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, July 19, 2018 - 11:30am


Now hear this: The BBC featured Fairfax County and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a video report from the Farnborough International Airshow outside London. Speaking at the FCEDA booth on Tuesday, Northam told the world's aerospace industry: "Our doors are open; our lights are on." You can view Northam's remarks at 1 minute 20 seconds into this BBC video clip. Additionally, FINN, the media voice of the Farnborough show, highlighted an FCEDA video featuring Airbus Americas CEO Jeff Knittel speaking from his company's rooftop overlooking Dulles International Airport. The FCEDA is meeting with aerospace and defense leaders from around the world at this week's event.

Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 11:28am


Neither bird nor plane: Rolls-Royce, the engine-maker that maintains its North American headquarters in Reston, is the latest company to join the race to produce a flying car. Peter Holley of the Washington Post writes that the company unveiled an five-passenger "electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle" at the Farnborough International Airshow. Rolls-Royce says a prototype could be available within the next 18 months with a vehicles in the sky by the early 2020s.

Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 11:27am


Hot off the press: Three Fairfax County companies were among 13 in the state to complete the Virginia Economic Development Partnership's two-year international business acceleration program. Chenega Corporation of Lorton, First Line Technology of Chantilly and IntelliDyne of Falls Church joined the list of 267 graduates of VEDP's Virginia Leaders in Export Trade program. Three more are part of the next class: Dynamis Inc. of Fairfax, Engineering Solutions & Products of Chantilly and Parabon NanoLabs of Reston. According to a release from the governor's office, the 13 most recent statewide graduates increased international sales by an average of 82 percent during their two years in the program.

Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 11:26am


Perfect Storm: Looking to expand its development capabilities, Tysons Corner-based 10Pearls bought PowerStorm Technologies, a custom development and consulting firm with offices in Chantilly. 10Pearls is a provider of digital technology services, and PowerStorm specializes in the design, construction and implementation of custom web applications, portals and open source integrations. Citybizlist picked up a release about the deal.

Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 11:24am


Gee Wizz: Kieran McQuilkin of DC Inno has a story about Health Wizz, a Falls Church-area startup with an app to collect and share health care data. It is being utilized in a pilot program by Cape Fear Valley Hospital in North Carolina. Founder Raj Sharma says one practical benefit of the app, built on the Ethereum blockchain, is its ability to eliminate duplicate medical tests. The app creates a tamper-proof ledger, giving users the ability to aggregate, organize and even sell their medical records.

Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 11:23am


Funding round complete: Verodin, a cybersecurity firm located in Tysons Corner, said it closed a $21 million Series B round of financing from 14 investors. Verodin, which evaluates the effectiveness of companies' cybersecurity systems has accumulated $34 million in funding since its founding in 2014. Virginia Business reported that TenEleven Ventures helped lead the latest round and that TenEleven founder Mark Hatfield joined Verodin's board. Other new investors included Capital One Growth Ventures.

Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 11:11am


Plans for Crescent roll on: Reston CrescentBrookfield Properties' 36-acre mixed use project which would include affordable housing, goes to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for final approval on July 31. Fatimah Waseem of Reston Now reports that plans for the project, with up to 1,721 residential units, 1.9 million square feet of office space, a hotel and 380,000 square feet of retail space, won a Planning Commission recommendation last week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 10:13am

U.K. airshow and Fairfax County provide bird's-eye views to see latest Airbus Americas products in action

Editor's note: Airbus Americas is one of severral Fairfax County aerospace firms showcasing its latest products at this week's Farnborough International Airshow outside of London. The FCEDA is participating at this major event, exhibiting at the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium pavilion and hosting corporate and government officials from the U.S. and abroad, including Gov. Ralph Northam. The FCEDA is promoting Fairfax County as a place "where the best aerospace companies land." Look for more E-Bird coverage of the aerospace and defense industries in the coming weeks.

It's only natural that the rooftop terrace at Airbus Americas headquarters in Herndon should offer a panoramic view of runways at Dulles International Airport.

Those sight lines might only be rivaled only by the control tower at one of North America's busiest air hubs, where Airbus Americas' CEO Jeff Knittel can watch some of his company's products come and go with regularity.

"Having our Airbus Americas headquarters here in Fairfax County allows us major advantages," Knittel says. "One is proximity to the airport, allowing both our customers and employees to travel in and out, efficiently.

"If you think globally, Airbus is 130,000 employees strong. Here, in the Americas, we have over 5,000 employees, and, right here in Herndon we have over 300 employees."

While Airbus maintains global headquarters in Toulouse, France, Airbus Americas is very much a made-in-America proposition when it comes to its innovative aircraft -- many of them being displayed through July 22 at the Farnborough International Airshow.

"I'm truly proud of what Airbus Americas is accomplishing," Knittel says. "We build some of the best airplanes in the world in Mobile, Alabama. Our facility in Columbus, Mississippi produces some of the world's greatest helicopters and we'll soon be producing our OneWeb satellites in Melbourne, Florida."

Although production is taking place coast-to-coast, Herndon is the heartbeat of the operation. Herndon-based employees work in sales, marketing, communications, procurement and service for Airbus commercial customers in the U.S. and Canada.

Nearby, Airbus Americas' Safety and Technical Affairs and Government Relations departments are co-located in Washington, D.C., while a distribution center for aircraft parts and tools -- shipping to customers in the Americas 24 hours a day -- is also located in northern Virginia.


"We are truly fortunate to have been headquartered in Fairfax County for over 30 years," Knittel says. "It's close to government activities and we have a great educational network here."

Airbus has worked with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority since 2004. The FCEDA helped facilitate the company's move to its current headquarters in 2011 and has since been involved in traffic infrastructure improvements in the area. In 2017, Airbus hosted the FCEDA and its overseas directors for a tour and demonstrations at its Experience Center and Government Affairs Office in Washington, D.C. 

"Having headquarters in Herndon has allowed us to draw some of the best and brightest from the local area," Knittel says. "I believe the secret to our success is that we have the best people working with the best technology to respond to the needs of our customers around the world. 

"We have great relationships with local universities like George Mason (Virginia's largest public research university). We bring some of their students into our organization and they get a chance to experience what it's like to work with a high level of technology."

That technology is vital to the success of Airbus, now and in the future. 

"The Farnborough show, much like Paris (site of another major airshow), is an opportunity for us to bring out our latest products and latest innovations -- whether it be in the space and defense business, helicopter business or commercial airplane business -- and show our customers how they can be utilized in their networks," Knittel says. "I think (customers) will be impressed."

Some of Airbus's latest commercial innovations include its A330 neo, a twin-aisle, Rolls-Royce-powered aircraft with a range of nearly 7,000 miles, and its OneWeb constellation of 900 microsatellites, set to allow for high-speed internet and cell service anywhere in the world. 

Knittel says the Airbus A3 ("A-Cubed") team is specifically designed to be a "disruptive force" in the industry when it comes to concepts such as autonomous, electric and vertical-takeoff vehicles. Some of those projects are nearing fruition.

"Innovation is really at the forefront of everything Airbus does," Knittel says. "At Airbus, globally, and Airbus Americas, our job is to make things fly. We spend our time and our resources making sure that we build the best products for companies and for people around the world. (But we have) specific entities focused on the next-generation of technology. 

"In the next five to 10 years, Airbus will continue to bring the best products forward. As a company of innovation and change, our job will be to understand the potential of the future and contribute to an environment that will make peoples' lives better."

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:56am

Now hear this: Virginia Business was among those to carry the FCEDA-Virginia announcement that Excivity, which specializes in cybersecurity technology, will create 45 new jobs and invest about $392,000 to expand its office space near current company headquarters in Chantilly. "(Excivity's) work in software and hardware, applications, investigations and training illustrates just how the deep the cyber- and security-related cluster is here," said FCEDA president and CEO Gerald L. Gordon. See the full release on the FCEDA web site -- and view a short FCEDA video spotlighting Excivity.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:55am

Changing of the guard: Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman, announced that he will step down effective January 1 after nine years at the helm of the Fortune 500 company. Robert J. Terry of the  Washington Business Journal reports that Bush, who oversaw Northrop Grumman's headquarters move from Los Angeles to the Falls Church area of Fairfax County, will stay on as chairman until July 2019. The Washington Post's Christian Davenport focuses on Kathy Warden, a 10-year veteran of the company and current COO, who will succeed Bush as the company completes its integration of recently acquired Orbital ATK.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:54am

Harper a big hit in Herndon: Before delighting local fans with his victorious power display in Monday night's Home Run Derby at Nationals Park, slugger Bryce Harper ensured that his legacy will endure in Fairfax County no matter where the future takes him. The Washington Nationals outfielder attended the dedication of the Bryce Harper All-Star Complex at Fred Crabtree Park, which features two newly-renovated fields in Herndon. Josh Luckenbaugh of 106.7 the Fan reports that Harper, joined by manager Davey Martinez, Nats GM Mike Rizzo, former manager Davey Johnson and principal owner Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, took time to show off his fancy All-Star footwear to kids in attendance.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:54am

Healthy objectives: Washingtonian has a story about MedStar Health's partnership with the enormous St. James sports complex set to open in September in Springfield. Elliot Williams reports that of the complex's 450,000 square feet, about 2,400 will be devoted to clinic space and about 1,300 for specialized therapy work. The health club is expected to offer more than 170 pieces of fitness equipment and more than 100 group fitness classes per week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:53am

A view to the West: The Washington Business Journal offers a slideshow of artist's renderings, depicting JBG Smith Properties' plans for its RTC West development in Reston. WBJ's Michael Neibauer reports that JBG Smith is planning to add 1.36 million feet of new, mixed-use development on the 14-acre site, subject to approval by county officials.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:52am

Material development: Arconic, which announced in April that it would relocate its corporate headquarters from New York City to Fairfax County, and Lockheed Martin signed a two-year partnership agreement to develop materials and processes for aerospace and defense technology. Nichols Martin reports for GovConWire that the companies are working to develop process modeling, simulation technologies and corrosion-resistant alloys and aim to create lightweight, three-dimensional printing systems.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:52am

Digitally adept: Fairfax County ranks third among U.S. counties with a population of 1 million or more in the 2018 Digital Counties Survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government in partnership with National Association of Counties. The survey, as reported by WTOP's Jeff Clabaugh, identifies the best technology practices among counties including initiatives to streamline delivery of government services, encourage open data, collaboration and shared services, enhance cybersecurity and contribute to disaster response and recovery efforts.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:51am

Seal of approval: Herndon-based Beacon Roofing Supply bought Atlas Supply., a major distributor of sealants, coatings, adhesives and related waterproofing products. Virginia Business reports that Atlas was founded in Seattle in 1917 and operates locations in Oregon, Idaho and Washington state.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 10:50am

The next challenge: CEL-SCI of Tysons Corner, which won a lawsuit late in June enabling it to resume testing of its cancer drug Multikine, faces a new battle. The New York Stock Exchange notified the company that it could be delisted it if fails to submit an acceptable financial plan by mid-August and reach compliance by January 14, 2019. Sara Gilgore of the Washington Business Journal has details.

Cybersecurity technology development specialist Excivity to expand, add 45 jobs in Fairfax County

Monday, July 16, 2018

Gov. Ralph Northam today announced that Excivity, a developer of custom software and hardware technologies especially for the security industry, will create 45 new jobs and invest about $392,000 to expand its operation in Fairfax County.

The company will add 7,000 square feet of office space near its current headquarters location in the Chantilly area of Fairfax County to support its growing technology development business line, as well as additional software developers, quality assurance specialists and DevOps gurus.

Fairfax County EDA to spotlight key trans-Atlantic partnerships at 2018 Farnborough International Airshow

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fairfax County, Virginia — For the first time, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) will attend the biennial Farnborough International Airshow and will spotlight Fairfax County’s strong partnerships with aerospace, defense and economic development organizations that work to increase trans-Atlantic commerce and trade.

Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 11:02am

Now hear this:  Defense and Aerospace are hot topics this month as the FCEDA prepares to participate in the Farnborough International Airshow, taking place outside of London, July 16-22. The FCEDA will have a booth in the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium pavilion, and during events with the FAC will host dignitaries including Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Companies with a presence in Fairfax County exhibiting at Farnborough include Rolls-RoyceBAE SystemsAirbusLockheed Martin and MAC Aerospace. And while we're talking planes and such, be sure to check out the recently-updated Defense and Aerospace industry fact sheet on the FCEDA website.

Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 11:01am

Hot off the press: The FCEDA announced it extended the contract of Value Base M&A to spearhead its lead-generation efforts in Israel. Yair Ephrati will continue as director of the FCEDA's Tel Aviv office, assisted by Nadav Zohar. The Tel Aviv office is one of six around the world that help the FCEDA promote Fairfax County as one of the world's best business locations and work with companies interested in expanding operations to the county.

Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 11:00am

Groundbreaking work:  ManTech International in Fairfax won a 10-year, $959 million National Security Agency contract for global enterprise IT services, reports Ross Wilkers of Washington Technology. This award secures ManTech's role on one of three successor contracts to the NSA's Groundbreaker IT infrastructure program, Wilkers notes. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 10:59am

Upping the voltage: Corbett Technology Solutions Inc. (CTSI) of Chantilly acquired Mechanicsville, Va.-based Communications Specialists Inc. According to Virginia Business, CSI, founded in 1986, is an integrator of low-voltage electronic and communication solutions. It serves customers including schools, jails, courthouses and health-care facilities. CTSI, which helps with collaboration and the consolidation of information, expects the purchase will help it to deliver. audiovisual, healthcare and education technology.

Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 10:59am

Healthy sign: For the second consecutive year, Reston-based Leidos ranks ninth on the Healthcare Informatics 100 -- a compilation of companies with the highest revenues derived from healthcare IT products and services earned in the U.S. Harris Healthcare of Herndon ranks 60th on the list, which was based on revenue information from last year.

Can A Community Hospital Stick To Its Mission When It Goes For-Profit?

Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 9:26am
Proponents of hospital mergers say the change can help struggling nonprofit hospitals "thrive," with an infusion of cash to invest in updated technology and top clinical staff. But research shows the price of care, especially for low-income patients, usually rises when a hospital joins a for-profit corporation.

After 130 years as a nonprofit hospital with deep roots in North Carolina, Mission Health is seeking to be bought by HCA Healthcare, the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain.

(Image credit: Jens Magnusson/Getty Images/Ikon Images)

Whale Of A Plane: Airbus BelugaXL Makes Maiden Flight

Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 8:56am
The Airbus BelugaXL, built to transport large aircraft pieces, took off on its maiden flight Thursday from France

The BelugaXL's paint job "features beluga whale-inspired eyes and an enthusiastic grin." For several hours on Thursday, the whale soared over southern France.

(Image credit: A. Tchaikovsky/Airbus)

AI Innovators Take Pledge Against Autonomous Killer Weapons

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 5:26pm
An autonomous tank is demonstrated in France last month. Leading researchers in artificial intelligence are calling for laws against lethal autonomous weapons. They also pledge not to work on such weapons.

"We will neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade, or use of" artificial intelligence that is used to kill people, leading AI researchers vowed.

(Image credit: Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)

Trade Wars And The Batman Problem

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 5:10pm
Adam West brings out his alter ego, Batman, for the filming of a 1967 road safety ad for children.

It may be too late to avoid a trade war between the U.S. and China, but there might be a simple way to stop the trade wars of the future.

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Google Fined $5 Billion By EU For Breaking Antitrust Rules

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 4:45pm

The European Commission alleges that by forcing device-makers to install Google apps on Android devices it gains a significant advantage over competitors. Google plans to appeal.

Midwest Facing A Skilled-Worker Shortage As Warehousing Boom Continues

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 4:45pm

Southwest Ohio is in the midst of a warehousing boom, with new, often high-tech distribution centers opening around the region. It's part of the state's economic development strategy to lure companies like Amazon. The influx of jobs is a boon to many Ohio cities, but with thousands of new logistics jobs anticipated over the next few years, are employers facing a skilled-worker shortage.

Glass Has Ancient Origins But A High-Tech Future

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 2:46pm
DigiLens is working on a new kind of head-up display for cars that would turn a driver

Where would the smartphone be without glass? Now glass may change the way you interact with data again — in everything from head-up displays on car windshields to augmented-reality glasses.

(Image credit: Continental AG)

Elon Musk Apologizes To Diver In Cave Rescue For Words 'Spoken In Anger'

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 1:12pm
Elon Musk said that "the fault is mine and mine alone," as he apologized to a British diver who had criticized Musk

The tech entrepreneur apologized after tweeting a personal attack on Vern Unsworth — the diver who used a vulgar comment to dismiss Musk's offer of help in the Thai cave rescue.

(Image credit: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Marriott Follows Starbucks In Dropping Plastic Straws

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 11:28am
Marriott International became the latest company to announce it will stop using plastic straws, saying it would remove them from its more than 6,500 properties by next July.

The giant hotel chain became the latest company to announce it will stop using plastic straws, saying it would remove them from its more than 6,500 properties by next July.

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

EU Hits Google With $5 Billion Fine For Pushing Apps On Android Users

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 8:02am
European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager held a joint news conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday after slapping a record $5 billion antitrust penalty on the U.S. tech giant.

The European Commission found that the tech giant broke EU antitrust rules by requiring manufacturers to pre-install the Google and Chrome apps. Google plans to appeal the record fine.

(Image credit: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)

EU Fines Google $5 Billion

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 8:00am

Officials in Europe say Google is violating antitrust laws. NPR's Noel King talks with Politico's Mark Scott.

French Butchers Ask For Protection After Threats From Militant Vegans

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 5:27am
Didier Tass, behind the counter of his butcher shop, says he purchases meat from small farmers who raise cows and butcher them humanely and in small quantities.

Butchers are an integral part of French life, and are known for carefully sourcing their meat. But now some are being targeted by extreme vegans who use vandalism to draw attention to their cause.

(Image credit: Eleanor Beardsley/NPR)

The Economic Integration At The Northern Border

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 5:09am

Few American and Canadian businesses are as tightly linked as Twin Rivers Paper's mills. Its mill in Edmundston, New Brunswick, makes pulp for its paper mill just over the river in Madawaska, Maine.

Investigation: Patients' Drug Options Under Medicaid Heavily Influenced By Drugmakers

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 5:00am
Drug companies have infiltrated nearly every part of the process that determines how their drugs will be covered by Medicaid.

Drug companies have infiltrated nearly every part of the process that determines how their drugs will be covered by Medicaid, an investigation by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity finds.

(Image credit: Paul Blow for NPR)

Tenants Sue Kushner Cos. For Alleged Harassment, N.Y. Governor Launches Probe

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 11:26pm
Current and former tenants are suing Kushner Cos., the real-estate firm owned by the family of President Trump

Current and former tenants say the company exposed them to toxic dust, noise and rats, forcing them out of their rent-stabilized apartments and making way for luxury-condo buyers.

(Image credit: Susan Walsh/AP)

EU And Japan Sign Trade Agreement That Was 5 Years In The Making

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 5:48pm

The European Union and Japan signed a trade agreement Tuesday making it much easier to sell goods in each region. With a veiled reference to President Trump's trade policies, European officials say they're taking a stand against protectionism.