Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for March 9, 2021: UVA medical campus at Inova, Custom Ink, Vibrent-Mason-EVMS survey

Regional prescription: Inova Health System and the University of Virginia have started running a regional medical school in Northern Virginia, creating a new talent pool for the Merrifield nonprofit and deepening the Charlottesville institution’s presence in the Washington area. The Washington Business Journal reports that the UVA Inova Campus opened last week with its first class of 36 third-year medical students. The local program mirrors that of the school’s main campus to offer “a collaborative, real-life curriculum,” said Dr. Craig Cheifetz, regional dean for the Northern Virginia campus. “The students are getting a chance to see the diversity of patients that Inova treats.” The health system’s flagship teaching hospital, the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, hosts the majority of the program’s clinical training, and the Claude Moore Health Education and Research Center on that property houses medical staff offices, classrooms, a simulation center and research space. The students may also work across Inova’s other hospitals and outpatient facilities, as well as with researchers within the system, Cheifetz said.

Custom Ink’s pivot, unmasked: Custom Ink, a Merrifield-based t-shirt maker, saved its business last year with an early pivot, notes the Washington Post. When the coronavirus crisis hit in March 2020 the company’s t-shirt sales slid 80 percent within days. Custom Ink subsequently furloughed around 75 percent of its 1,700 employees. Custom Ink then shifted its focus, turning its t-shirt supply chain into a national distribution system for cloth masks. The production pivot helped bridge the financial gap from the shutdown-related collapse in March to the gradual return of the core business over the spring and summer. Mask revenue helped the company bring back 1,600 employees in August.  The company finished 2020 only slightly behind its original sales goals. “It’s not as much as we otherwise would have made, but we turned a profit,” said Marc Katz, Custom Ink’s founder and chief executive. “We were very determined to see the company through this, and we ultimately did.”

Virginians wanted: COVIDsmart, a digital health study designed to examine the many impacts of COVID-19 on Virginians and their communities, launched on March 1. The initiative is sponsored by EVMS-Sentara Healthcare Analytics and Delivery Science Institute, George Mason University, and Fairfax-based health technology company Vibrent Health, which are leading the initiative to gather information to help participants, researchers and public health entities better understand and address the impacts of the pandemic and future health crises. The study welcomes participants from all walks of life across Virginia to share information on how the pandemic has impacted their lives, even if they have not had COVID-19. Vibrent Health provided a secure platform for the study. COVIDsmart’s anonymized results will be sent to researchers and public health policy officials to help them identify at-risk communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, reported Mason News and InsideNoVa. To learn more about COVIDsmart, visit the study website.

Essential offices: Commercial office development will be essential to future economic recovery efforts in Tysons and Fairfax County, a new study says. Released by the Tysons Partnership, an economic report and market study developed by the consulting firms HR&A Advisors, Toole Design, and Wells & Associates argues that Tysons will need at least 1.9 million square feet of new office space over the next 10 years — despite predictions that the COVID-19 pandemic could permanently alter white-collar workplaces. “In early 2021, we remain in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, with fallout still being measured,” the report says. “However, office investments to date are seeing a strong performance return and will certainly play a key role in County and regional pandemic economic recovery efforts.” Tysons Reporter has more.

Right-e-o, Tyto: Herndon-based systems integrator Tyto Athene will acquire Tysons-based AT&T Government Solutions, a part of AT&T Communications, which includes AT&T’s Department of Defense IT professional services business and other contracts. Tyto Athene was founded in August 2018 when Arlington Capital Partners acquired the government solutions division of Black Box Corp. In 2019 Tyto Athene acquired Island Information Technology consultants, which provides communications services to the intelligence community. The combined company will employ about 1,200 people and have 18 offices worldwide, Virginia Business reported.

Getting into the zone: Tysons-based government contractor The Ambit Group and Arlington-based IT company GreenZone Solutions have merged. The combined company will operate under the Ambit brand. Founded in 2004, Ambit provides mission-driven services for government customers, while GreenZone specializes in data management, operations, science and analytics. “The demand for transformative IT services in the federal government has never been greater, and we believe the combination of Ambit and GreenZone will offer their customers a wider array of IT solutions,” AEI partner Kirk Konert said. Virginia Business has more.

Reaching for the realm: Tysons-based systems integrator Criterion Systems acquired Reston-based software company Realm Consulting. Realm will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Criterion. Founded in 2005, Criterion provides cybersecurity, cloud/data center management, IT infrastructure operations and systems engineering services to the federal government. Realm provides software and technology to intelligence agencies, according to Intelligence Community News.

A ka-LEIDOS-cope of good news: Reston-based Leidos entered 2021 fueled by big contracts and acquisitions. The Fortune 500 company, which doubled in size after its 2016 acquisition of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions business segment, continued that trend of growth with its $1.65 billion acquisition of Dynetics in January 2020. Just days later, Leidos announced it would acquire the security detection and automation businesses of L3Harris Technologies for $1 billion. And the company won a $1 billion, 15-year flight services contract from the FAA in December 2019. On top of all that Leidos was prepping for a March 2020 move into its new, 276,000 square-foot, 17-story headquarters building at Reston Town Center. And capping off the good news, Leidos reported that its fiscal 2019 earnings of $11.9 billion were up 8.8 percent from the previous year. Find out more in a profile of the company in Virginia Business.

Peraton’s future: Herndon-based Peraton President, CEO and Chairman Stu Shea discussed the hurdles and opportunities ahead for the company in an interview with the Washington Business Journal’s editor-in-chief Vandana Sinha. During the interview Shea talked about Peraton’s mergers and acquisitions, real estate plans following COVID-19, the effect that the Biden administration may have on its business, and diversity and inclusion in the company’s workforce.

Adding to the team: TeamViewer, a German workforce technology developer, acquired Tysons-based augmented reality software developer Upskill. Founded in 2010, Upskill provides technology that uses smart glasses and handheld devices to help manufacturing, inspection and auditing workers. TeamViewer has more than 550,000 subscribers for its remote connectivity platform, Virginia Business reported.

Diversity in the boardroom: Tysons-based Capital One appointed executives from Facebook and Nike to its board of directors, the company said. In May, shareholders will vote on the election of Ime Archibong, head of new product experimentation at Facebook, and Craig Williams, president of Jordan Brand at Nike. Archibong and Williams add two Black men to Capital One’s board at a time when corporations face increased pressure to add more diversity to their boards. According to a 2020 analysis from the Institutional Shareholder Services, just 12.5 percent of board directors at the 3,000 largest public companies in the U.S. come from underrepresented ethnic and racial groups. Washington Business Journal has more in an article for subscribers.

Defending networks: Tysons-based MITRE unveiled its new Ransomware Resource Center, offering an array of tools and strategies for IT and information security professionals to better guard against the growing epidemic of costly malware. The goal is to convene a variety of resources in a single accessible and intuitive location, say MITRE officials, and to help “network defenders, IT administrators and business managers better prepare for, respond to, and recover from ransomware attacks,” Healthcare IT News reported.

Preserving stories of service: Tysons-based PenFed Credit Union and the Military Women’s Memorial in Arlington launched a partnership to encourage military women and their families to preserve their experiences and submit their stories to the Military Women’s Memorial national registry. The campaign content produced by PenFed Digital features women veterans from all branches of service, highlighting their stories of bravery, resilience and service. The Register at the Military Women’s Memorial is a one-of-a-kind interactive database that records and preserves the names, service information, photographs and memorable experiences of each registered servicewoman, reported InsideNoVa.

Hot off the press: Check out the latest edition of FCEDA’s Fairfax Leader, a quarterly publication about the Fairfax County EDA’s activities and impact. This first edition of the year includes a top-10 list of how the FCEDA pivoted operations in 2020 to support businesses harmed by the pandemic, launched a regional talent initiative, and upped its collaboration with Fairfax County and regional partners. We also spotlight two county businesses, Leidos and Hexaware.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Parsons Corporation received a six-year, $100 million contract from the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific for support of Command, Control, Communications, Computers & Intelligence and network-centric warfare. citybizlist

Ensco won a 20-year, $570.9 million contract from the Department of Transportation to help the Federal Railroad Administration operate and maintain a facility for rail system research, development, testing and training. Virginia Business

General Dynamics Mission Systems secured an eight-year, $99 million contract to supply new transceivers to the Federal Aviation Administration for emergency ground-to-air radio communications. GovConWire

Northrop Grumman received a $84.5 million contract to provide propulsion technologies and technical assistance at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to support Mars exploration and sample return missions. GovConWire

Maxar Technologies obtained a $48.3 million contract to help the Army gather, analyze and apply geospatial intelligence. ExecutiveBiz

Morcom International won a $153,000 contract from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to develop maritime object tracking technology. Homeland Preparedness News

Featured business events

March 11 — Actionable Knowledge: How Blank Slate Keeps Companies Improving. The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance presents the next webinar in its Catalyst for Change webinar series featuring panelists: Alex Hasslacher, director, business development, Blank Slate Technologies; Telly Tucker, director, Arlington Economic Development; and Nigel Paine, author and change leader. Click here to register.

March 17 — Fintech and Cybersecurity, Opportunities for Israeli Companies in Northern Virginia. Presented by the FCEDA, in partnership with KPMG Israel and Israel Advanced Technology Industries, this virtual event will examine potential business opportunities and go-to-market partnerships for Israeli fintech and cybersecurity companies in Northern Virginia’s financial services and cybersecurity sectors. Click here to register.

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.

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.