Curtain Raiser SUITE 2012: Interview with Gerald L. Gordon, CEO, FCEDA

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Fairfax, VA – India America Today spoke with Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) as Fairfax County, along with Fairfax-based George Mason University (Mason), prepares to host a 40-member business delegation from India that aims to strengthen trade and economic ties with the United States. The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) Summit for US-India Trade & Economics (SUITE 2012) will be May 22-25. This is the third IACC summit in the US and the first to be held outside New York City.

After meeting two times in New York, this is the first time the IACC summit is being held elsewhere. What is Fairfax County’s interest in having the summit here?

We are delighted to host the summit in Fairfax County because it will help build economic and trade ties between our two countries, and it will be a way for us to show off Fairfax County as a business location to a group of Indian business people who could be interested now or some time in the future in expanding in the US market. They will see how our emphasis on technology, our location near Washington, DC and Washington Dulles International Airport, and our quality of life make this a great spot if they want to be in the US.

Why should the American market be important to Indian firms?

Indian businesses are renowned for the competencies in a wide range of technologies, most notably information technology, but also in software, telecommunications and life sciences companies. Many of the companies that have realized success in India, as well as other parts of the world, are now ready to compete in the foremost technology markets of the world – those in the US.

What makes Fairfax County attractive to Indian companies, particularly high-tech companies?

Fairfax County is a natural location for Indian companies that want to do business in the US. Fairfax County occupies virtually all of the land between the largest airports in the US, Washington Dulles International, and the nation’s capital of Washington, DC. The US government is the largest purchaser of just about any product or service in the world, and we also are home to more than 6,700 technology companies that make us one of the largest IT hubs in the world.

Also, Fairfax County’s location on the eastern seaboard of the US puts it within a day’s drive of more than half the US population, and its proximity to Dulles Airport puts scores of US and global markets within easy reach.

While much of the world is struggling to regain its economic footing, Fairfax County continues to be one of the bright spots in the world economy. Our technology and professional services sectors continue to grow. The county is doing so well, in fact, that last October the FCEDA presented a workshop in Bangalore entitled “US Business Opportunities in Technology Sectors: Why Now?” More than 60 Indian businesses attended to learn how the Fairfax County economy continues to generate business possibilities that can benefit Indian firms.

You mentioned Bangalore. Why has Fairfax County had representation in Bangalore since 2004?

 We want to have the opportunity to talk with Indian firms very early into the process of thinking about expanding into new markets, and we want Fairfax County to be top-of-mind for them. We talk with companies about our business assets and the opportunity that Fairfax County holds for Indian companies. We talk about the quality of life that makes Fairfax County a special place to live as well as work – the excellent public schools, the cosmopolitan atmosphere. This is a place where people of all backgrounds are comfortable. Fairfax County embraces its diversity, and recognizes it as a tremendous asset.

Do you already have Indian businesses in Fairfax County?

We have a very dynamic group of Indian companies here now. Our two dozen Indian companies includes large businesses such as Tata Communications and Newgen Software and smaller firms such as IT staffing firm Blue Ally and Pervazive, which develops software for telecommunications companies. Management consultant Headstrong was bought in 2010 by Genpact.

We have TEOCO, a company born in Fairfax County in 1994 and today it has more than $100 million in revenues for 2012 and the company builds software based solutions for telecommunication carriers worldwide.

We also have a strong community of Indian-American business people who run many prominent businesses and TiE-DC (The India Entrepreneur -DC) is a very active group of businesses in the Indian community. Moreover about 30,000 Indian Americans live here and Indians find Fairfax County an ideal business location because of the emphasis here on education and the diversity of people living and working here. This is a very cosmopolitan, welcoming community.

Last question, you are the CEO of FCEDA, what does the Economic Development Authority do for Indian companies and where can they be contacted?

The Economic Development Authority staff offers site location and business development assistance to companies locating and expanding here. We also make connections with county and state government agencies, and we also help newly arriving companies build connections with possible customers and partners and the community.

We welcome the opportunity to provide free and confidential services to all Indian companies interested in establishing a presence in Fairfax County to build their US presence. Please visit our Web site, www.fairfaxcountyeda.org/worldwideoffices/bangalore-office, to learn more about how we work with Indian companies.

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