Every year selects an Alexandria citizen leader as our Alexandrian of the Year. This year our Board selected Eric Wagner, a long-time resident and long-time member and chairman of the Planning Commission from 1993 to 2015.

Eric, who manages a variety of activities for Med Star Health, was not an expert in urban planning when he joined the Commission but through independent study and keen analysis he became one. He played a major role in one of more turbulent times in Alexandria’s history as a generally good economic environment and the City’s prime location caused massive development and improvement in both the residential and commercial sectors.

Anyone who worked with Eric could not help but being struck by his helpful attitude and quiet but purposeful demeanor. He would listen. He would present facts. He would explain the process that can be a mystery to those not familiar with the City Code and Virginia’s Constitution and laws.

He understood what many do not that a member’s discretion is severely limited. He could not command changes in many instances because of the rights of land owners or the prescriptions of the laws. Never-the-less he quietly pushed for improvements in the plans and spent tens of thousands of hours of his time attempting to fulfill his duties in the most positive and professional manner.

He never viewed the Commission as a stepping stone to something else. It was a body that existed to insure that the intent and spirit of the Code was followed. His job was to make that happen.

We also note that Eric was appointed to the Ad Hoc Joint City-Schools Facility Investment Task Force last year and is continuing to lend his expertise and keen insights to important issues in our community.

Alexandria is considerably better off for his tireless efforts over the past quarter of a century and the efforts of those with whom he worked and led. He embodies the essence of Alexandria’s citizen volunteers who choose to seek appointment to our Boards and Commissions or who work so closely with our many non-profit organizations. He sought nothing for himself but the best for the City and its citizens.