the Power of Ideas channel

In Fairfax County, meaningful information and research fuel the Power of Ideas. That’s why we created the Power of Ideas Channel: to bring you the latest business and economic development news and information. Here, you can access articles curated and written by Fairfax County EDA, read the latest editions of our E-Bird news digest, review business news from NPR and learn about best practices from Harvard Business Review. Click below and experience the benefit of having the right information right at your fingertips.

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 10:18am

Now hear this: Remember to register for next Tuesday's "Build It With #FairfaxEDA," a full day of workshops offering tools to start and grow a business in Fairfax County. The FCEDA organized the event at WeWork Tysons in conjunction with National Small Business Week.

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 10:18am

Innovation location: Software giant Oracle, which has major operations in Reston, announced plans for a new "Solutions Engineering Center" there as part of a "startup" unit to develop cutting edge technologies. As Brian Womack of Bloomberg News reports, Oracle is seeking an infusion of young talent to spur production of new products that will "outpace" the innovation of rivals in fields such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 10:18am

A Case for more space: Casepoint, a developer of eDiscovery software and tech services, has nearly tripled the size of its office presence with new facilities in Tysons Corner. As the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire explains, Casepoint required additional space for its marketing and corporate sales teams to be in close proximity to federal and corporate clients and "one of the world's largest hubs of internet connectivity."

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 10:17am

This is suite: Leidos struck a partnership with California-based Fortinet to become a managed service provider for the latter's security products for federal and commercial customers. Scott Nicholas of Executive Biz writes that the Fortinet's suite of technologies and cybersecurity experience will protect customers better while expanding the pool of managed security services that Leidos offers.

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 10:17am

Cover guy: With his company selected as one of the 20 Most Promising Enterprise Architecture Technology Providers in 2017 by CIO Review, ATSG president and CEO Patrick McCollum is featured on the cover of the magazine's Enterprise Architecture special edition in April. ATSG, based in Fairfax, is a certified service-disabled veteran-owned small business that delivers professional services to federal agencies.

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 10:16am

Murrow of the story: Tysons Corner-based TEGNA racked up 82 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence in electronic journalism. Citybizlist reported that 22 TEGNA affiliates won awards (led by KUSA, Denver, with 12 and KARE, Minneapolis, with 10).

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 10:16am

Ten hut: Tysons Corner-based Hilton announced that it plans to hire 20,000 veterans, spouses, dependents and caregivers by 2020. Aaron Smith of CNN.com reports that the hotel chain recently completed a similar plan it launched in 2013 to hire 10,000 veterans.

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 10:15am

When something's phishy: DC Inno's Samantha Sabin has a story about Graphus, a cybersecurity startup from Reston that has developed a plug-in product to detect potential phishing schemes. The product, designed to be affordable for small businesses, picks up where training and awareness leave off by helping to determine what communications should not be trusted. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 10:14am

The barking over parking: The cover story of the Washington Business Journal out this week is devoted to the ongoing battle over paid parking at Reston Town Center. Karen Goff does a fine job presenting both sides of the issue. Research for the story, available online only to subscribers, notes that many areas that compete for shoppers still offer free parking.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 9:42am

When growing a small business, CubeFit of Reston proves it's good to be agile on your feet

 

National Small Business Week is approaching and what better way to celebrate than by checking out a Reston startup that bills its latest product as a "playground for your feet?"

 

Gerald Zingraf and wife Michelle co-founded CubeFit last September along with another couple from Reston, Ben and Camille Arneberg. CubeFit's first product was a fairly standard version of a standing desk, but their second was the TerraMat, an ergonomic anti-fatigue desk mat designed to provide exercise, stretching and therapeutic massage for the feet of those who spend hours at a time standing at a desk.

 

Gerald Zingraf, 28, felt the need to invent TerraMat after he began experiencing back pain, then had vein issues in his leg that necessitated surgery. Still, he wasn't sure there would be sufficient demand to mass produce the product. So, the CubeFit team turned to a Kickstarter campaign to both fund and validate the TerraMat.

 

"We thought the product would be a hit," Zingraf said, "but unless we could get people to actually put dollars behind it, it was not a product we would necessarily have launched. Once we saw people would spend money on the product (with a suggested retail of $129.99), we immediately started on getting the manufacturing run through."

 

The January Kickstarter campaign raised $108,000 and awareness for CubeFit's products. Since shipping the first TerraMat in February, CubeFit has sold about 6,000 -- 1,500 on Kickstarter, 3,500 on Amazon and about 1,000 via other resellers.

 

"Kickstarter proved huge for us," Zingraf said. "It's driven a lot of traffic to our website and to our sales channels.  It's an awesome group of folks who have backed the project, been supportive of us and given us great feedback. Customers through Kickstarter are different than the customers we get through Amazon or through our own website because these are people who are invested in the product. They want to see it come to life."

 

Currently being manufactured in China, the TerraMat claims to relieve the burden and pressure from standing in place for long periods of time. "With my mechanical engineering background and Michelle's design experience, we put our heads together and -- after many hours of design and testing -- came up with TerraMat," said Zingraf, whose full-time job is as a product manager for GridPoint energy management in Reston.

 

Zingraf, a Virginia Tech grad, says the secret sauce is that TerraMat's design keeps users moving throughout the day. It is manufactured with foam-like 3D features that create 11 different work stances, encouraging subconscious movement and stretching. It was one of 10 Kickstarter products highlighted by the Huffington Post in February.

 

With the success of TerraMat, CubeFit (which also markets a $12.99 fidget spinner toy to relieve anxiety and increase focus) is planning to launch five new products in the next six weeks. They will include  TerraMat Lite, a smaller version of the current product, and a uniquely styled travel pillow.

 

CubeFit is not the first retail rodeo for the Arnebergs. Ben, who is in the Air Force, Camille, and their high-end e-commerce kitchenware company Willow and Everett, have been featured in a Forbes.com story by Elaine Pofeldt for cracking $1 million in sales without traditional employees. See this video for another glimpse into the birth of TerraMat and the CubeFit team.
 


 

Small business a big deal: Did you know that more than 95 percent of the businesses in Fairfax County have fewer than 50 employees? The FCEDA is recognizing National Small Business Week (April 30-May 6) by hosting "Build It With #FairfaxEDA," a free, one-day workshop dedicated to building and growing small businesses in the county.

 

Venue sponsor WeWork will host the full day of activities at its Tysons Corner location, beginning with a networking breakfast and the FCEDA's monthly Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County workshop. Following a networking lunch (11:30 a.m. until noon), local small business experts will address best practices and strategies for building a successful business. 

 

Topics will include accessing capital, growing a business, financing, use of social media, legal issues, business certifications, cash flow management and moving from home to office. A panel discussion will feature the experts, including those from One Degree Capital, M&T Bank, John Marshall Bank, the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, and the FCEDA. Question-and-answer and networking sessions will follow until 5 p.m.

 

Seating is limited and registration is required. Click here to register and learn about transportation and parking options.
 


 

Award winners: The Best of Reston Gala, with support from the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, honored deserving individuals and businesses and raised more than $515,000 for Cornerstones, which provides support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, childcare and other human services. See the story in the Fairfax County Times.

 

The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce will present its 2017 Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards in June. Honorees will include Jennifer Aument (Transurban), Eileen Ellsworth (Community Foundation for Northern Virginia), Steve Gladis (Steve Gladis Leadership Partners) and Lovey Hammel (Employment Enterprises Inc.).


Also, check out the 48 winners of the DCFemTech Awards in the categories of engineering, design and data science.

 

Finally, Gov. Terry McAuliffe's weekly Virginia Business Spotlight recently highlighted Veterinary Surgical Centers, a woman-owned small business that has grown to three northern Virginia locations (including Vienna) and 70 employees.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:07am

Now hear this: What happens to your digital life when you die? Will your virtual personality, not to mention your social media and ecommerce accounts, live on? Who will be responsible? These and other provocative questions about the digital afterlife will make for lively conversation during a May 18 panel discussion sponsored by the FCEDA. The free event, to be held at WeWork in Tysons Corner, will serve as a prelude to Social Media Week Independent (SWMi), coming to Fairfax County in September. For details and registration, click here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:07am

Head of the Class: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria is ranked as the sixth leading high school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, which released its annual list today. The excellence of Fairfax County Public Schools is evident with T.J., McLean, Langley, Oakton and Woodson high schools ranking as the five best in Virginia, each in the top 205 nationally. West Springfield, Lake Braddock, and Chantilly high schools give Fairfax County eight of only 15 schools in Virginia to attain "Gold" status in the report, based on overall performance on state proficiency tests, graduation rates and advanced placement data.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:06am

On the Level: SSB BART Group, a Tysons Corner-based developer of tools that enable clients to make technology more accessible to those with disabilities, says it secured a $40 million investment from JMI Equity of Baltimore. According to the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, the 20-year-old company plans to rebrand itself as Level Access and will use the funding to expand its business and its Accessibility Management Platform.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:06am

Be still my heart: VideoBlocks of Reston which has made its mark as a subscription-based provider of downloadable videos, announced plans to launch Photo Marketplace, a similar concept for still photographers. Those using the new marketplace will keep 100 percent of the commissions from the sale. Hillary Grigonis has more at digitaltrends.com.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:05am

Sweet spot: Tysons Corner-based media magnate Gannett bought Montreal-based SweetIQ Analytics, which creates location and reputation-management software. Donovan Jones of SeekingAlpha.com reports that Gannett is looking to leverage its ReachLocal division to compete better with companies such as Yext when it comes to helping businesses manage their digital presence.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:05am

Creating space: Thanks to a 20 percent increase in its regional business, Eliassen has tripled its staff size during the last nine months and relocated to larger offices on Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston. Eliassen is a provider of technology consulting, staffing and training services. Potomac Tech Wire noted the news release.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:04am

Radio active: TrafficLand, a Fairfax-based aggregator of live traffic video, has struck a deal with CBS radio to use its Video Management Console service. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release, which notes that TrafficLand provides access to real-time video from more than 20,000 state and local transportation cameras through a system built for first responders and traffic reporters.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:04am

We'll get back to you: Bozzuto's plans to redevelop St. Johns Wood in Reston have been put on hold "indefinitely," writes Dave Emke of Reston Now. The proposal to build 481 multi-family units on 14.3 acres has been in the works since 2014, but a community meeting, ahead of a scheduled May 25 meeting with the Fairfax County Planning Commission, was canceled last week.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:04am

com Combo: Plans are for BIA/Kelsey of Chantilly to team with comScore of Reston to integrate its local advertising spending data and forecasts with comScore's local television audience-measurement data. According to the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, the combination will enable TV station owners and operators to measure audience success better.

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 10:54am

Now hear this: Don't miss the next installment of FCEDA's Procurement Academy, April 25, when the topic is "Global Markets -- Business Opportunities and Resources." Aimed at helping businesses expand into overseas markets, this workshop will provide guidance on global business development best practices, risk mitigation, and the legal and financial implications of exporting. The event, at CSRA headquarters in Falls Church, begins with a 7:30 a.m. coffee hour. Registration is required, so click here

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 10:53am

Another healthy expansion: Inova Health System is seeking to expand its year-old Women's and Children's Hospital by at least 48 beds. Inova, which now offers free genetic testing, has submitted its request to state regulators. Tina Reed of the Washington Business Journal reports that an expansion, featuring two new, 24-bed medical-surgical units, will require a $20.5 million renovation. All told, Inova Fairfax Hospital currently has 876 acute-care beds.

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 10:53am

Local intelligence: "A real game-changer." That's what the Washington Business Journal story (available to subscribers only) calls the ECS Federal acquisition of InfoReliance. According to reporter James Bach, the union of these Fairfax-based firms will add $150 million in revenue to the $385 million ECS generated in 2016 and will add 350 employees to the ECS staff of 2,000. InfoReliance brings cloud, analytics, cyber and software-development capabilities to ECS.

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 10:53am

Itchin' for a fight: Heavyweight Great Falls investors Russ Ramsey and Donn Davis lead a group preparing to launch the Professional Fighters League. The mixed martial arts league, with a $10 million prize pool across seven weight classes, expects to debut in January, says Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal. Ramsey founded Ramsey Asset Management, a hedge fund management firm. Davis, a venture capitalist, co-founded Revolution LLC with Steve Case in 2005.

Examining Trump's Record On Trade

Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 7:57am

When the president speaks the world listens. Adam Behsudi of Politico talks with NPR's Scott Simon about how Donald Trump's outspoken commentary is affecting international trade with the U.S.

A Primer On The Future Of Net Neutrality Under Trump

Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 7:57am

The Federal Communications Commission is taking steps to repeal regulations for Internet service providers that the FCC approved in 2015.

Episode 553: The Dollar At The Center Of The World

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 5:14pm
English economist John Maynard Keynes attends the United Nations International Monetary and Financial Conference at the Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire.

Today on the show, how a New Hampshire hotel filled with boozing economists saved the global economy.

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

U.S. Economy Grows At Weakest Rate In Past 3 Years

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 4:31pm

The U.S. economy stalled in the first quarter, growing at a tepid 0.7 percent. But economists say the ragged quarter was an aberration and predict growth will rebound during the spring and summer.

At TED This Week, Two Speakers Got To The Root Of Things

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 3:31pm
Interdisciplinary artist and TED Fellow, Damon Davis.

At the TED Conference in Vancouver this week, two Fellows, Devita Davison and Damon Davis talked about putting ideas to work to invigorate marginalized communities from within.

(Image credit: Maarten de Boer/Getty Images)

In 'The Circle', What We Give Up When We Share Ourselves

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 2:12pm
Tom Hanks stars in The Circle as a tech CEO who is part Steve Jobs and part Mark Zuckerberg.

The film, based on the book by Dave Eggers, presents a dystopian view of where Silicon Valley is taking the world and captures the tech industry's failure to acknowledge the downside of its creations.

(Image credit: Frank Masi/STX Entertainment)

Trump: The President Who Is Still A Businessman

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 12:00pm
Ever since he won the election, Trump the president has done little to separate himself from Trump the businessman.

Trump the president has done little to separate himself from Trump the businessman. This video explains why that's the case and what we know and don't know about the president's financial ties.

(Image credit: Renee Klahr/NPR)

GDP Grew Just 0.7 Percent In First Quarter Of 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 9:08am
The U.S. economy grew by just 0.7 percent in the first quarter of this year. Weak auto sales were one factor dragging down consumer spending. (Above) Chevrolet pickup trucks at a dealership in Delmont, Pa., in February.

The Commerce Department report indicates the slowest economic growth in three years.

(Image credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Survey Says Workers Are Leaving Tech Jobs Because Of Mistreatment

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 5:04am

The tech industry is getting hit hard by turnover among workers who believe they've been treated unfairly. It's most acute among underrepresented workers, including women and minorities.

Waffle House Founders Die Less Than 2 Months Apart

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 3:42am
Waffle House founders Joe Rogers (center) and Tom Forkner (right) greet longtime customer John Webb as they stop for a meal at a Waffle House restaurant in Norcross, Ga., in 2005.

Joe Rogers Sr. and Thomas Forkner Sr. co-founded the Waffle House in an Atlanta suburb in 1955. A statement released by the company says Forkner died on Wednesday at age 98. Rogers died March 3 at 97.

(Image credit: Ric Feld/AP)

Trump Signs Executive Order On Offshore Drilling And Marine Sanctuaries

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 9:16pm
A shark swims off the coast of Midway Atoll on the northern edge of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii. The Trump administration plans to consider reversing the designation of some marine sanctuaries.

President Trump signed an executive order Friday that aims to expand offshore drilling for oil and gas, in a move welcomed by the oil and gas industry and greeted with alarm by environmental groups.

(Image credit: Wyland/NOAA/AP)

With Billions At Stake, Trump Agrees To Mend NAFTA — Not End It

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 5:38pm
Trucks line up to cross to the United States near the Otay Commercial port of entry on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 25. Trump now says he will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he has long criticized, rather than scrap it.

Despite his long-standing criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Trump has opted to reopen negotiations on the deal rather than run the risk of scrapping it altogether.

(Image credit: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images)

Google Spins Up Its First Servers In Cuba

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 5:14pm
Google launched its first servers in Cuba this week. Above, people use public Wi-Fi to connect their devices on a Havana street in October 2016.

The company can speed up delivery of high-bandwidth content like YouTube videos because the servers will now store data locally. But accessing the Internet in Cuba remains difficult and expensive.

(Image credit: Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

FBI Investigates Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's Ties To Russia

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 4:20pm

As the Trump administration settles in, questions continue to pop up about a figure from last year's campaign: Paul Manafort. Why do his business dealings continue to stir such interest? Who is he, really?

French National Front Member On What's Attracting People To Her Party

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 4:20pm

NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Patricia Chagnon, a member of Marine Le Pen's party Front National.

Trump Looks To Renegotiate NAFTA With Canada

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 4:20pm

Donald Trump's tough stance on trade with Canada has some U.S. businesses worrying and others celebrating. Some are surprised at the focus on Canada as Trump begins NAFTA negotiations.