Reston, VA

Colin Mills/File photoAll good things must come to an end. After losing my election for the Reston Association board earlier this month, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what the future holds for me, including my future with RCA.

With our elections just around the corner and the candidate filing period now open, I felt that I owed it to the RCA and to potential candidates to make a decision about my plans.  And after long and careful thought, I announced to the Board at last week’s meeting that I have made the difficult decision not to run for re-election to RCA.

Many factors have gone into this decision. One of the driving factors is the needs of my family. My new wife and my daughter have been very supportive of my work with RCA, but they need and deserve more of my time than I’ve been able to give them.

But perhaps the deciding factor is my belief that it’s time for me to do something different. I have served the community actively for almost a decade, and I have been with RCA for almost all of that time, including the last 3 years as president. I have learned a lot and grown a lot in that time, and now it’s time for me to start a new chapter in my life.

I’m proud of everything that RCA has accomplished under my leadership.  We have raised RCA’s profile tremendously, and made ourselves part of the community conversation again. We have been a strong voice for Reston’s citizens on issues like the Master Plan, transportation, open space, parks and recreation, our library system, and many more. We have forged strong relationship with fellow community organizations like RA, ARCH, Rescue Reston, and others. We have renewed our focus on keeping the citizens informed (one of RCA’s original missions) by hosting and co-sponsoring community forums, producing analytical reports, and starting the new Reston 411 series of quick facts.

Our Reston 2020 Committee has become widely-known and well-respected as an analyst and watchdog on planning and development issues. Terry Maynard’s reports and white papers have become a go-to resource for those who want to understand the community in depth. Our Reston Accessibility Committee has continued to thrive in its mission of improving access to Reston’s facilities for people with disabilities. Their excellent work has earned commendation from Fairfax County, and it has made a real concrete difference at shopping centers, office parks, and buildings all around our community.

Our revived Citizen of the Year Award has grown into a much-loved annual event, and we’ve recognized some very deserving citizens, including Dave Edwards, Nick Brown, Cate Fulkerson, and Kathy Kaplan. We are also in the process of taking primary responsibility for our annual candidate forums, which we have long co-sponsored with John Lovaas and Reston Impact.

In short, I believe that I am leaving RCA in a very good place.

That very good place includes the state of our Board. Right now, we have the strongest Board that I have worked with in my time with RCA. Our Board is diverse in age, background, experience, and length of Reston residency, but we’re united in our strong desire to serve the people of Reston. Every one of our Board members has contributed to our success.  Our continuing Board members are ready to lead, and they have indicated that they are ready to step up. One of the reasons I feel comfortable stepping aside now is that I’m confident that the Board is ready to carry on our good work without my involvement.

Just to be clear, my time isn’t quite up yet. My term doesn’t expire until the summer, and I will continue to work hard for RCA and for Reston’s citizens until then. I will be leading our upcoming meetings and continuing to develop the projects and issues already in progress. And I will work with the incoming President and the new Board to ensure a smooth transition and make sure that RCA is positioned to keep growing into the future.

Rest assured that I’m not going away, either. I love Reston, and I intend to continue serving the community actively.  You’ll still see me at meetings (although not as often, I hope!), and I’ll still be seeking ways to help Reston address the opportunities and challenges that await us in the future. I’m currently in the process of planning my next chapter, but I look forward to sharing it with you all.

Leading RCA has been an honor and a privilege. I have really enjoyed getting to know my fellow Restonians better, both our leaders and the ordinary citizens that make our community special. And I have enjoyed sharing the news about our accomplishments and progress here in this space. Whatever the future holds for RCA and for me, I’ll always be able to look back on this time with pride, knowing that we helped make Reston a better place. I look forward to seeing you out and about in Reston.

Want to step up and help RCA write its next chapter?  Now’s the time to file your candidate form!  Click here to download the application.  Deadline for submission is May 23rd.

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

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