Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for October 20, 2020

(Photo courtesy of Reston Hospital Center)

Med-tech milestone: The first augmented reality (AR) spinal surgery in the Virginia and D.C. region was performed at Reston Hospital on Oct. 8 by a Virginia Spine Institute surgeon, Dr. Christopher Good. The AR system allows surgeons to visualize the anatomy intraoperatively and navigate instruments and implants while looking at the patient instead of a remote screen. “It’s a game changer,” Dr. Good said. “I can literally see the 3D picture inside [the patient] as well as a computerized target drawn on the bone showing where I need to go.” Reston Hospital will now be offering the groundbreaking surgery technology. Find out more in OrthoSpineNewsReston Now and see a video interview with Dr. Good about the surgery here.

Innovation on track: The first phase of Virginia Tech’s $1 billion Innovation Campus earned approval from the Alexandria City Council. Developers JBG Smith Properties and Lionstone Investment re-envisioned the entire district and brought it through the city’s planning process after winning the university’s computer science-focused campus. The campus was part of the deal to secure Amazon’s second headquarters in Arlington and represents a major effort by the Commonwealth of Virginia to increase the tech talent pipeline that would help Amazon and other technology employers in Northern Virginia hire qualified workers. The school anticipates construction of its first building to be completed in September 2024, reported the Washington Business Journal.

Heavy hitters: Six of the top 10 tech startups that the Washington Business Journal’s reporter Andy Medici says have contributed the most to the region’s current tech and startup ecosystem currently are – or were – based in Fairfax County. Of these, two companies: Cvent and MicroStrategy are located in Tysons; and Blackboard moved its headquarters to Reston in January 2020. The former Fairfax County-based companies are UUNet, which was located in Merrifield; webMethods in Reston, and AOL, which was headquartered in Tysons until 1996.

Suburban shift: Residents and companies moving from big cities to secondary markets and suburbs is likely to be one of the biggest trends to come out of the pandemic, according to the newly released annual Urban Land Institute and PwC Emerging Trends in Real Estate report. The report’s ranking of U.S. markets by real estate prospects highlighted the relative strength of suburban areas and secondary cities as compared to major gateway markets, with Northern Virginia now ranking as a top 10 suburban market, jumping up from No. 14 last year to No. 7 in this year’s report, according to Bisnow.

Tech job bonanza: While millions of jobs nationwide were wiped during the pandemic, Northern Virginia’s tech ecosystem has continued to grow. According to Dice’s Q2 Tech Job Report, tech job postings in Virginia rose 11 percent, as compared to the second quarter of 2019, while the other top states — California, Texas and New York — saw downward turns. Out of the top 10 tech employers by number of job postings, three were headquartered in Northern Virginia – Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Leidos – and all 10 have locations in the region. With thousands of current job postings for tech positions across NOVA, the area’s hiring trajectory does not appear to be slowing down any time soon. TechCrunch has more.

Space race: Herndon-based HawkEye 360 was named by AFWERX, an Air Force program with the goal of fostering a culture of innovation within the service, as among the top 26 participants that will advance into the next phase of an interactive challenge to transform the space innovation landscape in the AFWERX EngageSpace challenge. HawkEye 360 competed in the Department of Defense Commercial Space Partnerships category. The company seeks to offer USAF and its mission partners an on-orbit satellite platform for collecting, storing and transmitting radio frequency geospatial intelligence, reported ExecutiveBiz. ICYMI, check out this FCEDA video interview with HawkEye 360’s CEO John Serafini by clicking here.

A jewel of a deal: 10Pearls, a Tysons-based digital development company, acquired Columbia, Md.-based TCT Computing Group, an automated testing and quality assurance company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “The Covid economy demands accelerated delivery. Automated testing is critical for enterprises to get products out the door quickly and reliably,” said Imran Aftab, CEO of 10Pearls. “The addition of TCT is strategic in bolstering 10Pearls’ capabilities to better serve enterprise customers,” citybizlist reported.

This company really shines: In other 10Pearls news, the company won Tech in Motion’s annual D.C. regional award for “Best Tech Work Culture,” and Lauren Neal, principal of strategic innovation at Tysons-headquartered Booz Allen Hamilton won the award for “Best Tech Manager.” The winners will go on to compete against the other finalists from 10 other regions in each category at the national Timmy Award honors on Oct. 29, according to Technical.ly/DC.

Med merger: Reston-based SOC Telemed’s planned merger with Healthcare Merger, a special purpose acquisition company based in New York, is expected to close Oct. 30, positioning its stock to begin trading on the public markets on Nov. 2 on the Nasdaq stock exchange, said Hai Tran, SOC Telemed’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer. The transaction values the telemedicine provider at about $720 million, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Now hiring: Paradyme Labs, a new Tysons-based IT lab, is hiring. As we noted on the E-Bird last week, the lab will serve as Greenbelt, Md.-headquartered Paradyme Management’s innovation hub and a central operational center for its team members and customers. “From engineers with deep expertise in emerging technologies to sales professionals better able to communicate and align services with customer needs, we feel rallying our business around the Lab will further strengthen our already terrific culture and allow us to bring better products and services to our government customers,” CTO Luther McGinty told technical.ly/DC.

Clearing a new path: Reston-headquartered SOS International (SOSi) partnered with New York-headquartered UiPath to automate high-volume, repetitive business processes to support critical U.S. government missions. Under the partnership, SOSi will leverage process automation technologies to support digital transformation objectives, and UiPath will provide an end-to-end hyper-automation platform. Both partnerships reflect SOSi’s strategy to become a leader in AI-driven applications in the federal market, according to ExecutiveGov.

If you’re happy and you know it… Two Fairfax County-headquartered companies are among the top 50 large companies with happiest employees, highlighting the places where workers reported the most satisfaction with their employment, according to Comparably, a workplace monitoring site. ManTech, based in Herndon, ranked at no. 34; and Noblis, based in Reston, placed at no. 41 for happy workplaces. Thrillist brought us the upbeat news.

Full steam ahead: The COVID-19 recession has had a complicated impact on data center real estate, and firms are adapting quickly to respond. The sharp rise in remote work and schooling has accelerated already-strong demand for data storage and processing. “People working from home put a spotlight on the distributed workforce and cloud services, and that’s why you’re seeing such strong investor interest,” said Pat Lynch, senior managing director with CBRE’s Data Center Solutions group, reported Bisnow. Loyal E-Bird readers know that 70 percent of Internet traffic flows through Northern Virginia, and the many data centers in Loudoun County earned it the nickname Data Center Alley.

Rising in Reston: A year after breaking ground for the Halley Rise mixed-use development in Reston, Brookfield Properties is on schedule to finish the 36-acre, $1.4 billion project. The first phase of residential units are scheduled to open in 2022, with a Wegmans grocery store expected to open before the end of 2022. Delivery of the first phase of offices for the project is anticipated in mid-2023, with the mixed-use district in Reston expected to be complete by 2026. Halley Rise will feature 1,500 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of office space, 250,000 square feet of retail, five acres of public open space and new public streets and infrastructure. Reston Now delivered the construction update.

This is a big dill: Pickleballerz, the Mid-Atlantic region’s first and only dedicated indoor pickleball facility, opened for business last weekend in Chantilly. Pickleball players of all abilities can play and socialize in an almost 20,000 square-foot space featuring six courts. Pickleballerz is located at 14424 Albemarle Point Place, according to InsideNova.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Alion Science and Technology won a five-year, $73 million contract under the Department of Defense Information Analysis Center contract vehicle to update a technical architecture for training joint forces. GovConWire

AceInfo Solutions won a $59 million contract from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop crop insurance software platforms. Virginia Business

ICF secured a five-year, $49 million contract to help the Food and Drug Administration’s enterprise shared services organization update and maintain information technology systems. GovConWire

Parsons received a potential five-year, $28 million contract to update an enterprise cybersecurity program that works to protect Department of Defense networks against zero-day and advanced persistent threats. ExecutiveBiz

Featured business events

October 19-22 — Capital Cybersecurity Summit. The Northern Virginia Technology Council presents a virtual Cybersecurity Summit featuring keynote speakers and panels offering unique insights on emerging cybersecurity technologies, digital solutions, operations and enforcement from the private sector, government and academic perspectives. Click here to register.

October 27 — Korean-U.S. Cybersecurity Virtual Forum: Focus on Fairfax County. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority presents a virtual forum that provides the opportunity for Korean cybersecurity companies to obtain contacts and strategies to identify local prospects for partnerships companies in Fairfax County. Additionally, U.S.-based cybersecurity companies will have the opportunity to reach out to prospects in Korea. Click here to register.

October 28 — Korean-U.S. Cybersecurity Virtual Forum: Focus on Northern Virginia. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority presents a virtual forum that provides the opportunity for Korean cybersecurity companies to obtain contacts and strategies to identify local prospects for partnerships companies in Northern Virginia. Additionally, U.S.-based cybersecurity companies will have the opportunity to reach out to prospects in Korea. Click here to register.

October 29 — COVID-19 Pro Bono Legal Services Collaborative. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is partnering with Start Small Think Big (SSTB), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to grow their businesses, and the Fairfax Law Foundation and Pro Bono Law Center to spotlight valuable free legal or financial services provided professional services firms in Northern Virginia.  Find out more in this informational webinar. Click here to register.

October 29— Berlin Meets USA: Conquering the American Market with Smart-City Solutions. SIBB Digital Business Association Berlin-Brandenburg presents an interactive panel discussion followed by virtual business networking focused on business opportunities within the German-American smart cities sector. Click here to register.

November 4-6 — TiE DC Capital GovCon 2020. TiE DC presents an online event: “Wake Up to New Ideas: Meet Up with Path-Breakers,” a conference designed for founders and CEOs of 8(a), Women-Owned, HUBZones and Veteran-owned businesses. Hear from government contracting leaders in our region, connect with TiE DC’s community of government contractors, and learn how to achieve your growth goals. Click here to register.

November 5 — Fall 2020 Women in Technology Virtual Job Fair. Women in Technology presents a virtual career fair for technology and business professionals of all levels together with top organizations in the D.C. metro area looking to fill a wide variety of roles including STEM-based fields. Click here to register.

November 9 — Annual Business & Economic Development Summit. The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce presents a virtual event focused on “Opportunities for Springfield.” Panelists will include Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA; Supervisor Rodney Lusk; Terry Clower- GMU Director of Center for Regional Analysis; Barry Biggar, president and CEO of Visit Fairfax; and Elizabeth Hagg, Revitalization Section Director for the Department of Planning and Development. Richard Pineda, CEO of CALIBRE Systems, will serve as moderator for the panel. Click here to register.

November 10 — Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County.  The FCEDA, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and Community Business Partnership (CBP), presents its free monthly workshop for individuals interested in starting a business in Fairfax County. Click here to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

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.

Get business assistance: 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.