Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for June 23, 2020

Vote to get this underpass over the top: A recent Public Art Reston project has been named one of the top 100 public art projects in the world by CODAworx, a global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks, and is now competing for the top prize. Created by artist Ben Volta, the project, called: “Thoreau’s Ensemble,” is located in Hunter’s Woods at the Colts Neck Road underpass.  “Thoreau’s Ensemble” is inspired by Reston’s 55 miles of pathways and a quote by poet Henry David Thoreau to, “Pursue some path, however crooked and narrow, in which you can walk with love and reverence,” according to Public Art Reston. You can vote for Thoreau Ensemble by clicking here (the projects are listed by alphabetical order). The voting deadline is June 30. Reston Now notes that 446 nominations from 30 countries were submitted for this year’s CODAawards.

Photos courtesy: Anne Delaney (Public Art Reston)


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.

Business News and Updates

Silicon Valley of the East: In a presentation to investors this month, Comstock Companies, the developer of Reston Station, the mixed-use development near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, declared that a focus on big technology companies is transforming Northern Virginia into the “Silicon Valley of the East.” Comstock inked Google as a major tenant at Reston Station last year, of course.  Reston Now has more about the development. Speaking of big tech, we would be remiss if we didn’t note that Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Facebook as well as Google have made location decisions in Fairfax County since 2019 began.

GO business support: A partnership of Northern Virginia regional organizations will receive $69,600 from a Commonwealth of Virginia COVID-19 recovery fund to build a “Back to Work” website for the region. The partnership consists of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, which includes 10 jurisdictions — including the Fairfax County EDA — aligned to promote Northern Virginia as the best place to do business. InsideNoVa notes that the website will feature information on business continuity, recovery, and worker training and retraining, as well as content that addresses business solutions. The target audience for the site will be businesses of all sizes – especially small businesses — as well as job seekers looking for training opportunities.

Hard-working to the Core: CoreSite, which powers five regional data centers, has kept its essential data center-operations employees on-site during the pandemic to manage security, equipment and installations. A Business Insider article for subscribers focuses on a Fairfax County center and describes how the company has added safety protocols such as cleaning equipment multiple times a day, putting hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, requiring masks, and enforcing social distancing, in response to COVID-19.

Accelerating applications: Herndon-headquartered ViON Corporation won a contract with the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide IT infrastructure to support the SBA’s small business loan systems. The SBA is processing a massive amount of loans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The SBA serves a critical mission for more than 40 million businesses nationwide. As the country shifts dramatically due to the pandemic, we are enabling the SBA to quickly improve their capacity to process loans for the United States business community,” Tom Frana, chairman and CEO of ViON, told Executive Gov.

Tackling addiction: Reston-based Leidos and the Baltimore Ravens have partnered to distribute about 70,000 drug disposal packets to local non-profit chapters across communities in Baltimore as part of the “Tackling Opioid Addiction” campaign to raise awareness for the opioid public health crisis. “We want to do our part to help end the opioid epidemic and address challenges impacting over-all mental health and well-being,” said Melissa Lee Dueñas, senior vice president of Leidos. More than 90 percent of drug and alcohol-related deaths in the city are opioid-related, according to data from the Baltimore City Health Department, Executive Gov reported.

Funding innovation: Fairfax County-based companies are among the tech businesses to receive grant funding from the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF): Onclave Networks, a cybersecurity company based in Tysons received $75,000; Organizing4Innovation, a Tysons-based data analytics company will get $50,450; SCOUT, a small-satellite technology company located in the Alexandria area of the county received nearly $75,000; and Service Robotics & Technologies, an unmanned systems company based in Springfield was designated $75,000. CRCF grants are administered by Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) in Herndon. The grants were among $2.48 million in state research grants awarded to tech firms and universities in Virginia. Virginia Business covered the story.

Snow cone catching outfield: Amazon Web Services, which bases east coast operations in Herndon, launched AWS Snowcone, a small, ultra-portable, rugged and secure edge-computing and data-transfer device. AWS Snowcone was built to withstand harsh conditions and is designed for a variety of use cases in environments outside of the traditional data center that lack consistent network connectivity or require portability. The company’s offering will be able to operate in extreme environments or disconnected remote sites, including oil rigs, first-responder vehicles, military operations, factory floors, remote offices, hospitals, and more, for long periods of time without traditional data-center conditions, Executive Gov reported.

Guarding the grid: Centreville-based Parsons Corporation released Grid Armor, a predictive resiliency technology that helps utility companies to better respond to and prevent potential catastrophic events such as wildfires and major power outages. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to collect real-time data from weather, conductors, video and vegetation to provide simple, meaningful and actionable information that will help utilities better maintain the grid, according to Executive Gov.

Speaking up: Reston-based defense and government contractor SOS International (SOSi) made an investment in Tysons-based software company Applications Technology (AppTek) to develop artificial intelligence and machine learning for its speech recognition and translation service offerings. Founded in 1989, SOSi provides foreign language services to federal and state law enforcement customers. Virginia Business reported on the chatter. 

Netting a bigger network: The First Responder Network Authority Board, based in Reston, approved the first set of investments for enhancing FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network. The board approved more than $200 million for initial network upgrades to set FirstNet on the path to 5G network connectivity and to expand equipment. “The Board’s actions set the network on a path to 5G and will boost on-demand coverage for public safety,” said FirstNet Authority Board Chair Edward Horowitz. Homeland Preparedness News has more.

Diving deeper: Tysons-headquartered MITRE and MSI Transducers Corp are collaborating on a project with Troy, N.Y.-based Lithoz, an advanced ceramic 3D-printing technology company, to develop more advanced underwater acoustic transducers for communication systems. Ceramic 3D printing is emerging as a key option for the future of communication systems, on land and now underwater as well, according to 3D Printing Media Network.

Patient platform: Reston-based careMESH, a healthcare technology startup, has closed on a $5 million seed round of funding led by Falls Church-based Assurance Capital and Pavey Family Investments, along with other early-stage investors. The company developed a healthcare communications platform that includes patient event notifications, communications, and workflow applications that are used by hospitals and healthcare organizations. It also has developed a national provider directory with over 5.1 million listings for health practitioners and organizations. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Streamlining software: DocASAP, a Herndon-based healthcare software company, said it has raised a new funding round led by Optum Ventures. The amount of the round was not disclosed; the company said it has raised a total of $29.5 million to date. Proceeds from the newest funding round will be used for product development. “DocASAP’s platform helps streamline and expand patient and health members’ access to care, enabling them to use online tools and mobile devices to navigate to the right care provider and setting at the right time throughout their healthcare journey,” the company said. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Down at the drive-in: The Boro mixed-use development in Tysons is now hosting drive-in movies. On select days through July 11, classic family movies will be shown at the lot of the former NADA headquarters at 8400 Westpark Drive. Movies are sponsored by The Boro’s ShowPlace ICON Theatre, which opened earlier this year, McLean Patch reports. A short drive away, drive-in movies will be shown in the Mosaic District starting this Friday, June 26. People will be able to watch the movies from the seventh floor of the Market parking lot across from Moms Organic, every fourth Friday of each month through August. Check out the Tysons Reporter to see the mosaic of movies lined up. And The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton is now offering a drive-in movie theater on its 55-acre campus, with movies showing on Friday and Saturday evenings, according to Potomac Local.

Let the sun shine in: Fairfax County is a great place to use solar energy with no-fee permitting for commercial and residential solar systems, tax exemptions for homeowners and businesses who install solar and, for the fourth year in a row, the Solarize program, to provide bulk discounts on solar arrays and technology. Typically run during the spring, Solarize 2020 was delayed due to COVID-19 but is open now through August 31. As in past years, the program will provide county residents and businesses the opportunity to install solar systems at a discount through a pre-qualified installer, Solar Energy World. Find out more in Fairfax County Government News.

Shining a light on then and now: In business since Ronald Reagan was president, Artisan Lamp, which sells fine antique lighting from its location in Merrifield, has evolved from a mom-and-pop storefront on a first-name basis with clients into a niche retailer whose online audience stretches from Taiwan to Italy. Cyrus Manafzadeh, 72, the shop’s owner, moved the operation to Fairfax County after more than 40 years in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Thomas Health penned a column about the retailer for the Washington Post.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Northrop Grumman won a five-year, $89.6 million contract to help the Army design, build and sustain long-range radar systems. GovConWire

Alion Science and Technology received a 36-month, $40 million task order to support Naval Surface Warfare Center by providing sustainment and development of expeditionary weapon systems. Executive Gov

Peraton scored a $56 million contract by the U.S. Space Force’s Commercial Satellite Communications Office to provide satellite communication services to U.S. Central Command. Executive Biz

PAE secured a four-year, $25.1 million Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East contract to install, test and maintain heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan. Executive Biz

Featured business events

June 24: Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance. NAIOP Northern Virginia presents two panel discussions to learn how regional economic development leaders, including FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins, plan to position the region for the future. Members of the newly formed Alliance will discuss the plan and components of marketing Northern Virginia, their work on economic recovery and workforce attraction, retention and retraining issues. Click here to register.

June 24: Business Education Series: Is Your Resistance to Change Killing Your Momentum? A Formula to Help: The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring business coach David Dillon. Click here to register.

June 25: Back to Business…But How?: The Dulles Area Transportation Association presents a panel discussion featuring: Victor Hoskins, President and CEO, FCEDA; Ben Safran, Associate Partner – DC Office, McKinsey & Company; Christopher Paolino, Deputy Vice President for Strategy, Business Transformation & Performance, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority; Bryan Hill, County Executive, Fairfax County; and Ali Lauzon, Operations Associate, McKinsey & Company as moderator. Click here to register.

June 26: Business Success Series: Next Steps for PPP Loan Forgiveness. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Dee Kakar and Dayana Villanueva of M&T Bank. Click here to register.

July 14: 2020 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 2 reopening guidelines: Fairfax County began the second phase of re-opening businesses on Friday, June 12. 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 times.