Economic Club of Washington Attracts New Generation of Movers, Shakers
There, for example, was Dennis R. Wraase, the chief executive of Pepco Holdings Inc., chatting with John T. Schwieters, who headed the now-defunct accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP in the region for a decade ending in 1999. George Vradenburg, a former senior vice president of America Online who still advises the company, sidled up and joined the conversation.
"This is actually my first time at the Economic Club," Vradenburg asaid moment later. "I'm here as a guest."
At another table sat Sparks, a D.C. power broker for more than 30 years. John M. Germano introduced himself.
"Good to meet you," Sparks said pleasantly. Germano manages the largest commercial real estate brokerage in the region, CB Richard Ellis, the local affiliate of a Los Angeles-based company.
"Hi, I'm Ed Mathias," another man at the table said. He and Sparks shook hands. Mathias is a co-founder and managing director of Carlyle Group, which manages $18 billion from its headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue.
In the old days, it may go without saying, people like Sparks, Germano and Mathias would need no introductions.
"We're really better known in London or Tokyo than here," Rubenstein, the evening's speaker, said in an interview. "Not much of our money comes from here, and very few of the companies we invest in are around here. It just happens to be where we're based." Carlyle, with 216 people at its headquarters, has no executives on the Federal City Council and is not significantly involved with the Board of Trade.
At 9:02, Rubenstein finished his speech. Before the question and answer period could begin, about 40 people fled the ballroom. "I'm tired! I have a 7:30 breakfast tomorrow," said Linda D. Rabbitt, president of Rand Construction Corp., on her way out the door.
At 9:11, the questions were answered and the crowd rushed the stairs for the exit. Of the 200 people attending, about two dozen stayed for a sip of scotch in the lobby outside the ballroom. A couple of people took one of the H. Upmann Lonsdale Cuban cigars offered. None smoked them.
At 9:30, a waiter came around to say it was last call for the bar. A moment later, the handful of people remaining -- among them Edmund B. Cronin Jr., longtime chief executive of Washington Real Estate Investment Trust; Henry W. Lavine, senior counsel with law firm Squire Sanders; and Bill Alsup, who heads developer Hines Interests LP in the Washington area -- trickled out and waited for the valets to bring their cars.
At 9:44, the ballroom was empty, and the party was over.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
SunTrust Bank's Michael B. Shoor, left, and James C. Reagan, former chief financial officer at American Management Systems, talk before the Economic Club of Washington's dinner.
(Sarah L. Voisin -- The Washington Post)