Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for July 13, 2021: Virginia named top state for business

Top state for business: A year of pandemic and social reckoning has changed the nation in countless ways. But one thing has stayed the same: America’s Top State for Business is Virginia, CNBC announced this morning. The Old Dominion captures top honors in CNBC’s 2021 competitiveness rankings, just as it did in the previous study published in 2019. It is Virginia’s fifth win since the study began in 2007, more than any other state. And it is the first state to post back-to-back victories (CNBC did not publish rankings in 2020 due to the pandemic.) Virginia pulls off the repeat performance despite a vastly altered competitive landscape–a testament to the resilience of the state’s business climate.

Blazing businesses: Seven Fairfax County-based companies received 2021 DC Inno Fire Awards for Greater Washington “companies, investors and players who are setting its startup ecosystem ablaze”: 10Pearls (Tysons); Omnispace (Tysons); ScienceLogic (Reston); ID.me (Tysons); ThreatQuotient (Reston); Somatus (Tysons); and TrueAlgae (Chantilly). In addition, four companies in other Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance localities placed on the list: MotoRefi (Arlington County); Territory Foods (Arlington County); Ceres Nanosciences (Prince William County); and Minwo (Prince William County). “These are companies that closed new rounds of funding, launched new products, reinvented themselves and not only survived the pandemic, but helped others through the crisis as well… They are all on fire,” according to DC Inno. Check out all the winning DMV blazing businesses in DC Inno.

Glass ceiling breakers: Eight women leaders of companies based in Northern Virginia were featured for “shattering the glass ceiling” in Virginia’s corporate world in Virginia Business. The women selected were based in Virginia and hold significant C-suite or equivalent leadership positions at for-profit businesses, according to the magazine. In Fairfax County, the selected leaders were: Lara Coffee, executive vice president of human resources, marketing and communications, Computer Systems Center (Springfield); Shana Hammond-Adler, vice president of capture and proposal, B&A (Tysons); Laura Ipsen, president and CEO, Ellucian (Reston); Leigh Palmer, senior vice president of defense, General Dynamics Information Technology (Falls Church area); Szu-Min Yang, senior vice president and chief contracts officer, Peraton (Herndon); and Beth Young, founder, president and CEO, Quality Information Partners (Fairfax). In addition, leaders of companies located in two additional Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance jurisdictions also placed on the list: Kristina Bouweiri, president and CEO, Reston Limousine & Travel Service (Sterling); and Diana C. Mendes, corporate president of infrastructure and mobility equity, HNTB (Arlington).

Tip of the spear: Reston’s SOC Telemed, which went public via a blank-check merger in November and acquired Access Physicians in March, is now laying groundwork for more growth in the acute-care telemedicine space. That includes bringing more services to its hospital customers, further adding to its Greater Washington headcount, moving to a larger space and keeping an eye out for other potential M&A targets. “It’s not just a small tweak; it’s really, truly revolutionizing how you think about health care, because having access to specialists drives tremendously best outcomes,” SOC Telemed CEO John Kalix said of the pandemic’s huge impact on telemedicine adoption. “We want to be the tip of the spear on what helps telemedicine just become medicine.” Washington Business Journal has more in an article for subscribers.

Supporting small businesses: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing to use $353 million of the $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan funds available to the state to help small businesses and industries hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Northam’s plan, Virginia would invest $250 million in the Rebuild VA economic recovery fund, $50 million in Virginia Tourism Corporation initiatives, and $53 million for other small businesses, including the Industrial Revitalization Fund and Virginia Main Street program. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they need additional support to get back on their feet,” Northam said in a statement Monday. “With the American Rescue Plan, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild from the impacts of the pandemic, revitalize our communities, and invest in our shared prosperity.” Find out more in Virginia Business.

AI investment: Tysons-based Booz Allen Hamilton invested in Latent AI, a N.J.-based an early-stage venture spinout of SRI Ventures that offers a suite of software tools that enable adaptive artificial intelligence and machine learning at the edge in support of defense organizations, reported ExecutiveBiz. As one of the largest AI service providers for the federal government, Booz Allen provides artificial intelligence, machine learning and data architecture technologies through its work with the Joint AI Center, Army Futures Command and U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command. “To fully leverage a force that is interconnected and information-advantaged, defense organizations need optimized, scalable AI and data compression at the tactical edge, said Steve Escaravage, senior vice president at Booz Allen. “Booz Allen’s investment in Latent AI will help enable our clients to implement ML models on small form factor chip-sets and into highly sought-after end-user devices, which will increase AI adoption and return on investment.”

Ballistic billions: Falls Church-area based Northrop Grumman won an 18-year, $3.86 billion contract to help the Air Force sustain the ground subsystems of the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system. The AF Nuclear Weapons Center received two offers for the program covering software maintenance, system engineering, test and assessment, modification, procurement and repair services, the Department of Defense said last week, GovConWire reported.

Investigative intel partnership: Galway, Ireland-based analytics software provider Siren has partnered with Tysons-based technology consultancy LMI in a move to establish a presence in the U.S. government market. The partnership seeks to apply the company’s investigative intelligence platform in efforts to help public sector clients address law enforcement challenges and combat fraud, reported ExecutiveBiz. “It is an ideal time for us to work with LMI as the requirement to correlate and analyze multiple datasets to fight fraud and waste, and to enhance criminal or other investigations, becomes more of a pressing need in many U.S. government organizations,” said John Randles, CEO of Siren.

Sea see: Herndon-based HawkEye 360 incorporated a new trawling behavior detection capability to its maritime domain awareness product, reported satnews. The feature is a part of a series of new functionalities to be added within the year that will enable organizations to more comprehensively minimize maritime risk and protect national interests. “In order to police the illegal activities of the vast ocean, the world needs — but does not yet have — timely, consistent, and actionable intelligence on illicit vessel behaviors across the globe,” said HawkEye 360 CEO John Serafini. “HawkEye 360 is proud to launch unparalleled commercial capabilities, made possible by our expanding constellation and analytics portfolio, that allow authorities worldwide to monitor and take action against bad actors involved in IUU [illegal, unreported and unregulated] fishing.”

Grounding-breaking imaging: BlackSky, based in Herndon and Seattle, announced that its geospatial imagery was used in a ground-breaking intelligence study that tracks and monitors activity at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran. BlackSky’s high-revisit satellite imagery enabled researchers at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) to monitor the pattern of life at the Natanz nuclear facility and gain a better understanding of activity and events at the site. BlackSky’s satellites provide high, intraday revisit capabilities, allowing CISAC’s research team to receive multiple images a day, throughout the day, rather than just one image collected at roughly the same time each day. BARRON’S picked up the release.

Done deal: Parsons, based in Centreville, expanded its portfolio of electronic warfare, military information and cyber products following the completion of a $203 million deal to acquire Herndon-based BlackHorse Solutions. BlackHorse brings technologies designed to help defense and intelligence customers integrate electronic warfare, information and cyber operations, GovConWire reported. The acquisition, which was announced in June, also adds new autonomous detection, identification and signal-defeating systems to Parsons’ product portfolio.

CHAMP for kids: Herndon-based Volkswagen of America created a custom telepresence robot named CHAMP in collaboration with Silicon Valley-based robotics company OhmniLabs. The custom robot was developed to expand the reach, visibility, and impact of U.S. Soccer’s existing player honoree program, where eleven children, sourced by Volkswagen, have an opportunity to walk out onto the field with Women’s and Men’s National Team players during the playing of the National Anthem. CHAMP will take the place of a physical player honoree, and with its telepresence technology, allow young soccer fans experiencing hardships or unique circumstances the opportunity to participate virtually, providing mobility and access to special match-day experiences, reported US Soccer.

A mosaic of fashion and food: Bloomingdale’s is setting up shop at the Mosaic District — with a culinary twist. The clothing retailer announced  that it will launch a new concept for a smaller, more tailored store at the Merrifield mixed-use development on Aug. 26. Dubbed “Bloomie’s,” the 22,000 square-foot venue will feature a rotating assortment of fashion brands as well as the first Virginia location of the Colada Shop, a Cuban eatery and cafe chain that started in D.C. in 2016, according to Tysons Reporter.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Serco landed a $70 million contract from the Navy to provide engineering and technical support for aviation intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance electronic systems. ExecutiveGov

Maxar Technologies secured a multi-year $35 million contract for WorldView Legion satellite constellation capacity through an expanded agreement with a key international defense and intelligence customer. ExecutiveGov

Featured business events

July 13 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting A Business in Fairfax County. 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, presents a virtual workshop to provide the fundamentals needed to successfully start a business. In addition, an Entrepreneur Spotlight will feature Emmit McHenry, founder, chairman and CEO of Tysons-based Cycurion, who will discuss his entrepreneurial journey and share valuable tips for business success. Click here to register.

July 14 — BES: Networking Now – The New Rules of Engagement. Sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a hybrid event featuring Randy Jones, wealth management advisor for First Financial Group. Click here to register.

July 15 — Agile Innovation: How ‘Building Momentum’ Unleashes Creativity. The 10-member Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance presents a webinar featuring Brad Halsey, CEO and co-founder, Building Momentum; Capt. Ben Van Buskirk, USN, director, NavalX; and Jerry Sanford, vice president, business development, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP). This session is part of the NOVA EDA’s 10-part Catalyst for Change Series that explores how business leaders use moments of disruption to change the course of their companies to accelerate growth, expand services, meet new needs and re-design the way toward a brighter future. Click here to register.

July 16 — Let’s TalkTech. The Northern Virginia Technology Council and KPMG present a webinar featuring Sean Hand, director of business development, KPMG and creator, The Awkward Networker. Attend this episode of Let’s TalkTech with NVTC and learn tips and tricks from an expert to avoid networking awkwardness. Click here to register.

Sept. 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. An early bird discount ends July 15.

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.