Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for July 14, 2020

RISE up again: After businesses submitted 6,280 applications, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today will consider a proposal to add an additional $20 million to its Fairfax RISE grant program to support more small businesses and nonprofits facing financial turmoil from the pandemic. The Board of Supervisors initially approved the program in May with $25 million from funds through the CARES Act. The money is targeted to county-based businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and a key priority of the program is to help woman-owned, minority-owned and veteran-owned companies stay in business during the pandemic. Currently the county is not accepting new grant requests. This Tysons Reporter story has more details.

How the FCEDA can help your business: Go to the end of this newsletter to find out how the FCEDA can help your business during the COVID-19 emergency.


Strong as steel: The Fairfax County government, the Economic Development Authority, the Community Business Partnership and the business community have teamed up to enact many initiatives to help those suffering because of the pandemic, notes this Virginia Business piece. Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA, notes that he and many of his contemporaries weathered previous challenges, such as the Black Monday stock market crash of 1987 and the 9/11 attacks. Hoskins compares the durability of Fairfax County’s business community to that of annealed steel. “We come back. We are resilient people. Our character is hard metal. You heat us up, we just get tougher,” Hoskins said. “It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll come back from this, just like we did before.”

Faring favorably: Northern Virginia has fared better than most of the state at the worst point in the economic crisis, according to Stephen Moret, CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, in a keynote presentation for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of Economic Growth event. The state, meanwhile, has done better in terms of percentage of job losses and other indicators than most of the country. “Northern Virginia has done better than just about every other region in the state. …Probably the biggest reason is the large presence directly and indirectly of the federal government,” Moret said. “And professional occupations that really lend themselves to be able to work remotely.” InsideNoVa has more on the event, which also featured the FCEDA’s Victor Hoskins and the leaders of other economic development organizations in the region.

Lend your voice: Are you ready to re-enter the workplace, retail establishments and/or entertainment venues? What about business travel plans? Two surveys are out to gauge public opinion on these topics. The Tysons Partnership created a survey to find out how people feel about heading to offices, retailers and entertainment venues. The survey takes five minutes to complete and has a deadline of July 18, says Tysons Reporter. The second survey, created by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, seeks information from local business leaders about travel plans and policies for their businesses. The closing date for that survey is July 31. Results for both surveys will be posted online after the responses are compiled.

South Alex back on track: Despite the February fire that caused $48 million in damage and virtually destroyed the South Alex development project in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, and the coronavirus’ impacts on the global economy, Andrew McIntyre, executive vice president of Combined Properties, is optimistic about the project’s future. South Alex, with 400 apartments and an Aldi grocery, is now expected to deliver in late 2022 or early 2023, amounting to about an 18-month setback from the previous target of June 2021. Find out in this Washington Business Journal article for subscribers how Combined got the project back on track after the fire.

Counting clouds: Amazon Web Services, which maintains its east coast campus in Herndon, helped the Census Bureau migrate its decennial count website to part of the AWS cloud that is intended for hosting sensitive information. “Using AWS, the Census Bureau is able to scale its operations, securely process enormous amounts of data, and ensure people across the country have the ability to quickly and easily participate,” said Dave Levy, vice president of AWS’ U.S. government arm. GovConWire summed up the story.

Lucid reality: Lucid Motors, a California-based automaker that aims to take on Tesla in the luxury electric-vehicle market, plans to open 20 retail sales and service locations — called Studios — in high-end locations across the country by the end of 2021, including at Tysons Corner Center. CarBuzz got revved up with the news. Tesla has space in the mall too.

Noting sustainability: Reston headquartered SAIC published a “Sustainability and Social Responsibility Report” in the Global Reporting Initiative that noted the company’s advances within sustainable energy and greenhouse gas emissions, corporate governance, commitment to workforce diversity and employee philanthropy. Notably, SAIC announced a 36 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the past four years, according to ExecutiveBiz.

Seismic acquisition: Tysons-based Gladstone Investment announced that it will acquire Placentia, Calif.-based Mason West, which provides seismic restraint and vibration-isolation products. Gladstone is partnering with Chicago-based KCM Capital Partners, along with Mason West’s management team, in the purchase. Publicly traded Gladstone makes investments in middle market companies through both debt and equity participation. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Bringing Reston joy: Herndon-headquartered American Real Estate Partners is bringing in muralist Kelsey Montague to paint the face of the Reston International Center parking garage. The painting of the mural will take place over three days, and will be commemorated on July 17. The mural will be created in an effort to provide “joy and hope” to future community members, visitors and tenants of Reston, according to American Real Estate Partners. The mural will include elements honoring the COVID-19 frontline, recognition of the community’s dedication to wellness, inclusion and racial equality, Reston Now reported.

Safety accolade: Reston Hospital Center received the Healthgrades 2020 Patient Safety Excellence Award–placing it among the top 5 percent of all short-term acute care hospitals reporting patient safety data. During the study period (2016 through 2018) award recipient hospitals demonstrated excellent performance in safeguarding patients in the Medicare population, reported the Reston Connection.

Easing commuting times: A critical project to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow in Reston received $15 million in funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority through its six-year program. The Soapstone Connector will create a new one-mile roadway between Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road, with a bridge built over the Dulles Corridor to provide an additional crossing that is critical to reducing congested areas along Wiehle Avenue. Reston Now drove the story home.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Leidos won a five-year, $379 million contract to provide a non-intrusive system for the Customs and Border Protection agency to inspect railway cargo and vehicles as part of threat-screening procedures. GovConWire

Northrop Grumman received an initial order from the Air Force to supply targeting pods that are equipped with a digital video technology and designed to help aircrews locate targets at a long range. ExecutiveBiz

Featured business events

July 15 — Argentina Technology: Robotic Process Automation. The Northern Virginia Technology Council presents showcasing RPA solutions from Argentina. Click here to register.

July 16 — International Business Committee Series: Life Sciences: India. The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce presents an online webinar featuring participants from across the U.S. and India engaged in various aspects of life sciences, including policy, medical informatics and pharmaceuticals. Click here to register.

July 22 — Business Education Series: How to Effectively Network During Covid. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Randy Jones, wealth management advisor for First Financial Group. Click here to register.

July 23 — The New Normal: Getting Back to Work Safely. The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance presents the 8th webinar in its three-part, 12 session webinar series: “Beyond COVID-19: NOVA Business Resiliency Webinars.” This roundtable discussion will include public health leaders and business owners who are working hard to get us back to The New Normal. Click here to register.

July 23 — Funding US/International Expansion. GMT Global is hosting an interactive webinar for chairs, CEOs, CFOs and COOs from UK tech and digital businesses on connecting with UK and US investors and funders to get practical advice on how to build and accelerate your business in North America and internationally. Panelists include Jan Mul, FCEDA’s director of international business investment.  Click here to register.

July 28 — Diversity and Inclusion Career Event. The NOVA Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce presents an online Diversity and Inclusion Career Event for job seekers to interact with employers via one-on-one live video and text chats. Click here to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

Forward Virginia Phase 3 reopening guidelines: Fairfax County began the third phase of re-opening businesses on Wednesday, July 1. The Forward Virginia plan provides guidelines that all businesses must follow. Residents are still advised that they are “safer at home.” Click here to find out the updated guidelines.

Get business assistance: Continuing business operations in today’s situation is challenging and the FCEDA is working to assist businesses with information and access to critical resources during this emergency. Visit the FCEDA’s Covid-19 Business Resource Hub for up-to-date information, resources and assistance for businesses.

The FCEDA, like other economic development organizations in the region, is working virtually, and our staff is working full-time with businesses of all kinds to offer assistance and direct them to resources. 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.

Here are more useful informational resources:

  • Fairfax County information for businesses impacted by coronavirus: click here
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Virginia: click here
  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program information and other COVID-19 related resources and guidance for small business: click here
  • CDC resources for businesses and employers: click here
  • Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance — links to COVID 19-related resources throughout the region: click here

Get text updates: Fairfax County residents are encouraged to sign up for coronavirus-related text message alerts from the Fairfax County Health Department in order to stay current with important updates. To receive these alerts, text FFXCOVID to 888-777. In addition, residents can send specific questions or concerns related to the coronavirus to ffxcovid@fairfaxcounty.gov. This email account will be staffed Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to respond to question.

Call to action: How is your company reacting to the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis? Is your company developing any technologies, implementing any noteworthy procedures or have advice for other companies on how conduct business more effectively in this situation? Please contact the FCEDA communications division at info@fceda.org with relevant information that we may possibly share with our readers. Thank you for your assistance in these unprecedented time