Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for Nov. 17, 2020

Global competition: The NoVA Business Podcast posted this morning is an interview with Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Hosts Jessica Du Bois and Derek Winn talk with Hoskins about the global competition for business attraction and retention, the need for economic development cooperation across the Washington, D.C., area to compete with other technology centers around the world, and the need for regional collaboration to attract and retain a talented workforce. And in the latest episode of the Partnering Leadership podcast, host Mahan Tavakoli talks with Hoskins about his upbringing, the value he puts on  education, his entrepreneurial worth ethic, leading and motivating teams, landing Amazon’s HQ2 — and forging a regional alliance for economic development.

Now hear this: Spotify, founded and headquartered in Sweden, announced it would acquire Reston-based ad tech company Megaphone in a $235 million deal. Megaphone offers technology for podcast publishers and advertisers seeking targeted slots on podcasts. It offers podcast hosting, distribution and ad-insertion tools for podcast publishers such as ESPN and the Wall Street Journal, and advertisers can use the company’s technology to find audiences across the podcast content of those publishers. The deal should give advertisers more scale in terms of whom they can reach on Spotify and let podcast publishers opt-in to have their shows monetized. CNBC has more.

Now that is a sub-stantial contract: Reston-based General Dynamics secured a $9.47 billion (yep, with a b) contract from the Navy to complete the construction of the first Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine and to begin work on a second boat. The Columbia is one-third of the Pentagon’s refresh of its nuclear deterrence strategy, according to a release picked up by citybizlist. The boats are expected to replace the Navy’s aging fleet of Ohio-class submarines.

Collaboration consortium: Tysons-based MITRE’s tech foundation Engenuity launched the “Open Generation Consortium” to bring together government, industry and academic institutions to advance 5G innovation. The founding members are Ericsson, Nokia, Verizon, Altiostar, FIRST iZ, HUSH Aerospace, Kittyhawk, CTIA–The Wireless Association, Northeastern University and Virginia Tech. “Collaborating with this diverse group of members across industry and government will allow the consortium to accelerate the enterprise value of 5G solutions on real-world networks,” said Laurie Giandomenico, chief acceleration officer of MITRE Engenuity, according to GovConWire.

Cancer center contribution: Inova Health System plans to bring a new cancer screening and prevention center to its Merrifield campus, to be funded with a fresh $20 million donation. The new center will expand the Inova Schar Cancer Institute, which opened in May 2019 and anchors the system’s Center for Personalized Health on the former Exxon Mobil campus. The gift comes from Paul Saville, president and CEO of Reston homebuilder NVR, and his wife, Linda, reported the Washington Business Journal.

Tysons transformation: Tysons is weathering the pandemic well and holds the key to recovery for Fairfax County and the Washington region, local leaders said at the Tysons 2050 webinar presented by the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce. Businesses still are setting up shop in Tysons and the Dulles Corridor, of which Tysons is a part, was the hottest commercial market in the nation in the second quarter of this year, despite the pandemic, FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins said about Tysons’ future. “Character is formed in the crucible of adversity,” Hoskins said. “I’m extraordinarily optimistic,” reported InsideNoVa. Meantime, Greater Greater Washington reports that “Tysons is still chugging along in its goal to morph from an edge city to “a walkable, sustainable urban center.” The story details development projects underway in Fairfax County’s largest commercial district:  Arbor Row, Capital One Center, Scotts Run Station South, The Highland District, Hanover Tysons, The Mile, and Tysons Central.

And while we’re in the neighborhood: Tysons-based Capital One expects to unveil a 1.2-acre sky park with food trucks, a bar and beer garden, games, a dog run and an amphitheater in time for summer 2021. Nested on top of the newly open Wegmans grocery store, The Perch is part of the second building to be completed in the 24.25-acre Capital One Center complex. Two more parts of the project are slated to open in the fall of 2021: the Watermark Hotel and the Capital One Hall. Check out photos of the project’s construction in Tysons Reporter.

Flight connection: Tysons-based Aireon has partnered with the Federal Aviation Administration to allow FAA to access and develop use-cases for the company’s space-based data in air-traffic management to explore potential uses in various applications, including airspace safety analysis, search and rescue, remote situational awareness, accident investigation data analysis and integration into air traffic control automation systems. ExecutiveBiz landed the news.

Global drone players right here: The global military drone market will grow to $23.78 billion by 2027 at a 12.12 percent compound annual growth rate partly driven by the increase in military spending in major world economies, according to estimates in a Fortune Business Insights report. Several of the key players in the military drone market have offices in the Fairfax County region: U.K.-based BAE Systems, which maintains its North American headquarters in Falls Church; Israel-based Elbit Systems, which maintains a Reston office for its U.S. subsidiary; Israel-based Israel Aerospace Industries, which has its North American headquarters in Herndon; and Falls Church-area based Northrop Grumman. ExecutiveBiz brought the news into view.

Supporting vets: U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia recognized Tysons-headquartered Novetta as a 2020 HIRE Vets Gold Medallion Award recipient. “We are extremely proud to have received a Gold Medallion Award for the third year in a row,” said Novetta president, CEO, and U.S. Navy veteran Tiffanny Gates. “It recognizes our commitment to hiring veterans and helping the nearly 33 percent of our workforce who are veterans develop meaningful, long-term careers.” Novetta offers a veteran-focused program, NovettaVETS, that supports veteran staff as they transition from the military to the civilian workforce. The program provides mentorship and leadership coaching through dedicated human resources personnel. ExecutiveGov has more.

Cyber grab: Herndon-based ManTech International acquired Hanover, Md.-based Minerva Engineering, a provider of cyber support services to the intelligence community market. “The addition of Minerva Engineering is highly complementary and further builds upon our differentiated cyber offering, delivering more to our customers while positioning us for continued growth,” said Kevin Phillips, ManTech chairman, CEO and president, reported ExecutiveBiz.

PAE hits paydirt: PAE, a Tysons-area military and government contractor, agreed to acquire Arlington-based Metis Solutions, a provider of technology for intelligence agencies, for $92 million in cash. Metis, with more than 450 employees, provides a wide range of services focused on national security. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Advantage Avantus: In its sixth acquisition over the last two years, Avantus Federal, a Tysons-based intelligence and defense contractor, acquired Vienna-based MissionTech Solutions, a data-focused company working for intelligence agencies. “Adding MissionTech to our portfolio adds to all the capabilities of our entire unified company including services, consulting and data/technology,” said Andy Maner, CEO of Avantus, reported ExecutiveGov.

A framework for McLean: McLean’s Downtown Draft Plan aims to give developers more flexibility, while creating parameters designed to protect existing neighborhoods and foster a sense of community. Led by Fairfax County Planning Director Leanna O’Donnell, county staff, and the 20-person task force assembled by Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, the officials informed the public about their latest work during a virtual open house held. “The plan tries to create a positive framework for developers to come forward,” said Elizabeth Hagg, deputy director for the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization, according to Tysons Reporter.

Preschool at the Park: Celebree Schools, an early childhood education center, signed a long-term lease for 12,536 square feet of space at Valo Park, a 16-acre campus in Tysons. Colliers International represented the tenant in the deal. “In searching throughout Northern Virginia, Tysons stood apart,” Adam Schindler, Colliers International’s executive vice president, told Commercial Observer. “Choosing the area, and Valo Park, specifically, was the confluence of currently favorable market conditions and the excellent future potential for growth in both the commercial and residential sectors.”

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

BAE Systems won a five-year $94 million contract from the Navy to provide engineering, test, and evaluation support for sensors as well as communication, control, and weapons systems for various manned and unmanned airborne platforms. citybizlist

Leidos landed a $10.3 million contract from the Air Force for laser systems research. ExecutiveBiz

Brillient received a task order from the Internal Revenue Service to develop a semantic database technology intended to help IRS researchers visualize trends and patterns in taxpayer compliance. GovConWire

Featured business events

November 18 — Global Virtual Exchange, UK and US: US-UK Free Trade Agreement; Facilitating Business Opportunities for Companies in Northern Virginia and UK. The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce presents an International Business Committee webinar. Click here to register.

November 19 — Tech4Growth: Boost with Facebook, Small Business Training. Hosted by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, in conjunction with Facebook and the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, join us for an informative webinar on the fundamentals of establishing and building your company’s brand on Facebook and Instagram. Click here to register.

November 19 — Catalyst for Change: Accelerate & Pivot, How Dulles Glass Keeps Shining. The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance presents a webinar featuring panelists Bahram Nasehi, Chief Executive Officer, Dulles Glass & Mirror; Tom Flynn, CEcd, Director, Business Development & Investment, Prince William County, Virginia; and  Pat Shane, Head, New Business Development, Dulles Glass & Mirror. Click here to register.

November 19 — Recruiting & Onboarding In Virtual Times. The Netherlands America Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar on recruiting strategies during COVID-19. Presenters will include Nilesh Shroff, head of systems of insights AI/Ml, Verizon; Aravind Pamula, founder and president, Futurali; Frank De Bloois, president of the Americas, Expereo US; Thomas Vilmer, senior region director, TMC; Michael Batt, director, talent initiative, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Click here to register.

December 3 — Securing the Remote Workforce and Essential Government Services. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority in partnership with the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance presents a free webinar that will feature CISOs from three Northern Virginia jurisdictions: Fairfax, Loudoun and City of Alexandria, and industry experts from Microsoft, Forescout Technologies, Ampcus Cyber and Easy Dynamics. Click here to register.

December 8 — Government Contracting in a Changed World. George Mason University Center for Government Contracting and Defense Acquisition University present a virtual conference, with this module focusing on operations. Click here to register.

December 10 — Best Workplaces for Commuters. The Dulles Area Transportation Association presents a free webinar. Watch it to see if your company qualifies for the “Best Workplaces for Commuters” designation. 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.

Forward Virginia Phase 3 reopening guidelines: Fairfax County began the third phase of re-opening businesses on 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.

Virginia sets up new statewide measures to contain COVID-19

The following measures took effect at midnight on Sunday, November 15 statewide in Virginia, according to an announcement by Governor Ralph Northam:

  • Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.
  • Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals aged 10 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.
  • Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses: All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor.
  • On-site alcohol curfew: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is 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. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals that choose to consume alcohol prior to 10:00 p.m. must be served as in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart.

Governor Northam shared a new video to update Virginians on the additional steps the Commonwealth is taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which is available here. Find out more by clicking here.