February 8, 2024: Celebrating Black History Month + Weekly Business News Digest

Honoring Virginia’s Black Business Leaders

Virginia Business is honoring 17 distinguished business leaders across the Commonwealth, including four from Fairfax County, in its second annual Virginia Black Business Leaders Awards.

The following leaders based in other Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance localities were also honored:

  • Mohamed Hussein, CEO, PGLS, Arlington County
  • Pamela Isom, CEO and Founder, Isadvice & Consulting, Prince William County
  • Debbie Pollock-Berry, Chief People and Culture Officer, Plezi Nutrition, Loudoun County

In addition, Loudoun County-based headquartered Salamander Resorts CEO Sheila Johnson was named to the magazine’s Virginia Black Business Leaders Hall of Fame, celebrating the first Black woman billionaire’s long, successful career and leadership in media, sports and hospitality. Check out her interview here.

NFL Legend and Serial Entrepreneur Ken Harvey Shares His Wisdom at E-101 Workshop

Ken Harvey, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and NFL Legend was the featured guest speaker during FCEDA’s Entrepreneurship 101 (E-101) workshop on January 23, 2024, in Tysons.

During the interactive workshop, nearly 100 attendees heard from Harvey about his entrepreneurial journey from the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals and the Washington Commanders, to founding and serving as President of KRH Consulting, a sports and entertainment consulting company.

In addition, during the workshop a panel of experts discussed the details of registering a business, permitting requirements, business feasibility and business plan basics, business certifications, financing options and government resources.

“On behalf of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, thank you to Ken Harvey for providing your entrepreneurial insights at our most recent Entrepreneurship 101 workshop,” said Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of the FCEDA. “It’s fascinating how lessons learned from sports, such as the NFL, apply directly to starting a business. It’s a different playing field, but entrepreneurs need to use similar skills, such as working together on a team for a common purpose, planning and strategizing, and overcoming obstacles.”

The E-101 workshops are presented by FCEDA, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), the Community Business Partnership (CBP), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives (DEI). 

Ready to get started? FCEDA provides free and confidential services to people in Fairfax County who are interested in an entrepreneurial journey. Click here for more!

About Ken Harvey:

As an NFL linebacker, Ken Harvey’s career highlights include: Second-team All-Pro (1994, 1995); Pro Bowl (1994–1997); Washington Commanders Ring of Fame; and 80 Greatest Redskins of All Time. He played college football for the California Golden Bears.

After his playing career, he became a fitness trainer for space tourists and a sportswriter for The Washington Post. As a children’s book author, Ken has written several children’s books, among them The Leftover Games, When Chocolate Milk Moved In, and The Fridge Games. He also wrote a book in 2019 called Come Find Me, that was illustrated by actor, and former teammate, Terry Crews.

Ken Harvey, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker and NFL Legend; Karen Smaw, Director, Diversity Business Investment and Entrepreneurship, FCEDA. (FCEDA photo)

Supporting Black-Owned Restaurants in Northern Virginia

Located in Tysons, Mrs. Jo’s Petite Eats was founded by Chef Erinn Roth. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Jo’s Petite Eats)

Check out Visit Fairfax’s list of Black-Owned Restaurants In Northern Virginia. Use this list to support Fairfax County’s Black-owned businesses and experience some of the best food in Northern Virginia.

Mrs. Jo’s Petite Eats, for example, was founded by Chef Erinn Roth (pictured above) and is a great patisserie and cafe that is woman- and Veteran-owned located in Tysons. Corporate and private catering is available. Prior to retiring from the US Army, Chef Roth founded Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets in 2016 and named it after her beloved late mother, Mrs. Jo Bradford Hardaway, as an eternal tribute. Mrs. Hardaway always encouraged her family and loved ones to cherish each day and enjoy life’s sweetest moments. Find out about Mrs. Jo’s Petite Eats, and more Black-owned restaurants, on Visit Fairfax.

If you know of a restaurant that should be on this list please let Visit Fairfax know. For more information on local Black-owned businesses, please visit the website of the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce or this Black-Owned Business Directory on Yelp.

Celebrating Black History Month in Fairfax County

This February, the Fairfax County Government is hosting a variety of events in honor of Black History Month, offering you a chance to engage with the rich and diverse threads of African American history and culture.

Join your neighbors for an evening at the Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax) to celebrate Black History Month on Feb. 23. This year’s theme is “The Value of Telling Our Stories.” Enjoy local performances, interactive activities, enlightening discussion and light refreshments. Festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m.

A variety of engaging events are scheduled in February to help you dive into Black History at parks, libraries and community centers. Click here to learn about more upcoming Black History Month events.

Weekly Business News Digest

Times four: Tysons-based Booz Allen Hamilton reported quarterly profits that more than quadrupled from a year ago in congruence with a growing demand from the Defense Department and other government agencies for its consulting services, WTOP reported. The company also continued to add thousands of consultants and other employees to its payroll. Booz Allen had a fiscal third quarter net income of $146.6 million, up from $31 million in the same quarter a year ago. It had a fiscal third quarter revenue of almost $2.6 billion, up 12.9 percent. Booz Allen ended the year with almost 34,000 employees globally, adding 2,700 jobs to its total head count in 2023, or an increase of 8.6 percent. About 700 of those new jobs were added in the final quarter of the year.

Raising the roofs: Herndon-based Beacon, a Fortune 500 roofing and building supply distributor with a market cap of $5.35 billion, isn’t slowing its acquisition spree in 2024, Washington Business Journal reported in subscriber content. The company closed its acquisition of Greensville, South Carolina’s Roofers Supply. It is Beacon’s first acquisition of 2024 after closing nine such deals across 2023. Roofers Supply has two branch locations in North Carolina — in Charlotte and Raleigh — in addition to its South Carolina headquarters. Beacon serves nearly 100,000 customers at more than 530 branches throughout all 50 states and six Canadian provinces. It opened more than 20 distribution centers last year.

Walkable village: In 2021 the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a plan to redevelop McLean’s 230-acre downtown, to include zoned density and increased height requirements closer to the town’s core to transform it to a walkable village, Virginia Business reported. The largest-yet phases of that transformation were approved by the Supervisors in October 2023, including the Astoria, a seven-story, 130-apartment mixed-use building that will include 3,000 square feet of office and retail.  Next door, Mars, the largest privately held company in Virginia, is expected to begin an expansion of its headquarters, from 53,000 square feet to 125,000 square feet. “The major motivation was people moving to the area and feeling like we lacked a sense of community because we didn’t have a place where the community could gather,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said.

New HQ: ImageX, a woman and minority-owned small business specializing in secure information management solutions, relocated its headquarters to a new office location in Reston. The move underscores imageX’s commitment to its clients, the local community, and the burgeoning technology sector in Reston, according to the company. ImageX has been serving federal government agencies, the healthcare industry, and businesses with secure information management solutions for over 30 years. “We are thrilled about our new office location in Reston,” said Carol Steinmann, owner and CEO of imageX. “This move represents an exciting chapter in our company’s journey. We are committed to continuing to deliver exceptional services and innovative solutions to our clients, while also investing in new technology and infrastructure to further enhance our capabilities.”

Favored interface: A satellite refueling nozzle developed by Falls Church-area based Northrop Grumman is the first to be selected as a preferred standard for U.S. military satellites, SpaceNews reported. In a move that could shape the in-orbit satellite servicing market, the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command designated Northrop Grumman’s Passive Refueling Module (PRM) as a favored interface to enable future in-space refueling of military satellites. The PRM has a docking mechanism to allow a refueling vehicle in orbit to transfer propellant to another satellite to extend its useful life. The adoption of Northrop Grumman’s PRM, while not exclusive, marks the first time the Space Force has publicly identified a preferred system.

Where to next? United Airlines is adding new routes, bringing back others and dusting off seasonal flights at Washington Dulles International Airport to meet travel demand, reported InsideNova. United will add a new nonstop flight to Anchorage, Alaska, this spring. United will also resume seasonal service to Vancouver on May 2. Dulles will also be adding to other domestic destinations this spring, including Phoenix, Kansas City, San Antonio and New Orleans. Due to customer demand United will start seasonal flights to European destinations from Dulles earlier than usual. The airline will resume service Feb. 15 to Barcelona, Lisbon and Rome. It will add a second daily flight between Dulles and Rome starting in May. United operates more than 230 daily flights at Dulles to more than 100 destinations.

Climbing higher: Herndon-based ePlus, a technology services provider, acquired certain assets of Denver-based data center services company Peak Resources. Founded in 1991, Peak delivers various professional services, as well as data center, networking and cybersecurity products. ePlus said the acquisition will help bolster its engineering, sales and service delivery capabilities in the Mountain West region. “As we actively work to grow our sales and services reach in fast growing geographies, PEAK has an excellent reputation, a very capable workforce, and a solid customer base that will benefit from ePlus’ broad solutions portfolio,” said Mark Marron, CEO and president, ePlus. “We welcome our new PEAK colleagues to the ePlus family and look forward to serving our new customers in the mountain west region.” Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Cyber fox hunting: Herndon-based Forcepoint Federal, a developer of cybersecurity technology for the federal government, changed its name to Everfox. The news comes four months after TPG Capital completed its $2.45 billion acquisition of Forcepint’s Global Governments and Critical Infrastructure (G2CI) business from owner Francisco Partners. Everfox CEO Sean Berg said the rebranded company, which recently announced a partnership with Microsoft to develop cloud offerings for federal agencies, “will continue to protect government, critical infrastructure and regulated industries against the most complex cyber challenges.” GovConWire has more.

Irreversibly Transformed: Herndon-based ManTech and Atlanta-based Trust Stamp are combining their capabilities to create a privacy-first identity management technology powered by artificial intelligence, according to ExecutiveBiz. Trust Stamp said that it entered into a teaming agreement to integrate its Irreversibly Transformed Identity Token into ManTech’s analytics and other product offerings. The Irreversibly Transformed Identity Token uses AI to generate probabilistic zero knowledge proof, analyzing digital identities without the risk of data breaches. “Trust Stamp’s privacy-first technology has many use cases for the federal government and its implementation within ManTech’s product offering is a tremendous opportunity to accelerate adoption,” Trust Stamp President Andrew Gowasack said.

Hopping in the sky: Tysons and Medford, Mass.-based MITRE and the Office of Naval Research have developed a small unmanned aerial vehicle prototype that could be used in maritime surveillance, search and rescue and detection of meteorological events. The drone, dubbed Hopper, comes with small solar cells that could recharge the system while at rest and in flight. ONR and MITRE used advanced simulation software, computer-aided design and 3D printing technique to design and build the drone, which could be deployed in swarms to perform signals monitoring, marine-life biological research and other maritime missions. “This technology works primarily to augment existing maritime surveillance platforms,” said Conor Mahoney, expeditionary group leader at MITRE. “Where normally you’d have to risk a crewed asset or an expensive uncrewed asset to maintain cognizance over a wide ocean area, Hopper can do so at a fraction of the cost—and free up those other assets.” ExecutiveGov has more.

Affordable housing: The former Sheraton Tysons Hotel is officially getting turned into permanent housing, reported InsideNova. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a plan on Jan. 23 to convert the vacant hotel at 8661 Leesburg Pike in Tysons West into 544 residential units. The units are expected to be small studios, but because the developer is repurposing an existing building instead of constructing a new one, they will provide a “naturally occurring” affordable housing option for Tysons, according to Walsh Colucci land use attorney Robert Brant, who represented JBG Tysons Hotel at the public hearing.

Best specialty hospitals: Three Fairfax County-based hospitals were among those ranked the best in their area of specialty in Virginia in a new ranking by Healthgrades, an online physician and hospital locator, Ashburn Patch reported. Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church was ranked among the best for Cardiac Care, Cardiology; Gastrointestinal Care, Gastrointestinal Surgery; Neurosciences; and Stroke Care. Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, Fairfax ranked among the top hospitals for Critical Care; Gastrointestinal Care, and Gastrointestinal Medical. Reston Hospital Center, Reston placed among the best for Joint Replacement: Orthopedic Surgery; and Surgical Care. Healthgrades evaluated 4,500 hospitals across more than 30 common procedures and conditions to determine the 250 that received 2024 America’s Best Hospitals Awards. At the same time, the organization ranked hospitals in 32 states across 18 specialty areas to determine its Specialty State Rankings.

Contract Wins

Booz Allen Hamilton (Tysons)  won a $550 million contract to provide technical, professional and administrative support services for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. GovConWire

CACI International (Reston) obtained a five-year $198 million contract to provide expertise to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Research (C5ISR) Center. Intelligence Community News

Parsons (Centreville) received a five-year, $115 million contract from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide management support to the Job Corps Acquisition Services. GovConWire

ICF (Reston) will modernize the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s kidney dialysis data reporting system under a  three-year, $33 million recompete contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ExecutiveBiz

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

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, or call 703-790-0600.