July 21 E-Bird Newsletter: NoVa: next Silicon Valley? + Weekly Business News Digest
Silicon Valley 2.0? Is the DMV region becoming the next Silicon Valley? Dice senior editor Nick Kolakowski examines this question in a Dice article, referring to a new study by management-software firm Carta that says technologists around the Washington, D.C. region make 97 percent of what their colleagues around San Francisco earn. This hints at a strong level of demand for tech talent and a strong tech-industry culture to go with it, he wrote. “Northern Virginia has become a magnet for the industry, with the Dulles Technology Corridor continuing its growth along the Silver Line and Amazon HQ2 going up in Arlington,” according to Axios, which summarized the Carta report.
“With more than 17,000 tech companies already here in Northern Virginia, we have become a leading tech and innovation hub,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, and chair of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance. “We offer unparalleled access to highly educated and diverse workforce with more than 60 regional universities and colleges with annual enrollment of more than 400,000. Virginia Tech and George Mason Universities are building innovation campuses here, investing $1.5 billion in the tech talent pipeline. And we have nearly five times the data center capacity of Silicon Valley! All this coupled with our safe and amenity-rich communities where companies, individuals and families can thrive, Northern Virginia has an extraordinary package to offer.”
Entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, growth and impact: EY named the winners of its 2022 Entrepreneur of The Year Awards for the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The winners, selected by independent judges, included the following leaders of Fairfax County-based companies: Imran Aftab, co-founder and CEO, 10Pearls (Tysons); Don Thoma, founder and CEO, Aireon (Tysons); Blake Hall, co-founder and CEO, ID.me (Tysons); Rene LaVigne, president and CEO Iron Bow Technologies (Herndon); and Ki Ho Kang, founder and CEO, KIHOMAC (Reston). Awards were based on demonstration of long-term value through entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, growth and impact, as well as other values. Virginia Business has more.
Chart-toppers: Four of the seven richest areas of the country are in Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance jurisdictions, as well as one in suburban Maryland, according to results published by U.S. News & World Report. This is according to a five-year survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that examined median household income to determine the wealthiest counties in the country. With a median household income of $127,866, Fairfax County arrives on the list at number five. Fairfax is Commonwealth’s most populous county, with the 2020 census showing a population of 1.15 million. The number one spot goes to Loudoun County, which boasts a median household income of $147,111. Falls Church city, which is considered a county equivalent in the report, claimed the second spot in the rankings with a median household income of $146,922. Arlington, Va. ranks at no. 7. Also included in the top 10, meanwhile, was another Washington-adjacent location, Maryland’s Howard County, landing at no. 6. The full report also explores poverty analytics and median household income based on race. Explore the report in its entirety here. Northern Virginia Magazine has more.
Leadership change: Herndon-based Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh is stepping down to helm the automaker’s Scout brand for battery-electric pickup trucks and SUVs. Keogh, who has served as president and chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America since 2018, will become Scout’s president and CEO. He will be replaced by Pablo Di Si, executive chairman of Volkswagen South American Region, on September 1. The automaker announced in May plans to launch a new EV brand in the U.S. Named after the International Harvester Scout, an early 1960s precursor to the modern SUV, the battery-electric brand plans to introduce a pickup and an SUV by 2026, reported TechCrunch.
Doubling up: Herndon-based Expedition Technology, which develops and deploys novel solutions supporting the defense and intelligence communities, signed a lease amendment for its corporate headquarters offices that will support its current and anticipated growth. The new agreement extends the company’s commitment through June 2033, and increases its space from approximately 32,000 to more than 64,000 square feet. With over 65 current employees, the company said it plans to hire at least 30 more in the coming months as a result of new business engagements, citybiz reported.
Software company kudos: Two Fairfax County-headquartered companies, both located in Tysons, placed on the Software Report’s third annual list of the Top 100 Software Companies: Cvent at no. 8; and Appian at no. 37. The top company on the list is Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, which is presently building a $64 million software development and regional R&D hub in Reston. Placing at no. 7 on the list is Seattle, Wash. and Provo, Utah-based Qualtrics, which announced the expansion of its Reston East Coast hub in December 2021. Additional companies that are based elsewhere with offices in Fairfax County include San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe (Tysons) at no. 2; San Jose, Calif.-based Nutanix (Tysons) at no. 5; Bozeman, Mont.-based Snowflake (Tysons) at no. 9: San Jose, Calif.-based Zscaler (Tysons) at no. 10; and more. According to the Software Report, the awardees were selected based on a comprehensive evaluation process, with particular focus placed this year on their environmental, social, and governance efforts.
Global VALET: Two Fairfax County-based companies: 22nd Century Technologies (Tysons) and DTC Communications (Herndon) are among the 11 companies selected to participate in the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) two-year Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) program. The VALET program assists companies in the Commonwealth that are committed to international exporting as a growth strategy. To date, 404 Virginia companies have been accepted to participate in the VALET program.
What the future holds: Herndon IT services company ePlus purchased Future Com, a cybersecurity and cloud security company headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, the Washington Business Journal reported. The acquisition will provide EPlus with enhanced engineering, sales and services in Texas and surrounding markets. It also strengthens its growing cybersecurity business, which CEO and President Mark Marron said accounts for more than $500 million in annual adjusted gross billings. Future Com offers cybersecurity hardware, software and consulting services to a variety of clients, including health care companies and large to mid-market businesses as well as government and educational agencies.
Collective solutions: Herndon-based software company Deltek agreed to acquire Wisconsin-based TIP Technologies, Virginia Business reported. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022. “For nearly forty years, Deltek has had a relentless focus on government contracting and powering our customers’ success,” Deltek President and CEO Mike Corkery said. “We’ve had a longstanding partnership with TIP Technologies for many years and mutual customers who are already benefiting from our close integration. This acquisition is a natural evolution of our partnership and will create a more effortless way for our customers to get the combined benefits of our collective solutions.”
Facts on the ground: Tysons-based CollabraLink Technologies, a technology integrator focused on the federal government, acquired Herndon’s Groundswell Consulting Group, a provider of Appian development and integration services to federal agencies, and changed the name of the combined company to Groundswell. CollabraLink said the move expands its footprint through federal civilian and defense agencies and adds capabilities as an Appian integrator. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.
Done deal: Fairfax-based management consulting firm ICF International completed its $220 million acquisition of health tech contractor SemanticBits, Virginia Business reported. In June, ICF announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Herndon-based company, and that its existing credit facility would fund the $220 million transaction. “As one of the industry’s leading digital service and platform providers using open-source, SemanticBits scales our rapidly growing set of digital modernization capabilities and, together with our deep federal health expertise, will enable ICF to support larger, more complex projects across federal civilian agencies,” said ICF CEO and Chair John Wasson.
Enhancing global weather forecasting: Spire Global, a provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, which has an office in Tysons, announced plans to build upon its fully deployed constellation of over 100 multipurpose satellites with satellites carrying microwave sounders to gather atmospheric moisture and temperature measurements. The measurements collected by these instruments will expand the company’s data offerings and, when coupled with the weather and Earth intelligence data that Spire currently collects through radio occultation and reflectometry measurements, will further enhance the value and accuracy of its global weather forecasts, according to Geospatial World.
Transportation funding: Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay recently announced the awarding of $336.2 million in funding for the construction of transportation projects throughout the county, InsideNoVa reported. The funding, which comes from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), will go toward widening roads and purchasing electric buses, according to a release. The funds will also assist in starting the work on the new U.S. 1 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System, “The One.” It will connect a historically underserved area of the county to the region’s transit network. “Making transit widely accessible and affordable has major economic, environmental, and equity benefits. I am especially thrilled for how we are transforming bus service in Fairfax County,” McKay said.
Reaching for the stars: Three-year-old Trustar Bank in Great Falls has raised $18 million in fresh capital and intends to use the proceeds to help fund its expansion across the D.C. region, according to the Washington Business Journal. The private placement, which was oversubscribed and completed in less than a month, could be a prelude to an eventual initial public offering for the $560 million-asset Trustar. Its founder and CEO, Shaza Andersen, is the former CEO at WashingtonFirst Bank, which she took public in 2012 and built into a $2.1 billion-asset bank before selling it to Sandy Spring Bancorp in Olney for $447 million.
Re-brand: The Marriott in Tysons completed a $25 million redesign that includes renovations to all 400 guest rooms, an extensive fitness center, a restaurant and bar – Tysons Rickhouse, and an exclusive M Club lounge. Upgrades were also performed in the meeting and event spaces and 1,750 square feet of natural-light space was added with the opening of the Great Falls meeting room. As a part of the hotel redesign, the event areas have been refreshed to include modern furnishings and lighting. The Tysons Corner Marriott now features over 12,000 square feet of functional event space across 15 unique meeting rooms and the ability to accommodate 500 people in its largest event space, the Galleria Ballroom, Hospitality Net reported.
Getting into the swing of things: CitySwing is readying a location to open in Reston early next year as the District-based indoor golf practice facility tees up a much larger expansion plan, according to the Washington Business Journal. The company signed a 3,122-square-foot lease at Reston Town Center, where it will fill a void Williams-Sonoma created when it closed in 2019. With the Fairfax County location, CitySwing founder and CEO Tari Cash believes the company will tap into a strong demand — both regionally and nationally — from folks who have been intrigued by the game of golf but intimidated by the time and expense involved in learning how to play.
Rest in Peace, Sid Dewberry: The board of directors at Fairfax-based Dewberry announced the passing of Chairman Emeritus and Founder Sidney O. Dewberry. Mr. Dewberry, who was 94 years old and remained active with the firm, died on July 16, 2022. Mr. Dewberry co-founded his eponymous professional services firm in 1956. Dewberry grew from a single-office, six-person civil engineering and surveying practice based in Northern Virginia to a nationwide consulting enterprise with more than 2,000 employees and 50 offices from coast to coast today. Among Mr. Dewberry’s proudest achievements were the fast-tracked design of the Dulles Toll Road in Fairfax County; the design of the Filene Center in Vienna, Virginia, after the original building was destroyed by fire; and planning and engineering for communities such as Montgomery Village in Maryland and Burke Centre in Northern Virginia.
Mr. Dewberry was a founding member and chairman emeritus of George Mason University’s Urban Systems Engineering Institute, now known as the Civil Engineering Institute. The university’s civil engineering department is named the Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering in honor of their extensive contributions in establishing and supporting the department. Click here to read more about Mr. Dewberry’s life and legacy.
Northrop Grumman (Falls Church area) won a $617 million contract to build and deploy a proliferated low-Earth orbit constellation of 14 satellites with infrared sensors for the Space Development Agency’s Tranche 1 Tracking Layer. GovConWire
General Dynamics Mission Systems (Fairfax) won a six-year, $273 million contract modification to perform technical engineering work required to manufacture subsystems of the fire control technology for U.S. and U.K. nuclear ballistic missile submarines. GovConWire
BlackSky Technology (Herndon) received a $4.4 million award from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to support the second phase of the multi-year Space-based Machine Automated Recognition Technique Program. Intelligence Community News
FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events
August 23 — Fairfax State of the Market: Exploring Today’s Emerging Markets. Bisnow presents an event focused on: “From Richmond Highway to Chantilly, where to make the next best commercial real estate investment.” Featured panelists include Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA. Click here to register.
October 1 — 2022 Dulles 5K/10K. The Washington Dulles International Airport community presents its 10th Annual Dulles 5K/10K. Proceeds from this event will support the Committee for Dulles Community Outreach Scholarship Program, Special Olympics Virginia, and the Washington Airports Task Force. Click here to register.
October 7 — Raise the Region Gala. Join the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and help “Raise the Region” at its annual celebration of local philanthropy. This event attracts hundreds of regional business, philanthropic and community leaders and supports the Community Foundation’s ability to grow philanthropy to respond to needs and seed innovation throughout the region. Held in the fall, it features the presentation of the Community Leadership Award for outstanding service and commitment to Northern Virginia, the longest-standing award of its kind. It includes a one-of-a-kind auction and opportunities to engage and connect with our community. 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 email@example.com, 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.