Under normal circumstances, The Department of Economic Development is dedicated to attracting, growing and retaining targeted businesses and to promoting entrepreneur-ism in order to diversify and strengthen Loudoun’s economy.
These are not normal circumstances.
The potential impact of COVID-19, or the coronavirus, on our business climate is real, unpredictable and unprecedented. Therefore, during this time of crisis, I have asked our team to focus on serving our businesses and helping them through this pandemic.
During the weeks to come, Loudoun County Economic Development will be focusing on the development of relevant business assistance programs with an emphasis on maintaining the diversity and viability of all of our businesses. I expect that these programs will evolve over the coming weeks and may come in the form of information exchanges; establishing lines of communications between the business community and all levels of government including local, state and federal; and connecting local resources throughout the business community. We will also be providing information on and assisting with applications for the low-interest disaster recovery loans from the SBA.
Loudoun County is home to nearly 1700 firms focused on information and communications technology and a nearly equal number of farm-based businesses. Both are emerging as essential resources to the global response to COVID-19, and we are creating programming to support both. Additionally, we are anticipating an impact on service industries, retail, small businesses, in particular businesses that rely on personal contact. Small businesses are on the front line of this crisis because the impact on consumer demand can have a very real impact on these businesses.
Fortunately, our businesses seem to be transitioning promptly and appropriately to the current situation and climate. However, in order to sustain our businesses in the weeks and months ahead, it is essential that individual responses be both supported and coordinated. Therefore, we have formed an emergency response team rooted in our staff, and leveraging expertise throughout our community. The initial role will encompass the following:
- Collect, organize, update and disseminate information
- Survey the business community for operating status
- Support our businesses through marketing and counseling programs
- Identify and open lines of communication between individual businesses; business groups and government resources
Additionally, and specifically, I have asked Phillip Sandino of Data Energy Consulting to assist me in coordinating our efforts around supporting the nation’s digital infrastructure in the form of our data centers, both in Loudoun and throughout Virginia. As we consider the changes to our daily lives and the transition we are all in the process of making, our ability to leverage more distance learning, remote work, video conferencing and other communications, exchange of news and critical information, social media, entertainment and so many other facets of our lives rely on our data centers, the cloud and the world’s technology infrastructure.
Mr. Sandino is an energy and data center veteran who led Dominion Energy’s regional response to Hurricane Sandy and the Derecho storm in 2012. He has working relationships with the data centers and local and state leaders. We have been in touch with the Data Center Coalition, the Ashburn Data Center Security Working Group and others in our data center ecosystem and we look forward to coordinating with industry stakeholders as we launch and scale this initiative. Phillip will begin with three specific pillars designed to support this critical industry. They are:
- Serve as the industry response coordinator, including data centers, power, fiber, water, security and other associated disciplines
- Build an information clearinghouse to collect and disseminate relevant information
- Create an assistance/operation request portal to allow for asset sharing as needed
Phillip can be contacted via email.
We are going to get through this. As someone who watched my business struggle during the great recession, I understand that’s easier to say than it is to do. But, eventually, shelves will be restocked, people will start shopping and spending, supply chains will be restored, global trade and travel will flourish and those without jobs will find one. But until then, the Department of Economic Development stands ready to serve our businesses in any way necessary. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to contact me directly.
Buddy Rizer, CEcD, Executive Director
Loudoun County, Virginia Economic Development
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