Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for Oct. 27, 2020

Housing boom: Northern Virginia home sales posted “astronomical” numbers in September, InsideNoVa reports based on sales data from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors and Bright MLS. NVAR charted a 37 percent increase in home sales last month compared to September 2019. Nearly $1.5 billion in residential sales volume for September represented a 58 percent year-over-year increase. The September activity was a continuation of the strengthening market that suburban Northern Virginia has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Northern Virginia real estate sales drooped at the beginning of the pandemic, but roared back beginning in August to result in a 25 percent increase in sales from April through September 2020 compared to the same six-month period in 2019. In Fairfax County the increase between April and September was 23.8 percent over the same period in 2019.

Swimming with the Sharks: Lorton-based entrepreneur Nahum Jeannot, who is founder and COO — “Chief Oatmeal Officer” — of GoOats, a healthy oats-based snack food business, dived right in on ABC’s Shark Tank on October 23rd to see if he could get an investment in the company. Jeannot, who had been working as a chef at the Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner before the pandemic, pitched the product to the Sharks and got a bite from Barbara Corcoran. During the show Jeannot explained that he started the company in 2017 and has been selling the product to Whole Foods and online. See the episode here.

Fighting cancer together: Tysons-based MITRE partnered with Syntropy, a Boston-based technology company specializing in healthcare data integration and collaboration solutions, which will provide data integration support for the mCODE (minimal Common Oncology Data Elements) data standard. The partnership seeks to improve the overall quality and consistency of cancer data available to clinicians, patients, researchers, and other stakeholders in the fight against cancer. Dr. Jay Schnitzer, MITRE’s chief medical and technology officer, said, “With less than 6 percent of cancer patients participating in clinical trials and the majority of information collected by EHR systems incompatible, high-quality data for cancer research is severely lacking. By outlining common, foundational data elements, the promise of mCODE is to accelerate interoperable data exchange and enable critical care- and research-based decisions — a vision that Syntropy shares.” BioSpace carried the release.

Telework is here to stay (at least for feds): At federal agencies, remote work may be here to stay, according to the results of an independent survey of hundreds of C-level federal government executives by Reston-headquartered Science Applications International Corp. The federal government has offered some telework options for agency employees for many years, but not on the scale that it has during the pandemic. The survey results indicated that 84 percent of respondents reported they are more or equally as productive since shifting to remote work, with 82 percent stating that they expect remote work to continue into the future. The survey found that 41 percent of respondents expect to telework an average three days a week after the pandemic, and 41 percent expect to telework four or five days a week. WTOP has more.

CENTRA to this company’s growth: A subsidiary of Tysons-based PAE entered into an agreement to acquire CENTRA Technology, which maintains an office in Arlington County and which provides high-end intelligence support, information analytics, engineering services and other advanced technology solutions, for about $208 million. “This exciting opportunity builds on our intelligence analysis capabilities while increasing customer access, accelerating growth and enhancing shareholder value,” said PAE president and CEO John Heller, according to a release picked up by citybizlist.

On your eGuard: Tysons-based information technology company Ntiva acquired Washington, D.C.-based eGuard Technology Services. The acquisition of eGuard expands Ntiva’s footprint into the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore markets and increases the company’s client base to more than 1,400 organizations across the U.S. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, according to Virginia Business.

Collecting more rocks: Tysons venture firm Lavrock Ventures is raising a new $75 million fund, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The fund would be the firm’s second. It raised a $25 million fund in 2016. That fund has invested in 11 companies, including risk management and data collection firm Sayari, based in Washington, D.C., and hyperlocal market data research firm Native, which maintains an office in Washington, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Going Global: Expereo, a Netherlands-based provider of managed-network services with U.S. headquarters in Reston, said it acquired Netherlands-based Globalinternet, a supplier of managed Internet access services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Expereo, which focuses on Internet and cloud access products, said the acquisition bolsters its growth trajectory following its deal for connectivity intelligence platform Comsave earlier this year. “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation processes where enterprises are revisiting their networking strategies,” said CEO Irwin Fouwels. “Having (the companies’) capabilities combined allows us to support both enterprise customers and managed service provider partners efficiently.” Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Squaring it up: Tysons-based telecommunications, internet and cloud services provider GTT Communications  signed an agreement to sell its infrastructure business to I Squared Capital, a Miami-based infrastructure investment company, for $2.15 billion. The division that I Squared Capital is acquiring includes GTT’s Pan-European and North American sub-sea and trans-Atlantic fiber network and data center infrastructure. It is the first sale for GTT after its own string of recent acquisitions, including fiber-optic networks, subset cables and data centers. The I Squared acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2021, according to WTOP.

Clean-tech investment: Herndon-based Center for Innovative Technology said its early-stage investment fund, CIT GAP Funds, took part in leading a $3 million seed round in Bristol, Va.-based Micronic Technologies, a developer of sustainable water-purification technology. CIT GAP Funds, which has been named as Virginia’s most active investor by CB Insights for the past six years, focuses on investing in tech, life science and clean-tech startups, according to Technical.ly DC.

Senior housing redevelopment: Hundreds of low-income seniors living in a 50-year-old property in Reston will soon have a new building to call home. Reston-based Fellowship Square Foundation and  Enterprise Community Development, based in Columbia, Md. celebrated the groundbreaking of the Lake Anne Fellowship House redevelopment in Reston, an $86 million project.  The team is constructing a new 240-unit building on the site of the 1970s-era Lake Anne House senior living community. The project allows the seniors to stay on the property until the new building opens in summer 2022, and then the old building will be demolished to make way for townhouses, Bisnow reported.

Encouraging cooperation: As the pandemic continues, the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce is exploring different methods – from holding safety-conscious gatherings to encouraging intra-industry support – to help member companies survive. The chamber is focusing on “business verticals” that encourage companies in complementary industries to purchase services from each other, said Andrew Clark, the chamber’s new board chairman. “Let’s pause on the competition and come together,” Clark said during a virtual Oct. 14 town-hall meeting, InsideNoVa reported.

Patriotic deal: In a sale that’s likely to be one of the area’s biggest office building trades in 2020, an affiliate of Boyd Watterson Asset Management has paid $325 million for Patriots Park, a Reston office park leased to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, adding to a growing portfolio of properties it owns in the D.C. region. The asset management firm acquired the roughly 705,000-square-foot campus from an affiliate of South Korea’s Hyundai Group on Sept. 25, according to Fairfax County land records, reported the Washington Business Journal.

Online leader: Fairfax-based George Mason University is ranked no. 3 nationally among public institutions and no. 7 overall for its online master’s programs, according to a new survey by OnlineU: 2021 Best Online Colleges & Degrees. “We are proud at Mason of the work we are doing through online programs that provides our students the opportunity to advance their education and achieve their goals—we are proud that it provides access to excellence, which is a primary university value,” said Mason Provost Mark Ginsberg. “Our online graduate programs, which are highly rated, respected and affordable, also are highly valued by our faculty and students,” reported Mason News.

Bringing home the gold: We are proud to announce that the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest organization for economic development organizations and professionals, honored the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority with a 2020 Excellence in Economic Development Gold Award in digital media for communities with more than 500,000 residents. The FCEDA received the award – the sixth IEDC award it has won and the first Gold Award since 2012 – for the May 28 “Operation Retain Gen Z-Recent Grad Virtual Career Fair.” The Fairfax Times included the award notice in its “People and Places” news-brief column. Find out about more upcoming virtual career fairs at www.workinnorthernvirginia.com.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

General Dynamics’ information technology business secured a $761.6 million contract to update and secure information technology infrastructure that supports the U.S. Southern Command mission. GovConWire

L3Harris Technologies and Elbit Systems‘ U.S. subsidiary won a $442 million contract from the Army to manufacture binocular night-vision devices. GovConWire

ManTech International booked a four-year, $260 million contract to help the Navy update mission systems of the branch’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. Virginia Business

Leidos scored a five-year, $149.2 million contract to provide the Navy supplies and services necessary for technical support center operations. GovConWire

AceInfo Solutions won a five-year, $135 million contract from the Federal Emergency Management Agency National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to support its system that houses NFIP’s core business processes, including insurance policy validation, claims and data. citybizlist

Featured business events

October 28 — Korean-U.S. Cybersecurity Virtual Forum: Focus on Northern Virginia. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority presents a virtual forum that provides the opportunity for Korean cybersecurity companies to obtain contacts and strategies to identify local prospects for partnerships companies in Northern Virginia. Additionally, U.S.-based cybersecurity companies will have the opportunity to reach out to prospects in Korea. Click here to register.

October 28 –Business Education Series: How to Navigate Teleworking… From the Experts! The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Robin Mack, CEO of Mack Global, and telework consultant for the Telework!VA program. Click here to register.

October 29 — COVID-19 Pro Bono Legal Services Collaborative. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority webinar is spotlighting valuable free legal or financial services being provided to small businesses affected by the downturn created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCEDA is partnering with Start Small Think Big, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to grow their businesses, and the Fairfax Law Foundation and its Pro Bono Law Center. Click here to register.

October 29— Berlin Meets USA: Conquering the American Market with Smart-City Solutions. SIBB Digital Business Association Berlin-Brandenburg presents an interactive panel discussion followed by virtual business networking focused on business opportunities within the German-American smart cities sector. Click here to register.

November 4-6 — TiE DC Capital GovCon 2020. TiE DC presents an online event: “Wake Up to New Ideas: Meet Up with Path-Breakers,” a conference designed for founders and CEOs of 8(a), Women-Owned, HUBZones and Veteran-owned businesses. Hear from government contracting leaders in our region, connect with TiE DC’s community of government contractors, and learn how to achieve your growth goals. Click here to register.

November 5 — Fall 2020 Women in Technology Virtual Job Fair. Women in Technology presents a virtual career fair for technology and business professionals of all levels together with top organizations in the D.C. metro area looking to fill a wide variety of roles including STEM-based fields. Click here to register.

November 9 — Annual Business & Economic Development Summit. The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce presents a virtual event focused on “Opportunities for Springfield.” Panelists will include Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA; Supervisor Rodney Lusk; Terry Clower- GMU Director of Center for Regional Analysis; Barry Biggar, president and CEO of Visit Fairfax; and Elizabeth Hagg, Revitalization Section Director for the Department of Planning and Development. Richard Pineda, CEO of CALIBRE Systems, will serve as moderator for the panel. Click here to register.

November 10 — Tysons 2050. Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce presents a livestreamed event from 1st Stage in Tysons. This signature event is a community-building event, focused on sharing insights and visions on the future of Tysons. Click here to register.

November 10 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County.  The FCEDA, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and Community Business Partnership (CBP), presents its free monthly workshop for individuals interested in starting a business in Fairfax County. Click here to register.

November 10 — Government Contracting in a Changed World. George Mason University Center for Government Contracting and Defense Acquisition University present a virtual conference, with this module focusing on: Acquisition and Procurement. Click here to register.

November 19 — Recruiting & Onboarding In Virtual Times. Netherlands America Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar on recruiting strategies during COVID-19. Presenters will include Nilesh Shroff, head of systems of insights AI/Ml, Verizon; Aravind Pamula, founder and president, Futurali; Frank De Bloois, president of the Americas, Expereo US; Thomas Vilmer, senior region director, TMC; Michael Batt, director, talent initiative, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Click here to register.

December 8 — Government Contracting in a Changed World. George Mason University Center for Government Contracting and Defense Acquisition University present a virtual conference, with this module focusing on: Operations. Click here to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

Forward Virginia Phase 3 reopening guidelines: Fairfax County began the third phase of re-opening businesses on July 1. The Forward Virginia plan provides guidelines that all businesses must follow. Residents are still advised that they are “safer at home.” Click here to find out the updated guidelines.

Get business assistance: 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.