E-Bird Newsletter

Fairfax County E-Bird for April 28, 2020


The next session in the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA) webinar series “Beyond COVID-19: NOVA Business Resiliency Webinars” will begin at 2 p.m. Thursday. This week’s topic is “Funding and Financing In-Depth,” which will cover government financing programs, staff management, and assessing your digital readiness to encounter the new business reality. Panelists include Howard Pisons of the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority, Zachary Petry of Virginia Community Capital, Inc., and Robert Day of Advantage Engineers, Inc. Ryan Touhill of the Alexandria Economic Partnership will serve as the Webinar Host. Click here to register.

Microloan fund applications start today: Applications are being accepted today through Thursday night to enter a lottery to receive assistance from the Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund, which will make no-interest loans up to $20,000 available to Fairfax County businesses that have fewer than 50 employees and have been affected by the pandemic. Click here to go to the Community Business Partnership website with more information.

How the FCEDA can help your business: Go to the end of this newsletter to find out how the FCEDA can help your business during the health crisis.

Business News and Updates:


Who is that masked man: With a 90 percent decline in business during the pandemic, Dr. Phil Cai, a McLean dentist, has kept busy by delivering more than 1,000 N95 protective masks to first-responders that he and others in the area have made on 3-D printing machines. The masks are made on a machine in Dr. Cai’s lab that typically makes surgical guides for dental implants. Check out this WUSA 9 segment on Dr. Cai, and this piece for Wall Street Journal subscribers. See also how Dr. Cai was honored as a “Hometown Hero” by the Jerry & Blanca postcast on WGTS 91.9 Washington, D.C.

Student 3D mask maker: Fairfax High School junior Aashray Manchanda also is using 3D printing technology to meet the demand for protective gear. Manchanda said he and a friend in New York printed and donated more than 250 face shields. They’ve since launched Hack the Pandemic, and have begun connecting local people who can sew and print with medical professionals and small businesses in need of their skills through their organization. Hack the Pandemic has helped get more than 1,600 masks to those in need in New York and across Maryland, Virginia and D.C., WTOP reported.

Transparently innovative: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology student Parnika Saxena developed a proposal for a transparent face mask that allows oxygen to pass through, making it breathable, yet stopping coronavirus particles from getting through. Applying what she had learned in class, at TJ’s Nanotechnology Club and in her own research, Saxena came up with the idea of a graphene mask that could be worn by health care workers and the public. Find out more in Fairfax City Patch.

CPAP collaboration: Reston-based Nova Labs, a nonprofit organization that provides space and resources to investors and tinkerers, and George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine Training Center teamed up to manufacture a critically needed medical item: adapters to attach filters to the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) used in ambulances to help COVID-19 patients. The team has delivered about 1,700 of the components for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the Washington Post notes.

Lifeline for minority-owned businesses: The nonprofit Virginia 30 Day Fund and the Fairfax County NAACP launched a partnership to provide funding to minority-owned small businesses in Northern Virginia that have been hurt by the COVID-19 crisis. The Virginia 30 Day Fund was created by Pete Snyder, a technology entrepreneur and CEO of investment firm Disruptor Capital, and his wife Burson. The couple seeded the fund with $100,000 and garnered additional support from the local philanthropic and business communities. The nonprofit aims to offer a lifeline to small businesses struggling to get federal funding. Virginia Business covered the story.

Getting back to business: Warren Thompson, president and founder of Reston-based Thompson Hospitality and Jon Norton, CEO, Great American Restaurants, headquartered in Fairfax, are among the business people whom Gov. Ralph Northam selected to serve on the COVID-19 Business Task Force. The task force will advise Northam and his cabinet on how to ease restrictions on individuals and businesses that were put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19, Reston Patch reported.

Coronavirus contracts: The federal government has awarded $7.2 billion in contracts to fight the coronavirus pandemic with goods and services. Recipients in the services sector included Herndon-headquartered RER Financial Group, which received two contracts totaling $350 million to provide data analysis and loan recommendation services to the Small Business Administration, according to the Washington Post.

Hiring spree continuing: Reston-headquartered Leidos continues to hire new talent, bringing on a hundred or more employees each week in the expectation it will add at least as many new workers this year as it did last year. New hires last year totaled 8,000. The company already did most of its recruiting virtually before the coronavirus pandemic began, so the crisis has barely impacted hiring, Loren Thompson writes in Forbes.com.

More jobs: Tysons-based software firm Appian is hiring for more than 60 positions in sales, engineering, professional services, marketing and an array of corporate roles, from finance to recruiting to C-level roles. Appian, now with more than 1,000 employees, is supporting some of the country’s largest health care and financial organizations through the COVID-19 crisis, according to founder and CEO Matt Calkins in an interview with Washington Business Journal.

Coronavirus initiative grants: The Reston-based Internet Society Foundation launched a new emergency grant program for organizations working on projects that “use the Internet to improve lives during or in response to an emergency.” The Foundation will provide grants ranging from $250,000 – $500,000 with a focus on coronavirus initiatives. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Drone on: Herndon-based Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) partnered with the UPS drone delivery subsidiary UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF) and drone technology companies DroneUp and Workhorse Group (WKHS) in tests that were designed to determine how unmanned aerial systems can assist medical professionals in their fight to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The tests in Virginia evaluated the commercial drone industry’s ability to provide and scale small unmanned aerial systems to support various use cases to speed and assist the U.S. healthcare system during the pandemic, according to Aerospace Manufacturing and Design.

Non-coronavirus news

Shout it out: Megaphone, a podcast hosting and advertising technology provider, signed a lease to relocate its headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Reston. Megaphone will occupy about 10,000 square feet at Reston Station in the same Comstock building as Google, Rolls-Royce North America, Solar Winds, Certipath and Spaces by Regus. Citybizlist amplified a release about the news.

3D data agreement: Tysons-headquartered Vricon and Springfield-headquartered National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency signed a five-year agreement to study and update 3D data-exploitation capacities. The two parties will conduct joint activities in a bid to incorporate 3D data and software tools across the government under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, Executive Biz reported.

Synching devices: Reston-based SyncDog, a software vendor for advanced mobile security and data loss prevention, partnered with Dubai distributor RAS Infotech to bring next-generation Build Your Own Device (BYOD) technology to the Middle East. This partnership will allow SyncDog and RAS Infotech to further enable enterprises to easily and effectively secure corporate data on employee devices from wherever their employees are and regardless of the device, according to citzbizlist.

Silver Line closed: Metro’s Silver Line and Orange Line stations west of Ballston will be closed starting May 23 for construction activities, with re-opening expected in the fall. The decision was prompted by historically low ridership and traffic-free highways because of Virginia’s stay-at-home order to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Riders who normally use the stations will be able to use free express and local shuttle buses, notes Tysons Reporter.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Science Applications International Corp. landed a seven-year, $655 million Air Force contract to help the Space and Missile Systems Center’s innovation and prototyping directorate modernize, operate and sustain satellite ground systems. Executive Biz

ECS Federal won a three-year, $83.1 million contract to prototype integrated artificial intelligence and platforms for the Army. GovConWire

Huntington Ingalls Industries scored $64 million contract for Air National Guard operational training support. Homeland Security Today

Alion Science and Technology secured a $29 million Air Force task order to support the Joint Electromagnetic Warfare Center. Citzbizlist

Featured business events

April 30 — Funding and Financing In-Depth. This is next session in the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA) webinar series “Beyond COVID-19: NOVA Business Resiliency Webinars.” This week’s topic is which will cover government financing programs, staff management, and assessing your digital readiness to encounter the new business reality. Panelists include Howard Pisons of the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority, Zachry Petry of Virginia Community Capital, Inc., and Robert Day of Advantage Engineers, Inc. Ryan Touhill of the Alexandria Economic Partnership will serve as the Webinar Host. Click here to register.

May 5 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in the Era of COVID-19. The FCEDA presents this workshops, with an emphasis on COVID-related issues, with our partners: the Fairfax County Government, Fairfax County-based Community Business Partnership, the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Click here to register.

May 6 — Global Virtual Exchange: a Trans-Atlantic dialogue on Corona’s Economic Impact and Recovery. The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring: Jeannette Chapman, Director, Stephen S. Fuller Institute in the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University; Mark Selby, Director of the Project Beyond Consortium and visiting professor at the University of Surrey; Dr. Jan Wirsam, University of Applied Sciences, Berlin; and Nick Cacaci, Director of Real Estate, Virginia, LiDL US. Click here to register.

May 13 — AI-Powered Business – Solutions from Quebec. The Northern Virginia Technology Council is hosting a virtual event with leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies from Quebec, Canada. The event is sponsored by NVTC’s Digital Transformation Committee (DTC) and International Committee, together with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and the Government of Quebec. Click here to register.

May 15 — GovCon Business Topics Webinar: Role of a Project Controller — How to Maximize Profits on Every Project. The Asian American Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Zaneta Handa, Chief of Staff, Manufacturing, A&D, Automotive and Life Sciences Capgemini N.A. Click here to register.

May 27 — Leading in Times of Crisis. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar in its Business Education Series featuring Karen Cleveland, President & CEO Leadership Fairfax. Click here to register.

June 16 — Impact AI: National Impact, Local Innovation. The Northern Virginia Technology Council presents a conference on developments in artificial intelligence and the strength of the regional AI ecosystem. Click here to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

Get business assistance: Continuing business operations in today’s situation is challenging and the FCEDA is working to assist businesses with information and access to critical resources during this emergency. Visit the FCEDA’s Covid-19 Business Resource Hub for up-to-date information, resources and assistance for businesses.

The FCEDA, like other economic development organizations in the region, is currently working virtually, and our staff is working full-time with businesses of all kinds to offer assistance and direct them to resources. 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.

Call to action: How is your company reacting to the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis? Is your company developing any technologies, implementing any noteworthy procedures or have advice for other companies on how conduct business more effectively in this situation? Please contact the FCEDA communications division at info@fceda.org with relevant information that we may possibly share with our readers. Thank you for your assistance in these unprecedented times.

Here are more useful informational resources:

  • Fairfax County information for businesses impacted by coronavirus: click here
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Virginia: click here
  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program information and other COVID-19 related resources and guidance for small business: click here
  • CDC resources for businesses and employers: click here
  • Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance — links to COVID 19-related resources throughout the region: click here

Get text updates: Fairfax County residents are encouraged to sign up for coronavirus-related text message alerts from the Fairfax County Health Department in order to stay current with important updates. To receive these alerts, text FFXCOVID to 888-777. In addition, residents can send specific questions or concerns related to the coronavirus to ffxcovid@fairfaxcounty.gov. This email account will be staffed Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to respond to question.