Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D. on Amazon and future job and economic growth in Our Town~
They worked together to make this happen, and it will benefit the region broadly, but it isn’t the final, it isn’t all that is coming. This is just the beginning. We expect there to be almost 400,000 new jobs in the next 15 years and this is just 25,000 of them.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen and this is Our Town. I have been so excited to know that we could talk to this man and we could talk to him away from his usual role as the head of some meeting or group because I have been following him through the Washington Board of Trade since he first worked for GW. It was way back in the ’60s I guess. Steve Fuller, welcome to Our Town.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Pleasure to be with you.
Andy Ockershausen: You know, we think Our Town and we created the show – my Janice recreated it. We had a television program on channel 50 called Our Town. So Janice dug it up three years ago and said, “Why don’t we do it again?” about the people that have impact in Our Town and we think Our Town is Upper Marlboro, it’s Vienna, Virginia, it’s as far north as Baltimore, it’s as far south as Richmond. That’s Our Town. We go all over and Steve Fuller, you’ve had such an enormous impact on that geographical selection, Our Town.
Rutgers and Cornell
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Well, I’ve been studying it for 50 years and I try to share some of my knowledge. So this is a great opportunity.
Andy Ockershausen: I love your resume. I love your background. You grew up in New Jersey, I would take it. You went to Rutgers.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: I did go to Rutgers.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s a state school, isn’t it?
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: A state school. It’s the sixth oldest university in the country.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s older than Princeton.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: 1766, Queens College, it was then.
Andy Ockershausen: Queens College. Well, wasn’t William and Mary King’s College at one time in Southern Virginia? I think it’s something like that. There were only one of each, I know that. And you graduated from Rutgers in ’62, but then it took you seven years to graduate from Cornell.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Well, I worked, I went out and worked.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, it didn’t say that.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: I took a few jobs.
Andy Ockershausen: The way I read your resume, you graduated in ’62 and then went to Cornell, high above Cayuga’s waters, right?
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: That’s right.
Andy Ockershausen: And that launched you into a career by going to Cornell. Was that a special school for you?
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: I went there to get a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning and Economic Development, and I was there just for two years. Then I came to Washington in 1967, because I lucked out to get some financing from a small agency to fund my dissertation research on rural redevelopment.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow!
On Coming to Our Town
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: So I came down here with the promise of one year paycheck to do my research and write my dissertation, and then they hired me to stay on for a year and after that I went to GW in ’69.
Andy Ockershausen: And you became whether you planned or not, you became part of Our Town, a big part of Our Town.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: I did.
Andy Ockershausen: And you had had all the training to better urban development and training about how to judge markets and growth and so forth. So you were prepared to help at GW. Were you’re the first one in that category at George Washington?
George Washington University Opportunity – New Urban Regional Planning Department
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: There was a new department at George Washington that offered a master’s degree in Urban Regional Planning, and it just started up in 1968 and they needed a third faculty member, and they were looking for someone that had a PhD, and I was looking for a job and it was interesting. I had the opportunity to work at the World Bank at the same time or at the new Department of Housing and Urban Development. It was quite new.
Andy Ockershausen: I believe that. When, in the ’60s?
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It was formed in ’65 I believe, and this is summer of ’69, but there was a hiring freeze because of the Vietnam War. This is really old news, isn’t it? And Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated, Martin Luther King had been assassinated, the city had burned.
Andy Ockershausen: The city had a terrible year.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: I’m thinking, why should I work internationally when there’s so much to do here? And Washington was just an intriguing city. What a laboratory to study urban and regional redevelopment. And so I went to GW. It wouldn’t have mattered? They all paid more or less the same thing at that time. I said I could work for myself basically and have a guaranteed payroll.
Andy Ockershausen: Wonderful.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: So when you’re at a university, you’re basically being paid to keep learning and to spread the knowledge.
Andy Ockershausen: A prominent university, I might add.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It was a very good school.
On Stephen Trachtenberg – University Professor Emeritus / President Emeritus, The George Washington University
Andy Ockershausen: George Washington has such an international reputation. One of my favorite guys was Steve Trachtenberg.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Well, I got there before he did.
Andy Ockershausen: I believe it. I know he was a latecomer. But Steve was such a gadfly for the university. He was at a lot of meetings, everywhere I’d go.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: He grew the school. He never thought the faculty worked very hard because he couldn’t find them. He didn’t understand that faculty get more work done when they’re off campus hiding somewhere-
Andy Ockershausen: Than when you’re there.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: … than when they’re being bombarded by telephone calls or students. So it’s a conflict when you’re a manager.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, the rise of the university has been unbelievable. It’s been great for Our Town because it attracts so many bright people that go to school there, and they pay a lot of money now, too, Steve.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Trachtenberg, he believed in the higher price spread in the old butter ad that people would think GW was really good if it cost a lot. So it was the most expensive undergraduate tuition during his tenure.
Andy Ockershausen: And he bragged about it, I know that for a fact.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: He did, and it attracted students whose parents figured this is a really expensive place, it’s got to be good.
Andy Ockershausen: Then as part of the urban development-
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: But it is.
Andy Ockershausen: … what they have done for downtown Washington had been sensational because I grew up here, this is my home town. My grandfather was born here and all parents and everybody, and we know when the Ellipse was it and that was about it. Then it was around George Washington, but now to see what Georgia Washington University has done for urban renewal in downtown Washington, it’s been fabulous.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It is.
Andy Ockershausen: You see that everywhere, of course.
Changes to Our Town Over Time
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: The District of Columbia is very fortunate to have so many universities and colleges, and in the region beyond that. There are over 104 colleges and universities in the Washington area with with more than 400,000 students. It is a major asset. It’s one of the reasons-
Andy Ockershausen: Jobs, jobs, and more jobs.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It’s one of the reasons that Amazon picked this region, because it knew we had the capacity to produce a talented workforce, and talent is what attracts business investment.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s already started. I see that they have already begun interviewing. But Steve, this led you to the city, but then all the people have you known over your years, you have seen so much because you’ve looked for it. I say I have seen what you have seen, but it didn’t impact me because you saw it being happening and I’m seeing it as a stranger. You know, there’s a building here where there wouldn’t be one. There’s a crane here that I’ve never seen before. But you’ve seen it from the bottom up.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Well, I wish I had a photographic memory because it is fun. Then you must do this, too. You walk down a street. I’m thinking of K Street, and I look and said, “When was that building built? Was that there when I first came here?” And there are aren’t any left. There are very few that date back that far. When I first came here, they were building the FBI building. It was a hole in the ground, and don’t we wish we-
Andy Ockershausen: You came right after the Metro came online.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Oh, the Metro, they hadn’t started digging it.
Andy Ockershausen: ’62, I thought that’s when they started. No, Dulles was ’62.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Metro started in either ’69 or ’70. I went down and watched them move the little old synagogue that was sitting, they moved it again recently, but it was the oldest synagogue in Washington, D.C. I believe. It was on the site where Metro headquarters is located today, and they moved it down the street.
Andy Ockershausen: The whole building.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: The whole building, they jacked it up and moved it. We watched that get built and it was very exciting times.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, and then you have lived through it because you look for it where you had to, because that was important to you because that was your career. But it was also important to the community to say, what does Steve Fuller say? What does he think about how are we gonna do in Loudoun County? Or what are we gonna do in Upper Marlboro? Is it going to help us? And you’ve been able to supply them information. Maybe they don’t like it, but I’m talking about builders and developers. They’ve relied on you. I know that because I listen.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: They do, but the information and the research that I do in the Washington area is available to anybody. I’m a teacher. I always view this when I go out and get-
Andy Ockershausen: You’re on the faculty.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: I go out and give a lot and do a lot of public speaking, and I look at the people in the audience as my students, and my job is to help them navigate the economy, to understand what’s happening, whether it’s 10 years ago or 15 years ago. The times are different, and right now the times are really quite challenging because… And what’s interesting at Washington, it’s a company town, Our Town.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Our Town Economy Not as Dependent on Federal Government as Before
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: And it’s changing. It is not as dependent on the federal government, but the president can shut the government down with the stroke of a pen, and it affects everybody, and people need to know that whether you’re a federal employee or running a restaurant.
Andy Ockershausen: Everybody feels this, particularly in our community and our economy, and I’ve lived through many of them, as you have too, but Steve, I want to talk to you about that. I wanted to find out about you first because I knew all these things, but I think we hope that we have a lot of listeners that care about Our Town and care about our podcast that wanted to know more about Steve Fuller, so we’re going to take a break now, and then I want to start talking about the economy and a couple of questions. This is Andy Ockershausen, and this is Our Town.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen brought to you by Best Bark Communications.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen, and this is Our Town, and we’re having a discussion with Dr. Stephen Fuller. I should have announced that at the beginning. Steve is at many times a doctor and he’s such a big, important part of Our Town and such a fixture in the business and the economy and things he knows and the university. I was taken back, Steve, because I was at your small business seminar that was sponsored by Sandy Springs Bank. Had a wonderful, wonderful session there listening to you and the people who were on the panel. Then I see that there’s a story about the economy is growing, and it was Steve Fuller, the featured speaker. Then I see it’s a mass exodus from Greater Washington by Steve Fuller. And the two probably make sense, but not to me as a layman. How can we be slowing down and when we’re still growing?
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Well, you do have to be careful what you read. These reporters are not economists.
Andy Ockershausen: Headlines, that’s correct.
Net Domestic Out-Migration, Natural Growth and International In-Migration Since the Sequester in 2014
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: But what’s interesting, what’s going on in Washington and it’s happened, it goes back to the sequester, that period, so 2014. Since that time we have been experiencing net domestic out-migration, which means more people are leaving than coming domestically. We have babies being born faster than people passing away, so we have natural growth, and then we have significantly more people coming here from other parts of the world outside of the United States, than going back to those countries. So we have international in-migration and we have domestic out-migration.
There are times when we have domestic in-migration, and when you look at this over time, it says a lot about Washington. When the rest of the country’s economy is in the tank, people stay here because this is where the jobs are. The federal government, we are a company town, as I said.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s Our Town.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It cushions. It’s sort of countercyclical. In the last recession, which was a terrible recession, this economy actually didn’t go negative. It slowed down a lot, but it didn’t go negative during the sequester when they cut off federal spending and they laid off federal workers, we went negative, the rest of the country didn’t.
So in a way the federal government could be our Achilles heel, but it has cushioned us. What’s been happening recently is that people keep coming here at the same rate, but they don’t stay as long. So where I came 52 years ago and stayed-
Andy Ockershausen: It was career to live here.
Millennials Come for 3 to 4 years But Don’t Stay
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: … bought a house, got married, had kids invested in the community and I’m still here, sorry, your story as well maybe. But what happens now, millennials come here and they spend three or four years here and they apprentice somewhere or they intern, they work as a junior lawyer in a law firm, and then they leave here because they can get a good job somewhere else.
Andy Ockershausen: And when you say, when you speak of coming here, that means they could come to Northern Virginia. They could come to suburban Maryland.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Yes.
Andy Ockershausen: But they’re all part of Our Town and they’re all part of the economy.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: They’re coming to the Washington region-
Andy Ockershausen: It’s big.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: … because it has a brand that’s attractive, but they’re not staying here. It’s the third most expensive metropolitan area to live in, in the country. And they can go back to Omaha, maybe go back where they grew up or where they went to college or where they know somebody, and buy a house for a half or a quarter of what a house costs here, and have a good job. And the work-life balance issue scares off people, too. So we’re much more mobile than we used to and millennials are leaving, the Gen X-ers, the middle-age folks. Older people leave too, but they usually leave when they retire, if they leave.
Andy Ockershausen: But these young people are leaving for a better opportunity though, or so it seems a better opportunity in Omaha, Nebraska, or Grand Rapids, Michigan, or someplace.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It may not be better,
… but when you balance it off against cost and lifestyle, this is attractive to them. It’s a challenge to us because these are high-quality workers and we need to keep them here. Companies are coming here because we have good talent and we can’t afford to have folks leaving like this. It’s 30,000 a year – net – leaving over coming.
Andy Ockershausen: That is a lot of people.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: That’s a lot of people.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s a lot of spending, too, that’s leaving the economy, correct?
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It is, and that’s why our population-
Andy Ockershausen: Food, transportation and everything is effected when 30,000 people leave.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Well, every city has people coming and going.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, I’m sure.
Population Growth Relatively Low in Our Town
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It’s the net of it that’s important. Our population growth is relatively low here. It’s about a nine-tenths of a percent per year. Back in 2010 when we were the fastest growing metropolitan area among the larger ones, because the rest of the country was still in the tank and we were ahead of the curve.
We had a 2% growth rate. So our population growth rate is half of what it used to be. Suburban Maryland is 0.5, it’s really slow. Northern Virginia’s 1.8, so there’s differentials within the region. The district actually had net out-migration last year, first time in I think since 2007.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s amazing, but I read that and I wanted to believe it. I heard the mayor talk about it, you know, she’s right concerned. But how about the birth rate? Has that affected anything in this greater area? Or is it pretty much the same?
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: The birth rate is like any other metropolitan area. It’s low, lower than it was when when we were young. Households are smaller. People get married later and have fewer children, and everybody’s working hard and kids don’t figure into the equation quite as soon.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, doesn’t that fly in the face of what’s kind of happening now with Amazon? As you pointed out, one of the reasons they’re coming here is jobs, is being able to fill the jobs because they’ve got a highly skilled workforce, as I understand it
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It is.
Andy Ockershausen: I would assume that’s going to bring people in to replace other people. Who knows how that’s going to happen?
Putting Amazon’s Impact on Our Town in Perspective
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Amazon has said that they’re going to hire from within the local workforce, and that’s what most companies do. They bring their most senior people and then they go trolling, and they will create vacancies in other businesses that will create opportunities for people coming out of college in Michigan or some other place. They could be mid-career changes as well. This is a natural process to put Amazon in perspective. It’s 25,000 jobs. It may be 38,000 jobs by the time they get done, but it’s over 12 or 15 years.
Andy Ockershausen: Years, right, so it’s not immediate.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It’s 400 jobs this year, 1,100 jobs next year, and maybe 2,200 the year after that, and we add between 35,000 and 50,000 jobs a year. So that’s just not a drop in the bucket. It’s not unimportant, but it isn’t the whole story.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, there’s still a big Uncle Sam here that still has a need for talented people, I would hope, and hire them. So what do you look for happening? Jurisdictionally, you’re spread out of the entire as I call it, Our Town. Is Maryland doing better than Virginia or is it D.C., or how do you see it? It used to be an exodus from D.C. to Prince George’s county. I think that’s accelerated now by lower income. I’m not sure that’s true in Montgomery County. And then there was a time people wouldn’t go to Virginia because they didn’t want to cross the bridge. But I thought that’s changed.
New Paradigm Exists for Where the Jobs Are and How that Effects the Economy Geographically
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: That has changed so much. It doesn’t even register as correct anymore. In the first quarter of this year, suburban Maryland, which is Frederick County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Calvert and Charles Counties lost jobs. They’ve had negative job growth three consecutive months through the first quarter.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: All of the job growth basically is in D.C. They’re running about the average annual rate of about 5,000 and Northern Virginia about 28,000. Northern Virginia is more than half of the economy of the region now. The economy has shifted and it started back in the ’80s, and it revolved around federal contracting. When this was just a government town and everybody, not everybody ever worked for the federal government, but it had 35% of the job base back in the ’70s.
Andy Ockershausen: The workforce.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: The workforce, they worked downtown and D.C. was important. As the population grew and located in the suburbs, the retail followed. The jobs began to follow, too, and other. The federal government now is about 10% of the workforce, and so other things became important, and most important in that story is federal contracting, and businesses that did federal contracting chose to live in Virginia because it was less expensive to operate there. They were coming here from out of town and they needed good air transportation back to where their headquarters were.
Andy Ockershausen: Wherever.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: And Dulles became important because the headquarters were in California. In those days, you couldn’t fly from National Airport past St. Louis. So, of the one and a half trillion dollars in federal procurement spending that’s come into this region since 1980, one and a half trillion, half of that is going to businesses located in Northern Virginia, and it’s just boosted Northern Virginia’s growth rate. And those businesses had a tech-based workforce. That’s one of the reasons-
Andy Ockershausen: High quality workforce.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: … that other businesses that aren’t federal contractors have decided that Northern Virginia is the place to be because they have better access to the kind of workforce they want. They have good schools. They look like Montgomery County, but it’s they’re bigger.
Andy Ockershausen: Fairfax is wonderful.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Fairfax is much bigger than Montgomery County and has higher paying jobs and is growing… Well, it’s no longer growing faster. Fairfax is slowing down because people and jobs are preferring to be closer in. This is a sea change since the recession in 2007, and it’s driven by millennials. They want to be where the lights are, where the action is. They’re renters more likely than owners.
Andy Ockershausen: Reston, perfect example, I know Reston is exploding.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Reston has done very well for itself, better than Tyson’s Corner.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, it’s so wonderful to see, and you bring it to light as Our Town and all the good things are happening. It’s a shame, it’s not equal, but that’s the way it is. That’s the way the economy goes, and some areas grow and some don’t. But now tell me about what has happened in downtown. We had Arthur Cotton Moore, the prominent architect, telling us about what he didn’t like about some of the things that are done, because he said the river should be a bigger part of Our Town. It should be more building and so forth on the river. That was his estimate. But I see things like the Wharf and I see things like that I grew up with, like I see that the sea change in Georgetown and I see it in Northern Virginia, see it down in Mount Vernon, I see it down in Accokeek, and it’s just been great for Our Town. They’re using the river.
The River and Growth in Northern Virginia
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Most of the land along the river is publicly owned. That’s why Arthur Cotton Moore can’t build buildings on it. There are very few out parcels, and one could argue that it’s a design element in the initial plan and in subsequent plans for the nation’s capital. That river attracts people. It’s so green and the edges are green.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s an asset, a tremendous asset.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: The water is clean now and they clear out the tree limbs when they come down, they take care of the river and people are, out boating, there’s crew races regularly. The river is a major public asset. It’s a visual asset too and I like looking at it out my window. I happen to be able to see it from my condominium in Arlington.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re in Arlington, aha.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: I live in Arlington.
Andy Ockershausen: There is growth city to me, Arlington, I grew up with knowing porn jobs and what happens on the corner in Arlington and Cherrydale and the Claremont.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: You watch Arlington. You watch Arlington over the next five years, it’s going to be renewed because it was really getting… Crystal City was aging and was becoming obsolete, and Pentagon City, which you remember it wasn’t that long ago that there were just warehouses there. They used to make telephones over there in the ’60s.
Andy Ockershausen: Bell System had a huge place there, absolutely.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Western Electric had enormous facilities over there.
Andy Ockershausen: Western Electric, right.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Nobody will remember this anymore, but it is going to be just a major revitalization and it’s going to spread into D.C. We figured that if the Amazon-headed households as they develop over the next 10 to 12 years, 13% to 15% of them will live in the District, about 15% of them will live in Arlington, 6% or 7% will live either in Prince George’s County or in Montgomery County. They’ll go all the way out to Loudoun County because of the Silver Line, which is going to be up and running by then.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, trains.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It will go all the way out past the airport, and this kind of workforce ops for public transportation over private transportation. Out in Seattle, 60% of the workforce, Amazon’s workforce, don’t drive in private cars. They get there by bicycle, by walking.
Andy Ockershausen: Whatever.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: They may come by Uber, but public transportation is really important. Arlington is very well positioned and so is the District. Not to shortchange Alexandria. Alexandra is going to feel the benefits of this too.
Consulting on Amazon Deal
Andy Ockershausen: Were you called on to consult with the Amazon when they were looking at the workforce and looking at the geographics? You can see your research all the time.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: I was called in late. Amazon required the state of Virginia to prepare in case they were selected. So in August before the decision was made, Amazon told the state that they needed to get an outside and independent objective analysis done of what the economic impacts would be and what the fiscal impacts would be and what the housing and demographic impacts would be. So the state contracted with my institute at George Mason University.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: And we worked very quietly and we were not able to talk to anybody. We had a nondisclosure agreement, but we had to be ready. So when the announcement came, whether that was the day after Labor Day or it was the 13th of November it turned out, so that the media could be put to us and ask us what’s gonna happen because of this, and not ask the state or ask Amazon, because who’s going to believe them?
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, well, that’s right. They’re prejudiced.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Well, they did the studies too, so we duplicated them. I didn’t ever see theirs. They were a little different.
Andy Ockershausen: You did yours away from what they did.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: We were still working on the expectation of 50,000 workers. So I asked them when this conversation came out about splitting that between New York and they said, “No, stick with the 50, because if it’s only 25 we just have to divide your results by two. It’s simple. The math is simple.” We have the results of that work on our website and we also have divided it by two now, but that’s impactful.
But the story beyond that is, and as I say, watch Arlington, and Alexandria too, that over the next 10 years, which are probably going to be more than double the number of jobs than Amazon is bringing that come who are developing small startups, smaller businesses, specialized businesses that want to be in the footprint. Or under the Amazon umbrella. They may do some work with Amazon, but they may just want to steal their workers because Amazon is going to be a major magnet-
Andy Ockershausen: Major.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: … for high quality workforce and people get tired of working for one company now after a few years, not like me that’s worked for each one for 25 years, or you guys.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s like dominoes. Things are going to fall. I mean, the food service is going to change. The restaurants are going to change. The world is going to change in a year. That’s a 15-year program, is it not?
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It is.
Andy Ockershausen: To get to some degree of completion, probably never be completed.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: But it’s going to fill in the center again. I mean, we got hollowed out and it weakened the economy. And you remember back in 1995 when the district was basically bankrupt.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, control board.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It was considered to be a hole in the donut. You ignored it. And now every piece of this region is important now to the economy and to its vitality.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s so exciting, and Steve, you make it exciting because what you do is find out the statistics behind it. Thank you for being on Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen. We’re going to take a break. And Steve, thank you for your knowledge.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It’s a pleasure to be with you.
Andy Ockershausen: We love it.
Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Host Andy Ockershausen.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen brought to you by Best Bark Communications.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen and having a wonderful conversation with Dr. Stephen Fuller, the eminent statistician, and a very dear friend. I hope one day I’ll be able to sit in his audience again and understand better, because he’s reporting to me and saying to me, this is just the beginning of what’s happening to our economy and that Amazon is a trigger, but they’re not the only trigger.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Yeah, they’re an important example of what can be achieved here by the efforts of local government working together. It’s a wonderful example of the collaboration, the benefits of collaboration among businesses and government at the local level.
Andy Ockershausen: They spread it out pretty good, did they not?
Amazon is Just the Beginning
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: They worked together to make this happen, and it will benefit the region broadly, but it isn’t the final, it isn’t all that is coming. This is just the beginning. We expect there to be almost 400,000 new jobs in the next 15 years and this is just 25,000 of them.
Andy Ockershausen: In 15 years? That’s nothing.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: But that’s no faster growth than we had in the last 15 years, but it’s the quality of the growth. It’s not federally driven or not dependent on federal spending. It’s going to be depending on the global marketplace and for a nation like the US, the capital city as important as Washington, it will become more like London or Paris or Tokyo. It’s going to be more than just a company town.
Andy Ockershausen: Beijing is becoming one now, too.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Beijing, and so while Amazon looks big, we wouldn’t even know they were here if they hadn’t told us.
Andy Ockershausen: They will be absorbed that easily? With the place they pick, what do they call it? National Landing, like you said, and I know that area because it was Bell System was there, the telephone company, and they had a warehouse and there was no Pentagon City and it was just… Oh, when they built those two apartments, I remember there was nothing in front of them. Now it’s just exploding.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Capital One out in Tyson’s Corner, Tyson’s, they don’t call it Tyson’s Corner anymore, Tyson’s, 13,000 employees, but they don’t tell anybody and so we don’t know it. Amazon Web Services in Herndon is going to have 7,500 jobs. They don’t tell anybody. I mean, Amazon already has an East Coast headquarters here. It’s not part of this HQ2.
Andy Ockershausen: Then that’s part of the explosion over there.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: We usually don’t know. We don’t have names for all the jobs that come here, but we do for Amazon, so we’ve over focused on it and we should just… We can learn from this and we can either blow it going forward or we can be successful and it’s going to take some leadership.
Andy Ockershausen: And that’s good. That’s a political leadership probably because it’s a lot of criticism.
For Growth Private Sector and Elected Leadership Must be Involved at Local Level
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: The private sector has to be involved along with the elected leadership at the local level, absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: I’ve noticed that your career, you’ve been an advisor to governors of our great state, of the Commonwealth of Virginia I should say.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: I have.
Andy Ockershausen: I hope that you are called upon for the governors of Maryland and Mayor Bowser. I’m sure that they use your stats from time to time.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: I talk to them, too.
Andy Ockershausen: Steve, you give a spark to me that I can see it, but talking to you, I feel it. We’re on the cusp of a big change and it’s going to be positive. We’re growing, it’s going to be great. These are high quality people that are coming into Our Town.
New Money Will Drive the Economy
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: These are very high quality jobs, and they’ll support a lot of other jobs, so it isn’t just about the high quality there. They’re going to be in restaurants, they’re going to be in grocery stores, they’re going to be getting the haircut and going to beauty parlors and buying clothes. In order to support the full economy, you have to have people at the top end who are bringing in revenues from around the world. We can’t do it by just re-spending our own money. We need new money to drive the economy, and the federal government has been good to us for 200 years.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s it, the company town.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Now we’ve moved beyond that. It’s very exciting.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, Steve Fuller, this has been a great conversation and Our Town is so fortunate to have you and all the things you have done and to have your institute and to have George Mason stepping up. I hope that I will continue to see a lot of Steve Fuller. I know you’re going on a long vacation and you deserve it, and get out there in the sun and have a wonderful summer.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: Thank you.
Andy Ockershausen: And thank you so much for being here, Steve.
Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D.: It’s been good to be with you. Thank you.
Andy Ockershausen: WMAL is important to my life and we’ve been important to a lot of people, and getting the enthusiasm of you, it’s going to give us another spark to continue our talent. This is Andy Ockershausen.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, Season 5, a Hometown favorite with your host Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released every Tuesday. Special thanks to Ken Hunter, our technical director, and to WMAL Radio in Washington DC. Follow Our Town on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you haven’t yet, go to Apple Podcasts and subscribe and don’t forget to rate and review our podcast. Join us next Tuesday for another Our Town conversation. Thanks so much for listening.