2021 highlights: Guidehouse, StarKist, Qualtrics announce growth in Fairfax County; career fairs pair thousands of job-seekers with NOVA companies

With 2021 drawing to a close, here’s a look at some of the biggest news and events of the year from the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA).

The FCEDA builds the commercial tax base that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors uses to fund high-quality public services. During the year the FCEDA worked with more than 135 businesses that chose to locate or expand in Fairfax County and create at least 7,500 jobs. These announcements included the new corporate headquarters of Guidehouse and StarKist, and a major expansion by Qualtrics.

This year will be remembered for the evolving challenges to businesses because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The FCEDA helped companies find office space and connected small businesses with pandemic-relief programs. Through its talent initiative funded by the Board of Supervisors, the FCEDA also worked to help businesses of all sizes attract the workforce they need.

Here are the top-viewed items for each month, followed by other important stories that month.


Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise among 27 companies hiring at Cyber & Cloud Virtual Career Fair

Presented by the FCEDA on January 28, the Cyber & Cloud Virtual Career Fair was one of many in an ongoing series of virtual career fairs that the FCEDA and Work in Northern Virginia presented or led to connect job-seekers with area businesses. In 2021, the FCEDA presented four career fairs for job opportunities across all industries. In addition, the FCEDA participated in more than 30 college career fairs, promoting our companies, agencies, and non-profits. Click here to find out about upcoming virtual career fairs.



Healthcare-focused IT firm Kreative Technologies expansion to create 296 new jobs in Fairfax County

Gov. Ralph Northam announced February 2 that Kreative Technologies, a leader in information systems design, development, integration, and sustainment for the federal healthcare industry, will invest $1.5 million to expand its operation in Tysons. The company will more than quadruple its current workforce of 67 with the creation of 296 new jobs.



Charting Fairfax County’s post-pandemic economic recovery

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Economic Initiatives Committee met March 16 to deliberate on the implementation of the Fairfax County Economic Recovery Framework, a comprehensive economic recovery strategy plan. Commissioned by Fairfax County and the FCEDA and created by HR&A, a real estate and economic development consulting firm, the plan outlines pre-pandemic conditions in the county and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this unprecedented time, the county has established programs that have been instrumental in supporting the local community, especially woman-, minority- and veteran-owned small businesses.



Custom technology solutions company Ridgeline International creating 162 new jobs in Fairfax County

Gov. Ralph Northam announced April 30 that Ridgeline International, a technology-based solutions provider for the federal government, commercial and nonprofit sectors, will invest $1.75 million to expand its operation in Tysons. The company will increase capacity to develop customized solutions that help its clients implement secure communications and guard against security threats, creating 162 new jobs.



Guidehouse to establish global HQ operation in Fairfax County, creating 900 new jobs

Gov. Ralph Northam announced May 10 that Guidehouse, a leading consultancy and solutions provider to the public and commercial sectors, will invest $12.7 million to establish a global headquarters operation in Tysons.



Fairfax County lands StarKist headquarters; company will create 83 new jobs at new base in Reston

Gov. Ralph Northam announced June 10 that StarKist Co., a food company that provides trusted, healthy, shelf-stable seafood and chicken in the United States, will invest $3.6 million to relocate its corporate and administrative headquarters operations from Pittsburgh to Reston. Virginia successfully competed with Maryland for the project, which will create 83 new jobs.



Virginia named top state for business 

CNBC announced July 13 that it ranked Virginia as the No. 1  state in the U.S. for business in 2021, the first state in the nation to win back-to-back victories. This is Virginia’s fifth win since the study began in 2007 — more than any other state.



128 Fairfax County-based firms – and 85 more in Northern Virginia – make 2021 Inc. 5000 list

Fairfax County is home to 128 firms that made the just-released annual Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies, with five firms placing in the top 500. An additional 85 companies that are located elsewhere in the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance made the 2021 list, which is widely recognized as a barometer of the vitality of a business community and especially its ecosystem for entrepreneurs, startups and high-growth firms.


Victor Hoskins makes Virginia 500 power list 

In its second annual list, Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of the FCEDA, was again named to Virginia Business magazine’s “Virginia 500: The 2021 Power List,” which highlights Virginia’s most powerful and influential leaders. Hoskins also ranked this year on Virginia Business magazine’s ‘Heavy Hitters’ list of business leaders; and the Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 class of 2021 list.



Fairfax County agencies win three 2021 Excellence in Economic Development awards

On October 5, Fairfax County agencies won three Excellence in Economic Development awards from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), a trade organization serving economic developers around the world. Fairfax County won awards in innovation, marketing and outreach. The honors recognize the county as being among one of the world’s best economic development programs and highlights the ongoing innovation that is the hallmark of the region.



Veteran & Military Career Fair draws more than 500 job-seekers

One week before Veterans Day, on November 4, representatives of 66 companies interviewed job-seekers at the first annual Veteran and Military Career Fair. Presented by the FCEDA in partnership with the Virginia Employment Commission, the Fairfax County Department of Family Services and the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives, the event was held at the United States Army Museum at Fort Belvoir, in southeastern Fairfax County, as well as virtually.



Experience management software leader Qualtrics to expand in Fairfax County, creating 400 new jobs

Gov. Ralph Northam announced December 9 that Qualtrics an experience management software company, will invest $15.9 million to relocate and expand in Fairfax County. The company will move from its former office in Reston to 85,000 square feet of space at 1906 Reston Metro Plaza. Virginia successfully competed with Pennsylvania and Ohio for the project, which will create 400 new jobs.