July 20, 2023: Interview with Parsons President and CEO Carey Smith + Weekly Business News Digest

Innovation at Work: Executive Profile of Parsons President and CEO Carey Smith

Fairfax County-based Parsons Corporation is a digitally enabled solutions provider focused on creating the future of the defense, intelligence, and critical infrastructure markets. From Earth to outer space, Parsons delivers tomorrow’s solutions today. Founded in 1944, the company employs more than 17,000 people around the globe delivering integrated, agile solutions for their customer’s national security and critical infrastructure requirements.

Parsons Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer Carey Smith talked to the Fairfax County Economic Development about her career, Parsons, and their headquarters move to Fairfax County, and why this is a great place for the company to be based.

“Fairfax County is a great place for Parsons because of its strategic proximity to Washington, D.C; its highly educated workforce, especially in the fields of technology, engineering, and cybersecurity; and the region’s robust infrastructure and business-friendly environment,” said Carey Smith, Parsons Chair, President and CEO. “The county’s well-developed transportation network, including major highways, international airports, and public transit options – many of which Parsons helped build – provides easy connectivity to our clients, partners, and shareholders both regionally and globally. The region also attracts talented and educated people from all over the world, providing Parsons with a great pipeline of future talent.”

Click here to read the entire interview.

Fairfax County Firms Expand into Global Markets

Fairfax County-based companies eKare (Fairfax) and Flight Test Aerospace (Chantilly) are among 11 companies from across the Commonwealth that graduated from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) most recent Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program, according to an announcement by Governor Glenn Youngkin. In addition, two Fairfax County-based companies: Best Medical International (Springfield) and Fenix Group (Chantilly) are among the 13 companies that have joined the two-year program. VALET, which now has 375 graduated companies, assists Virginia exporters that have firmly established domestic operations and are committed to international exporting as a growth strategy.

VALET is a two-year international business acceleration program that provides participating companies with international sales plan development services, assistance from a team of experienced international service providers, international business meetings with potential partners, educational events, and customized market research. There are currently 53 companies participating in the VALET program and 428 Virginia companies have been accepted to participate in the program since its inception in 2002.

Virginia exports over $51 billion in goods and services annually. Exports of the Commonwealth’s products and services are critical to economic growth, supporting more than 257,000 jobs and generating $2 billion in annual tax revenue. VEDP offers numerous programs to assist Virginia companies with selling into the global marketplace and has a network of international market research consultants covering 122 countries around the globe.

More information on the VALET Program is available here.

Weekly Business News Digest

This is Z best place to get a job: The Greater Washington, D.C. metro region ranks No. 1 among big cities for share of jobs for recent college graduates — with 30.4 percent of current job openings in the U.S., according to CommercialCafe, WTOP reported. D.C. is also great for Gen-Zers who like the outdoors, ranking No. 2 for the number of parks per capita, at 7.13 per 10,000 residents. It also earned the third-highest score for its environmentally friendly commute, for bikes and public transportation. “The reason is because D.C. is, first of all, a very academic-rich environment. Also, it has a lot of government as well as diversified tech jobs which give a lot of opportunity,” said Doug Ressler of Yardi Matrix, parent company of CommercialCafe5.

Aye-aye, great for AI jobs: Virginia was noted among 5 states in the nation to move to get an AI Job, according to Motley Fool. With 34,221 AI jobs, “Virginia is another state that is seeing tremendous growth in AI job creation. Fairfax County in Northern Virginia alone is home to 8,800 large and small IT companies. Its location near the nation’s capital makes it an ideal location to work with policymakers and leaders who help shape the industry,” the article states. According to Lightcast, a labor market analytics firm, there were over 795,000 AI-related jobs posted throughout 2022 in the United States. More than half (59 percent) of these job postings were concentrated in the top 10 states and about 40 percent in the top 5.

Talent and world class education here: Coming in at no. 7 in the nation, Virginia landed on CNBC’s list of “10 states are America’s best at producing the workers that employers want to hire.” “Few states have assembled the caliber of talent that the Old Dominion has, including the nation’s third highest concentration of STEM workers. Virginia’s higher education system is world class,” according to the article.

Let’s Go (not the Cars song!): Permanent closures are coming for three auto dealerships near the Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons: Priority Nissan and Mazda, which share a building at 8525 Leesburg Pike; and Sheehy Infiniti of Tysons at 8527 Leesburg Pike, according to Tysons Reporter. The roughly 12-acre parcel south of Route 7 near the Vesper Trail is part of the massive Dominion Square redevelopment plan approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2017. Split into “east” and “west” portions along Spring Hill Road, the proposals envision replacing the existing auto dealerships with as much as 3.6 million square feet of mixed-use development.

Seeds of change: Falls Church area-based General Dynamics Information Technology published a study that found that 65 percent of federal agencies said they are adopting artificial intelligence, 5G, machine learning, quantum computing, virtual and augmented reality and other emerging technologies to accelerate digital transformation efforts, ExecutiveBiz reported. GDIT’s digital consulting practice polled 425 defense, intelligence and civilian agency officials for the Seeds of Change study and found that at least 66 percent of respondents said their organizations are moderately to extremely ready to adopt emerging technologies. “Emerging technologies are positively impacting every part of our government, from national security to health to education to public safety,” said Ben Gianni, senior vice president and chief technology officer at GDIT.

No small feat: Fairfax County took first place honors in the “one million or more” category in Government Technology’s newly released annual survey of “Digital Counties 2023: Top Counties Champion Data and Inclusion,” GovTech reported. “Being awarded first place in the largest population category is no small feat, but Fairfax County’s dedicated approach to adapting and sustaining IT engagement strategies by leveraging digital channels and fostering a customer service culture has set it apart,” according to the report. The county regularly reaches out to residents via surveys and social media, Fairfax County CTO and Department of Information Technology Director Gregory Scott told GovTech via email. “These engagement tools allow our constituents to be active participants in the deliver of services and help constituents influence the development/advancement of tech innovation to improve citizen services,” Scott said.

Accountability accolades: Fairfax County ranked No. 1 in North America on the National Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP) report: Examining Development Approvals Across North America: An Analysis of Site Plan and Building Permit Review Processes. Released in June, the report highlights Fairfax County’s top score in the “Accountability” category. According to the report: “In Fairfax County, an applicant has the option to elect an expedited review, peer/third-party design review or third-party inspections for a project. These options allow the jurisdiction to continue moving approvals forward (at the developer’s discretion), even if internal capacity isn’t available to complete the necessary reviews in a timely manner. Fairfax County also publishes staffing information, data on the number of building permits and inspections requested and those approved and completed, and data on performance metrics such as the average number of days to process site plan and building permit applications or to complete building inspections. While this information is related to transparency, publishing these types of metrics demonstrates a jurisdiction’s willingness to be publicly accountable for its results to various stakeholders.”

I see a new site: Seerist, a threat and risk intelligence company, signed a lease for 8,395 square feet of office space at 11440 Commerce Park Drive in Reston Station, reported Washington Business Journal in subscriber content. The company is relocating from Herndon to accommodate its growth and establish its global headquarters. Seerist provides augmented analytics technology that assesses and determines potential threats to government and business operations. Its U.S. government division, Geospark Analytics, has secured 5-year contracts with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.   

Swift move: Reston-based The Swift Group, an IT services provider, acquired Hanover, Maryland-based OPS Consulting to expand technology offerings for the Department of Defense and the intelligence community, according to GovConWire. Holton Yost, president and CEO of Swift, said in a statement that the acquisition will help the company to execute its long-term growth strategy and offer new products and services.

Nuke cleanup: A team led by Chantilly-based federal contractor Amentum Services will manage the decontamination and decommissioning of a Cold War-era nuclear weapons complex under a $5.87 billion, 10-year contract announced by the U.S. Department of Energy, reported Virginia Business. Southern Ohio Cleanup Company, based in Aiken, South Carolina, is a joint venture led by Amentum Environment and Energy, and includes Texas-based Fluor and Cavendish Nuclear, a subsidiary of London-based Babcock International Group. Under the contract, the companies will handle the demolition and disposal of facilities, process equipment, related process buildings and other ancillary facilities at the 3,777-acre Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

Big cloud contract: Reston-based Science Applications International Corporation won the U.S. Department of Treasury’s $1.3 billion contract to implement various cloud services over seven years. The company is set to deliver a shared service cloud infrastructure model that offers enterprise-wide efficiencies in access, contracting and security. “T-Cloud will enable the Treasury Department to rapidly and securely adopt a modern, flexible and cost-effective approach to utilizing and consuming data in the cloud,” said Bob Genter, president, defense and civilian sector at SAIC. “SAIC is honored to be the Treasury Department’s cloud services digital transformation partner.” technical.ly has more.

Flying straight up and down: Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman will design an autonomous aircraft system capable of taking off from and landing vertically on a moving naval ship at sea, ExecutiveBiz reported. Under a new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program, Northrop Grumman will develop an advanced aircraft infrastructure-less launch and recovery demonstrator with increased payload capacity and endurance to support intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting missions. The runway-independent aircraft is envisioned to be capable of carrying a large sensor payload with 100 nautical miles range and 20 hours of endurance.

New game plan: A former NFL sports ground in Herndon has been sold to a data center developer, according to DataCenterDynamics. Citing country property records, BizJournal reported Word of Grace Christian Church recently sold 13832 Redskin Drive in Fairfax County for $25 million. The buyer, 13832 Redskin Acquisition GP, is an affiliate of Starwood Capital Group/Starwood Property Group, which is developing a data center campus on adjacent land. The acquired site – known as the Old Redskins Park – was originally developed as a practice facility for the now-Ashburn-based Washington Commanders NFL team during the 1970s. The team vacated the site in the 1990s, with Word of Grace Christian Church acquiring the site around the year 2000. Most of the surrounding buildings are set to be demolished for a 2.3 million sq ft data center park Starwood is planning.

Up and running: Tysons-based Flintlock Capital, a new veteran- and woman-led venture capital firm, has raised a $50 million fund to start, Washington Business Journal reported. Founded by Seda Goff and Joe Shamess, general partners who are planning to invest in early-stage companies across the country within financial technology, what they refer to as “frontier” technologies — artificial intelligence, robotics and space — and in companies that are looking to bring tech into aging industries. With the first fund, though, they are planning to focus solely on fintech. The two-person team started Flintlock last year, hitting final closing on the fund last month, according to the article.

Building the hive: Herndon-based Hive Pro, a Threat Exposure Management platform provider, closed a $4 million seed funding round, FINSMES reported. The company intends to use the funds to support the enhancement and continued delivery of its platform and the relocation and expansion of their new Herndon headquarters.

Funding round: Tysons-based Affect Therapeutics, a substance addiction therapy startup, has raised $16 million in a Series A funding round to expand its operations to new markets and further develop its mobile app, according to DCINNO. The company delivers therapy and treatments for specific substance use disorders through its app. Counseling services — from individual therapy to group meeting to doctor visits — are done through video on the app with counselors both employed and contracted with Affect Therapeutics.

Space STEM Barbie: The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly debuted on display the first-ever Barbie dolls to actually fly into space. The two fashion figures spent several months on board the International Space Station (ISS) in 2022 as part of “Mission DreamStar,” a joint outreach project by Mattel and the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. The dolls were then donated by the toy company to the Smithsonian. Like the purpose of their launch, the Barbies’ new exhibit is intended to “encourage kids to consider a career in STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] and celebrate the excitement of space,” said Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel, while the dolls were still in space. Smithsonian Magazine and Yahoo News have more.

Connecting children with cancer to their loved ones: Reston-based Homecam, a nonprofit charity organization, is marking its 20th anniversary of helping young pediatric cancer patients keep in touch with their friends and classmates. Founded in 2003, Hopecam connects children with their loved ones over video calls. The program now reaches kids in all 50 states, helping them ward off social isolation while they battle cancer. “We use technology to connect pediatric cancer patients to their classrooms, their friends, their families. They now use it for telemedicine appointments, and we provide them with a laptop or a tablet free of charge,” said Kristine Milch, development coordinator at Hopecam. To mark its anniversary, Hopecam is in the midst of a major fundraising campaign. WTOP has more.

Contract Wins

Laser Light Companies (Reston) and WIOCC, Africa’s digital backbone, signed a five-year $129 million contract to increase data capacity in Africa. ITEdgeNews

Amentum (Chantilly) won a six-year, $946.6 million contract to provide life cycle support services for the U.S. Army’s fixed-wing aircraft fleet used in transport missions. GovConWire

Leidos (Reston) will provide technical, intelligence, management and financial support services to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under a seven-year, $375 million contract. GovConWire

Peraton (Reston) secured a five-year, $330.3 million contract from NASA to take over the responsibility of supporting suborbital flight operations at Wallops Flight Facility. GovConWire

ASRC Federal subsidiary ASRC Federal Facilities Logistics (Reston) won a five-year, $320 million NASA award for facilities support at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. ExecutiveGov

HII Mission Technologies (Tysons) obtained a $41 million contract to provide integrated training systems installation and sustainment (ITSIS) for the U.S. Navy. Yahoo Finance

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

Summer 2023 – Interstellar Dreams Space Camp at George Mason University. Interstellar Dreams is a new take on a summer space camp, designed for rising 6th graders through rising 9th graders that blends “hands-on” fun and “minds-on” tech with their imagination to launch the future of space exploration. Campers will Explore space, Imagine the future, and Design the possibilities of ethical space exploration.  The Interstellar Dreams Space Center at George Mason University is a partnership between the Pearl Project Institute and George Mason University Observatories. Click here for more information and to register.

August 17 — GovFuture Forum. Attend GovFuture Forum, a monthly demo and panel event where government innovators, technologists, thought leaders, movers-and-shakers, government ecosystem partners, and interested people see showcases on cool new technology in a demo format, learn from innovators in high-value panels, and interact with each other. Click here to see the agenda, featured speakers and to register.

September 12 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority hosts Entrepreneurship 101, or “E-101,” a bi-monthly workshop that features a panel of small business experts on how to start a business. Presented by the FCEDA, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), the Community Business Partnership (CBP) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the workshop provides an overview of business start-up fundamentals. Save the date! Registration opens soonClick here to find out more.

September 21 — GovFuture Forum. Attend GovFuture Forum, a monthly demo and panel event where government innovators, technologists, thought leaders, movers-and-shakers, government ecosystem partners, and interested people see showcases on cool new technology in a demo format, learn from innovators in high-value panels, and interact with each other. Click here to see the agenda, featured speakers and to register.

September 26-28, 2023 – Quantum World Congress 2023. Quantum World Congress 2023 will once again bring together leaders from across the quantum ecosystem around the globe to address pressing challenges and emerging trends and share insights that help to accelerate and commercialize quantum technologies. Programming will take many forms — from presentations and panels to fireside chats and networking sessions. QWC will enable relevant, timely, and industry-leading information sharing and relationship building across these formats to foster a responsible environment for quantum growth. QWC 2023 will be held at Capital One Hall in Tysons, Virginia. REGISTER NOW to lock in your early bird discount before August 7, 2023.

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.