E-Bird Newsletter

Feb. 3 E-Bird newsletter: 32 Fairfax County companies make Virginia Business “Best Places to Work” list; Black leaders highlighted

Best workplaces? We’ve got ’em: Fairfax County-based companies dominate Virginia Business magazine’s 12th annual list of 100 “Best Places to Work in Virginia.” In fact, 32 companies based here made the list. Among the businesses making the “Small Employers” category (up to 99 employees) are Troika Solutions (Reston) at no. 2; Forge Group (Reston) at no. 3; and Smartedge IT (Herndon) at no. 4. In the “Midsize Employers” category (100 to 249 employees), we find B&A (Tysons) ranked no. 1; MetaPhase Consulting placed at no. 3; and IT Concepts (Tysons) coming in at no. 4. Fairfax-based MBP ranked at no. 9 on the “Large Employers” list (more than 250 employees), while Carfax (Centreville) placed at no. 14 and Falls Church-area based ANSER came in at no. 18.

Virginia Business also noted companies that have made the list for multiple years. Carfax and Cassaday & Co. (Tysons) have been on it for 10 years or more. Additional Fairfax County-based multi-year winning companies include: Dynamis (Fairfax) and ThunderCat Technology (Reston) each at nine years; and MBP (Fairfax) and Veris from Ocean Tomo (Reston) each at eight years on the list. Congratulations to all the companies that made the list and typify why Fairfax County and Northern Virginia are great locations for talent to scope out jobs.

Paying it forward: In celebration of Black History Month, the February issue of Virginia Business profiles Black business and nonprofit leaders across the state including Shelly Bell, founder, Black Girl Ventures, Fort Belvoir area; Samia Gore, founder and CEO, Body Complete Rx, Reston; and Shawn N. Purvis, corporate vice president of Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman and president, Northrop Grumman Enterprise Services. Many reported overcoming racial and financial hurdles to achieve success in their fields, saying their progress never would have happened if it weren’t for many helping hands along the way, including unflagging support from the African-American community. Now, they say they are fortunate enough to be in a position to pay it forward in a variety of ways, and that the bottom line has never been purely about profit.

Hiring spree: Tysons-based Appian is on a hiring spree and is adding more space to accommodate those new employees, the Washington Business Journal reported. The low-code software company is taking on two additional floors at its headquarters in the former Gannett building at 7950 Jones Branch Drive. The company is continuing to grow its headcount, as well. “We’re trying to grow as fast as we can because there’s so much demand for low-code tech, and we’re trying to invent it,” co-founder and CEO Matt Calkins said in a recent interview. “I can’t think of an area we’re not hiring.”

Also growing by leaps and bounds: Tysons-based Booz Allen Hamilton, the largest government IT contractor in the D.C. region, ended 2021 with a total backlog of contracting work of $27.8 billion, a 19.2 percent increase from 2020, WTOP reported. During 2021, the company increased its head count by almost 1,900, or a 6.8 percent year-over-year increase in employees. It has more than 29,000 employees. Booz Allen, which gets more than 95 percent of its revenue from government contracting, is among the 10 largest employers in the D.C. region, with almost 14,000 employees locally.

Helping Fairfax County small businesses Thrive: Fairfax County businesses trying to revive operations could soon get more help as they seek to ward off persistent challenges due to COVID-19. County officials this week outlined plans to create a new program called Fairfax Thrive that would use $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to provide technical assistance to about 600 small businesses. The program would offer up to $10,000 worth of services in areas including digital marketing and brand development, financial planning, e-commerce and real estate assistance, and staff retention. WTOP and FFXnow have more on the proposed funding.

The county has already devoted millions of dollars in relief funds for unprecedented support targeting local businesses during the pandemic. The Fairfax Relief Initiative to Support Employers (RISE) program awarded almost $52.6 million in grants in 2020 to 4,809 businesses and nonprofits, and the PIVOT Business Recovery Grant Program, which launched last summer, awarded $16.8 million to 1,016 businesses, focusing specifically on the hospitality, retail and arts sectors. Minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses made up 72 percent of RISE grant recipients and 78 percent of PIVOT grant recipients.

Filling up that RTC space: Boston Properties announced new office leases at Reston Town Center, Reston Now reported. The leases include: Peraton, a technology company, for 90,000-square-feet of space; Gainwell, a Pennsylvania-based technology company, for 11,000 square feet; SoFi, a personal finance company; Lennar Multifamily, a builder; About Objects, a computer consultancy firm; and Addison Group, an employment agency. “It is transformative to the Reston skyline and it’s a five-minute walk to the heart of the town center retail,” said Doug Linde, Boston Properties director and president.

On a roll at Reston Station: After bringing major office tenants to three buildings at its Reston Station development, Comstock Partners is using the proceeds from a refinancing deal to kick off the next phases of its mixed-use community with a new hotel, condos and office buildings, Bisnow reported. The most immediate result will be a new high-rise across Reston Station Boulevard from the office complex, which is planned to include a 250-room J.W. Marriott hotel and about 90 condos. The developer also has two more office buildings planned next to the Marriott totaling 525,000 square feet. That phase, branded as Reston Row, began construction last year and will begin delivering in 2024.

Conscious commitment for social good: Ntiva, a Tysons IT services company, was sold to Chicago private investment firm PSP Capital in a deal that also gives ownership to members of Ntiva’s senior management team, the Washington Business Journal reported. Ntiva brings on PSP Capital, an arm of investment firm PSP Partners, as an investor and financial and strategic partner. The firm’s other investments in the region include Tysons-based ID.me. The partnership will help grow the company faster and focus more on “a conscious commitment to social good,” said CEO Steven Freidkin.

ID check: Reston-based CACI International acquired Ashburn-based ID Technologies, a provider of software and technology to the military and federal government, from private equity group The Acacia Group. CACI said the acquisition will expand its secure network modernization offerings. “With ID Technologies, CACI can accelerate end-user mobility and the use of communication outside of secure government-run facilities using secure software-at-scale,” said John Mengucci, president and CEO of CACI. “ID Technologies’ innovative offerings include infrastructure-as-a-service business models making it easy for customers to embrace the technology and positioning CACI to expand the customer portfolio.” Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

See the sea: Torch.AI acquired Tysons-based maritime-surveillance company B23, according to GovConWire. Established in 2014, B23 extracts actionable competitive intelligence from aggregated data sources and has developed maritime autonomy and artificial intelligence applications. Kansas-based Torch.AI said it will combine B23’s machine learning experience with its Nexus software platform to improve clients’ data processing capabilities.

Great start for the year: Looking back on January, Washington area startups that received investments include Fairfax-based Verica, which raised $12 million in a Series A funding round led by Intel Capital; Herndon’s HawkEye 360, with another $5 million, after taking in $145 million in November; and Falls Church-area electric aircraft Electra.aero, which raised a Series A round from the venture arm of Lockheed Martin; the Washington Business Journal reported.

All lined up: Chicago-based Amount acquired Linear Financial Technologies, the developer of a loan-origination platform for small businesses that has an office in Reston. Last year, Amount raised almost $100 million in Series D funding, giving the startup a valuation of over $1 billion. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Promoting transit along the way: The University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research posted its annual lists of “Best Workplaces for Commuters” and “Best Sites for Commuters” and we are delighted to note that 31 Fairfax County locations made the lists including The Boro Tysons; Comstock Holding Companies (Reston); Cvent (Tysons); George Mason University (Fairfax); Hilton McLean Tysons Corner; SpinSys (Falls Church area); ThunderCat Technology (Reston); Towers Crescent (Tysons); and USTA Mid-Atlantic Section (Herndon). The lists recognize employers and urban projects across the nation that promote transit, carpools, vanpools and telework. Tysons Reporter has more.

Bagging the Bean space: Tysons Corner Center owner Macerich plans to break up into smaller pieces the space formerly occupied by outdoor gear and apparel retailer L.L. Bean, which closed its roughly 76,000-square-foot, two-level store. Macerich identified at least three tenants to fill some of the void, according to the Washington Business Journal. The biggest will be Ireland-based retailer Primark, which said last April that it plans a two-story, 37,100-square-foot store at Tysons Corner Center that is slated to open in 2023 or 2024. The project description for that work indicates that two other existing tenants in the mall, Lululemon Athletica and Old Navy, would also join Primark in that space.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

General Dynamics Information Technology won a five-year, $171 million contract to provide application and evaluation support for the Army’s biomedical research programs. GovConWire

Leidos obtained a $22.6 million contract to help the Navy develop a system for carrier strike group personnel to collaborate on navigation and tactical mission planning tasks. ExecutiveBiz

Mitre will continue to operate a federally funded research and development center for the Federal Aviation Administration through 2030 under a nine-year contract. GovConWire

Guidehouse received a contract for supporting Naval Supply Systems Command efforts to identify opportunities and manage large investments for aircraft sustainment. ExecutiveBiz

Featured business events

February 23– Funding for Virginia Startups and Growing Companies. Are you the owner or part of a startup and growing company that is looking for funding and support to expand? Join the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and the Northern Virginia Technology Council Digital Transformation Community for this free virtual event. Our expert panelists will tell participants about grants available to tech companies to commercialize their products, grow their international sales and fund technical research and development, and we will provide information on free resources to Virginia companies to build their business. Click here to register.

February 23 — All Things COVID – Impact, Trends, and Concerns. Presented by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce with sponsorship from the FCEDA, this event features Dr. Craig Cheifetz, INOVA’s vice president for Corporate Health and Premium Services, who will discuss “All Things COVID” –  community concerns, workplace trends, corporate impact, mental and physical impact, employees and teams. Click here to register.

February 24 — Small Business Conference. Presented by the Society of American Military Engineers, D.C., this event brings together state, local and federal agencies and businesses throughout the Washington area to network, discuss upcoming contracting opportunities and connect with potential teaming partners. Fairfax County Economic Development Authority President and CEO Victor Hoskins will be among the panelists in a discussion about regional economic development. The conference will be held at Capital One Hall in Tysons. Click here to register.

March 1 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting A Business in Fairfax County. Presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, the Community Business Partnership and the U.S. Small Business Administration, this webinar will provide the business fundamentals needed to successfully start a business. The Entrepreneurial Spotlight this session will feature Chef Errin Roth, a veteran who is founder and owner of Ms. Jo’s Petite Eats, the soon-to-open patisserie and cafe in the PenFed building in Tysons. It started as Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets, a dessert business out of a commercial kitchen in Lorton and expanded to include corporate catering. 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. 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.