Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for March 23, 2021: Google expands, data center domination, ID.me investment

Google search becomes NOVA expansion: Google plans to lease an additional floor of space at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza, where it is already leasing the top floor of the 16-story building. The new office, which brings Google’s total footprint to 115,000 square feet at Reston Station, is expected to open sometime this year, Reston Now reported. Google also announced that it will invest $600 million in expanding its data center footprint in Loudoun County. Loudoun Now has more on the data-center expansion. The projects are part of Google’s plans to invest more across the nation. “I believe a lasting economic recovery will come from local communities, and the people and small businesses that give them life. Google wants to be a part of that recovery. That’s why we plan to invest over $7 billion in offices and data centers across the U.S. and create at least 10,000 new full-time Google jobs in the U.S. this year,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and parent company Alphabet.

Data center domination: Northern Virginia is by far the top market for data centers in North America, WTOP notes based on a report from real estate firm CBRE. Of all the data center capacity added in the top seven data-center markets in 2020, Northern Virginia accounted for almost two-thirds of it: our region had 217.2 megawatts of net data center absorption, more than five times that of No. 2 Toronto. Northern Virginia also accounts for 61 percent of the total construction pipeline of new data centers in North America. “Notwithstanding the uncertainty experienced through the pandemic, the Northern Virginia data center market continued to grow at a rapid pace, with little-to-no delays in delivery timelines,” said CBRE senior associate Josh Greenberg.

A unicorn in Tysons: ID.me, a Tysons company that helps customers manage and verify their online identities, announced that it has raised $100 million in new funding, bringing the company’s valuation to $1.5 billion. With the new funding vaulting it past $1 billion in valuation, the company has now obtained “unicorn” status, technical.ly reported. In its announcement, ID.me said it plans to use the new funds to continue with its hiring and expand its customer base, the Washington Business Journal reported. Founded in 2010, the company said that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated a shift online for critical services, which requires more identity management and verification to help deter fraud. Blake Hall, ID.me’s CEO told Forbes that the company has thwarted 1.2 million fraudulent claims so far as users depend on online portals for unemployment benefits. “We are determined to use this new capital for good so we can help people who need it,” he said, “while protecting our country from those who would do harm to us.”

No honking needed: The Washington region no longer is among the 10 most traffic-congested places in the nation, says the 2020 Global Traffic Scorecard released by traffic analytics firm Inrix. Government restrictions resulting from the pandemic — along with continued shifts in travel and telecommuting — abated major bottlenecks in cities across the country last year. The Washington region saw the largest decline in the nation. Traffic delays in Washington decreased 77 percent, most of any major metro area in the United States, reported the Washington Post in an article for subscribers.

Minding the GAP: AtWork Systems, a Herndon-based developer of back office technology for small government contractors, received an investment from the Center for Innovative Technology’s GAP Funds. “We have seen the headaches that owners face when growing their businesses,” said Ron Lewis, founder and CEO of AtWork Systems. “AtWork Systems created this platform to deliver mobile apps, workforce flexibility, and highly accessible business intelligence to every business owner.” Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Reaching for new heights: AFWERX, an Air Force program focused on expanding technology, talent, and transition partnerships for rapid and affordable commercial and military capability, will establish a subordinate organization called SpaceWERX in the next several months, Space News reported. A new program called Space Prime will be launched to help accelerate the commercialization of promising technologies. Space Prime is being modeled after Agility Prime, a project AFWERX sponsored in 2020 to advance the market for electric-powered drones that take off and land vertically. Through Agility Prime, AFWERX awarded nearly $40 million to six companies to develop prototypes. AFWERX’s director, Col. Nathan Diller, USAF, recently delivered the keynote presentation, titled “AFWERX: The US Air Force Program for Service Innovation” at a FCEDA conference focused on Air & Space Innovation. Click here to see the event video.

Keeping the wings aloft: Serco Group, which is based in the U.K. and has its Northern American headquarters in Herndon, won a 20-year, $1.2 billion contract by a subsidiary from the Canadian Department of National Defence to provide critical site support services at the 5 Wing Canadian Forces Base. The primary military mission of 5 Wing is to support North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) operations. Its secondary mission is to provide military training to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). “We’ve been serving Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces at 5 Wing for over 20 years and it is a great source of pride for the Company,” said Tom Wheeler, Serco Canada’s Site Manager at 5 Wing. ExecutiveBiz has more.

Knife work if you can get it: General Dynamics Mission Systems, based in Fairfax, handed over the Navy’s first Knifefish unmanned underwater vehicle for surface mine-countermeasure operations as part of a $44.6 million contract modification awarded in 2019. The Knifefish medium-class mine countermeasure platform can launch from a littoral combat ship to function as an off-board sensor across minefields. According to General Dynamics, the modification covers the delivery of five Knifefish systems to the Navy, reported ExecutiveBiz.

Growth spurt: Two Fairfax County-based companies landed in the top 10 of Inc.’s list of “The Top 250 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the Washington, D.C., Metro Area,” which includes Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Delaware. Black Bear Technology Solutions, an IT management firm located in Springfield, ranked at no. 7 on the list, with a growth rate of 1,055 percent over the past three years. Kreative Technologies, a government services firm based in Fairfax, which ranked at no. 10 the region, with a growth rate of 733 percent. Click here to check out the full list.

Going public: Greenbrook TMS, the Tysons mental health company that first went public two years ago in Canada, is now trading in the U.S. markets. “We believe that the Nasdaq listing will provide significant benefits, including increased visibility of the company amongst investors, increased access to capital and potential for greater liquidity,” said Greenbrook President and CEO Bill Leonard. The Washington Business Journal provided the update.

Contracts collaboration: Dewberry, based in Merrifield, will collaborate with civil engineering and mapping company Lowe Engineers, based in Atlanta, through a mentor-protege relationship under a program run by the Small Business Administration. Dewberry said it will guide Atlanta-based Lowe Engineers, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, across several functions to help it to compete for government contracts. Through the SBA Mentor-Protege Program, smaller vendors get the opportunity to receive business development guidance from experienced federal contractors in areas such as strategic planning, market opportunity search and contract bidding, reported ExecutiveBiz.

Rounding up robots: Herndon-based national security contractor Peraton announced that it  acquired Oak Ridge, Tenn.-based Remotec through its $3.4 billion cash purchase of Northrop Grumman’s integrated mission support and IT solutions business in February. The operation is now branded as Peraton Remotec. Peraton also announced the launch of the Andros Spartan Unmanned Ground Vehicle System, its new robot that can handle possibly hazardous materials, such as bombs, for military and law enforcement clients, Virginia Business reported.

Cyber connection: Tysons-based QOMPLX, a cloud-native risk-analytics firm, completed the acquisition of Charlotte, N.C.-headquartered Hyperion Gray, an information-security firm. Hyperion Gray’s team of software engineers, data scientists, and offensive security experts joined the QOMPLX team as key members of the company’s cybersecurity and analytics teams. Citybizlist has more.

Getting the goal: Boston-based IT staffing firm Motion Recruitment Partners acquired Reston-based The Goal, a provider of technology consulting services to the federal government. MRP said the acquisition will help it grow its IT managed services consulting practice within the federal government, with The Goal continuing to operate under its current brand and with its current leadership. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the blog announcement.

Getting back to the office: Tysons-based American Real Estate Partners (AREP), which owns properties that include Highline at Greensboro District in Tysons, is getting its buildings ready to welcome tenants back to their offices. AREP says it has undertaken an unprecedented rapid response to have its entire portfolio, sized at more than 10 million square feet, verified for meeting standards for indoor health and wellness by UL, a leader in safety certification services. “We’re working with each of our tenants to help them develop plans that work best for their organizations and comfort level, and that facilitate the collaboration and connection they seek,” said Paul Schulman, American Real Estate Partners’ principal and chief operating officer, in an interview with Commercial Observer.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

AB International Services won a $177.6 million contract from the Air Force to help operate the service branch’s calibration and metrology laboratory complex in Heath, Ohio. GovConWire

Tyto Athene received a $34.6 million contract from the Navy to engineer, install and maintain electronic systems, equipment and associated infrastructure for the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command. ExecutiveBiz

Featured business events

March 24 — Are You Dating Your Customer? The Art of Wooing Your Customer. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Nona Phinn, who has more than 15 years of hands-on experience in all aspects of marketing. The session is part of the chamber’s Business Education Series. Click here to register.

March 25 — United Airlines Update. The Committee for Dulles in hosting an online forum featuring United Airlines’ Lauren Riley, Managing Director, Global Environmental Affairs and Sustainability; Eddie Gordon, Managing Director, Dulles Hub; and Evan Koppel, Director, Sales – Atlantic Region. The topics of discussion will include the importance of Dulles as a United hub and its future plans with the airport, United’s “Sustainable” program, and the “CleanPlus” program that ensures health and safety during flights. Click here to register.

April 1– How Diversity Makes Businesses Stronger. The NOVA Economic Development Alliance presents the next webinar in its Catalyst for Change, How Companies Turn Disruption into Success webinar series featuring Towanna Burroughs, Ph.D., president, CoachDiversity Institute; Alfranda “Al” Durr, CEO & president, ALD & Associates; and Sheila Dixon, Executive Director, Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce. Click here to register.

May 20 — Young Professionals Virtual Career Fair. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority presents a free virtual career fair for young professionals or recent (or soon-to-be) college graduates looking to launch their career at leading companies. 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 measures to contain COVID-19

Starting Monday, March 1, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam amended Executive Order 72 with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.

The key changes include:

  • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 25 people for outdoor settings, while remaining at 10 persons for indoor settings.
  • Entertainment venues: Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate with up to 1,000 individuals or at 30 percent capacity, whichever is lower. If current trends continue, these venues may be able to operate at 30 percent capacity with no cap on the number of people permitted to attend starting in April. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. All entertainment venues were previously limited to a maximum of 250 individuals.
  • Dining establishments: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol will be permitted until midnight, extended from 10:00 p.m. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms still must be closed between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
  • Overnight summer camps: As of May 1, overnight summer camps will be able to open with strict mitigation measures in place. Registration can begin now.

The new guidelines will be effective for at least one month and mitigation measures may be eased further if key health metrics continue to improve. Current guidelines for retail businesses, fitness and exercise, large amusement venues, and personal grooming services will remain in place. Individuals are strongly encouraged to continue teleworking if possible.

For more information, please click here.