Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for April 6, 2021: Microsoft, SOC Telemed, HawkEye 360

I spy… a new reality: Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, which has offices in Reston and last year announced it would create 1,500 jobs as it establishes a $64 million regional software R&D center there, won a contract from the Army to build more than 120,000 custom HoloLens augmented-reality headsets. The contract could be worth almost $21.9 billion — yep, with a b — over 10 years, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC. The headset enables soldiers to fight, rehearse and train in one system, the Army said in a statement. The new deal follows a $480 million contract Microsoft received to give the Army prototypes of the Integrated Visual Augmented System, or IVAS, in 2018. In 2019, Microsoft secured a contract to provide cloud services to the Defense Department. Businesses in Fairfax County won $29.5 billion in federal contracts during fiscal 2020 — 44 percent of all federal contracts awarded in Virginia. Click here to read more about government contracting in Fairfax County.

Telemed titan: Reston’s SOC Telemed purchased Access Physicians, a Dallas company, for $194 million, five months after the local telemedicine provider went public via a blank-check merger and signaled its intention to grow through acquisition. The move positions SOC, which has its own specialists and also provides its Telemed IQ platform to hospitals, to be the largest acute-care telemedicine provider in the U.S. The combined business now serves nearly 1,000 facilities including more than 700 hospitals in 47 states, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The stage is set: Herndon-based HawkEye 360, the first commercial company to use formation-flying satellites to create a new class of radio frequency (RF) data and data analytics, said that its recently launched “Cluster 2” satellites have achieved initial operating capability. The trio of satellites, which entered orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in January, have completed functional testing, moved into proper formation, and begun to geolocate RF signals, reported InsideNoVa.

Cancer center expansion: Virginia Cancer Specialists is bringing a new cancer center to Fairfax. The private oncology group, which runs 10 locations in Northern Virginia, plans to open a 60,000-square-foot cancer diagnosis and treatment facility at 8613 Lee Highway on April 13, replacing and doubling the size of an existing location about a mile away. The new center is also just a few miles from Inova Health System’s Schar Cancer Institute in Merrifield — a roughly $150 million cancer center that comprises more than 420,000 square feet that is also expanding, notes the Washington Business Journal.

Next stop: Innovation Station: A group of developers will seek approval for the first phase of a development that will straddle the Fairfax and Loudoun county line in what would be one of the biggest projects in the D.C. region. “Rivana at Innovation Station” will be a mixed-use development near the Innovation Center Metro station in Herndon, and, as planned, will eventually include 4.4 million square feet of development. The development comprises 103 acres, including 85 in Loudoun County and 18 in Fairfax County adjacent to the Innovation Center Metro Station. The area could eventually support up to 9 million square feet of development. WTOP has more. And click here to see Loudoun County Economic Development’s video on the project.

Accelerating space start-ups: Amazon Web Services, which bases its east coast operations in Herndon, is launching a space accelerator program for start-ups. AWS is teaming up with the U.K.-based venture investment firm Seraphim Capital to select the first 10 startups for the four-week mentoring program scheduled to begin in June, with applications due April 21. The 10 selected startups will receive mentoring and up to $100,000 in AWS technical services offered under the AWS Activate program, SpaceNews reported.

Likeable acquisition: 10Pearls, the Tysons-based digital development company, is acquiring New York-based marketing and social media agency Likeable. 10Pearls said the acquired firm will strengthen its offerings in branding, customer experience and social marketing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but 10Pearls CEO and co-founder Imran Aftab said it was in the low eight figures. 10Pearls was launched in 2004 with $2,000, the Washington Business Journal reported.

To a new edge: Herndon-headquartered EdgeConneX, a data center developer, broke ground on a new edge data center facility near Barcelona, Spain. The facility will provide businesses in the region with essential, local, cloud and content access as well as highly secure server colocation in a carbon-neutral facility employing renewable energy strategies, according to Data Centre Dynamics.

Tres pillars: Fairfax-based 3Pillar Global, a developer of digital products, said it is continuing its expansion in Latin America with the opening of a new development center in Guatemala. The move comes after the company recently acquired Costa Rica-based software development firm Isthmus Software and added a delivery center in Mexico through the acquisition of Arizona-based Tiempo Development. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Done deal: Herndon-based Tyto Athene completed its acquisition of AT&T Government Solutions, which comprises AT&T’s Department of Defense IT professional services business and other contracts. AT&T and Tyto also agreed to enter into teaming agreements for opportunities in the DoD IT professional services market. “We are excited to welcome the GSI team into Tyto and begin working together to build a world-class organization to support our customers’ rapidly evolving requirements related to mission focused digital transformation,” Chris Meilhammer, CEO of Tyto Athene, said. You can ring up more details through citybizlist.

GPS acquisition: Israel-based Elbit Systems, which has an office in Reston, acquired BAE Systems Rokar International from BAE Systems, the Reston-based U.S. headquartered subsidiary of UK-based BAE Systems for about $31 million. Located in Israel, Rokar specializes in the development, manufacture, integration, and support of high-end GPS receivers and guidance systems for advanced defense applications, reported Washington Technology.

Optimistic forecast: Home prices and, for the most part, sales, have continued to rise in the Northern Virginia market in the last year, even despite the pandemic, but the unanswered question is: what will happen in the future? A forecast from the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University and the Fairfax-based Northern Virginia Association of Realtors says, in short, that the upward trends will continue. “This year’s forecast was especially challenging since the pandemic and its related disruptions presented highly unusual patterns of market activity,” said Terry Clower, director of the GMU-CRA and professor of public policy. WTOP reported on the forecast.

Commitment and fortitude: Tysons Partnership released the organization’s 2021 annual report, which highlighted successes during the pandemic-challenged previous year. The partnership’s milestones during the past year and the group’s efforts to transform Tysons into an urban-management district are noted in the report. The pandemic especially has been hard on Tysons’ hospitality, retail and entertainment sectors and transit ridership dropped sharply in the urban center, which is home to four stations on Metrorail’s Silver Line. “The commitment and fortitude of our collective never wavered and, if anything, it has strengthened our resolve for a more inclusive, sustainable and vibrant urban destination,” wrote Sol Glasner, president and CEO. InsideNoVa has more.

Now that’s a lot of dough: Over the past year Great Harvest Bread Co., a bakery with locations in Burke and Lorton, has donated more than 20,000 loaves of bread to local food banks and shelters. Since the pandemic started the company has asked the public to donate cash to the business so it can donate loaves of bread to people in need. The company estimated that it has received roughly $75,000 in donations so far. Great Harvest is continuing to reach out to other businesses and organizations, asking for donation so it can continue its effort throughout 2021, reported InsideNoVa.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Leidos won a $149.2 million contract from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center-Newport Division to provide engineering, technical and management services to the Naval Array Technical Support Center. Naval Technology

General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman  received separate contracts to manufacture cartridges for the  Army’s 120mm Tank Training Ammunition program. The service branch awarded $65.3 million to General Dynamics’ ordnance and tactical systems unit and $54.5 million to Northrop’s Alliant Techsystems Operations business. Army Technology

BAE Systems obtained a $42.5 million contract from the Navy to provide support services for instrument-carrier and instrument-landing systems. Naval Technology.

Alion Science and Technology won a five-year, $12 million contract from the Air Force to test, evaluate, and validate mission planning functions for the 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron, located at Eglin Air Force Base. ExecutiveGov

Geospark Analytics received a contract from the Air Force through the second phase of the Small Business Innovation Research program to create a mass-notification capability for the agency. ExecutiveBiz

Featured business events

April 8 — Integrating Mobility in Public Spaces & Creating More Livable Communities. The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce presents keynote speakers from the U.S. and the Netherlands who will share opportunities and challenges regarding placemaking in a post-pandemic world. Click here to register.

April 14 — BES: Lack of Accountability Kills Productivity & Engagement. Here’s what to do about it. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Gretchen Richards, Dynamic Business Capabilities. The session is part of the chamber’s Business Education Series. Click here to register.

April 15 — New Directions in Federal Spending & Contracting. George Mason University’s Center for Government Contracting presents the first in a three-part webinar series. Welcome remarks and the introduction will be provided by Maury Peiperl, dean, School of Business, George Mason University; Victor Hoskins, president and CEO, FFCEDA; and Jerry McGinn, executive director, Center for Government Contracting, School of Business, George Mason University. The featured speakers will be Ross Wilkers, senior staff writer, Washington Technology; Michael Sanders, chief executive officer, Interactive Government Holdings and Center Advisory board member; and Dave Zvenyach, deputy commissioner and director, Technology Transformation Services, Federal Acquisition Service. 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 — 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, Canada 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.

Virginia measures to contain COVID-19

Starting Thursday, April 1, Governor Ralph Northam announced that certain sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate with additional capacity and indoor and outdoor gathering limits will increase. He amended Executive Order Seventy-Two with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.

The Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued mitigation strategies like physical distancing, teleworking, and universal mask requirements. Key changes in the Fourth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two include:

  • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 50 people for indoor settings and 100 people for outdoor settings. Social gatherings are currently limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • Entertainment venues: All indoor and outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity. Indoor venues must operate at 30 percent capacity or with a maximum of 500 people, an increase from the current cap of 250 people. Outdoor venues must operate at 30 percent capacity, with no specific cap on the number of attendees. These venues were previously limited to 30 percent capacity or up to 1,000 attendees, whichever was fewer. 
  • Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at recreational sporting events will increase from 25 to 100 people per field or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less for indoor settings, and from 250 to 500 people per field or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less for outdoor settings.
  • In-person graduation and commencement events: Governor Northam has issued preliminary guidance on safe in-person graduations and commencements, which included a cap of 5,000 people or 30 percent of the venue capacity for outdoor events, whichever is less. Events held indoors may have up to 500 people, or 30 percent of the venue capacity, whichever is less. Attendees must wear masks and follow other guidelines and safety protocols to ensure proper distancing.

The full text of Fourth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine is available here. Updated guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Virginia has now administered more than 3.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and is currently giving approximately 50,000 shots per day. Virginians are strongly encouraged to make sure they are pre-registered at vaccinate.virginia.gov, or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA, to ensure that the Virginia Department of Health has all the relevant information to reach out when individuals are eligible to schedule vaccination appointments.