Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for June 2, 2020

Please take our survey: Did your business apply for a federal or local grant or loan program because of the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you planning to return employees to work in stages? What safety protocols are planned as you transition some or all of your employees back into the office? Please fill out our “Returning to the Workplace” survey. The results will be compiled to help us understand how Fairfax County companies are planning to return their employees to the workplace. It takes less than five minutes to complete. The survey will close June 16.

  • 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 COVID-19 emergency.

Business News and Updates

A thousand times, welcome back: A customer at Founding Farmers restaurant in Reston left a gigantic welcome-back gift — a $1,000 tip on a $213 tab — on Northern Virginia’s first day of reopening last Friday, May 29. “Congrats on re-opening. We have missed you,” the customer wrote on the receipt. “Please share with re-opening day team.” The restaurant’s co-owner, Dan Simons, shared the receipt on Twitter. Reston Now generously shared the news.

Aiming high: A nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer due to COVID-19 prompted Falls Church Distillers to change its alcohol production practices to meet local demand. The distillery boosted production of its Aim High Sanitizer by expanding its facility and workforce, and now has developed a health guide to help community businesses implement new “best practices” issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The distillery can produce roughly 2,000 gallons of hand sanitizer on a weekly basis, according to Tysons Reporter.

Machine data tracking: Herndon-based CIT GAP Funds, the Virginia government-backed investment fund, made a follow-on investment in Vienna-based MetiStream, a company developing a platform for machine learning used for clinical health data. Using artificial technology, the company launched a platform that analyzes patient data for COVID-10 and other cases. “We want to do everything possible as a company to support the healthcare community’s fight against COVID-19. The best way we know how is through better data so that organizations can quickly leverage all of their clinical information to treat and manage their patient population in the changing environment,” said Chiny Driscoll, CEO of MetiStream. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Data solutions times two: AEEC, a Reston-based technology company, in collaboration with Google Cloud, developed two technology solutions to enable Americans to help flatten the COVID-19 curve using data generated from social media, public, and private organizations. The first is a Flatten the Curve Web Application that will convey information to enable digital contact tracing, and act as a data-capture portal for critical health data associated with COVID-19. The second is an Environment Surface Sampling for detecting the presence of viruses such as the novel coronavirus. Go ahead and sample this InsideNoVa story.

Dashboard decisions: The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, which includes Tysons-based MITRE unveiled an online tool for government and business decision-makers to visualize data such as confirmed coronavirus cases at the state and national levels. The COVID-19 Decision Support Dashboard works to synthesize huge amounts of data intended to provide situational awareness to public and private sector leaders who will craft guidance and policy for reopening communities. MITRE serves as the organization’s central hub. “The real value of this data is its potential to inform and help guide the best possible decisions through these critical next phases of pandemic recovery,” said Dr. Jay Schnitzer, MITRE’s chief technology and medical officer and co-chair of the coalition. This story by ExecutiveBiz went viral.

Help wanted: The Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) is recruiting contact-tracers to help the Fairfax County Health Department track the potential spread of coronavirus. The company is seeking case interviewers, contact interviewers and interviewer supervisors to find out who coronavirus patients might have come in contact with so that they can be warned of their exposure and possible infection. IPHI signed a deal with Fairfax County to ramp up contact-tracing locally. This Fort Hunt Herald story traces the start of the initiative.

Non-coronavirus news

Cold case, thawed: A 50-year-old murder case in Colorado has been solved thanks to DNA submitted to Lorton-based Bode Technologies using genetic-genealogy analysis, according to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect, identified through genetic material as responsible for the death of 23-year-old Betty Lee Jones in 1970, died last year. Channel 4 CBS Denver covered the cold-case investigation.

5 Gee: Reston-based Ligado Networks raised more than $100 million in investment capital for a 5G network aimed at the public safety, commercial transportation, energy and manufacturing sectors. The names of the investors were not disclosed. “With this new round of capital, we are better prepared than ever to do exactly what we’ve said — get this mid-band spectrum deployed to support the next-generation wireless networks needed to bring America’s critical infrastructure and essential services into the 21st century,” said CEO Doug Smith. InsideNoVa picked up a release about the development.

All fired up: Neil Suri, an Oakton High School junior, has been developing “FireWatch,” a forest-fire detection tool for the past year. He raised $35,000 for research and development. “It’s a camera-based approach to fire detection. On the FireWatch device there are four cameras on the camera hook and these four cameras allow the device to have 360-degree coverage,” Suri said. Thirteen FireWatch devices are installed near Shenandoah National Park and monitor 600,000 acres, he said. The low-cost monitoring system won the First Place Grand Prize at the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair. Watch the WJLA broadcast to learn more.

Rising from the ashes: Construction is underway again on the South Alex mixed-use project in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, near the intersection of Richmond Highway and North Kings Highway. The development was under construction when when it was destroyed February in a major fire that caused roughly $48 million in damages. Find out more in a Washington Business Journal article for subscribers.

Senior moment on the way: Work has started on an upscale senior-living facility called The Mather. Demolition by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company of a structure at 7929 Westpark Drive behind Tysons Galleria is underway. The $450 million community will offer one- and two-bedroom apartments, according to Mather LifeWays, an organization that creates senior living programs and places. Tysons Reporter provided a living update.

Hospital on the horizon: Inova Health System plans to construct a new hospital in Springfield on land it acquired earlier this year behind its Inova HealthPlex near the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station. Details on the facility have not been announced. Planning, clearing regulatory hurdles and construction are expected to take several years, according to the Washington Business Journal.

More Reston expansion: Comstock acquired another piece of the Commerce Metro Center across from its Reston Station project as it continues to shape plans for future phases of the mixed-use development along Metro’s Silver Line. A Comstock affiliate paid about $35.9 million March 9 for 11480 Commerce Park Drive, a six-story office building across the Dulles Toll Road from Reston Station, according to Fairfax County land records, the Washington Business Journal reported.

A bigger Boro: The Meridian Group is eyeing a major expansion project for The Boro in Tysons that would add another 1 million square feet to its mixed-use development near the Greensboro Metro station in Tysons. A representative for the Maryland developer submitted rezoning applications to Fairfax County to extend The Boro across Westpark Drive with a mix of residential, senior living and retail, The Washington Business Journal reported in an article for subscribers.

Prison prism: The Lorton Reformatory, which housed inmates from the District of Columbia for 91 years, closed in 2001. It’s now the site of an upscale development with a mix of single-family homes and apartments and recreational facilities. The developers have kept some historical elements of the former prison in the development’s design. A Washingtonian magazine writer explored the site with a former inmate. Find out their impressions of the repurposed site in Washingtonian.

Easy riding: A half-mile stretch of Tysons Boulevard is closed to vehicles to enable recreation and exercise space for pedestrians and cyclists. The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) said the stretch of road is expected to closed to vehicles through September 8. Greater Greater Washington wheeled in the story.

Let’s roll: The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling established a bike-adviser program to encourage people to try bicycling during the shutdown of Silver Line and Orange Line Metro stations over the summer. Metro’s closures, which started May 23, will affect nine stations: Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church on the Orange Line, and Wiehle-Reston East, Spring Hill, Greensboro, Tysons Corner and McLean on the Silver Line. InsideNoVa pedaled this story.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

General Dynamics‘ ordinance and tactical systems business will manufacture and engineer Hydra-70 rocket systems for the Army under a potential $3.42 billion contract. GovConWire 

Perspecta won contracts with a combined value of more than $370 million to provide classified systems engineering and integration support to U.S. government clients. GovConWire

Akima subsidiary Akima Logistics Services scored a 10-year, $365 million Air Force contract to provide C-21 aircraft contractor logistics support services at a variety of bases globally. Executive Gov

Featured business events

June 4 —  New Business Modeling: How to ensure resiliency in your business. The  Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance presents the fifth session in a three-part, 12 session webinar series: “Beyond COVID-19: NOVA Business Resiliency Webinars.” Click here to register for this session. Click here for more information on the series. 

June 15-18 — Impact AI: National Impact, Local Innovation. The Northern Virginia Technology Council presents a virtual summit on developments in artificial intelligence and the strength of the regional AI ecosystem. Click here to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

Forward Virginia Phase 1 reopening guidelines: Fairfax County began the first phase to reopen businesses on May 29. The Forward Virginia plan provides guidelines that all businesses must follow in the first phase but eases previous restrictions on restaurants, fitness facilities, barbers and beauty salons, other retail businesses and houses of worship. Movie theaters, concert halls, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment businesses remain closed. Social gatherings of more than 10 people continue to be prohibited and residents are still advised that they are “safer at home.” Click here to find out more.

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 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.

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.

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.