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    No more. With so many companies hiring so many people and paying so many of them in equity, Techtopia has begun to draw, like the gravitational pull of the moon, from government and K Street out to Virginia. "There has been a fundamental psychic shift in favor of entrepreneurship," says businessman Morino, who runs a well-known incubator for start-ups.

    So now old Washington is in culture shock. The new mecca is vastly different: the crowd is rich, young and isn't naturally inclined toward politics or government. Last summer Bobbie Kilberg, NVTC president, threw a fund raiser for George W. Bush's presidential campaign. She thought about having the event downtown but discovered that prospective donors in the high-tech suburbs weren't keen about that idea. Kilberg held the event near the Dulles Toll Road instead. It was the first real political event anyone could remember in northern Virginia, generating $600,000 for Bush.

    Only in the past few years have new Washington companies overcome their disdain for politics, banded together to form lobbying groups and begun to press their case. Their list of demands is growing both in size and in the amount of attention it is attracting in Congress. In the past year lawmakers have begun to make personal pilgrimages to talk to CEOs outside the Beltway.

    Old Washington still can't decide what to make of Daniel Snyder, a Bethesda, Md., advertising-firm owner who made a killing there, bought the beloved Washington Redskins in 1999 and then this year moved its summer-training camp to Loudon County. Snyder is a herald of what is to come; a group of tech executives is mobilizing to bring a professional baseball team to northern Virginia--not Washington. Ted Leonsis, an AOL executive, formed a group that bought a majority interest in Washington's NBA, NHL and WNBA franchises. Then Leonsis made it clear he wanted not only to own but to win: he hired Michael Jordan as president of basketball operations for the NBA's Washington Wizards.

    Who's in Charge?
    The change in the balance of power can be seen in the most fundamental ways, starting with the commute. Most mornings on the Dulles Toll Road, traffic leaving the federal district has begun to rival that of old-fashioned commuters heading downtown. In the past year alone, commuters admit, the drive time has increased 50%. Traffic is so bad that the Washington region ranks second only to Los Angeles in severity of snarls. The area is short on roads, bridges, ramps--everything but cars. Local police have begun to complain that well-heeled commuters blithely invade high-occupancy-vehicle lanes to save time; the $50 ticket doesn't slow many of these folks down. Traffic, says the NVTC's Backus, "is by far our biggest problem."

    But who cares? Last year a local techie in blue jeans and a sports shirt walked into Ferrari of Washington, a former furniture dealership located discreetly in a glass-and-brick office park in Sterling, Va. The buyer knew exactly where he wanted his new car to go: in his living room. Sales manager Ralph Cestero knew just what to do. He collected the $225,000 price on the 550 Maranello and arranged delivery. "We took the car over," Cestero relates, "and saw that he had removed a wall of his house and built a large ramp up to the living room floor." Cestero is doing so well he has taken down the billboard ad he had placed at Dulles Airport and is donating the savings to charity.

    In the end, the new techies may solve the traffic problem in their own inimitable way. Local developers are planning a web of six or seven helicopter ports around the region to cut commuting time in the three-county area as well as to make fast connections to airports. Meanwhile, the Cessna sales office at once sleepy Leesburg Municipal Airport in Loudoun County has become one of the best-performing sales points in the nation. Last year Mark Peters nearly doubled his quota and sold 40 planes. "There are a lot of prosperous so-called geeks out there who want to fly," says Peters. "The Dulles Toll Road should be called the Yellow Brick Road--and the yellow is gold."

    It's not a coincidence that Virginia license plates recently got a new slogan: THE INTERNET CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

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