President and CEO of Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce to Leave After Nearly 10 Years

Mark Ingrao, a leader who diversified Reston’s business community and launched new collaborations and programs, plans to leave his position as president and CEO of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce next month.

He plans to leave a few days before what would have been his 10-year anniversary with the chamber. Ingrao will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association. His last day is on June 27 — the chamber’s annual awards luncheon and member meeting.

Ingrao joined the chamber in July 2009 as the chamber struggled with nearly $150,000 in debt, declining membership, and the slowdown following the recession.

With Ingrao at the helm, the chamber’s financial position strengthened, membership increased and a new sponsorship strategy helped the organization position itself as a “collaborative organization and community steward,” according to Charlene Wheeless, the chamber’s chairman.

“Mark led the association to historic milestones, including growing the Chamber from the 13th largest in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area to the 7th largest,” Wheeless said.

She listed his accomplishments as the following:

  • Retired $150K in debt within his first year;
  • Reorganized the staff structure more focused on new members and membership benefits; 
  • Positioned the Chamber as a founding member of the Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership, successfully advocating for our members at the Virginia General Assembly; 
  • Led the Chamber’s Taste of Reston festival to being named the “Best Food Festival in Northern Virginia” by Virginia Living Magazine;
  • Launched the B2G Matchmaking and Expo, which has become the largest event of its kind for government contractors outside the Beltway; and
  • Created Northern Virginia Restaurant Week as a collaboration with other chambers in Northern Virginia

Ingrao says he’s been grateful and honored to serve Reston and its business community, which he has watched grow as the Silver Line comes to the the area.

“The development that has occurred in the last 10 years has been remarkable,” Ingrao said. “Reston is a planned community and it has everything that anyone would want: great housing, great work centers, great community. It doesn’t have to be built out and that’s what makes it unique.”

But that growth is not without challenge, Ingrao cautioned. Although he expects the completion of the Silver Line to reduce the number of Metro riders and commuters coming from Loudoun County, he anticipates managing traffic will be a major challenge for the community.

“I think there will be a lot of discussion about what the old Reston was and what the new Reston will be,” he said. “But the opportunities that are here will continue to grow and perpetuate.”

Ingrao’s successor has not yet been named. A search committee is leading the chamber’s recruitment efforts.

He hopes to continue to adopt a collaborative, transparent and inclusive leadership approach in his new position.

“I’ve been lucky to be here for 10 years,” Ingrao told Reston Now. “I’ve really enjoyed the people and the work that we’ve been able to accomplish. It’s been a great ride.”

 File photo

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Heritage Preservation Review Board Dives into Downtown Legislation — The Town of Herndon’s board will hear public feedback on Comstock’s proposal to develop downtown Herndon. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Herndon Council Chambers Building. [Town of Herndon]

Lunch with the Four Mrs. Hemingways  Hear each of Ernest Hemingway’s four wives tell their story about a man who changed literary history. The performance is set for noon today at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. [Reston Community Center]

Volunteers Needed for Taste of Reston — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce needs to fill more than 300 volunteer positions for the event, which is set for June 14 and 15. Each volunteer gets a free T-shirt and 12 taste tickets. [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

Reston Hospital Center Helps Sterling Teachers Make Their Dream Classroom — The local hospital and Stone Springs Hospital purchased $5,000 in supplies to help teachers at Sterling Middle School afford their dream classroom. [WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Candidates to Discuss Business Issues Next Week

Candidates running for Hunter Mill District Supervisor will discuss their ideas about business issues at a candidate forum next week.

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum on Friday, May 17 from 8-10 a.m. at Cooley Law Offices (11951 Freedom Drive). Candidates vying for the seat vacated by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will touch on issues including budget and taxation, growth and development, transportation, and affordable housing.

Tracy Baynard of McGuireWoods Consulting will moderate the event. After candidates make opening statements, Baynard will ask follow-up questions. No time is allotted to rebut other candidates’ responses.

Questions, which will not be shared in advance with candidates, will be pre-selected by GRCC’s planning committee and can be submitted to [email protected]

Four Democrats are running for Hudgins’ seat: Walter Alcorn, Laurie Dodd, Shyamali Hauth, Parker Messick, and Maggie Parker

Photo by Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce

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Save the Date: Taste of Reston Returns to RTC Next Month

Attention, foodies: Taste of Reston, the largest outdoor food festival in the area, returns to Reston Town Center on June 14 and 15.

Restaurants and community vendors will offer up food samples for the festival, which is produced by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and has been voted “Northern Virginia’s Best Food Festival” by Virginia Living magazine for the last six years. The event also includes live entertainment on three stage, a family fun zone, and a Wine ‘n Dine area. Food vendors will compete for a “Best of Taste” competition as well.

On Friday, June 14, the event takes place from 4-11 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.

The event is free, but tickets are needed to buy food, beer and wine. The Wine ‘n Dine area allows attendees to shop with cash and purchase food items designed to eat at home.

A sheet of two dozen $1 tickets is for $20. Tickets can be purchased online. Garage parking is free for the duration of the event.

More information about the event is available on the Taste of Reston website.

Photo by Don Renner

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Best of Reston Honorees Celebrated at 28th Annual Event

The 28th annual Best of Reston Awards celebrated honorees for their philanthropy and volunteerism in the Reston and Herndon communities last Thursday night.

The event, held in partnership by Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, raised $504,660 for Cornerstones, a local non-profit. 

The honorees for 2019 are:

Del. Ken Plum said that he and State Sen. Janet Howell “always look forward to coming to Best of Reston, because, although we are heavily involved in the community, it always is the case when we come here we meet wonderful new people that we hadn’t known about.”

Photos via Chip McCrea Photography

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Award nominations open — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its annual Awards for Chamber Excellence awards, which are given to “members who demonstrate excellence in their business practices, are leaders in their industry and support the [Chamber’s] mission.” Nominations are due May 10. [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

Raking in the moolah — Reston-based software firm NS8 raised $26 million in series B financing for its product to combat online fraud. [VentureBeat]

“Pints With a Purpose” — The Rotary Club of Reston has an event from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Lake Anne Brew House to benefit the Rotary Club of Reston Foundation, which supports causes in local schools and community groups. $1 from each pint will support a variety of programs in Reston. There will be a 50/50 raffle as well. All proceeds will benefit the Rotary Club of Reston Foundation. [Reston Now]

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Wednesday Morning Notes

 

FCPS statement — Fairfax County Public Schools recently released a statement on seclusion and restraint after “special education advocates, concerned parents and community members have raised concerns in light of recent media reports.” [FCPS]

YP Connections events — Head to Founding Farmers from 5:30-7:30 p.m. for a networking event. Registration closes at noon, and tickets cost $15 for chamber members or $25 for guests. Light refreshments and one drink ticket will be provided. [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

Get Woke! Book Club — Scrawl Books has a progressive book club that focuses on reading titles that cover timely political issues. This month’s book is “Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal” by Aviva Chomsky. The discussion starts at 7 p.m. [Scrawl Books]

Photo courtesy Navid 

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House Leader to Tackle How Politics May Affect Virginia Business

Updated at 3:25 p.m. — Deputy Minority Leader Mark Sickles was recently added to the event.

An upcoming Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce event plans to examine how the current political climate will likely impact businesses across the state.

The event next Wednesday (March 13) features House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R-66th District), Deputy Minority Leader Mark Sickles (D-43rd District) and Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington.

Attendees can expect to learn about how Gov. Ralph Northam’s policies and a narrowly divided General Assembly may affect businesses for the next two years. Cox will provide insight into which passed bills will impact the business community.

The event will be held from 7:30-10 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents Street). Online registration will close on Tuesday (March 12).

Image via @SpeakerCox/Twitter

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M&T Bank Set to Open Late Fall Along Metro Center Drive

M&T Bank plans to open a new location near Reston Station about half of a mile away from its current spot along Wiehle Avenue.

The regional bank is set to open late fall at 1886 Metro Center Drive, Maggie Parker, a spokeswoman for Comstock Companies, told Reston Now.

“The office will be on the same level as Metro Center Drive, just inside the front door, across the lobby from the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce,” Parker wrote in an email.

M&T has a branch and ATM nearby at 1861 Wiehle Ave. It is unclear at this point whether or not the Meter Center Drive opening will affect the current location.

Images via Google Maps

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Monday Morning Notes

FCPS opening two hours late — “Fairfax County public schools are planning to open on a two hour delay Monday due to possible snow and freezing rain overnight.” [Reston Now]

Rise and shine on the farm — For $8, kids can learn about animals, farm chores and how farm life is different in winter at Frying Pan Farm Park. Stories, crafts and games will be on hand. Kids age 2 to 3 meet at 9:45 a.m., while kids ages 3 to 5 meet at 11 a.m. [Fairfax County]

Reston business acquisition — IT services company Ntiva, which is based in Tysons Corner, recently acquired Reston-based Network Alliance, which is a managed service provider. [Cision]

PRC op-ed — Mark Ingrao, the president and CEO of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, argues why “adding significant new residential development is central to the Task Force recommendations and essential to ensure balanced growth.” [Fairfax County Times]

Photo via John Appollony

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Tuesday Morning Notes

FCPS opening two hours late today — Fairfax County Public Schools will open two hours late today due to the “very cold weather.” [Tysons Reporter]

Networking night — Tall Oaks Assisted Living is hosting a networking tonight from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Registration will close at noon today. [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

DARPA’s subsidiary scores satellite Bus development — The Herndon-based subsidiary of Airbus Group recently received a contract to develop a satellite bus intended for a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency demonstration program. [ExecutiveBiz]

Response to PRC letters to the editor — A Reston resident writing for Greater Greater Washington argues that “it’s not a lack of coordination or communication from the county that leaves people wondering what will happen. It’s the simple fact that no matter what the PRC limits are, the county can’t zone its way to a specific vision of the future. It would be disingenuous for it to say that it could.” His article responds to two letters to the editor published on Reston Now. [Greater Greater Washington]

Winter Restaurant Week extended — Slated to end on Sunday (Jan. 20), Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) decided to push the end date. Diners now have until Sunday (Jan. 27) to enjoy the prix fixe meals at several Reston restaurants participating in the event. [RAMW]

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Thursday Morning Notes

Girl Power! book club meets tonight — Younger readers between the ages of 10 to 13 can head to Scrawl Books in Reston Town Center to discuss the graphic novel “Be Prepared.” The book club starts at 7 p.m. tonight and will include trivia and games. [Scrawl Books]

The Rotary Club of Reston joins Reston Chamber of Commerce — The club held a luncheon earlier this week with an update from Mark Ingrao, the president and chief executive officer of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. The club recently joined as a not-for-profit member. [Rotary Club of Reston Facebook]

Making sure everyone counts — On Tuesday, 40 people gathered in Richmond to figure out some ways to encourage Virginians to answer their U.S. Census Bureau questionnaires in 2020. The responses help determine the distribution of federal funding, which, historically, has been lower than the actual population. [The Virginian-Pilot]

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With Amazon’s HQ2 Decision, A Windfall Expected for Reston, Northern Virginia

Amazon’s decision to bring its second headquarters to Crystal City is sure to send an immediate and impactful jolt across Arlington, but what’s less clear is how the coming of the technology giant will impact Northern Virginia as a whole.

Although Reston is couched far from Arlington, the community could see a windfall from the new headquarters, which will be split between Arlington and Long Island City, especially with the community’s onboarding to the Silver Line and a planned expansion in development and redevelopment over the next two decades. 

Business leaders in the area portend the coming of Amazon will help expedite the transformation of communities like Reston from a federal government town to a technology corridor. That transition is already taking place with the coming of new headquarters like Leidos, a scientific research company, to Reston’s new developments.

Mark Ingrao, CEO and president of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, said secondary and tertiary businesses lured by Amazon’s foothold in Arlington may be enticed to set up shop in new and emerging developments in Reston around the Silver Line.

“It is going to be a prime opportunity to relocate here in an area that’s new and right on the Silver Line,” Ingrao told Reston Now.

Additionally, limitations in the amount and affordability of housing stock in Arlington could push some employees and residents to find housing in Reston’s transit station areas, which are in the process of major transformation and redevelopment. The move could also diversify Reston’s workforce, Ingrao said.

But the move is not without challenges, ushering in associated concerns about infrastructure and transportation impacts that have long plagued discussions about future development in Reston.

Ingrao is optimistic that the coming of tech giants like Amazon will help expedite county and state discussions about needed transportation infrastructure improvements and encourage officials to tackle them in a “more direct way.”

“At the end of the day, it should force local government and others to really concentrate on the infrastructure needs and get them addressed sooner rather than later,” Ingrao said.

Here’s more from what county officials and business leaders are saying about the decision.

“Having HQ2 in Northern Virginia will bring important jobs, business diversity and more innovative technology to the area,” said Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “We look forward to continuing to work with Amazon Web Services to expand its presence here and are excited to collaborate with other innovative companies that will be putting down roots in Fairfax County soon.”

“We congratulate Arlington and Alexandria on being selected in the process for Amazon HQ2,’ said Buddy Rizer, director of Loudoun Economic Development. “We consider this a win for the entire region. Many of Loudoun’s highly educated professionals will join the Amazon workforce, and many of Loudoun’s wine country and other retail and recreation venues will become favorite destinations for Amazon employees throughout the Northern Virginia/DC Metro region. We will continue to market Loudoun County as a world-class location for global businesses like Amazon, and we look forward to making some exciting announcements about new Loudoun companies soon.”

Photo courtesy Crystal City BID

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Thursday Morning Notes

Thanksgiving food drive kicks off today — Reston Community Center, Cornerstones, and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce are seeking non-perishable food and other items for the food drive. Requested donations and drop-off options are available online. Donations will be collected through Nov. 19. [Reston Community Center]

Decisions on decisions for Fairfax County Planning Commission tonight — The commission kicks off November with decisions on the Midline project on the north side of the Dulles Toll Road, east of Wiehle Avenue, as well as Woodfield’s plan to replace offices with multi-family units on the opposite side of the toll road. [Fairfax County Government]

Meet the artist event canceled tonight — A performance by Luke Frazier scheduled for this afternoon at CenterStage has been canceled due to an artist injury, according to organizers. Plans are underway to reschedule the performance in the spring. [Reston Community Center]

If you thought it was just the young folks — In Fairfax County, one in seven Medicare beneficiaries leave hospital care with an opioid prescription. Of that number, 42 percent remain on opioids three months later, according to county data. [Fairfax County Government]

Meet the author event at Scrawl Books — Young adult author Jessica Spotswood returns for a conversation about her Cahill Witch Chronicles series and short story collection. Special guest Nura Behgoman from Herndon High School’s book club will also join Spotswood. [Scrawl Books]

Nearby: Information sought on Farea sisters’ disappearance — Local police are looking for information about two sisters from Fairfax County who were found dead in New York several days ago. [Fairfax County Police Department]

(Photo of Lola, a local cat caught “wondering why our azaleas are blooming in late October,” snapped and submitted by Gretchen Bock)

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Holiday Helpers: Donations Sought for Thanksgiving Food Drive

Three local organizations are working together once again on the annual Thanksgiving Drive, which helps families in need of food. Individuals, businesses and organizations are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food and other essential items as several drop-off points throughout the area.

This year’s drive, which is organized by Reston Community Center, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones will run from Thursday (Nov. 1) through Nov. 19.

Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization that helps neighbors in overcome tough economic times, is in need of the following items:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Baby Wipes
  • Hygiene Items
  • Condiments
  • Cooking Oil
  • Dry Beans
  • Canned Meats
  • Flour, Sugar, etc.
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Canned Fruit
  • Soups, Chili, etc.
  • Coffee, Tea, etc.
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Boxed Potatoes
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Heavy Duty Clear Plastic Bins (approx. size of file boxes)
  • Shelf Stable Milk (evaporated, condensed, dry, soy, etc.)

Drop-off locations, as listed by RCC, are below:

  • RCC Hunters Woods
    2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston
  • RCC Lake Anne
    1609-A Washington Plaza, Reston
  • Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce
    1886 Metro Center Drive, Suite 230, Reston
  • Access National Bank
    1800 Robert Fulton Drive, Suite 105, Reston
  • Hunter Mill District Office
    1802 Cameron Glen Drive, Reston
  • JBG/Arboretum
    12700 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston
  • JBG/RTC West
    12100, 12110,12120 Sunset Hills Road, Reston
  • LePort Montessori Herndon
    13251 Woodland Park Road, Herndon
  • Long & Foster Realtors
    2100 Reston Pkwy, Suite 102, Reston
  • Reston Association – HQ
    12001 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston
  • Reston Association – CSF
    12250 Sunset Hills Road, Reston
  • Reston Association – WNC
    11450 Glade Drive, Reston
  • State Farm Insurance
    11868 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200, Reston
  • Tall Oaks Assisted Living
    12052 North Shore Drive, Reston
  • The Harrison at Reston Town Center
    1800 Jonathan Way, Reston
  • Washington Hilton Dulles
    13869 Park Center Road, Herndon
  • YMCA Fairfax County Reston
    12196 Sunset Hills Road, Reston

Photo via RCC

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