Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for July 21, 2020

We’re #1 (for IT job postings too):  As COVID-19 drove unemployment rates upward and job openings downward, the Washington, D.C., region ranked as the number-one metropolitan area for IT job postings in March, April and May, bolstered by the likes of Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google and Facebook. Read more in The Verge about the regional stats and Northern Virginia’s stable tech ecosystem. While you’re at it, check out this new website, www.workinnorthernvirginia.com, that the FCEDA developed to promote the region as a great place to work, live and play.

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.


Safety first, Virginia: Virginia is the first state in the nation to adopt statewide emergency workplace safety measures. Gov. Ralph Northam said the rules are intended to protect Virginia workers by mandating appropriate personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infectious disease preparedness and response plans. Guidelines also include record keeping, training and hazard communications. “Workers should not have to sacrifice their health and safety to earn a living, especially during an ongoing global pandemic,” Northam said. Find out more about the new regulations in Virginia Business.

He spoke about “hub-and-spoke”: The 400,000 square-foot deal Microsoft signed at Reston Town Center in May was one of the region’s biggest leasing wins during a year slowed by the coronavirus pandemic, but FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins sees more deals coming. The anticipated leasing activity can be attributed in part to the “hub-and-spoke” strategy some companies are pursuing, as they look to open suburban satellite offices to keep their employees from having to commute downtown, Hoskins said during Bisnow’s “Reopening Fairfax County” webinar. “It’s because of this positioning, this hub-and-spoke opportunity, the long-term companies that are landing here, and there’s a synergy building up,” said Hoskins. Read more in Bisnow.

Resiliency rebound: Prior to the pandemic, Northern Virginia’s office leasing market was trending up, with vacancy rates tapering down. Wei Xie, associate director, CBRE, said that this indicates a likely strong recovery for the market once the broad economy rebounds from the public health crisis. “Given the composition of our local economy with a heavy concentration on professional services jobs and knowledge workers, our employment market has held notably steadier compared to the U.S. overall, which fares well for the office real estate market,” Xie said. See Commercial Observer to read more on the resiliency of Northern Virginia’s office leasing market.

Reaching new heights: Capital One’s construction in its Tysons campus is continuing, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but its plan for building a hotel has pivoted to instead constructing an office building. The structure, which will be built on 2.03 acres next to Capital One’s 470-foot-tall headquarters skyscraper, will be 305 feet tall, 55 feet taller than was previously approved for the hotel, according to InsideNoVa.

It’s academic: Herndon-based online education provider K12 plans to hire more than 1,300 educators for the 2020 through 2021 school year because of the massive push to move education online during the pandemic. K12 currently employs 6,000 teachers who have specialized training in online education, and the company sells online curriculum and schooling to more than 2,000 schools among all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries, Virginia Business reported.

Accelerating innovation: Tysons-based MITRE’s internal research-and-development efforts and talent have been reorganized into a single unit called MITRE Labs to “accelerate innovation and disruptive solutions in the public interest,” according to MITRE. Comprised of almost half of its overall workforce, MITRE Labs will aim to further extend the parent organization’s impact across federally-funded research-and-development centers and with partners in academia and industry, Washington Technology reported.

Driving tech: George Batsakis, EVP and chief strategy officer of 1901 Group, based in Reston, spoke about automation and IoT on June 18 at a CNBC virtual event: “The New Convergence: Driving Better Outcomes.” Hosted by CNBC reporters and anchors, the event brought together influential voices on the future of work in small group discussions to explore how companies can use converging technology to find the best workers. InsideNoVa picked up a release.

Clearing the air: ABC7 in Washington did a story about concerns about heating and air conditioning systems as schools consider how to reopen during the pandemic, and talked with Serene Al-Momen, CEO of Tysons-based Senseware, which develops technology to monitor environmental conditions of buildings. Al-Momen, who also teaches at George Mason University, voiced concern that some school buildings are not equipped for students to return due to their poor heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units.

Cloud conversation: Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, which maintains its east coast campus in Herndon, discussed how cloud-based services have expanded the at-home economy in the COVID-19 era, the rapid growth of cloud, and the innovation stemming from cloud services in the July 14 video edition of the CERAWeek Conversations series. “What’s happened over the last seven or eight years is that the enterprise and the public sector have started to adopt AWS and the cloud in a very pervasive way,” Jassy said, according to GovConWire.

Linking the chain: Reston-based Carahsoft partnered with San Francisco-based Chainkit to deliver military grade cybersecurity, forensics and compliance to the public sector. Under the agreement, Carahsoft will make Chainkit for Splunk software available to the public sector and the company’s reseller partners. ExecutiveBiz has more.

Cloud control: Google, which has operations in Reston, launched a workload management platform based on Google Cloud that’s designed to enable U.S. government customers to create a controlled environment in line with security and compliance requirements. The tool works to automatically enforce U.S. locations and restricts the integration of new resources to designated Google Cloud regions, reported ExecutiveBiz.

Super-cali-fragilistic-forecasting: Falls Church area-headquartered General Dynamics’ Information Technology (GDIT) installed an update to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hera CS500 supercomputer that supports modeling work for weather monitoring efforts, enabling it to rank 88th in Top500.org’s list of fastest supercomputers in the world, according to GDIT.  The weather-related report was brought to you by ExecutiveBiz.

A larger field of vision: Herndon-based HawkEye 360 completed its environmental-testing activities for a new cluster of radio frequency-based geospatial-intelligence satellites slated to launch later this year. The three satellites will handle radio frequency data processing and geolocation operations for applications such as maritime radar transmission, emergency beacons, and very high-frequency marine radios to support U.S. and international customers. John Serafini, CEO of HawkEye, said the radio frequency geoanalytics effort is meant to support missions beyond defense and intelligence to include animal poaching, human trafficking and illegal fishing, according to ExecutiveBiz.

Not a lot: Some parking lots at Fair Oaks Mall could be replaced with new development. Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to reduce the minimum parking requirements at several large shopping centers, including Fair Oaks Mall. The development’s owner, Taubman Centers, pressed for the change, arguing the county’s parking standards were outdated and preventing new development on underused lots at the mall. Washington Business Journal drove details onto its site.

Crescendo by car: Merrifield-based Crescendo Studios is hosting a drive-in concert series this summer with a band line-up representing a variety of music genres and local artists. The opening act for each show will begin at 8:15 to 8:45 p.m. before the headliner act hits the enclosed performance space. A video of the performance will be projected on a 180” screen outside of the building and the sound will be transmitted via FM transmitter to car radios. Tysons Reporter tuned readers in to news of the upcoming shows.

Rockin’ on: Friday Night Live, the free outdoor summer concert series that has been held on the Town Green in Herndon for 25 summers will be back on July 24 and July 31 on a virtual basis. The organizers say they are still working on getting back to live performances on the Green this summer, but for now, the shows will be livestreamed, according to a Friday Night Live Facebook post. The series is presented by Volkswagen Group of America and produced by the Herndon Chamber Committee of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Herndon.

Tysons is for drive-ins: More drive-in movies are coming to the area, with Wolf Trap getting in the act to host several drive-in events in August. According to the event guidelines, no walk-ins or bikes will be allowed, and movie-goers must stay in their vehicles, according to Tysons Reporter. Drive-in movies are also being shown at three Tysons locations, as well as in Merrifield and Lorton. Click here to find out more.

Keeping it clear: The Boro in Tysons plans keep a section of Boro Place as pedestrian-only, with extended outdoor seating, as well as live entertainment on Friday evenings after its drive-in movie series ends. The Boro set up the space when it unveiled its drive-in movies as a response to the pandemic, according to their social media posts, Tysons Reporter kept us current with The Boro’s tweets.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

General Dynamics won a five-year, $249 million contract to build a small multipurpose equipment transport vehicle for the Army. GovConWire

Alion Science and Technology secured a five-year, $51 million contract from the Air Force to explore opportunities for a potential early network deployment in radio communication spectrum bands. GovConWire

Perspecta Labs landed a $37 million contract to develop network hardware to speed up complex computing applications for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Virginia Business

Leidos secured a $35 million from the Army to operate and sustain an aerial system used to neutralize improvised explosive devices. ExecutiveBiz

ICF received a five-year, $9 million contract to craft a framework for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement emerging information technology across public health programs. ExecutiveBiz

Featured business events

July 22 — Rebuilding Business: A Look Ahead at Start-ups, Innovation Districts and the Future of Economic Development. Smart City Works presents speakers such as FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins), panel discussions and company presentations as part of its spring/summer Demo Day. Click here to register.

July 22 — 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. The session is part of the chamber’s Business Education Series. Click here to register.

July 23 — The New Normal: Getting Back to Work Safely. The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance presents the eighth webinar in its 12-session 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.

July 29 — Trade and Investment Opportunities, Tamil Nadu State, India and Virginia, USA. The US India SME Council presents a webinar focusing on trade and investment opportunities between Virginia and the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Click here to register.

August 5 —  Construction Tech: Opportunities for U.S.-Israel Collaboration in Northern Virginia. The FCEDA, BIRD Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, and Smart City Works present a roundtable webinar featuring speakers from construction, development, and consulting firms; and from the Israeli Embassy. 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