Reporting from the Dean South Region of Loudoun County
This week in the Loudoun County political circus (bested only in this region by the Debacle known as the DC District Government), the Loudoun Board of Supervisors changed the name of the “District 4” region of Eastern Loudoun County to the “Jennie Dean” District, from the “Dulles District”. At the core of the proposal are some interesting and well-intentioned proposals for highlighting Jennie Dean, a former slave and famed evangelist who founded the Prosperity Baptist Church in the former African-American community of Conklin, next to South Riding on Braddock Road.
Here in the “why fix what’s not broken, and in fact is heading down the road to recovery” column, this extremely parochial and short-sighted decision has some interesting business and local marketing ramifications. The Dulles region is both a locally and internationally-recognized area of economic activity represented by organizations and companies flying its banner – from the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce, to the Dulles Area Association of Realtors, Dulles World Trade Center and Dulles South Public Safety Center, use of “Dulles” in the names of many local hotels, tourism descriptors and businesses is pervasive, durable and successful. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority also works to attract new investment to the “Dulles Business Area”, which they describe as “situated to the immediate east of the Washington Dulles International Airport” - obviously therefore only in Fairfax County.
This decision to remove the label “Dulles” from Loudoun County government interests will likely seriously impair the support of this region’s economic development interests by Loudoun County and its business and marketing-related investments. For example, every mention by the County of significant interest to potential investors in the “Dean” District, loses an opportunity to mention the “Dulles” area – building therefore a volume of information tagged with an unknown moniker, unrelated to all the supporting and linked interests. Every time our taxpayer dollars is spent on advertising Loudoun County investments in the “Dean District”, or communicating events and news about the “Dean District”, this dilutes and in fact is competitive to the Return-on-Investment (ROI) we expect from our close business associations with the Dulles Airport and surrounding region.
Therefore, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, every time the word “Dean” replaces the word “Dulles” in official County publications, websites, emails, newspaper and magazine articles – I’d like, say, 5 cents returned to me – the cost of squandered economic opportunity in the form of Loudoun’s withdrawal from participation in and support of regional branding and marketing, especially on the Internet. This means you, incoming Dean District Supervisor. (In fact, incoming Supervisor, please help your Dulles area constituents understand how you propose to extend and enhance the economic vitality of the Dulles region and brand, leveraging the "Dean" label?).
You're welcome, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.