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.

Hiring professionals, trainers gather to discuss innovative ways to narrow the high-tech skills gap

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fairfax County, Virginia – The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) yesterday presented “Innovative Pipelines for Tech Recruiting,” a seminar for training, recruitment and human resource professionals concerned with filling the need for highly skilled workers in the technology workforce.

The event, held at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, featured representatives from nine innovative workforce programs in the Washington, D.C., area.

SAP National Security Services to add 95 jobs in Fairfax County, invest $6 million to expand IT and cybersecurity operation

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fairfax County, Virginia – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that SAP National Security Services, Inc. (SAP NS2), a provider of national security and critical infrastructure solutions, will create 95 new jobs and invest $6 million to expand its operation in Fairfax County. Virginia successfully competed against Maryland and Pennsylvania for the project.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:50am

Hot off the press: Did you know that Fairfax County has a "twin" of sorts in Farnborough, southwest of London? Farnborough is home to the world's largest and most successful airshow and is, like Fairfax County, home to many defense and aerospace leaders. Ian Metcalf, the FCEDA's business development representative in the U.K, wrote about the commercial ties between Fairfax County and Farnborough in a piece published by the Farnborough International News Network (FINN).

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:50am

Voting for Lorton: The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, and especially its history as a prison for suffragists 100 years ago when it was part of the old Lorton Reformatory, gets the spotlight in a travel piece that Catharine Hamm penned for the Los Angeles Times. She writes about the "Night of Terror" 100 years ago this week when women were imprisoned after demonstrating in Washington, D.C., for the right to vote. The workhouse now is filled with art studios, galleries, classrooms and event spaces. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:50am

Intelligent buy: Intelligent Waves a Reston-based provider of IT and communication support services to the federal government, bought the Virtual Mobile Infrastructure technology of Austin, Texas-based Hypori Inc. According to a release picked up by citybizlist, the purchase is a part of Intelligent Waves' development for federal, intelligence and military communities.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:49am

Good Citizen honorees: Knight Point Systems of Reston, Turner Construction, with offices in Reston, and Savills Studley, with offices in Tysons Corner are among the winners of the Washington Business Journal's 2017 Corporate Philanthropy Awards. Knight Point Systems received recognition for its partnership with the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team; Turner for its ongoing work with Phelps Architecture, Engineering and Construction High School in Washington, D.C.; Savills Studley for its partnership with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:49am

DXC in Dixie: DXC Technology of Tysons Corner will expand its IT services operations with a new digital center in New Orleans. The Louisiana facility, to focus on cloud computing, data analytics, cybersecurity and other digital platforms, is expected to employ about 2,000 according to Jane Edwards of ExecutiveBiz.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:48am

Graphus design: Reston-based Graphus, a cloud applications cybersecurity company, opened a subsidiary with an office in Mumbai, India. According to a release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, the new facility will focus on research and development and expanding the company's customer base. Graphus uses artificial intelligence to protect cloud email platforms from attacks.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:48am

Vienna proposal: New Jersey development firm Hekemian & Co. outlined preliminary plans to redevelop the existing Wolf Trap Hotel and Tequila Grande restaurant site on Maple Avenue in Vienna into a mixed-used project with residential and retail space. Brian Trompeter of Inside NoVA says the plan would include 160 apartment units. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:48am

Growing the Cherry tree: Cherry Bekaert, a Richmond-based accounting firm with offices in Tysons Corner, bought Berlin Ramos & Co., which brings expertise in real estate, construction, hospitality, retail, and professional services. The addition adds six partners and more than 40 professionals to Cherry Bekaert. Virginia Business carried the news.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:47am

Waking up to WalkUPs: Thanks in part to places such as Reston Town Center and Tysons Corner, the Washington, D.C., region ranks as the second-most-walkable metropolitan area in the U.S. according to the Center for Real Estate & Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business. The study also singles out Annandale, Baileys Crossroads and Seven Corners as walkable urban places (WalkUPs). Roger K. Lewis cited the GWU study in a Washington Post column, noting that walkability is a priority for home buyers, renters, and retail and office tenants. The Fairfax County website has more.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 10:47am

Where's my spruce? For the 10th consecutive year, Herndon-based SkyBitz, a developer of remote asset tracking technology, is providing real-time tracking of the Capitol Christmas Tree's cross-country journey at The Englemann Spruce from the Kootenai National Forest in Libby, Mon., began its 2,500-mile trip to Washington, D.C. this week. Potomac Tech Wire offered the treelease.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 10:20am

Amazon Web Services partners with NOVA on high-tech skills apprenticeships for veterans

Apprenticeships provide demand-driven education, enabling motivated workers to earn while they learn and -- equally important these days -- to close the skills gap between job creators and job seekers.

Across the country, November 13-19 is National Apprenticeship Week and, in Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has recognized November as National Apprenticeship Month.

Recently, there's been no better example of apprenticeship in action than in Fairfax County, where Amazon Web Services in Herndon joined forces with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) to train military veterans. The program, designed to fill a growing need for high-tech talent in northern Virginia, is the first apprenticeship program for AWS on the east coast.

The need is real, particularly in northern Virginia, which has three times the national average of IT-focused employees in the workforce. Last month, NOVA determined there were 23,000 job postings for tech-sector employment opportunities in northern Virginia.

Amazon's collaboration with NOVA, which is based in Annandale, is training individuals for the role of associate cloud consultant. All seven veterans in the first apprentice class successfully completed a 16-week training regimen at NOVA's Center for Workforce Education and Training in Woodbridge and are set to begin on-the-job training at AWS in Herndon.

By the completion of the program, the apprentices will earn multiple highly technical industry certifications that are in demand, including CompTIA Network+, Linux+ and AWS Solutions Architect.

"The beauty of this is that these individuals are Amazon employees from Day One, so they are all being paid with great salaries and benefits while they are in training" said David Hunn of SkillSource Group, which helped work out details between AWS and NOVA. "At the end of 12 months, hopefully they'll all be full-time Amazon employees, likely with salaries and benefits approaching six figures."

SkillSource began working with AWS in April to begin development of the curricula and invited NOVA to become the training provider. From its data base, SkillSource also identified 45 potential candidates for the program, from which seven were selected.

Hunn said Amazon "set a pretty high bar" when it came to selecting the right veterans for the program.

"The Amazon Apprenticeship program takes veterans who are a great fit for Amazon culture and helps them build the technical skills that they need to be cloud support associates -- a high-demand technical role," said Ardine Williams, Amazon's vice president of human resources for worldwide operations. "Thanks to our strong and experienced partner in Northern Virginia Community College, we have a great curriculum for our veteran cohort in Northern Virginia and are excited to launch our program here."

Hunn said SkillSource was particularly happy to assist a local employer and envisions more apprenticeships in the future, perhaps with other tech employers following Amazon's lead. NOVA would like to be involved.

"NOVA is honored to partner with AWS to address the increasing demand for highly skilled tech workers," said Scott Ralls, president of the community college. "Advanced training programs like the AWS apprenticeship are core to NOVA's mission to meet the need of regional employers and provide career pathways for students in high-growth industries."

"The completion of the first AWS apprentice cohort is a win for everyone," Hunn said. "This is a pretty unique way of recruiting workers. Typically we see this in the trades -- construction, plumbing, electrical - but for technology and an employer to embrace this is a really new thing. We think it's great."

Defending the Homeland: Tandem National Security Innovations will present a cybersecurity forum tomorrow at WeWork in Tysons Corner. Program managers from DARPA's Cyber Fault-tolerant Attack Recovery Program and the DHS Cyber Security Division's Transition to Practice Program will be featured speakers beginning at 6 p.m. The FCEDA is a sponsor of this free event designed to demonstrate ways national security agencies are investing in cybersecurity firms.

GovCon honorees: Altamira Technologies, Patriot Group International and Spear Inc. received Contractor of the Year awards, and Ernst Volgenau, founder and former CEO of SRA International, was inducted into the Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards Hall of Fame when the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Professional Services Council held their 15th annual Greater Washington GovCon Award ceremonies.

Other Fairfax County-based winners included Executives of the Year Joe Martore (CALIBRE Systems) and Sudhakar Kesavan (ICF), The Tauri Group (Program of the Year) and Greg Giddens of the Veterans Administration (Public Sector Partner). Our Military Kids was another big winner, benefitting via $11,500 donated by attendees.

Coming up diamonds: InfinityQS, which has corporate headquarters in Fairfax, joined Cisco, IBM, HCL Technologies, SAP and PwC among those taking top honors in the 2017 ITSMA Marketing Excellence Awards competition to recognize marketing innovation with B2B services. InfinityQS received the Diamond Award in the Small and Medium Business: Strengthening Brand Differentiation category.

Help for health: The National Institutes of Health, which announced 12 awards totaling $9 million for fiscal year 2017 in launching its Data Commons Pilot Phase, is receiving support from The MITRE Corporation. MITRE, based in Tysons Corner, will assist in establishing new NIH sustainable infrastructure for people, processes and technologies, including innovative approaches to assure cost-effective, cloud-based computing and storage for scientific data.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 11:00am

Now hear this: Want to know everything about Fairfax County's commercial real estate options? Check out the latest FCEDA Real Estate Report. It examines corporate leasing and lease rates, construction activity, vacancy rates and development trends in the county and its commercial submarkets. Download a free copy today.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 10:59am

Higher Quotient: Reston threat intelligence platform ThreatQuotient raised another $30 million to expand, and one of its new strategic investors is technology giant Cisco Systems. ThreatQuotient has about 65 employees and plans on hiring at least 40 more in the next few years, reports Andy Medici of the Washington Business Journal.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 10:59am

Something ventured...: Inova Health System's venture capital arm has been busy over the last year, notes Tina Reed of the Washington Business Journal. Since starting Inova Strategic Investments, Inova has closed three new direct company investments and two fund investments, and was part of a funding round for an Idaho company called VisitPay that has a web portal for patient interaction on billing and payments.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 10:59am

Beyond the LookingGlass: LookingGlass Cyber Solutions of Reston (No. 105) and Perfecta, an intelligence, surveillance and cybersecurity company based in Springfield (No. 108), lead five Fairfax County companies on Deloitte's Technology Fast 500, a list of the fastest-growing tech companies in North America. GoCanvas of Reston (197), GTT Communications of Tysons Corner (347) and KrolLDiscovery of Tysons Corner (427) are also on the list, which includes four other companies from Virginia.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 10:58am

Whits about them: Whitney, Bradley & Brown, a Reston-based management consultant to federal agencies including the Department of Defense, has been sold to an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal reports the news about the firm commonly known as WBB Consulting.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 10:56am

Hardly magic: Merlin International, which has offices in Tysons Corner, won more than $80 million on contracts to support Veterans Affairs and healthcare cybersecurity. The company tells Nick Wakeman of Washington Technology that part of the success has come from hiring the right people and being strategic when bidding on contracts.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 10:56am

Fleeting moment: SuperShuttle, the nation's largest airport ride sharing service, has acquired Supreme Airport Shuttle, operating from Washington Dulles and Washington Reagan international airports. The acquisition of Supreme Shuttle, which has operated shared van and direct services to and from area airports since 2012, includes 25 vans and drivers and about 15 airport customer service reps. This will increase SuperShuttle's fleet by about 30 percent, according to a release picked up by citybizlist.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 10:55am

Political scoreboard: Reston-based comScore, a provider of digital audience measurement services, is partnering with Bothell, Wash.-based L2, a provider of political data. According to the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, comScore will integrate L2 voter and commercial targeting info into its TV-ratings measurement.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 10:55am

You saw it here first: Hilton launched an incubator and showcase next to its global headquarters in Tysons Corner. The 4,300-square foot gallery will be used to spotlight and fast-track new design elements, dining concepts and technologies such as noise-cancelling and sleep-inducing devices. Virginia Business booked room for this story.

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 11:13am

Now hear this: Is your company doing something innovative in Fairfax County? Let's tell the world. The FCEDA will be producing a series of videos spotlighting innovation in our community -- things that are revolutionizing industries and changing our economy. To be considered for an FCEDA video, fill out the application form available here.

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 11:13am

Saluting ManTech, making Waves: ManTech International has been named the best company for U.S. veterans for a second consecutive year according to a survey done by and Intelligent Waves of Reston, a veteran-owned small business that specializes in providing IT and communications support to government customers, is No. 2 on the list. Veterans make up almost two-thirds of the 2017 hires so far at ManTech, a Fairfax-based provider of advanced technology services to the federal government. Lockheed Martin, which topped the survey in 2015, is ranked fourth, Booz Allen Hamilton fifth and BAE Systems eighth.

As Native Americans Face Job Discrimination, A Tribe Works To Employ Its Own

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 8:20am
A third of Native Americans say they have experienced discrimination in the work place when seeking jobs, getting promotions and earning equal pay, according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard TH Chan school of public health.

About a third of Native Americans say they have experienced discrimination in the workplace when seeking jobs, or when getting promotions or earning equal pay, according to a new poll by NPR

(Image credit: Dylan Johnson for NPR)

Reckoning With Sexual Harassment

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 8:19am

Rebecca Traister of New York Magazine talks with Scott Simon about this post-Weinstein moment, in which many of us are considering how we've been complicit in, and affected by, sexual harassment.

'The Longevity Economy': What Does It Mean To Be Old?

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 8:19am

A new book called The Longevity Economy argues businesses are failing to design things that older consumers want to buy because they're relying on outmoded ideas about what it means to be old.

Trump Franchise Hotel To Open In Small Mississippi Town

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 8:19am

The Trump Organization is unveiling a new line of four-star hotels. The first one is due to open soon in a tiny Mississippi Delta town.

Senate Plan For Individual Tax Cuts Could Set Congress On A Collision Course

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 5:02pm

Senate Republicans would phase out tax cuts for individuals after several years. Critics say they are both setting up future political crises, and hiding the true cost of their tax plan.

FCC Rule Rollback Makes It Easier To Buy And Sell Media Outlets

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 5:02pm

NPR's Kelly McEvers talks with University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Lewis Friedland about the FCC's decision to roll back rules that aim to curb single media companies' control of local news.

Economist Takes Deep Dive Into The Effects Of Slashing Corporate Taxes

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 5:02pm

NPR's Elise Hu talks with economist Kimberly Clausing about how both the Senate and House version of the tax overhaul would offer a very large, permanent tax cut for corporations.

FAA Approves Drone As 'Cell Phone Tower In The Sky' For Puerto Rico

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 4:18pm
The FAA approved a Pulse Vapor drone like this one — but outfitted with LTE radios and antennas — to provide temporary voice, data, and internet service in Puerto Rico.

The aircraft is called the Flying COW, for Cell on Wings. Developed by AT&T, it can provide voice, data and Internet service for 40 square miles and up to 8,000 people at a time.

(Image credit: Mary Esch/AP)

Remembering Syndicated Gossip Columnist Liz Smith

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 3:16pm

Smith, who died Sunday, started her daily column for The New York Daily News in 1976. In 2000, she told Fresh Air: "I always held back from writing things that were intentionally hurtful."

Government Outlines When It Will Disclose Or Exploit Software Vulnerabilities

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 11:04am
A laptop in the Netherlands was one of hundreds of thousands infected by ransomware in May. The malware reportedly originated with the NSA.

The Trump administration put out guidelines for how the government will decide what software vulnerabilities it will share with tech companies to fix, and which ones it will keep to itself for spying.

(Image credit: Rob Engelaar/AFP/Getty Images)

Tesla Unveils Its Electric 'Semi' Truck, And Adds A Roadster

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 10:06am
Elon Musk had a surprise for Tesla fans Thursday: a new Roadster supercar with a top speed above 250 mph.

Elon Musk unveiled the Roadster's return toward the end of an event that was supposed to be all about Tesla's new Semi trucks.

(Image credit: Tesla)

Climate Change Ripens Prospects For German Winemakers

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 5:00am
Grapes have been growing along the steep slopes of Germany

While Spanish and Italian growers worry heat will dry out vines, in Germany, warming has made for better Rieslings. And one scientist says they couldn't be making red wine so good otherwise.

(Image credit: Daniella Cheslow for NPR)

News Brief: Accusations Against Franken, House Tax Overhaul Win

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 5:00am

A Los Angeles radio host says now-Sen. Al Franken forced himself on her while the two were on a USO tour in 2006. And, the House has passed its massive 1.4 trillion dollar tax overhaul.

Climate Change Unlocks Possibilities In German Wine Country

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 5:00am

Germany, already feeling the results of climate change, is hosting U.N. climate talks this week. One scientist there said they couldn't be making red wine this good without climate change.

Keystone Pipeline Oil Spill Reported In South Dakota

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 6:29pm
A protest sign sits in the proposed path of the Keystone XL Pipeline in Silver Creek, Neb.

The oil leak occurs just a few days before Nebraska state regulators will decide on the fate of TransCanada's controversial sister project, the Keystone XL Pipeline.

(Image credit: Nati Harnik/AP)

Seattle Defends Its New High-Earner Income Tax In Court

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 4:53pm
A view of the Port of Seattle and the city

The first legal steps challenging a Seattle income tax pit the city's progressive policy against long-standing resistance to taxing income in Washington state.

(Image credit: Anna Boiko-Weyrauch for NPR)