It started innocently enough with a summer visit to the nation's capital and a comment from his son that the area would be a nice place to live.
Lewis County Economic Development director Doug Parsons will be finding out exactly how nice soon, as he has taken a job as the business development director for the City of Leesburg, Va., starting at the end of the month. His last day in Lewis County will be Thursday.
"It's a greater opportunity to advance in my career," Parsons said. "It's an incredible town, and Loudoun County, Va., is one of the most prosperous counties in the nation. Leesburg has an extremely booming economy."
Parsons has headed up the the Lewis County agency for nearly 12 years, saying it was a difficult decision to pull up stakes and move to a new area. He said he and his family had lengthy discussions about the move.
"I love it here," he said. "It's a great town, a great community. I've been here as long as I've been anywhere in my life. I love Lewis County and the people. We've made a lot of progress in the last 11-plus years."
During his time in Lewis County, more than 80 miles of new waterline has been put into place, bringing potable water to about 800 families. He has seen the drastic rise of the natural gas industry, the continued work on Corridor H and the formation of the Hardwood Alliance Zone.
"We filled the industrial park, and we have started on a new one," Parsons added, saying all this could not have been accomplished without the support of the board of directors and the Lewis County Commission.
"There have been a lot of ups and downs," he said, "but we've had a lot of successes over the years. It's been a pleasure."
Parsons said he has organized the office for his yet-to-be-named successor.
He said he has compiled a list of contacts and other necessary information to help in the transition.
"I've offered to be available after my departure as much as my new job will allow," he said, "so there will be as seamless of a transition as possible."