Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for September 8, 2020

Livability counts: As tech workers consider relocating from more expensive hubs such as Silicon Valley and New York City, Northern Virginia is stepping up as a welcoming, livable alternative. More than 15,600 technology companies call the Northern Virginia region home, and in Fairfax County one out of every four jobs is tech-related. More broadly, the Washington, D.C., area is the third-largest metro for technology employment in the country, and ranks at number two in the nation for tech talent. So what’s attracting tech companies and workers here? Find out in tech news website The Verge.

Now that is a Vibrent company: Fairfax’s Vibrent Health secured $39 million from the NIH to provide its digital health platform for another five years to the All of Us research program, a precision medicine effort to build a diverse patient database of more than one-million sequenced genomes and other health data. The latest funding, which covers the first year of the five-year award, follows a $75 million federal grant Vibrent landed in 2016 for this work. Since then, the program has been using the Northern Virginia company’s tech to capture patients’ medical record data — to help researchers identify disease patterns and, ultimately, improve diagnoses and treatment. Find out more in a subscribers-only article in the Washington Business Journal.

Tech hub: Thirty Fairfax County-headquartered companies and 48 companies headquartered elsewhere but with operations in the county landed on the “2020 Washington Technology Top 100,” a ranking of the largest government contractors according to their prime contracts for IT, systems integration, professional services and other technology products and services. Reston-based Leidos took the top spot, followed by Reston-based General Dynamics at no. 2, and Falls Church-based Northrop Grumman at no. 3. See the list in Washington Technology.

Living legends all: We mentioned last week that Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA, was among the those honored in the Virginia Business magazine’s “Virginia 500 — The 2020 Power List.” Victor was one of several Northern Virginia leaders highlighted in the “Economic Development” category. More than 100 other Fairfax County notables are also included in the 20 categories on the list, with a whopping 38 executives honored in the “Federal Contractors/Technology” category including Craig P. Abod, founder and president at Carasoft Technology in Reston; Reggie Aggarwal, founder and CEO at Cvent in Tysons; Teresa Carlson, vice president for worldwide public sector at Amazon Web Services in Herndon; Nathaniel A. Davis, chairman and CEO at K12 in Herndon; and Y. Michele Kang, founder and CEO at Cognosante in the Falls Church area. Fairfax County also has a few connections to the “Living Legends” list, including Giuseppe Cecchi, a McLean resident and chairman of the board at The IDI Group; Bobbie G. Kilberg, recently retired president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council in Herndon; and Pamela Mars-Wright, family ambassador to the Pet Care Division at Mars Incorporated in McLean.

Detecting drones: Fairfax-based General Dynamics Missions Systems inked a partnership with San Francisco-headquartered Dedrone, providing General Dynamics’ global network with access to Dedrone’s complete drone detection-and-defeat technology. The company’s integrated systems will provide early warning, classification of and mitigation against drone threats. Dedrone’s capabilities have been leveraged by the military, allied and coalition forces, correctional facilities, airports, utilities and corporations, reported ExecutiveGov.

Keep go-going: Tysons-based communications satellite services provider Intelsat will acquire in-flight broadband connectivity provider Gogo’s commercial aviation business for $400 million. Under the acquisition, Intelsat plans to pair its satellite and ground network to Gogo’s base of more than 3,000 commercial aircraft. “Consumer demand for in-flight connectivity is expected to grow at a double-digit rate over the next decade, notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19,” said Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler. Virginia Business has more.

Wave riders: Reston-based Intelligent Waves, an IT systems integrator, partnered with San Francisco-based Wire, a secure IT collaboration platform. The value-added reseller partnership will enable Intelligent Waves to customize IT solutions with Wire’s platform — including end-to-end encrypted messenger, voice, video conference calls and file sharing — for federal government agencies with mission-critical security requirements, reported citybizlist.

Taking the helm: Tysons-based Acacia Group, a technology investment firm, acquired TradeHelm, a software development, DevOps and technology managed services business based in Argentina. The TradeHelm team will be working closely with Highmetric, which has an office in Tysons, a technology strategy, design and operations partner to public and private organizations around the world, which Acacia acquired in 2019. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Confidence in Confiance: Tysons-based Alpha Omega Integration, an IT service management company, will acquire IT consulting firm Confiance, based in Reston, to help expand Alpha Omega’s domain and technical expertise. The acquisition will drive Alpha Omega’s robotic-process-automation efforts while growing its footprint in the private and public sectors, reported GovConWIre.

Tip of the hat: Reston-based Carahsoft Technology landed an agency catalog agreement to provide Red Hat’s open-source Java development kit and related support to the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard and intelligence agencies. “As the DoD seeks innovative solutions to power its unique deployments, Red Hat’s open source software offers the flexibility, scalability and security needed to ensure the warfighter is supported and mission needs are met,” Natalie Gregory, vice president of sales at Carahsoft, said in ExecutiveBiz.

Suite deal: A new hotel chain, stayAPT Suites, is set to open its first location nationwide in southeastern Fairfax County, near Fort Belvoir, in October. The hotel will have 73 rooms, and each suite will include a living room and full kitchen. The location, at 8849 Richmond Highway, will include a courtyard with a fire pit, onsite laundry facilities and a gym, according to Virginia Business.

Under consideration: The planned extension of The Boro in Tysons by the Meridian Group may bring new locations for Silverstone Senior Living and Life Time Fitness. Silverstone Senior Living, which is headquartered in Texas and has an office in Tysons, is proposing to put in a continuing care facility near Westpark Drive and Greensboro Drive, according to county documentation. In addition to the senior living facility, the proposed redevelopment would include residential units, retail space and an urban park, according to county documents. A Life Time Fitness location is also under consideration, according to Tysons Reporter.

Demand and supply: Metro’s Silver Line expansion is expected to increase affordable housing demand, according to representatives from Fairfax and Loudoun counties who spoke at a Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce event on the future of affordable housing. Fairfax County will require at least 15,000 new affordable housing units in the next 15 years to support families earning 60 percent of the median income and below, according to Tom Fleetwood, director of the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development. Reston Now brought the story home.

Purple and gold: To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and women’s constitutional right to vote, buildings and landmarks across the nation were lit up in purple and gold, the colors of the American women’s suffrage movement, on August 26, for the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission’s nationwide Forward into Light campaign. Locations included the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, which played a key role in the suffrage movement when women protesting at the White House for the right to vote were arrested and imprisoned there in 1917. Find out more in Forbes.

All aboard!: The Greater Washington Partnership launched an effort to explore how the region can build a world-class commuter rail system connecting Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia within 25 years. The partnership, a group of business leaders from across the region, announced its “Capital Region Rail Vision” project last week with support from key stakeholders and leaders from Amtrak, state departments of transportation, and commuter railroad systems. The Partnership said the vision will build upon existing plans and outline the steps needed to better connect the region, from Baltimore to Richmond, with more frequent and rapid rail service, seamlessly spanning state borders. InsideNova staff is trained to write stories like this one.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Leidos obtained a four-year, $292 million prime contract from the Federal Aviation Administration to design and develop a system that will provide real-time access to weather, aeronautical, and National Airspace System information. ExecutiveGov

Northrop Grumman secured a 14-year, $135 million contract to rebuild the navigation component of an air-launched cruise missile system for the Air Force. GovConWire

Science Applications International Corp. won a five-year, $79 million contract from the Air Force to deliver mission engineering services to one of the branch’s missile systems. citybizlist

Alion Science and Technology received a five-year, $65 million contract from the Army to provide Counter Explosive Hazard Research for the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate. ExecutiveGov

Featured business events

September 9 — Business Education Series – Make Traction on LinkedIn: Identify the Top 5 Strategies and Habits to Move Your Business Forward. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Jen Dalton, founder of BrandMirror. Click here to register.

September 10 — Partnering Across the Business Community. The Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance presents the 11th webinar in its three-part, 12 session webinar series: “Beyond COVID-19: NOVA Business Resiliency Webinars.” Registration opens soon. Click here to register.

September 15 — Talent Attraction Workshop: Marketing Northern Virginia. This workshop presented by the FCEDA will arm you with the resources you need to attract top-notch talent to Northern Virginia and answer your burning questions about what talent really wants — especially in the era of Covid-19. Click here.

September 15 — Global Virtual Exchange: US and Israel Economic Impact and Recovery: Defense and Homeland Security Sectors. The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar to identify business opportunities and further strengthen the Israeli/Northern Virginia relationship. Click here to register.

September 15 — De regreso al trabajo: Una conversación con empresarios y líderes hispanos / Back to Work: A Conversation with Hispanic Entrepreneurs and Leaders. The Virginia Hispanic Chamber, FCEDA and Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, and Fairfax County Health Department present this webinar in Spanish on steps that businesses can take to open safely for employees and customers. Click here to register.

September 22 —TiE DC Diversity Panel Discussion. TiE DC presents a webinar discussion with successful business leaders from our Black community as they share their experiences and guide us all through these unprecedented times. Click here to register

September 23 — Quick and Easy Tips for Speaking in the Virtual World. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Frank DiBartolomeo, an award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and seminar leader. This is part of the chamber’s Business Education Series. 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.