Southeast Fairfax Executive Director David Versel announced his departure from the non-profit on Tuesday.
Versel will be leaving SFDC on Jan. 31 to work at the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.
During his tenure at SFDC, Versel completed many revitalization projects on the Route 1 corridor, including the Beacon of Groveton apartments and phase two of the Kings Crossing development. Versel has made it a priority to connect with residents of the Route 1 corridor and educate them about revitalization, speaking at many local events.
Patch caught up with Versel to discuss his time at SFDC.
Patch: What will you be doing in your new role at the Center for Regional Analysis?
David Versel: My title will be Senior Research Associate and I’m essentially going to be supporting research and analysis for Dr. Fuller, covering economic development, transportation, and housing issues. I think it’s going to be great to take a lot of practical experience I got at SFDC and bring it back to the research arena.
Patch: What are some of the challenges and highlights of your time at SFDC?
Versel: The best indicator of where things are headed and how things improved. When I took the job assumed spending more time doing marketing and reaching out to development community to let them know about the area. Turns out they already knew about it.
The two biggest challenges have been finding appropriate sites for revitalization projects and the second is making the community believe that revitalization is a positive thing. I've put a lot of emphasis on reaching out to the public, educating them on what revitatalization is.
I came here at a good time. I'm not going to take credit for fact that area become popular, it's all economics. I was here at a good time to see things happen. The development community believes in area now and residents believe in it too.
There's been a sea change in attitude about the corridor...there's still a lot to be done, still a lot of skeptics out there, saying needs to change. I have confidence that the board will figure out the best way forward.
Patch: Do you plan on staying involved with SFDC after your departure?
Versel: I’ve made it clear to people that I’m a phone call away and am happy to give advice if I’m asked for it. The members of the board have asked me to serve on the Advisory Council, and I’d be willing to do that.