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.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:22am

The choice is Great: Trustar Bank will open its headquarters location on Walker Road in Great Falls according to a story for subscribers to the Washington Business Journal. Andy Medici reports that the bank has exceeded the $35 to $50 million threshold in funding it had established as a goal less than six weeks ago. The bank hopes to open its Great Falls location before the end of June and is considering a second, more traditional branch location in Reston for later in 2019.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:21am

Gotta scoot: WTOP's Jeff Clabaugh reports that lime green dockless electronic scooters will  debut in Vienna, Merrifield, Falls Church and on the George Mason University campus as soon as this week. Using an app, riders 18 and older can unlock a scooter for $1 and pay 15 cents per minute to ride. Under current law, dockless bike and scooter companies such as Lime do not need a formal agreement from Fairfax County to deploy fleets. According to Lime's web site, its scooters and bikes are already in use in more than 100 locales including Arlington, Charlottesville and Washington, D.C.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:20am

Fast food on the fly: The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has designs on adding a 24-hour, fast-food restaurant with drive-thru on a three-acre parcel behind the Dulles International Airport car rental center. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal reports the MWAA is contemplating a 20-year lease and a mid-2020 opening for the yet-to-be-determined brand.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:19am

Atta baby: Inova Health System will make a $500,000 investment in Babyscripts, a D.C.-based tech startup that connects expectant mothers with their doctors to reduce risks during pregnancy and postpartum. Michelai Graham of reports that Inova's investment comes on the heels of a $6 million investment round led by international health tech company Philips. Babyscripts has raised more than $14 million all told. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:19am

Networking on a grand scale: Tysons-based TEGNA agreed to acquire 11 local television stations in eight markets served by the Nexstar Media Group. According to citybizlist, the $740 million purchase would include FOX, ABC and CBS affiliates in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Iowa, Alabama, Illinois and Arkansas, including multiple key markets for presidential campaign spending.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:18am

Riding the rails: Bucking a regional trend, Metro ridership increased significantly at three of four Tysons area stations in the fourth quarter of the 2018 calendar year. Numbers compiled by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and published by the Tysons Reporter show the McLean Metro station enjoyed the largest increase in ridership, rising 18.6 percent year over year. The Greensboro station, experienced a 10.8 percent increase, while ridership at the Tysons Corner station was up by 3.9 percent. The Wiehle-Reston East station was the busiest among Silver Line-only stations with more than 1 million riders during the quarter.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:17am

Valuable links: The Fairfax Connector will be offering new routes and tweaking others with the changes taking effect March 30. Vernon Miles of the Tysons Reporter notes that routes 462 and 467 are slated to begin shuttling passengers between Tysons, Vienna and Dunn Loring by the end of the month, bridging a gap between the Tysons Corner Metro station on the Silver Line and the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro on the Orange Line. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:17am

Leaving on a jet plane: With more than 1.6 million passengers in January, the passenger count at Washington Dulles International Airport increased 1.6 percent year over year. The numbers, reported by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and published by InsideNoVa, reflected a 4 percent increase in domestic travel.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:16am

Best case sent Ario: The Herndon-based Center for Innovative Technology, by way of its Virginia Founders Fund, is investing in Norfolk, Va.-based Ario TechnologiesCitybizlist reports that Ario is a developer of augmented reality application solutions for the web and mobile devices that offer real-time, on-the-job training. The company will use the investment to support sales and expand staff to accelerate product development.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:16am

Mission accomplished: General Dynamics Information Technology completed its work to move the Defense Health Agency's Armed Forces Billing and Collection Utilization Solution (ABACUS) to Amazon Web Services' Gov Cloud. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release which noted that GDIT had received a $56 million task order from the DHA to operate and sustain ABACUS as a cloud-based managed service offering.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:14am

Dass the one: Herndon-based SAP NS2 formed a new partnership with Dassian Strategic Solutions of Atlanta to offer Dassian's enterprise resource planning products to U.S. government customers and those in highly-regulated industries. Ross Wilkers of Washington Technology reports that SAP NS2 intends to leverage Dassian as a reseller with an eye on entering new markets and providing advanced levels of support for users of both companies.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 9:43am

Tourism benefits as National Cherry Blossom Festival blooms with events throughout Fairfax County

The National Cherry Blossom Festival begins today and runs through April 14.

The festival annually commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. Although visitors flock to the Tidal Basin area of the nation's capital, Fairfax County offers plenty of opportunity for viewing similar blooms without battling the crowds.

In fact, those famous pink blossoms have a significant impact on the Fairfax County economy when it comes to tourism.

"Many of our tourism partners in Fairfax County organize spectacular events and activities that drive visitation beyond the District and into this county, which in turn brings incremental revenue to our excellent parks, attractions, and hotels," says Visit FairfaxPresident and CEO Barry Biggar. "Visit Fairfax has been a longtime supporter of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, helping to celebrate the arrival of spring to the DC and Northern Virginia region."

Tysons-based Hilton is the official hotel partner of the National Cherry Blossom Festival and is offering a variety of special packages.

According to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the festival brings an estimated 1.5 million visitors to the Washington area and works in conjunction with more than 50 participating organizations.

Visit Fairfax notes that tourism brought $3.16 billion to Fairfax County in 2017 and supports more than 31,000 local jobs, most of which are in hospitality and leisure industries such as lodging, food service, arts, entertainment and recreation.

This year's peak bloom is expected to take place during the first week of April.  

Fairfax County will host key events -- including some celebrating Japanese culture -- through April 14. 

Notable Fairfax County events and exhibits include: 

  • March 20 to April 14: Festival Central at the Fairfax County Visitor Center, Tysons Corner Center (2nd level, outside Nordstrom). Free souvenirs, festival schedules and information on activities throughout the region. On March 30, the Visitor Center will host its annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Day from 1 pm to 3 p.m. with craft demonstrations and free gifts.

  • April 6: Cherry STEM Day at the Children's Science Center Lab, Fair Oaks Mall, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Explore flower pigmentation with experiments. See cherry blossom pigmentation patterns and how they differ from other flowers. Admission is $13.

  • April 6: Ikebana Floral Design workshops at Green Spring Gardens in the Alexandria area of the county. Ikebana is a Japanese art of flower arrangement. Learn about its rich symbolism and the fundamentals and take home your own arrangement. For ages 16-up. Program fee is $39 plus a $25 supply fee. A program for ages 9-12 will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ($15 plus $15 supply fee).

  • April 7: Art Blooms in the Mosaic District in Merrifield. Interactive art installations, live music, a beer garden and a handmade and vintage gift fair with Urban Market at Strawberry Park. Free to attend, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • April 13: Second Saturday Art Walk: Cherry Blossom Bonanza! at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. Enjoy the property's cherry trees, art inspired by the spring blooms in all Workhouse galleries and a specialty cocktail at the themed bar. Building and history museum open at noon. Extended Art Walk hours until 9 p.m.

  • April 13: Spring Fling Tour, Woods at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon. Nature trail will feature stations to build a fairy house, keep tally of birds and small animals. Enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Frying Pan Meeting House. Free admission. Stop at the indoor arena for a map and instructions.

  • April 14: Tour of new Bonsai Pavilion and bonsai care demonstrations from members of the Northern Virginia Bonsai Society at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna. Garden admission is $6. Special event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Also consider self-guided garden tours at these sites:        

  • River Farm (Mount Vernon), a historic 25-acre site on the banks of the Potomac River that was once part of George Washington's original five farms and is the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society.

  • Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (Vienna), a 90-acre oasis featuring more than 100 cherry trees surrounding a lake, plus extensive shade garden, native wildflowers, gazebos, birds, butterflies, seasonal blooms and the Korean Bell Garden.

  • Green Spring Gardens (Alexandria area), an outdoor classroom, national historic site, and museum featuring a wooded stream, valley with ponds, native plant garden, more than 20 thematic demonstration gardens and a greenhouse filled with tropical plants.


In another story about nature's bounty in Fairfax County, Mary Ann Barton has a story in the March/April issue of Alexandria Living magazine about Arcadia Farm, a non-profit organization that's helping military veterans learn to become farmers.

The Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture is located at Woodlawn off Richmond Highway. The land once was part of George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. Woodlawn is owned and operated as a museum by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In addition to educating veterans, the organization promotes sustainable growing practices, and helps improve access to locally produced healthy food. The program also helps participants find affordable land to farm, assists with market access for the food they produce and even offers business and tax advice.

"You're never going to get rich doing it," says Pam Hess, executive director of the Arcadia Center. "We're filling a hole in the marketplace. Veterans want jobs where they can be close to their families and get rewarded for a hard day's work. They want to see tangible results from their efforts."

The program is catching on, anticipating a class of 42 veterans this spring. That's almost as many new farmers as Arcadia has generated to date.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 11:08am

Keeping up with the Jones: Stephen Jones has been president and CEO of the Inova Health System for almost a year. Sara Gilgore, in a story for subscribers to the Washington Business Journal, profiles the cancer surgeon and former president at Cleveland Clinic and what's transpired at Inova since the departures of high-level execs including former CEO Knox Singleton and Todd Stottlemyer, former CEO of the Inova Center for Personalized Health in Merrifield. Under Jones, called "surgeon general" in the story's headline, Inova is working to implement "precision medicine" across the system and focusing on talent recruitment, partnerships, outpatient services, an expansion of surgical care and the imminent opening of the $150 million Inova Schar Cancer Institute.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 11:08am

Towering proposal: A newly submitted plan would bring three towers to the corner of Leesburg Pike and Spring Hill Road in Tysons. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal reports that two corporations controlled by Springfield-based Capitol Petroleum Group want to redevelop the 5.24-acre site with "The Piazza at Tysons." The project would include up to 775 residential units (or 450 units and 350 hotel rooms) and 91,000 square feet of retail in replacing a site now home to Schmitz Exxon, an Ethan Allen store and a Starbucks.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 11:07am

Beckoning boomers: With millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age, Mather LifeWays hopes to capitalize on a desire for urban-style communities in amenity-rich neighborhoods. That is behind Mather's proposed senior housing complex in Tysons that would feature 27- and 18-story towers on Westpark Drive. The Mather would be part of the 3 million square-foot Arbor Row development by Cityline Partners, notes Jon Banister of Bisnow. The proposal is scheduled to go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission in late April.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 11:07am

Tags, you're it: Novume Solutions, based in Chantilly, finalized its acquisition of OpenALPR Technology, an artificial intelligence-based vehicle-recognition software developer based in Hanover, Md. According to Jane Edwards of GovConWire, Novume expects that the deal will provide an opportunity to offer software and hardware packages for camera systems and to expand its client base in the automatic license plate-recognition hardware market.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 11:06am

On the record(s): Aldrich Capital Partners of Tysons invested $41 million in West Henrietta, N.Y.-based eHealth Technologies, a provider of medical-record retrieval and organization services and image-enabled Health Information Exchanges. According to citybizlist, Aldrich, which seeks to support innovative healthcare, fintech and application software providers, has made more than $1 billion in tech investments since 1999.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 11:05am

Biggest of the deals: Six deals in Fairfax County are on the Washington Business Journal's compilation of the area's top 25 real estate transactions of 2018: Appian's lease from Tamares Group for its new Tysons headquarters; delivery of Capital One's 31-story headquarters in Tysons; Greystar's delivery of the Exo apartments in Reston; Fannie Mae's lease from Boston Properties in Reston; the Leidos headquarters tower in Reston; and delivery of The St. Jamessports and wellness complex in Springfield. Not surprisingly, Amazon's decision to locate HQ2 at National Landing topped the list. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 11:05am

Proof of concept: In a roundup of area investments, Andy Medici of the Washington Business Journal notes two Reston-based companies receiving recent funding. One is real-time shipping and logistics software firm CargoSense, which recently raised about $2.8 million. The second is freight-visibility and matching service Trucker Tools, which raised $3 million. Medici also notes that Reston-based venture firm Proof.VC raised $4.4 million.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 11:04am

SEC is on emissions: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Volkswagen, which maintains its its Volkswagen Group of America headquarters in Herndon, and former CEO Martin Winterkorn, alleging "massive fraud" on U.S. investors in connection with misstated diesel-emissions. The company has spent billions to pay claims from U.S.-based VW owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers, including $4.3 billion in fines. It said the suit is legally and factually flawed, and said it will contest it vigorously. David Shepardson and Edward Taylor report for Reuters.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 11:03am

Next move for NII: NII Holdings, a Reston-based provider of Nextel mobile communications services in Brazil, will sell its 70 percent stake in Nextel Brazil to América Móvil. The move comes two years after NII sold off a 30 percent share in Nextel Brazil. notes that América Móvil becomes sole owner of Nextel Brazil by acquiring the remaining 30 percent from AI Brazil.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 11:02am

Great place for collegians: Virginia maintains its ranking as the best state for higher education in a study by Smart It considered student-faculty ratios, average net price, graduation rate, in-state attendance and 20-year return on investment. Virginia has ranked first or second in the Smart Asset study each of the last five years.

Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 11:23am

Hot off the press: The latest edition of the quarterly Fairfax Leader, published by the FCEDA, is available online. It includes a recap of job growth in the county in 2018, a look at county companies making news and a recent snapshot of key real estate transactions. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 11:22am
Hot home markets: According to Northern Virginia magazine, the hottest up-and-coming neighborhoods in our region are those located within walking distance of Metro stations. Authors Katie Bianco and Lynn Norusis include the Mosaic District(Dunn Loring) for fashion and foodies, Pimmit Hills (West Falls Church) for commuters and renovation visionaries, Reston (Wiehle-Reston) for those on the fence between urban and suburban lifestyle, and Tysons (Tysons Corner and Greensboro) for new urban dwellers. The authors predict Reston Town Center, Innovation Center and Herndon-Monroe will only increase in popularity as the Silver Line continues its path toward completion.

Lyft Going Public: The Dual-Class Share Dilemma

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 4:46pm

All shares of stock are not created equal. Stock can come in different classes now: Class A, Class B. Some of this stock comes with superpowers... and some of it comes with almost no power at all.

(Image credit: NPR)

Former Murdoch Executive Says He Quit Over Fox's Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 4:15pm
Joseph Azam says he left his senior post at News Corp. in late 2017 over the coverage of Muslims, immigrants and race by Fox News and other Murdoch news outlets.

A former top executive for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. tells NPR he left his job because of relentlessly harsh depictions of Muslims and immigrants in Murdoch's media properties, especially Fox News.

(Image credit: Sasithon Pooviriyakul)

Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan Investigated Over Ties To Boeing

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 11:07am
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan listens as President Trump speaks during a signing event for Space Policy Directive 4 in the Oval Office last month.

Patrick Shanahan spent 30 years as a Boeing executive before joining the Defense Department as deputy secretary. The inspector general will examine whether Shanahan improperly promoted Boeing.

(Image credit: Evan Vucci/AP)

Plane Safety Is A Shared Responsibility, Former FAA Administrator Says

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 7:28am

As the Federal Aviation Administration comes under increasing criticism for its relationship with Boeing, Steve Inskeep talks to Michael Huerta, the last permanent FAA administrator.

Meet Q, The Gender-Neutral Voice Assistant

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 5:16am

Most digital personal assistants such as Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa have the option to sound either male or female. The team behind Q aims to break through gender binary.

Boeing Brings 100 Years Of History To Its Fight To Restore Its Reputation

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 5:33pm
Boeing 737 Max jets are grounded at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix on March 14.

Two high-profile plane crashes. The grounding of its bestselling jetliner. How did Boeing get here, and how can it recover from this crisis of confidence?

(Image credit: Matt York/AP)

Why Are Venezuelans Starving?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 4:53pm
A woman with a sign reading "There is no food" protests against new emergency powers decreed this week by President Nicolas Maduro in front of a line of policemen in Caracas on May 18, 2016. / AFP / FEDERICO PARRA (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuelans are starving because there isn't enough food. But the country has so much fertile land, water, and sunshine — shouldn't it be a farmer's paradise?

(Image credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)

How A Small Indiana Company Fought Back Against Chinese Counterfeiters

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 4:24pm

When an Indiana company learned their goods were being counterfeited in China, they did everything they could to make it stop. But pursuing an intellectual property claim in China takes a lot of work.

Fed Signals Rate Hikes May Be Over For 2019

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 2:43pm
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 26. "It may be some time before the outlook for jobs and inflation calls clearly for a change in policy," he said Wednesday.

The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged Wednesday and signaled that no more rate hikes may be necessary this year amid signs of economic slowing.

(Image credit: Kevin Wolf/AP)

EU Fines Google $1.7 Billion Over 'Abusive' Online Ad Strategies

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 1:25pm
European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager says Google broke the law for roughly 10 years by restricting how business partners deal with rivals in search advertising.

For years, AdSense contracts gave Google a wide range of control, including how its rivals' search ads would appear — and their size, color and font, the EU says.

(Image credit: Yves Herman/Reuters)

Despite U.S. Pressure, Germany Refuses To Exclude Huawei's 5G Technology

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 7:31am
The German headquarters of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in Duesseldorf, Germany. The U.S. says it may stop sharing intelligence with Germany if it adopts Huawei

The U.S. says it may stop sharing intelligence with Germany if it adopts Chinese firm Huawei's 5G technology. But the threats haven't swayed Germany, which says it can set its own security standards.

(Image credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters)

Disney Officially Owns 21st Century Fox

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 6:17am
The exterior of Fox Studios is pictured Tuesday in Los Angeles. Disney

The $71 billion deal strengthens Disney's portfolio and gives it even more leverage to compete against other streaming powerhouses.

(Image credit: Chris Pizzello/AP)

Facebook Apologizes For Banning Trump's Social Media Director

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 5:03am

Facebook temporarily banned Dan Scavino, President Trump's social media director, from posting comments. Facebook says his postings were flagged by an algorithm.

News Brief: Trump's FAA Pick, Clergy Abuse Suit, Disney-Fox Deal

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 5:03am

Trump picked former Delta Air Lines executive Stephen Dickson to lead the FAA. West Virginia lawsuit accuses Catholic dioceses of covering up clergy sex abuse. And, Disney acquires 21st Century Fox.

Disney Closes On $71 Billion Acquisition Of Fox's Entertainment Business

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 5:03am

At the end of 2017, Disney announced that it would acquire large parts of 21st Century Fox. On Wednesday, shortly after midnight eastern time, the $71.3 billion deal finally was completed.

Health Plans For State Employees Use Medicare's Hammer On Hospital Bills

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 5:00am
The new strategy of some health plans for state employees is to pay hospitals a certain percentage above the basic Medicare reimbursement rate. It allows hospitals a small profit, the states say, while reducing costs to states and patients.

Some states have begun using Medicare reimbursement rates to recalibrate how they pay hospitals. If the gamble pays off, more private-sector employers could start doing the same thing.

(Image credit: shapecharge/Getty Images)