Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for August 10, 2021: GDIT on ‘best for innovators’ list; Leidos, Parsons, ManTech, ICF talk talent; Boro to get bigger

Innovation region: Three Northern Virginia-based companies ranked on Fast Company’s 2021 Best Workplaces for Innovators list: Falls Church-area based General Dynamics Information Technology, which focuses on civilian, defense and intelligence contracting; Arlington-based food giant Nestle USA; and Arlington-based HUNGRY, a national platform for top local chefs and food delivery services. Tysons-based management consultant Booz Allen Hamilton also earned recognition in the large company category. Nearly 900 companies applied to Best Workplaces for Innovators list, according to Fast Company’s methodology, each providing an example of internal innovation and information about investment, company-wide programs and processes, and workplace culture with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Talent, innovation echo around the world: Similarweb, a digital intelligence company based in Israel, opened an office in Reston. With its global headquarters in Tel Aviv, Similarweb’s opening in Reston marks the first new office opening following the company’s initial public offering in May, and its fourth office in the U.S. Similarweb’s general manager of North America, Donna Dror, said Similarweb was drawn to the Reston area in part due to available talent and to the innovation and entrepreneurship growth she’s seen in Northern Virginia, partially due to the many data centers in the area. Read more in technical.ly/DC.

Job #1: attracting and keeping talent: Executives from Centreville-based Parsons, Herndon-based ManTech, Fairfax-based ICF and Reston-based Leidos, all publicly traded Fairfax County-based government technology and professional services companies, discussed in recent earnings calls the challenges of attracting and retaining their workforce. With the backdrop of the conversations surrounding the post-pandemic future of work, the company’s corporate executives on the calls all talked about the competition to keep top-end, cleared technology talent, Washington Technology reported. One strategy: ICF has hired more in-house recruiters and invested more in those working on contract to identify and bring in more talent, CEO John Wasson said.

Back to school: Amazon employees at the company’s Springfield logistics center packed school supplies into 1,000 backpacks Monday to distribute to students in Fairfax and Arlington counties and the city of Alexandria, the Washington Business Journal reported. The volunteer event kicked off Amazon’s second $1 million investment in Northern Virginia public schools. The $1 million comes from Amazon’s Right Now Needs fund, a program the company started in Seattle three years ago to support grade-school students. The company expanded the program to Northern Virginia last October. Amazon is again partnering with Communities in Schools of Northern Virginia, the Alexandria chapter of a national nonprofit, to distribute school supplies.

Boro expanding: Demolition will begin this month to prepare for a 1.15-million-square-foot expansion of The Boro, the Meridian Group-led development a short walk from the Greensboro Metro station in Tysons. The second phase will be located on 5.06 acres across Westpark Drive from the Whole Foods-anchored first phase of the project, replacing the former National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters. This phase is slated to bring 800 residential units, 40,000 square feet of retail and an acre of parkland and recreational space, the developers said. Find out more in the Washington Business Journal.

Funding frenzy: Two Fairfax County-based companies are among the DMV firms that secured noteworthy investments in July, the Washington Business Journal reported. Tysons-based AURA Network Systems raised $30.9 million in a Series A round led by Mudrick Capital Management and Tracker Capital Management. That capital brings AURA’s total lifetime funding to $38.4 million. AURA, which stands for Advanced Ultra Reliable Aviation, focuses on making the unmanned aircraft systems market commercially viable by providing data and communications. Reston-based behavioral telehealth company Qler Telehealth raised $7.4 million in a Series B round led by Wellesley Hills, Mass.-based MedEquity Capital. The financing also came from Relevance Ventures of Brentwood, Tenn. Qler has an on-demand tele-psychiatry platform with a behavioral health care team that’s growing across the nation.

Sustainability success: McLean-based Mars, the multinational manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products and a provider of animal care services, revealed its new agreement with Charlottesville, Va.-based Apex Clean Energy to provide renewable energy that will cover more than 100 percent of the electricity needed for its 2,000 veterinary hospitals in the U.S. This agreement allows Mars to continue to meet its sustainability goal to source 100 percent renewable electricity in the U.S. and is designed to address the company’s significant business growth, including the expansion of Mars Veterinary Health. Pet Business has more.

Investment for jobs: TechnoMile, a Tysons-based provider of cloud solutions for government contracting, secured a $20 million commitment from K1 Investment Management, a firm focused on high-growth enterprise software companies. With the funding, TechnoMile announced plans to accelerate hiring across all areas of its business. WFMZ picked up the release.

Bridge to enlightenment: IntelliBridge, a Tysons-based provider of technology, intelligence and mission support services to defense and law enforcement clients, acquired Arlington-based U.Group, which helps homeland security, defense and federal civilian organizations use technology and human-centered design to solve complex problems. “U.Group’s team of creative and innovative technology experts solidifies our position in the digital solutions marketplace,” IntelliBridge president and CEO Cass Panciocco said in a statement. “We can now bring to bear new artificial intelligence and data science solutions in an agile, repeatable and scalable manner to current and prospective customers.” Virginia Business has more.

Another pearl on the chain: 10Pearls, a Tysons-based provider of digital transformation services, acquired Proximity, a software development company based in Costa Rica. Proximity specializes in agile software development and engineering teams, quality assurance testing talent, and innovation services. 10Pearls said the move will expand its nearshore capabilities with an additional 120 engineers, bringing the company’s total headcount to more than 1,000. The latest news comes four months after 10Pearls acquired social media marketing agency Likeable. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Icebreaking Internet connectivity: Tysons-based Iridium Communications announced that the Canadian Coast Guard deployed Iridium Certus, an Iridium platform that enables the development and adoption of specialty broadband applications, with support from Iridium partner MetOcean Telematics, which is based in the U.S. in Tysons. The Coast Guard deployed dozens of these Iridium terminals on its vessels, including icebreakers, to contribute to reliable internet connectivity as crew members deliver programs and services to ensure the safety of mariners in Canadian waters and protect Canada’s marine environment. Iridium Certus delivers weather-resilient and completely global coverage, ensuring dependable connectivity in the high Arctic where the Coast Guard serves. SPACEREF carried the release.

It’s all Greek to them: Amazon Web Services, which has its east coast headquarters in Herndon, is partnering with Greece’s government on economic and technology initiatives that aim to turn the country into a regional space hub. It is the first agreement of its kind for the cloud computing giant, which has been expanding its global space presence. Under a Statement of Strategic Intent agreement, AWS and Greece’s government will collaborate on promoting the country’s space economy, supporting measures to attract and train aerospace professionals, reported Space News.

The Appian way: Appian, the Tysons-based developer of a low-code automation platform used to quickly build apps and workflows, acquired Germany’s Lana Labs, creator of a process mining platform designed to help users spend less time consolidating data. The acquisition will allow Appian to bolster its low-code automation software with a proprietary machine learning algorithm that automates analysis of complex business workflows. “There is natural synergy between process mining, process modeling and automation,” said Appian CEO Matt Calkins. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Enterprising acquisition: ASGN, a Richmond-based one provider of IT and professional services to the technology, digital and creative fields,  has acquired Fairfax-based Enterprise Resource Performance (ERPi), a provider of healthcare consulting and data analytics services to federal healthcare clients. ERPi’s team of 250 consultants will become part of the Enterprise Solutions business unit within ECS, ASGN’s federal government segment. Founded in 2001, ERPi provides IT tools, data analytics, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and healthcare domain expertise to the government. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Earthquake insight: Tysons-based QOMPLX announced a new relationship with Irvine, Calif.-based CoreLogic, a provider of property intelligence and data analytics, that will include access to CoreLogic’s U.S. Earthquake Model and Japan Earthquake Model, which provide insight into the damage that can occur following an earthquake and how aftershocks can amplify the effects months after an event. This relationship will expand QOMPLX’s offering of insurance data, services, and models to the insurance and reinsurance industry. Bakersfield.com carried the release.

Long Snapper: Deltek, a Herndon-based developer of software for project-based businesses, acquired ArchiSnapper, a Belgium-based developer of an online tool and mobile app designed to help architects and engineers automate field reports, create digital site inspections and improve collaboration. Founded in 2012, ArchiSnapper aims to streamline to labor-intensive process of producing field reports and punch lists. Deltek said the move will allow it to offer more field reporting tools to its customers, InsideNoVa reported.

Taking quant: Reston-based consulting firm Counter Threat Solutions (CTS) purchased Quantitative Analytics of Stafford, Va. Established in 2011, Quantitative Analytics provides program management, data analytics, logistics and air operations, and financial management services to military, government, and commercial customers. The merger brings added expertise and personnel to expand CTS’ service offerings and diversify its client base, InsideNoVa reported.

New ER in Tysons: HCA Virginia, the health system behind Reston Hospital Center, has started construction on a Tysons emergency room and aims to open it in early 2022. Tysons Emergency will be a campus of Reston Hospital Center. “As the Tysons community expands, the need for 24/7 emergency care close to where people live and work is paramount,” said John Deardorff, CEO of the HCA Healthcare Northern Virginia market and Reston Hospital Center. Vienna Patch has more.

Job well done, Sol: Sol Glasner is retiring as head of the Tysons Partnership at the end of the year. He’s held the position for roughly four years, and served as chair of its board from 2012 to 2014, shortly after the partnership was founded. His departure means the organization will have to launch a search for a new leader while simultaneously crafting the next stage of its evolution. Read more in the Washington Business Journal.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Leidos obtained a $600 million contract to support the Army Geospatial Center’s Buckeye program, an airborne surveying system that provides unclassified high-resolution color imagery and three-dimensional geospatial imaging of terrain. Virginia Business

Peraton won a $497 million contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide infrastructure-as-a-managed service for storage and computing infrastructure facilities. Washington Business Journal

Featured business events

September 14 — Entrepreneurship 101. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, the Community Business Partnership and the U.S. Small Business Administration, conducts a free workshop for those persons that are interested in starting a business in Fairfax County.  The workshop provides an overview of start-up basics (licenses and permits), workforce services and training programs, and SBA resources including financing and certification programs. This session’s guest speakers in the Entrepreneurial Spotlight will be Scott and Cyndi Hoffman, the founders/owners of Ono Brewing Company in Chantilly. Click here to register.

September 14-15 — LEADS (Leadership, Excellence, and Adaptability of business built on pillars of Diversity and Sustainability). The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is partnering with FICCI, a prominent trade association based in India, for the second edition of a global thought-leadership initiative with an overarching theme of “Future of Partnerships.” This hybrid program brings together business leadership from 12 countries to describe their vision of the future of fundamental aspects of global economic prosperity built on pillars of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), engaging audiences from east, central and South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, Europe, Africa, West Asia, the Americas and the Pacific. Click here to register.

November 4 — Veteran & Military Family Career Day. Sponsored by the FCEDA, Fort Belvoir, the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Fairfax County Dept. of Economic Initiatives, and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, this event will be held at the National Museum of the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir. Save the date! Details and registration information to come.

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.