March 3 E-Bird newsletter: FCEDA’s Hoskins makes state ‘Heavy Hitters’ list again; Leidos wins $11b DISA contract

Third time’s a charm: Virginia Business magazine is out with its annual “Heavy Hitters” list of the 50 most influential people around the Commonwealth, and we are proud to note that Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, is on the list for the third consecutive year. The magazine notes that Hoskins joined the FCEDA in August 2019 on a career high, having brought Amazon’s HQ2 campus to Arlington, where he was director of economic development. It also notes that during his time in Fairfax, about 330 companies announced they were adding jobs here, including Guidehouse, StarKist and Qualtrics in 2021. Read more here.

“I am humbled to be included in the Virginia Business list of ‘Heavy Hitters’ for a third time, and I am proud to be recognized for the hard work that my team and I do to make Fairfax County, Northern Virginia and the entire state a great location for businesses and talent,” Hoskins said. “It is also an honor to be included among dynamic business leaders who are making a huge difference around the Commonwealth every day.”

We are also proud to note that 12 Fairfax County business leaders made the list as well: Richard Fairbank, co-founder, chairman, CEO and president, Capital One (Tysons); Amy Gilliland, president, GDIT (Falls Church area); Dr. J. Stephen Jones, president and CEO, Inova Health System (Merrifield); Roger A. Krone, chairman and CEO, Leidos (Reston); Mary McDuffie, president and CEO, Navy Federal Credit Union (Vienna); Phebe Novakovic, chairman and CEO, General Dynamics (Reston); Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton (Tysons); Horacio D. Rozanski, CEO, Booz Allen Hamilton (Tysons); Michael J. Saylor, chairman and CEO, MicroStrategy (Tysons); Stu Shea, chairman, president and CEO, Peraton (Herndon); Warren Thompson, founder, president and chairman, Thompson Hospitality (Reston); and Kathy J. Warden, chairman, CEO and president, Northrop Grumman (Falls Church area).

“Heavy hitters” from other Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance jurisdictions are Buddy Rizer, executive director, Department of Economic Development, Loudoun County; Brian Huseman, vice president of public policy, Amazon (Arlington); Sheila Johnson, CEO, Salamander Hotels & Resorts (Loudoun County); Dan Snyder, co-owner and co-CEO, Washington Commanders (Loudoun County); Julie Sweet, CEO and chair, Accenture (Arlington); and Jim VandeHei, co-founder and CEO, Axios Media (Arlington).

Signs of promise all around: A second year of COVID came and went, but 2021 proved more fruitful and less uncertain for businesses in Northern Virginia, where vaccination rates were the highest in the commonwealth, says Virginia Business in an article dubbed “Signs of Promise.” Examples: work on Amazon’s HQ2 headquarters in Arlington County forged ahead, and economic development officials told the magazine they see hopeful signs for the year ahead. In Fairfax County, major announcements included Guidehouse, the global management consulting firm investing $12.7 million in a new headquarters in Tysons it opened in January for at least 1,500 workers. Highlights also included major expansion announcements by Qualtrics, Kreative Technologies, Ridgeline International, and StarKist.

Critical support to DISA: Reston-based Leidos won an $11.5 billion contract (that’s with a “b,” folks) from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Through digital modernization and transformation, the contract will unify the defense agencies and field activities on a common network architecture to provide mission services focused on enhanced user experience, improved security and network reliability, Intelligence Community News reported. “We are honored that DISA has entrusted our team to establish the modern infrastructure foundation that will deliver critical combat support capabilities to our warfighters,” said Roger Krone, Leidos chairman and CEO.

Investing in the future: GridPoint, a Reston building energy management and optimization technology that decarbonizes commercial buildings, closed a $75 million investment round, Commercial Observer reported. Goldman Sachs Asset Management led the round, with Shell Ventures, another veteran investor in GridPoint, also participating. “We are delighted to have the support of Goldman Sachs in the round and on the team with us as we accelerate the energy transition,” said Mark Danzenbaker, CEO of GridPoint. “They are very focused on making these kinds of investments or bets on the future of sustainability. I think it’s notable that they are investing into the space and specifically into GridPoint.”

First investment round: Tysons-based Cardinality.ai, a provider of AI software to state and local government agencies, said it has landed an unspecified amount in its first round of funding, led by Tysons-based Attain Capital Partners. With the deal, Thiag Loganathan, one of four co-founders of Cardinality, has been named president, in addition to his continuing role as CEO. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Jumping the pond with cyber help: U.K.-based Darktrace launched a U.S. federal division in Reston to help defense, intelligence and civilian agencies fortify critical infrastructure against cyberattacks using self-learning artificial intelligence tools. Darktrace Federal includes former U.S. intelligence community members and subject matter experts in critical infrastructure security to help military services and federal agencies detect and counter cyberthreats across digital environments. Darktrace’s Self-Learning AI technology works to detect early signs of cyberthreats and disrupt in-progress attacks and other threats through targeted action, ExecutiveBiz reported.

Supporting Black veteran entrepreneurs: Tysons-based PenFed Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the PenFed Credit Union, announced the winners of its annual Black History Month Ignition Challenge. The challenge, which is in its second year, awards Black veterans and other military-affiliated entrepreneurs with funding and mentorship from the credit union. In order to qualify, startups had to be at least 50 percent military and Black founder-owned. First and second prizes went to Florida and Texas businesses. The $10,000 third prize went to E. Sean Lanier, who founded Resolve Solutions, based in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County, which offers early college support and education for underserved students, Technical.ly reported.

A clear view: Images collected by commercial satellites have chronicled the buildup of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders and the ongoing invasion, providing intelligence previously only available from government sources. SpaceNews notes that the crisis has showcased the capabilities of companies including Westminster, Colo.-based Maxar Technologies, which maintains Chantilly and Herndon locations, and Herndon-based BlackSky, whose high-resolution satellite images have been ubiquitous for the past several weeks as the conflict intensified. Daniel Jablonsky, Maxar’s president and CEO, told Wall Street analysts that the company is “working to increase global transparency.”

Smaller satellites, faster rollout: Tysons-based SpaceLink will establish an initial constellation of smaller satellites than previously planned, a move designed to slash the cost and speed up the rollout of initial data-relay services. “We’re inserting a set of smaller satellites into our constellation roadmap,” SpaceLink CEO Dave Bettinger told SpaceNews. “That will allow us to maintain the full capability of what we were launching before but with less capacity.” SpaceLink plans to spend $240 million to establish its initial constellation. The new plan also means the startup will begin offering service in early 2024 as opposed to mid-2024 as originally planned.

New revenue stream for Software AG: Germany-based Software AG, which has its U.S. headquarters in Reston and is one of the first foreign-owned businesses to set up shop here, is acquiring San Francisco-based data integration platform developer StreamSets in a deal valued at more than $580 million, CRN reported. “This acquisition is a major milestone for Software AG,” said CEO Sanjay Brahmawar. “We’re acquiring a fast-growing business in a cloud market growing 26 percent. It’s technology and team will further differentiate our hybrid integration offering for customers and fully complement our strategy to deliver sustainable, profitable growth.”

Starting strong: Tysons-based RegScale, a regulatory compliance tech company, has already racked up a few noteworthy achievements since its launch four months ago, according to Technical.ly in a profile of the company. RegScale spun out of D.C.-based digital services firm C2 Labs in late 2021, and raised $1.5 million from the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation and New Dominion Angels to help build out its technology late last year. In January, Technical.ly awarded it an honorable mention spot on its annual RealLIST Startups roundup. Compliance tech — which helps companies manage their regulatory requirements and needs — is something that CEO Anil Karmel said is new to the security world. Up until now, he said, companies would often maintain their compliance needs in Excel sheets. RegScale, meanwhile, helps keep paperwork up to date in an API-centric SaaS platform.

From hotel to housing?: The former Tysons Sheraton hotel may have new life — as apartments. JBG Tysons Hotel, part of the JBG Cos., filed an application with Fairfax County to develop its Tysons West project further with the conversion of the vacant hotel located on Leesburg Pike, the Washington Business Journal reported. The plan envisions an “adaptive reuse,” transforming the existing 22-story hotel and parking structure into a 544-unit multifamily residential tower with ground-floor retail. The residential units would comprise some 85 percent studios, with the rest being one- and two-bedroom units. The Sheraton closed its doors in the spring of 2020 in the early months of the pandemic.

Hungry yet? Dreaming of a side of jollof rice or Chinese barbecue on your next trip to Tysons Galleria? Urbanspace, the food hall located on the third floor of the mall, is growing as the pandemic is waning, with a wide range of food vendors dishing out everything from British to Ghanaian fare, Northern Virginia Magazine reported.

Power packs: The Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce is hosting monthly backpack drives to support Food for Others’ Power Pack Program, which provides backpacks with a weekend’s worth of meals to local students. The chamber has collected about 550 food-filled backpacks across its two drives so far, with the most recent one on February 17, FFXnow reported.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Northrop Grumman won a $341 million contract to help the U.S. Space Force build and test a ground-based radar system for object detection and monitoring in deep space. GovConWire

Parsons received a five-year, $104 million contract from the U.S. intelligence community to develop and engineer software platforms. GovConWire

Featured business events

March 14 — 40Plus Monday Morning Speaker Series. Sponsored by the FCEDA, this virtual event will feature Mike Batt, director of talent initiatives, FCEDA, who will focus on how to continue your career with more than 100,000 jobs currently available to work remotely and in office settings across Northern Virginia. Click here to register. 

March 15 — Hire Vets Now. The FCEDA is a sponsor for this event for transitioning military, military spouses and veterans at the National Museum of the U.S. Army in Fort Belvoir. Networking receptions will provide the opportunity to connect with Virginia employers looking to hire military talent. Click here for more information and to register.

March 23 — Re-imagining Early Childhood Education in a Post-COVID World. Fairfax Futures and the NOVA Business Alliance for Early Childhood Education invite you to attend a virtual discussion featuring a panel of experts who will discuss challenges facing the early childhood education sector. 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.