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, September 21, 2017 - 9:55am

Now hear this: The next Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County seminar will be held Tuesday, October 3. The free workshop is held at the FCEDA headquarters in Tysons Corner. Highly popular as well as highly informative, space is limited and registration for the September session filled up early. Don't be shut out. Register now by clicking here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 9:55am

Realty check: FCEDA President Jerry Gordon joined Terry Clower, director, Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research for the National Association of Realtors, and Martin Nohe, chairman Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, as panelists at this week's Northern Virginia Association of Realtors Summit. As reported by InsideNova's Brian Trompeter, the FCEDA is working to fill vacant office space spawned by what Gordon calls a "flight to quality," created by new building. Yun said realtors are experiencing fallout from lack of inventory and an altered perception of the "American dream." He cited "real and psychological barriers" to market entry, noting student debt has tripled in the last 10 years -- a reason 16 percent of those ages 25 to 34 are living with a parent.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 9:54am

On Guard: Chantilly-based cybersecurity firm AppGuard recently raised $30 million in Series B funding, bringing total investments to $100 million. Charlie Osborne of reports the cash will be used complete the acquisition of KeepTree, a private video communication provider. AppGuard, which said its latest financing round was led by JTB Corp. of Japan, announced $65 million in Series A funding in April.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 9:53am

Increased capacity: GTT  of Tysons Corner, a provider of cloud networking services to global clients, has completed its $157.4 million acquisition of Massachusetts-based Global Capacity, developer of a network connectivity platform. GTT, which expects to exceed $1 billion in annual revenue for the first time, says the deal will expand its network and bolster its client base, adding customers in the healthcare, application service provider, retail and carrier markets. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 9:53am

Room for all ages: Erickson Living will acquire the 78-acre Northern Virginia Training Center on Braddock Road in Fairfax  from the state with plans to develop an age-restricted retirement community according to Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal. Meanwhile, Michele Lerner of the Washington Post reports that Chicago-based Mather LifeWays has proposed to build a "life plan community" in Tysons Corner for residents 62 and older, focused on active, independent living.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 9:52am

Transformation in Tysons: The Board of Supervisors is considering a pair of plans for Tysons Corner developments. Dominion Square East would rezone 12.28 acres, currently home to Sheehy Infiniti and surface lots, and construct six buildings with up to 500 residential units, 1.2 million square feet of offices, retail and a hotel. Sunburst Hospitality is submitting proposals to replace a 35-year-old Quality Inn with residential and office buildings. Karen Goff reports for subscribers of the Washington Business Journal.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 9:52am

Global ad-dition: Deltek, a Herndon-based provider of enterprise software and technology for project-based businesses, has acquired WorkBook, a developer of advertising agency management tools based in Copenhagen. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 9:51am

Out-Tweeting those Kardashians: Frank Konkel of took note of the challenges facing social media chiefs representing government agencies at last week's SMWiFairfax conference. "We get followers who love us and some who hate us," said Carolyn Reams of the CIA. "Even if you hate, hopefully you'll still follow us." Added Aries Keck, social media team lead at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center: "If we can get more people tweeting about science than the Kardashians, that'll be a good day."

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 9:51am

Next chapter of the Story: VideoBlocks prospered in its Reston location, growing in eight years to 95 employees and $30 million in subscription revenues for its library of stock videos, music and photos. Andy Medici of the Washington Business Journal reports the company has adopted a new name -- StoryBlocks -- coinciding with a move to new facilities in Arlington.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 10:12am

Fairfax County Police Dept. Twitter page garners attention and SMWiFairfax panelist explains why

Of all the speakers -- and there were a slew of terrific ones at Thursday's SWMiFairfax, including keynote Brian Fanzo, podcast pro Sarah Fraser and political commentators Paul Brandus and Tom Cochran -- no one brought the compelling influence of social media back home quite like Julie Parker.

Parker is one year into her job as director of media relations for the Fairfax County Police Department. During that time, the department's number of Twitter followers @Fairfaxpolice has ballooned from 100,000 to nearly 225,000.

That's getting the message out.

"I think the secret is to not only be quick and accurate but to engage," Parker said.  "I'd like to think of our police-media relations bureau as a customer service-oriented bureau. If you have a problem, if you ran into an officer that you want to thank, or you found this missing ring that you somehow want to get to its rightful owner -- if you tweet at @Fairfaxpolice, someone's going to answer you.

"We make it our mission to respond. Generally, I don't think people expect government agencies to get back to them. But this is a perfect, easy way for us to do so and engage. We really try to be regular people -- human beings -- and sometimes people don't get that's what law enforcement is even in this big agency of 1,400 police officers who protect this county of more than a million people.

"But when you have someone answering on the other end of an Instagram post, Facebook post or tweet, it changes the way people look at you as an agency. That's why I think customer service is absolutely a big piece of the puzzle."

Parker was the hometown voice on a panel that included moderator Christopher Dorobek, executive editor at GovLoop's Dorobek Insider, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's social media lead Aries Keck, CIA social media lead Carolyn Reams and Lt. Col. Vinston Porter, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency's public relations and outreach office.

Her background is well-suited to her task. As a former television news reporter for ABC 7 News, she's in tune with presenting stories to keep the public informed and up to date. The immediacy of social media only enhances that ability.

"We run our media relations office like a newsroom," she said. "It's our story and we should be reporting it first, with Twitter our main focus for that.

"It's about putting the right information on the right platform. With Twitter, we try to make it very breaking news-focused with information about traffic, how weather will affect your commute and crime. We're fortunate there's not a lot of it in Fairfax County, but if there's something garnering a lot of attention, we make sure that we're giving our followers the news."

As her cohorts on the SMWi "Rules of Citizen Engagement" panel acknowledged, the ability for a public agency to dispense the facts often conflicts with the need to protect privacy and not jeopardize ongoing investigations.

"There are times we know a lot more than what we can say," admits Parker. "You just can't jeopardize an investigation. We're also aware that social media drives so much of what the traditional media covers."

Parker says her department is also engaging its audience through Facebook and is receiving highly positive feedback to the storytelling efforts of Emilie Voss, deputy director of media relations.

"We're at about 55,000 followers on Facebook," Parker said. "So, we're trying to make sure that we're telling the story of our department, of our officers, of our civilian staff, of the people that we protect -- and people are responding to it.  Ultimately, social media helps us do our jobs because it humanizes us."

SMWiFairfax, presented by the FCEDA, drew nearly 300 attendees to Capital One headquarters in Tysons Corner, where live Tweeting from attendees was encouraged.

Amir Zonozi, chief strategy officer at Reston-based Zoomph, produced an online audience analysis. He calculated that more than 1,300 people were engaged in the #SMWiFairfax conversation -- about 61 percent of them women.

The program covered a wide spectrum of social media, with political journalists, business leaders and governmental information officers delving into what makes social media work and what the future might hold. Chuck Ghoorah, co-founder and president of worldwide sales for Tysons Corner-based Cvent, participated on the marketing panel "The Next Big Thing."

"You can destroy the old joke that says 'I know I'm wasting 50 percent of my marketing budget -- I just don't know which 50 percent,'" Ghoorah said. "That's because with all the new marketing technology, you're able to have data-driven analytics to help you make intelligent decisions.

"The next big thing is really being able to see the pattern of how your customers are consuming your digital marketing and offline marketing and being able to create the journey to spend your marketing dollars more wisely.

"[Companies can] serve up information at the pace the prospect wants to receive it. That eliminates the pesky sales person calling too early and allows your sales team to concentrate on prospects that are really ready to buy. It's a win, both internally -- because you only get the hottest leads to the sales team -- and for the customer or prospect because they don't feel they're being hounded."

More reaction to SMWi: 

  • Brian Fanzo, CEO of iSocialFanz, keynote speaker: "This county has the brand, has the technology and the people. It's now about amplifying that social media message. ... This area is [generally] looked at in terms of government, some tech and some enterprise. But digital media is booming and, to have an event like this to highlight, that is a game changer." 
  • Tom Cochran, chief digital strategist and vice president, Acquia: "These days there's too much information. The value is no longer in information. The value is being able to capture someone's attention for 10 seconds. ... It's incumbent upon us to make sure the information out there is accurate."
  • Jason Peck, vice president of marketing, Canvas: "I came looking for diverse content around social media and how it affects so many different [aspects] of life. The last panel ("Politics in 140 Characters or Less") really stood out. I enjoyed listening to the different perspectives ... hearing some of the crazy stories and also hearing about ways social media is influencing us positively."
  • Rachel Kulaga, program manager LendingPad of Tysons Corner: "I came with an open mind, hoping to get some ideas and insight into where things are headed. I think the program met and exceeded my expectations. I'd never considered podcasts before, so that's sort of on my radar now."

For a complete recap of SMWiFairfax, click here.

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.

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)