November 17, 2022 E-news: With much fanfare, 6 new Silver Line Metro stations opened Tuesday + Weekly Business News Digest

Six New Stations. Endless Possibilities.

Public officials cut the ribbon at the Washington Dulles International Airport Metro Station ribbon-cutting event. (Photo courtesy of Fairfax County Government.)

With much fanfare, national and regional officials gathered with hundreds of stakeholders to celebrate the opening of Metro’s Silver Line extension on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. The extended service will connect customers to six new stations, adding 11.4 miles of track to the Metrorail system, and begin operations at a modern rail maintenance facility. The Silver Line Extension provides customers with a new connection to Washington Dulles International Airport, as well as service between Reston and eastern Loudoun County. The Grand Opening also marks the completion of the Silver Line project, a generational infrastructure investment in Northern Virginia, according to the Washington Area Metro Transit Authority.

As one of the largest capital construction projects in the United States, the Metro Silver Line provides high-quality, high-capacity transit service between the Dulles corridor and Downtown D.C.; expands the reach of the existing regional rail system; offers a viable alternative to automobile travel; and supports future development.

“On behalf of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Board, my deepest congratulations to everyone who worked tirelessly to bring the vision of a further connected region alive to support the future growth of Fairfax County, Northern Virginia, and the Greater Washington region,” said Catherine Lange, Chair of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority’s Commission at the ribbon-cutting event in Reston on Tuesday. “The Metro Silver Line and its now-open extension to Dulles and further into Loudoun County is driving a development pipeline of millions of square feet of office space right here in the Reston-Herndon corridor. This development activity will continue to strengthen Fairfax County’s economic vitality and global economic competitiveness.”

(Photo courtesy of Fairfax County Government.)

Check out this Fairfax County video of the Silver Line Phase 11 ribbon-cutting events.

Wondering what’s near each metro station?  7 News visited all of them in order to find out what the biggest points of interest are near each location. You can also get ready to ride by checking out the station pages listed below to view the virtual station tours, maps, and connecting bus routes:

The metro station openings generated massive news coverage. Here is just a sampling of a few key notes from the media:

“The opening ushered in a new transit and development phase for the region — one that officials hope will focus growth near rail stations, diversify the region’s housing stock, encourage residents to reduce driving and solidify the Dulles tech corridor’s role as major driver of economic activity. — The Washington Post reported.

“Sixty years after Dulles International Airport opened, air travelers in Washington, D.C,. will be able to do something that residents of scores of other global cities take for granted: Take a train to their plane. A long-planned 11.5 mile extension of the U.S. capital’s Metrorail system is set to begin serving the airport this week. The second phase of the Silver Line adds six new stations throughout Northern Virginia and marks the culmination of a $3 billion effort to bring rail service to Dulles, whose Eero Saarinen-designed main terminal opened in 1962.”Bloomberg

“The Silver Line extension already is making a difference at Dulles, boosting passenger travel as the airport adds new carriers and direct connections across the world, most recently to Cape Town, South Africa. The project also is changing the landscape of Northern Virginia, spurring economic development along its path.”Richmond Times-Dispatch

“The long-awaited opening of Metro’s Silver Line expansion is finally here. Commuters and travelers in the D.C. area are now able to take Metrorail into Loudoun County, Virginia — including a stop at Dulles International Airport. A train carrying local leaders and officials departed the Dulles Airport station around midday Tuesday; the crowd aboard cheered as the cars began to move.”NBC4 Washington

“It was a scene of jubilation, excitement, and relief. Decades after it was planned – and four years after it was supposed to open – riders got their first chance to ride the Silver Line to Dulles International Airport and beyond to Ashburn in Loudoun County. It was a wholesome scene with grandparents bringing excited kids, babies taking their first Metro ride and rail superfans shooting videos out the window and loving every minute.”DCist

“For residents of Washington D.C., getting to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) may now be easier and cheaper. The Metrorail’s Silver Line has been expanded to extend rail service to IAD and additional stations in Northern Virginia. For those who live near a metro station and travel frequently, this could result in saving money… A metro ride from Washington D.C. to IAD will cost, at most, $6.”Motley Fool/The Verge

In recognition of National Apprenticeship Week, the FCEDA notes that there are more than 175 apprenticeship sponsors in Fairfax County. These opportunities are in nine industry sectors, representing eight occupational groups, in 42 occupations.

According to Apprenticeship USA: “National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide celebration where industry, labor, equity, workforce, education, and government leaders host events to showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeship for re-building our economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities. NAW is an opportunity to highlight how Registered Apprenticeship, a proven and industry-driven training model, provides a critical talent pipeline that can help to address some of our nation’s pressing workforce challenges such as rebuilding our country’s infrastructure, addressing critical supply chain demands, supporting a clean energy workforce, modernizing our cybersecurity response, and responding to care economy issues.”

Find out more about apprenticeships and other upskilling resources at workinnorthernvirginia.com/work/job-seeker-resources.

Weekly Business News Digest

Incredible legacy of innovation: Two Falls Church area-based Northrop Grumman solid rocket boosters helped successfully launch the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, as part of the Artemis I mission on November 16. This is the first in a series of Artemis missions focused on deep space exploration and establishing a sustainable human presence on and around the moon. The SLS rocket was launched by a powerful 7.2 million pounds of thrust from our solid rocket boosters which are the largest, human-rated solid rocket boosters ever built,said Wendy Williams, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman has been pioneering in space for over 50 years and our contributions to NASA’s Artemis missions continue our incredible legacy of innovation. Booster segments for Artemis II, the first crewed mission, and Artemis III, the mission that will land the first woman on the lunar surface, are complete. Artemis IV segments are currently being cast with propellant. Northrop Grumman supplied rocket propulsion for NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle programs and developed the five-segment SLS solid rocket booster based on the flight-proven design of the space shuttle boosters. The company will provide ongoing support for SLS and the Artemis missions through 2031. CBS News has more. See launch photos on CNN.

And a shark-led undersea exploration: Scientists have teamed up with tiger sharks to uncover the largest expanse of seagrasses on Earth, ScienceNews reported. A massive survey of the Bahamas Banks — a cluster of underwater plateaus surrounding the Bahama archipelago — reveals 92,000 square kilometers of seagrasses, according to marine biologist Oliver Shipley of the Herndon-based ocean conservation nonprofit Beneath The Waves and colleagues in Nature Communications. That area is roughly equivalent to half the size of Florida. The finding expands the estimated global area covered by seagrasses by 41 percent — a potential boon for Earth’s climate, said Shipley. Mapping that much seagrass was a colossal task, according to the article. Guided by previous satellite observations, Shipley and colleagues dove into the waters 2,542 times to survey the meadows up close. The team also recruited eight tiger sharks to aid their efforts since the sharks patrol fields of wavy seagrasses for grazing animals to eat. Shipley and colleagues plan to collaborate with other animals — including ocean sunfish — to uncover more submarine meadows. “With this [approach], the world’s our oyster,” Shipley said.

Corporate HQ magnet: The D.C. region continues to be a magnet for corporate headquarters. Over the past year, four out-of-state companies either moved or announced plans to move their corporate offices to Greater Washington, while two overseas companies chose the region as home for their U.S. operations. The biggest names, of course, were Boeing and Raytheon Technologies, which both announced earlier this year to relocate their headquarters to Arlington, Va. Additional companies that moved their corporate headquarters to the region included the following to Fairfax County: Peraton, which moved within the county from Herndon to Reston; Winmar Construction, which moved from Georgetown to Reston; V2X, which moved from Mississippi/Colorado to Tysons; Stride, which moved within the county from Herndon to Reston; and Maximus, which relocated within the county Reston to Tysons. The Washington Business Journal has more.

Tysons growth in rapid progress: Tysons has made progress in becoming less car-centric since the Silver Line opened there, according to Washington Post reporters Katherine Shaver and Lori Aratani in an article for subscribers. The arrival of the Silver Line has spurred new development, but walkability is still a challenge eight years after the Metro line opened, they wrote. Since opening in 2014, the Silver Line has brought plenty of new places to eat, live, work and shop within walking and biking distance of Metro. Fairfax officials told the Post their transit-oriented plans have been most successful in encouraging home construction amid a sea of office buildings. The area has added 4,459 apartments and other homes since 2010, leaving about six jobs in Tysons for every household, down from the initial ratio of almost 12-to-1, according to the article.

New funding: Tysons-based AURA Network Systems, the developer of a Federal Aviation Administration-compliant communication platform for piloted and unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace, said Monday it has raised $75 million in new funding, the Washington Business Journal reported in an article for subscribers. The round includes $55 million from New York City’s Fortress Investment Group and $20 million from previous investors Mudrick Capital Management and Tracker Capital Management, both from New York.

Collective strengths collaboration: Falls Church area-based General Dynamics Information Technology formed a coalition with some of the nation’s leading technology and telecommunications conglomerates – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco, Dell Technologies, Splunk, and T-Mobile – to accelerate the adoption of 5G, advanced wireless and edge technologies across government agencies. “We share a common vision of how 5G, edge and advanced wireless technologies can transform government operations,” said Ben Gianni, GDIT’s senior vice president and chief technology officer. “Forming this coalition will help us bring our collective strengths together to provide technical differentiation and the most beneficial solutions for our government customers.” Intelligence Community News has more.

Bringing together emerging technologies and innovations: Tysons-headquartered Booz Allen Hamilton launched an innovation-focused space at its D.C. office, technical.ly reported. The Helix Center for Innovation is designed to be a collaborative and immersive space for tech demonstration in industries like defense, climate resilience and national security. “The Helix brings together all the emerging technologies and innovations from across the firm to drive growth and showcase our transformative tech, innovative ecosystem and the collective ingenuity of our people that we bring to our federal clients’ missions to speed solutions,” said Booz Allen VP and Solutions Innovation Lead Brian MacCarthy.

Parlez-vous Modus Create? Reston-based Modus Create, a digital transformation consulting firm, has acquired Twybee, a French company that specializes in the training and implementation of Atlassian software solutions. This announcement marks the fourth acquisition for Modus Create this year, having acquired Atlas Authority, Tweag, and Promptworks. It’s also Modus’ second acquisition of an Atlassian solution partner following Atlas Authority, and second French acquisition after acquiring Tweag, citybiz reported.

Videoconferencing partnership: Events and meeting software company Cvent inked an extension to its partnership with videoconferencing giant Zoom Video Communications to help it grow its base of customers looking to do hybrid events and meetings, according to the Washington Business Journal. Current Zoom customers will be able to access Cvent’s app in Zoom’s internal app marketplace and use the latter’s technology to coordinate the in-person elements of hybrid meetings and events.

Canadian acquisition: Centreville-based Avenu Insights & Analytics, a provider of revenue management software for governments, acquired LTAS Technologies, a Canadian-based provider of technology for identifying and monitoring short-term rental properties. FLTAS’s platform helps local governments identify short-term rentals, allowing them to collect lodging taxes and ensure that local laws are being followed. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Development proposal: JBG Smith, the developer planning to convert the former Sheraton hotel (8661 Leesburg Pike) in Tysons into multifamily housing has proposed enhancing the property with nearly 3.5 acres of park space, FFXnow reported. A portion of the now-vacant hotel’s existing parking lot would be replaced by pocket parks, larger recreational parks, and an urban plaza to serve both future residents and the general public, according to an application filed with Fairfax County on November 11. County planners are currently reviewing a proposal from JBG Smith to convert the 449-room, 22-story Sheraton — which closed in April 2020 — into a multifamily residential building with up to 544 units and 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Military-friendly schools: Forty Fairfax County public schools have been recognized by the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children as 2022 “Purple Star Schools.” The designation is awarded to military-friendly schools that have demonstrated their commitment to meeting the needs of military-connected students and their families. “This is an honor for FCPS, our first-time Purple Star schools and those who continue to be recognized year over year,” Fairfax Superintendent Michelle Reid said. “I commend our school and division staff for everything they continue to do to support the complex needs of our military-related students and families. We are committed to making sure each student feels a sense of belonging as they pursue their educational journey.” InsideNoVa has more.

Back to the good ole days! Barnes & Noble is planning its triumphant return to Reston — almost a decade after it closed a store in the very same shopping center: The Spectrum at Reston Town Center. Temporary signage has gone up and the plan is to open the new B&N sometime in the spring of 2023, The Burn reported.

And another blast from the past: Toys “R” Us is back in the brick and mortar business just as parents begin their holiday shopping, NBC4 reported. The iconic toy store chain that had to shut down all of its U.S. stores after filing bankruptcy in 2017 now has hundreds of small toy shops inside Macy’s stores throughout the country, including many locations in the Washington, D.C., region, including at Fair Oaks Mall, Tysons Corner Center, and Springfield Town Center.

Contract Wins

Science Applications International Corp. (Reston) won a $757 contract to continue providing software development and management services for the U.S. Army Enterprise Service Desk. Homeland Security News

Peraton (Herndon) obtained classified contracts of about $180 million combined to provide technical assistance and mission support services for government space and intelligence projects. ExecutiveBiz.

Maximus (Reston) received a five-year, $100 million contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to enhance the CDC-INFO program, which delivers crucial health information to millions across the U.S. ExecutiveBiz

BlackHorse Solutions (Herndon), a Parsons company, obtained an $11.7 million contract from DARPA to develop ways to detect, manage, and defeat cyber hackers and help build-in cyber-security as part of the computer design process. Military+Aerospace Electronics.

ICF (Fairfax) secured two contracts collectively worth $34 million from the Department of Labor to provide the Bureau of International Labor Affairs with research, advisory and other services in support of the fight against child exploitation. ExecutiveBiz

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 — Global convening of the inaugural Quantum World Congress. This global event will bring the future into focus while establishing the Greater Washington region as a go-to destination and meeting place for quantum technology visionaries, policymakers, researchers, business and investment leaders, and students. With the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, and the Commonwealth of Virginia as major sponsors, the event is organized by Connected DMV. Click here to learn more, see the list of expert speakers, and reserve your spot.

Dec. 6 — 2022 NVTC Tech 100 Celebration. The Northern Virginia Technology Council will host its annual event at Capital One Hall in Tysons to celebrate the top companies and leaders in the Greater Washington tech community.  Click here to register.

FCEDA is Here to Help Your Business Thrive

Fairfax County EDA is here to connect businesses of all kinds to resources and 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.