Dec. 9 E-Bird newsletter: Qualtrics expanding and creating 400 new jobs, Fortune spotlights FCEDA’s Hoskins, FCEDA hosts health/care job fair

Qualtrics chooses Fairfax County: Gov. Ralph Northam announced this afternoon that Qualtrics, an experience management software company, will invest $15.9 million to 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. “Organizations everywhere are undergoing an experience transformation and Qualtrics has an incredible opportunity in front of us. With its strong talent pool, Virginia is a perfect place for Qualtrics to grow,” said Qualtrics CEO Zig Serafin. Read more about the big announcement in this FCEDA release and check out this news video.

Talented leader: Fairfax County Economic Development Authority President and CEO Victor Hoskins sat down with Fortune magazine to discuss his leadership style, tips for companies to retain a strong workforce, and why Northern Virginia is attracting young professionals. The column notes that Hoskins joined the FCEDA in August 2019 after leading the team that brought Amazon’s HQ2 to Northern Virginia. Since then the FCEDA, with funding from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, launched a comprehensive talent attraction and retention strategy, helping businesses of all sizes recruit, hire and retain top talent. Here’s a quote that the magazine highlighted: “Everyone has a special talent, and it’s their leader’s job to find that.” See the Fortune article (for subscribers) here.

Taking care of health and care jobs: The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Work in Northern Virginia hosted a Virtual Health and Care Job Fair Wednesday, and WDVM talked with FCEDA Talent Initiative Director Mike Batt about it. Job seekers had access to be interviewed by more than 30 employers — including Inova Health System and Sunrise Senior Living — for hundreds of jobs in health and care for older adults and persons with disabilities. Organizers said events like this are crucial in assisting the industry that is in high demand. Careers fairs will be available throughout the upcoming year. Find job opportunities on www.workinnorthernvirginia.com.

Scout’s honor: Fairfax County-based startup SCOUT won second place in the 2021 Hyperspace Challenge, a business accelerator funded by the U.S. Space Force — and received $15,000 to boot. The accelerator is run by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Space Force’s SpaceWERX program. In addition to prize money, the company will get access to government mentors and insight on future contract opportunities. SCOUT, a two-year old startup, developed a space-based optical sensor and payload system for collision avoidance and in-space object detection, SpaceNews reported.

Leveling the investor fields: Virginia Venture Partners, formerly called CIT GAP Funds, made an investment in Tysons-based LevelFields, a developer of AI technology for individual stock investors. LevelFields is developing a platform using AI that screens company reports, government filings, social media and news articles on over 6,000 stocks; its technology looks for patterns that could help predict movements in their share price. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Growing together: Software development company BTI360 opened a new office in Herndon, citybiz reported. The 30,000 square-foot office encompasses an entire floor of the Monument III building overlooking the Dulles Toll Road. “At a time when many companies are giving up leases and closing offices, we felt that it was as important as ever to create a dynamic space for our teams to grow together,” said CEO MJ Wivell. “We have a highly relational culture. Even as we’ve embraced the flexibility of the COVID era, we still place a premium on in-person interaction.”

Abundance of amenities: Orpheus, a company that offers web design, web development and digital marketing services, opened at Plaza America in Reston. The firm is also increasing its footprint by 50 percent. Benjamin Portman, lead developer at the company, said that the new office space provides a “quality experience” for staff who are not working remotely. “A building complex like Plaza America has convenient access to Dulles Toll Road Road for employers to easily get to work and an abundance of amenities that they can enjoy making this building an ideal location.” Reston Now has more.

Name recognition: McLean-based Alpine-X brought on Olympic skier Bode Miller as chief innovation officer as it seeks to open an indoor snow sports resort in Lorton and expand that business with other locations across the nation. Miller won a gold medal in alpine skiing in Vancouver in 2010 and five other Olympic medals in his career. Beyond the name recognition he brings, Miller will lend his expertise and familiarity with indoor ski facilities to the venture, and has already been serving unofficially as a consultant prior to the cementing of formal partnership, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Makes sense: Washington, D.C.-based Carr Properties, a privately held real estate investment trust that owns, manages, acquires, and develops high-quality properties in Washington, D.C., Boston and Austin, is partnering with Tysons-based Senseware to add real-time indoor air quality  monitoring to all of its properties. The company said it conducted comprehensive testing, including on-site analyses of several air quality solutions before choosing Senseware, an Internet of Things platform with a customizable indoor air quality solution. DCInno picked up the release.

New spin on AI: Booz Allen Hamilton spun out its commercial artificial intelligence platform into a new company, called Modzy, the second such spinout in as many months for the Tysons management and IT consulting company. Modzy is comprised of what Booz Allen described as a “deep tech software platform and a team of AI experts” and is focused on the deployment of production-ready AI at scale. Booz Allen said Modzy will look to build upon its existing customer base across commercial and federal markets, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Charging ahead: Reston-based Electrify America has deployed Tesla Powerpacks at over 140 charging stations, electrek reported. These systems in total have more than 30 megawatts of energy storage capacity, representing the largest roll-out of onsite behind-the-meter battery energy storage coupled with DC Fast Charging in North America.

Great gift: Great Falls couple Norris E. Mitchell, a 1958 graduate of Virginia Tech, and his wife, Wendy, committed $35 million to Virginia Tech, the largest single-donor gift ever made by an alumnus, according to the university. It will go toward a long-awaited project to replace 60-year-old Randolph Hall, a building primarily used by the engineering college, with a 284,000-square-foot building for the engineering college, as well as providing support for programs and activities housed within the building, according to Virginia Business.

Dynamic data deal: Falls Church-area based General Dynamics Information Technology secured a 10-year, $4.5 billion contract from the Springfield-based National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency for user-facing and data center services. GDIT will provide such IT services in support of multiple security domains and networks, including the Intelligence Community’s cloud and desktop environments from various locations worldwide, GovConWire reported.

Money well spent: Reston-based Leidos Chairman and CEO Roger Krone received the Washington Business Journal’s COVID-19 Response Leader Award for his leadership during the pandemic as well as the creation of the company’s Million Dollar “Move the Needle” Sweepstakes that launched in July 2021 to promote vaccine awareness for Leidos employees. “For more than 50 years, Leidos’ mission has been to make the world safer, healthier and more efficient. Today we are doubling down on that charter,” said Krone. “Through this campaign, we are investing in our people and providing a tangible incentive to save lives. If it encourages even one person to get the vaccine, it’s money well spent.” The Washington Business Journal has more.

Pinnacle location: Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners is expanding into Greater Washington with a team of six local bankers, the Washington Business Journal reported. The group will work out of temporary space in the Tysons area before moving to permanent offices next year. The bank is planning to hire additional experienced bankers with at least 10 years of experience. Openings will not be listed publicly and will be filled by referrals, a spokesperson said.

Accelerating developer diversity: Amazon.com plans to devote $21 million to a new program designed to help more developers of color succeed, partnering with Capital Impact Partners, an Arlington nonprofit, to launch a pilot of this effort. The company announced it would create the free, part-time accelerator program whose goal it said is “to increase the number of professional real estate developers of color who focus on affordable housing and inclusive community building.” Amazon expects to fund the pilot out of its $2 billion Housing Equity Fund, a pot of money devoted to affordable development efforts in the company’s three major hubs, including Northern Virginia, according to the Washington Business Journal.

RELAY replaces Rudolf: Santa Claus gave Rudolph and the other reindeer a night off as he rode to his Target appearance in the Fairfax County Government’s latest driverless technology, RELAY. Santa waved happily to the crowds in the Mosaic District as his sleigh, aka the autonomous shuttle, wound its way down District Avenue. Kids of all ages could be seen taking pictures, stopping by to say hi, and getting that all important selfie. Santa proclaimed his ride “perfect” and promised  to come back to visit every year. You can take a ride, like Santa, on the driverless autonomous shuttle Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m., according to the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives. Learn more on the Fairfax County’s RELAY information page.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

ASRC Federal Netcentric won a $133 million contract from the Department of Defense to provide cybersecurity services to support the Defense Human Resources Activity with its mission to provide personnel data management and analysis for the DoD and care for service members and their families. InsideNoVa

CACI International landed a five-year, $80.5 million task order for the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center to provide expertise for unmanned aircraft. Seapower

Featured business events

December 14 — Talent Wars 2021 National Research Report. In collaboration with Northern Virginia Technology Council and the Tech Talent Gap Community, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority’s talent initiative team is sponsoring Robyn Domber, vice president, research, DCI, to present findings and recommendations from their Talent Wars 2021 research report. Click here to register.

January 11 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County. Presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, the Community Business Partnership and the U.S. Small Business Administration, this webinar will provide the business fundamentals needed to successfully start a business. The Entrepreneurial Spotlight this session will feature Pallabi Saboo, CEO of Tysons-based Harmonia Holdings Group (and the newest member of the FCEDA Commission, by the way). Click here to register.

January 27 –Cyber/Cloud Virtual Career Fair. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority will present another one-stop-shop for technologists to network and interview with leading, hiring tech companies in Northern Virginia. Interested companies  may contact Mike Batt, director of talent initiatives, at mbatt@fceda.org. Registration for job-seekers opens soon. Click here for more information.

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.