The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce (FCCC) will hold a luncheon June 15, 2010 featuring Bruce Allen, Executive Vice President/General Manager of the Washington Redskins, as the keynote speaker. The FCCC looks to promote and advocate for the businesses located in Fairfax County.
On July 1, the FCCC will bring in a new Chairman, Rich LaFleur, who serves as a Managing Partner at Grant Thornton. LaFleur has served on the board of the FCCC since 1999.
Looking ahead into his term, LaFleur plans to continue the work that the FCCC is already doing.
“We'll continue to focus in three areas and I'll move on to a few things that are new initiatives that we are planning,“ he said.
The three areas focus on thought-leadership groups, industry councils and community-based partnerships.
“We're in the process right now of thinking through the formation of an education foundation,“ LaFleur said. “We were approached by Jack Dale who is the Superintendent of Fairfax County public schools about a month or two ago with the interest in forming a new foundation through which businesses in the county could channel donations and contributions to benefit the needs of Fairfax County public schools.“
The education foundation is likely to operate more as a funding conduit for the time being, according to LaFleur.
“What we've come to find is that a lot of companies like Northrop Grumman, Verizon and others are interested in supporting a foundation like the one that we are putting together right now,“ he said.
Central to the FCCC's work is advocating on behalf of the business community in the area.
“I think it is safe to say that the Fairfax County Chamber, who's tagline is the “˜voice of business in Northern Virginia', sees itself as very much a pro-business advocate on behalf of issues either occurring at the county level or the state level which impacts businesses in Fairfax County,“ LaFleur said.
He also has several new initiatives planned as well including a workforce development study and an initiative around healthcare.
“We think that with the new healthcare legislation that was enacted recently on Capitol Hill most, if not all businesses are wondering what it means to them, what it means to their employee base, and what it means to their healthcare programs,“ LaFleur said. “We've attracted quite a bit of interest particularly from NOVA which is one of our largest healthcare members in the Chamber to help us think through what kind of programming might be appropriate to benefit and again provide thought leadership to the membership base.“
When asked what attracts business to the area, LaFleur said that while each company is likely to evaluate the environment differently, there are several underlying factors.
“We produce a very highly educated workforce and when it comes to some of the technical companies such as a Northrop Grumman and the like they are looking for an environment supported by that kind of educational support, not only at the secondary level but also at the college level,“ he said. “I think over and above that and this is kind of where the Chamber's role comes into play is a vibrant economic community that's supported by an ecosystem of supporting organizations that bring people together to convene to do business more effectively.“