Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for September 15, 2020

Pivot in tandem: Tandem Product Academy is recruiting 20 technology businesses in Northern Virginia to go through a free series of classes and one-on-one mentoring to help pivot their business models to address new opportunities. The program is spearheaded by Jonathan Aberman, head of Amplifier Advisors and dean of Marymount University’s School of Business and Technology. “We want to help a group of promising technology businesses find their best opportunities to pivot what they have built into a market that will be rewarding for the current economy and what’s next,” Aberman said. Potomac Tech Wire linked to details and the application form. The Washington Business Journal carried this story about the program, which is being supported by Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

Take a bow, George Mason: Fairfax-based George Mason University is ranked no. 1 in the Washington, D.C., area and 15th nationally for ethnic diversity, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2021 Best Colleges rankings released yesterday. Mason is also the top Virginia school for innovation, as well as 35th nationally, U.S. News says. “Mason continues to be on the move as a top research university,” said GMU President Gregory Washington. “I’m particularly pleased to see these rankings confirm that our inclusive approach to excellence is working. Our ratings for both quality and inclusion are strong and getting stronger.” Find out more in News at Mason.

Remembering 9/11 in Tysons: PenFed Credit Union held a 9/11 remembrance ceremony last Friday, unveiling a 30 x 60-foot American flag on the side of its corporate headquarters in Tysons. PenFed Board members, employees and guests attended the ceremony, which also featured a New York Fire Department truck dispatched to the World Trade Center on 9/11. The attack hit close to home for PenFed because its signature branch is located inside the Pentagon. After the attack, the credit union launched the PenFed Foundation to provide financial assistance to service members, veterans and their families. More than 142,000 members of the military community have received assistance through the program. In response to the pandemic, the PenFed Foundation created a COVID-19 Emergency Response program to provide financial support to veterans and service members. Reporter Emily Leayman worked up an update in McLean Patch.

Replica modeling at NGA: In commemoration of 9/11, CBS ran a segment that highlighted the efforts at Springfield-headquartered National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to help take down Osama bin Laden. In the segment, senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge spoke with the model maker who built a replica of Bin Laden’s hideout to help Navy SEALs prepare for the raid. See the story on CBS This Morning.

Data center hub: Demand for data centers increased across the country during the first half of the year because of the pandemic, with the majority of that growth gobbled up by the world’s dominant data center market: Northern Virginia. The region’s net absorption of data center capacity during the first half of 2020 accounted for 70 percent of all net absorption across primary U.S. markets, according to a CBRE report released last week. Bisnow has more data on this.

New leadership at CIT: The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), headquartered in Herndon, named Bob Stolle as CEO and president of CIT, succeeding Ed Albringo. Prevously, Stolle served as CIT’s senior vice president of Policy and Regional Initiatives as well as the head of CIT’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Division. “Virginia’s entrepreneurship community has grown tremendously during Ed Albrigo’s tenure at CIT, and we are grateful for his dedicated service to our Commonwealth,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “I am pleased to welcome Bob Stolle to lead the agency and its efforts to advance our innovation economy.” Citybizlist picked up a release.

Billions for going ballistic: Northrop Grumman, based in the Falls Church area, won a $13.3 billion contract from the Air Force to develop the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) intercontinental ballistic missile. The GBSD is the follow-on to the Minuteman 3 ICBM that first became operational in 1970. “Modernizing the nuclear strategic triad is a top priority of our military,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. “It’s key to our nation’s defense.” The Air Force plans to deploy the GBSD beginning in the late 2020s. Space News launch this report.

A day on the slopes… in southern Fairfax: Fairfax County may be on its way to having a year-round ski facility. Tysons-headquartered Alpine-X, a holding company, submitted a proposal in late 2018 to redevelop a section of the I-95 Lorton Landfill into an indoor ski facility that would also include a hotel, restaurants and shops. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set to approve the advertisement of a public hearing on Oct. 6 on the Fairfax Peak project at its meeting today. Find out more in Alexandria Living.

Reston redevelopment: Construction is beginning on a massive Reston redevelopment project across from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. Bethesda-based developer EYA broke ground on 115 townhomes anchoring one section of the project, dubbed the “Reston Midline,” which will include close to 1.8 million square feet of development on 18 acres. EYA will also build two multifamily buildings on the site, partnering with the Chevy Chase Land for one of them, delivering 300 units and up to 20,000 square feet of retail in total. The Washington Business Journal brought the story home.

Fair Oaks of the future: Fairfax County and property owners have begun reimagining the Fair Oaks area with a goal of transforming it into a transit-oriented, mixed-use neighborhood. The Fairfax County Government Center may be the first property to see changes, via a plan to redevelop some of its parking lots into affordable housing. Fair Oaks could be evolving too, as the mall’s owner, Taubman Centers, may take the next steps on a mixed-use make-over to compensate for changes in the retail sector that were apparent even pre-COVID-19. And the county has long planned to eventually bring a new Orange Line station to the area. Find out more about future possibilities for Fair Oaks in an article for subscribers in the Washington Business Journal.

With much Acclaim: Acclaim Technical Services, a Reston-based government contractor, bought Rockville-based Global Consulting Services, a software and systems engineering company. GCS has about 30 employees; it focuses on the Intelligence Community. Acclaim Technical Services, currently with a workforce of more than 300, is owned by its employees under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. PotomacTechWire carried the release.

For your viewing enjoyment: NextStop Theater Company is opening the “NextStop Cinema” in Herndon, where customers can rent out the entire theater for themselves for a private viewing. Patrons will provide their own movie on DVD, Blu-ray or via a streaming service, and in return, the cinema will provide the full movie theater experience while still adhering to COVID-19 precautions. NextStop Theater has been closed to public performances since March 12, reported Reston Now.

All aboard! Metro’s 91 stations are all open, including the Dunn Loring and Vienna stations that opened last Tuesday, after a summer of reconstruction and pandemic closures. The East Falls Church and West Falls Church stations opened last month ahead of schedule. “Customers can look forward to safer, more convenient stations, whether they are traveling now or looking forward to getting back to their routines as the region recovers from the pandemic,” General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said, according to DCist.

Next stop: McLean-Capital One Hall? Fairfax County is weighing a proposal to rename the McLean Metro station as “McLean-Capital One Hall.” If approved, it would become the first station to include a company’s name in its title. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote today on a motion to forward the name-change proposal to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board of directors. Station names are Metro’s decision. The Washington Business Journal trained its reporters to in the story.

Residential rebound: Increases in both year-over-year sales and prices pushed the Fairfax County residential real-estate sales past the $1 billion mark for the second month in a row in August, as the region continues to battle back from spring’s COVID-19-related stall. A total of 1,669 properties went to closing during the month, according to figures reported Sept. 11 by RealEstate Business Intelligence, based on data from MarketStats by ShowingTime. That’s up 14.6 percent jump from the 1,457 properties that changed hands in August 2019, as the market made up for time lost in the spring. InsideNova homed in on the news.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

ICF won five contracts worth more than $100 million combined to train and assist Department of Health and Human Services grant recipients that help ensure school readiness among low-income U.S. children. Each contract has one 11-month base period, followed by four one-year options, and calls for the company to support Head Start programs under the HHS’ Administration for Children and Families. GovConWire

Booz Allen Hamilton won a five-year, $91.7 million task order from the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide support services for the VA Logistics Redesign program. GovConWire

Leidos received $82.1 million contract to provide various forms of support for investigative studies at the Navy’s health research unit in San Diego. GovConWire

Northrop Grumman landed an eight-year, $66.9 million Air Force contract to provide supply-chain-management support for power management, electronic countermeasures, jamming pod and navigational radar systems used on military aircraft. ExecutiveBiz

Kryptowire won a four-year, $7.3 million contract to help the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) conduct research and development services for 5G mobile network security. Virginia Business

Elbit Systems of America subsidiary Kollsman was selected to develop two prototypes of a weapon-sight technology intended for Marine Corps’ target acquisition and engagement operations. ExecutiveBiz

Customer Value Partners secured a contract from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security to modernize a web-based information-sharing platform for the Overseas Security Advisory Council, which aims to help U.S. businesses address threats to facilities and workers abroad. ExecutiveBiz

Featured business events

September 15 @ 11 a.m. — Talent Attraction Workshop: Marketing Northern Virginia. This workshop presented by the FCEDA will arm you with the resources you need to attract top-notch talent to Northern Virginia and answer your burning questions about what talent really wants — especially in the era of Covid-19. Click here.

September 15 @ 3 p.m. — De regreso al trabajo: Una conversación con empresarios y líderes hispanos / Back to Work: A Conversation with Hispanic Entrepreneurs and Leaders. The Virginia Hispanic Chamber, FCEDA and Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, and Fairfax County Health Department present this webinar in Spanish on steps that businesses can take to open safely for employees and customers. Click here to register.

September 17 — Strategic Planning in a Digital World. The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance presents the final webinar in its three-part, 12 session webinar series: “Beyond COVID-19: NOVA Business Resiliency Webinars.” Click here to register.

September 22 —TiE DC Diversity Panel Discussion. TiE DC presents a webinar discussion with successful business leaders from our Black community as they share their experiences and guide us all through these unprecedented times. Click here to register

September 23 — Quick and Easy Tips for Speaking in the Virtual World. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Frank DiBartolomeo, an award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and seminar leader. This is part of the chamber’s Business Education Series. Click here to register.

October 15 — 2020  Staying Strong. The annual NAIOP Northern Virginia commercial real estate bus tour goes virtual with a focus on “outside the Beltway” markets in Fairfax and Loudoun counties such as Tysons, Merrifield, Reston, Herndon and Route 28. 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.