May 26 E-Bird newsletter: 16 Fairfax County companies make Fortune 1000; Octo opens Innovation Hub; HawkEye 360, Spire, Omnispace satellites ride on SpaceX launch

Chart toppers: Fairfax County is home to 16 of the 1,000 largest American companies ranked by revenues, as compiled by Fortune for 2022. With Freddie Mac (Tysons) as the top company in the county at no. 56 on the list, the companies also include at 94: General Dynamics (Reston); 101: Northrop Grumman (Falls Church area); 108: Capital One (Tysons); 275: Leidos (Reston); 389: NVR (Reston); 436: Booz Allen Hamilton (Tysons); 456: SAIC (Reston); 478: Beacon Roofing Supply; 522: CACI (Reston); 538: Hilton (Tysons); 677: Maximus (Reston); 733: Parsons (Centreville); 801: Gannett (Tysons); 832: TEGNA (Tysons); and at 915: ManTech International (Herndon). An additional four companies that are based in other Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance jurisdictions placed on the Fortune 1000 list: 207: DXC Technology (Ashburn); 333: AES (Arlington); 804: Graham Holdings (Arlington); and 960: AvalonBay Communities (Arlington). And 14 more companies are headquartered in other locations in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia Business has more. “We are honored to have 16 Fortune 1000 companies headquartered here in Fairfax County,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of FCEDA. “These companies, together with the companies based in the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance localities and across the Commonwealth of Virginia, exemplify our powerhouse economy and the abundance of opportunities for people who want to launch or grow their careers here.”

Innovation hub: Octo celebrated the grand opening of its new oLabs innovation hub on Monday, May 23. Housed in a new, custom-built 14,000 square foot facility at Octo’s headquarters in Reston, oLabs is the largest privately-owned research and development facility in the D.C. metro area dedicated to the federal government, according to Octo, reported ExecutiveBiz. Octo invested more than $10 million in the expansion of oLabs which now offers an enormous amount of highly sophisticated computing power. In addition to the many new development tools for specialized R&D and a space purpose built to facilitate collaboration between Octo’s staff and its federal customers, oLabs will be a hub for internal collaboration and product development focused on solving federal agencies’ most complex issues. In his comments to attendees at the ribbon-cutting, U.S. Senator Mark Warner said, “Innovation isn’t all happening in the Valley. It’s happening in the DMV.” He said he was excited about Octo as a mid-size government contracting company inviting other companies to work side-by-side on innovation. Find out more in Washington Technology and WJLA.

Blast off!  Three Herndon-based HawkEye 360 Cluster 5 satellites were successfully launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday, May 25, expanding HawkEye 360’s constellation to 15 satellites. This significantly boosts the constellation’s ability to serve global customer demand and monitor activity across places such as Ukraine. “Every enhanced satellite cluster we launch helps us deliver a higher density of valuable data to our government, commercial and humanitarian customers and partners – advancing our efforts to monitor global activities for a safer and more secure world,” said HawkEye 360 John Serafini. satnews has more. The mission included a host of additional space companies, including five Lemur 2 CubeSats on-board from Tysons-based Spire Global to track weather, aviation and maritime activity from space, support data relay services, host an optical payload, and test radio frequency detection technology for the UK Ministry of Defense, Spaceflight Now reported. In addition, Exolaunch integrated satellites for the mission for customers that included Tysons-based Omnispace. Click here to find out 10 reasons why Northern Virginia is a space and satellite hub. 

Stronger together: Regional economic development efforts have been strengthened by inter-jurisdictional cooperation, according to the consensus of remarks by the panelists at the May 17 at the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum, InsideNoVa reported. Jason Hawkins, director, supplier diversity, George Mason University; David Kelley, director of national business investment, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority; Stephanie Landrum, president and CEO, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership; and Buddy Rizer, executive director, Loudoun County Economic Development presented their views during the discussion. Fairfax County, the City of Alexandria and Loudoun County are 3 of the ten jurisdictions in the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, which was established in 2019 to promote and market Northern Virginia outside of the region. “We’re stronger together than we are divided,” said Kelley during the discussion.

Potomac Banks: Fairfax County unveiled “Potomac Banks” last week, the new tourism-focused branding for the southern part of the county and its historical and cultural attractions. In a press conference on the banks of the Potomac River at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, Fairfax government and tourism leaders said the new branding would help to draw new and old visitors back to southern Fairfax’s museums, historical attractions, wineries and breweries. “We didn’t have a way, really, to thread all of our enormous assets in South County together in a package that people could see… that they could come here and spend days learning about our history and seeing the many assets that we have in South County,” County Chairman Jeff McKay said. “And so to get to this point to thread these together in a compact way for people to understand, is really important.” InsideNoVa has more.

Space imagery: The National Reconnaissance Office, based in Chantilly, awarded spots on a 10-year, multi-billion contract to three space technology companies in an effort to gather commercial imagery and commercial remote sensing data for the defense and intelligence communities. Herndon- and Seattle-based BlackSky; Westminster, Colo.-based Maxar Technologies, which maintains Chantilly and Herndon locations; and San Francisco-based Planet received the awards from the NRO in order to initiate enhanced transparency, situational awareness and humanitarian aid, ExecutiveBiz reported.

Autonomous helicopter aboard: The U.S. Navy has deployed a Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman built Fire Scout autonomous helicopter aboard a littoral combat ship to support maritime intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting missions in the Indo-Pacific area, ExecutiveGov reported. Lance Eischeid, director of the company’s Fire Scout program, said the helicopter has helped the service branch perform counter-narcotic operations in the first deployment to the Caribbean Sea.

Advancing global security: Centreville-based Parsons Corporation agreed to acquire Reston-based Xator Corporation for $400 million. Founded in 2005, Xator expands Parsons’ customer base and brings differentiated technical capabilities in critical infrastructure protection, counter-unmanned aircraft systems intelligence and cyber solutions, biometrics, and global threat assessment and operations, citybiz reported. “The addition of Xator is a natural extension of our growth strategy, adding important solutions and technologies that advance global security and protect critical infrastructure during a time of increasing and evolving threats,” said Carey Smith, Parsons’ chair, president, and CEO.

Unlocking greater capacity: In more Parsons Corporation news, the Centreville-based company has introduced a digital organization that seeks to adopt a data-driven approach to delivering digital-enabled platforms to customers in national security and critical infrastructure markets, ExecutiveBiz reported. Parsons X will serve as a digital accelerator that will bring together innovation across the areas of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, digital twins, machine learning and federating data to facilitate the delivery of national security platforms and infrastructure to clients. “Infrastructure is society’s user interface to the planet,” said Peter Torrellas, president of connected communities at Parsons. “Parsons X delivers the digital upgrade to that interface across our core national security and infrastructure markets, empowering our customers to unlock greater capacity and capability, and imagine their next opportunities.”

Repeat performance: Tysons-based Cvent CEO and Founder Reggie Aggarwal led the company through an IPO in 2013, as well as a $1.65 billion sale that took the event-software company private three years later. Then, in the middle of the pandemic, the firm went public again, that time through a SPAC deal with Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. Inc. staff writer Kevin J. Ryan interviewed Aggarwal on how he grew the business into a $5 billion-plus valuation in an article: “Meet a Founder Who’s Pulled Off the Rarest of Feats: Taking His Company Public Twice.”

New investment: Qmulos, a Chantilly-based provider of cybersecurity software and services, said it has landed a new investment from growth equity firm PSG. Qmulos’ platform is designed to help customers continuously monitor security controls to meet compliance requirements across a wide spectrum of regulatory frameworks. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Seed round: Tysons-based Spectrohm, which is developing inspection tech for mail and packages, raised a $2 million seed round led by HCVC. Good Growth Capital, RavenTek, J. Hunt Holdings, Dragon Ventures and Klein Venture Partners also participated in the round, technical.ly reported.

Taking shape: A new “Commerce Center” is taking shape at the door of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. Comstock, the Reston-based developer behind the massive, mixed-use Reston Station, plans to bring 1.3 million square feet of new office space, up to 469 residential units, a hotel, 30,000 square feet of retail, and a 12,000-square-foot childcare center on nearly 16 acres of land south of the Dulles Toll Road, west of Wiehle Avenue and north of Sunrise Valley Drive, FFXnow reported.

Buzzing with creative energy: Developers are adding outdoor co-working spaces to attract remote workers to stores and restaurants, according to the Washington Post. While central business districts like downtown Washington, D.C. continue to struggle as more than half of office workers stay away, many suburbs have rebounded by courting suburbanites who have settled in after more than two years of mostly working from home. One example cited in the article is the Mosaic District in Merrifield, where Edens, its developer, set up “Mosaic Niche,” the outdoor, tented “community workspace” tucked amid shops and restaurants last fall. Edens touts it as an “extended work-from-home space” and a “community buzzing with creative energy.”

No need to find a parking space: Amazon is turning to its legions of contracted Flex drivers to deliver packages from mall-based retailers, allowing sellers to ship products from their own stores using the e-commerce giant’s delivery service. Amazon is testing the service in several locations, including in Tysons, according to Bloomberg.

Hungry yet? The owners of a Ballston doughnut shop and cafe are building out a commercial kitchen in Tysons to support a growing wholesale business and its own planned expansion across Greater Washington. Good Company Doughnuts & Café inked a lease for roughly 5,000 square feet at 8524-G Tyco Road for a kitchen commissary, where it will produce and assemble its products for off-site retail sale, according to the Washington Business Journal in an article for subscribers.

Take a swing: CitySwing, a golf facility designed for people of all skill levels, plans to open at Reston Town Center in the first quarter of next year, FFXnow reported. The facility at 11897 Market Street will be the company’s second, joining a site in D.C. “Expanding our audience beyond DC allows us to include the corporate workforce, retail shoppers, conference-goers, and the fantastic golf community in Northern Virginia,” founder Tari Cash said. “Our location, which opens onto the Pavilion, will give us the opportunity to be in the center of the vibrant Reston Town Center community.”

Contract Wins

  • Science Applications International Corp. secured a seven-year, $390 million contract from the U.S. Space Force for technical assistance to update the national global positioning systems program. ExecutiveBiz
  • Spire Global won a subcontract with TCOM, a provider of elevated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance awareness solutions, to provide weather forecasts for 10 sites where TCOM aerostats are operated. Intelligence Community News
  • ICF received several contracts and options to provide U.S. state and local government agencies as well as industry customers with advisory services for their climate resilience and decarbonization work. ExecutiveBiz

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

May 2 to June 16 — Smart City Challenge. Fairfax County Government, Refraction, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, Virginia Tech, and others will host the Smart City Challenge — an innovation competition for innovative solutions to the most pressing issues facing regions in transportation, health care, housing, infrastructure, public safety, and more. All entrepreneurs and students are welcome to join to win prizes, including cash, pilot opportunities (with Fairfax County, Dominion Energy, and Virginia Innovation Partnership), participation in Smart City Works and Dominion accelerator programs, membership at Refraction’s innovation hub, and business coaching. Click here to register.

June 3 — MusicWorks. Workhouse Arts Center presents three outdoor performances on the historic Workhouse Arts Center campus in Lorton: Cory Wong, Sierra Hill and Oh He Dead. Click here for more information and tickets.

FCEDA is Here to Help Your Business Thrive

Fairfax County EDA is here to connect businesses of all kinds to resources and information. For direct assistance, email the FCEDA at info@fceda.org, or call 703-790-0600 to leave a voice message for our staff. And click here for resources available in the other nine jurisdictions that make up the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance.