February 15, 2024: Trident Systems to Invest $3.7 million in Fairfax County Expansion + Weekly Business News Digest

Space Electronics and Solutions Leader Trident Systems, a LightRidge Solutions Company, to Invest $3.7 million in Fairfax County Expansion

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced on Tuesday, February 13, 2024, that Trident Systems, a LightRidge Solutions Company and a leader in multi-function space electronics and integrated C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) solutions, is investing $3.7 million to expand capacity at its operation in Fairfax County for the production of space electronic systems for the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, and U.S. Intelligence Community. The project will create roughly 50 new jobs.

(L-R): Trident Systems President Dan Hibbard; Trident Systems General Manager Lorin Hattrup; Virginia Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade Chelsea Jenkins; Fairfax County Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith; Fairfax County Economic Development Authority President and CEO Victor Hoskins.

“Trident’s rapid growth providing unique solutions that maximize our customer’s mission impact enabled the need for this higher-volume production facility. We are excited to expand our presence in Virginia supporting our Nation’s critical space needs.” said Lorin Hattrup, General Manager, Trident Systems Space Electronic Systems. “Our new production facility will allow us to support a range of products on rapid timelines while maintaining affordability.”

“Congratulations to the entire Trident Systems team as you expand your operations and continue to prosper here in Northern Virginia,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay. “Your growth is yet another shining example of how companies supporting mission-critical operations in the space sector innovate and thrive in Fairfax County.”  

Trident Systems, a LightRidge Solutions Company, has cemented its reputation for over three decades as a leader in multi-function space electronics and integrated C4ISR solutions. Using a rapid response, radiation effects-mitigated design approach for deployment in harsh environments, Trident has delivered semi-custom, high-performance RF and processing solutions at significantly lower cost than traditional space products. For more information, visit www.tridsys.com.

“I want to thank Trident Systems for choosing Fairfax County as you keep growing and contributing to the diversity of our economy,” said Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “Your growth adds to our world-class space sector, and we look forward to supporting your success for years to come.”  

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) to secure the project for Fairfax County and Virginia. VEDP will support Trident System’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs to support employee recruitment and training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.

“Trident Systems’ expansion demonstrates the strength of the Commonwealth’s aerospace and tech ecosystem,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “This homegrown Fairfax County company has grown its business in the Commonwealth for nearly 30 years, and its continued innovation in space electronics is at the heart of this production expansion to serve the defense and intelligence communities.”

Trident Systems has also been engaged with the VEDP International Trade team since 2015 utilizing various programs and service offerings and is a 2020 graduate of the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program. VALET assists Virginia exporters that have firmly established domestic operations and are committed to international exporting as a growth strategy.

Celebrating Black History Month: George Mason University’s first African American President Gregory Washington is Building the Future

George Mason University President Gregory Washington (photo credit: Northern Virginia Magazine)

Fairfax-based George Mason University President Gregory Washington is engineering an inclusive, innovative school positioned for growth, according to a Northern Virginia Magazine feature article by Jill S. Devine. As George Mason’s first African American president and a first-generation college graduate, Washington’s skills and experience distinctly positioned him to not only oversee the building of a physically bigger and more advanced university, but to also construct pathways that make earning a four-year degree accessible for every Virginian. George Mason is the largest, most diverse public research university in Virginia. In fall 2023, it celebrated the largest freshman class in school history and a state-record total student enrollment exceeding 40,000. “We are not here because we insisted on being highly selective,” Washington said. “We are here because we insisted on being highly inclusive.”

Many of the university’s students hail from historically disenfranchised communities. A large percentage are first-generation college students or past traditional college age. “The world is changing,” Washington told attendees at his October 21, 2021, investiture address at EagleBank Arena. “Virginia and the nation require institutions that can rapidly realign our emerging workforce with the evolving needs of the economy … more is already demanded of this generation than any before them … and we have no choice but to prepare them and those who follow for a task that is nothing short of saving the world.” Click here to read more.

Weekly Business News Digest

Ta-da! UVa. Northern Virginia to open Fairfax campus: The University of Virginia is expanding its Northern Virginia presence with a big lease at Inova Health System’s Merrifield campus, where it will offer many of its Charlottesville programs to Greater Washington, reported Washington Business Journal in subscriber content. The institution, which already occupies space in Arlington, is building out 55,000 square feet at the Inova Center for Personalized Health to establish UVa. Northern Virginia’s Fairfax campus. The move will allow the prestigious university to serve a population that would otherwise be difficult to capture, said Gregory Fairchild, dean and CEO of UVa. Northern Virginia. “We’re well known in this market, but what we want to do is let people know that we’re here,” said Fairchild, also associate dean for the university’s D.C.-area initiatives and academic director of public policy and entrepreneurship.

Opportunity is the way: Palo Alto Networks, a Santa Clara, California-based cybersecurity company with a market capitalization of about $107 billion, has inked new space at one of Boston Properties’ new trophy office towers in Reston Town Center, according to a source familiar with the lease, Washington Business Journal reported in subscriber content. Palo Alto Networks currently leases space for its public sector office at RTC West suburban office campus at 12110 Sunset Hills Road in Reston, owned by a joint venture of Fortress Investment Group and JBG Smith Properties. The new lease was signed Jan. 12 for 58,000 square feet just across the street in the recently completed 20-story tower at 1950 Opportunity Way — one of two buildings marking the beginning of Reston Town Center’s nearly 5 million-square-foot next phase of development, steps from the Silver Line’s Reston Town Center Metro station. Palo Alto Networks, Boston Properties, Fortress Investment Group and JBG Smith declined to comment on the lease to the Washington Business Journal at the time of publication.

Eclipse glasses not needed: Arlington, Va.-based BlueHalo, which has locations in Chantilly, Reston and Herndon, announced it will acquire Herndon-based Eqlipse Technologies, a provider of differentiated products and solutions to the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community.  Bolstered by Eqlipse’s high-end technical talent and suite of innovative products, BlueHalo will deliver enhanced scale and broader capabilities to its customers, accelerating the development and fielding of its advanced defense technologies. The combined entity will have a total employee count of nearly 2,400 across 11 states and annual revenue approaching $1 billion. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2024 and current BlueHalo Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Moneymaker, will lead the combined company.

Things are only impossible until they’re not: The pace of innovation in the space sector is picking up thanks in part to artificial intelligence and machine learning, according to SpaceNews in an article by Debra Werner. Customers of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which bases its east coast headquarters in Herndon, for example, are designing spacecraft parts with generative AI. The parts are then 3D-printed and run through a battery of tests. The process leads to rapid iteration of designs that are “very intuitive and very innovative at the same time,” Alistair McLean, AWS Satellite Solutions principal architect, said Feb. 7 at the SmallSat Symposium in Mountain View, California. AI also is helping Herndon-based HawkEye 360 identify radio frequency emitters worldwide. All this progress would not be possible, the SmallSat panelists said, without cloud computing providers that give them access to extensive computing resources. While those resources remain on Earth, growing space activity has prompted companies to consider space-based clouds. The AWS Snowcone, an edge computer, traveled to the International Space Station  in 2022. Since then, AWS has conducted a series of demonstrations with partners. In 2023, for example, Reston-based SpiderOak demonstrated its OrbitSecure cybersecurity software by transmitting data between ground networks and low-Earth orbit.

Strategic positioning: Finnish startup Kuva Space announced plans Feb. 7 to establish Kuva Space U.S. in Fairfax, SpaceNews reported. Former Iceye U.S. CEO Jerry Welsh, a Kuva Space U.S. board member, is leading the company’s campaign to provide hyperspectral insights to U.S. government customers. Kuva Space selected Fairfax to “strategically positioning ourselves at the heart of the intelligence community and in close proximity to Washington D.C. and maritime security services customers based in Maryland,” Welsh said. “These locations represent three key markets that we aim to engage, develop strong relationships, and build collaboration and support.” Kuva Space raised $17.6 million in a Series A funding round last year. Breaking Defense has more.

New tack: Tysons-based Spire Global, a global provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, and London, U.K.-based Signal Ocean, a shipping technology provider, have agreed to partner to drive digitization of the maritime economy. Under the agreement, Signal Ocean will take a $10 million stake in the business. “Signal, as a group, brings deep knowledge of the maritime domain gained over years through the operation of commercial ships, the development of proprietary analytics tools and its multiple, successful investments across shipping, logistics and the commodities space,” said Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire Global. “We’re thrilled to leverage Signal’s expertise in combination with Spire’s unique data capabilities to drive meaningful innovation that transforms the way we understand and navigate the maritime domain.” Smart Maritime Network and SatNews have more.

And a bit of smooth Saylor-ing: Tysons-based MicroStrategy‘s move of rebranding itself as a “Bitcoin development company” is only “natural,” MicroStrategy co-founder and executive chairman Michael Saylor said in an interview with CNBC’s “Closing Bell Overtime” on Monday, International Business Times reported. Saylor said it was only a “natural decision for us, given the success of our Bitcoin strategy.” MicroStrategy announced in its fourth quarter 2023 earnings call that it now has total holdings of 190,000 BTC, worth $8.1 billion, based on the holdings’ market value last week. Saylor explained that the business software firm, in its rebranding, will “develop software,” generate cash flow, and leverage capital markets “all in order to accumulate more Bitcoin for our shareholders, and also to promote the growth of the Bitcoin network.” Watch the video here.

Antithesis of wasting time: Tysons-based software testing startup Antithesis has raised $47 million in seed funding, valuing the company at $215 million, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters, U.S. News reported. Amplify Partners, Tamarack Global, and First In Ventures led the funding round, the source added.  “Our goal is to increase the reliability of software systems in the most efficient way so that the organizations we partner with can focus on growth and innovation rather than wasting valuable time and energy on testing and debugging,” said Will Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Antithesis. “ Antithesis already works with enterprise customers, including New York-based MongoDB, which has offices in Tysons, and Colorado-based Palantir, which has a Tysons location.

Georgia on my mind: Centreville-based Avenu Insights & Analytics, a portfolio company of Bethesda’s Arlington Capital Partners, has acquired Judicial Innovations, an Alpharetta, Georgia, firm whose software is used to help local jurisdictions collect probation-related fees, according to the Washington Business Journal. The deal comes weeks after Avenu bought the state and local government division of Muncie, Indiana, payment solution provider Finvi and less than five months after Arlington Capital Partners bought Avenu from New York private equity firm Mill Point Capital.

Foxy move: Cape Fox Federal Contracting Group (FCG) relocated to a new state-of-the-art office in Chantilly, according to Yahoo Finance. The move will enable the company to expand its operations and provide outstanding service to its customers and employees, according to the company. “This expansion marks a significant milestone for our company, showcasing our commitment to growth and excellence in government contracting,” said Chris Luchtefeld, CEO of Cape Fox Corporation.

Win-win: Tysons-based Xcelerate Solutions, a defense firm backed by McNally Capital, announced that it has merged with Fairfax-based VMD, a cybersecurity and infrastructure security firm. The combined company, which will have over 1,000 employees, will be called Xcelerate Solutions. “We see this merger as a win-win. We share similar cultures, like-minded leadership, and a deep commitment to delivering positive mission outcomes,” said Mark Drever, Chief Executive Officer of Xcelerate. “Since the investment from McNally Capital, we’ve been actively looking to expand our security and IT capabilities through M&A. VMD is a great match.”

This could be para-para-paradise: Fairfax County’s first winery, Paradise Springs Winery, is part of an exclusive contingent from the Commonwealth of Virginia as it becomes one of just six state wineries was showcased on the global stage at the 5th Wine Paris Vinexpo Paris this week, bringing Fairfax County’s wine scene into the spotlight, Potomac Local News reported. Paradise Springs, nestled in Fairfax County’s bucolic town of Clifton, has been family-owned and operated for 18 years. The historic property where the winery is located was part of the original land grant from Lord Fairfax in 1716 to the family’s direct ancestors and has been passed down through the generations since.

Contract Wins

Peraton (Reston) will deliver information technology platform and network services to the U.S. Special Operations Command under a $2.8 billion Special Operations Forces IT Enterprise Contract 3 Enterprise Operations and Maintenance contract. ExecutiveBiz

Akima (Herndon) won a 10-year $750 million contract for the U.S. Air Force for information technology intrusion detection, and communications services. Military + Aerospace Electronics.

Northrop Grumman (Falls Church area) received a $28.9 million contract to help the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency develop tactical autonomy capabilities for multi-ship, beyond visual range defensive and offensive air combat missions. ExecutiveBiz

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

February 21 — Making an Impact in the Space Industry: Trends and Opportunities. The British-American Business Association Washington, D.C. is presenting a  networking lunch at Airbus Experience Center in Washington, D.C. to catch up with colleagues working in the aerospace, aviation and space sectors. This will be followed by a panel discussion lead by industry and government experts who will take a look at challenges and opportunities in the space sector generally and how small businesses and women owned enterprises fit into the mix. Click here for more information and to register.

March 6 — Housing Symposium: Housing professionals, developers, advocates, and others interested in Fairfax County’s affordable housing industry are invited to join the free Fairfax County Housing Symposium, taking place at George Mason University in Fairfax. Click here for details about 2024 presenters and registration information.

March 14 — George Mason University Donald G. Costello College of Business Alumni Chapter Gala. Held at the George Mason University Fairfax campus, this annual gala celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit, distinguished successes, and generous engagement of Mason’s Costello College of Business community. The networking gala features interactive alumni-owned food and beverage businesses and student entrepreneurship innovations. Click here for more information and to register.

FCEDA is Here to Help Your Business Thrive

Fairfax County EDA is here to connect businesses of all kinds to resources and information. For direct assistance, email the FCEDA at info@fceda.org, or call 703-790-0600.