April 14 E-Bird newsletter: Fairfax County companies on ‘Best Companies to Work For’ list; Bechtel forms new Manufacturing and Technology business

Workplace kudos: Two Fairfax County-based companies landed in the top 10 on the national Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2022 list: Tysons-based Hilton at no. 2; and Capital One, also based in Tysons, at no. 10. In addition, Modern Technology Solutions, based in the Fairfax County area of Alexandria, ranked at no. 39; and Vienna-based Navy Federal Credit Union placed at no. 76. The companies were selected based on feedback collected through Great Places to Work’s annual workforce study of more than 870,000 employee survey responses and data from organizations representing more than 6.1 million employees across the nation, according to Fortune. “Best Companies’ leadership has never been more necessary,” says Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Places to Work. “As workers struggle with the Great Resignation, burnout and COVID disruptions, these exceptional companies offer workplace experiences as strong as prior to the pandemic.”

Quickly to market: Reston-based Bechtel formed a new Manufacturing and Technology business to address growing customer and market demands for engineering, procurement, and construction services in the semiconductor, electric vehicle, synthetic materials and data center sectors, according to citybiz. “Bechtel is embracing the challenge of developing resilient supply chains for the world’s most advanced technologies,” said Brendan Bechtel, the company’s chairman and CEO. “The Manufacturing and Technology business will design, build, and integrate the complex components that make up these facilities and deliver solutions quickly to market.”

Imagery in focus: Amid a surge in demand for satellite imagery, Herndon- and Seattle-based BlackSky is looking to expand its national security and defense business, CEO Brian O’Toole told SpaceNews. BlackSky is an Earth observation company whose business has surged as the U.S. government has turned to commercial providers for imagery to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts, as well as humanitarian relief activities. “The Defense Department is interested in tactical ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] from space,” O’Toole said. “There’s quite a bit of opportunity there. ISR is clearly becoming a priority and commercial capabilities have a role to play.”

Space workforce pledge: Northern Virginia-based space company leaders John Serafini, CEO, HawkEye 360 (Herndon); Tom Wilson, president, space systems, Northrop Grumman (Falls Church area); and Roy Azevedo, president, Raytheon Intelligence & Space (Arlington County) were among the 26 signatories to a “Space Workforce 2030” pledge, committing to annual data reporting, regular meetings to exchange best practices and a commitment to work with universities to increase the number of diverse and underrepresented students graduating ready to join the space industry. In addition, the signatories included leaders of companies based elsewhere with locations in Northern Virginia, including: Eileen Drake, CEO and president, AeroJet Rocketdyne (Arlington County); Steve Isakowitz, CEO,  The Aerospace Corporation (Chantilly and Arlington County); Dave Kaufman, president, Ball Aerospace (Chantilly and Arlington County); Jim Chilton, SVP, Space & Launch, Boeing (multiple Northern Virginia locations); Robert Lightfoot, EVP, Lockheed Martin Space (multiple Northern Virginia locations); Daniel Jablonsky, CEO, Maxar Technologies (Chantilly, Herndon); Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO, SpaceX (Chantilly); and Peter Platzer, CEO, Spire Global (Tysons). Aviation Week has more. And click here to read a FCEDA article on why Northern Virginia is a growing space hub.

Satellite development: Reston-based CACI International inched closer to the 2023 launch of its demonstration small satellite program into low-Earth orbit after completing the spacecraft’s critical design review. The program will send two payloads to space to showcase alternative positioning, navigation and timing, and tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies from orbit, ExecutiveBiz reported.

Helping victims: Qlarion, a Reston data and analytics firm, and The Virginia Department for Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) teamed up to create the Virginia Analysis System for Trafficking (VAST). VAST aims to tackle the problem of the largely uncounted human trafficking figures. VAST’s creators said that it aims to curb the issue within the state by providing additional data and insights into reported incidents. With VAST, organizations can share previously siloed information to assess trends in incidents, determine risk factors and understand how to better help victims, technical.ly reported.

Machine trust: Reston-based Noblis received a patent for a technology designed to collectively optimize autonomous machines performing cooperative actions together. The nonprofit said its Noblis Orchestrated Autonomy technology allows autonomous machines to plan and consistently run motion to foster trust from other machines. Noblis expects this technology to enable high-speed, coordinated actions for a range of applications, including self-organizing drones, unmanned undersea vehicles and movement coordination of autonomous vehicles, according to ExecutiveGov.

Pending sale: Tysons-based Booz Allen agreed to sell its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) management consulting unit to the global professional services firm Oliver Wyman, a subsidiary of Marsh McLennan. The firm is maintaining a presence in that region but focused on supporting U.S. government operations. Booz Allen will also continue to provide proprietary cyber, defense and security services to clients in the MENA region. For Booz Allen, the pending sale of its MENA consulting business is taking place amid the integrations of both Herndon-based Liberty IT Solutions and Reston-based EverWatch. Oliver Wyman and Booz Allen expect to close their transaction this year, Washington Technology reported.

And they’re off: With the demolition of the former NADA building complete,  construction is underway to expand The Boro to the north side of Westpark Drive near the Greensboro Metro station in Tysons, FFXnow reported. So far, work has concentrated on “Block J” of the mixed-use development’s expansion. That block consists of The Trillium, the 16-story, 198-room continuing care facility from Silverstone Senior Living. Construction has also commenced on the adjacent portion of Allsboro Park, a publicly accessible park proposed to connect Greensboro Drive with a not-yet-built extension of Broad Street. Delivery of The Trillium and that portion of Allsboro Park are expected in mid-2024, according to Tanya Graves, SVP of marketing and tenant services at The Boro.

Cool culture: Weird Brothers Coffee started out as two brothers — Paul and Kenny Olsen — in a coffee truck in the Town of Herndon in 2016. It’s grown to include some 35 employees at two retail locations in Herndon and one in Leesburg, a roasting factory in Herndon and in Leesburg, as well as a growing online business. Last year, it pulled down gross revenue of about $2 million. This year might generate closer to $3 million. “I always felt like it was a really cool culture, not only for the product itself, but how it brings people together and creates conversations,” said Paul Olsen. “We want to create a welcoming environment for everybody to be able to come and have fun and learn about the coffee and learn about each other.” Find out more in a feature article about the company in the Washington Business Journal.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

CACI International received a $258 million contract for expansion and continued modernization of the DoD’s business systems. Virginia Business

Akima’s logistics services arm obtained a 10-year, $109.7 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for technical support and maintenance assistance on 58 Air Force Academy aircraft. ExecutiveGov

Northrop Grumman won a $108 million award to obtain long-lead items required for the initial production lot of the U.S. Air Force’s B-21 Raider bomber planes. GovConWire

Featured business events

April 20 — Titans of the Toll Road: Data in the Dulles Corridor. With the Fairfax County Economic Development as a sponsor, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents an event featuring leaders from BlackSky, HawkEye 360, Maxar and SpaceLink, who will share how they leverage their satellite infrastructure to develop significant opportunities through data aggregation and analytics. They will discuss the industry’s impact on our local economy. We will also hear their thoughts on the current state of our workforce, including workplace challenges, hiring trends, and other insights on navigating this challenging skilled labor market. Click here to register.

April 25 — Fairfax County welcomes delegation of German information technology companies. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and the Northern Virginia Technology Council will co-host a German information technology delegation in Tysons. SIBB, the Digital Business Association of Berlin-Brandenburg, is bringing a delegation of 11 German companies to visit Virginia to explore collaboration and investments in the local economy. This networking event will focus on building partnerships between the visiting delegation and members of NVTC. There will be an opportunity for one-on-one meetings to explore partnerships between the German and Virginia companies. Click here to register.

May 3 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting A Business in Fairfax County. Presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, join our panel of small business experts for an interactive webinar on how to start your business. We will provide you with informative step-by-step information sessions that will cover registering your business, permitting requirements, business feasibility and business plan basics, business certifications, financing options and government resources. In addition, the Entrepreneur Spotlight will feature Amy Dagliano and Kate Janich, co-founders of Rowan Tree, a Herndon co-working space primarily for women entrepreneurs. Click here to register.

May 5 — Acquisition Next: Artificial Intelligence. Co-hosted by George Mason University’s Center for Government Contracting and the Institute for Digital InnovAtion, and with FCEDA as a sponsor, this symposium is focused on the challenges and current practices for government acquisition of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. This event will be of interest to professionals seeking to increase their knowledge of AI-related issues in government acquisition, including members of government, business and academia. Click here to register.

May 11 — 2022 NVTC Impact AI. Presented by the Northern Virginia Technology Council and with  the FCEDA as a sponsor, the 2022 NVTC Impact AI Summit will explore how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the world in which we live and work. Learn how businesses and government agencies are successfully deploying AI to accelerate innovation, gain competitive advantages and improve operational efficiencies. Join the conversation with tech innovators, policy makers and thought leaders and discover how AI-driven strategies have impacted the National Capital Region. Click here to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

The FCEDA 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.