Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for June 30, 2020

Big projects in the pipeline: Despite the pandemic, construction continues on the Washington, D.C., region’s commercial office space projects, with 12.4 million square feet of office development under construction in the D.C. region as of May and more than 3 million square feet expected to be completed by the end of the year. Six of the top 10 upcoming office projects underway in the D.C. metro area are in Northern Virginia. Amazon HQ2’s two Metropolitan Park buildings take the top two spots, with the projects comprising more than 2.1 million square feet. Also on the list of biggest projects are Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway properties with Building A, comprising 807,000 square feet, ranking at no. 3; and Building B, at 630,000 square feet, at no. 5. The TSA Headquarters in Springfield, is no. 6, with 625,000 square feet of space; and no. 7 is Capital One’s Capital One Campus – Block A, in Tysons, at 613,000 square feet. Find out more about the region’s continuing office space growth in this Commercial Property Executive story.

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.

Topping the charts: Computer World is out with its annual “2020 100 Best Places to Work in IT” round-up. Tysons-headquartered MITRE landed at no. 3 and Tysons-based Navy Federal Credit Union came in at no. 8 on “Top 10 Best of the Best” list. Tysons-based Booz Allen Hamilton ranked no. 4 and Navy Federal Credit Union at no. 9 in the “Top Large Companies to Work” category list, along with MITRE at no. 41. Reston’s MetroStar Systems ranked at #10 on the “Best Small Companies List” and #7 on the “Best Training” list. Check out all of the rankings and a profile of Booz Allen Hamilton in Computer World.

Ready, set, go: The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready) launched a program to provide stipends for unemployed Virginians to attend community college programs in an effort to find new jobs and overcome coronavirus-related economic hardships. VA Ready and its 20 Virginia business partners will provide $1,000 incentives for motivated, out-of-work Virginians to re-skill for high-demand jobs by attending short-term community college programs. Participants would also be offered the opportunity to interview with participating Virginia companies. VA Ready’s partners include the following companies that are located in Fairfax County: 1901 Group, Reston; Booz Allen Hamilton, Tysons; CNSI, Tysons; EY, Tysons; General Dynamics, Reston; K12, Herndon; ManTech, Fairfax; Maximus, Reston; Northrop Grumman, Falls Church area; Perspecta, Chantilly; and SAIC, Reston. Find out more in the Washington Business Journal.

Israeli firms flourish in Fairfax County: The FCEDA has had an office in Israel since 2004 and, in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, continues to work with Israeli companies that are considering expansion in the U.S. market. Times of Israel blogger Joseph Sherman interviewed FCEDA’s Asher Kotz, business investment manager for cybersecurity and Israel, and Yair Ephrati, director of the FCEDA Israel office, about how business development efforts have changed since COVID-19 and about the assets that Fairfax County and Northern Virginia have for Israeli businesses. “Northern Virginia…is a resilient, friendly business environment, and has experienced less impact from the pandemic and economic shut-down. The region remains a strong landing location for Israeli firms as they expand into the U.S. market,” Kotz says in the blog.

Life in the electric lane: Reston-based Electrify America completed its first cross-country route, which allows electric-vehicle drivers to travel coast-to-coast using the largest open D.C. (direct current) fast-charging network in the United States. It is the first of two cross-country routes the network will complete this year, and spans 11 states and more than 2,700 miles to take drivers from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. Electrify America already offers a major route covering much of the east coast via Interstate 95 from Portland, Maine, to Miami, and completed a west coast route along Interstate 5 from Seattle to San Diego. Inside Nova keyed readers in on the details.

All aboard…virtually: Hiring and onboarding on a virtual basis is continuing for the foreseeable future at companies during COVID-19. Washington Technology profiled how Reston-based MAXIMUS and Centreville-based Parsons have both made adjustments on their talent acquisition and training procedures. At MAXIMUS the company rolled out a training tool platform for employees to try to replicate the learning process as if it were conducted in-person. Parsons set up a remote mentor-mentee program across the company for both new hires and interns to try to simulate an in-person experience.

Kidney care: Somatus, a Tysons-based company focused on technology and management for kidney care, said it raised $64 million in a Series C round. Somatus partners with health plans, health systems and medical groups to provide care for those patients at risk of developing kidney disease. Potomac Tech Wire picked up a release.

May I see your ID? Tysons-based digital identity-management company ID.me is raising new capital while riding a wave of momentum fueled by the pandemic, raising about $8.3 million out of a recent $12.5 million equity offering, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. “Since social distancing measures went into effect there has been a surge in demand for digital identity verification as business processes that were traditionally performed in-person have now shifted online,” ID.me founder and CEO Blake Hall said in a Washington Business Journal article for subscribers.

Role modeling: Herndon-based artificial intelligence company GeoSpark Analytics won a five-year, multimillion-dollar contract to provide COVID-19 and infectious disease modeling for the Department of Health and Human Services. The exact contract amount was not disclosed. GeoSpark Analytics, founded in 2017, will use its current Hyperion AI engine, its COVID-19 risk model, and will develop new AI-driven disease outbreak models as part of the contract, according to Virginia Business.

COVID-19 cloud communications: Herndon-based Unissant secured a contract to help the Army’s Medical Research and Development Command develop, test and deploy a cloud-based technology platform for managing health information. The National Emergency Telecritical Care Network will be built to connect critical-care teams with COVID-19 patients in virtual intensive-care units. The company will focus on creating tools to support patient flow, data, continuity of care and clinical communications during the project, Executive Biz reported.

Satellite spares: Tysons-based Iridium Communications signed a contract to deliver up to six of Iridium’s satellites into orbit in addition to its current network of 66 satellites in orbit that are used for mobile voice and data communications. “The upgraded Iridium satellite constellation is operating incredibly well, but it’s prudent to have a cost-effective launch option available for future spare delivery,” Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in a release picked up by citybizlist.

Silver Line start: Metro will resume Silver Line service and reopen six Fairfax County stations on Aug. 16, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced. The six stations are the five “west-of-Ballston” Silver Line stations (McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East) plus West Falls Church on the Orange Line. The remaining three Orange Line stations west of Ballston (Vienna, Dunn Loring, and East Falls Church) are expected to reopen around Labor Day, according to citybizlist.

What’s for dinner? As restrictions ease, restaurants around Reston Town Center are starting to reopen for in-house dining with alternative services to keep customers and staff safe. Check out this list by  Reston Now on which restaurants now offer sit-down dining and/or take-out.

Hoist a stein in Herndon: Herndon Biergarten, a traditional German beer garden, will open in the Town of Herndon at 771 Center Street. Like the Tysons location, which closed late last year due to property redevelopment, the Herndon Biergarten will have daily activities, family-friendly games, events and beer festivals. The project includes a bar on the main floor, two bars upstairs, a patio, a green room, an outdoor seating area, an outdoor bar, and a rooftop deck. The business is expected to open in the spring of next year, according to Reston Now.

Groovy like a drive-in movie: Capital One Center will soon have drive-in movies from July 11 to Aug. 2 to fundraise for Second Story, a local nonprofit that helps people seeking food, shelter and emergency support. While the movies at the McLean Metro lot located at 1820 Dolley Madison Blvd are free, Capital One is asking people to make a $25 donation when they register. Food will be available from Curbside Kitchen, according to Tysons Reporter.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

SAIC won a $630 million a contract from the Air Force 557th Weather Wing to manage and modernize the critical hardware and software for its Technology Application Development and Sustainment system. citybizlist

Northrop Grumman received a $222.5 million contract to help the Space Force operate and maintain a constellation of satellites used to detect ballistic-missile launches and nuclear detonations. GovConWire

Leidos secured a one-year, $170 million task order from the Defense Health Agency to support a new electronic health-record system being deployed across the Military Health System. GovConWire

Rolls-Royce scored recent agreements with the Navy for ship engines, propulsion components and services valued at up to $115.6 million. Sea Power Magazine

Alion Science and Technology won a $59 million contract from the Navy for the implementation of advanced threats for weapon system research. Washington Exec

Featured business events

July 14: Fairfax County EDA Virtual Career Fair: The FCEDA is presenting a free virtual career fair to help mid-career tech professionals find jobs. The companies represented will be offering a combined 3,000 job opportunities in Northern Virginia. Click here to register.

July 28: Diversity and Inclusion Career Event: The NOVA Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce presents an online Diversity and Inclusion Career Event for job seekers to interact with employers via one-on-one live video and text chats. Click here to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

Forward Virginia Phase 3 reopening guidelines: Fairfax County will begin the third phase of re-opening businesses on Wednesday, July 1. The Forward Virginia plan provides guidelines that all businesses must follow. Residents are still advised that they are “safer at home.” Click here to find out the updated guidelines.

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