Richard O. Duvall has handed leadership of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce over to George Cave, who began his term as chairman of the powerhouse business organization July 1.

Cave is a senior vice president in Sun Trust Bank's wealth management division and previously served as the chamber's secretary and as a member of its executive committee.

Cave said a top priority for him is to continue the chamber's advocacy work on transportation, public education and other quality of life issues important to the county's businesses and their employees. "If we're not wrestling with those issues now, we're not going to have a solution we want 10 years from now. We are where we are now because of things we did and didn't do 10 years ago," said Cave.

He added that the biggest challenge to his members is building a quality workforce and these quality of life issues help attract talent to the area. "People who live and work in Fairfax County have high expectations of these things, and our standards of excellence are to fulfill those expectations," he said.

Unemployment Numbers

Fairfax County came in with the fifth lowest unemployment rate in the state in May 2005, according to numbers recently released by the Virginia Employment Commission. The county had 807 initial unemployment claims in the month, giving it an unemployment rate of 2.7 percent.

The unemployment rate for the entire state of Virginia in May was 3.6 percent.

Masters of Procurement

Fairfax County, which dominates local jurisdictions in winning federal procurement dollars according to a recent George Mason University analysis, looks like it has a good shot at retaining its contracting throne if last week is any indication. Fairfax-based SRA International announced a $97 million contract to provide information technology support for the Federal Aviation Administration.

And Computer Sciences Corp., which has a sizeable presence in Falls Church, received $137.5 million in defense-related contracts, including work with the Navy and with the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency.

In the Bag

Self-checkers at the Cardinal Forest Plaza Giant supermarket in Springfield last Friday received a little assistance at checkout stands 5 and 6 from two local Democratic pols: Rep. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) and Greg Werkheiser, who is running for Rep. David B. Albo's (R-Fairfax) seat in the Springfield and Lorton communities.

Moran and Werkheiser were bagging groceries to celebrate a new law enacted in Virginia that eliminates the state portion of the tax on groceries. Just in time for July 4 barbecues and other summer cookouts, the tax dropped from 4 to 2.5 percent.

When he finished at check stand 5, Werkheiser schlepped a few watermelons and sodas for one customer who identified himself as a Republican. "I said to him that I wished Albo had done some heavy lifting and gotten this tax cut passed instead of trying to block it," said Werkheiser.

Business Clout

Fairfax County had a big presence at an awards gala last month honoring the "Fifty Influential Minorities in Business." The event at the Doubletree Hotel in Arlington, sponsored by Minority Enterprise Advocate magazine and the Minority Business & Professionals Network, gave props to five Fairfax County business leaders: Samuel Metters, chairman and chief executive of Metters Industries Inc. in McLean; Celeste Moy, vice president of Nextel Communications in Reston; Lani Rorrer, president of Lanmark Technology in Fairfax; Willie Mae McDowell, a vice president at Triumph Technologies in Falls Church; and Karen E. Smaw, director of small and minority business development for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

Have news about business in Fairfax County? Send an e-mail to silvermane@washpost.com or call 703-383-5103.