Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for Dec. 1, 2020

Illustration of Northrop Grumman’s HALO module and the Power Propulsion Element that form the first critical component of NASA’s Gateway. (Illustration courtesy of Northrop Grumman)

HALO effect: Falls Church-area based Northrop Grumman completed the initial preliminary design review for the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) that will serve as living quarters for astronauts at the Lunar Gateway mini space station during lunar exploration missions. Part of NASA’s Artemis program, the HALO design was inspired by Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, which delivers supplies, equipment and experiments to the International Space Station. The company announced in June that its Orbital Sciences business won a $187 million NASA contract to design the Gateway living quarters. Artemis is the successor to the Apollo moon-landing program of the 1960s and ’70s, and NASA is planning to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024. Virginia Business launched the story.

And more Northrop Grumman news: Northrop Grumman received a $4.8 billion (that’s with a “b”) contract to update, refurbish and sustain the Air Force’s fleet of RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial systems. Since 2001, the Air Force has deployed Global Hawk to support long-distance operations such as intelligence-gathering, emergency response, search-and-rescue and weather forecasting, GovConWire reported.

Introducing the Virginia Business Person of the Year: Phebe Novakovic, CEO of Reston-based General Dynamics, is the “2020 Virginia Business Person of the Year” named by Virginia Business magazine. Novakovic joined General Dynamics in 2001, became president and chief operation officer in 2012, and has served as the chairman of the board and CEO since January 2013. The magazine focused on Novakovic’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and on how her philosophy: “Be honest. Be direct. And know what you’re talking about” — has guided her leadership at the company. Forbes ranks Novokovic more powerful than Queen Elizabeth, by the way. Employing more than 100,000 workers worldwide, and almost 11,000 in Virginia, General Dynamics is a Fortune 100 manufacturer of business jets, warships, submarines, tanks and communications systems, and is the nation’s third-largest defense contractor.

Pleased to meet you too: In addition to naming its Business Person of the Year, Virginia Business published its “100 People to Meet in 2021” list, which naturally includes a number of executives at Fairfax County-based companies. The “Innovators” category includes: Jason Crabtree, co-founder and CEO of Qomplx (Tysons); Tom Deierlein, co-founder and CEO of ThunderCat Technology (Reston); and Michael Saylor, chairman and CEO of MicroStrategy (Tysons). The “Builders” category includes: Craig Albert, president and chief operating officer at Bechtel (Reston); Evan Antonides, senior vice president of technology of HITT Contracting (Falls Church area); and Nick Ron, CEO of House Buyers of America (Chantilly). And the “New Folks” category includes Marc Gruzenski, head of security and senior managing director at The McLean Group (Tysons); Jermaine Johnson, Greater Washington and Virginia regional president of PNC Financial Services Group (Springfield); Liz Porter, Health group president at Leidos (Reston); Jennifer Taylor, president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council (Herndon); and Grady Tripp, vice president and chief diversity officer at Tegna (Tysons). Click here to see the entire list.

Creating IT opportunities: A Lorton IT recruiter, Melvin Thompson, owner of Mobile ITnT Solutions, is working to increase Black participation in IT, notes the Washington Informer. Starting early next year, the recipients of Thompson’s “Opportunity Scholarship” will take virtual classes to become Linux administrators. Geared toward those who experienced a COVID-19-related job loss, the Opportunity Scholarship will provide IT training, which experts identify as one of safest and economically viable career fields during the pandemic.

ACE is the place for engaged businesses: Reston-based Leidos received the “Large Business of the Year” award from the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce during its 2020 Awards for Chamber Excellence (ACE) virtual ceremony. The awards recognize the most-engaged businesses, members and committees of the Chamber community over the last year. Other 2020 ACE Award winners:  Steven Toole/Toole & Associates (Small Business of the Year); M & T Bank (Medium Business of the Year). See the full list of ACE sponsors and nominees here. Reston Now has more.

Digital development: Reston-based Internet Society Foundation, a non-profit focused on the global development and evolution of the open Internet, awarded more than $1 million in digital skills development grants to seven projects in Bangladesh, Colombia and Senegal. The grants are part of the organizations new Strengthening Communities, Improving Lives and Livelihoods (SCILLS) program. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Kudos for hiring vets: Serco, which runs its North America operations from Herndon, received the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2020 HIRE Vets Medallion Award in recognition of the company’s support, commitment and long-term career and growth plan for former military service members in its workforce. Veteran hiring and retention, leadership programming, human resources, and compensation and tuition assistance programs were some of the factors considered for the award, according to GovConWire.

Helping the tax man: The Internal Revenue Service’s Office of the Chief Procurement Officer is forming a research partnership with Fairfax-based Data and Analytic Solutions. The partnership, which also includes a group of academic researchers, will use data science to improve IRS procurement operations, with the focus on examining how long it takes to award a government contract, according to Virginia Business.

Another Tysons landmark: The Boro in Tysons commissioned a new piece of public art from Baltimore-based artists Jessie and Katey: a 400-foot long, 80-foot high mural. Facilitated by D.C.-area art broker Art Whino, the mural will be on the Leesburg Pike side of the Loft building. The Loft is three stories of loft-style office on top of two levels of retail between Westpark and Silver Hill Drive, InsideNoVa reported.

Bunny name for a brewery: Sam Gray, a retiring Fairfax County firefighter, is co-launching  “Bunnyman Brewing”  named for the Bunnyman, a local urban legend. Beer will be brewed in-house at 5583 Guinea Road in central Fairfax. Bunnyman is hoping to have a grand opening in April 2021. Find out more in an interview with Gray in this story that the Washington Business Journal brewed up. If you are curious about the Bunnyman legend (and you should be), check out this piece written by Brian Conley, archivist-historian at the Fairfax County Public Library.

More spezial attention: Back in March, WJLA brought you the story of restaurant owner Sal Speziale and his quest to deliver free meals to first responders despite his restaurant, Ciao Osteria in Centreville, taking a financial hit from the pandemic. Now, as new COVID-19 cases rise again in our area, Speziale and Ciao Osteria employees were back at it again Saturday delivering fresh hot meals to the emergency department at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax. See the broadcast clip on WJLA.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

General Dynamics’ information technology business secured a four-year, $241 million task order to help the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services implement a multi-cloud computing environment. GovConWire

Northrop Grumman received a 10-year, $185.7 million contract to extend engineering services for the Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt jet-fighter fleet. Virginia Business

Leidos won an $82 million contract from the Naval Medical Logistics Command (NMLC) to support operational medicine research to enhance warfighter readiness. NavalTechnology

Featured business events

December 3 — Securing the Remote Workforce and Essential Government Services. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, in partnership with the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, presents a free webinar that will feature industry experts from Microsoft, Forescout Technologies, Ampcus Cyber and Easy Dynamics, and chief information security officers from Fairfax and Loudoun counties and the city of Alexandria. Click here to register.

December 3 — Local Sourcing, Creative Dining: How Field & Main Thrives Through Community Focus. How Field & Main, a restaurant in Fauquier County, has pivoted to serve customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the “Catalyst for Change” webinar series presented by the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance. Click here to register.

December 8 — Government Contracting in a Changed World. George Mason University Center for Government Contracting and Defense Acquisition University present a virtual conference, with this module focusing on operations. Click here to register.

December 8-9 — InnoTech: the international broadcast edition for innovation, HLS & cyber technologies. The Fairfax County EDA is a sponsor of this virtual cyber and homeland security conference from Israel. It will include expert presentations and panels, as well as a startup competition, and will host senior officials from government and defense organizations, including police, security and intelligence agencies. The event will also host leading figures from Israeli and global defense industries, tech companies, and hundreds of start-ups. Click here to register.

December 10 — Best Workplaces for Commuters. The Dulles Area Transportation Association presents a free webinar. Watch it to see if your company qualifies for the “Best Workplaces for Commuters” designation. 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 sets up new statewide measures to contain COVID-19

The following measures took effect November 15 in Virginia to contain the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19:

  • Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.
  • Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians ages 5 and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29.
  • Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses: All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor.
  • On-site alcohol curfew: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.

Find out more by clicking here.