Growing up in Arlington, Jim Gahres was always curious about his surroundings. From an early age, he wondered how neighborhoods, streets, businesses, and parks around him were organized, planned, and developed.  

Jim’s curiosity led him to pursue a master’s degree in planning and in 1977 he began his career in economic development, where today he still enjoys the challenge of not only helping to plan developments that the market and residents are seeking, but also developing long-range plans for vibrant communities. 

Today Jim serves as the Prince William County Department of Economic Development (PWCDED) Director of Redevelopment and Special Projects and his focus is community redevelopment—transforming older and under-utilized areas into new and refreshed locations for businesses and residents.  

With a greater focus on e-commerce, an improved distribution and delivery infrastructure and new construction, PWCDED continues to push for properties across Prince William County combining modern living and desirable retail businesses into popular mixed-use developments. 

Jim facilitates the connection between the public and private sectors so these kinds of developments are in line with what the market can bear and what the community is wanting. Community evolution can grow the commercial tax base, ensuring residents can live where they work, have good paying jobs, and be able to access entertainment and recreation venues right in their own backyards. 

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