the Power of Ideas channel

In Fairfax County, meaningful information and research fuel the Power of Ideas. That’s why we created the Power of Ideas Channel: to bring you the latest business and economic development news and information. Here, you can access articles curated and written by Fairfax County EDA, read the latest editions of our E-Bird news digest, review business news from NPR and learn about best practices from Harvard Business Review. Click below and experience the benefit of having the right information right at your fingertips.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 10:40am

Now hear this: Knox Singleton's retirement plans will leave large shoes to fill at Inova Health Systems. Singleton, head of Inova since 1984, has shepherded its growth into a $3.5 billion health system with five hospitals, 17,000 employees and a 117-acre Merrifield site under development. His stewardship has helped Inova evolve into a leader in health care technology, research and personalized health. "The community and hospital grew up together," FCEDA President Jerry Gordon told Tina Reed of the Washington Business Journal.  "As the hospital grew ... it''s helped people realize this has become a world-class community." Read more from Gordon on the FCEDA site.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 10:40am

Rocketing ahead: Global security challenges, a need for missile defense and the Pentagon's desire to control the battleground of space are among reasons Falls Church-based Northrop Grumman will commit $9.2 billion to acquiring Dulles-based Orbital ATK, a developer of aviation systems, including rockets and small satellites. Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush told Christian Davenport and Aaron Gregg of the Washington Post he sees "very little overlap" between the companies. The deal, expected to close in the first half of 2018, includes $7.8 billion in cash and assumption of $1.4 billion in debt.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 10:39am

ManTech's perfect storm: Herndon-based ManTech International has agreed to acquire fellow government tech contractor InfoZen of Bethesda, Md. for $180 million. Given InfoZen's abilities in cloud monitoring, threat monitoring and software development, ManTech President told. Robert J. Terry of the Washington Business Journal: "We would consider this the perfect storm of capabilities that fit into ManTech." Pending regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close next month.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 10:39am

Top spots for women: Navy Federal Credit Union is among the top 10 Best Workplaces for Women 2017 according to rankings by Fortune magazine. No. 8 Navy Federal is one of four Fairfax County-based companies in the top 70 with Hilton Worldwide at 15, Capital One 48th and Mars Inc. 68th. Rankings were based on a survey of more than 400,000 U.S. employees and considered more than 50 metrics including benefits, company leadership and personal support.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 10:38am

Well worth watching: The Washington Business Journal is out with its list of 25 startup companies to watch. Among the fledgling Fairfax County firms on the list available to subscribers: Tysons Corner-based Surefire Local, Upside Door and Perthera, Vibrent Health of Fairfax and Vemo Education of Oakton.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 10:37am

Livability matters: Ranked 29th in the nation, Reston is highest among three Virginia communities in the top 50 of Money's 2017 Best Places to Live list. Conducted in partnership with, Money calls Reston a "thriving" suburb that offers "expanses of parks, lakes, golf courses and bridle paths" in addition to providing a vibrant and diverse business base that fosters low unemployment.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 10:37am

Positive jolt: Reston-based Electrify America, a subsidiary of Herndon-based Volkswagen Group of America, is backing zero emissions vehicle infrastructure with a $2 billion investment. In the next decade, Electrify American plans to build charging stations no more than 120 miles apart in high-traffic corridors and implement a nationwide education program. Bisnow's Lara O'Keefe reports that less than one percent of American's own an electric vehicle, but sales are rising.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 10:26am

Pearls of wisdom: Herndon-based 10 Pearls has acquired ProQual-IT of Rockville, Md. A digital development company, with more than 320 employees worldwide, 10 Pearls will utilize Pro-Qual's specialization in identity management and biometrics. Virginia Business has more.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 10:25am

New kids on the block: The Morgan Companies, a Charlotte, N.C.,-based commercial real estate company, is opening its newest office in Reston Town Center. Morgan also operates in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., according to Virginia Business.

Inova CEO Knox Singleton announces he’ll retire and FCEDA’s Gordon reflects upon his impact on the region

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fairfax County, Virginia, Sept. 18,  2017 – Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of  the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), reacted to the announcement that J. Knox Singleton, longtime CEO of Inova Health Systems, will retire effective July 1, 2018.

Almost 300 turn out for SMWiFairfax, a look at social media today and in the future, presented by the FCEDA

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fairfax County, Virginia — The two-way street that is social media ran through the heart of Fairfax County yesterday, with almost 300 turning out for a robust give-and-take at SMWiFairfax, an event presented for the first time by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) at Capital One headquarters in Tysons Corner.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 12:20pm

Funding the funder: Vemo Education, an Oakton-based funder of college-student loans, raised $7.4 million in seed funding led by University Ventures and NextGen Venture Partners. Vemo develops income-share agreements involving students and institutions as an alternative to traditional loans. A release picked up by citybizlist, says investors are backing Vemo's quest to invest in technology, hire more employees and expand market development.Funding the funder: Vemo Education, an Oakton-based funder of college-student loans, raised $7.4 million in seed funding led by University Ventures and NextGen Venture Partners. Vemo develops income-share agreements involving students and institutions as an alternative to traditional loans. A release picked up by citybizlist, says investors are backing Vemo's quest to invest in technology, hire more employees and expand market development.


Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 12:20pm

Adopting Adaptive: Adaptive Methods of Centreville has been acquired by L3 Technologies and will become known as L3 Adaptive Methods. As reported by Ross Wilkers of Washington Technology, Adaptive Methods designs tactical-buoy systems for manned and unmanned maritime vehicles as well as sonar processing systems and command-and-control systems for anti-submarine warfare.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 12:19pm

More than Milky Ways: McLean-based food producer Mars completed its purchase of 800 veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and Canada from VCA as well as related animal-health facilities. The deal is worth $9.1 billion. The Washington Business Journal's Michael Neibauer reports that to gain Federal Trade Commission approval, Mars had to divest 12 specialty or off-hours emergency animal hospitals. VCA will operate as a separate business within Mars Petcare.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 12:19pm

What goes with Phish?: Reston-based ThreatQuotient and PhishMe announced a partnership to better track phishing threats. According to citybizlist, the ThreatQ intelligence platform will pair with PhishMe Intelligence to accelerate detection time.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 12:18pm

Wasting no time: Days after being acquired by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Long & Foster of Chantilly acquired residential brokerage Evers & Co. Andy Medici of the Washington Business Journal reports that Evers is the largest woman-owned brokerage in the Washington, D.C. area, operating three offices with nearly 100 real estate professionals and $441 million in area sales in 2015.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 12:18pm

More than fresh paint: Moore & Associates has a $10 million renovation plan for its  newly purchased four-building Worldgate Metro Plaza office complex in Herndon. Bisnow's Jon Banister has more on plans for the site along the Dulles Toll Road.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 12:17pm

For those keeping score: Reston-based comScore, which this week reduced its board from 12 to five members, pushed back a self-imposed deadline for filing restated financial forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Andy Medici of the Washington Business Journal has more about the company's accounting issues.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 12:17pm

Talent show: DC Inno's Sam Sabin reports on how Tysons Corner-based management consultant Booz Allen Hamilton transformed its summer intern program and, in the process, improved its pipeline for attracting full-time talent. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 12:16pm

Call to action: Sixty members of Virginia Task Force 1, Fairfax County's urban search and rescue team, have been dispatched to the Caribbean and Key West, Fla., to aid in search and rescue operations in the wake of Hurricane Irma. A photo gallery accompanying Kristi King's story on shows the team (which also provided support for Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas) in action and the conditions they face. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 11:28am

QBurst, Big Parser are among SMWiFairfax contributors; Hispanic Heritage Month to kick off

Tomorrow's much-awaited SMWiFairfax event at Capital One headquarters may have a local reference within its name. But Social Media Week, of which SMWiFairfax is a part, is international in its scope with an annual global reach of 600 million thanks to events in 22 cities and 75,000 attendees.

Not only has the topic, "Language and the Machine" -- the ways in which humans and devices interact to communicate in business, politics and everyday life -- become a catalyst for global discussion, the very organization of the event has invited international participation.

Take, for example, the contributions of QBurst, which built the website for SMWiFairfax and is hosting, monitoring and managing the site with its 24/7 offshore tech support team. Powered by QBurst, the SMWiFairfax site was able to meet the challenge presented by different time zones with the necessary level of back-end support.

QBurst, which offers a portfolio that includes mobile and web development, e-commerce sites, big data, Internet of Things, cloud-based solutions and social media analytics, will deploy a live Twitter feed on Thursday, permitting on-site participants and the public to interact with the debate created by guest speakers and panelists.

Locally based in Chantilly, QBurst is headquartered in the state of Kerala in southern India. It has 1,200 employees in offices worldwide and has executed more than 650 projects. The company chose to locate in Fairfax County to be close to leading technology companies, many of whom are customers which rely on QBurst to help grow their business.

"No project is too small for us if it involves a technology challenge," said QBurst vice president Suresh Nair when asked about taking on the SMWiFairfax responsibilities. He called it a "golden opportunity" for QBurst to be "seen and heard" as it extends its reach to new business partnerships in Fairfax County.

Hey, Alexa, ask Fairfax: Those words will be often-heard in the atrium area at SMWiFairfax, where Big Parser of Reston will employ Amazon Echo Technology to show off its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

In a display of useful AI, attendees will be able to ask Fairfax (Alexa's alter ego for the event) more than 100 event- and Fairfax County-specific questions and receive intelligent, useful and sometimes humorous responses designed to inform and entertain.

"Big Parser is like a giant artificial intelligence brain that anyone can use -- not just big corporations, but the average person," says Ed Water, company president. "Like Wikipedia, it is an open place with open data available -- data collected by the community, for the community. The Big Parser community today is several thousand people that collect data, make it public and share it with others.

"We have a very strong relationship with Amazon on both the cloud side as well as the AI side. We partner very heavily with the Amazon Alexa team."

Hispanic Heritage Month: With about 14,000 Hispanic/Latino-owned businesses accounting for more than $2.5 billion in sales and receipts, the Hispanic business community is playing an increasingly important role in Fairfax County.

"The Greater Washington Hispanic market is probably one of the most affluent, not only in the United States but in the world," says Michel Zajur, president and CEO of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber, which maintains northern Virginia offices in Tysons Corner, just down the hall from the FCEDA. "I think a lot of it is because of government contracting and being so close to Washington."

The chamber seeks to call positive attention to these businesses year-round, but particularly during Hispanic Heritage Month, with runs from September 15 to October 15 and will feature numerous cultural and informational events, including a kickoff at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas on September 21, Latino Festival in Washington, D.C., special events at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and an array of events at George Mason University.

FCEDA President and CEO Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., will provide introductory remarks at an October 2 candidates forum sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner. Gordon also will be a featured speaker at the Virginia Hispanic Chamber Business Conference October 13 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Beyond the celebration, the Hispanic Chamber offers continuing support for startup businesses and is launching two important initiatives: conversational, industry-specific Spanish and English courses to be available in Tysons Corner, and its Passport to Education program in which mentors develop leadership programs to keep students in school and on track.

"Language and culture should not be a barrier," Zajur said. "We want our students to envision the future, which is important, because they are the future workforce of Fairfax County."

Tourism up: InsideNoVa reported Tuesday that Fairfax County saw tourism spending rise 3.4 percent to $3.03 billion, second-highest among all cities and counties in Virginia. Figures, compiled by the U.S. Travel Association, are based on traditional tourism and business meetings including conventions and cover travel to Virginia from locations at least 50 miles away.

"We were thrilled to see Fairfax County pass the $3 billion mark in annual economic contribution from visitor spending in the domestic marketplace," Barry Biggar, president and CEO of Visit Fairfax told E-Bird Extra. "We were also excited to learn that Fairfax County topped the list for the highest total dollar increase in tourism revenue within the Commonwealth with an increase of more than $101 Million in spending. This highlights the world-class attractions and shopping, culinary offerings, arts and culture, and amazing experiences that our residents enjoy and that more visitors are discovering every day."

Beautiful music: The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra will commemorate Fairfax County's 275th anniversary with its program "New Music and Historical Images Through the Years," featuring  the world premiere of "Resolutions," a musical legacy to the county created by George Mason University Professor of Music Mark Camphouse. The concert takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mason Center for the Arts. For ticket information, click here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 10:56am

Now hear this: Today is the final day to register for SMWiFairfax, a Social Media Week independent event taking place Thursday at Capital One headquarters in Tysons Corner. Don't miss the chance to interact with social media experts in journalism, government and business. For details and ticketing, visit

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 10:56am

Hot off the press: Discussing why the FCEDA is sponsoring SMWiFairfax in a guest post at, FCEDA President Jerry Gordon writes: "We want the wider tech community to know about the thought leadership that happens in Fairfax County and the opportunities for growth that exist here. He adds, "Bottom line: Innovative companies, innovative employees and innovative communities go hand-in-hand."

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 10:55am

Fostering investment: Long & Foster Companies of Chantilly, the largest private independent residential brokerage in the U.S. by sales volume, has been acquired by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway affiliate HomeServices of America. Wes Foster, who co-founded Long & Foster in 1968, will remain as chairman emeritus. Jeff Detwiler, its current president and CEO, will serve as CEO. Sara Gilgore of the Washington Business Journal notes that Long & Foster employs more than 5,000 in the D.C. area.

Episode 628: This Ad's For You

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 6:05pm
Tom Burrell, ad man.

In the early 1960s, Tom Burrell became the first black man in Chicago advertising. He went on to change the whole industry, not just the way we think about ads, but the way advertisers think about us.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Tom Burrell)

Texas Farmers Suffer Extensive Crop Losses In Wake Of Harvey

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 4:54pm
Rice farmer John Gaulding wades through the roughly 8 inches of water still filling his fields in rural Hamshire, Texas. At its worst, he says, the water was as high as 30-36 inches.

Massive rainfall, winds and a slow drying-out process from Harvey have left many farmers overwhelmed and worried.

(Image credit: Carrie Kahn/NPR)

Bridge For Sale: History Clashes With Safety In Washington State

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 4:31pm

It's not so easy to get rid of a historic bridge. Washington state has one and doesn't know what to do with it. Historic preservation is butting up against safety and infrastructure needs, so the state is offering $1 million for anyone who will come and take the old bridge off their hands.

Once A Blue-Collar Powerhouse, A Chicago Suburb Now Faces A Dim Future

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 4:31pm

NPR's Cheryl Corley makes a bittersweet return home to Harvey, Ill., where she finds a town struggling to survive.

(Image credit: Cheryl Corley/NPR)

How Tech Giants Use Their Power To Advance Corporate Interests

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 4:31pm

Big tech companies influence more of our lives than ever before. And there are growing concerns that they're using that power to advance their own corporate interests. NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Gizmodo journalist Kashmir Hill about her own experience with the tech giant, Google.

Trump Pledges To Withdraw From U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 4:31pm

President Trump says he wants to begin withdrawing from the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement. The pact was supposed to help U.S. companies sell more to Korea, but the trade gap is wider than it was when it took effect. The reasons have to do with regulations in Korea, the relatively weak economy in Korea and the U.S. consumer's love of spending.

FACT CHECK: Are DACA Recipients Stealing Jobs Away From Other Americans?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 3:12pm
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces the president

On an individual level, there are probably DACA recipients who have jobs other Americans want. But on a broader scale, DACA recipients are helping grow the economy.

(Image credit: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

Irma Portends New Woes For Debt-Stricken Puerto Rico

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 1:08pm
Seawater rises with the approach of Hurricane Irma, which threatened to overwhelm a jetty in Puerto Rico on Tuesday. The U.S. territory of some 3.4 million people has struggled to pay its debts — even filing earlier this year for a procedure similar to bankruptcy, and a natural catastrophe could compound that fiscal pain.

The U.S. territory filed to restructure billions in debt earlier this year. Those economic straits threaten to hobble the island's ability to cope with the effects of the Category 5 hurricane.

(Image credit: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP/Getty Images)

Big Business Pushes Back On DACA

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 11:06am

If the government wants to deport a Microsoft employee who has benefited from DACA, "it's going to have to go through us to get that person," Microsoft President Brad Smith told NPR.

(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Amazon's 1-Click Patent Is About To Expire. What's The Big Deal?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 4:59am

Our Planet Money team looks back on the early days of the Internet when buying with one click seemed novel enough to warrant a patent, and how this gave Amazon an advantage.

Analysts: U.S. Unlikely To End Trade With China Over North Korea

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 4:59am

President Trump threatened to cut off trade to any nation doing business with North Korea after it tested a nuclear weapon. The warning was clearly aimed at China.

Grocery Prices Have Been Falling. Did You Notice?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 4:55am
Retail food prices have just been through the longest period of deflation in about 60 years.

For 19 months in a row, food prices in America's supermarkets fell compared to a year earlier. This is good news for shoppers but has weighed on the grocery industry and the people who grow our food.

(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

New CEO Richard Anderson Outlines His Vision For Amtrak

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 4:29pm

NPR's Robert Siegel interviews Richard Anderson, former head of Delta Airlines, who has been recruited to lead Amtrak during a period of major renovations.

Microsoft President To Trump: To Deport A DREAMer, You'll Have To Go Through Us

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 4:21pm
Brad Smith speaks at the Microsoft Annual Shareholders meeting in 2015. The Microsoft president issued sharp words Tuesday against President Trump

As dozens of CEOs called on the president to preserve DACA, and on Congress to pass an immigration bill to help immigrant youth, the president of Microsoft had some fighting words for the White House.

(Image credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets Set To Get A New Owner: Local Billionaire Tilman Fertitta

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 2:07pm
Tilman Fertitta, seen here at a television premier last year in Universal City, Calif. A native Texan, Fertitta owns the Houston-based restaurant chain Landry

Reported to be an NBA record $2.2 billion, the sale still must get the league's OK. Leslie Alexander, the team's owner since 1993, is selling it for about $1.5 billion more than what he bought it for.

(Image credit: Michael Boardman/Getty Images)

Publisher Tronc To Purchase New York's 'Daily News'

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 11:21am
In a photo from 2015, then-Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, greets New York Daily News publisher Mortimer Zuckerman during a luncheon hosted by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, at the the Yale Club in New York.

The long-struggling tabloid, rival of The New York Post, will reportedly go for just $1 and the assumption of operational and pension liabilities.

(Image credit: Mary Altaffer/AP)