December 14, 2023: Northern Virginia’s Economy Grows to $276B; Supervisor Gross Honored for Support of Military, Veteran Community+ Weekly Business News Digest

Northern Virginia’s Economy Grows to $276B

Northern Virginia’s GDP grew by 7.45 percent from 2021 to 2022 – $257 billion to $276 billion. The region’s GDP is larger than 24 states, and if Northern Virginia was a country, it would be the 48th largest economy in the world. While consisting of only three percent of Virginia’s land mass, Northern Virginia’s GDP is nearly 42 percent of the GDP of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Fairfax County is the driver of Northern Virginia’s economy, accounting for nearly $134 billion of the region’s GDP. To find out more about Fairfax County’s thriving economy and strategic location advantage for your business to grow and thrive, click here.

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission, a consortium of 13 localities in Northern Virginia representing more than 2.5 million residents released the most recent regional data earlier this month. To read more, click here.

Celebrating a Lasting Legacy of Service in Support of Northern Virginia’s Military, Veteran Community

Left to right: LTC Amber L. Ryder, Commander, Headquarters Battalion, Fort Belvoir; Prince William County Supervisor Andrea Bailey; Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay; Fairfax County Mason District Supervisor Penelope Gross; Fairfax County Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk; Colonel Jorg Dronia, Joint Branch Chief, NATO Standardization Agency, Germany. (Photo courtesy of NVRC.)

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s Total Military Community Alliance Program honored Mason District Supervisor Penelope “Penny” Gross, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, for her service as Chair of the Commission’s Community/Military Partnership. Supervisor Gross, a 27-year member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, will officially retire on Dec. 31, 2023.

“We are honored to recognize Supervisor Gross for her dedication and leadership on behalf of our military, veterans and military spouses over the past three decades,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “She has made a significant difference for many military families and her initiatives will have a long-lasting positive impact in the Fairfax County and Northern Virginia region.”

View the video below to hear from Supervisor Gross on her work to support those who have served in our community.

Supervisor Gross was first elected to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, representing the Mason District, in November 1995, and was re-elected to her 7th term on November 5, 2019. Supervisor Gross currently serves as vice-chair of the Board and chairs the Personnel Committee. To read more about Supervisor Gross, click here.

Weekly Business News Digest

Bolstering microelectronics supply chains: UK-headquartered BAE Systems, which bases its North America headquarters in the Falls Church area, secured funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce to upgrade its Nashua, New Hampshire-located Microelectronics Center. This $35 million investment marks the first round of funding issued under the CHIPS and Science Act, which aims to bolster domestic microelectronics supply chains, according to ExecutiveGov. “Microelectronics are at the heart of the technology and products we make for our defense and aerospace customers – from next-generation aircraft and satellites to military-grade GPS and secure communications,” said BAE Systems President and CEO Tom Arseneault. He said that the funds will “fulfill the promise of the CHIPS and Science Act” by helping the organization expand its ability to support defense initiatives, cultivate its technical workforce and invigorate the onshore supply chain.

Military and veteran-focused suicide prevention initiatives: A joint venture of Reston-based Peraton and Annandale-based PingWind booked a $155 million U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs contract to aid military and veteran-focused suicide prevention initiatives, reported ExecutiveGov. Under the award, Clear Vantage Point Solutions will provide support for the VA’s National Strategy and for Preventing Suicide and the White House’s Plan for Reducing Military and Veteran Suicide. “As the natural next step for transitioning military and reservists, we cannot underscore how close to home this mission is to our team,” said Tarik Reyes, president of Peraton’s defense mission and health solutions sector. Building on the company’s previous work with the Department of Defense Personnel and Security Research Center, also referred to as PERSEREC, the mentor-protégé joint venture will help VA with outreach targeting historically underserved populations, such as rural and marginalized veteran communities and LGBTQ+ veterans. The company will leverage its longstanding relationship with America’s Warrior Partnership to understand veterans’ challenges and inform the research. “AWP is honored to consider Peraton a comrade-in-arms in the battle to prevent veteran suicide,” said Jim Lorraine, CEO, America’s Warrior Partnership.

Visionary Leader of the Year: Tysons-based PenFed Credit Union President and CEO and PenFed Foundation CEO James Schenck  was honored as the “2024 wear blue: run to remember‘s Visionary Leader of the Year.” This recognition celebrates James’ inspirational contributions and personal engagement in meaningful causes, according to wear blue: run to remember, Credit Union Connection reported. Schenck is a West Point and Harvard Business School graduate, a former Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot and served in the Pentagon on the Army Staff. “What strikes me the most about James is his personal engagement in the causes he supports. From rucking across the state of Pennsylvania on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to running with Gold Star Kids in Nashville and holding the very first flag on the Tribute wear blue Mile, James turns his heart and sentiment into personal, tangible, meaningful action,” said wear blue: run to remember President Lisa Hallett.

Corporate reorganization: Reston-based Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) announced it will reorganize its business, effective February 3, 2024. The current Defense and Civilian Sector and National Security and Space Sector will be replaced by five new business groups – Army; Navy; Air Force and Combatant Commands; Space and Intelligence; and Civilian. The new Civilian group will encompass the current Civilian, Health and State and Local businesses. “SAIC has an unmatched history of partnering with our nation’s most critical mission-driven government customers and offering a best-in-class portfolio of capabilities. As we look ahead, we are becoming a more focused and growth oriented SAIC that realizes the full potential of our differentiators, fueled by our innovation factory. This builds upon our recent decision to centralize our business development function to prioritize the quality and pace at which we execute our market opportunities,” said SAIC Chief Executive Officer Toni Townes-Whitley.

New spin on things: Diné Development Corp. (DDC), an Arizona-based provider of IT, professional and environmental services, said it has acquired Falls Church-based Spin Systems (SpinSys), a developer of data management and analytics software. DDC said the move diversifies its client base and expands its capabilities. SpinSys specializes in big data aggregation, virtualization, predictive modeling and AI/ML-driven intelligence visualization. The newly rebranded company will be known as SpinSys-Diné, with major office locations in Falls Church and Charleston, S.C. Potomac Tech Wire carried the story.

Combining capabilities: Finland-based Nokia signed an agreement to acquire Chantilly-based Fenix Group, a privately held company that specializes in tactical 3rd Generation Partnership Project communications solutions for the defense communities, reported Yahoo Finance. Nokia is a global provider of commercial 5G mobile broadband technology and private wireless solutions for ultra-reliable, mission-critical applications. The addition of Fenix’s tactical communications capabilities will allow Nokia to offer a more comprehensive suite of solutions to its defense customers. “We are thrilled to be joining Nokia. Nokia is a global leader in telecommunications technology, and its commitment to defense modernization is unmatched, said Dave Peterson, CEO of Fenix Group. “We believe that by combining our capabilities, we can create even more innovative and effective solutions for our defense customers.”

Robotics clubs: At a hands-on event on December 11 at Fairfax County Public School’s Herndon Middle School on December 11, about 40 students had the chance to make a robot with the help of Google engineers. Google used the event to announce grants to start robotics and AI clubs in Virginia schools, including one at Herndon Middle School, WTOP reported. “We are granting $520,000 to Virginia,” said Google spokeswoman M.J. Henshaw, who added that the funding is part of Google marking its 25th year of business.

New leadership: LeAnn White became the new executive director of the Tysons-based Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce in November, reported Virginia Business. White has more than 20 years of banking sector experience. Since November 2022, White has served on the chamber’s board of directors as chair of the events committee. She’s also a past secretary of the NAACP Fauquier County Chapter. “LeAnn’s proven track record and passion for advocating on behalf of Black-owned businesses make her an invaluable asset to our organization,” NVBCC Chairman Samuel Wiggins said in a statement. “We are excited to see LeAnn as executive director and look forward to the fresh perspectives and initiatives she will bring to NVBCC.”

A whole new reality awaits: Sandbox VR will launch its new virtual reality gaming experience at 1656 Silver Hill Drive in The Boro in Tysons with a grand opening on Dec. 22. This is the first Virginia location for the San Francisco-based startup, which has expanded to over 40 sites across North America, Asia and Europe since introducing itself to the world in 2019.  “We are thrilled to open our very first Virginia location and The Boro — with its robust lineup of entertainment options — is the perfect home,” Sandbox VR founder and CEO Steve Zhao said. “We can’t wait to introduce the McLean community to our world-class VR experiences and give residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience a whole new reality.” FFXnow has more.

Contract Wins

CACI (Reston) booked a $420 million contract to provide engineering services for two U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command components. ExecutiveBiz

Serco Group North America  (Herndon) won a three-year, $68 million from the U.S. Navy for developing unmanned surface vessel autonomy. ExecutiveBiz

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

December 18, 2023 — CONNECTpreneur Holiday Networking and Pitch Extravaganza. CONNECTpreneur presents  a holiday networking and entrepreneurship pitch extravaganza in Tysons. Program highlights include a showcase of emerging tech companies. This will be a dedicated session for companies to showcase their groundbreaking ideas and innovations to a captivated audience of investors and industry experts. Speakers include Tien Wong, Founder and Host, Connectpreneur; Esther Lee, President and CEO, Refraction; Victor Hoskins, President and CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority; Jennifer Taylor, CEO, Northern Virginia Technology Council; Anthony Millin, Founder and Chair, NEXT, Powered By Shulman Rogers; Venture Partner, Third Sphere; and Will Choi, Assurance & Advisory Partner, Forvis. Click here for more information and to register.

January 18, 2024 — Northern Virginia Space & Satellite Summit. Join the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce’s International Business Council at their Space & Satellite Event! This is an opportunity for firms in these industries to gain insights, make meaningful connections, and develop business opportunities with key players in this field. Featured speakers: David Bettinger, CEO, Axta Space; Dennis Gatens, CEO and Founder, LEOCloud; George Nield, President, Commercial Space Technologies; Joseph T. Darden, Director, Aviation Business Development, Iridium; and Stephen McCall, Director of Government Relations, Firefly Aerospace. Click here for more information and to register.

January 23, 2024 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting A Business in Fairfax County. Presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), the Community Business Partnership (CBP), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives (DEI), this course will provide the business fundamentals needed to successfully start or grow a business. Join our panel of small business experts for an interactive in-person workshop. 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 guest speaker Ken Harvey, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker and NFL Legend. 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 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.