doors can make a world of difference to the look and feel of your home - at a fraction of the costs of moving.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Loudoun Business Challenge - Help Stimulate Loudoun's Economy in 2009

Loudoun Businesses – a Challenge to Stimulate Loudoun's Economy in 2009

Here's a sure-fire way that We All, as Loudoun Business Owners, can provide a collective economic stimulus package of our own to Loudoun County – basically for free.

We're challenging all Loudoun Businesses (heck, lets add Western Fairfax and Western Prince William in there too!) to collectively and coordinately promote Loudoun County online, as a great place to visit and/or invest, with your website or blog!

But how, you ask, in a way that truly makes a difference?

Answer: by leveraging professional Internet Marketing and Social Media techniques, in a coordinated fashion.

Following is a summary explanation of why it's necessary, and what you can/should do. Note that this cursory analysis is only a very small part of what should be a holistic Internet Marketing strategy, coordinated across the County government and with its businesses and business partners.

What exactly are people, businesses, organizations or investors searching for in Google (or any search engine online), that Loudoun County is most interested in promoting? You'd think things like great schools, reasonable housing value, business opportunities, educated employees. That's certainly true, but in the online marketing world, these somewhat tacit themes or ideas need to be distilled into more explicit keywords and phrases. What, specifically, should Loudoun County be marketing online in terms of keywords, in order to attract attention and dollars in the form of business and consumer investment?

There isn't an easy, clear answer – but some clues can be found on the Loudoun Department of Economic Development (DED) website. In terms of online marketing maturity (as constructive criticism), however, this site requires some quick attention (for example the "title" of the site's home page is just "home", vs. something like "Loudoun County business investment|economic incentives|business opportunities – Northern Virginia's economic engine!"). The site's "keywords" expressed as "metatags" in the website's computer code include the following words and phrases (along with our brief assessment):

  • Loudoun location (ok, not too bad, one must first be interested in Loudoun to search for this)
  • relocation to Loudoun (ok, the DED's services include help here)
  • relocate business to Loudoun (again, one must first be interested in Loudoun)
  • Loudoun County Economic Development (well, you're here already!)
  • Sheila Johnson (Loudoun's greatest asset?)
  • Larry Rosenstrauch (DED Director)
  • John Wood, Lew Parker, Gerry Rubin, Joe Travez, Mary Porter, Jim Bennett (fine representatives of Loudoun business success, but people might probably first search LinkedIn or Facebook for better information…)
  • DotNetNuke (bleah - some leftover advertising for the website's underlying software – free advertising taxpayers pay for)
  • DNN (same)

We'll also point out the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is eating our lunch in their ability to attract business investment via the Internet – while the reasons are many, and the PR resources available are more numerous and much different, there are certainly very visible differences from an online marketing perspective that could be fixed, quickly and inexpensively. Search for each, for example, in Google – the results are strikingly different, for the first items that come up:

Search for: "Fairfax County Economic Development":

Now search for: "Loudoun County Economic Development":

Here's a Tag Cloud visualization of all the keyword phrases (basically how many of these keywords there are) on the primary DED pages devoted to "Considering a Loudoun Location"? (Not too exciting, is it…)

Look at this cloud from Clear Creek County, Colorado's Ski Vacation Destination (a favorite virtual destination of ours!)...much more attractive (but they've got bigger mountains, after all).

The Loudoun Convention and Visitor's Association seems to have a better handle on the sorts of things that attract investment and investors to Loudoun (wine and horses!) with their keywords (notwithstanding the fact that keywords used in metatags, these days, don't get much play in the search engines anymore) – they include things like:

  • air & space museum
  • bed & breakfast
  • wineries
  • airport
  • equestrian events
  • fine dining
  • shopping
  • steeplechase...etc.

The problem is that people aren't typically searching for these things without qualifiers like "Loudoun", "Northern Virginia", "Metro DC", "Virginia" or even "Mid-Atlantic". (Or "Fairfax" – note it's common practice in online marketing to do things like lure people to click on a link for "Fairfax fine dining", and see a page of nice (eastern) Loudoun restaurants included.) The Loudoun Visitor's association IS getting a bit more active in the circles of social media, with their Twitter (here's ours), Youtube and Blogging presence – but it still lacks the real focus on incentives people are searching for, and cross-fertilization of assets (is Loudoun only about wine? We prefer Loudoun beer).

Over at the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, the online Loudoun-centric promotion with good keywords simply isn't available – the website title is " ", and the keywords (i.e. "about, resources, newsroom", etc.) are without Loudoun or Virginia context. A "keyword-density analysis" of the "2009 Public Policy" paper (which appears to be the best place to find all the reasons why Loudoun should be promoted to be a good place to do business) - reveals the frequency of useful, marketing-centric 2-word phrases (like "Virginia community, public safety, or workforce development") to be less than .1% of the document (the best targets for online marketing and exposure in search engines are greater than 2%).

So, while there's some attention being paid around the Loudoun PR community to attracting online traffic, and hopefully subsequent offline traffic and money, are these efforts working? Well, not so much online...while we can't peer into the actual website traffic reports of the county, we can certainly pretend to be Bavarian business owners flush with cash looking for a place to build a new business near Washington, or, a group of retired Microsoft employees looking for great entertainment near Dulles Airport. In Google, we might search for things like (and we describe the results, in terms of whether Loudoun or Loudoun's businesses are represented):

  • "Loudoun shopping" (is there really good shopping outside of Fairfax?)
    - Page 1 search results: not too bad, but just directories (including ours) and media – where are the businesses?
  • "Northern Virginia business climate" (any news or info on what areas are "friendliest"?)
    - The state of Virginia's well represented, and Fairfax checks in with a good result – but no Loudoun
  • "DC Metro commercial investment properties" (where can we build?)
    - This brings up all the realtors (by far the best marketers of the county)...but didn't see the word Loudoun, however, in the first 5 pages of results
  • "Northern Virginia Building and Construction" (who's going to build it?)
    - Again, no real Loudoun-centric information in the first few pages
  • "Business-friendly neighborhoods near Dulles Airport" (not Brambleton, evidently, if you're building a hospital)
    - Well, Herndon was evidently in the "top 100 places to raise your family" in 2006, Supervisor McGimsey says the County is shaped like a fat "Letter L", and "Dulles is the worst run airport in the United States", according to Bacon’s Rebellion Blog. This topic really deserves a nice article in WAPO.
  • "Loudoun businesses" (who'll be my business partners, suppliers, neighbors?)
    - Only 2 Loudoun businesses come up on the 1st page of results, that's Dulles South Online and Leesburg Today (where's everyone else?) Loudoun's DED did show up.

Therefore, in our nutshell, abbreviated opinion – Loudoun's being ineffectively marketed online to investors and visitors. There are many, many ways to fix this (fairly cheaply), that could take another 100 pages to describe – but here's a way YOU can quickly help YOUR county as a Business Owner, Organization Director or even Home Owner (don't you want your property values back where they were? So you can finally retire to Southern Maryland or Clear Creek County Colorado?).

Here are the first, simplest things to do to help promote Loudoun (besides rooting for the Loudoun Redskins), and thereby promote your own business – do them all, or perhaps just one (contact us if you need help):

1. Put a sentence on your website that includes the words Virginia, DC, business, invest, economy, and Loudoun, plus a superlative. For example "Find us in Loudoun County, the DC metro region’s premier business investment location in Northern Virginia and business-friendly economy". Preferably put this word on your front page.

2. Include a link to your favorite Loudoun business-assistance or promotion entity on your website – either standalone, or embedded in a sentence like the one above. For example, link "premier business investment location in Northern Virginia" to "".

3. Contribute an article, comment, picture, video or other feedback online, wherever you happen to make online contributions – but try to use a sentence like the one above, link back to a Loudoun PR entity, and use keywords like those above (especially "Loudoun" and "business"!). Do this often.

4. Share ideas and input regarding how you feel Loudoun can be better promoted online – here, through your memberships/affiliations with the Loudoun government entities, or otherwise.

5. Include a Loudoun "badge" on your site – while Loudoun doesn't currently have an "official" one (hint-hint, Loudoun DED!) – you can start with our own "unofficial" Loudoun badge.

6. If you want more basic advice, look here for an "Internet Checklist for Starting a Business in Loudoun County".

Let's have a great Loudoun business year, in 2009!

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Friday, January 09, 2009

DC Wine Country - Post Inauguration Tour of Loudoun

Here's a nice alternative to poking around DC after the Inauguration, a historical tour of Loudoun County - from the Loudoun Visitor's Association "DC's Wine Country" Blog...

"Loudoun County, VA is just 25 miles from DC but this month, Loudoun County finds a way to stay connected to the most infuential Inauguration in History. Since its founding in 1757, Loudoun County has experienced first-hand many significant political events and connections. From George Washington traveling along a historic Loudoun road to witnessing the battlefield death of a sitting U.S. Senator, to significant events today, including a rally in October of 2008 by then Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama, Loudoun has witnessed pivotal political and presidential history."

Read more about DC's wine country in Loudoun County...

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Twitter Management for Gateway to Loudoun County

New picture and filtered content now at - for Washington DC Metro, Northern Virginia, Fairfax, Loudoun and Southern Maryland Internet Marketing, SEO and Social media tweeting, check out .

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Loudoun Chamber Helps Revive Redskins Marketing Partnership‏

This just in from the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce:

Heeding the Loudoun County Chamber's call to reconsider and ultimately approve a proposed marketing partnership with the Washington Redskins, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors has formed an Ad Hoc Committee to revisit the proposal and resubmit it to the Board in early 2009.

Last month, the Supervisors rejected a plan to partner with the team to market Loudoun for visitor travel and brand the County as the "Home of the Redskins," gaining valuable exposure before a worldwide audience of Redskins and National Football League fans.

In recognition of the Chamber's leadership to revive this proposal, the Supervisors granted the Chamber an advisory seat on the Ad Hoc Committee, joining four Supervisors and representatives of the Loudoun Economic Development Commission and Loudoun Convention and Visitors Association. The Committee held its first meeting on December 30th, where it was clear the Committee is focused on seeing this innovative marketing partnership approved by a majority of Loudoun's Supervisors.

The Redskins Ad Hoc Committee's next meeting is on Wednesday, January 7th, at 1 p.m., in the Purcellville Room at the Loudoun County Government Center. The public is invited to attend.

If you are interested in seeing this marketing partnership adopted, please contact your representative on the Board of Supervisors. (Names and e-mails listed below). You also may speak directly to the Board by attending a bi-monthly Public Input meeting, next scheduled for Monday, January 5th and 19th at 6:30 p.m. in the County Government Center in Leesburg.

  • This marketing partnership offers Loudoun County a creative opportunity to leverage the worldwide reach of the Washington Redskins and the National Football League.

  • Promoting Loudoun as home to the most valuable sports franchise in the U.S. will generate significant exposure to attract visitor spending and business investment.

  • The county's investment comes from the restricted funds that must be used to market Loudoun as a visitor destination and are generated from non- residents who stay in local hotels.

  • In this time of declining tax revenues and increased budget deficits, Loudoun needs an aggressive marketing strategy to attract visitors and business investment, to expand the commercial tax base and reduce the burden on businesses and residents.

We'll also point out that an "aggressive marketing strategy" won't be complete without significant and unique Loudoun Internet Marketing and Social Media expertise.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Northern Virginia Real Estate Investing - It's Prime Time

It's evidently prime time for Northern Virginia Real Estate Investors to make their moves, according to one of the most experienced Northern Virginia Real Estate Agents - Ingrid Myers, Realtor.

Ingrid speaks to recent trends and buyers she's dealing with, snapping up foreclosures, residential and commercial properties at deals way below any normal standards of market value...along with indicators of pent-up demand by investors flush with unused cash.

So the story is - now's the time to make your move in Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William and other Northern Virginia real estate investment properties - it's a great time to begin some long-deserved, long-term wealth accumulation, and possibly a safer bet right now than the stock market.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Save the Bay with Alpacas?

Couple of interesting, confluent articles in the Washington Post (WAPO) today.

First is the editorial entitled "Failure on the Chesapeake Bay", which very frankly segments the tasks required to clean up the Chesapeak Bay into four main areas - aggressively regulating farm runoff (of nitrogen-based pesticides and livestock waste), enforce maximums on daily loads of wastewater from municipalities and businesses allowed to be pumped into the Bay, limit the catch of oysters and crabs by Watermen, and mandating "green-building" techniques for new commercial and residential construction. While these task seem pretty straightforward and clear, there's a considerable lack of cross-the-board political will to create and enforce the absolute regulations (not negotiations) required.

The second article was about the Southern Maryland (Bushwood) "Moore or Less Farm" (find it at the Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commission farms directory), and Jim Moore's (owner) shift in farming operations away from production of traditional livestock (mostly raised for slaughter) to Alpacas...these llama-like animals are raised for their renewable wool, plus their much-reduced appetite for costly feed. The article further details how many farmers, seeking more profitable returns in the face of declining prices and increasing costs, are turning to greenhouse-grown vegetables, grain, specialty animals like the Alpacas, agri-tourism and jobs off the farm.

These two imperatives, to both "Save the Bay" and "Save the Farms" are inexorably intertwined, it's seemingly clear.

Read more at Patuxent River Online...

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