When I first started my career in the Northern Virginia corporate world way back in the day (no, it was not 30 years ago, thank you very much), besides WaPo, my managers and peers always pointed me in the direction of the Washington Business Journalas a source for news, information, leads, and business ideas.Â “You cannot not read the WBJ,” I was told numerous times. In fact, there was often morning water cooler talk or emails flying around about articles (this was before the online version) my fellow sales executives had read or that our manager wanted us to follow up upon.Â The early bird who perused the paper got the worm, and in my case, it was always a potential client in professional services, technology, or telecom.
For three decades this news outlet has covered everything from real estate to up and coming entrepreneurs, to charity giving to private public partnerships, to athletes leading new companies, to executives stepping down, to new moves, to old corporations, and everything in between.Â Keeping up with the times, their web presence quickly became one of the most popular tabs in the Washington business community and still even today, the stark white haired Publisher Alex Orfinger remains iconic.
When I first Alex, I was part of a community charity group which included many entities like Greater DC Cares, the Northern Virginia Technology Foundation (the board of which I was on at the time), and Northern Virginia Community Foundation.Â I was completely intimidated, as I was in my 20’s and wondering just what the heck I was doing in this room (as was often the case), but I sucked it up and listened to him, learned a lot and still hold much admiration for all that he has done with the WBJ, especially during the time when everyone was wondering “What papers will survive?” Well, the WBJ has.
Last week, hundreds of people come out to celebrate 30 years of the Washington Business Journal and its infamous Book of Lists at the National Building Museum.Â The Book of Lists, which is a highly pored over and revered lengthy soft covered book that holds the anything and everything you need to know about the what’s what of companies (seriously, it’s like a Bible to sales people, advertisers, investors, and executives), their revenues, their profits, their employees, their growth, their investors, their clients, their changes. Sales reps used to take these sought after yearlies and “borrow indefinitely” , leaving the rest of us clawing at the walls.
The event was sponsored by Baker Tilly, Comcast Spotlight, The Mergis Group, United Way, The Washington Group and Wells Fargo all of whom were represented.Â Surrounding the perimeter, charities and companies had set ups in a tabletop convention manner and we took our time walking around talking to the representatives at each, learning a bit about them while we sipped drinks and ate from the plentiful buffets of food and desserts. By the way, they not only know how to feed a hungry group, they know how to quench its thirst; with plenty of bars and even a champagne pouring table, there were no lines of impatient guests.
The night was quite festive to say the least and if you haven’t been to the National Building Museum when the fountain sprays, it’s a sight.Â Jaguar was there with their newest models the XJL and the XKL (I’ll take one in every color) for the business executives whose business is booming, and I ran into a lot of old friends from “back in the day” when my stomping ground was Reston, Herndon, Tysons Corner, McLean, the Palm, the Capital Grille, the NVTC breakfasts and all that good stuff.
So who won the vote in contests, you ask?
Most influential: Ron Paul, EagleBank
Best political candidate: John Kane, The Kane Co.
Best marketer: Mark Ein, Venturehouse Group/Washington Kastles
Best business philanthropist: Joe Rigby, Pepco Holdings
Best social networker: Jonathan Arehart, Cavendo
Most motivational: Anthony Jimenez, MicroTechnologies
Most promising young CEO: Tim Oâ€™Shaughnessy, LivingSocial
Best networker: Jim Dyke, McGuireWoods
Most quotable: Kate Carr, Cardinal Bank
Best dressed: Kassie Rempel, SimplySoles
Congrats to all and most of all to Alex Orfinger, Jennifer Nycz-Conner (new mama!) and the rest of the hard working staff.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.