Gerald Gordon stepping down in Fairfax

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Gerald Gordon is leaving Fairfax County after a 35-year run. | Photo courtesy of Fairfax County

After more than three decades with Fairfax County’s economic development arm, its top leader is heading south.

Gerald L. Gordon is stepping down as president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA). Gordon joined Fairfax’s economic development arm in 1983 and has led it since 1987.

“Without any doubt, my greatest accomplishment has been the assembly of an extraordinary team of professionals who – individually and collectively – represent the finest economic development team in America, perhaps in the world,” Gordon said in a news release announcing his plans. “We have been extremely fortunate to have been strongly supported by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the FCEDA Commission, and the business community at large.”

In January, Gordon will serve as a fellow in the College of Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley Center for Livable Communities in South Carolina and teach in the college’s Master of Public Administration program. Gordon has a bachelor’s degree from The Citadel, a military college in Charleston.

The FCEDA commission will lead the search for Gordon’s successor. He will still consult for organizations in Northern Virginia and serve on a local board.

Gordon’s tenure in Fairfax occurred as the county saw massive growth in office space and jobs. With 117 million square feet of office space, the county today is home to one of the largest suburban office markets in the nation. It is home to 10 Fortune 500 headquarters and companies across various industries like information technology, aerospace and defense and cybersecurity.

Jobs in Fairfax grew from 243,000 to more than 600,000 in Gordon’s time. The real estate tax rate has decreased from $1.47 to $1.15.

Gordon oversaw the launch of several efforts touching on promoting equity and attracting investment. The FCEDA created a division for small and minority business development and a division to attract and retain foreign-owned businesses.

Gordon has racked up numerous industry awards such as the International Economic Development Council’s Jeffrey A. Finkle Organizational Leadership Award in 2015. He’s penned 13 books including most recently “Understanding Community Economic Growth and Decline: Strategies for Sustainable Development."

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