The primary purpose of the Fairfax City Economic Development Authority (EDA,) in conjunction with the City Council, is to foster and stimulate economic development and redevelopment within the City that provides a strong commercial tax base, sustainable local jobs, and resources for residents. To carry out this purpose, the EDA will support bond financing for projects within its powers as granted by the Virginia General Assembly and work with the City’s Economic Development Office (EDO) to advance business recruiting, retention, and expansion efforts. Further, the EDA and EDO will facilitate small business improvement and incubation, as well as promote an active dialogue within the business community, all in partnership with area business and educational resources.
The Authority meets at 6 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at a Fairfax City business. For information regarding EDA meetings, please contact EDAInformation@fairfaxcityeda.org.
The EDA is proud to announce its newly developed website. Please direct your browser to FairfaxCityConnected.com
The EDA consists of seven commissioners appointed by the Mayor and City Council:
Commissioner John Sabo is a resident of Fairfax City since 1994 and has been active in local community and charitable organizations for many years. Commissioner Sabo is a business owner and has been in the commercial real estate industry for over 25 years concentrating on brokerage and development with clients ranging from privately-owned local firms to large public companies.
Commissioner Sabo is a graduate of George Mason University with a degree in Marketing from the School of Management. As a developer Commissioner Sabo has focused primarily on residential subdivisions in Fairfax and surrounding jurisdictions. In addition, he is a board member and advisor to numerous local start-up and early-stage companies assessing market strategies and raising equity.
Michael O’Brien joined the Economic Development Authority in 2015, and is serving his second term.
Michael is the founder and principal of MOB Advocacy, a nationally-scoped state and local government relations firm based in Fairfax, VA. Michael founded MOB Advocacy to assist startups, small businesses and nonprofit organizations address issues with state and local governments.
Michael moved to Fairfax City in 2011. He lives in the Country Club Hills neighborhood with his son Connor and his dog Goofy.
Mary Valenta is CEO of On the Green, LLC (OTG), a consulting firm helping businesses with economic, environmental, and social growth through strategic, marketing, and financial planning. Commissioner Valenta founded Global Sustainability Aid as a non-profit organization supporting sustainability in impoverished communities. She sits on a number of corporate boards and was previously Chief Financial Officer of O’Neal Steel, Inc., Treasurer of Glenayre Technologies, and Manager of Financial Advisory Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Commissioner Valenta received a Doctorate in Global Business Sustainability from Argosy University in Denver, Co; an MBA from University of North Carolina Charlotte; and a BS in Accounting from Pfeiffer University. She is a Certified Public Accountant, co-author of CFO Leadership Strategies, and author of Business Case of Electric Vehicles for Truck Fleets.
Sean Mallon was appointed Associate Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at George Mason University in April 2016. In this capacity, he is responsible for leading Mason’s strategic vision as an economic and innovation engine for the National Capital region. Mr. Mallon oversees the Mason Enterprise Center (MEC) and the Office of Technology Transfer. He also works collaboratively with academic leadership and faculty to ensure an innovative, scalable approach to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration for the development and delivery of entrepreneurial thinking and learning across the entire university.
Craig Havenner has been a principal and President of the Christopher Companies since 1995.
Christopher Companies has developed a number of new home communities throughout the Northern Virginia area. In recent years the company has expanded its services to include general contracting, remodeling, light commercial construction and investor services. The company is currently active in the Mid-Atlantic Region from Caroline County, Va to Sussex County , Delaware.
Commissioner Havenner is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Construction Management. A native of Northern Virginia, he and his family have resided in The City of Fairfax since 1980. Over the years he has been actively involved in many community and professional organizations.
Kelly McLaughlan is a native resident of Northern Virginia, graduating high school, college and building my professional career and businesses in this region. Raising four children with my husband in the Dulles region of Northern Virginia, we’ve been extremely well-connected and engaged in both the local and regional community, particularly with respect to challenges regarding STEM-centric education and the local economy.
In addition to my business, I’ve been an active volunteer in groups including the Loudoun County Joint BOS/School Board Committee Citizen’s Advisory Group, the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) College Counseling Center and Crew (Rowing) Team, the McLean (BNI) Business Forum, the Nysmith School for the Gifted Odyssey of the Mind Teams, and the 100 Women Strong Organization under the Community Foundation of Loudoun & Northern Fauquier (Digital Technology & Outreach). In addition, I’ve supported my husband in his recent roles as Commissioner on the Loudoun Economic Development Advisory Council (EDAC) and Mason Enterprise Center (MEC)/SBDC IT/Digital Advisor, and provided digital assistance to the Loudoun Department of Economic Development.
This connection and experience with the EDAC, SBDC and regional economic development initiatives led us to the Mason Enterprise Center’s business incubator network, which became the perfect home (in Fairfax City) for a quickly-growing digital marketing and technology business I co-founded over 10 years ago – KME.Digital (previously KME Internet Marketing). My company blends business marketing and Internet technologies in a cost-effective, personal services model – to help mostly local and regional businesses, nonprofits, startups and government agencies find and engage their audience or customers online. We have benefited tremendously from the resources and location of the MEC – including access to a steady and growing pool of very talented, enthusiastic student interns and workforce from nearby George Mason University. My family and business offer now a great deal of experience and expertise to the Fairfax EDA, with respect to economic development strategies.
Chris Todd is a 7th generation Washingtonian with more than 25 years of experience in the practice of architecture, land development, building development and construction. His resume encompasses single family and multi-family residential, retail, office and mixed-use projects as both a designer and a developer, with design services across the United States of approximately 500 million dollars and development projects throughout the Northeast totaling close to one billion dollars.
There are no outstanding solicitations from the EDA at this time. For information regarding EDA solicitations, please contact EDAInformation@fairfaxcityeda.org.