Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for Feb. 23, 2021: Warren Thompson, Northrop Grumman, ScienceLogic, Smart City Challenge

Aspiring entrepreneurs can get start-up advice from Warren Thompson, founder, president and CEO of Reston-headquartered Thompson Hospitality during the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority’s next Entrepreneurship 101 virtual workshop on Tuesday, March 2. Thompson Hospitality is the largest minority-owned food service, and one of the largest retail food and facilities management companies, in the nation — and a family-run business too.

Held every other month, Entrepreneurship 101, or “E-101,” is a virtual workshop presented by the FCEDA with the Fairfax County government, the Fairfax County-based Community Business Partnership, the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Our expert presenters cover registering a business, permitting requirements, business feasibility and business plan basics, business certifications, financing options and government resources.

Click here to register for the March 2 E-101 workshop.


Fairfax County Climate Plan Business Survey open through March 14

The Fairfax County Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, in partnership with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, produced a brief online survey for business leaders and stakeholders across the county, to provide important input to the county’s Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP). This survey, which will remain open until March 14, is designed to provide county staff with a snapshot of business sustainability efforts and interests. Businesses large and small have an important role to play as the community comes together to reduce collective greenhouse gas emissions through voluntary action.

Can you spare five minutes to provide your input? Your participation will help ensure the CECAP works for businesses in Fairfax County for years to come. Take the survey today and share it with your network of professional contacts within Fairfax County.

Smart City Challenge closing event set for Thursday, February 25

The Smart City Challenge, a virtual “hackathon” in which participants developed projects that utilize technology to address societal issues, unveiled the list of its final teams for an event finale and awards presentation set for this Thursday, Feb. 25. At the live Shark Tank-like closing event, the finalists will pitch their ideas live to a panel of judges. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, Dominion Energy CEO Bob Blue and Clark Construction CFO Sameer Bhargava are among the speakers scheduled for the event. “The Smart City Challenge is the perfect opportunity to tap bright minds to improve the lives of everyone in the Washington, D.C. area through technology, innovation and problem-solving,” Refraction CEO Esther Lee said, according to Tysons Reporter. To register for this free virtual event, please click here.


Blast off!: Northrop Grumman, headquartered in the Falls Church area, provided key navigation and critical components to support NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Perseverance Rover, which landed on Mars on Feb. 18. The company has provided mission critical components on all previous Mars Rovers missions, SatNews reported. Incidentally, Perseverance was named last year by Alex Mather, a seventh-grade student at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke. He proposed the winning name in a nationwide “Name the Rover” competition that NASA conducted. Watch Perseverance’s landing here. And that’s not all the space news from last week. On Feb. 20, an unmanned Northrop Grumman-built Cygnus cargo ship lifted off from the Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va., carrying vital supplies for astronauts on the International Space Station. See that launch on Space.com.

Logical growth: Reston-based ScienceLogic, which provides AI-driven monitoring solutions for hybrid cloud management, raised $105 million in growth financing. Silver Lake Waterman led the company’s Series E round with participation from existing investors Goldman Sachs, Intel Capital and NewView Capital. The investment will support the company’s continued innovation in the AIOps market and further broaden ScienceLogic’s position within the $30+ billion IT Operations Management software market, citybizlist reported.

Another round: Qrvey, a Tysons-based analytics platform for software-as-a-service (SaaS) application providers, has raised $8.5 million from its existing investors. Last year, the company raised $7.5 million in a Series A round, and the company has now raised a total of $19.5 million. “We created Qrvey to address the unique analytics needs of SaaS applications, and we are pleased to see the market continuing to reward us for our approach,” said Arman Eshraghi, founder and CEO at Qrvey. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Hiring spree: Tysons software firm Appian continues to grow as its low-code “slow revolution” speeds up — and it’s hiring across every department. “I mean to hire more than Appian has ever hired and substantially more,” CEO and Co-Founder Matt Calkins told the Washington Business Journal. “We are growing in a serious way.” The company, which has already grown to about 1,500 employees, hired hundreds of new employees after it had moved from Reston to Tysons in 2019.

Revitalizing Richmond Highway: The Richmond Highway corridor in southeastern Fairfax County is ripe for commercial and residential development during the next decade. According to a market assessment study commissioned by the FCEDA and presented to Fairfax County’s Economic Advisory Commission (EAC) on Feb. 16, the Richmond Highway corridor could see demand for up to 493,000 square feet of retail space and 380,000 square feet of office space by 2030. “This market assessment will help county officials, businesses, residents, stakeholders and partners along the corridor build on the important work already done by the county and understand what kind of redevelopment and revitalization opportunities will bring the most benefits for the community and value to the county,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA. Learn more in Virginia Business, and click here to see the study and more material from the Feb. 16 EAC meeting.

Building a tech ecosystem: Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA, is among 30 regional business executives and community leaders appointed by George Mason University’s president Gregory Washington to an advisory roundtable to focus on the university’s innovation initiative. The President’s Innovation Advisory Council will focus on issues such as Mason’s efforts to increase the pipeline of tech workers. “These council members have been carefully selected for their knowledge and expertise, and also because they represent industries and organizations that are critical to the ecosystem we want to build,” Washington said, Virginia Business reported.

Dream Forward: The George Mason University School of Business is launching a program for underserved business owners in the food and beverage retail sector with the goal of growing those companies during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis. The school’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is accepting applications until March 15 for the “Build Back, Dream Forward” program, which will offer mentoring and coaching to small hospitality businesses in Northern Virginia. “COVID underscored the importance of a strong local food system and has created opportunities for innovative food and beverage firms to come out of the pandemic stronger,”  David Miller, executive director of the Mason center, told the Washington Business Journal.

Bird feeder: Based in Herndon and Seattle, BlackSky, a provider of satellite imagery and geospatial intelligence, signed a deal to go public through a merger with New York City-based Osprey Technology Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company. BlackSky expects to raise about $450 million in cash proceeds through the deal. Once the company goes public, its estimated merger value will be about $1.5 billion, according to BlackSky. “This transaction fully funds our growth plans and accelerates our vision of providing our customers with a ‘first-to-know’ advantage. This is an important inflection point for our industry as commercial and government users demand access to real time information about the changes that matter most to them,” BlackSky CEO Brian O’Toole said, CNBC reported.

Fight on: The Professional Fighters League (PFL), a mixed martial arts league based in Tysons, raised $65 million in new financing ahead of its 2021 season. The PFL, which airs in the U.S. on ESPN platforms, was launched in 2018. It is owned and operated by sports and business executives including Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards, and Mark  Lerner, owner of the Washington Nationals. The new season is scheduled to begin April 23 in Las Vegas. “PFL is the disruptive company in the massive and underserved MMA market, and this new capital will fuel our aggressive growth from the No. 2 worldwide market position the company has quickly secured,” said PFL Chairman and Co-Founder Donn Davis. ESPN has more.

Watching from the top: Tysons-headquartered Aireon’s space-based air traffic surveillance system has been successfully implemented by Isavia ANS, Iceland’s Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) in its 5.4 million square kilometers of controlled airspace, making it one of the largest deployments to-date. Isavia ANS provides air navigation services that span the North Pole to Scotland, and from the Greenwich Meridian in the east to west of Greenland. Aireon’s system extends Isavia’s current ground-based air traffic surveillance framework, focusing on enhancing real-time air traffic surveillance in the corridor connecting Europe and North America, reported SatNews.

COVID defense: Centreville-based Parsons Corporation won a $2 billion multi-award contract from the Department of Homeland Security for COVID-19 testing to support DHS employees with managed testing services and molecular diagnostic test kits and testing services. The offerings will be point-of-care or laboratory-based solutions that support current and future operational concepts for screening capabilities, reported Homeland Security Today.

Temporary mooring: Tysons pop-up dining concept ShipGarten is looking to activate presently unused land slated for redevelopment. The pop-up bar and restaurant space, a successor to the popular Tysons Biergarten that closed in 2019, will feature four 40-foot shipping containers, each converted into its own food and drink concept, alongside large tents, seating, and an entertainment venue. The outdoor dining and bar space is planned for 6579 Colshire Drive, on land near the McLean Metro Station that is eventually slated to be developed as part of the Scotts Run Station South office and residential project. Greater Greater Washington sailed with the news.

Eggs with heart: De Lune Corp, a Springfield-based agribusiness, IT solutions, healthcare administration services and energy supply business, donated 50,000 heart-stamped eggs to families in need. The eggs were given to thousands of people who stopped by United Community‘s office in southeastern Fairfax County at a food distribution event. De Lune President Gaddafi Ismail donated 20,000 eggs last year to kick-off this program, and ramped up his donation this year in response to the increasing need for food during the pandemic. While United Community’s food pantry fed 1,300 people a month before the pandemic, it now feeds around 1,300 people a week. Fairfax County Supervisor Rodney Lusk (Lee District), who volunteered at the egg give-away, said, “If you look at the impacts of COVID-19, this community has been impacted greater than any other in Fairfax County.” WJLA covered the story.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

DynCorp secured a six-year, $554.1 million contract from the Army Contracting Command to deliver critical equipment, material and services to support the U.S. Army, Multi‐National Aviation Special Project Office, Department of Defense, and the host nation of Afghanistan. ExecutiveGov

Serco North America won a $153.5 million contract to help the Navy maintain hardware, software and firmware for a global anti-terrorism force protection program managed by the Navy Installations Command. GovConWire

General Dynamics received a $111.8 million contract from the Army to provide bomb hardware. citybizlist

Featured business events

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.

February 25 — Smart City Challenge Event Finale and Awards Presentation. Smart City Works, Refraction, Fairfax County, Girls in Tech DC, The Universities at Shady Grove, and Virginia Tech hosted the first annual Smart City Challenge that ran from Jan. 23 to Feb. 18. 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. The Smart City Challenge finalists will pitch their projects live, followed by an award ceremony. Click here to register for the virtual event.

February 25 — Apretura del Programa de Protección de Pago (PPP). Te invitamos a unirte a este taller en donde contaremos con David Hincapie, Especialista en Desarrollo Económico de la Administración de Pequeños Negocios para el área metropolitana del distrito Washington D.C. David proporcionará información actual acerca de la segunda apretura del Programa de Protección de Pago (PPP). Registrate aqui.

March 2 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County. Presented by the Fairfax County EDA with our partners at the Fairfax County government, the Community Business Partnership, the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity and the U.S. Small Business Administration. This session’s Entrepreneur Spotlight: Warren Thompson, founder, president and CEO of Reston-based Thompson Hospitality. Click here to register.

March 17 — Fintech and Cybersecurity, Opportunities for Israeli Companies in Northern Virginia. Presented by the FCEDA, in partnership with KPMG Israel and Israel Advanced Technology Industries, this virtual event will examine potential business opportunities and go-to-market partnerships for Israeli fintech and cybersecurity companies in Northern Virginia’s financial services and cybersecurity sectors. 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

Starting Monday, March 1, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam amended Executive Order 72 with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.

The key changes include:

  • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 25 people for outdoor settings, while remaining at 10 persons for indoor settings.
  • Entertainment venues: Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate with up to 1,000 individuals or at 30 percent capacity, whichever is lower. If current trends continue, these venues may be able to operate at 30 percent capacity with no cap on the number of people permitted to attend starting in April. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. All entertainment venues were previously limited to a maximum of 250 individuals.
  • Dining establishments: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol will be permitted until midnight, extended from 10:00 p.m. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms still must be closed between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
  • Overnight summer camps: As of May 1, overnight summer camps will be able to open with strict mitigation measures in place. Registration can begin now.

The new guidelines will be effective for at least one month and mitigation measures may be eased further if key health metrics continue to improve. Current guidelines for retail businesses, fitness and exercise, large amusement venues, and personal grooming services will remain in place. Individuals are strongly encouraged to continue teleworking if possible.

For more information, please click here.