Bell Atlantic-DC President and CEO William Freeman elected Chairman of the Greater Washington initiative

For the next year, Freeman will lead a marketing partnership of private industry, local governments and public development corporations

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Greater Washington Board of Trade has late Monday elected Bell Atlantic President and CEO William Freeman as chairman of the Greater Washington Initiative (GWI). Freeman replaces NationsBank Regional President Bill Hodges, who is leaving the area.

For the next year, Freeman will lead a marketing partnership of private industry, local governments and public development corporations which promotes the Greater Washington area as an ideal place to live, work and conduct business.

He has already been a key player in efforts by the group to promote the Washington area. Over the past several years, Freeman and other GWI members bombarded Fortune magazine with so much positive information about the area that it helped convince the magazine to designate Greater Washington among the top ten "Best Cities for Balancing Family and Work."

In October, Freeman was part of a delegation that launched GWI's marketing efforts in London, England. The group met with the United Kingdom's Confederation of Business and with local chambers of commerce to establish economic development partnerships that will help foreign companies break into American markets and establish offices in the area.

"This was the first time we reached out to the UK and Western Europe," Freeman said. "We wanted them to know we are open for business."

Commenting on future GWI objectives, Freeman said "We prepared the ground, the foundation is set, now we will build the house. My immediate goals are threefold: first, we will implement our 1997 marketing plan; second, we will broaden our investor base; and third, we will ensure there are positive perceptions about the Greater Washington area as being a good place to live, work and do business."

The Greater Washington Initiative was founded in 1994 to attract public and private investment, stimulate economic development and retain and expand the areas existing economic base. Although Washington, D.C. is at its geographic heart, the initiative represents 12 suburban counties as far out as Calvert, Md., Frederick, Md., Loudoun, Va. and Spotsylvania, Va.

"This year, if we can create more jobs, attract new capital, and expand the technology sector by promoting this area's competitive advantages we will be successful," Freeman said.

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