The project manager of the West Falls Church Development Project won the Falls Church Employee of the Year award, the city government announced March 26.
Carly Aubrey has been working for Falls Church for less than four years, but her hard work and dedication has already made its mark. The West Falls Church Development Project is a multi-year, 10-acre overhaul that will include a new state-of-the-art high school and a retail center. Aubrey has been dedicating her time to the $120-million-budget project for over a year.
Some of her biggest challenges have been “finding enough hours in the day, coordinating people’s schedules— there’s a lot of meetings that have to happen,” Aubrey said, noting that she oversees all tasks related to the project. The development project involves many groups in Falls Church and beyond, including Virginia Tech, George Mason High School, WMATA and Fairfax county. How many hours a week does her work involve?
“All the hours,” Aubrey said, laughing. Typically, planning requires at least one meeting nightly, she said.
Aubrey skillfully navigated city hall closure for renovations and closure, which vastly limited meeting spaces. “We’ve been having meetings all over the city basically,” she explained.
In the city the city’s press release, Director of Planning Paul Stoddard wrote: “By the strength of Carly’s professional skill and determination, the West Falls Church redevelopment effort was kept on schedule and is poised to positively transform the western end of the City.”
Deputy City Manager and Director of Human Resources Cindy Mester added: “She is the embodiment of our Leadership Guiding Principle that the quality and success of our City is a shared responsibility. Her leadership as a project manager is unparalleled.”
Aubrey said she is very appreciative of the recognition, and expressed her thanks to the Employee Review Board. “Definitely been working hard on this and it means a lot,” she said.
Her favorite part of the project is meeting and working with people from many different professions and backgrounds, Aubrey said. As a project manager, Aubrey said she is normally on the periphery, but now is learning the nitty gritty about infrastructure, schools, finances and more.
“It’s been a learning experience,” she admitted.
Aubrey grew up in Missouri, and moved to to Virginia from Florida five years ago with her husband and family. Although she has worked in a variety of places, she said she likes working for small city government best.
“You can interact more with everyone, whether it’s city manager, or city attorney, even city council, you can just get to know people more than you would in a larger jurisdiction or state government. And you get to know the people, too, the citizens,” Aubrey explained.
“It’s more personal. So I like that.”
What are Aubrey’s goals for the West Falls Church Development Project going forward?
“To get it done!” she said, laughing. “I envision one day going to the groundbreaking. That would be my biggest goal right now.”
The new high school is on track to break ground in June, and the retail and neighborhood portion will begin once school construction is complete about a year and a half later, Aubrey said.
For updates on the project, subscribe to the West Falls Church Economic Development Project news flash, which will send emails or text messages before public meetings.