March 9, 2023, E-News: Virginia Tops Nation for Digital Economy Outlook; SAIC CEO Interview with VEDP + Weekly Business News Digest

A Digital Economy Report from California-based software firm Tipalti ranks Virginia as No. 1 in the United States with the best digital economy outlook. According to the report, Virginia has a diverse economy and a strong business outlook, being repeatedly voted the best state for business in CNBC’s state competitiveness rankings.

“With this in mind, Virginia appears to be a dynamic state that can quickly adapt to new technologies and make the most of the digital economy. Virginia appears to be a state with a large number of job opportunities in digital occupations, with a snapshot of jobs related to ‘digital’ posted on Indeed showing there are 125.09 digital-related jobs available per 100,000 residents.”

Northern Virginia is the economic engine of the Commonwealth. At $228 billion, our regional economy is the 46th largest economy in the world. And at the heart of the region, Fairfax County continues to be a pillar of economic stability and resiliency due to the diversity of our business base; significant government contracting sector; and strong equity investment activity.

Ready to make your move? Click here for more.

Celebrating Women’s History Month

In recognition of Women’s History Month, FCEDA is highlighting Virginia Economic Development Parnership‘s (VEDP) recent video interview with Nazzic Keene, CEO of Fairfax County-headquartered Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC). With annual pro forma revenues of $7.1 billion and 26,500 employees, SAIC provides system integration, engineering, and IT solutions to defense, intelligence, and civilian agencies.

“We have the ability to bring diverse talent from all over the globe into our headquarters, which is critical for our success,” said Nazzic Keene, CEO of SAIC, in a video interview with VEDP.

Click here to read more.

Weekly Business News Digest

The region’s national profile on the rise in 2022: When it comes to tech and government contractors, Northern Virginia’s national profile continued to rise in 2022, noted Virginia Business in a recent article. In addition, regional economic development news from 2022 continues to solidify its marquee business reputation, adding to growing industries such as life sciences, data centers, information technology, energy, manufacturing and tourism. What most excited Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of FCEDA in 2022 was the news that Jeff Bezos’ commercial space launch company Blue Origin was landing a new engineering center of excellence in Reston. Hoskins told the magazine that the move signals the importance of the county’s proximity to the federal government and major contractors, as well as other assets, such as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on the Eastern Shore in Virginia.

The Beat Goes On: Rocket Lab USA plans two launches that will be days apart from two continents for two companies: Herndon-based Blacksky and San Francisco-based Capella Space, satnews reported. One Electron rocket is ready and in position at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand to deploy satellites for BlackSky, while a second rocket is simultaneously undergoing final launch preparations at Launch Complex 2 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to deploy satellites for Capella Space. Rocket Lab will deliver to orbit two Earth-imaging satellites for BlackSky through Bellevue, Wash.-based global launch services provider Spaceflight. The “Beat Goes On” mission will deliver BlackSky’s high-resolution, Gen-2 satellites to low earth orbit (LEO), adding capacity to the company’s real-time geospatial intelligence and monitoring capabilities. Both launches are scheduled to occur in March with the launch windows to be finalized based on individual customer and range requirements; however, both missions are expected to launch within days of one another.

Customer proximity: Reston-based Peraton is setting up an office location in Springfield to support the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), reported Washington Business Journal in subscriber content. The privately held government contractor, which won a deal in December worth up to $342.7 million over five years to provide IT services to the TSA, has inked a 6,000-square-foot lease at 6700 Springfield Center Drive. The new TSA headquarters is just steps away, at 6595 Springfield Center Drive.  Through the contract award, Peraton has been tasked with operating, maintaining and improving TSA’s IT equipment, services and processes. “Proximity to the customer is important,” a Peraton spokesman said. Peraton expects to occupy the space by next quarter.

Ingenuity and electrifying: Tysons-based Scout Motors, a Herndon-based Volkswagen of America-backed startup, is establishing its first manufacturing plant in Blythewood, South Carolina, and expects to start producing its electric vehicles by the end of 2026. Scout will produce all-electric, next-generation trucks and SUVs that hearken back to the iconic Scout, produced by International Harvester from 1960 to 1980. “Scout has been an American icon since introducing an SUV in 1960. It’s the vehicle that took your family on a camping trip, that gave access to the great outdoors, and that showed up on the job site every morning. Today we are reimagining Scout’s original ingenuity and electrifying its future,” said Scout CEO Scott Keogh. WTOP has more.

Combined capabilities: Tysons-based HII and Gulfport, MS-based Ocean Aero initiated a strategic agreement to advance the combined capabilities of their respective unmanned maritime platforms and autonomy software solutions, reported Intelligence Community News. “We are pleased to partner with Ocean Aero to further expand the operational capabilities of the U.S. Armed Forces, partner nations and other maritime-focused commercial institutions,” said Duane Fotheringham, president of the Unmanned Systems business group at HII’s Mission Technologies division.

Maintain speed and agility: Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) has announced a $5 million strategic investment in Colorado-based Morpheus Data, a cloud automation and platform engineering specialist, Homeland Security Today reported.  Andy Henson, vice president, Digital Innovation at SAIC, said the investment allows SAIC to address a strong and growing pipeline of Secure Cloud opportunities. “SAIC’s strategy to integrate Morpheus into CloudScend validates that close partnerships with systems integrators will accelerate our federal business,” said Ted Danielson, president at Morpheus. “This investment will allow us to further advance our solution and widen our advantage in the market while ensuring we maintain the speed and agility which has been key to our success.”

Cybersecurity acquisition: Tysons-based Criterion Systems, a federal cybersecurity and IT contractor, was acquired by Cherokee Federal, the federal contracting division of Cherokee Nation Businesses, which supports the largest Native American tribe in the United States. “The strategic decision to acquire Criterion was made with the evolving needs and long-term success of the customer in mind,” said Steven Bilby, president of Cherokee Federal. “In addition to helping federal agencies address emerging cybersecurity requirements crucial to the protection of our nation, Criterion delivers efficient and secure methodologies and architectures for modernizing government IT that are unparalleled in the industry.” Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Digital hub: Herndon-based data center provider EdgeConneX announced that it has connected its data center located in Barcelona, Spain, to the AFR-IX Barcelona Cable Landing Station (CLS) – a critical entry and exit point between Barcelona, Europe, Africa, and the rest of the world, according to Submarine Telecoms Forum. “The Barcelona CLS connection enables EdgeConneX customers to access new international routes through the submarine cables hosted by the AFR-IX Barcelona CLS,” said Bart Verdouw, senior director solutions architecture EMEA at EdgeConneX. “Importantly, the connection also enables alternative routes to EdgeConneX data centers throughout Europe, including Dublin, Brussels, Amsterdam and Munich. The agreement between AFR-IX telecom and EdgeConneX is an example of how a whole digital ecosystem that will eventually consolidate Barcelona and its metropolitan area as a relevant digital hub in Southern Europe.”

Good health report: The medical office market is in good health in the D.C. region, with a positive demand for medical office properties in 2022, according to JLL’s latest medical office perspective, according to Commercial Observer. In fact, after losing ground in 2021, last year ended with nearly 400,000 square feet of net occupancy gains in the region, while total vacancy reached 10.9 percent, its lowest level since 2018. Notable medical leases in 2022 included Inova‘s 25.592-square-foot lease at 8280 Willow Oaks in Fairfax. And despite economic headwinds in D.C., job postings for health care occupations ended 2022 well above the three-year average, according to the report. “The D.C. metro offers a combination of a strong payer mix, a high median household income, and a solid network of hospitals, health systems, and private health care providers that offer choice, convenience and high quality of care to the population in this region,” said Matthew Coursen, JLL’s mid-Atlantic health care lead. 

Looking for a job? Fort Belvoir is struggling to fill job openings that have caused it to close two gates, even as it tries to expand outreach to the surrounding community following the COVID-19 pandemic, InsideNoVa reported. During a community leaders’ forum Feb. 22 on the installation, Col. Joseph Messina, the garrison commander, noted the installation’s success with readiness, business operations and resiliency, but emphasized its struggle with filling job openings for positions pertaining to base operations. About three-quarters of Fort Belvoir’s tenant population is non-Army. Over 17,000 Department of Defense civilians work on the installation, along with over 1,000 contractors. Messina noted the importance of community presence on base and added that the partnership with the military generates economic benefits and cost savings, strategic regional collaboration, efficiencies and improved government and community relationships. Check out and USAJOBS to find out about civilian job opportunities at Ft. Belvoir.

Contract Wins

BlackSky Technology (Herndon) won a $150 million contract to provide advanced space-based tactical GEOINT-as-a-service to an international ministry of defense customer. citybiz

General Dynamics Information Technology (Falls Church area) obtained an $88.2 million software development contract by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency tol support the Geospatial Intelligence Search and Retrieval  program. Intelligence Community News

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

March 31 – Fairfax County Green Business Partners Forum. Smart City Works, in partnership with Fairfax County Green Business Partners, the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, and the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives on the Green Business Partners Forum. The goal of this Forum is to inform and inspire local business leaders interested in sustainability and to share to learn from businesses already on their sustainable journey. Click here for more information and to register.

September 26-28 – Call for Experts: Connecting the Global Quantum Ecosystem. Quantum World Congress 2023 will occur September 26-28 in the Greater Washington region. It 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. If your expertise and experience position you as a thought leader, then you are invited to complete the speaker application. Please also review the sponsorship packages to explore ways to showcase your brand at the event. Click here for more information.

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, 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.