March 31 E-Bird newsletter: Global Guardian evacuates 7,500 from Ukraine; large area employers commit to helping minority businesses

Getting them out of harm’s way: Tysons-based security firm Global Guardian has evacuated more than 7,500 people out of Ukraine since the Russian military invaded that country last month. Formed in 2012, Global Guardian is now part of the $32 billion North American security services market, which includes everything from traditional security guards and currency transport to the burgeoning cybersecurity industry and executive protection services. Global Guardian is a private company and not organized along paramilitary lines. Global Guardian’s CEO Buckner says his company exists to “get people out of the way.” Buckner says his company has helped clients out of jams during the 2015 Paris terrorist attack, the attempted coup in Turkey in 2017,  recent hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, travel lockdowns at the outset of the COVID pandemic and last year’s coup in Myanmar. Find out more in Forbes about how the company is spiriting people to safety.

A new kind of space jam: A constellation of about 40 geolocation satellites operated by Tysons-based Spire Global is collecting data used by the U.S. Space Force to detect GPS jamming, an issue gaining worldwide attention due to Russia’s use of electronic warfare tactics in the run-up to the invasion of Ukraine, SpaceNews reported. Spire is providing GPS telemetry data to help detect jamming as part of a project run by the U.S. Space Systems Command to figure out way to automate manual data analysis techniques and produce more timely intelligence for military operations. “All of our fellow space companies…everyone is playing a vital role for humanity in this battle for freedom and democracy,” Spire CEO Peter Platzer said.

Boosting minority-owned businesses: The Greater Washington Partnership, an alliance of CEOs of many of the region’s largest employers, said member businesses and colleges are committing $4.7 billion over five years toward boosting minority-owned businesses and underrepresented communities. The group, whose members span from Baltimore to Richmond, said the multibillion-dollar pledge is coming from 25 entities and is focused on three areas: supplier diversity, racial equity, and access to capital. Among the businesses and universities involved in the pledge are the following Fairfax County-based companies: Tysons-based Capital One, Merrifield-based Inova Health System, Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman; Reston-based Science Applications International Corp.; and Reston-based Thompson Hospitality. Firms based in additional localities in the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance include Amazon in Arlington County and Loudoun County-based Washington Commanders. The Washington Business Journal has more.

Immigrant success stories: Six immigrant entrepreneurs who own Fairfax County-based companies were among those interviewed by the Washington Business Journal about their challenges and success in Greater Washington. Check out the article to learn start-up advice from these entrepreneurs originally hailing from countries around the world: Tysons-based Aeyon’s president and CEO Sunny Singh; Moe Jafari, CEO of Fall Church’s area-based Executive 1 Holding Co., which owns Tysons-based HumanTouch; Tysons-based Harmonia Holdings Group CEO Pallabi Saboo, who also is a member of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Commission; Herndon-based Karsun Solutions CEO Sundar Vaidyanathan; Falls Church-area based Tania Hossain Photography owner Tania Hossain; and Tysons-based Washington Capital Partners CEO and co-founder Daniel Huertas. According to research by the American Immigration Council, one in five self-employed business owners in Greater Washington is an immigrant, and these immigrant-owned small businesses generate about $163 million in combined revenue in the District, $1.7 billion in Maryland, and in Virginia — more than $2 billion each year.

Sky-high deliveries: Falls Church-based Northrop Grumman received six more resupply missions to the International Space Station by NASA, according to Virginia Business. According to NASA’s announcement, the missions are to ensure continuous science and cargo delivery enabling crew members to continue research and development to benefit Earth while supporting human missions to the Moon and Mars through 2026. The latest order brings the total resupply missions under the contract since to 32 since 2016; 14 ordered from Northrop Grumman, 15 from SpaceX and three from Colorado-based Sierra Space.

Specialized security support: The Triple Canopy subsidiary of Herndon-based Constellis will provide protective support services for the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, under a 10-year, $1.3 billion contract awarded through the State Department’s Worldwide Protective Services III contract. The award also covers the delivery of specialized security support and logistical services in Iraq, Constellis said. GovConWire has more.

Topping out in Tysons: Looking to stand out as a walkable urban village minutes away from the Capital Beltway and the Dulles Toll Road, Heming, a luxury development complete with housing, retail spaces, and a public plaza, is coming to Tysons as part of the Scott’s Run neighborhood at 1800 Chain Bridge Road. Scott’s Run will have mixed-use developments located across from the McLean Metro Station. And at 6.5 million square feet, it’s the largest project ever approved in the history of Fairfax County. Heming is expected to deliver in the second quarter of 2023, and most recently reached its “topping out” milestone, meaning the 28-story structure has reached its full height. Find out more and see renderings of the project in Northern Virginia magazine.

Alarm.com sounds the growth bell: Tysons residential and commercial security company Alarm.com expects to continue building its Northern Virginia headcount to the point it will outgrow its nearly 190,000-square-foot facility, the Washington Business Journal reported. That’s after it announced earlier this year the addition of another 180 jobs at its headquarters as part of a $2.6 million investment to grow its research and development operation there. Because the company already has 700 employees at its headquarters and occupies a large amount of the building at 8281 Greensboro Drive, space to grow is limited. “We are actively figuring out how we house all the new recruits, and that will require expansion,” said Jeff Bedell, chief strategy and innovation officer at Alarm.com.

Green airport for flying in blue sky: Washington Dulles International Airport’s parking shuttle fleet is going greener. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority purchased five fully electric-powered buses from California-based Proterra Operating Company, as well as three charging stations. Each 29-seat bus features a 450-kilowatt-hour battery that can deliver as many as 216 miles of service per charge. The buses are scheduled for delivery and use in early 2023, replacing five older diesel buses currently in use, Virginia Business reported. MWAA also will team up with Dominion Energy to convert a large swath of unused land to collect and store solar energy. The authority’s board of directors agreed to a deal with the utility to turn over parcels totaling 835 acres on the grounds of Washington Dulles International Airport for the next 37 years. It is the culmination of nearly three years of discussion, and now awaits final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation, Sun Gazette Newspapers reported.

Bridging the digital divide: Tysons-based Cvent partnered with KindWorks’ Digital Empowerment Initiative to refurbish hundreds of laptops. KindWorks, a non-profit program that collects and refurbishes used computers, will ensure the devices are given to students and families in need. “Refurbishing and repurposing these laptops for personal use reflects our longstanding commitment to empowering people to connect through technology,” said Cvent SVP and CIO Pradeep Mannakkara. “In this digital age, a personal computer can be a vital tool in expanding the opportunity and imagination for individuals and their families.” MarTech Series has more.

Workforce housing: A Capital One-owned property in Tysons will be redeveloped with a largely affordable residential building in part to satisfy affordability commitments attached to its other nearby projects. The recently filed proposal outlines plans to erect a multifamily building up to eight stories with 460 units, of which about two-thirds would cap prices for “workforce” households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income. Comprising up to 470,000 square feet, including 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail or other uses, the new construction would replace an existing seven-story office building at 1750 Old Meadow Road, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Positive outlooks for 2022: Herndon-based Karsun Solutions and Tysons-based Steampunk were named among the highest-rated organizations with the “Best Company Outlook in 2022,” according to anonymous Comparably.com. The rankings were derived from sentiment ratings provided by current employees about how confident they feel about the future success of their company and how likely they are to recommend working there to a friend, according to the website.

Keeping direction: Federal Compass, a Tysons-based developer of a market intelligence platform for federal contractors, announced that it raised a Series A round from Blueprint Equity. Federal Compass provides contractors with information on opportunities and market intelligence. “What we’re seeing now is a rush to a next-generation solution where the contractor’s past performance drives predictive analytics and personalized markets, and we need to rapidly expand our team to support that growth,” said Jim Sherwood, who serves as chief product officer of Federal Compass. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Integrating systems and companies: Chantilly-based Corbett Technology Solutions (CTSI), a systems integrator of fire, security and other communication systems, said it acquired Ashburn-based security systems integrator Enterprise Security Solutions (ESS). Joe Oliveri, the president and CEO of CTSI, said the move “significantly enhances our security integration and support capabilities, while expanding our critical infrastructure, data center and utility customer base.” The deal marks CTSI’s ninth acquisition since partnering with Wind Point Partners in mid-2020. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Michelin mystery: Chef Pepe Moncayo and his partners have signed a lease for about 7,000 square feet at Capital One Center in Tysons. The Michelin-starred chef is keeping under wraps just what type of restaurant concept he’s planning there, except to say it won’t be a carbon copy of Cranes, his Spanish-Japanese style restaurant in Penn Quarter area of downtown Washington, D.C. “It’s not going to be Cranes in Virginia,” he said. “It’s going to be a totally different concept.” The Washington Business Journal has more on the mysterious new restaurant to come.

Contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Peraton won a five-year, $254 million contract to support cybersecurity operations for the Diplomatic Security Service of the State Department. Virginia Business

General Dynamics Information Technology received a five-year, $95 million contract from AmeriCorps for enterprise IT services. GovConWire

Featured business events

April 7 — Annual Economic Outlook for Greater Richmond Highway Corridor. Presented by the Mount Vernon Lee Chamber of Commerce and the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation, speakers will focus on the local economy and workforce-development initiatives. Confirmed speakers are Joe Mengedoth, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Fairfax County Supervisor Rodney Lusk (Lee District), Dana Fallon, Northern Virginia Community College, and Michael Batt, talent initiative director, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Click here to register.

May 3 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting A Business in Fairfax County. Presented by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, join our panel of small business experts for an interactive webinar on how to start your business. We will provide you with informative step-by-step information sessions that will cover registering your business, permitting requirements, business feasibility and business plan basics, business certifications, financing options and government resources. In addition, the Entrepreneur Spotlight will feature Amy Dagliano and Kate Janich, co-founders of Rowan Tree, a co-working space for women entrepreneurs in Herndon. 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.