For universities in Virginia, Amazon's Amazon Center was at the right time


A statement reflects a planned 1 million square campus at Virginia Tech in Alexandria, Va., Near the Amazon headquarters in the future. (N / A / Virginia Tech)

When George Mason University heard Amazon Amazon was hunting for a site to open a second headquarters, officials were removed to state leaders in Virginia.

The public school had seen an amazing growth in computer science and related programs in the last five years, with duplication recording. Administrators already worked with the state on the expansion of these initiatives.

Virginia Tech was also ready. The school's engineering program was so big and growing, and – even more important – the university had been in a position; Encouraging its idea of ​​a site of innovation in North Virginia for several years.

And for state officials, the news came to be that Amazon was just expanding it as it was; providing a strategic plan that technology expects as the center of new job opportunities. This would require a huge investment to ensure that a talent line could meet the current and future demand. (The Washington Post is Amazon Commander, Jeffery P. Bezos).

Higher education said, Stephen Moret, president of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, was "right in the eye of the bull." Especially in a state designed to expand its commitment to technology education.

"Le Amazon," he said, "it seemed to be crucial."

So the Amazon sweepstakes came to a very good time. Unfortunately, state leaders were willing to pour money into higher-tech technology – over $ 1 billion over 20 years. This commitment, without being a formal part of the final agreement by Amazon, was announced at the same time that it was announced that Northern Virginia was selected as one of two successful sites, along with New York. State leaders stated that the role of higher education was a key part, and a certification of a continuous company of technologically experienced staff.

It was not included in the formal agreement because the state was committed to investing with or without Amazon, Moret said. But they are part of the range they have made to their & company for over a year.

Virginia Tech Innovation Campus – a $ 1 billion graduate site inspired by Cornell Tech on Roosevelt's Island in New York City which would be located within the new Amazon headquarters in North Virginia – the most spectacular symbol. But it is expected that schools across the state will meet more and more demand; Increase funding for technology education.

At the beginning of the process, state officials were issued to the Higher Education State Council for Virginia and individual schools, and Ask if they would consider how high level education might apply. They wanted to be sure they were dealing with education in a great way, said Moret, making it a key part of the proposal.

Her backdrop is in higher education, and his doctorate focused on his / her conflicts between education and work market. He was listening to the same message from technical companies: they needed talent.

Choinnich Moret announced a conference with schools explaining that the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and a consultancy company Steering the effort to coordinate the Virginia proposal.

"There must be 50 or 60 people called," said Deborah Crawford, vice president George Mason for research. "You could call a false conference. You could ask questions, but there was no way to co-finish who could talk when e. People were talking over each other. South West. "

Then they drilled down. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership continued with questions about how schools could contribute, especially in the development of technology talent at undergraduate and master's degree levels. Crawford had also given hope for queries about research and research capacity, but the proposal was targeted at & # 39; make a masters degree and masters degree.

The questionnaire from the group asked what extent of expansion could be – and without – state money.

It included an opinion on a similar area with Cornell Tech, and He asked the centers what they were thinking about.

Virginia Tech officials said they were ready, with state support, built hundreds of millions of dollars for such a project, said Moret.

Keeping a Virginia Tech presence in North Virginia has something to do with school leaders. as essential for his mission as a land donation center, Brandy Salmon, who is the main operating officer at the innovative site, said.

When the school was established nearly 150 years ago, its Commonwealth service was a " meaning farmers and training staff in mechanical science, spokesman Mark Owczarski said. Now, Tim Sands, president of the university, is thinking about what is intended in 2018 and decades in the future. Technology, and the innovation sector, are at the heart of this vision.

Virginia Tech was a leader in the talks, with a large team of people actively working on their plans. But George Mason, Virginia Community College, Virginia University and William & Mary College as a whole, said Moret, and many others were part of the process.

The schools sent their responses to the questionnaire in September last year, Crawford said.

Then they stayed.

One night in January, Crawford got text from Moret, asking if she had a quick moment.

"Initially I was like that," Oh, shoot, "thinking" soon "to announce bad news, she said. When calling Moret, he told him Crawford said Virginia was one of 20 final musicians, and an Amazon focus was on Northern Virginia. She started jumping up and down.

And then she wanted to know the next step. Amazon would visit the site in the next four weeks, Tell Moret.

In February, George Mason called for the site to visit and hoped that the president of Chaplains, Angel Cabrera, would meet the team. This was a type of messaging message. Cabrera was there. "He had little time to prepare for doing it, but this was a very important priority for us," said Crawford.

Within days, in a hotel in Arlington, a few visitors from the educational centers and other organizations met the visiting team on the site. There was a clear understanding that other schools, including K-12 schools, would be involved – something that Virginia team thought to be attractive to Amazon.

Moret said Sands and other Tech Tech leaders met Amazon officials, feeling that they were on the right road.

At George Mason, they did not hear anything for a further two or three months. In the early summer, Crawford learned that North Virginia could do it to shorter shortlist. She was very happy, thinking about her & her; The first time this was the loss of Northern Virginia. So when they started to prepare a comprehensive data on computer science screening pre-evaluations, how many additional students could be registered over the years in which the programs are, work out the to operate operating costs; grow up quickly.

Amazon was giving more steps in computer-related fields, and pre-projections for the next 20 years were asked for universities in Virginia.

Given that some of the state's universities have already been working on a cyber campaign with similar aims – to increase graduates in computer science – Crawford had a sense of leadership important.

They analyzed the data and cost projections. George Mason was aiming to build an Arlington, "a hop, skip and a jump" site built on the Amazon site, and site of graduation programs in policy, law and business that would co- party.

State executives had a financial model design for 25,000 to 35,000 graduates to provide masters degrees and additional masters degrees over the next 20 years.

At George Mason, how they were to find out what faculty they would have to pay and pay; maintaining cost estimates, they started in August and September to add an awareness of the possibilities of their Commonwealth.

In September, media reports revealed that the North Virginia was very strong in the face. Moret met a meeting with senior education leaders – not just in the high schools, but everyone – about the possibility of incorporating a piece of secondary education, level of application.

The state has made up to $ 125 million over the next 20 years to expand the Arlington George Mason area with a focus on research education and a technology degree, a school that matches the school. Virginia Tech plans to launch its innovative site by guaranteeing $ 250 million from the state.

Crawford heard a lot of facts and read a lot of stories, but she did not know London night. Cabrera got a call, she said: Be ready for Tuesday.

"A phone call was a happy phone call," said Crawford.

Virginia Tech officials watched TV news, and celebrated. "He was looking forward," said Bradan, the new campus executive chief executive of Virginia Tech. "This is one of the most exciting opportunities of life."

It was not until late Tuesday, however, that it really sank for Crawford. She saw all Black Suburbans heard out, a signal that Richmond officials had come and walked into the warehouse. He had already been packed, and the room was hanging.

She saw Moret, and took hold of him. "You did it!"

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