Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for June 1, 2021: Alpine X plans 20+ resorts, TSA HQ open in Springfield

It’s all downhill from here: Alpine-X, the McLean-based indoor snow sports company that is planning an indoor ski slope in Lorton, announced its vision for building indoor snow-sports destinations across the United States and North America. The company said it plans to build similar facilities in more than 20 other markets, offering skiing, snowboarding and other snowy activities throughout the year. “Today, there are an estimated 9.2 million active skiers and snowboarders here in the U.S., a market that would be much larger if the sport were more accessible,” commented John Emery, CEO of Alpine-X. The company has been coordinating with Fairfax County on the proposed flagship location that it calls Fairfax Peak, a $250 million indoor ski resort that would be built on parts of the I-95 Landfill Complex in Lorton. Fairfax Peak would include a hotel, a gravity-powered mountain coaster, zip lines and food and beverage outlets. Virginia Business slalomed in with the story and Forbes.com picked up a company release.

Securing cyber talent in NOVA: Security Magazine has an op-ed piece from FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins about the steps that Northern Virginia is taking to solve the cybersecurity workforce shortage. Efforts are focused around the workinnorthernvirginia.com website — which includes job postings and lots of information about Northern Virginia as a great place to live, work and play — and on virtual career fairs that link employers with a large and diverse talent pool. For example,  the FCEDA and the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance hosted a Cyber & Cloud Virtual Career Fair in January. Participating employers ranged from small firms to Fortune 500 giants, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and included minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned companies. The virtual career fair resulted in more than 2,500 completed chats with almost 100 recruiters from 28 companies and more than 700 job seekers who participated. Check out the FCEDA’s talent website at workinnorthernvirginia.com.

And speaking of virtual career fairs: Victor Hoskins was quoted in Forbes about job-searching advice for new college graduates during the pandemic. Hoskins advised jobseekers to attend career fairs that are applicable to the industry they want to be in, including ones that are taking place online. “Virtual career fairs have become increasingly popular during COVID-19 as a way for jobseekers to connect with hiring companies from the comfort of their own homes,” Hoskins said. Because these types of events allow participants to engage directly with multiple HR reps in a short period of time, they can make the job search much more efficient.

Securing Springfield’s economy: The Transportation Security Administration’s new Springfield headquarters has been open for months, but many workers are just seeing it for the first time. The 625,000-square-foot headquarters was ready for occupants in August — the TSA started out at a 25 percent occupancy cap based on COVID-19 guidance from the Department of Homeland Security, the Washington Business Journal reported. With the new headquarters, the TSA is consolidating 3,400 employees largely based in Pentagon City into a single building, having potentially a huge impact on the Springfield economy, including the nearby Springfield Town Center.

Round close: McLean-based Verituity, a verified digital-payments platform that connects banks, payers and payees to first-time and on-time digital-payout experiences, closed a $10 million Series A funding. The round was co-led by ForgePoint Capital and Ardent Venture Partners. The company intends to use the funds to expand its go to market efforts and enhance its cloud-based verified digital payout platform, according to FinSMEs.

Energy game-changer: Nacero, based in Houston, awarded Reston-based Bechtel an engineering and design contract for the first natural gas-to-gasoline manufacturing facility in the United States. Nacero’s 115,000 barrel per day plant in Penwell, Texas, will be the first gasoline manufacturing plant in the world to incorporate carbon capture, carbon sequestration, and 100 percent renewable power, according to Chemical Engineering. “We are delighted by this opportunity to support Nacero’s pioneering approach to delivering lower carbon fuel with our record of large-scale project success,” said Paul Marsden, president of Bechtel Energy. “This project is truly a game-changer. It will give every day American drivers a chance to participate in the energy transition and will be a model for the kind of environmental improvement America is looking to bring about.”

Northern exposure: U.K.-based OneWeb, which has its North American headquarters in Tysons, successfully launched its latest batch of satellites May 28, enlarging OneWeb’s fleet to 218 satellites. Just one more launch of 36 satellites — slated for June — is needed for it to meet an interim goal of expanding coverage north of 50 degrees latitude. It would enable it to start offering services in the U.K, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Canada and the Arctic seas later this year. “We’re thrilled that our latest batch of satellites is now bound for orbit,” said Chris McLaughlin, OneWeb’s chief of government, regulatory affairs and engagement. SpaceNews has more.

Towering tenants: The new Boro Tower in Tysons is filling up. The Williams Mullen law firm signed a 14,950-square-foot lease at the 440,000-square-foot office tower co-developed by The Meridian Group and Rockefeller Group. The law firm is relocating from a nearby office building and will occupy part of the 16th floor starting in September. Additionally, Hanwha Defense International, a defense solutions company headquartered in South Korea, will lease 2,768 square feet in the building starting in June. Hanwha is relocating its office from Crystal City, and will occupy part of the building’s 18th floor, according to Commercial Observer.

National security spectrum support: Tysons-based Lewis-Price & Associates, a provider of training, program management and technology services to federal agencies, said it formed a joint venture with North Carolina-based intelligence training and consulting company Grey Cell. Through the move, the two companies, which previously have partnered, will further expand training program support to customers across the national security spectrum. Potomac Tech Wire picked up a release.

Health-tech acquisition: Columbia, Md.-based government contractor GCOM Software acquired Reston-based Qlarion, a data analytics and business intelligence contractor. Qlarion designed the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation, a cross-agency, cloud-based data-sharing platform that launched in 2019 to help communities in Virginia combat opioid addiction. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, according to Qlarion, Virginia began using the framework to get insights like which hospitals needed supplies and pharmaceuticals, which hospitals had beds and ventilators available and locations with the largest number of COVID-19 cases. Qlarion’s existing management team will continue to lead the Reston office, reported Virginia Business.

Brick by brick: Tysons-based Booz Allen Hamilton is partnering with San Francisco-based Databricks to drive business value by unifying data and artificial intelligence (AI) to meet federal agencies’ data challenges and advance their missions. “Combining Booz Allen’s deep technical expertise and mission knowledge with Databricks’ rich Lakehouse Platform will deliver truly powerful AI insights aBnd outcomes for defense, federal civilian and intelligence agencies as they face the most urgent national data challenges,” commented John Larson, senior vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton. ExecutiveGov has more.

Closing time: Reston government services company Maximus closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Houston’s Veterans Evaluation Services. The acquisition gives Maximus access to a robust business tied to the Department of Veterans Affairs that conducts medical disability examinations for veterans, Virginia Business reported.

Three’s a charm: The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to strengthening the Coast Guard community and service by supporting members and families, announced that Reston-based Leidos, has offered to triple-match every gift received by Saturday, June 5, 2021 – up to $50,000. “Leidos’ generous triple-match-offer will make a critical difference to Coast Guard men and women and their families,” said Susan Ludwig, president of the Coast Guard Foundation. Homeland Security Today reported the announcement.

Rest in peace: Real estate developer Milton V. Peterson, founder and chairman of the Fairfax-based Peterson Cos., died May 26 at his Fairfax County home at the age of 85. Under his leadership, Peterson Cos. developed some of the most successful and award-winning mixed-use retail, residential and office developments in Northern Virginia including Burke Centre, Fair Lakes and Fairfax Corner in Fairfax County. Peterson chaired the FCEDA Commission in the 1970s. Virginia Business has more on Peterson’s life and pivotal role in Fairfax County’s commercial and residential development.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

GDIT won a five-year, $219 million contract to support the contact center for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that offers front-line support for people inquiring about immigration case status and related issues. Virginia Business

Alion Science and Technology received an $87 million contract from the Navy to provide technical analysis for Naval Sea Systems Command Deputy Commander for Surface Warfare. Naval Technology

General Dynamics Missions Systems secured a five-year, $79.2 million contract from the Navy for services in support of the Independence-class littoral combat ship. GovConWire

Alpha Omega Integration won a $63 million contract from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to manage information technology systems for processing global environmental satellite data. GovConWire

Leidos secured a $34.3 million contract from the Army for research, development, test and evaluation support to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance weapon systems. Defence Blog

Featured business events

June 10 — Creating an Autonomous Vehicle Ecosystem in Virginia. The FCEDA, in partnership with the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives, presents a virtual event will address where we are today and what we need to do to make the dream of a network of fully autonomous vehicles a reality in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Hear from experts in the private and public sectors in two panel discussions: “Sensing, Perception and the Connected Corridor” and “On-Demand Services for First- and Last-Mile Connections.” This event will also feature a case study on the Relay shuttle operating between the Dunn Loring Metro Station and Mosaic District. Click here to register.

June 10-11 and 14-16 — Wharton DC Innovation Summit. With the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority as the prime sponsor, the Wharton Club of DC is presenting the “2021 Wharton DC Innovation Summit: Innovation Leadership in a Post-Pandemic World” using a virtual format. The summit will explore the impact of these key shifts including how innovators and entrepreneurs are positioning to take advantage of them, how they are getting private and public funding, and what new attributes are required for successful post-pandemic innovation leadership. Click here to register.

June 17 — Parallel Summit: The Institutional Case for Digital Assets. The Chamber of Digital Commerce presents a webinar event sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority featuring Michael Saylor, chairman, president and CEO of Tysons-based MicroStrategy, as the headline presenter. Click here to register. Once registered on the ParallelSummit.io community site, be sure to RSVP using the link on the homepage. If already registered, please use your existing credentials to log in and RSVP using the link.

June 24 — Finding Success in Mentor-Protégé Teaming Agreements. The George Mason University Center for Government Contracting, part of the School of Business, presents a webinar focusing on how government and business are approaching an evolving procurement environment. The webinar will include virtual networking. Click here to register. This webinar is the third and final part of the New Directions in Federal Spending & Contracting series sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

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.