Relying on the foundation of life lessons she learned in the Bluefields, Kimberly Long Barnes has earned recognition as one of the rising business and community leaders in the Washington, DC beltway. The Marketing Program Manager for Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport, her varied responsibilities include being editor of a prestigious magazine, where she’s interviewed Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper and actress Lynda Carter (the original Wonder Woman).
Recently, she took a few moments to reflect upon her roots and her professional journey. A 1998 graduate of Graham High School, she was selected as a high school All-American cheerleader and was on the sidelines during two NFL Pro Bowl games and two NCAA Citrus Bowl contests. She was also an athlete,” she recalled, “running on the GHS high school cross country and track teams.
Before graduating from Bluefield State in 2002 with a B.S. Business/Marketing degree and an A.A. Liberal Studies/Political Science degree, Barnes worked as assistant general manager for the Bluefield Orioles Appalachian League baseball team. “I took care of advertising sales, game day promotions, and arranging community outreach opportunities for the players on the team,” she added. During her undergrad years at BSC, she discovered her passion for marketing. “Dr. Don Caudill (now a faculty member at Gardner-Webb [NC] University, inspired me to pursue a career in this industry,” she said. “As students, we would prepare marketing campaigns and presentations, then compete for the coveted “Donnie Awards,” given to the winning teams.” She also found time to participate in cross country and cheerleading at BSC.
“I was also selected for a marketing internship at Mercer Mall during my senior year of college,” she added. “After graduation, I moved to North Carolina and began working for Colonial Properties Trust, a property management firm.” She then advanced to a position with CBL & Associates, a property management/real estate organization, and worked as assistant manager for Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem, NC, before accepting the General Manager position at Randolph Mall in Asheboro, NC.
Her career path continued to ascend when she married and moved to northern Virginia, managing 21 shopping centers in the Washington, DC area for A.J. Dwoskin & Associates. Twelve years ago, she received an offer to work for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority which oversees operation of Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport, and she began her employment there as a contracts manager, coordinating property development. “I managed leases for retail and food & beverage businesses at our airports, and leased spaces to airlines serving the airports,” she explained. “She also managed contracts for in-flight catering companies and private plane companies.”
For the last 2 years, Barnes has handled marketing, advertising, and promotional events for the Airports Authority. “My favorite duty involves being editor of our quarterly magazine, “#Fly Washington” (an 84-page, full color, glossy publication), which is available inside both Reagan and Dulles Airports,” she added. Recent cover stories have featured Washington Redskins All-Pro linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, and business tycoon and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, in addition to Bryce Harper and Lynda Carter.
On September 6, Barnes will be recognized as one of the Loudoun Times-Mirror’s “40 Under 40” award recipients, honoring 40 rising business and community leaders under the age of 40. “I’ve always had an inner competitive spirit, wanting to win and being willing to try a little harder,” she noted.
In summary, she added, “In my hometown, I grew up learning how to be nice to people, treat others with respect, and do the right thing. I don’t think I would be where I am right now if not for where I’ve come from.” She is the daughter of Chess and Charlene Long, who moved to Winston-Salem, NC a few years ago after many years in Bluefield. In addition to her degrees from BSC, she also received an MBA in Human Resources Management from Strayer University in 2006. She is married to Steve Barnes and they have 2 sons, Charles Talmadge and Asher Easton Barnes. They reside in Leesburg, VA.