A New Perspective on Arlington's Business Development Process

Growing up in Arlington, it was very easy for me to believe that the County always grew and flourished of its own accord. However, after spending a summer interning with Arlington Economic Development, I have learned that there are people working tirelessly behind the scenes to secure the prosperity that appears to come to Arlington effortlessly.

First, a bit about myself—I am a Senior at the College of William & Mary studying Economics and International Relations. I have spent the past three months working with the Business Investment Group (BIG) here at AED, performing a wide variety of tasks in order to support BIG’s efforts of attracting and retaining businesses in Arlington.

My internship began as most summer internships do—staring at an excel spreadsheet for hours on end. My first task was to clean a messy dataset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics containing thousands upon thousands of rows of companies located in Arlington. It may not have been the most glamorous of projects, but once I finally succeeded in making the data usable I realized the importance of the work I had done.

I was able to use this dataset to compile lists of Arlington companies in key sectors. These lists are now used by the Business Development Managers on their constant outreach missions in order to demonstrate the County’s strength in a particular industry to companies interested in moving here. I also used the dataset to gather information on international companies with locations in Arlington so BIG’s international division can attract Foreign Direct Investment more effectively. These are just a few examples of how my time was spent laying the groundwork so that the BIG team could instead focus its time on making deals and keeping Arlington's businesses happy.

Though my summer with AED has come to a close, every time I learn about a company making Arlington its new home or hear someone praising its booming economy, I will remember that my work played some small role in AED’s diligent, never-ending efforts to make Arlington thrive.

Author Morgan Timme is a College of William and Mary student and Arlington resident. She spent her summer as an intern with Arlington Economic Development's Business Investment Group.

Topic: BIG Update
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