Best of NoVA 2013: People

Robert Griffin III

Professional Athlete
Robert Griffin III
redskins.com, @RGIII

Unless you’re one of NoVA’s lesser known “under a rock” dwellers, you’ve undoubtedly been swept up in the force of nature that is Robert Griffin III. RGIII grew up a military brat, born overseas but eventually settling in central Texas. An early phenom, Griffin quickly gained attention for his ability not just as a quarterback, but as a track star. As well as leading his high school football team to the state playoffs, Griffin broke several track records before leaving to attend Baylor University. At Baylor, Griffin continued to shine, gaining national attention for participating in the U.S. Olympic trials as well winning the Heisman Trophy in 2011. Drafted as the second overall pick, Griffin made a home with the Washington Redskins and quickly became a fan favorite due to his humility, talent and heart. Griffin made a splash in the 2012 NFL Season, leading the Redskins from foundering team to playoff hopefuls. ­—DS

 

Davey Johnson

Professional Coach
Davey Johnson
washington.nationals.mlb.com

There are two kinds of baseball managers in the world. The kind who possesses the heart to turn around a team, and the kind that doesn’t. Davey Johnson is the former. Johnson played for the Baltimore Orioles, winning four American League pennants and two World Series championships; he also achieved four All-Star Game appearances as well as winning the Rawlings Golden Glove Award three times. As a manager, Johnson has seen repeated success, culminating in a World Series title in 1986 with the New York Mets. The Cincinnati Reds, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Baltimore Orioles have all made it to their respective league championship series with Johnson at the helm. Johnson has made a home in Washington D.C., repeating his success with the Washington Nationals last year to the 2012 National League Division Series, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in a heartbreaking series. –DS

 

Robin Cary-Pedace

Bartender
Robin Cary-Pedace
Ashburn Pub: 44110 Ashburn Village Blvd., Ashburn; theashburnpub.com

As cliché as it sounds, it’s rare nowadays to find a place where everybody knows your name. Ashburn Pub’s all-star bartender Robin Cary-Pedace hopes to change that. From the moment a regular walks through the door, Cary-Pedace’s on her feet preparing their favorite thirst-quencher—whether it’s an ice-cold beer or a custom creation of her own, like a fruity concoction she calls the “Cherry Popper.” Like an old-timey tapper, she’s part bartender, part best friend. Her cheery disposition and customer service skills come from a time when she worked in marketing. After being laid off, she fell back on her skills slinging drinks and rediscovered her greatest joy: just making people happy. Thursday through Monday, patrons can find Cary-Pedace manning the bar. –TR

 

Will Artley

Chef
Will Artley
400 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church; pizzeriaorso.com; @Chefwillartley

Orso chef Will Artley only stocks his kitchen with fresh, quality ingredients from faraway lands and local producers alike. His philosophy is all about simplicity: Let the ingredients speak for themselves. He doesn’t do this because he has to—any chef could cut plenty of corners. Artley does it because he cares about the local community. “Take care of [your customers], and they take care of you,” he says. And take care of him they have. During his appearance on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” Artley’s fans showed up at viewing parties in droves to cheer him on. Artley caters to his diners’ every whim, from the items on his menu to the dining experience itself. When he’s not sliding hand-tossed crusts into fiery ovens and assembling Italian-style grinders, he can be found tweeting recklessly about pizza, sports and his beloved dog. –TR

 

Mike Wise

Columnist (tie)
Mike Wise
The Washington Post Sports Columnist
@Mikewiseguy

“The team owned by Dan Snyder.” That’s how Mike Wise refers to the Redskins, a name he’s lately been pushing to change. As a sports columnist for the Washington Post since 2004, change is something he’s used to seeing, though he’s always found good things to write about even before the newfound success of D.C. sports. Some of his favorite athletes are the characters that let him into their lives: Chris Cooley, Donald Brashear and Gilbert Arenas, for which he won an Associated Press Sports Writers award. “I prefer to write about the people who happen to play sports,” he says “rather than just regurgitating statistics and calibrating the games.” Besides changing the Redskins name, he wants them to return to the city. He would also like the Wizards announcers to move back to floor-level. And, oh yeah, he thinks there should be a sushi bar in every venue, too. —RC

 

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax
The Washington Post Advice Columnist
@carolynhax

Step aside, Ann Landers. Take a seat, Dear Abby. Go on a walk, Yahoo Answers. This town’s only big enough for one advice columnist. And her name is Carolyn Hax. The author behind her eponymous column, Hax has been answering questions and imparting life lessons in the Washington Post since 1997. She was 30-years old when she decided to try it on a whim. It was love at first write. Despite her career of telling people what to do and how to do it, it hasn’t made parenting her three kids any easier. “Even if they ask for advice, they might not want to hear it, and if they haven’t asked for it, they’re definitely not interested in hearing it,” Hax says. “I need to let them decide who they are. It’s not up to me.” —RC

 

Bob Marbourg

Traffic Reporter (tie)
Bob Marbourg
WTOP 103.5FM, Monday through Friday, 1 -7 p.m.; wtop.com; @WTOPtraffic

To help us navigate through the insane rush hour traffic that takes over the D.C. area in the mornings and evenings—and, who are we kidding, sometimes seems to take over our lives—Bob Marbourg takes a global stance. He’s been in the business for over 30 years and he’s definitely learned a lot along the way. There is a highly personal element in traffic reporting, due to the individual experience everyone has. “When there’s traffic, there’s uncertainty. Uncertainty is very unsettling, so we try to offer a sense of understanding.” Marbourg’s goal is always to relieve driver stress, “If we can preserve a little sanity at the end of the day, then we’ve done our job.” The best traffic advice he can offer? “Pick a lane and stay with it.” –OS

 

Lisa Baden

Lisa Baden
Metro Traffic Traffic Reporter
99.1 WNEW 5 a.m. – 11 a.m.
@LisaBaden

Tying with Marbourg for NoVA’s ‘Best Traffic Reporter’ spot is Lisa Baden, a D.C. traffic expert who’s won the moniker three years in a row. She brings a unique flair to her traffic reporting because she just has fun with it. You may hear her singing, cracking jokes and generally trying to make light of something that can usually be so grueling and dull, especially around these parts. It’s clear that she knows traffic patterns like the back of her hand. Having gotten her start over 30 years ago, Baden developed the on-air personality you hear now over time, in the past 15 years or so, “that’s when I started being me,” she says. “I started telling the story. I started being real.” You can now catch her not only on radio, but also on TV’s CBS local news in the morning as well.

 

Greg Roche

Afternoon/Evening DJ
Greg Roche
DC 101.1 FM, Monday – Friday, 3 – 7 p.m.
@rocheonair

The D.C. area is certainly no stranger to awful commuter traffic and an awesome radio show—courtesy of one Mr. Greg Roche—provides a good distraction, “I like to think of myself as sitting in your passenger seat as you drive home. We can talk about sports, TV, movies, music. We can be serious but, mostly, I try to give you a couple of chuckles to alleviate the tension that is the D.C. rush hour.” Roche has been on the air since 2001 and he says it’s been an incredible ride, “I love music, so to find a job that allows me to listen to music all day and get paid? It doesn’t get much better.” Why does Roche think he was picked ‘Best Afternoon DJ’ for the second year in a row?’ “Four words, Doo Doo Time Spectacular! It’s the hottest phenomenon in all the land! –OS

 

Kane

Morning DJ
The Kane Show
HOT 99.5 FM, Monday – Friday, 5:30 to 10 a.m.
@KaneShow

Winning for the third year in a row, it’s certainly no exaggeration when Kane says that they’ve managed to turn ‘The Kane Show’ into the most talked-about show in D.C. since its inception in 2006. If for some reason, you still haven’t heard it, Kane introduces it as “a gathering of your best friends with an open front door, anyone can come in and say ‘Hi.’” “You really get a reality check listening to our show, whether it’s what music is the hottest right now or what everyone is tweeting about; we make sure our fans are plugged in to everything.” Not to mention, listening to the show will give you a great way to make your hellish morning commute easier. “While my alarm going off at 3 a.m. isn’t my favorite, I still can’t believe I get to hang out with my best friends as a job.” –OS

 

Mark Warner

Local politician (tie)
Senator Mark Warner
@MarkWarner

Hailing from Indiana and Connecticut, senior Senator Mark Warner has proudly represented the state of Virginia in the United States Senate since January 2009. He served as Governor of Virginia from 2002 to 2006, where he pulled the state out of one of its worst economic recessions, brought 135,000 new jobs to Virginia and focused on improving public education. He graduated at the top of his class at George Washington University and went on to obtain a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1980. As a senator, Warner serves on the Banking, Budget, Commerce and Intelligence committees and continuously pushes for bipartisan approaches to lowering the nation’s debt. This past March, Warner announced his support for marriage equality, calling it “the fair and right thing to do.” –JL

 

Gerry Connolly

Congressman
Gerry Connolly
@GerryConnolly

Residents of Fairfax and Prince William counties know the name Connolly. Since 2009, Congressman Gerry Connolly has represented Virginia’s 11th district, which extends from Reston to Quantico and from Centreville to Annandale. Connolly brings to the table a master’s from Harvard and a strong background in foreign affairs. During his 12 years on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, he introduced initiatives to crack down on gang violence, develop affordable housing and strengthen local transportation. As congressman, Connolly co-sponsored the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, which reduced air pollution and traffic in the region by allowing more federal employees to work from home. From securing federal funds for the Metrorail extension to advocating for military families, Connolly continues to bring improvements to life in “the heart of soul of Northern Virginia.” –JL

 

JunkFood

Local band
JunkFood
junkfoodmusic.com; @junkfoodmusic

It’s no wonder these Fairfax-based rockers have once again nabbed a spot on our Best of NoVA list. The roster has changed a bit since JunkFood was formed in 2000—current members are Bart Harris (lead vocals and guitar), Jeff Essex (drums and vocals), Dan Anderson (lead guitar and vocals) and Van Swanson (bass and vocals)—but the band’s reputation for powerful, energetic music remains the same. JunkFood delivers rousing live performances at bars, festivals and lounges along the East Coast, where they play original music and cover versions of ‘80s and ‘90s favorites. Perhaps what makes JunkFood so appealing is the band’s incorporation of different styles into one sound. Harris, lead vocalist, lists The Beatles, Metallica, Motown, hair metal and country music as influences. Look out for another JunkFood album—they’re working on their fourth right now—and be sure to catch them soon on a stage near you. –JL

 

Andrea Khoury

Blogger
Real Housewives of Northern Virginia
Andrea Khoury
novahousewives.com; @NOVAHousewives

No, it’s not another Bravo reality TV show; it’s one of NoVA’s most notable blogs. Real Housewives of Northern Virginia is a popular site that gets women out and about in this great area. Social butterfly and new mom Andrea Khoury founded the blog when she began to miss the tight group of friends she had while in college. “My goal [was] to build an online community that connects women, events and local businesses,” Khoury explains, “all while having fun.” Now, 18 months later, she boasts 5,000 Facebook fans, over 2,000 Twitter followers and several networking events for readers. Don’t let her blog’s title mislead you; “You don’t have to be a housewife,” Khoury ensures. From a quick heads-up about an upcoming event to a full review of a new restaurant, Real Housewives of Northern Virginia offers something valuable to women of all ages and backgrounds. –JL

 

Randi Miller

TWEETER (tie)
@Randi_Miller
Randi Miller

“Step back to allow customers to exit,”—you hear Randi Miller every day on your commute. Being the “voice of metro” since 2006, this D.C. native is also a blogger at the Huffington Post and an active tweeter. From a picture of her newly adopted puppy to opinions on the presidential debates, from local deals to movie reviews, Miller shares all sorts of things to keep her tweets entertaining and informative. “I like the challenge of saying something meaningful in 140 characters or less,” says Miller. “And I am awed by the power of social media in general. Twitter allows so many of us to connect [with] who [we] may not [have] otherwise ever have that opportunity, and gives us unprecedented access to the thoughts of others.” Aware of her public image, Miller always makes sure her tweets remain respectful of the diversity of her audience. —YX

 

Elizabeth Jones

@DullesMoms
Elizabeth Jones

Looking for local family-friendly events? Follow @DullesMoms on twitter. Founded by local mom Elizabeth Jones three years ago, the twitter account and its website have become many parents’ go-to sources for family fun in the area. With more than 600 followers, not only does Jones tweet about upcoming events and opportunities, but also share fun reads, reviews, seasonal guides and more. Their strategies to reach out to so many audiences? Great content. “We pride ourselves in being a comprehensive resource of events and opportunities,” says Jones. “Solid content leads to great tweets and word of mouth brand building. . . . Our site is made great by the countless partner moms and local businesses who contribute to our content and ideas. And we couldn’t be a great site without the wonderful engagement of our audience!” —YX

 

News. Hear It Here First

Eun Yang

Morning News Anchor (female)
Eun Yang
NBC4 / 2002 / On Air: 4:26-7 a.m.

Typical day: My alarm (I set three of them.) goes off at 2:20 a.m. I’m at work by 3:30 and on the air by 4:26. When I leave the station in the middle of the day, I start my other job, mom to three kids. I pick them up from school, take them soccer practice, cook dinner, do the bedtime routine and kiss them goodnight. Then I try to get to bed. On a good day, I sneak in a little time for myself too.

Ultimate “Get” for an Interview: There’s a long list of world leaders I’d like to interview. But, it would be fun to talk to Bono about his faith and music, and how he has used his success for humanitarian efforts around the world.

 

Aaron Gilchris

Morning News Anchor (male)
Aaron Gilchris
NBC4 / 2010 / On Air: 4:26-7 a.m.

Typical day: My day starts with my arrival at 3:30 a.m. I start with a quick briefing from the producers, then read over scripts, wire copy and social media. I load some cups of coffee then head into the studio for our two-and-a-half-hour newscast. After the morning news, responsibilities vary: local updates for the “Today” show; strategic planning; public appearances; interviews; and writing stories.

Ultimate “Get” for an Interview: I’d most like to interview Sasha and Malia Obama. I appreciate that most of the media is respectful of First Children. But I’m sure they have a great story to tell, and someday, they’ll be ready to tell it.

 

Doreen Gentzler

Evening News Anchor (female)
Doreen Gentzler
NBC4 / 1989 / On Air: 6 & 11 p.m.

Typical day: Like a lot of Washingtonians, I wake up early and go to bed late. My day starts when I get up to help my daughter get off to school. I spend my mornings running and working out, meeting friends for lunch, and sometimes speaking to organizations that are doing so much good for our region. My official workday starts mid-afternoon and doesn’t end until midnight—sometimes with a dinner break to spend time with my husband.

Ultimate “Get” for an Interview: I’d like to interview the person who discovers a cure for AIDS.

 

Jim Vance

Evening News Anchor (male)
Jim Vance
NBC4 / 1969 On Air: 6 & 11 p.m.

Typical day: Rarely do I rise later than 7 a.m.; and rarely do I retire before 1:30 a.m. Each day begins with radio, three newspapers and periodicals. A day at the office involves consultation with reporters, producers and fellow anchors, and writing and rewriting copy for that days two shows. I try to get a meal in between 7 and 9:30 p.m., and I try not to [eat] after the 11 p.m. show. They are long and sometimes intense days. Ater 40 some years, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ultimate “Get” for an Interview: Nelson Mandela. I would love to hear more from him on what it takes to not only forgive, but to embrace the very peo[le who did everything in their power to destroy you. I believe there are few men on earth from which we all could learn so much.

 

Pat Collins

Broadcast Beat Reporter
Pat Collins
NBC4 / 1985 / On Air: 4, 5, 6 p.m.

Typical day: My office is a TV live truck. Each morning my camerawoman and I get into our truck, listen to scanners, work the phones, and try to come up with the best news story of the day. Every day is an adventure because you never know what the story will be or where you’ll end your day.

Ultimate “Get” for an Interview: I am all about today. … The person I want to interview most is the person making news today.

 

Dan Hellie

Sports Anchor
Dan Hellie
NBC4 / 2006 / On Air: 5, 6 & 11 p.m. & various sports shows

Typical day: Usually I’m in at work by 3 p.m. to prepare for our 5, 6, and 11 sportscasts with our sports staff. Generally, once or twice a week, we are doing our early sportscasts live from an event: Nats, Caps or Wizards. After the shows I’m lucky enough to be able to stay for some of the game before heading back to the studio to get ready for the 11 p.m. sportscast.

Ultimate “Get” for an Interview: This past football season the ultimate get was Robert Griffin III. You couldn’t talk enough about RG3!

 

Britt McHenry

On-Field Sports Reporter
Britt McHenry
ABC7/WJLA-TV and News Channel 8 / 2010 / On Air: 5 p.m. weekdays, anchors sports on the weekends

Typical day: Right now, I’ll start my day around 9 a.m. at Caps practice or skate around. I’ll watch to see who’s injured, who’s on what line, etc. After practice, I’ll interview players one-on-one. Then, I’ll shoot a standup on camera, and put together a story back at the office. If the Caps play that night, I may go straight to Verizon for a live shot or head over to the ball park to cover the Nats. With such informed sports fans in the region, it’s important to study every night. I’ve also learned to eat pretty quickly in the car!

Ultimate “Get” for an Interview: I’d really like to do a sit-down with RGIII before Redskins training camp starts. I interviewed him briefly before, and I also sat down with his family. With his recovery process on the national stage, I hope to provide viewers with a more in-depth interview they can’t find anywhere else.

 

Doug Kammerer

Weatherman
Doug Kammerer
NBC4 / 2010 / On Air: 5, 6 &11 p.m.

Typical day: I get in around 1:30 p.m. and start to work on the forecast right away. The forecast takes us about two hours, and about three hours or more with a tough forecast. We make all of our own graphics and input our forecasts. Between 4 and 5 pm. I am hitting Facebook and Twitter and updating emails. I put the finishing touches on my shows. After the 6 p.m. show we tape teases and weather for the web. After a quick dinner break, we do it all again for the 11 p.m. show.

Ultimate “Get” for an Interview: My ultimate get is severe weather! I love forecasting severe weather, but we are at our best when the severe weather is actually moving through. When severe weather strikes the weather IS the news! If you know Mother Nature’s number, tweet me.

 

(June 2013)