Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for Feb. 16, 2021

(Image courtesy of Comstock Holdings)

Another first in Virginia: Reston-based Comstock Holdings will bring a JW Marriott hotel to Reston Station as it seeks to forge ahead with the next phase of the 60-plus-acre mixed-use development in Fairfax County. Slated to deliver in 2024, the $250 million project will also feature 90 luxury residences. The hotel, which will be managed by Fairfax-headquartered Crescent Hotels and Resorts Management and will be the first JW Marriott in Virginia, will be located at Reston Station Boulevard and Wiehle Avenue in what is planned as the first phase of the Reston Row district. Subsequent construction will include two office towers combining for more than 500,000 square feet, a 350-unit multifamily building, and 65,000 square feet of retail, service and fitness spaces, and more. The buildings will surround a 1.2-acre central park with outdoor amenities and entertainment functions, reported Washington Business Journal.

Top grade: Inova Fairfax Hospital in Merrifield earned a top 100 spot, among the leading two percent, on the Healthgrades 2021 list recognizing the top 250 hospitals in the United States. Inova Fairfax also ranked in the top 50 for best cardiac surgery and top 100 for best cardiac care and stroke care. The America’s Best Hospitals list is based on hospital performance, clinical outcomes, patient safety and patient experience. Nearly 4,500 hospitals across the country are surveyed and analyzed for their treatment of 32 conditions and procedures, including heart attack, heart failure, respiratory failure, sepsis and stroke, reported Virginia Business.

Helping Black businesses: Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheila Dixon told McLean Patch she knows about the prediction that 40 percent of Black-owned businesses aren’t expected to make it past the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that many Black business owners did not receive Paycheck Protection Program loans in the first round. Dixon said the biggest challenge for Black businesses is access to capital, but marketing and communications are other areas that businesses can be helped with. With its goal of putting Black-owned businesses on the path to success, the chamber offers professional development resources, marketing opportunities and educational webinars to help members manage and grow their businesses. Volunteers are sought to help with social media and outreach to members, as well as suggestions from the community on helping the chamber expand. The Northern Virginia Black Chamber is an FCEDA partner.

Events dish: While the events industry has been severely hurt by the pandemic, Tysons-based CVENT CEO and Founder Reggie Aggarwal says Cvent is back to hiring again, including engineers, customer service sales and marketing. CVENT had to lay off or furlough roughly 10 percent of its workforce, or about 430 people overall, last year. The first half of 2021 will be “touch and go” for the events industry, Aggarwal predicts, as so much still depends on the vaccine rollout. But even when in-person events return, he expects the online component will be here to stay, ushering in an age of “hybrid events” that allow for organizations to maximize both in-person and online experiences, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Boldly going into the future: Amazon Web Services, which bases its east coast operations in Herndon, is keeping its sights on the space sector and is looking to attract new customers by offering more customized services such as cloud-based satellite operations and mission control. “AWS is moving into space in a very big way,” said Clinton Crosier, director of aerospace and satellite solutions at Amazon Web Services. “We built a team of experts from across every facet of the space industry,” according to Space News.

Getting the ball: NASA selected Ball Aerospace, which is based in Colorado and has major ops in Chantilly, to develop a spacecraft that would help the agency study the atmosphere’s outermost region that transitions into space as part of the agency’s Heliophysics Science Mission of Opportunity. The company said the spacecraft would be used to track the hydrogen-based ultraviolet light found in the region for the study, reported ExecutiveBiz.

Keeping the roof overhead: Herndon-based Beacon Roofing Supply, a Fortune 500 roofing and building supplies company,  has closed an $850 million deal to sell its interior products business. The company sold its interiors division to Foundation Building Materials of Santa Ana, Calif. Beacon said expects after-tax proceeds of $750 million from the transaction, and will put it toward reducing leverage, strengthening its balance sheet and future growth, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Changing of the guard: Mac Curtis, the president, chairman and CEO of Chantilly-based federal IT contractor Perspecta, plans to retire this year after Peraton closes on its $7.1 billion acquisition of Perspecta, which was announced on Jan. 27 and expected to occur during the first half of 2021. Peraton Chairman, President and CEO Stu Shea will oversee the combined companies, which will retain the Peraton name. Virginia Business has more.

Growth-oriented acquisition: Serco Group’s North American division, headquartered in Herndon, has agreed to acquire Reston-based management consultancy Whitney, Bradley & Brown for $295 million in a move to grow acquisition and program management service offerings for the Department of Defense. Dave Dacquino, chairman and CEO of Serco, said the deal is “a growth-oriented acquisition” and a move that is in line with the company’s service expansion strategy that covers the U.S. Air Force, Army, Missile Defense Agency, Office of the Secretary of Defense and other key accounts, GovConWire reported.

Intell add: Following up with its first-ever acquisition of Herndon-based Knowledge Link last month, Fairfax-headquartered Axiologic Solutions is eyeing further expansion in the intelligence sector, wrote Washington Business Journal reporter Carten Cordell. Axiologic doubled its employee base to 250 and revenue to $90 million with the Knowledge Link buy. “By scaling up, I don’t want to do that at a cost of reducing our value and what we are doing for our clients,” said Axiologic managing partner and co-founder Michael Chavira. “For instance, we were missing a lot of our financial management services — that wasn’t in our wheelhouse. Well, now it is. We want to continue doing that. I’m happy to do another acquisition this year, another two acquisitions, if we can make it work.”

Cold case solved: Parabon NanoLabs in Reston helped solve another cold case. Police in Greeley, Colo., used Parabon technology to solve a 20-year-old kidnapping and sexual assault  case using a suspect’s DNA. On Sept. 18, 2001, a 7-year-old girl was walking to school when she was kidnapped. Last year Greeley police sent a sample of the suspect’s DNA to Parabon, which specializes in Snapshot DNA phenotyping, the process of predicting a person’s physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence. The Snapshot DNA phenotyping was paired with genealogical research, which lead to the identification of a suspect. Although the suspect died in 2014, evidence from his autopsy was collected and it was found to match the suspect DNA collected in 2001. The victim and her family were notified of the discovery, reported Fox Denver News.

Cellebrite good times: Cellebrite, an Israeli company which has an office in Tysons, partnered with Axon, headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., a body camera maker, to integrate the two companies’ evidence management platforms. Axon’s Evidence.com product, which police and other body camera users store and analyze their video on, will be integrated with Cellebrite’s digital evidence management platform in mid-2021. “By enabling our solutions to work seamlessly together, we empower investigations with one point of evidentiary management, delivering industry-leading tools that agencies can use to securely manage, analyze and review data, and build prosecution-ready single-case files,” said Cellebrite CSO Leeor Ben-Peretz, government technology reported.

How o’ how: Chantilly-based Whereoware CEO Michael Mathias provided his advice on how to grow a marketing career in an interview with Authority Magazine. Established in 1999, Whereoware is a full-service digital agency with more than 75 employees. Commenting about his company, Mathias said: “Whereoware is big enough to matter but small enough to care. What I mean by that is we typically play against companies that are substantially larger than we are. We punch way above our weight class for our size and our resources.”

Supporting STEM: Northern Virginia Technology Council, the membership and trade association representing the tech community in Northern Virginia, announced its new NVTC Foundation Kilberg Scholarship Fund. The fund, which has raised an initial $110,000, will provide financial support for women in the region who are pursuing higher education in STEM-related fields and demonstrate potential in the technology field. Kilberg retired as the NVTC’s president and CEO last year after leading the organization for 22 years. The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia will manage scholarship fund. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Big strides: Herndon-based online education provider Stride (formerly K12) has selected 47 recipients for the first round of its $10 million investment to provide education options for underserved Black students. The funding was disbursed through Stride’s We Stand Together Scholarships program, which was first announced in September 2020. The first cohort will receive tuition-free full-time enrollment to Stride’s online K12 Private Academy for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. “A stronger, more inclusive nation begins with economic empowerment, academic equity and career readiness for all, and we are proud to extend that opportunity to more students through this new scholarship,” Stride CEO James Rhyu said, Virginia Business reported.

Dashing through the pandemic: DoorDash launched a new $450,000 grant program for Virginia restaurants in partnership with the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association. Grants of $3,500 will be awarded to recipients chosen by judges from the restaurant and tourism industries. Grants will be distributed across Virginia and prioritize businesses that have not benefitted from other financial assistance. Additionally, a minimum of 20 percent of the funds will be earmarked to minority-owned and/or women-owned businesses. Northern Virginia Daily has more.

Another Tysons transformation: A new pedestrian bridge and shared-use trail linking Tysons Corner Center to the McLean Metro station is on track to start construction this summer. The project will introduce a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over the Capital Beltway, along with a 4,662-foot-long, 10-foot-wide path between I-495 and Route 123 along the west side of Old Meadow Road, reported Tysons Reporter.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Science Applications International Corp. won an $830 million contract from the Army to continue its work on engineering and integration services for aviation systems. Washington Business Journal

L3Harris Technologies secured a $300 million subcontract from the Navy to provide subsystems and related integration services for a new class of guided-missile frigates being developed by Fincantieri Marinette Marine. ExecutiveBiz

Perspecta won a $201.5 million contract from the Defense Information Systems to provide content delivery services at government data centers both in the United States and worldwide. Virginia Business

Salient CRGT received a five-year, $175 million  contract from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for information technology service desk and field engineer support. ExecutiveBiz

Leidos won a $162 million contract from the Federal Trade Commission to work on the commission’s Sentinel Network Services program by gathering complaints and providing information for consumers while offering protection services. Virginia Business

Parsons Corporation secured a five-year, $69 million contract from the Army Research Laboratory to develop technology that will provide United States warfighters with the technological edge as part of the Army’s future vision. Intelligence Community News

Featured business events

TODAY at 11 a.m. – noon ET — Filling the Gap: Finding and Upskilling Talent Across Northern Virginia. The FCEDA presents a  webinar to focus on new and innovative ways for businesses, government agencies and non-profits to attract and train qualified job applicants. Click here for more information and to register.

January 23-February 18 — Smart City Challenge. Smart City Works, Refraction, Fairfax County, Girls in Tech DC, The Universities at Shady Grove, and Virginia Tech will host the first annual Smart City Challenge. The Smart City Challenge is an innovation competition, in which teams create high-impact solutions to address the toughest smart city challenges in sectors including housing, transportation, health, broadband, energy, education, water, infrastructure, and public safety. Click here to register.

February 18 — Starship Technologies: R2D2 Delivers to Keep You Safe. The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA), of which the FCEDA is a member, presents a webinar focused on how Fairfax City restaurants and stores are using Starship Technologies robots for deliveries. This session is part of the Catalyst for Change webinar series produced by the NOVA EDA.  Click here to register.

February 18 — Planes, Trains, and Toll Lanes: Development Along the Silver Line Extension. ULI Washington presents a webinar about development along Metro’s Silver Line, including a focus on projects in Tysons, Reston and Herndon. FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins is event emcee. Click here to register.

February 24 — Business Education Series: PPP Round Two – What You Need to Know. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is hosting a webinar featuring David Hincapie, economic development specialist, Small Business Administration, who will present timely information for applying for this round of funding. Presenters will also include Dayana Villanueva, vice president, M&T Bank, and Joey Musmar, managing partner, MillerMusmar CPAs, who will be taking questions from attendees. 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. Visit the FCEDA’s Covid-19 Business Resource Hub for up-to-date 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.

Virginia measures to contain COVID-19

The following measures took effect on December 14 in Virginia to contain the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19:

  • Modified Stay at Home Order: All individuals in Virginia must remain at their place of residence between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.
  • Universal mask requirement: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person. This order expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29, and requires all individuals aged five and over to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public settings outside of their own household. These changes are consistent with new CDC guidelines, released December 4, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings.
  • Reduction in social gatherings: All social gatherings must be limited to 10 individuals, down from the current cap of 25 people. Social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, regardless of whether they occur indoors or outdoors. This does not apply to religious services, employment settings, or educational settings. Restaurants and retail stores are already governed by strict social distancing requirements, and are not included in this limit.
  • Continued limits on dining establishments: Virginia restaurants are currently governed by strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, which remain in place. The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol remains prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.
  • Teleworking: Employees that can telework are strongly encouraged to do so.

Find out more by clicking here.