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Key economic development official in Fairfax to retire after 35 years

New construction around the Tysons station on Metro's Silver Line, seen in 2017.
New construction around the Tysons station on Metro's Silver Line, seen in 2017. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Gerald L. Gordon, who helped Fairfax County become an economic powerhouse in the Washington region, announced Monday he will leave in January after 35 years as head of the county’s economic development authority.

During his tenure, Gordon, 67, helped lure 10 Fortune 500 companies to Fairfax — including Capital One, Northrop Grumman and Hilton Worldwide Holdings. The once-sleepy bedroom community in Northern Virginia grew into a major jobs center during that time, with 1.1 million residents and gleaming office towers in Tysons and Reston.

More recently, Gordon played a key role in positioning Fairfax as a potential host for both and Apple, companies that would bring several thousand new jobs to the area.

Gordon plans to work as a fellow in the College of Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities in South Carolina and teach in that school’s Master of Public Administration program, the economic development authority said in a statement. He will also do consulting work in Northern Virginia and serve on a local board, the statement said.

Sharon Bulova (D), chair of the county Board of Supervisors, said Gordon has put Fairfax on the path of a more diverse economy after decades of heavy dependency on federal government spending. “No one is a fiercer advocate for Fairfax County, and I will personally miss working with him,” Bulova said in a statement.