Rob Terry, senior writer with the Washington Business Journal, identifies some surprising trends in local business news.
More proof that entrepreneurs come to Washington to start something, and to have a real impact.
In the private sector, it’s universally accepted that professional development is one of the responsibilities of an employer. The public sector, however, is only just catching on.
Professional leadership coach and founder of EKAnomics, Ebong Eka works with the public sector because “it’s one of the largest employers — not only in this area, but I’d venture to say in most of the country.”
The key is to have a plan in place, and ask ourselves some simple but important questions. “What is my day going to look like? What sorts of charitable organizations am I going to get involved in? Do I want to, perhaps, contract and work a little bit?,” said McCabe Triana. Those who have specific plans tend to manage their money better through retirement.
“The people who don’t have that clear, very specific plan are the ones that I find have the most issues,” she said. “Their problem is not not making enough money, their problem is not knowing how to manage large sums of money.”
The Greater Washington region, said Warren Getler, is more focused on efficient innovation and smaller, more realistic improvements, rather than pie-in-the-sky idealism.
While telecom as an industry peaked in the late 90s, new software is ensuring that voice communication is still necessary, according to an industry expert.
“There’s a new look to voice. Voice will be big, and it’ll be bigger,” said Jim Kenefick, CEO of Better World Telecom.
“Applications, and all these software programs have voice embedded in them,” said Kenefick. Apps such as FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Skype and Discord have effectively replaced traditional phone conversation.
Finding qualified employees is still a challenge for employers in the region.
“The critical issue right now is the big gap we have between a high school diploma and a university diploma,” said Oliver Schlake, clinical professor at the Smith School of Business in Maryland.
Trust is a key point for Axios, DC’s newest media entity. Building that trust over a digital medium is tricky. “I think the advantage of this day and age is that you get an opportunity to. It’s easier than ever to launch a media company, because technology has enabled it,” said co-founder Roy Schwartz.
“They’ll give you a chance. And then you have to prove that you’re truly worthy of their time and attention.”
For this week’s What’s Working in Washington EXTRA episode, Ray Locker, enterprise editor for USA Today; Richard Latendresse, member of the White House Foreign Press Group; and Richard Levick, founder of Levick and business expert discuss “fake news” and the work being done to keep the truth at the top of the communication cycle.
New startup Phone2Action focuses on advocacy and the importance of amplifying individual voices. The technology matches people with their elected officials at every level, said co-founder Ximena Hartsock.
After growing and selling a successful tech company, Chris Parker founded New Horizon Wines by turning his passion into an international business.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in wine. Not just drinking it, but the whole art and science of it. In my twenties, I set up a company in the U.K. to introduce wines from lesser-known regions,” said Parker. His love of wine opened up a world of flavors from different regions.
One area company is working hard to bring more jobs back into the greater Washington region.
There are ample jobs in Virginia, but access to them is low since they’re centralized in specific areas, so they’re not being filled, says Wize Solutions founder Dario Marquez.
Despite the vastly changing times in business and technology, Junior Achievement continues to train young people to work in the real world and expose them to an array of opportunities.
“We were founded almost a hundred years ago, teaching kids how to start businesses, how to run businesses,” said Ed Grenier, President of Junior Achievement, a not-for-profit organization introducing young people to opportunities and helping them forward towards a successful adulthood.
One of the biggest challenges for leaders is accomplishing change, particularly at moments of crisis and risk.
Chris Fussell, managing officer of the McChrystal Group and the author of One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams says his biggest military lesson is that team decisionmaking must be decentralized “down to those frontline elements, that are closest to these fast-changing problems.”