Tuesday, February 28, 2012

UVA and Virginia Tech Alumni Associations Career Fairs, DC Jobs - Feb 29 and March 6 2012

Two great Northern Virginia and DC Jobs events coming up in the next week - the UVA Club of Washington DC's 6th Annual Career Fair, and the National Capital Region’s Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association's 21st Annual Job Fair.

The UVA alumni-only job fair takes place tomorrow, Wednesday February 29, 5 - 8 p.m. at the National Rural Electric Co-op Assoc. (4301 Wilson Boulevard Arlington, VA 22203). A full list of companies attending is available on the website.

The Virginia Tech job fair (Tuesday, March 6th 2012) is conveniently located in Falls Church VA adjacent to the West Falls Church Metro station - because of limited parking it's suggested that participants use the Metro for transportation (orange line). The Job Fair is not just for VA tech alumni but is free and open to the public. More than 80 businesses from the DC Metro Area will be in attendance looking to fill numerous positions within their companies. The opportunities range from internships and entry-level jobs to more senior level positions as well.

To attend, interested participants (applicants and hiring companies) must log on to http://www.dchokies.org and register for an available entrance time and also to submit their resume. It is highly recommended that you submit your resume online in order to reach all hiring companies. Some companies will be viewing these resumes before and after the event and companies that were unable to staff the event have registered to view resumes online.

The DC VA Tech Alumni Association expects a record turnout this year and had more than 1,500 candidates last year. There are a limited number of spots for companies interested in hosting a table onsite at the job fair but also an unlimited number of spots available for companies interested in viewing all of the resumes from the event.

A list of attending companies can also be found on the National Captial Region Virginia Tech Alumni website. The list includes many large and small companies from the area, including Deloitte, AT&T, Hazen and Sawyer, PC, Liberty Mutual, Freddie Mac, Cvent, Rackspace Hosting and many others with immediate openings to fill.

The National Capital Region Virginia Tech Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization that supports local Virginia Tech Alumni with events and fundraising throughout the year. Any monies raised at these events goes to support the NCR Alumni Association’s scholarship fund. Over the past 10 years, through the hard work of local Virginia Tech Alumni, they have raised more than $250,000 in scholarship money for Virginia Tech students. For more information visit http://www.dchokies.org or contact Elysa Leonard, 571-426-5145.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mercer-Lunsford Basketball 2011-2012 Season Winding Down

The Loudoun County Mercer-Lunsford recreational basketball league, in the Dulles South area of the county, winds down with playoffs starting this weekend....another great year, lots of new skills and friends, and all around great play and effort by the boys and girls, coaches, league volunteers and staff!

The 5th-6th grade "Hotshots" pictured below, hustling on the court, and enjoying a season-end get together...


Saturday, February 04, 2012

Loudoun Cultural & Arts District - The Business of Art in Economic Development

Yesterday's Loudoun Economic Development Commission meeting was full of interesting items relating to the business of promoting, revitalizing and expanding Loudoun County's economic base - including recent "Beta" launch of the New Department of Economic Development Brand and Website (try it out, provide feedback!), plus an announcement by the Chamber of their new "Rail to Loudoun" website initiative soon to come.

One of the more compelling and integrated-community initiatives was the discussion about whether Loudoun should implement an "Arts and Culture District" to support the Leesburg District. The relationship between economic development and a strong arts and culture environment is indisputable - as was put "the more businesses that are attracted and retained in the area, the more the arts and cultural district will flourish, thereby creating more foot traffic and revenue for the Town and County."

Multiple examples nearby abound of this collaborative, integrated relationship between the local goverment, business and arts communities - in Charlottesville, Staunton, Manassas, Falls Church, Reston and Frederick MD.

A discrete incentive to businesses and organizations to support a Loudoun County-wide district designation, including the current Leesburg arts district, is the additional BPOL (Business, Professional & Occupational) tax rebates suggested...currently Leesburg BPOL rebates are available to "qualified organanizations" (as amended via Chapter 7 of the Leesburg Town Code last year) - the additional BPOL rebates available to local businesses if a Loudoun County district were designated would be more than 3 times greater.

While quite obviously the business case and community benefit are sound, proven and in coordinated support of most county economic development interests - here are two additional suggestions.

First, it might be helpful to expand or enhance the definition of "qualified organizations", to also include (as the Leesburg definition currently does not) many more investments in assets or activities by any organization in Loudoun arts and culture that result in Loudoun tax revenue...including, for example, businesses that showcase local art (whether physically or virtually, on the Internet), that advertise and support local music events, and that actually create or support new cultural-driven revenue opportunities - including online, home-based businesses. Lots more thought needed here, including how exactly to audit and report on these qualifications - but it certainly opens the incentive to a far greater pool of possible supporters and contributors.

Second, the "thereby creating more foot traffic" comment above as supporting the business case should be updated to "thereby creating more foot and Internet traffic". The Loudoun Arts Council 2010-2012 Strategic Plan suggests as much, with a key objective to "Increase traffic to the LAC website and Loudoun Arts Directory Blog". So do the recent and current Loudoun DED/EDC objectives, i.e. support many more initiatives to improve and increase online promotion and results from Internet traffic. (Check our blog last year on this subject, and its intersection with the "Pink Line Project" initiative in DC).

A place to start would be more online coordination and integration between the business community and organizations focused on economic development, and the arts and cultural community. This intersection is obviously happening offline, as evidenced by this particular EDC meeting (of approximately 50 people), but what about harnessing and coordinating the tens of thousands of online visitors, followers, fans, and "+1"-ers of the various websites, blogs, Facebook/Twitter/Google/LinkedIn pages etc. of both the Loudoun business and arts communities?

The first step would be to "Share the Message" and "Support the Messengers", so to speak, across social media - as this post is doing (please share!). Note that we're not really covering the Loudoun Convention and Visitor's Association (LCVA) social media initiatives in this roundup, as they're already connected at the hip to the DED/EDC initiatives and obviously doing a lot right online to promote this community.

LinkedIn is a bit underutilized right now; with only 100 "arts and culture" members spread across the following groups:

- Loudoun Arts Boosters/Loudoun Arts Group Exchange - (14 members)
- Loudoun Arts Council Page (74 members)
- Friends of Franklin Park Arts Center (4 members)
- Leesburg Economic Development Commission (6 members)

(Compare with the Loudoun Chamber, "Loudoun" and Loudoun Economic Development Goups, together including over 1000 members)

Twitter is also a bit under-represented; only the Loudoun Arts Council andFranklin Parks Art Center somewhat active with 478 and 337 followers respectively. (Compare with over 3000 followers of the Chamber, EDC and "Loudoun" Twitter profiles).

Facebook is much more active, with over 5000 "friends and supporters" spread across the following groups, profiles and pages (Facebook activity of the Chamber, EDC and "Loudoun" pages is less):

- Loudoun Arts Council Group (61 members)
- Loudoun Arts Council Page (114 likes)
- Loudoun Arts Council Profile (1131 friends)
- ArtSquare Facebook Page (510 likes)
- Leesburg First Friday Page (1391 likes)
- Franklin Park Arts Center (2242 friends, page has 76 likes)

Youtube channels, Google+ profiles, Pinterest, Flickr and other social media channels are used by these various organizations as well, but with far fewer active followers. (Note to the Arts Community - someone really needs to start a Pinterest Board with art community postings).

In terms of websites, the Loudoun arts community and their supporters is quite strong, with most sites having a Google Page Ranking of 3 or 4 - this means that information posted on these sites is frequently found via searches or linked from other sites. This also means that this network of sites and associated social media channels can very quickly generate a lot of online interest and support - simply by posting regular news and messaging together about similar topics. However, the sites are very inconsistent with their utilization of common SEO tactics, availability of RSS feeds to subscribe to or amplify news, and use of all social media channels.

Here are some:

- Loudoun Arts Council (LAC) (PR=4)
- Loudoun Arts Academy (PR=3)
- Visit Loudoun (PR=4)
- Leesburg Arts and Music (PR=3)
- Leesburg First Friday (PR=3)
- Leesburg Public Art Commission
- Loudoun Times Arts Directory (PR=4)
- Franklin Parks Arts Center (PR=4)
- VSA Arts of Loudoun County (PR=2)
- Round Hill Arts Center (PR=3)
- NOVA Brewfest (PR=4; just had to throw this in, here in DC's Beer Country!)

So - get involved online, support the websites and social media channels listed above, and share your support for this intersection of interests and initiatives between Loudoun's Businesses, Economic Development Groups and the Arts & Culture Community.