November 3, 2022 E-news: Virginia Claims the Top Spot for Business Climate

Virginia Claims the Top Spot for Business Climate

Virginia rose to first place in Site Selection magazine’s 2022 Business Climate Rankings, reported Virginia Business. The Commonwealth unseated Georgia, which had an eight-year streak in the top spot.

“I’m pleased that Virginia has won the best business climate; it’s incredibly exciting to see the pace Virginia is moving at,” said Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “Virginia companies want confidence that their environment will provide long-term stability, a long-term partnership. We are working on putting in place frameworks around a tax-friendly world, a business-friendly regulatory environment, an education system that supports the development of the best workforce, safe communities and a government that supports efficiency.”

A strong business climate needs a plentiful labor supply to meet the needs of incoming and expanding companies.

“One of the most emphasized areas of our workforce efforts is keeping people here,” Youngkin said. “Starting with our veteran population, we have over 700,000 veterans in Virginia, over 150,000 active duty or reservists in Virginia, and we want to keep them all here. This is an extremely well-trained, dedicated, and committed group of Virginians who can anchor so many of our workforce initiatives across every industry.”

Click here for more details on the ranking and an interview with Jason El Koubi, president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Celebrating National Veteran’s Small Business Week

In recognition of National Veteran’s Small Business Week, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority proudly celebrates the large number of Veteran-Owned businesses in the Greater Washington region (Virginia – 79,341; Maryland – 54,049; and District of Columbia – 4,043.) In Fairfax County, there are more than 2,000 Veteran-owned employer firms, with 26,000 employees. The largest veteran-owned companies in Fairfax County include:

We thank you for your service.

Click here to find out about the FCEDA’s free services to start a business in Fairfax County. Looking to hire veterans? Or are you a veteran or military spouse seeking employment? Check out workinnorthernvirginia.com/veterans-clearance to find out about career fairs, job opportunities, and much more.

Greater Washington, D.C. region ranks #1 for Veteran Entrepreneurship

For the second year in a row, the Greater Washington, D.C. region placed as the top region for veterans to start their businesses, according to an annual study by the PenFed Foundation. The study analyzed four main categories for each locality, which include livability, economic growth, support for veterans, and ability to start a business. As the nation navigates the economic impacts of inflation, the study focused especially on how inflation impacts cities differently.

Based in Tysons, The PenFed Foundation is, a national 501(c)(3) founded by PenFed Credit Union. The PenFed Foundation Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP), which supports veteran-owned startups and businesses through access to networks and capital, conducted the study in partnership with Edelman Intelligence.

“The military community’s resilience and entrepreneurial spirit is invaluable for our nation’s business sector. That’s why PenFed is proud to commission this study for the third year in a row highlighting the cities that are making strides to support veteran businesses,” said PenFed Credit Union President/CEO and PenFed Foundation CEO James Schenck. “We want to help cities across the United States understand which environments are best suited for military veterans to start and grow businesses and inspire city leaders to take the actions needed to support veteran entrepreneurs.”

Since 2018, the PenFed Foundation VEIP has accelerated more than 350 veteran-owned startups and helped educate over 4,700 veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs.  Click here to access the full study.

Weekly Business News Digest

All aboard! The 11.4-mile extension of Metro’s Silver Line will open to passengers before Thanksgiving on Nov. 15, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced Monday, the Washington Business Journal reported. The $3 billion project has faced years of delays. But on Nov. 15, Metro riders will have access to six new stations stretching between Fairfax and Loudoun counties: Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn. Jack Potter, the president and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), said “the Silver Line’s opening was significant for a “transportation vision decades in the making.” MWAA oversaw the Silver Line’s construction. The opening of Silver Line Metro service will have a major positive impact for Dulles International Airport, its passengers and the entire region,” according to Potter. Ready to take the metro after it opens? Check out DCist to find out what you need to know about taking the Silver Line train to Dulles Airport.

On a roll: Herndon-based Beacon, a Fortune 500 building materials distributor, acquired Jacksonville, Florida-based waterproofing materials distributor Coastal Construction Products, reported the Washington Business Journal in an article for subscribers. Beacon purchased Coastal from its majority owner, Tampa, Florida-based private equity firm Supply Chain Equity Partners. It is Beacon’s fifth acquisition in the last 12 months.

Down to the wire: Barring last-minute offers from potential buyers or investors, Tysons-based SpaceLink, a startup developing a space-relay constellation, will wind down its operations. Australia’s Electro Optic Systems Holdings, SpaceLink’s parent company, revealed plans in September to focus on its core defense and space business, and seek outside investment to support SpaceLink. For the investment SpaceLink needs approximately $70 million in the near term to complete its contracts with satellite vendors, make down payments on launches and purchase long-lead items. In all, about $250 million would be required to complete the SpaceLink constellation. If that investment were made, SpaceLink expects to generate revenues of $150 million a year, SpaceNews reported.

Hiring frenzy: Tysons-based Booz Allen Hamilton, the largest government IT contractor and one of the largest Washington-area employers, has added almost 800 new workers in the past year, and ended its most recent quarter with a backlog of future contracting work of $31.8 billion, WTOP reported. The company’s contracting backlog was 9.8 percent more than a year earlier. Booz Allen has about 14,000 employees in the D.C. region and 30,000 globally. It had $8.4 billion in revenues in its most recent fiscal year.

Cyber winners: The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) announced the winners of its fourth annual Capital Cyber Awards, which recognizes organizations and government contractors that lead the region’s cybersecurity industry. Winners included Fulton, Md.-based Sonatype, which has an office in Tysons (Commercial Cyber Company of the Year: Over $50 million in Revenue), fellow NOVA EDA jurisdiction Arlington-based Shift5 (Commercial Cyber Company of the Year: Under $50 million in Revenue), Reston-based Noblis (Cyber Government Contractor of the Year: Over $50 million in Revenue) and Reston-based Intelligent Waves (Cyber Government Contractor of the Year: Under $50 million in Revenue). The winners were selected from 21 finalists, pared down from more than 50 original nominees. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Done deal: Reston-based Leidos completed its acquisition of Cobham Aviation Services, Australia’s Special Mission business. The transaction was previously announced on August 2, 2022. The business will be integrated into and operate as part of Leidos Australia. The acquisition of Cobham Special Mission represents Leidos’ entry into Australian aviation. “We are excited and eager to formally welcome Cobham’s Special Mission team to the Leidos family,” said Leidos Chairman and CEO Roger Krone. “Bringing in the Special Mission business will build on our global airborne ISR [Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capabilities while providing new opportunities for growth. Together with Leidos Australia leadership, I look forward to working with this talented team.” citybiz has more.

Addressing a critical need: Fairfax-based George Mason University rebranded its College of Health and Human Services as the College of Public Health in a move to address a critical need for skilled health professionals and research across the state, according to the Virginia Business. GMU announced the renaming Tuesday, following approval in late October by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and it now becomes the first and only public health college in the state. The rebranding more accurately reflects the school’s academic and research missions and reflects the role it plays in the community; it is also expected to bring more opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and expanded funding opportunities, College of Public Health Dean Melissa J. Perry said through a university spokesperson.

Changing hands: Boston Properties has a contract to sell The Avant, a luxury multifamily tower at Reston Town Center it built nearly a decade ago, for $141 million, according to the Washington Business Journal. The real estate investment trust announced the sale earlier this month but did not disclose the buyer. The residential-over-retail building sits roughly a half mile from the Silver Line’s Reston Town Center Metro station and immediately north of a 35-acre site where another 4.8 million square feet of development is underway. The expansion of Reston Town Center, of which Boston Properties is the majority owner, is one of a slew of new developments under construction near the expanding Silver Line.

Contract Wins

Empower AI (Reston) won a 5-year $16 million re-compete task order from the Executive Office of the President’s Office of Management and Budget to deliver critical IT support services. WashingtonExec

Amivero (Reston) received a $9.5 million contract from General Services Administration (GSA) Technology Transformation Services (TTS) Centers of Excellence has awarded to modernize and transform the use of cloud and data technologies. Homeland Security Today

Amivero  (Reston) obtained a $3.1 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations (RAIO) Directorate awarded to provide innovation support, strategy, and design services. Homeland Security Today

Spire Global (Tysons) secured a contract from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to perform preliminary satellite design work for a program aimed at bringing ionospheric data-gathering sensors to very low-Earth orbit. ExecutiveBiz

FCEDA Hosted and Sponsored Events

Nov. 8 — Filling the Tech Talent Community Virtual Meeting. Join the Northern Virginia Technology Council Filling the Tech Talent Gap Community of Interest for a virtual meeting on the value of keeping students in the National Capital Region after graduation and strategies to make that happen. The growing School of Business at George Mason University, part of the largest public university in the Commonwealth, graduates over 1,100 students per year in concentrations that prepare students for successful business and tech careers. Click here to register.

Nov. 15 — Institutional Investment in Blockchain Technology. The Chamber of Digital Commerce and Virginia Blockchain Council present an in-person and virtual hybrid event. Join us to hear from Fairfax County’s pension funds’ as they discuss their pioneering investments in digital assets and the blockchain sector, as well as learn from other integral players in digital assets and their experiences. Click here to register.

Nov. 15 to 16 — TiE DC Capital GovCon and ELITE Awards Gala. TiE DC Capital GovCon 2022 will bring together over 300 small business owners and professionals in the D.C. Metro region for two days of content-rich programming and networking. The event will feature government & industry leaders leading significant digital transformation efforts across their respective agencies. Click here to register. Use code GovCon10! For discounted ticket pricing. *Awards Info: The TiE DC Capital ELITE Awards recognize Excellence in Leadership, Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship. This year, at their flagship Capital GovCon event, TiE DC will honor government and industry executives that epitomize the virtues of this award. An independent jury will evaluate and rank each nomination, so TiE DC can duly recognize the achievements of executives in the government and government contracting community that have made a significant impact to the industry in the last 12-18 months. Note that the jury will remain undisclosed throughout the deliberations process. Click here to access the nomination form. Nominations close Nov. 4.

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.