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The 3-Minute Interview: Ballston Business Improvement District CEO Tina Leone

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Local,Virginia,People,Taylor Holland

Leone is CEO of the Ballston Business Improvement District, which recently unveiled a virtual gallery of D.C.-area sports figures -- including Alex Ovechkin, John Wall, Chris Pontius and Ted Leonsis -- that allows people to superimpose themselves onto photos to make it appear as though they're with the celebrity in real life.

How did you get this idea?

It's really a marriage between branding and our plan for public art. We began branding Ballston in January, and it is all centered around innovation and the wonderful minds here. For this, we wanted a way to showcase that. We know how D.C. loves its statues, so we said, "Let's give this a virtual twist."

How does it all work?

We created the technology -- all part of the Ballston Business Improvement District application -- for smartphones and tablets. There will be a marker out there, it's relatively large, and a rolled-up banner. You'll take your device, download our application, and then hold up the camera, which will trigger a short video and then give you the opportunity to take a picture with the player.

Will this be a permanent display?

Right now we're planning to unveil this at Taste of Arlington, which will be held in Ballston on May 19 from noon to 5 p.m. We plan on deploying them for many different events, though, and we're deciding now where to place a semipermanent display. We hope to include innovators in Ballston, too, to show who's doing what.

Tell me a little bit more about Ballston. What are you trying to achieve there?

Ballston is really a center for innovation and discovery, and those type of people want to be near those type of people. Our culture spurs on more innovation and inspires companies to reach even further. It's amazing the amount of brain power that's here.

- Taylor Holland

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