January 19, 2023, E-News: Armored Fresh to Expand U.S. HQ in Fairfax County + Weekly Business News Digest

Armored Fresh, the U.S. subsidiary of Armored Fresh Inc., a leading South Korean food tech company, will expand its headquarters in Fairfax County. Established in 2021 and headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Armored Fresh is the first company in the world to commercialize almond milk-based cheeses in various forms. 

“Armored Fresh is very excited to bring great-tasting, zero-dairy cheese that everyone can enjoy. Based on almond milk, our cheese comes super close to matching the taste and texture that people expect in cheese. We’ve received many epic responses from people after tasting our cheese,” said Andrew Yu, CEO of Armored Fresh. “Northern Virginia and Fairfax County has a rich history in dairy and is advancing in tech innovation. We’re glad to make Fairfax County our home and be part of the vibrant business and innovation community.”

“We are honored to have Armored Fresh continue to call Fairfax County home,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “Armored Fresh’s growth speaks volumes about the diversity of business sectors that thrive here as part of our world-class innovation ecosystem while making an impact on a national and global scale.”

Click here to read more.

Looking for a job? Northern Virginia companies want YOU!

Good Morning Washington sat down with Jeff McKay, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and Alison Paris, Senior Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Workforce Development for Peraton, to discuss thousands of open jobs in Northern Virginia.

“The job market is very strong. If you are looking for a job, we have a job for you. There are 130,000 approximate open jobs in the area. Over half of those alone are in Fairfax County. So, there’s a job out there for everyone who is looking for an opportunity,” Chairman McKay said.

Jobseekers have an opportunity to join 50+ companies such as Peraton at our next Tech and Cyber Networking & Hiring Event held in-person on January 31 at Capital One Hall in Tysons, and virtually on February 1. To register for the event, visit workinnorthernvirginia.com/career-fairs/

Weekly Business News Digest

Reston technology hub: Recruiting talent is at the top of the list of priorities for Walmart’s cybersecurity program, InformationWeek reported. Walmart has reported that it has or is planning 17 technology hubs, including one in Reston, to attract talent and build talent pipelines for future recruitment. “We’re starting to try to build very strong partnerships and pipelines with educational institutions which will allow us over time to be able to influence programs, and be more active in programs,” said Walmart Global Tech VP of security engineering Nick Givens. Walmart Global Tech, the technology organization within the retail giant, is looking to grow its practices in cloud security and data security particularly. In March 2022, Walmart announced that it would hire 5,000 tech pros in cybersecurity, software engineering, data science and other specialties.

Connecting employers with talent: Since Anne Kress took the helm as president of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), she and the school’s workforce development team have keyed in on one goal: making it easier for regional employers to connect with students, according to Kress in an interview with Washington Business Journal. Kress’ goal, alongside Steve Partridge, NOVA’s vice president of strategy, research and workforce innovation, is to cut out the logistical obstacles for employers looking to source talent and engage with faculty at the massive NOVA, with its six campuses, roughly 80,000 students and 3,400 faculty and staff. Under Kress’ leadership, NOVA has focused on three workforce development initiatives: 1) Business Engagement Center: Launched roughly 18 months ago, the center provides many ways employers can get involved at NOVA; 2) Guaranteed Interview Program: Enables students who have recently completed noncredit course programs to obtain interviews; and 3) Curriculum Advisory Boards: 145 employers — represented by more than 200 people — sit on 38 curriculum advisory boards at NOVA. “Even as the economy is slowing down, people are still playing catch-up on the hiring and still have a lot of vacancies,” Partridge said. Click here to read more.

Career connections for high schoolers: Herndon-based Stride, a provider of online and blended education programs, created a four-part webinar series called My Career Connections, as a way for high school students nationwide to learn and apply for open opportunities with industry-leading hiring partners. This live online series will put students in front of major organizations for a shot at over 50,000 potential opportunities that include internships, externships, actual entry-level jobs and more. Participating companies include Wayfair, CVS Health, Boeing, AG Careers, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), and the U.S. State Department.  Click here to sign up for these events. The Wall Street Journal has more.

New space cybersecurity lab in Reston: Cybersecurity company SpiderOak is moving its headquarters from Chicago to Reston, and establishing a space cybersecurity laboratory, SpaceNews reported.  The company raised $16.4 million in a Series C investment round led by Empyrean Technology Solutions, a space technology platform affiliated with Madison Dearborn Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm. Method Capital and OCA Ventures participated in the round. In addition to moving to Reston, with funding from the investment round SpiderOak plans to complete on-orbit testing and obtain flight heritage for its second-generation space product. “Today, space-based assets are mission essential in all civil and military operations and rapidly becoming mission critical for all national and corporate infrastructure,” Charles Beams, SpiderOak executive chairman, said in a statement. “The Space Force and the space industry consensus is that a cyber-attack is the most likely and most damaging threat to these assets.”

Look up! NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility will host and support Rocket Lab USA’s first launch of the Electron rocket from Virginia on Monday, January 23, lighting up the sky for spectators up and down the East Coast, FOX Business reported. The mission, dubbed “Virginia is for Launch Lovers,” is currently scheduled to launch at 6 p.m. from Launch Complex 2 at Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island. For its inaugural launch from Wallops Island, the rocket will deploy radio frequency monitoring satellites for Herndon-based HawkEye 360, a geospatial analytics company. Weather permitting, the launch may be visible for spectators up and down the majority of the East Coast.

Blast off! A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifted the Falls Church-area based Northrop Grumman and Arlington, Va.-based Boeing communications satellites into orbit on Jan. 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in a mission for the U.S. Space Force, reported Satellite News. The mission was the first by SpaceX under the Space Force’s National Security Space Launch Phase 2 contract, according to the Space Force’s Space Systems Command.

Bringing more people of color into the legal field: Fairfax-based George Mason University is developing a program to funnel Virginia students from historically Black colleges and universities into its law school and, more broadly, the legal field, Washington Business Journal reported. Its first partner in the program is Hampton University and the plan is to expand it to undergraduates at other Virginia HBCUs that don’t have law schools. The aim, said Antonin Scalia Law School Dean Ken Randall, is to expand the pool of students from which George Mason and even other law schools recruit and bring more people of color into the legal field. “Law schools tend to be really recruiting against each other for what is a relatively small pool of applicants,” Randall said.

And more Mason news: Fairfax-headquartered George Mason University’s new life sciences and engineering building at its Prince William County campus is under construction, led by the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. arm of Skanska, a Swedish construction company, which has an office in Tysons. Skanska  announced its $83.6 million contract with the university this week. This project is one of many under Mason’s massive $1 billion capital and academic overhaul of three campuses: Manassas, as well as its main campus in Fairfax and its tech-focused Mason Square campus in Arlington, reported the Washington Business Journal. The new building was one of Mason President Gregory Washington’s first-year wins shortly after he took on his role in 2020. “Throughout this pandemic, we didn’t shrink. We’ve actually kept growing,” Washington said at the April 22 groundbreaking. “We’ve actually already outgrown the space, and we haven’t got it yet. And so the amount of lab space I’m having is actually shrinking, because as we add more and more people, they are encroaching on that space.”

Funding round: Reston-based Hypori closed its initial $10.5 million Series B investment deal, which was led by Hale Capital Partners and included supplementary funds from Series A investor GreatPoint Ventures and David Petreaus, among others, according to ExecutiveGov. These funds are part of a total fundraising round with commitments to invest up to $18 million and represent the expansion and growing value of Hypori and its Halo bring-your-own-device product within the national security and user privacy areas. Jared Shepard, president and CEO of Hypori, emphasized the importance of the deal in growing the company’s work to improve secure access and interaction with data from the edge. “Hypori is changing the way the industry thinks about cybersecurity and operating at the speed of cloud to achieve mission success,” Shepard said.

Graduation time: Three Fairfax County-based companies are among the 10 Virginia companies are the latest to graduate from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program according to Virginia Business: Ensco (Springfield); Kapsuun Group (Lorton); and PaneraTech (Chantilly). The two-year VALET program helps Virginia companies that have established domestic operations use international exporting as a growth strategy. On average, participants see a 78 percent increase in international sales. “When Virginia businesses expand their target markets overseas and increase revenues, the commonwealth’s economy grows,” VEDP President and CEO Jason El Koubi said.

Topped out: One of the priciest high-rise projects in Tysons, has “topped out,” with developers completing the final concrete pour of the roof, according to WTOP. The Mather, scheduled to open in 2024, will be a luxury senior-living condo community in two buildings. Phase one includes 179 condo units, and phase two will have 114 units. The $500 million project, at 7929 Westpark Drive, is being co-developed by nonprofit senior community developer Mather and Westminster Capital. When complete, The Mather will be what developers call a “Life Plan Community,” meaning buyers can plan for it to be a home that supports a “continuum of living” options, including future health care and assisted live. It will also offer social, wellness and cultural programs for residents and include a three-acre park, retail and restaurants.

Affordable housing initiative approved: A major public-private partnership for affordable housing on the Fairfax County Government Center campus is moving forward, according to FFXNow. The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted on Jan. 11 in approval of a plan to build 291-unit apartment buildings dedicated for affordable housing, a 10,000-square-foot daycare, and a service facility on the site. Lincoln Avenue Capital and the Fairfax County Redevelopment Housing Authority plan to develop the 4.5-acre site through the partnership, titled The Residences at Government Center II — a model that has been adopted by the county in each magisterial district to boost the stock of long-term affordable housing.

Ribbon cutting: The Arden, a new seven-story, 126-unit multifamily apartment located a block from the Huntington Metro station at 2317 Huntington Avenue and built by award-winning affordable housing developer Wesley Housing, was officially opened Friday, Jan. 13, with a ribbon cutting, speeches and an open house tour, On the Move reported.  Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Chair Jeff McKay and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck participated in the event, along with Shelley Murphy, past president and CEO of Wesley Housing, who shepherded the project as it entered construction in summer 2020.

Portfolio expansion: Tysons-based IT staffing and services company Digital Intelligence Systems (DISYS) acquired Farmington Hills, Michigan’s LinTech Global in a deal that expands DISYS’ portfolio into the defense and federal civilian agency markets, according to the Washington Business Journal. LinTech will operate as an independent division within the Tysons company. DISYS CEO Mahfuz Ahmed said in a statement the addition of LinTech will help his company expand its support services for digital transformation in the federal market.

Food for Others collection: The first Food for Neighbors collection and sorting event of the year got help from a variety of local and regional groups — including the German Armed Forces Command, an organization that has called Reston home since 1991, Reston Now reported. The organization took part in the event at Herndon Middle School — Food for Neighbors’ original collection site — and presented the organization with a donation of more than $4,000 dollars. The funds will go toward helping fight food insecurity among teens in 37 Northern Virginia schools.

Hungry yet? An all-day American eatery called Ox & Rye will swing open next to Capital One’s global headquarters in Tysons this winter, Eater.com reported. The newly announced restaurant comes from prolific Northern Virginia restaurateur Reese Gardner, who also runs Arlington standbys Copperwood Tavern, the Pinemoor, and Brass Rabbit. Ox & Rye, which marks Gardner’s seventh area restaurant, will offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, late-night service and weekend brunch.

Contract Wins

Constellis (Herndon) subsidiary Centerra (Herndon) won a 10-year, $1 billion contract from the Department of Energy to manage safeguards and security measures at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. GovConWire

Northrop Grumman (Falls Church area) will help the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate update its intelligence information platforms under a potential $406 million contract. ExecutiveBiz

Science Applications International Corp. (Reston) won a $349 million contract by the U.S. Navy to continue supporting In-Service Engineering Agent functions for Afloat and Ashore Tactical Networks. WashingtonExec

ICF (Reston) will provide technology and software-based services to the National Cancer Institute under a five-year, $161 million contract. GovConWire

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

January 25 — Business Education Series: Greater Reston’s 2023 Economic Outlook. Presented by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, attend this webinar event for an insightful discussion featuring Alex Thalacker, National Business Investment Manager for the FFCEDA. This presentation will provide a regional economic outlook for Fairfax County, including key analysis and information on commercial development within the Reston market. You will also learn of the exciting new opportunities for small businesses to start, grow and expand their offerings within Fairfax County. Click here to register.

January 31 (in-person) & February 1 (virtual) — Tech & Cyber Networking & Hiring Event. Build a meaningful career in Northern Virginia’s tech & cyber industry – where employers are building tech that matters. From satellites that fuel space exploration to code that keeps our government’s data safe, you can make a difference in your local and global community through a tech career here. Network with hiring companies in the IT sector ranging from defense and aerospace to healthcare and renewable energy at this free in-person and virtual event. Click here 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 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.