Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for April 27, 2021: Tysons transformation, best companies for diversity

Build it and they will come: Wondering what buildings are going up in Tysons while you still may be teleworking from home? Work has continued virtually unabated during the pandemic, the skyline is changing, and the work-live-play mix is changing and expanding along with it. Tysons Reporter reached out to developers on some of the bigger projects for updates on their construction timelines. Check out the article for an update on the construction progress at The Monarch (high-rise condominium, part of the Arbor Row mixed-use development), The Mather (senior living community), Capital One Center (expansion of the Capital One headquarters with a performing arts center, outdoor public spaces, dining, hotel, shopping), Scotts Run (mixed-use development), Archer Hotel (at Scotts Run), The Heming (apartment complex), Scotts Run Fire Station 44, Brentford (apartment complex) at The Mile (mixed-use development), Hanover Tysons (apartment complex), Highland District (mostly residential development), and the Rylan (apartment complex in the Highland District).

More on what’s brewing in Tysons: Starr Hill Brewery announced last week that it will be nesting in The Perch, the skypark atop Capital One Hall in Tysons. The brewery will lease a biergarten space with more than 5,000 square feet within the 1.2-acre skypark, which is expected to open this summer. Visitors will have access to an outdoor dining and lounge space as well as an amphitheater with lawn seating, which will offer live entertainment. The Perch will feature food trucks, a games plaza, a sculpture garden and a dog park. Tysons Reporter flew in the news about the new nester in The Perch.

Something else in store too: And in other Tysons development news, The Mile, the mixed-use transformation of the former Westpark Business Park in Tysons, will combine multifamily and public storage in a single building, according to a recent zoning submission. Tysons-based Kettler and PS Business Parks of Glendale, Calif., filed plans for Charlton at the Mile, a 560,000-square-foot building combining up to 400 residential units, 150,000 square feet of public storage and 10,000 square feet of retail on what is now a parking lot, according to Washington Business Journal.

Best employers for diversity: Tysons-based Booz Allen Hamilton ranked at no. 2 in the nation on Forbes’ America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2021 list, and we are delighted to reveal that 14 more  Fairfax County-based companies made the list too: Hilton (Tysons); Capital One (Tysons);  SAIC (Reston); ICF (Fairfax); Mars (McLean); Bechtel (Reston); Maximus (Reston); BAE Systems (Falls Church area), General Dynamics (Reston); Northrop Grumman (Falls Church area); Gannett (Tysons); Parsons (Centreville); and Leidos (Reston). Three more companies in Northern Virginia (Lidl, CACI and Wills Towers Watson, all in Arlington County), also made the list. Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to survey 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees and pinpoint the companies they identified as being most dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. The final list ranks the 500 employers that not only received the most recommendations, but also boast the most diverse boards and executive ranks, as well as the most proactive diversity and inclusion initiatives, according to Forbes.

Funding frenzy: Multiple local start-ups began the year strong with fundraising and the pace only accelerated into the spring, the Washington Business Journal reported. In Fairfax County companies that raised significant funds include Tysons identity management startup ID.me ($100 million); Herndon-based satellite company HawkEye 360 ($55 million); Reston security software startup ThreatQuotient ($22.5 million); and Falls Church-area based prior authorization firm CMT Solutions ($10 million). More funding is coming: Chantilly’s TrueAlgae is actively raising capital, the Business Journal notes.

Expanding the web: OneWeb’s growing low-Earth orbit broadband constellation is set to reach 182 satellites, after France-based Arianespace launched its latest batch of 36 spacecraft April 25. The latest launch for OneWeb, which is based the UK and has its North American headquarters in Tysons, pushes the broadband startup closer to an interim goal to expand coverage to north of 50 degrees latitude by June. That coverage goal, which requires launching two more batches of 36 satellites, would enable OneWeb to provide services across the entire U.K. this year. It would also enable OneWeb to cover Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic Seas and Canada. OneWeb ultimately plans a 650-strong constellation to deliver global high-speed, low-latency broadband services to enterprise, government, maritime and aviation customers from 2022. SpaceNews has more.

A-spire-ing to new heights: San Francisco-based Spire Global, the space-based data and analytics company with operations, including its federal division, in Tysons, reached an agreement to raise $70 million from Francisco Partners. Spire collects spaced-based data, such as weather information, using its constellation of 100 satellites. The move comes as Spire prepares to go public through a merger with Reston-based blank-check company NavSight Holdings. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release. And in more Spire news, Findus Venture,  an Austrian investor in new space technology, and Spire Global, announced their collaboration to launch a low earth orbit satellite in a bid to tackle the growing problem of space debris. Satellite News has more on the space clean-up initiative.

3’s a charm: In an expansion into the European regional market, Fairfax-based product lifecycle management company 3Pillar Global completed an acquisition of North Carolina-based software firm Software Development Europe. It is the third acquisition for 3Pillar during the past year. — part of a growth strategy fueled by an investment from NY-based private equity investor CIP Capital, according to 3Pillar. The company, founded in 2006, purchased Costa Rica-based in August, adding 200 employees, and Tempe, Ariz.-based Tiempo Development in December, adding 400 employees. 3Pillar, whose clients include CARFAX, Fortune and PBS, also notes that the acquisition allows it to offer service around the clock to clients through Software Development Europe’s development centers in the Czech Republic, reported Virginia Business.

Expanding across the pond: Tysons-based Kajeet, a provider of mobile IoT connectivity, software and hardware solutions that deliver internet connectivity to students, enterprises, state and local governments and IoT solution providers, is expanding into the U.K. market. “Kajeet is mission-focused on closing the digital divide, not just in the U.S., but worldwide,” said chairman, CEO and founder Daniel J. W. Neal. “We are excited to bring our secure, reliable and controlled wireless connectivity solutions to the European market to enable equitable internet access, especially for students.” eSchool News has more.

I see an ICBM contract: Falls Church-area based Northrop Grumman won a Department of Defense contract for $2.3 billion (yes, with a b) to support propulsion subsystems for intercontinental ballistic missiles. The 18.5-year contract provides assistance to the government in maintaining the Minuteman III weapon system. In March, Northrop Grumman and partner Raytheon Missiles & Defense were awarded a Missile Defense Agency contract worth up to $3.93 billion to perform work on the U.S. ballistic missile defense system, reported Virginia Business.

No hands on deck! Reston-based Leidos built two of the autonomous ships: Sea Hunter and SeaHawk, that participated in a Navy fleet exercise off the southern California coast last week to help figure how its operational forces can use aerial drones, autonomous surface and subsurface vehicles in an integrated fight at sea and in the air to support the manned fleet. The Navy has been ramping up its testing, demonstrating and prototyping of unmanned systems and autonomous technologies with the eye on getting these systems into the fleet. “We want to move to a capability. We want to start applying our operational concepts,” said Rear Adm. Jim Aiken, technical manager for the exercise, reported USNI News. And find out more about Leidos in this FCEDA video interview with its CFO Jim Reagan.

To the max: Reston-based government services provider Maximus signed an agreement to acquire the parent company of Veterans Evaluation Services (VES) for a purchase price of $1.4 billion. Privately held VES serves the U.S. Federal Government, providing the Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Disability Examinations to determine veterans’ eligibility for compensation and pension benefits, citybizlist reported.

AI acquisition: Reston-based Science Applications International Corp. entered into an agreement to acquire Seattle-based Koverse. It is a move to expand SAIC’s software artificial-intelligence portfolio with the ability to tackle the challenge of organizing structured and unstructured data from multiple sources. “We see many opportunities for Koverse across the federal defense, civilian, and intelligence communities. Together, we bring a passion for service, innovation, and integrity that will further drive digital transformation and innovation,” said SAIC CEO Nazzic Keene. ExecutiveBiz covered the story.

Let the music begin: Enough of the sounds of silence! After a year of pandemic closure, Wolf Trap will celebrate its 50th anniversary season this summer with its first outdoor live-music performances since December 2019. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is a performing arts center located on 117 acres of national park land in the Vienna area. Click here to hear WTOP’s Jason Fraley preview Wolf Trap’s summer lineup, part 1.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Leidos won $480 million contract by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to provide multi-energy portal systems for nonintrusive inspections of commercial vehicles at land and sea ports of entry. Virginia Business

Elbit Systems of America received a $41 million contract for the supply of binocular night-vision goggle systems to the U.S. Marine Corps. Naval Technology

Alion Science and Technology won a $39 million contract from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering/Prototyping and Experimentation to provide a range of prototyping and experimentation research and development services. Washington Exec

Perspecta Labs secured a $18.5 million contract to design and develop a low-cost, resilient tactical radio communications solution for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Army Technology

Featured business events

April 28 — Virtual Leadership – The Role of Courage Building in Conflict Resolution. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Laura Sharon, Principal of Imperative Dimensions and a Relationship Manager for TrainingPros. The session is part of the chamber’s Business Education Series. Click here to register.

April 28 – 29 — TiE DC ScaleUp. TiE DC presents an event designed for all entrepreneurs, featuring an a-list of speakers, thought leaders and subject matter experts. Get insights on a variety of aspects of scaling and growing your business venture – from business development, to sales and marketing, to growing teams to building products and solutions to funding. Speakers include Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA, and Juhi Naithani, assistant director of international business investment at the FCEDA. Click here to see the full list of speakers and to register.

April 29 — Catalyst for Change: Innovating for Others, How Preston Pub Fed a Community. The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance presents the next webinar in its “Catalyst for Change, How Companies Turn Disruption into Success” webinar series. Panelists include: Sean McNamara, owner, Preston Pub; Hector Cendejas, program manager, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Arlington, and former Councilman, City of Manassas Park; and  Chris Himes, assistant city manager, City of Manassas Park. Click here to register.

May 4 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County. The FCEDA and small-business experts from the Fairfax County-based Community Business Partnership, Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity and the U.S. Small Business Administration present an interactive webinar on how to start a business. This session’s Entrepreneurial Spotlight will feature Kristina Bouweiri, CEO of Reston Limousine, who will share valuable business tips based on her entrepreneurial journey. Click here to register.

May 6 — 9th Annual NoVA B2G Matchmaking Conference & Expo Online. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a virtual event that will include matchmaking, educational breakout sessions, a virtual Expo Hall, and innovative keynotes Click here to register.

May 6 — Tri-County Economic Development Update. The Committee for Dulles presents a conversation with representatives from Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties regarding economic development activity updates featuring presentations by David Kelley (Fairfax County EDA), Brandon Farris (Loudoun County), and Michele Weatherly (Prince William County) on economic development activities for the three jurisdictions. Click here to register.

May 18 — ExportON! Emerging Tech Trade Forum Northern Virginia, USA/ Ontario, Canada. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and the Province of Ontario, Canada presents a program for innovative tech companies on partnership opportunities between the Province of Ontario and Northern Virginia. Click here to register.

May 20 — Entry-Level Professionals Virtual Career Fair. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority presents a free virtual career fair for entry-level professionals or recent (or soon-to-be) college graduates looking to launch their career at 25 leading companies in Northern Virginia. Click here to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

The FCEDA is here to connect businesses of all kinds to resources and information. Visit the FCEDA’s Covid-19 Business Resource Hub for up-to-date 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.

Expanded capacity, social gathering limits coming May 15

Governor Ralph Northam announced April 22 that sports and entertainment venues in Virginia may begin to operate with expanded capacity, and social gathering limits will increase beginning Saturday, May 15. The announcement comes as vaccinations continue to rise in the Commonwealth, and more than half of all adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. All Virginians age 16 and older are now eligible to for the vaccine.

The Governor also reminded Virginians that getting vaccinated keeps communities safer, and allows expanded personal activities—for example, people who have been fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine after an exposure, per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Commonwealth will continue to mandate mask-wearing and social distancing, even as commercial restrictions are further eased. Key changes in the Sixth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two will go into effect on May 15 include:

  • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 100 people for indoor settings and 250 people for outdoor settings. Social gatherings are currently limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • Entertainment venues: Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity or 1,000 people, up from 30 percent capacity or 500 people. Outdoor venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity—up from 30 percent—with no specific cap on the number of attendees.
  • Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at indoor recreational sporting events will increase from 100 to 250 spectators or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events will increase from 500 to 1,000 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less. 
  • Alcohol sales: Restaurants may return to selling alcohol after midnight, and dining room closures will no longer be required between midnight and 5:00 a.m.

The full text of Sixth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine is available here. Updated guidelines for specific sectors can be found here.

Governor Northam also made minor changes to the existing mitigation measures, including increased accommodations for cross-country events, school-based fine arts performances, and expanded access to bar seating in restaurants with strict social distancing. These changes are reflected in the current Fifth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two available here.

Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Virginia has now administered more than 5.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and is currently giving almost 77,000 shots per day. Over 3.5 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, more than half of all adults in Virginia and more than 40 percent of the total population.

Virginians over the age of 16 can schedule an appointment for vaccination by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1).