April 4, 2024: Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME) Co-sign Letter of Support, Strengthen Cooperation + Weekly Business News Digest

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME) Co-sign Letter of Support, Strengthen Cooperation

(L-R): JungKon An, Vice President of Global Business Development Division, KOSME; Alex Iams, Executive Vice President, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. (FCEDA photo)

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) and Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME) co-signed a letter of support and cooperation between the two agencies at the FCEDA headquarters in Tysons, Virginia, on February 22, 2024.

“Thank you to the KOSME delegation for visiting FCEDA’s headquarters to sign this important letter of mutual support and cooperation,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO, FCEDA. “It continues to be an honor to assist Korean businesses establish presence here in the United States, and we look forward to strengthening our collaboration to accelerate the growth and prosperity of Korean SMEs and startups in Fairfax County.”

More than 60 Korean companies are part of the dynamic and diverse business community in Fairfax County. In addition to a Korea-focused representative based at its headquarters, the FCEDA has maintained representation in South Korea since 2004 serving as a go-to resource for Korean businesses interested in expanding into the U.S. market.

“We would like to collaborate with FCEDA to facilitate the success of many promising Korean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by having them move into the Global Business Center – Washington D.C., located in Fairfax County,” said JungKon An, Vice President of Global Business Development Division, KOSME. “Particularly, sourcing Korean SMEs with technological expertise in advanced fields such as aerospace and biotechnology would be possible, and through this letter exchange, I hope that a stronger cooperative relationship will be established between KOSME and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, resulting in even more fruitful outcomes.”

Headquartered in South Korea, KOSME is a non-profit organization established to implement policies and programs for the sound growth and development of Korean SMEs. Established in 1979, KOSME employs approximately 1,500 staff members and operates 28 overseas offices, 33 domestic regional headquarters, 18 youth entrepreneurship academies, and six training institutes. With locations throughout the world, the KOSME’s Global Business Center – Washington D.C., is in Tysons.

Reston Town Center Nearly Fully Leased

Boston Properties’ office-heavy Reston Town Center was 94 percent leased and 92 percent occupied as of the end of 2023, according to its most recent annual report, and its offices are now 96 percent leased, according to a Washington Business Journal article. To try to find out the reason for the nearly 100 percent occupancy rate staff reporter Dan Brendel interviewed Jake Stroman, co-head of Boston Properties’ Greater Washington office. While clearly Reston Town Center’s prosperity owes to many factors, Brendel wrote that his takeaways were scale and suburban location, both of which are attractive for employees, and thus for employers.

“A lot of people have tried to create similar environments, but nobody’s ever replicated what we’ve done in Reston Town Center,” Stroman said. That success helps to put Boston Properties in a “bullish” stance, “anxious to grow our portfolio and region,” including through acquisitions of obsolete properties at favorable prices, not least in the Dulles Toll Road corridor, he said.

Stroman emphasized the development’s 450,000 square feet of retail, plus an outdoor ice rink and a variety of hosted events. Even without a placemaking mega-anchor like a casino or sports venue, the retail constellation “effectively functions like an outdoor mall,” Stroman said, putting “anything and everything you need to get to” within a roughly 10-minute walk, which both office tenants and visitors find attractive. “We’ve created a critical mass where I think this is viewed as effectively the downtown of Fairfax County.”

Weekly Business News Digest

Opening doors for startups: Israel-based IAI and IAI North America, its Herndon-based U.S. government contracting subsidiary, in cooperation with California- and Washington, D.C.-based Starburst Aerospace, a global startup accelerator and strategic advisory firm, are launching an accelerator and innovation center called IAI Catalyst in Herndon, Virginia Business reported. IAI Catalyst has recruited the first cohort of startups for its inaugural five-month accelerator program, supporting early-stage startups focused on sectors including artificial intelligence and autonomy; quantum science; sustainability and energy; and space tech. Each selected company receives a $100,000 investment in exchange for equity, and another $100,000 worth of in-kind benefits such as access to IAI and Starburst’s networks of clients and partners, mentoring from industry experts, access to technology and free office space. “Our job will be to open all the doors for the startups, not just with IAI, but everybody that they can provide value to,” said Noemie Alliel, Starburst’s managing director for Israel.

Trustworthy companies: Six Fairfax County-headquartered companies placed on Newsweek’s “Most Trustworthy Companies in America 2024” rankings.  Northrop Grumman (Falls Church area) and General Dynamics (Reston) ranked in the top 5 most trusted companies in the “Aerospace and Defense category”; Navy Federal (Vienna) and Capital One (Tysons) ranked in the “Banks” category; Bechtel (Reston) ranked in the “Construction” category; and Dexian (Tysons) placed in the “Consulting & Professional Services” industry category. The rankings were based on an independent survey of approximately 25,000 Americans that took place in October and November 2023. Newsweek, with partner Statista, received some 97,000 company evaluation submissions that considered the opinions of employees, investors and potential customers. Click here to read more.

Affordable housing development: Construction will begin immediately on the 231-unit first phase of an affordable housing development in McLean backed by Amazon.com, Tysons-based SCG Development announced, according to Virginia Business. Located at 1750 Old Meadow Road, Somos at McLean Metro will be developed in two phases. In the first phase, SCG Development will demolish an abandoned office building on the property and build 231 units, a mix of studio and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The units will be rented to households earning between 30 percent and 60 percent of the area’s median income. The second phase of the development will include 225 units, according to Steve Wilson, SCG Development’s president. Amazon.com provided a $28.97 million low-rate loan to the project from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, a $2 billion commitment to create or preserve more than 20,000 affordable homes for low- to moderate-income families in the Arlington-Washington, D.C., area, Washington state’s Puget Sound region and the Nashville, Tennessee region.

Optical Owl: Reston-based Scout Space is developing a space domain awareness sensor aimed at the military market as the U.S. seeks new ways to monitor and protect its assets in orbit, reported SpaceNews. The company on April 4 announced it won a $1.8 million Small Business Innovation Research contract under the SpaceWERX Tactically Responsive Space program. Scout’s CEO Philip Hover-Smoot said the company is using a portion of the funding to accelerate the development of Owl, an optical telescope designed to track objects in space with great detail. This can be valuable for the military in situations where they need to identify a specific type of satellite or even its functionality.

Candy innovations: McLean-based Mars, the global food and pet care company, is continuing to make big investments in its candy innovation efforts, according to Washington Business Journal. The company said last week it is investing more than $70 million to support a research and development studio in Hackettstown, New Jersey, with a new test kitchen and packaging lab. The facility is devoted to increasing the speed of innovation and development of some of its most popular candy products, including M&M’s, Snickers, Twix, Milky Way, Skittles, Starburst and Altoids, as well as new products. The company said the facility’s new packaging lab will allow workers to tinker with packaging materials that meet Mars’ sustainability efforts.

By the Light (not of the silvery moon): Tysons-based By Light Professional IT Services (By Light), announced its market expansion into the United Kingdom. This move represents a significant step in By Light’s strategy to deliver modernized simulation, training, and cyber expertise globally, with a special focus on supporting the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) training and cyber needs, according to By Light. “Our expansion into the UK is a testament to our commitment to providing the most advanced training solutions to the U.K. MoD and our allies. With the synergies between By Light, CESI, and Veraxx, we are uniquely positioned to deliver unparalleled training readiness to meet the evolving needs of the Warfighter,” said By Light CEO Bob Donahue.

Space sector security: Chantilly-based American Systems has joined the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a security-focused organization dedicated to the space sector, reported ExecutiveBiz. John Steckel, president and CEO of American Systems, said that the company resonates with the Space ISAC’s vision to prepare for and respond to threats against critical space assets. The Space ISAC facilitates intelligence sharing among members to ensure a secure exchange of data on security issues that may threaten the space sector. Space ISAC founding members include the following companies based in Fairfax County: The Aerospace Corporation (Chantilly); Booz Allen Hamilton (Tysons); MITRE (Tysons & Bedford, Mass.); Northrop Grumman (Falls Church-area); and SES (US HQ in Reston). In addition, the founding members include these companies with locations in Fairfax County: Capella Space (California-based, offices in Chantilly); Deloitte (New York-based, offices in Fairfax County); Kratos Defense & Security Solutions (California-based, offices in Chantilly); L3Harris (Florida-based, offices in Fairfax County); Lockheed Martin (Maryland-based, offices in Fairfax County); and  Microsoft (Washington-based, offices in Fairfax County, with regional software development and R&D hub in Reston).

Together, we have shattered glass ceilings: Women in Technology (WIT) announced its first-ever Lifetime Achievement award for Reston-based SAIC CEO Toni Townes-Whitley, according to Yahoo Finance. The honor recognizes and celebrates a woman who has made a significant and fundamental impact on the technology industry and the career advancement of women. “I am deeply grateful to Women in Technology for acknowledging the impact and contributions of women in the technology industry,” said Toni Townes-Whitley, CEO of SAIC. “This award serves as a reminder that our achievements are not just individual milestones but also significant milestones for women in the field. Together, we have shattered glass ceilings, overcome barriers, and demonstrated that gender should never limit one’s potential.”

Geospatial connection: Tysons-based Avineon, a global provider of visualization services and solutions, completed the acquisition of Minnesota-based North Point Geographic Solutions, according to Directions Magazine. As a provider of professional GIS services for nearly two decades, North Point supports non-profits, commercial organizations, and local governments throughout the midwestern United States in all aspects of GIS implementation and enhancement. “North Point is a strong cultural and strategic fit for Avineon that further enhances our commitment to our customers, our team, and our continued growth in the geospatial market,” said Anand Subramani, president of Avineon. In addition, “This acquisition expands Avineon’s service offerings and capabilities to help customers derive more value from spatial intelligence.”

Ready to step on the gas: Tysons-based Iridium Communications has closed its purchase of Reston-based Satelles and launched a satellite-based time and location service as part of its portfolio of offerings, reported GovConWire. In early March, Iridium agreed to acquire Satelles for $115 million as part of a push to expand its portfolio of assured positioning navigation and timing services. The Iridium Satellite Time and Location service works indoors and is designed to safeguard GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems-reliant platforms from jamming, spoofing and other vulnerabilities using small, low-cost hardware. “The initial feedback we’ve gotten from partners in the short time since the initial announcement has made us even more excited about Iridium STL’s potential,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch.“We’re ready to step on the gas and expand the availability of Iridium STL to markets around the world.”

Get your passports ready, high flyers! New flights are coming to and from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Reagan National Airport (DCA) this month, according to the Washington Business Journal. New flight offerings at IAD in April include that Swiss International Airlines began offering daily nonstop flights to Zurich on April 1; and Southwest Airlines will start new nonstop flights to Phoenix on April 11. Several nonstop seasonal routes between IAD and European cities are returning for another summer. Brussels Airlines will offer flights from IAD to Brussels, Belgium; and Iberia will fly between IAD and Madrid, Spain. United will also resume its flights between IAD and Madrid on April 14, the same day it will restart nonstop daily flights from IAD to Athens, Greece. In addition, on April 4, American Airlines began daily nonstop service to the Bahamas from DCA.

Contract Wins

DMI (Tysons) and Dynamic Solutions Technology (Gainesville, Prince William County) developed a joint venture that won a $14.5 million contract to manage smartphones and laptops for U.S. Treasury. citybiz

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Event

April 6, 2024  — Tysons Community Alliance Placemaking Fest.  Tysons Community Alliance Placemaking Fest will be held on Saturday, April 6, from 10 am-1 pm. This family-friendly event will include food trucks and vendors, a collaborative art experience with local Artist Michael Pacheco, a mobility maze, live music by DJ Cabezon, a photo booth, and much more. There will also be four interactive stations for attendees to share their feedback on Tysons’ draft Placemaking Framework. By providing your input, you will help create a sense of place in Tysons and contribute to its evolving community identity. Click here for more information and to register.

April 9, 2024 — Going Global: Business Expansion through Exporting. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is hosting an exporting workshop: “Going Global: Business Expansion through Exporting,” on Tuesday, April 9. The event will be held at the Fairfax County Economic Development headquarters in Tysons. Click here to see the list of presenters and to register for this free event.

April 9, 2024 — Digital Transformation and Global Tech Leadership Spring Social.  The Northern Virginia Technology Council presents an evening of re-engagement and collaborative networking between the NVTC Digital Transformation and Global Tech Leadership Communities of Interest. Connect with the chairs and other professionals to share insights, forge valuable relationships, and help drive innovation in this ever-evolving tech world. Click here for more information and to register.

April 17, 2024 — Dulles Airport Job & Career Fair. Hosted by Committee for Dulles, with the FCEDA as a sponsor, the event will be held at Washington Dulles International Airport. Job-seekers can meet with diverse group of employers located at Dulles Airport. Career opportunities exist across a spectrum of airport operations and the aviation industry.  Click here for more information and to register.

April 24, 2024 — Corporate Social Responsibility & Volunteer Fair. Don’t miss the Corporate Social Responsibility & Volunteer Fair under the tent at Northwest Federal Credit Union Headquarters in Herndon. Join host Northwest Federal Credit Union and partners to kick off “National Volunteer Week” with more than 35 local nonprofits interested in corporate partners, corporate volunteer outings, and individual volunteers. Event partners include the Dulles Area Transportation Association, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, and the Reston, Dulles, and Loudon Chambers. Click here for more information and to register.

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.