Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for Feb. 2, 2021

Air & Space Innovation webinar series continues Feb. 3, 10

Watch this video featuring Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA, who will be a keynote speaker during the FCEDA’s Air & Space Innovation webinar event, tomorrow, February 3. Join us for the second day of a free three-part international webinar series that highlights the latest innovative technologies in aviation and space for commercial and defense applications – many of which are being developed or advanced in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia. Tomorrow’s focus will be on “Space Innovation, Novel Communications and Expeditions.” The Feb. 10 session will spotlight “Defense Innovation in Air and Space.”

Click here to register and to see the agendas and list of speakers.


Halcyon days ahead: Halcyon, a Georgetown-based business incubator, is offering start-up or new entrepreneurial Washington, D.C. area-based businesses with a chance to join its new Opportunity Intensive incubator program. Fairfax County is a strong supporter of this project as a means to grow and expand its start-up entrepreneurial business base and encourages all eligible county businesses to apply. The Opportunity Intensive is a 10-month program designed to equip early-stage entrepreneurs with the support they need to transform their ideas into scalable and sustainable ventures. To be eligible to join the cohort, ventures must have a for-profit component, be located in or primarily serve an opportunity zone, and demonstrate social impact. Act quickly! Applications for the 2021 Opportunity Intensive Fellowship are due by 5 p.m. February 11.

Funding entrepreneurs of color: The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) and Fairfax-based Freedom Bank of Virginia announced a $50,000 revolving loan fund for Northern Virginia entrepreneurs of color who have been affected by the pandemic. NVTC and Freedom Bank of Virginia will seed the NOVA Technology Loan Fund, a gap financing program to be administered by the Springfield-based nonprofit Community Business Partnership (CBP). “Freedom Bank dedicated itself in 2020 to helping clients and small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic and to a reinvigorated commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives,” Freedom Bank president and CEO Joe Thomas said. “Therefore, this partnership is an ideal fit and a platform where Freedom and its program partners can make a real difference.” Virginia Business has more.

Finding food trucks: Fairfax-based startup Goodfynd was named no. 9 in Technical.ly’s “20 most promising D.C. tech companies.” Founded in 2018, this Black-owned startup curates a Saas-based platform that connects consumers to the nearest food trucks and vendors. Despite being bootstrapped and weathering the pandemic, the startup hit its $100,000 revenue mark last July and was also crowned one of the winners of the Dominion Energy Innovation Center’s annual pitch competition. Since participating in the Lighthouse Labs accelerator back in 2019, Goodfynd has expanded across the DMV region with more than 400 food trucks using its platform.

Momentum builds for Thompson: Reston-based Thompson Hospitality Founder and President Warren Thompson said the company laid off 75 percent of its workforce when business to its 22 restaurants plummeted nationwide at the height of the pandemic. Its team is still down today to about half of what it was in 2019, retaining around 3,000 employees and bringing in $600 million in revenue in 2020. But even with that dip in business, Thompson says he hopes to expand the company’s reach through several acquisitions in early 2021 and keep momentum going in 2022 with a goal of opening a new restaurant every other week. “Our acquisitions now are targeted at businesses better suited to takeout and delivery — smaller spaces,” Thompson told the Washington Business Journal. He also graces the cover of the February issue of Virginia Business magazine and is featured in a cover story about passing along leadership lessons to the next generation of Black business people.

Adieu, Atos: Three weeks after receiving an unsolicited and nonbinding offer to purchase all of its shares, the board of Tysons-based Fortune 500 IT services company DXC Technology turned down the proposal from Paris-based IT company Atos SE, DXC announced Monday. According to DXC’s statement, the board determined Atos’ offer was too low and lacked certainty, and the companies agreed to discontinue further discussions. News reports last month placed the potential deal around $10 billion. Virginia Business has more, merci beaucoup.

Gaining perspective: Chantilly-based federal contractor Perspecta will be acquired for $7.1 billion by Herndon-based national security contractor Peraton, an affiliate of private investment firm Veritas Capital, in an all-cash deal. Perspecta will combine with Peraton under the transaction, which is expected to close during the first half of the year. “Together with Peraton and with the flexibility Perspecta will have as a private company supported by Veritas, Perspecta will be well positioned to build on our momentum and continue executing on customer commitments as Perspecta delivers cyber, digital-transformation and mission-focused solutions,” said Perspecta Chairman and CEO Mac Curtis. Virginia Business has more on the deal.

Hiring spree: Fast-growing software company ScienceLogic is prepping for a hiring spree this year. The Reston company ended 2020 with a little over 400 people and plans to hire about 150 more over the coming year, CEO Dave Link told the Washington Business Journal, boosting headcount by roughly 40 percent in the coming months. “This market is really blowing up. So this investment in people is our sincere attempt to expand on the leadership position we have,” Link said.

Best in Virginia: Modern Technology Solutions Inc., based in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County, landed at no. 10 for best large employers in Virginia’s Business magazine’s annual “Best Places to Work in Virginia” list of 100 companies. Best Companies Group made its selection based on surveys conducted with the companies and their employees. Companies landing in the top 10 for midsize employers included no. 2: Quartus Engineering (Herndon); no. 4 Dynamis (Fairfax); and No. 5 Mayvin (Annandale). The top 10 companies on the small companies list included: No. 2: ThunderCat Technology (Reston); No. 4: SmartEdgeIT (Herndon); and No. 7: Cassaday & Company (Tysons). Many other Fairfax County- and Northern Virginia-based companies placed on the lists. Check it out by clicking here.

Catching a ride: SpaceX blasted off another rocket into the record books on January 24 with the first mission of its “SmallSat Rideshare” program. The Falcon 9 rocket carried 143 spacecraft into orbit, including three formation-flying, radio frequency geolocating microsatellites developed by Herndon-headquartered HawkEye 360. The flight set a global record for the most spacecraft launched at once. SpaceNews brought us onboard with the news.

Avoiding crashes at sea: Reston-based maritime technology company SailPlan is partnering with Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) to accelerate the development of its intelligent-vessel navigation platform and shoreside vessel control. SailPlan will provide real-time fleet location and health monitoring to MMA’s Shore Control Center. SailPlan’s cloud-based route exchange capability will allow autonomous vessels to mitigate collision risks while optimizing routing for efficiency, MarineLink reported.

Mind the Gap: Named Virginia’s most active investor by CB Insights for the past six years, Herndon-based CIT GAP Funds investments have helped create more than 6,500 new jobs in the Commonwealth in 15 years. The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) shared some stats about its early-stage investment fund in the 2020 CIT GAP Funds Impact Report. Since its inception in 2005, CIT GAP Funds has invested $32.4 million in capital into its more than 240 portfolio startups. “During an economically and emotionally challenging year for Virginia’s startup ecosystem, we believe that the outcomes detailed in our 2020 CIT GAP Funds Impact Report reflect the Commonwealth’s entrepreneurial vitality, economic and social diversity, and community spirit,” said CIT GAP Funds managing director Tom Weithman, according to Technical.ly.

Go tech go: Amazon Web Services, which maintains its East Coast office hub in Herndon, introduced GoTechStart, a new technology accelerator program aimed at helping government-focused startups use AWS tools to develop technologies for public-sector applications. The company intends to use its virtual GovTechStart program to invest in early-stage startups seeking to work with U.S. state and local governments on initiatives that encompass smart cities, transportation, public safety, health and human services, elections and the judicial system, ExecutiveBiz reported.

Game on! Tysons-based Tegna is purchasing the Locked On Podcast Network, which specializes in podcasts on local sports. With the acquisition, Tegna is growing its podcast presence, which already includes VAULT Studios and stations’ podcasting efforts, as well as building on its overall sports footprint. Locked On produces daily shows for every team across the four major professional sports leagues, as well as more than 30 college sports programs. TV Tech scored this news.

New store concept in bloom: Bloomingdale’s is reportedly unveiling a new type of store as it works to expand in pandemic times. The retailer’s small-format concept, dubbed Bloomie’s, is set to open this fall in the Mosaic District shopping complex. It is expected to span roughly 22,000 square feet — a departure from the chain’s average department store size, which measures about 200,000 square feet. The move follows Macy’s experiments with Market by Macy’s, a small format similarly situated away from enclosed malls. Retail Dive reported on the new shopping trend.

Give me Liberty and give me Lidl: A 30,000-square-foot Lidl grocery store will anchor Liberty Market, a new retail center that is coming to the grounds of the old Lorton Reformatory. Elm Street Development will also build a new multi-tenant retail building to complete the shopping center. The two new buildings, plus the seven existing historic structures at the site, will make up Liberty Market, inside the old brick walls that surround the center. Liberty Market is the commercial component of the 80-acre project called Liberty that is transforming the old D.C. prison complex. Part of the campus has been transformed into a residential community with 172 apartments and 180 single-family homes and townhouses. The Lorton Reformatory operated from 1910 until 2001, when the final prisoners were moved and the complex closed, reported InsideNoVa.

Helix, yeah: Amazon unveiled plans for a larger and even more distinctive building to anchor the main phase of its second headquarters in Arlington. The designs for PenPlace feature three 22-story office buildings totaling 2.8 million square feet, 2.1 acres of green space and “The Helix,” a 370,000-square-foot conch shell-like structure that will tower above all nearby high rises. The company expects its soaring spiral to house collaborative work spaces for employees, including a 1,500-person below-grade meeting center, plus indoor garden spaces, an artist-in-residence program, and an outdoor hill climb that the public will be invited to tour on select weekends. The Washington Business Journal has more in a piece for subscribers.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Northrop Grumman won a $155 million contract from the Missile Defense Agency to work on space-based sensor technology for defending against hypersonic weapons. Virginia Business

Alion Science and Technology received a five-year, $87 contract from the Navy to help the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Port Hueneme Division develop a vertical launching system and live, virtual and constructive training equipment. GovConWire

Akima subsidiary RiverTech secured a $45.7 million contract from the Air Force to provide to provide functional support at eight Air Force bases. WashingtonExec

Featured business events

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 3, February 10 — Air & Space Innovation webinar series. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority continues its three-part international webinar series focused on the latest technologies in aviation and space for commercial and defense applications. The spotlight on day 2 (Feb. 3) will be “Space Innovation, Novel Communications and Expeditions.” Day 3 (Feb. 10) will focus on “Defense Innovation in Air & Space.” Click here to register.

February 4 — Housing Production and Affordability. CREW DC presents a panel discussion to explore housing challenges and creative solutions needed to address the housing affordability crisis and enhance the region’s economic competitiveness. Click here to register.

February 9 — PPP Round 2 and Business Resources. The FCEDA, in partnership with the Small Business Administration, Fairfax County Office of Economic Initiatives, the Community Business Partnership, SCORE and Start Small Think Big present a webinar featuring Antonio Doss, district director, SBA; and panel discussion featuring Mark Scarano, executive director, Community Business Partnership; Elizabeth Rogers, legal fellow at Start Small Think Big; and Kristin Sharpe, volunteer small business mentor, SCORE. Click here to register.

February 10 — Communicating In Style! Maximizing Business Engagements. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents an interactive webinar session featuring David Dillon, certified business coach, executive coach & trainer. The session is part of the chamber’s Business Education Series. Click here to register.

February 16 — 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.

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. Registration opens soon. Click here for details.


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 sets up new statewide 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.