- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2006

Leona Agouridis’ new office will be in the Bender Building on Connecticut Avenue Northwest, the same building where she held a part-time job as an aerobics instructor when she moved to the District 22 years ago.

Now Ms. Agouridis is returning as executive director of the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID).

“I thought it was the best neighborhood to work at. I loved it,” Ms. Agouridis said. “There is so much history here, there is so much going on.”

The BID works to improve the public spaces within 42 blocks of D.C.’s central business district, an area that extends from the White House to Dupont Circle and from 16th Street to 21st Street Northwest. The BID exists for the benefit of its businesses, hotels and restaurants, keeping the area clean and safe by deploying teams of workers to aid tourists, sweep sidewalks and help the homeless find shelter, among other duties.

“I want to step up the notion that the BID is here to serve the businesses in the area,” Ms. Agouridis said. “It’s about promoting an area as a premier destination; it’s about understanding how the city and government services work. The background in transportation is key here,” she explained, because the key to keeping the area viable is bringing in customers and keeping them.

She will begin her new job June 26, filling a position that was vacated in January when the previous executive director, Marcia Rosenthall, died.

Since 1998, Ms. Agouridis has worked as assistant general manager for customer communications, marketing and sales for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). She began working at Metro in 1996 as director of media relations.

During her tenure there, Ms. Agouridis helped introduce online trip planning to Washington’s Metro system. Metro was also among the first transit systems to use voice recognition, and it is about to introduce trip planning in Spanish.

“The Golden Triangle BID has been the standard bearer for hospitality, for streetscapes, and for innovative projects like Wi-Fi,” said Steve Moore, the chief executive and president of the Washington, D.C., Economic Partnership. “I very much look forward to working with her.”

Before her stint at Metro, Ms. Agouridis worked as D.C.’s voter registrar and manager of the Information and Voter Services Office at the city’s Board of Elections. Her first job in Washington was as a writing instructor at the Department of Finance and Revenue.

Ms. Agouridis received a bachelor’s degree from Lehigh University in 1982 and a master’s degree in English from the University of Virginia a year later.

Ms. Agouridis, 45, lives in Bethesda with her husband and two children.

Marie Tyler

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