“When I went to Arlington, the challenge was to bring jobs, bring great corporate tenants and fill office space,” he said. “I feel like that’s been achieved.”
Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) officials announced July 8 that they had selected Hoskins as the organization’s new president and CEO. Hoskins on Aug. 5 will succeed Gerald Gordon, who retired late last year after 35 years with FCEDA, including tenure as its president and CEO since 1987.
The organization will examine data and work with developers and the county’s planning and transportation departments to set priorities, Hoskins said. Economic development is not all dollars and cents for Hoskins, who said shoring up the economy boosts the whole community.
“I know it changes lives,” he said. “A lot of people look at it as, a person gets a job. I look at it as, a family gets a breadwinner. It’s not 10,000 jobs to me. It’s 10,000 families.”
Helping companies build their talent pools is a key objective, said Hoskins, who noted about 50,000 technical jobs are open in Fairfax County. The Washington area not only competes with tech-talent markets in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Austin, but also with Bangalore, Shanghai, London, Paris and Berlin.
“We really are in a global talent challenge right now,” Hoskins said. “We believe if we build a [talent] pipeline, the companies will grow here and the companies will come here.”
Hoskins also hopes to create more sought-after destinations such as Merrifield and Reston, but will target efforts carefully there and in Tysons, the Richmond Highway area, and the Route 28 and Dulles corridors.
“We really want to create a momentum in these markets,” he said. “But we want to expend the least amount of energy and capital necessary because we have a lot of areas to work on.”
Hoskins, who has held his post in Arlington since January 2015, was among those who persuaded Amazon to build its second corporate headquarters in the Crystal City/Alexandria area.
Before coming to Arlington, Hoskins spent three and a half years as the District of Columbia’s deputy mayor of planning and economic development, helping secure the development of CityCenterDC, The Wharf and Union Market.
His résumé also lists a wide range of other corporate and governmental positions:
• From 2009 to 2011, Hoskins was vice president of Quadel Consulting Corp. Much of his work there centered around affordable housing.
• From 2007 to 2009, he was senior vice president and director of development for Doracon Development, where he helped negotiate financing for several large mixed-use projects in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
• Between 2006 and 2007, he was lead director of Mid-Atlantic markets for Fannie Mae.
• From 2003 to 2006, he was cabinet secretary of Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
• He spent four years, between 1999 and 2003, as senior vice president for strategic alliances with UrbanAmerica LP.
• From 1997 to 1999, Hoskins was deputy commissioner of the city of Baltimore’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
• Hoskins spent two years, from 1995 to 1997, as assistant secretary of business and economic development with the Maryland Department of Commerce.
Hoskins holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology/urban studies from Dartmouth College and a master’s in real-estate finance and economic development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also has done coursework in economic-development financing at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Kate Bates, president and CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, said Hoskins had been a “great partner” with Arlington’s business community.
“He highlighted Arlington’s many strengths, putting the county in a position to recruit businesses of all sizes that fit well here,” Bates said. “These businesses both contribute to and benefit from Arlington’s economy.”
Thanks to his leadership, Arlington’s businesses have a stronger environment in which to thrive, she said.
“Victor has left a strong imprint on Arlington, and his legacy will be lasting,” Bates said. “I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role, and wish him all the best in Fairfax. Victor has always been a regional thinker, and I’m confident that his work will continue to benefit the greater region.”
In a media statement, FCEDA board chairman Catherine Lange said the organization had conducted an extensive search, but found Gordon’s successor close by.
“Victor has been an economic-development dynamo in our region for years,” Lange said. “We are thrilled he is bringing his experience and expertise to Fairfax County.”
Edythe Kelleher, executive director of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corp., has not met Hoskins, but said she is happy FCEDA will be led by someone of his stature.
Kelleher supports Hoskins’ plans to reach out to young people, some of whom have a hard time establishing themselves in the region.
“People used to come here to get started and they’re not doing that anymore,” she said. “It’s flat-out the cost of living.”
Gordon expressed confidence in his successor, noting Hoskins’ work in several Washington-area localities.
“This has given him a unique perspective on how the region works and how a wide range of issues have been addressed by different elected and appointed officials,” Gordon said. “I believe he will bring these experiences and creativity to the Fairfax County EDA. He will join a team of economic-development professionals at the FCEDA who are the absolute best in the business.”
Hoskins returned the compliment, calling Gordon “one of the best professionals in the field.”