As the home to more than 44,000 veterans, Prince William County has a healthy government contracting community.
Federal contracting and subcontracting opportunities often determine where and how a business can operate, and the county has become a natural corridor leading from Marine Corp Base Quantico to Fort Belvoir in Fairfax, to the Pentagon in Arlington, and into the District of Columbia.
Stacie Henn, Prince William County Department of Economic Development (PWCDED) Business Development Manager specializing in government contracting and corporate facilities, is in her dream job after a career working in the private sector with government contracting.
Watch Stacie's video and read more about her passion for working with government contractors and businesses looking for corporate locations.
Let’s talk about your career—how did you get started in business development? What led you to work for Prince William County?
It’s been a bit of a winding road to get here. I’ve always enjoyed building relationships with people, and I love to travel. I earned my MBA in international business, and it was a great fit for my interests. In my early career, I did an externship in China, which ended abruptly as I was asked to leave just a few weeks before the Tiananman Square massacre occurred.
When I returned to the United States, I worked in various industries, including automobile, plastics, and information technology. Each time I found myself getting pigeonholed into sales positions because I was good at it. Through my experiences in sales for these companies, I learned a great deal about working in the public sector and how much interaction is required at the state and local levels. It really is all about the relationships you develop.
My family and I moved back to the Washington, D.C. area, and I was spending time focusing on my family. I talked to a colleague working in Prince William County, and I realized the county was creating a position in PWCDED targeting government contracting. At first, I wasn’t sure that I would be right for it, but I quickly realized that economic development brought together all my skills and experience.
I understand the challenges that businesses are facing, and I can help them find a place for their business that is right for them. It really is my dream job!
How are you trying to attract government contractors to PWC?
When we talk with government contractors, we try to understand what their needs are. In many cases, their contracts specify where they need to be. Many government contractors are subcontractors for larger companies, and it’s important they are located near them.
In addition to the proximity outside of Washington, D.C., Prince William County has the I-95 corridor that runs through our county and is an ideal location for government contractors, particularly with multiple federally designated Opportunity Zones.
I am passionate about helping contractors see that tremendous advantages that we have to offer by helping them look for a place to establish their business, connecting them to the right people to get the land, understanding the building processes, certifications, or permits that they may need.
How about corporate facilities? What types of businesses are they?
Corporate facilities are businesses that may have several locations, either foreign or domestic, but we are looking for corporations that will call Prince William County home. In many cases, these businesses require land for warehouses or manufacturing, and we have that to offer them.
Prince William County’s favorable blend of large land parcels, multi-use zoned sites, financial and expedited permitting incentive, reliable power, and competitive rates, and superior multi-modal transportation infrastructure makes it an ideal location for corporate facilities and regional offices seeking a location in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Getting established companies to move here is also one of our objectives. This is where our relationships with the state is so critical. It often requires involvement at all levels—local, county, and state—to provide companies with the information and support that they need to ultimately decide to locate or relocate their businesses to a Prince William County location.
Has COVID-19 changed the way you approach potential businesses?
When COVID hit, by necessity we were forced to slow down. That gave us an opportunity to create an environment where we could strategically target businesses that would be well suited to Prince William County.
When it comes to growing new business relationships, what do you need to keep in mind?
Every business’ needs are different, and we approach our relationships with those businesses by trying to understand where they are coming from and what they are trying to accomplish. In addition to building relationships with decision makers in businesses in targeted industries, we work closely with the state and local departments to help these businesses locate here.
The PWCDED Business Development team focuses on attracting new businesses and new talent to Prince William County that will benefit the current businesses, workforce, and residents. These targeted industries include companies in the following categories:
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