Leadership Loudoun Youth
“Making Loudoun County the Best Place to Grow Up”
Day 4 of Leadership Loudoun Youth took the teens on an exploration of Eastern Loudoun's high technology corridor, with stops at Prototype Productions, Inc., an accelerated high-tech product development, manufacturing and commercialization firm, and NOVA Medical Group and NOVA Urgent Care. The founders of these highly acclaimed businesses shared personal stories of how they persevered toward success against the odds.
When the economy hit the skids, Joe Travez invested everything he owned into his business. "I had only $35 in the bank, but I believed in the business my brother and I were building. When times get hard, you work harder and believe in your dream," Travez told the teens of Leadership Loudoun Youth during a tour PPI, the Ashburn business he owns with his brother Italo. Fortunately, the brothers soon landed a $350 million contract with the Department of Defense, and today the innovative company is churning out a new innovation every 29 days.
Dr. Grace Keenan, founder of NOVA Medical Group, credits her success to a guidance counselor who took the time to encourage her to live up to her academic potential. "We didn’t have a youth leadership program in my town," Keenan said. "My guidance counselor's encouragement was all the encouragement I had. I'm glad I listened to her." She went on to graduate with honors and enter medical school. Today, her innovative integrative health team combines the services of traditional board-certified medical practitioners with a broad variety of alternative and homeopathic disciplines, such as licensed acupuncturists, a cognitive behavioral therapists, registered dietitians, fitness instructors, and massage therapists and is the largest primary care provider in Loudoun. "We treat the whole person, instead of just dispensing pills to make a symptom go away," she said.
"I was inspired by their stories," said Pranava Komaragiri. "The experience of meeting CEOs and government leaders this week has shown me that leadership comes in many forms."
After making their own healthful lunches with NOVA Medical Group dietician Amy Johnson, the teens spent the afternoon picking up litter along a nature trail with Keep Loudoun Beautiful board member Mark Lenko, who is also CEO of Semper Technology Inc. He taught the teens about the importance of waste reduction and personal responsibility for the environment.