Colin Mills: Welcome To The RCA Board

Colin Mills/File photoRemember a few weeks ago, when I mentioned that RCA planned to fill open seats on the Board? I am happy to report that we received applications from some highly qualified and impressive candidates. At Monday’s Board meeting, we reviewed the applications we received, and interviewed the candidates that applied.

I came away with the same feeling I have when I’m reviewing nominations for Citizen of the Year: I’m really proud of the dedicated and hard-working citizens we have in Reston. I wish we had enough open slots to seat everyone who applied; each candidate has a lot to offer Reston and RCA. But we had only three seats available, and as with Citizen of the Year, we had to make a difficult decision.

But we did make a decision, and we welcomed three new members — Nick Georgas, Yavuz Inanli, and Annmarie Swope — to the Board. I’d like to introduce them here, so you can get to know the people who will be working on your behalf at RCA.

Nick Georgas first learned about Reston when he studied it in college. He was fascinated by what he learned, and he wanted to be part of it himself.  When he found the opportunity to live here, he gladly took it.  I’ve heard some version of this story from many folks who decided to live in Reston. When you combine that with the number of Reston natives (like me) who choose to stay, it’s a testament to the strength of Bob Simon’s vision and what a fascinating and well-planned community we have built together.

Nick is a landscape architect and planner, and he has observed the Fairfax County planning and development process up close.  He followed the discussion over the revised Comprehensive Plan with interest. Like us at RCA, he thought that several parts of the plan could be better from a citizen perspective, most notably the open space that will be provided in the station areas.

RCA has been very involved in land use and planning discussions over the last several years, and Nick allows us to strengthen a strength. We have brilliant analysts like Terry Maynard and Dick Rogers, and plenty of experience on the citizen’s side of the planning process. What we have lacked is engineering expertise and an insider’s view of the process, and Nick helps us out in both areas. I’m really excited to have Nick on board.

Yavuz Inanli has believed in community service throughout his life. He grew up in Cincinnati, where in addition to being a student leader in his high school, he participated in a community coalition that developed award-winning anti-drug workshops. His commitment to service continued in college at Fairleigh Dickinson, where he led an effort to reignite interest and participation in student government.

Yavuz has only lived in Reston for a little over two years, but he’s already developed an attachment to the community and a desire to get involved. He has particular interest in transportation, especially public transit.  A daily transit user himself, Yavuz has been following the discussions of Bikeshare and Silver Line-related bus service changes with great interest. He hopes to help Reston remain a place for people of all incomes, offer a multi-modal transit network, and provide a place for young professionals to start their lives and for families to raise their kids.

One reason Yavuz wants Reston to remain a magnet for young professionals is that he is one. While reviewing the applications, I appreciated how many young people, including both Nick and Yavuz, decided to apply. I’ve talked a lot about the importance of getting young people involved in Reston’s civic activities, and I couldn’t be prouder to see those efforts paying off.

It’s become cliché to say that young people are too busy to get involved in civic activities, or that the young are more interested in saving the world than getting involved in their own backyard. But people like Yavuz and Nick show that’s not true. Plenty of young people are just as dedicated and civic-minded as the pioneer generation of Restonians who built this community. I’m delighted that these two impressive young men decided to get involved with RCA.

Annmarie Swope has lived in Reston for 12 years, and she’s already very active in the community. She is deeply involved with the PTA at Aldrin Elementary, where she has served as co-chair of the Health and Wellness Committee and the After School Program Committee, and where she founded the Business Partnership Committee. She is also a Reston Little League coach.

Annmarie first became interested in RCA during the discussions over the RCC rec center proposal last spring. We’ve been wanting to get her involved with RCA for months, but with all her other activities, she’s had to consider her priorities carefully.  I’m happy to say that she has decided to step up and get involved in RCA!

Annmarie is a longtime marketing and communications professional, and I look forward to her helping RCA communicate more effectively with the community. She is also very interested in Reston’s future development, and she wants Reston’s citizens to have a strong voice in implementing smart long-term change in the community. She is passionate about education, and is currently involved in the discussion over Fairfax County school funding. Her energy and expertise in this area should be a boon to our Education Task Force.

RCA and Reston are blessed to have these three smart, hard-working, and forward-thinking people putting their talents to work for the community.  Annmarie, Yavuz, and Nick bring a variety of skills, interests, and life experiences to the RCA Board. I’m very excited to work with them to help RCA become an even stronger voice for our citizens and our community.

Miss your chance to submit an application? Don’t worry: RCA’s next election is coming up in a few short months. And our committees are always looking for a hand. Drop me a line if you’d like to get involved.

Colin Mills is the president of the Reston Citizens Association. He writes weekly on Reston Now.

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