The Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce (VACC) presented Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet with the 2016 Champion of Economic Visionary Award on Dec. 7 in Richmond. Hemstreet is the sixth recipient of this award and previous honorees include two state governors.
“We selected Mr. Hemstreet for this honor because of the outstanding economic development success that has been achieved under his leadership,” VACC Founder and Chairman Tinh duc Phan said.
Hemstreet was named Loudoun County government’s chief administrator in 2009 and manages a staff of more than 4,000 employees.
He started his tenure in Loudoun during a low point in the nation’s recession. At the time he was hired, Loudoun had a projected budged shortfall of almost $73 million, real property values were expected to fall by five percent and, Loudoun residential home values had hit rock bottom, and commercial property values were soon to follow, Phan said in a release.
Loudoun residents now have the highest household income in the nation. Loudoun also has the third fastest job growth in the U.S., and the highest amount of commercial investment for counties of its size in America. Driving this investment is Loudoun’s data center industry — the largest and fastest-growing data center market in the world, Phan said. on average, seventy percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through Loudoun’s data centers every day.
“When he started, Mr. Hemstreet said that ‘economic development isn’t a department,’ it’s a county-wide initiative. He has been a great leader, mentor and partner in creating one of America’s great economic development success stories. He truly deserves this honor,” said Buddy Rizer, executive director of the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development.
The county’s growth has required innovative approaches to land use, responsible management of development and significant investment in capital infrastructure — which included more than $1 billion for transportation projects in 2016. Hemstreet played a key role in implementing the county’s decision to extend Metrorail’s Silver Line into Loudoun, Phan said. He also presided over the reform of the county’s Fire and Rescue System.
Despite occasional emergencies caused by weather events, people who live in Loudoun enjoy a sense of security, Phan said. In a survey of county residents, 98 percent of respondents said they feel safe in Loudoun and 95 percent rated the quality of life as high. Loudoun has been nationally recognized as the healthiest county in Virginia and as the happiest county in America, he said.
The county also benefits from having a diverse population. Almost one out of every four Loudoun residents was born outside the U.S., with more than 50 percent having been born in Asia, Phan said.
The strength of the county’s Asian community is one of the reasons Loudoun has been a destination for visits by Asian business leaders, Phan said. The county has hosted dozens of delegations from China and Korea during Hemstreet’s tenure, and top county officials have made business trips to both nations to establish relationships with companies that could benefit from opening offices in Loudoun. As part of the relationship-building efforts, Loudoun has established a sister-city partnership with the Shunyi District of China; the city of New Taipei in Taiwan; and Goyang and Gangneung Cities in South Korea. Phan credited Hemstreet with playing a role in all of this.
“The Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce is proud to recently acknowledge that Mr. Hemstreet shares our ancestry, as he has a partner and family members who are Chinese Americans,” Phan said. “He has continued the Asian tradition of excellence while providing leadership to Loudoun County government. The Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce was pleased to honor Mr. Hemstreet with its highest award.”
VACC was founded in 2004 and works to promote and facilitate the success of Asian and Pacific American businesses, other diverse businesses and the communities they serve through networking, outreach, advocacy and education.