I found it fascinating that Rob Clapper, who recently left his position as president of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce for what he termed a great career opportunity, is landing at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce in Northern Virginia. It's fascinating to me because Prince William County is where I lived for close to 10 years before moving to the Piedmont Triad, and Clapper's move reinforces for me just how much has changed in Northern Virginia in the last 15 years.
Until very recently Prince William was a sleepy bedroom community for Washington, DC and the various chambers in the county reflected that stature. If you'd have told me in 1996 that someone was leaving the role of president of the chamber of one of the biggest cities in North Carolina to take over a chamber in Prince William, and that he'd see it as a step up on the career curve, I'd have asked you what you or he was smoking.
Fifteen years later the population in Prince William has exploded and lots of companies have chosen to plant roots there; just from 2000-2009 the population and number of non-farm jobs each grew by about 35%. Add to that the merger of the smaller chambers to create one large chamber and you have a pretty attractive job for someone in Clapper's position.
Of course one of the main reasons my wife and I moved our family out of Prince William County was that the growth was just too much for us. The growth was happening so quickly, and with such poor planning, that day-to-day life was becoming unbearable. Because the road infrastructure didn't keep up with the residential and commercial development the traffic came to be a defining factor in how we lived, and according to my in-laws things have only gotten worse.
So my congratulations to Mr. Clapper on the new gig, but also my best wishes in adjusting to the ever growing beast that is the DC metroplex. As for the Greensboro gig, well I'd say to any candidate considering the position it's a pretty sweet opportunity. The Piedmont Triad's a great place to live and I think there's a lot of opportunity to do great things here as we move beyond the recent economic apocalypse.
BTW, I received an email sent today to all Greensboro Chamber members letting us know that a search committee has been formed, and telling us that if we know anyone interested in the job to have them contact Ingrid Hopper at firstname.lastname@example.org. So there you go.