Anyone at Raging Wire’s ribbon-cutting ceremony may have been more distracted by the company’s cool-looking Ashburn facility than the party that it was throwing for a huge crowd, including Gov. Bob McDonnell Tuesday.
For starters, to enter the secure building, attendees entered something that appeared very much like a vault. Once inside and authorized, the far wall turned to clear glass, revealing the building's interior. After passing through another door, finally, the inside. One might have expected to see Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory on the other side.
Alex Orfinger, publisher of the Washington Business Journal, served as master of ceremonies for the event, which included elected officials from both major political parties, business leaders, fancy food and unusual entertainment.
McDonnell touted Loudoun’s varied attributes.
“We’ve got everyone from the Redskins to Raging Wire here in Loudoun County,” he said.
Orfinger pointed out that Raging Wire survived the dot-com bust and the poor economy following 9/11 without venture capital. The company has simply figured out how to trudge on of its own volition.
“You need to be able to change the wheels of the car while your driving down the highway,” Orfinger said, adding that the company worked hard and ended up with valuable patents and other work product that helped make it a success. And that success benefits the state.
“I think it really underscores not only how important Northern Virginia is, but also Fiber Alley to the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Orfinger said.
Supervisor Matt Letourneau chimed in, pointing out that more than 50 percent of all Internet traffic passes through servers in Ashburn.
“We are the No. 1 county, the No. 1 locality for the Internet,” he said.
Building off the story of self-made success, Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run), despite sharing the stage with Democrat Sen. Mark Herring (R-33), took a mild shot at President Barack Obama. Obama recently commented that small businesses relied on infrastructure and government decisions to succeed, with opponents suggested the president said small businesses were not built by their owners.
“You did this,” Williams told Raging Wire. “Despite what you might hear from national-level officials, you did this.”
McDonnell called Raging Wire a “major step forward in the industry here in Virginia.”
He said then pointed to actions by the General Assembly—tax credits—and Loudoun that led to the ribbon cutting.
“A 150,000-square-foot, $40 million capital investment like this does not just happen,” the governor said. “This is exactly what we want right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the party continued with music and entertainment.