Arlington County Manager Appoints New Director of Economic Development – Official website of the Arlington County, Virginia government

Published on 11/07/2022

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Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz announced today the selection of Ryan Touhill as the new director of Arlington Economic Development (AED) following a statewide recruitment and search. Mr. Touhill has extensive experience overseeing the day-to-day operations of a local business development agency and a proven track record of implementing local grant and business development programs for small businesses, fostering regional collaboration and playing a key role in attracting and retaining companies in business development local and regional market. He will play a key role in building Arlington’s strong economic competitive position as a regional, national and international business and visitor destination. Mr. Touhill will assume this new leadership role on November 28, 2022.

“Mr. Touhill has a track record of leading local business expansions for new investments in the region,” said Katie Cristol, Arlington County CEO. “My fellow Board members and I look forward to working with him to continue our success in attracting and growing high-quality businesses, both large and small, in Arlington.”

“I am very pleased to have Ryan at the helm of our economic development team, leading our community through an exciting period of commercial growth post pandemic recovery,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. “He will be instrumental in fostering innovation and resilience to drive economic growth and competitiveness in our community for small and large businesses, as well as stimulating real estate development, tourism, arts and cultural institutions.”

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Touhill was both senior vice president and chief of staff at the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP). In these senior positions, he was instrumental in managing the day-to-day activities of AEDP’s Business Development, Small Business and Economic Recovery departments and was responsible for managing AEDP’s internal business operations. While at AEDP, he was also a member of the project management team responsible for securing Amazon’s second headquarters in Northern Virginia and Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in Alexandria. In addition, Mr. Touhill has held positions with the City of Alexandria government in the budget and human resources departments.

“Arlington is a vibrant and innovative community that has proven it can deliver smart, sustainable growth for businesses and residents alike,” said Ryan Touhill. “I am excited for this opportunity to bring my passion for service to ensure Arlington County is a premier business destination.”

“In the wake of the pandemic, this is an ideal time to attract a respected regional leader,” said Jason El Koubi, President and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. “I am confident that Mr. Touhill will continue to strengthen important collaborative partnerships with the Arlington business community throughout the region and the Commonwealth. He will be a crucial partner as we work together to strengthen our commercial development capacity and accelerate the growth of tech startups and entrepreneurs.”

Touhill has received recognition for his services from the City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and Virginia Business Magazine. He previously served on the board of directors of Rebuilding Together DC-Alexandria and as a youth mentor at Space of His Own. Touhill holds a Bachelor of Arts from George Mason University and a Masters of Public Administration from George Washington University. He is an avid runner and hiker and often enjoys hiking in Virginia in his free time.

Touhill succeeds Shannon Flanagan-Watson, who served as interim director of economic development while a national search was underway.

About the economic development of Arlington

Economic Development Arlington (AED) is committed to helping Arlington thrive as an economically viable, competitive and sustainable community by providing leadership and services to Arlington’s businesses, real estate, tourism and cultural affairs sectors.

The AED team leads groundbreaking programs designed to attract and retain businesses in Arlington. And help businesses get the tools and resources they need to grow and thrive in our community.


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