Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for Jan. 19, 2021

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are among 27 companies in Northern Virginia seeking to hire for thousands of open positions in the IT, cyber and cloud industries during a January 28 virtual career fair. Presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, this event is one of many in an ongoing series of virtual career fairs the FCEDA is sponsoring or leading in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Participation in the FCEDA Cyber & Cloud Virtual Career Fair is free of charge and open to technology professionals of all experience levels looking to connect with top tech companies in Northern Virginia. Job seekers with security clearances are in demand and encouraged to attend, though it is not a required qualification.

Registration details can be found here.

Funding innovation: With a $10 million gift from Mehul Sanghani, CEO of Reston-based Octo Consulting Group, and his wife, Hema, Virginia Tech has renamed its Discovery Analytics Center to the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics. The Sanghani Center will move its headquarters to Virginia Tech’s $1 billion Innovation Campus, which will begin construction this year. The gift will support recruiting, research and fellowships at the center, which opened in 2011. Funding will also be allocated to a Sanghani Center scholars program for minority students pursuing graduate degrees in artificial intelligence, a focus of Mehul Sanghani’s company. Founded in 2006, Octo specializes in information technology and artificial intelligence consulting for the federal government, according to Virginia Business.

Keepin’ it cool at home: Walmart is partnering with Tysons-based HomeValet, the maker of a temperature-controlled smart box that’s placed outside the home. Customers’ groceries can be delivered, contact-free, to the secure box at any time — even if the customer isn’t at home. The HomeValet boxes are an Internet of Things platform that offers three temperature-controlled zones, making them capable of storing frozen, refrigerated and pantry items. The boxes communicate with the delivery provider’s device, which gives them secure access to the smart box at the time of the delivery to place the items inside. TechCrunch delivered the news.

May I see your vaccine credential? Tysons-based MITRE, along with Amazon, which is building its second headquarters in Arlington, and San Francisco-based Salesforce, which has a Reston location, are part of a coalition of health and technology companies that launched the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI). VCI’s vision is to empower individuals to obtain an encrypted digital copy of their immunization credentials to store in a digital wallet to enable people to safely return to work, school, events, and travel. Those without smartphones could receive paper printed with QR codes containing verifiable credentials. “As we explore the many use cases for the vaccination credential, we are working to ensure that underserved populations have access to this verification,” said Dr. Brian Anderson, chief digital-health physician at MITRE, according to ExecutiveBiz.

Step-up the sound! Tysons-based Alarm.com debuted a no-touch video doorbell that rings when people stand on a mat. The alarm system includes a camera and microphone for contactless two-way talk. “Our Touchless Video Doorbell helps homeowners and visitors alike maintain social distance and avoid encountering germs, bacteria and viruses that may exist on surfaces around the front door,” says Anne Ferguson, Alarm.com’s VP of marketing. “Adding this touch-free solution to an Alarm.com-powered smart-home security system is another way we can stay vigilant and protect one another.” CNET rang up this story.

See you by the fall: Employers in the Washington, Baltimore and Richmond metro areas expect that nearly three-quarters of their staff to be back in the work place by fall, according to a new survey from the Greater Washington Partnership of 172 regional employers about their reopening and resiliency plans. The respondents represent 139,000 employees who work across a number of different industries. Maricelly DiGravio, a research manager at the Partnership, said most of the responding employers are allowing teleworking and plan to pursue a phased approach to reopening that lets their workers return safely over the next six to nine months. Larger employers generally expressed more caution about bringing workers back than smaller employers. InsideNoVa has more.

It’s electric: Fairfax County Public Schools received its first electric school bus as part of a statewide initiative led by Dominion Energy. It is the first of eight vehicles that FCPS will receive from Dominion in an initial deployment of 50 buses throughout Virginia. FCPS says it anticipates getting the remaining seven buses by the end of January. Made by Thomas Built Buses, the vehicles will join Fairfax County’s fleet of more than 1,600 diesel-fueled school buses, one of the largest fleets in the nation. Tysons Reporter brought us this example of current events.

Gaining more intell: Chantilly-based VTG is expanding its intelligence and data sciences offerings by purchasing Fairfax-based defense contractor Intelligent Shift. The move expands on other mergers and acquisition activity by VTG, targeting firms that help expand its technology and digital transformation offerings, including DELTA Resources and National Technologies Associates in 2019, reported the Washington Business Journal.

Teams taking: Chantilly-based System High Corporation acquired the Technical, Engineering, Advisory, and Management Support (TEAMS) business of  Tysons-headquartered Booz Allen Hamilton. The TEAMS group serves the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) at Ft. Belvoir. “The close of this transaction increases our momentum in helping customers solve their most challenging protection problems,” said Rob Howe, System High’s president and CEO. “We welcome these new employees and look forward to combining forces to better protect current and emerging MDA capabilities, according to citzbizlist.

Smart and strong: Hollywood, Md.-based Smartronix, which has a Herndon location, bought Fairfax-based Datastrong, a technology solution provider focused on data architecture, design and business analytics for government and commercial clients. Datastrong will operate as a division of Smartronix’s Cloud Solutions business. “Datastrong is a great fit for Smartronix and brings new and differentiated capabilities in data analytics along with an impressive portfolio of priority public sector and commercial clients,” said Rob Groat, Smartronix EVP of technology and strategy, according to citybizlist.

Crypto communications: Fairfax-based General Dynamics’s Mission Systems and Victor, N.Y.-based Redcom Laboratories partnered to market a cryptographic voice gateway designed to provide companies and government agencies with end-to-end secure communications. The Secure Voice Gateway was built to comply with the National Security Agency’s Advanced Cryptographic Capabilities standard to support new and legacy secure communications interoperability protocol voice devices, ExecutiveBiz reported.

Robotics research: Fairfax-based George Mason University’s Center for Business Civic Engagement (CBCE) partnered with UiPath, headquartered in New York City, to establish the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Initiative. The joint project will work to determine the impact of RPA on government effectiveness and efficiency. “We are excited to partner with UiPath, a leader and innovator, and look forward to helping determine how RPA use can improve the working of public sector organizations and succeed in meeting the ever-growing demand for services among stakeholders,” said David Rehr, director of the Center and a faculty member at the Schar School of Policy and Government at Mason, according to ExecutiveGov.

Supporting school readiness: Rick Wagner, president of Microsoft Federal and the newest member of the FCEDA Commission (board of directors) was interviewed in a WashingtonExec video about his support for Fairfax Futures. Wagner talks about the organization’s mission around raising awareness and building support for quality early childhood education and school readiness in Fairfax County.

Tee time! GOLFTEC Tysons Corner, a golf instruction and club fitting center, opened in Tysons. Located at 1430 Spring Hill Road, the 2,500-square-foot facility offers golf lessons for a variety of individual needs. Five teaching or practice bays and a putting green staffed by trained coaches with teaching technology such as advanced motion measurement, video analysis and premium launch monitors. McLean Patch took the swing at this story.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

L3Harris Technologies won a $121.6 million contract from the Missile Defense Agency to conduct an on-orbit demonstration of a space-based prototype sensor designed to track hypersonic and ballistic threats. Defense News

Perspecta Labs received a three-year, $6.2 million contract to develop a spectrum access manager for the Department of Defense. ExecutiveGov

Airbus obtained a contract from Intelsat to build two OneSat satellites operating in multiple frequency bands for Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network. Intelligent Aerospace

Featured business events

January 23-February 18 — Smart City Challenge. Smart City Works, Refraction, Fairfax County, Girls in Tech DC, The Universities at Shady Grove, and Virginia Tech will host the first annual Smart City Challenge. The Smart City Challenge is an innovation competition, in which teams create high-impact solutions to address the toughest smart city challenges in sectors including housing, transportation, health, broadband, energy, education, water, infrastructure, and public safety. Click here to register.

January 27, February 3, February 10 — Air & Space Innovation webinar series. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is hosting a three-part international webinar series focused on the latest technologies in aviation and space for commercial and defense applications. On day 1 of the series (Jan. 27), the focus will be: “Air Innovation: Flying Cars, Drones & Unmanned Air Systems;” on day 2 (Feb. 3): “Space Innovation, Novel Communications and Expeditions;” and on day 3 (Feb. 10): “Defense Innovation in Air & Space.” Click here to register.

January 28 — Cyber+Cloud Virtual Career Fair. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority presents this virtual hiring event with 20+ companies for professionals in the IT, cyber and cloud industries. It is open to all experience levels. Job-seekers with security clearances are encouraged to attend. Click here for more information and 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 on December 14 in Virginia to contain the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19:

  • Modified Stay at Home Order: All individuals in Virginia must remain at their place of residence between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.
  • Universal mask requirement: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person. This order expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29, and requires all individuals aged five and over to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public settings outside of their own household. These changes are consistent with new CDC guidelines, released December 4, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings.
  • Reduction in social gatherings: All social gatherings must be limited to 10 individuals, down from the current cap of 25 people. Social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, regardless of whether they occur indoors or outdoors. This does not apply to religious services, employment settings, or educational settings. Restaurants and retail stores are already governed by strict social distancing requirements, and are not included in this limit.
  • Continued limits on dining establishments: Virginia restaurants are currently governed by strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, which remain in place. The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol remains prohibited after 10:00 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.
  • Teleworking: Employees that can telework are strongly encouraged to do so.

Find out more by clicking here.