About Alex

Alex Orfinger is Publisher of the Washington Business Journal. After serving as Executive Vice President of American City Business Journals for several years, Alex has returned to the role that first brought him to Washington, DC. He is excited, at this important moment, to help the Business Journal be at the center of conversations around economic recovery, income disparity, systemic racism, and why these issues must matter to the business community. (Click here to read Alex's letter to readers about his return.)

When Alex arrived in Washington in 1996, most people thought the Washington Business Journal was an oxymoron. The business of Washington was government. That perception was wrong and would dramatically change. Driving that change became Alex's mission. For over two decades as publisher, Alex worked out front and behind the scenes to develop a strong identity for the region's business sector. He built a team to report on the diversity of the business community – the robust commercial real estate but also the nascent tech and venture communities, the retail and restaurant industries, the service sector, and the burgeoning hospitality industry. Government leaders had no special place except when they impacted what happened in business. Alex, along with the scores of people who worked with him, told the stories of companies, the personalities who ran them, and what made leaders tick. This led to strong revenue growth, subscription gains, and a boost in website traffic and resulted in the Washington Business Journal leading the company and outpacing the industry. The core purpose of the Washington Business Journal was to help local business grow by providing leaders with the information they needed to get their work done, including leads, competitive intelligence, and knowledge about who was doing what and with whom.

Beyond reporting, the Washington Business Journal brought leaders and business people together, and that's when business generation really grew as if on steroids. No other organization in greater Washington could gather as many senior executives from across the region and across industry sectors as the Washington Business Journal did under Alex's leadership. The events weren't just cocktail receptions; they were places where deals were consummated, connections were made, and regional problems were solved. Live events may be on pause for now, but the idea of bringing people and organizations together to advance business and tackle issues remain a fundamental Business Journal value.

Over the last several years and today as he takes up the mantle of Publisher again, Alex is committed to working at the intersection of business and community. He believes the road to economic renewal runs through deeper relationships, connectivity, and leadership and that innovation and entrepreneurship will be front and center as the engine for growth. He shines a light on complex and important social issues business leaders should know and understand. He believes what is good for business is also good for the greater community. Alex is a champion of collaboration and is dedicated to developing relationships that strengthen the connection among business leaders and between the business and philanthropic communities.


Came to Washington and landed a job as a researcher at The Brookings Institution. Wasn't paid much but had a front row seat at the nexus of knowledge and power.
Earned a graduate degree in foreign affairs from Georgetown University. Then took a job with a start-up French software company helping to launch their US operations.
Moved to Atlanta to serve as Director of Marketing for Ernst & Young. Took advantage of an extraordinary opportunity to work at a large enterprise and connect with the community's business and civic leaders. Got his first taste for civic engagement because one can't be a business leader in Atlanta without volunteering bona fides.
Became Associate Publisher of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, which was revered as the source for local business news. Learned the importance of a solid editorial product and how to leverage a strong community presence. Launched two of their first events – honoring fastest growing companies and their marketing awards programs, both of which remain pillars today.
Promoted to run the Dallas Business Journal and as the youngest publisher in the company. Arrived in Dallas as the state was recovering from the deep real estate depression of the early nineties. Executed a rapid turnaround and pounced on the opportunity to return to Washington.
When the publisher job in DC opened, he jumped at the chance. Transformed the Washington Business Journal from a "glorified newsletter" into a publication of merit that would give voice to greater Washington's business sector. After learning that everything pauses when a senator or a mayor walks in the room, he stopped inviting them. Alex brought the spirit of Dallas, where business leaders were kings and queens, to Washington. He turned the focus on business leaders and honored them in the publication and at events.
First Book of Lists event. Turned the Book of Lists into a celebration with the first region-wide networking event for corporate leaders.
Hosted the first Business Philanthropy Summit, bringing 350 corporate and community leaders together to galvanize corporate giving. Hillary Clinton spoke and returned the next year.
Started Business Journal's recognition of the region's fastest growing companies. Gave a face and name to small emerging companies like The Advisory Board Company, Cvent, Discovery, Inc., EagleBank, ManTech International, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and Walker & Dunlop.
Served as Chair of Greater DC Cares Board of Directors. Read the story
Named Washingtonian of the Year. Read the story
Launched the Women Who Mean Business program to shine the spotlight on woman business leaders. Now with nearly 400 alumna, the program is the place for women to connect and do business with each other.
Began a period of unprecedented growth for the Washington Business Journal with revenue and profitability gains making it a top performer among the 40 business journals. Diversified revenue streams to include a significant contribution from events.
As the great recession ended, executed the longest string of consecutive revenue and profit gains in the company's history.
Served as Chair of DC Chamber of Commerce
Board of Directors
Read the story
Inaugurated the Minority Business Leaders program to shine the spotlight on people of color long overlooked in the business community.
Started column to share business insights and observations and ask readers, "What do you think?"
Read articles
Joined Washington Area Women's Foundation
Board of Directors
Read the story
Promoted to Executive Vice President of American City Business Journals to co-manage 40 local business journals. Explored ways to adopt and bring about rapid change to the legacy sides of the business. Developed and implemented plans to upgrade staff, invigorate the digital and event sides of the business, and improve editorial products. Results were double digital revenue gains in subscription revenue and double digital profit gains.
Helped found and launch David Bradt Nonprofit Education Fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation Read the story
Became Chair of the Jubilee Housing Board of Directors Read the story
Named Leader of the Years
by Greater Leadership Washington
View speech
Co-founded Business Journals Leadership Trust, a collective of invitation-only networks of influential business leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs now operating in 43 cities across the country.
Led launch team for Cleveland Business Journal, a fully digital operation, adding the 44th market to American City Business Journal's national footprint.
Returned as Publisher of Washington Business Journal to lead the publication during a time of economic challenge and social change.
Simply put, Alex believes in the power of combining profit and purpose. Without revenue gains and profit, the resources needed to support solid journalism or to champion an important cause don't exist. But, to make a significant, long-term impact, it's critical to make the case for why investment in the community is in the best interests of business.

Most people, in Alex's view, don't want their lives defined by when they hit a revenue target, a sales goals, or in the world of journalism, a high number of page views. People want to make a difference. That's what Alex wanted. Time and again Alex tied himself to a cause and tried to help move the organization's agenda – and ultimately the region – forward.

Now Alex wants to go beyond his individual contribution and more broadly communicate the value of business and purpose coming together. He wants to lead the charge on making the business case for solving systemic social challenges. Alex wants to be at the forefront of changing the discourse from why business should help eradicate homelessness and racial injustice to why social transformation just makes good business sense.

Business + purpose = real change.