the Power of Ideas channel

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 10:43am

Alexa, remember this appointment: VCA Animal Hospitals, owned by McLean-based Mars Inc., is partnering with Amazon to enable pet owners to book veterinary appointments and receive health care reminders via Alexa voice commands. I-ChunChen, reporting for the Washington Business Journal, writes that VCA operates more than 850 veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and Canada.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 10:43am

First and second helpings: Tysons Corner-based advanced-analytics provider Novetta teamed with Amazon Web Services during the launch of two cyber platforms at the AWS re:Invent tech conference in late November. Novetta assisted in the launch of the AWS Snowball Edge through a Graphic Processing Unit and was a featured partner in the launch of the AWS Marketplace for Machine Learning, according to William McCormick of GovConWire.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 10:42am

The i's have it: Ellucian (Reston), Haystax (Tysons Corner) and Mars Inc.(McLean) have been added to the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce's inaugural group of i-List nominees, a compilation of the region's most innovative and entrepreneurial companies that will result in a top 10 list to be revealed in May. The chamber is looking for companies that inspire, innovate and impact through the introduction of improved methods, ideas and products. A Potomac Tech Wire item included a link to the 41 current nominees.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 10:41am

A learning experience: Gladstone Investment Corp. of Tysons Corner acquired Educators Resource Inc. According to a release picked up by citybizlist, Educators Resource is a wholesale distributor of school supplies and K-12 supplemental teaching materials to online vendors and brick-and-mortar stores.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 10:41am

Dragon flies: SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft reached the International Space Station on Saturday to deliver crew supplies and research payloads. The rocket, launched from Florida on December 5, is expected to return to Earth in January with more than 4,000 pounds of supplies, research materials and hardware, says Matthew Nelson in ExecutiveBiz. SpaceX has offices in Chantilly.

FCEDA’s Gordon comments on County Board Chairman Sharon Bulova’s decision not to seek another term

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), issued a statement about Sharon Bulova, who announced today that she would not seek another term after serving almost 10 years as chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:18pm

Now hear this: The Multicultural Chambers Alliance presents "A Conversation with Dr. Jerry Gordon," a salute to the FCEDA's outgoing president and CEO who has been an avid supporter of business and cultural diversity during his 35 years on the job. The event, which also includes a holiday reception, will be held the afternoon of December 12 at the FCEDA building in Tysons Corner. For information and registration, click here. The Alliance consists of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Hispanic Chamber.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:17pm

Job well done: Tributes and accolades roll in for Jerry Gordon, who steps down as president and CEO of the FCEDA on January 4. Last night, more than 100 business leaders and friends celebrated Gordon's tenure with a reception at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner. At the event, FCEDA Commission Chairman Cathy Lange unveiled the creation of the Dr. Gerald L. Gordon Scholarship Fund to benefit students in the Honors College at George Mason University. The FCEDA Commission presented a $20,000 check to the Honors College on behalf of the Fairfax Economic Forum, and PenFed Credit Union announced a $50,000 challenge grant for the Gordon Scholarship Fund. Read more in this FCEDA release, this Honors College release and this PenFed release.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:17pm

Day to remember: Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova announced at the event last night that she proclaimed December 5 as Jerry Gordon Day in the county. The proclamation emphasizes Gordon's success on the job and his extensive community service. And yesterday afternoon, the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce honored Gordon during its Stars Over Dulles awards luncheon.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:16pm

It's a gas: Airbus and Lockheed Martin inked an agreement to meet the demand for aerial refueling by U.S. defense customers. The Washington Business Journal's Robert J. Terry reports that the companies will address short-term air-refueling needs and conceptualize the air tanker of the future, likely to center around the Airbus A330 Multi Role Transport in concert with Lockheed's experience in aircraft manufacturing, systems integration and maintenance. Airbus maintains its North American headquarters in Herndon, and Lockheed is one of Fairfax County's major employers.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:16pm

Support from folks at Lore: Ntiva, a managed IT and cloud services provider with headquarters in Tysons Corner, has acquired the commercial business of Silver Spring, Md.-based Lore Systems. Lore, a tech services firm, will provide expertise in high level strategic consulting, according to the story in citybizlist.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:16pm

Finger on the pulse: Tysons Corner-based startup Yombu, which allows patrons of gyms, restaurants and other businesses to sign in or make purchases through fingerprint technology, announced it closed on about $585,000 in additional funding. The company, which has raised $1.8 million since its launch in 2016, plans to make a push centered around fitness centers in New York and Los Angeles. DC Inno was first with the news.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:15pm

Bed in a box: Catching 40 winks is becoming easier at Washington Dulles International Airport, where Sleepbox has set up shop in Concourse A, offering 30- and 45-square-foot, sound-proofed rooms for $25 to $35 an hour and from $125 for overnight guests. The 16 sleep pods -- each eight feet tall -- constitute the first Sleepbox micro-hotel, although more airport locations are planned. Guests need to download the Sleepbox app for reservations as well as controlling the temperature, light settings and wireless entertainment in their rooms. Check out the story by Harriet Baskas in USA Today.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:15pm

Cleansing action: Hilton's Garden Inn and Hampton brands announced a partnership with hospitality recycling program Clean the World to turn discarded soap and bathroom amenities into new bars of soap and hygiene kits. Clean the World provides soap around the globe to help prevent disease. According to the release picked up by citybizlist, the program furthers Hilton's efforts to send zero soap to landfills by 2030 and extends an existing partnership with Hilton's Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:14pm

A larger pond: Redfin will expand in Chantilly by occupying the entire third floor at 14155 Newbrook Drive in the Westfields Corporate Center. The realty firm will move into a freshly renovated building located across the street from The Field at Commonwealth, a 28-acre mixed-use development that features a Wegmans grocery store and dining. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal reported the announcement by Newmark Knight Frank.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:14pm

Determination is King: PenFed Foundation's Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program is investing in a speakers bureau to be co-owned by U.S. Army Master Sergeant (Ret.) Cedric King, a paraplegic wounded warrior who has transformed himself into a marathon runner and motivational speaker. The foundation's investment program provides veteran-owned startups with seed capital to build and grow according to the release carried by citybizlist.

Scholarship for Honors College students at George Mason University unveiled in honor of FCEDA’s Gordon

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Fairfax County, Virginia -- The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Commission has coordinated the establishment of the Dr. Gerald L. Gordon Scholarship Endowment to benefit the Honors College at George Mason University.

Members of the Commission, which is the Authority’s governing body, announced the creation of the scholarship last night at an event honoring Gordon’s 35 years of service to Fairfax County. Gordon is retiring effective January 4, 2019.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 9:50am

Tysons Corner out front, but not alone, among Fairfax County communities preparing for major growth

Question: What has about 100,000 employees but only about 24,000 residents? Answer: Tysons Corner.

But that's soon to change. The outlook is for the county's economic center to have about 100,000 residents along with 200,000 workers by 2050. Investors focus on Tysons because of that growth potential in the next 30 years, but planners see a need for it to become more diverse. In particular, they're seeking to attract the "creative class" to not only work in Tysons, but live there.

The "creative class" generally is defined as those who work in science, engineering, education, computer programming and research, along with those who work in the arts, design and media. At a recent panel discussion hosted by the Tysons Partnership, Rodney Lusk, the FCEDA's director of national marketing, described it as "a professional group of people...that are highly educated and skilled in solving complex problems, have a diversity of ideas, and care about culture."

Tysons Corner provides businesses with exceptional access to customers, suppliers and competitors. However, Lusk says that in order to be attractive to the creative class as well as businesses,  Tysons must take advantage and enhance Metro accessibility, provide affordable housing, and offer walkability to amenities including retail establishments, restaurants and a variety of recreation venues.

Lusk says that a development such as Capital One's new campus is a prime example of what Tysons Corner needs because it combines a core business with both employer- and residential-related amenities. Those will include a Wegmans grocery, a 1,600-seat performing arts center and parks, trails and ball fields. 

See Rita Abou Samra's' story in Greater, Greater Washington for more coverage of the Tysons Partnership panel discussion and other issues affecting the new Tysons.

Tysons Corner hardly has a monopoly on the topic of smart growth in Fairfax County. 

Extracting information from the county's new, 218-page Demographic Reports 2018, Vernon Miles reported for Reston Now that Reston's population is projected to nearly double in the next 27 years. Reston residents are debating the pros and cons of permitting increased population and housing density.

Speaking of the 2018 Demographic Report, check out the overview by Ed Tobias, who includes an informative county infographic for the Fairfax News.

Among takeaways from that report: 

  • The county's population, now slightly above 1.15 million, is expected to reach 1.4 million by 2045.

  • The county is aging, with the percentage of residents 65 and older, currently 13.1 percent, expected to be 17.5 percent by 2030.

  • The median household income, $80,753 in 2003, is up to $118,279.

  • More than 70 percent of the current housing inventory was built before 1980.

  • Between now and 2045, the county will add 116,000 multifamily units, raising the percentage of such dwelling from 29.1 percent to 41.2 percent.

Development of a different color: Fairfax County and the Workhouse Arts Foundation are seeking innovative ideas to continue transformation of the historically significant, 50-plus acre Workhouse Arts campus in Lorton. Under consideration will be cultural, residential, commercial or other uses that complement existing studio, gallery and museum spaces. Additional concepts could include restaurants, manufacturing, housing, entertainment venues, or business incubators that add vibrancy and generate new revenues.

Today, the campus contains 25 historic buildings (11 of them restored), nearly 1,000 parking spaces and provides space for more than 90 professional and emerging artists. In addition to visual arts, the center is home to performing arts, including: theater, film, music, comedy and dance with 300 performances per year.

Concept ideas will be accepted through June 30. For more information, visit the Workhouse Campus RFI webpage or contact Regina Coyle with the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-324-1214.

Food and drink -- A look at what's fresh around the county

Building on success: Taco Bamba is set to open its fifth area location (fourth in Fairfax County) on Thursday at the University Mall on Braddock Road, across from George Mason University. The new Fairfax store will add custom tortilla stuffers such as ramen noodles with shoyu carnitas, fried chicken thighs and General Tsao's cauliflower to chef Victor Albisu's list of street food creations according to

On the fly: Pondering where to eat at Dulles International and the Eater staff reviewed the top options in mid-November and arrived at the following "Five Standouts," all located in post-security areas: Chef Geoff's(Concourse C, American food), Bistro Atelier (Concourse D, crepes, sandwiches, brunch), & Pizza (Concourse C, custom pizzas), Bar Symon (Concourse D, beers, burgers, burritos), The Chef's Table by Wolfgang Puck (Concourse C, omelets, crab cakes, pastas). The story gives a rundown of food options in all terminals and notes other new additions including: Pizza Hut, Jersey Mike's Subs and the Washington Redskins-themed Burgundy and Gold Club (sports bar).

New Stomping Grounds: Many wondered how Tysons Galleria would remake its food hall vacated by Mike Isabella's restaurants in August. The space didn't stay empty for long. Emily Leayman of McLean Patch reports on the first five eateries to fill the void in the food area, now known as A Taste of Urban Space. All Greater Washington businesses, they are: Stomping Ground (biscuits and coffee), Donburi(Japanese rice bowl), Thip Khao (Laotian), Ice Cream Jubilee and Andy's Pizza.

Local libations: For those in search of adult beverages, Vernon Miles of the Tysons Reporter notes a pair of new options. Caboose Brewing Company's second location, Caboose Commons, has opened in Merrifield's Mosaic District, offering craft beer and a full menu. The MacMillan Whisky Room is planning to open in the Mosaic District in January with a menu featuring British-style bar fare to accompany international whiskies and local beers. 

School aid honorees: The Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools considered more than 50 nominees and 15 finalists for its annual awards, presented at its Nov. 27 State of Education Luncheon. Award winners were Apple Federal Credit Union (Business Partner of the Year) for supporting the development and retention of new employees through the Great Beginnings Summer Institute and Teacher Induction Program as well as financial support; the U.S. Geological Survey(Workforce Development Partner) for its work with Chantilly and South Lakes high schools' students with disabilities; Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia (Community Partner of the Year) for programming at more than 60 schools to develop leadership skills and confidence through the sport of running.

High stepping: For the third year running, USA Today Travel has nominated the Reston Holiday Parade as one of the best in the nation. This year's 28th annual parade was held Nov. 23 at Reston Town Center. With a week to go, the Reston parade was fifth among 20 nominees in the balloting. Voting continues through Dec. 10, so click here to weigh in.

Veteran diversity pays dividends: Springfield-based  Strategy and Management Services (SAMS), a woman- and veteran-owned small business, has been named Minority Veteran Business Enterprise of the Year by the National Veteran Owned Business Association. NaVOBA, which last year recognized SAMS CEO Staci Redmon its 2017 Woman Vetrepreneur of the Year, says: "The firm's expertise is rooted in the diverse backgrounds of employees. Thirty-seven percent of SAMS employees are women, 60 percent are minorities and 75 percent are veterans. (SAMS) sees diversity as an asset that strengthens their ability to make a difference."


Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 10:48am

Now hear this: The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) is looking for unmanned-systems companies to compete in a "Shark Tank" style competition in Chicago from April 29 to May 2. The Virginia Center for Unmanned Systems at the Herndon-based Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) will pay expenses to finalists who will vie for up to $35,000 -- not to mention the notoriety. For more details and an application, click here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 10:48am

Here's what's Next: Fairfax-based consulting firm ICF will expand its marketing and communications services for commercial and government customers by launching a new business called ICF Next early in 2019. The Washington Business Journal's Robert J. Terry reports that ICF Next will employ 1,700 across offices in the U.S., Canada, Europe and India to serve its customer base of Fortune 100 companies, utilities, federal agencies and major airports. Engaging customers through digital means will be at the forefront of ICF's strategy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 10:48am

TAPped for new flights: TAP Air Portugal announced that it will begin nonstop service between Washington Dulles International Airport and Lisbon, Portugal, beginning June 16. Drew Hansen of the Washington Business Journal reports that TAP will be the first airline to use the Airbus A330-900neo commercial passenger aircraft. Airbus, with U.S. headquarters in Herndon, expects to deliver 21 of the A330 wide-bodies to TAP in the next two years.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 10:47am

Establishing a Legacy: OpenLegacy, a Reston-based developer of technology designed to help clients launch digital services by integrating and extending legacy systems without changing the underlying systems, has raised $30 million in funding. Silverhorn Investment Advisors led the round, according to the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 10:47am

Moolah for Mondo: Annandale-based MondoBrain, a developer of a digital decision-making platform, has raised $13.3 million in its first round of funding. The company plans to expand international sales and marketing and speed product development. Japia, a fund based in France, led the round, according to the The Business Journals.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 10:46am

On the move: Todd Stottlemyer, most recently CEO of the Inova Center for Personalized Health, has resurfaced as CEO of CNSI in Rockville, Md. Sara Gilgore of the Washington Business Journal had the exclusive yesterday. Stottlemyer, who had been on the job at Inova from March 2015 until this September, was previously CEO of Falls Church-based tech and management consulting firm Acentia until its acquisition by MAXIMUS in 2015. He is chairman emeritus of the Northern Virginia Technology Council and former chairman of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

Conservative Magazine 'Weekly Standard' Shutters, Trump And Rep. Steve King Celebrate

Monday, December 17, 2018 - 1:49pm
Bill Kristol, the former editor-in-chief of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard speaks at the Brookings Institution in Washington, October.

The conservative magazine originally funded by Rupert Murdoch published for 23 years. Its owners cited declining readership and financial troubles.

(Image credit: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

U.S., Canadian Executives Privately 'Spooked' About Traveling To China

Monday, December 17, 2018 - 4:57am
The arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, followed by China

The arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, followed by China's detention of two Canadians, escalated trade and security tensions that are now leading to travel jitters.

(Image credit: Jason Lee/AFP/Getty Images)

New Job Hope For Adults In Drug And Alcohol Recovery

Sunday, December 16, 2018 - 5:37pm
Doug Kiker (left) and Dan Schmalen are founders of Retrofit Careers, a job portal for those in successful drug and alcohol recovery.

Many in recovery go long periods without work, and face stigma against addiction. A new hiring site, just for job seekers in recovery, aims to change that.

(Image credit: Emma Lee/WHYY)

Lab-Grown Meat Draws Big Investors — And Big Opposition

Sunday, December 16, 2018 - 8:03am

Tech startups are using animal stem cells to grow meat. Big meat companies, including Tyson and Cargill, are investing in the technology, while livestock producers are trying to fight it.

A Decade After Madoff Ponzi Scheme Failed, Money Is Still Being Recovered

Sunday, December 16, 2018 - 8:03am

Irving Picard, a lawyer leading the liquidation the collapsed investment firm, says lawsuits and forensic accounting have gotten back almost 70 percent of what was feared lost — some $13 billion.

More Harassment Allegations Emerge At CBS

Saturday, December 15, 2018 - 8:00am

The network is under fire — again — for its workplace culture and its treatment of female employees. A potential merger could bring more upheaval for the company.

U.S. Gets A Big Win In Its Long Fight With Mexico Over 'Dolphin Safe' Labels

Friday, December 14, 2018 - 7:09pm
Tuna, seen on display last year at a fish market in Mexico City. The World Trade Organization dealt Mexico a defeat on appeal Friday, dismissing the country

The World Trade Organization sided with the U.S. on Friday, rejecting Mexico's claim that the U.S. is unfairly denying Mexican tuna products the advantageous "dolphin safe" label.

(Image credit: Henry Romero/Reuters)

'Tax Liens' Mean Towns Win, Homeowners Lose

Friday, December 14, 2018 - 5:05pm

When homeowners can't, or won't, pay their property taxes, local governments auction off the right to pay those taxes to private companies. Housing advocates say this creates a burden for homeowners.

Creators Of New Bae Spice Blend Sued By Old Bay

Friday, December 14, 2018 - 4:57pm

Creators of the New Bae spice blend thought it was just a clever pun. Now, they're being sued by Old Bay, which wants them to turn over their profits and destroy their supply.

Economics Of A Border Wall

Friday, December 14, 2018 - 4:30pm
Border Wall

President Donald Trump has made building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico one of his signature issues. Today, the Indicator looks at the economics of a border wall.

(Image credit: NPR)

'An Indescribable Feeling': Virgin Galactic Makes Historic Trip To Edge Of Space

Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 4:55pm
Observers watch Virgin Galactic

Four years after another test flight ended tragically, the company is celebrating a milestone: Its manned spacecraft reached an altitude of more than 51 miles.

(Image credit: Gene Blevins/AFP/Getty Images)

Why Are There So Many Mattress Stores?

Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 4:45pm
mattress firm

There are so many mattress stores in America, and they always seem to be empty. So how can they afford the real estate? And how do they stay in business?

(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

'Roma' Hailed As Cuarón's Masterpiece, Despite Distribution, Production Battle

Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 4:20pm

Netflix released Roma in select theaters, before offering it online. It's being called Alfonso Cuarón's masterpiece, and garnering Oscar buzz, after a distribution and production battle.

Facing Enrollment Declines, Colleges Seek Out New, Creative Ways To Make Money

Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 4:20pm

Enrollment of both undergrads and graduate students has been declining for years. Meanwhile colleges are getting more creative in finding new ways to make money.

Trump Administration Announces New Plan To Promote U.S. Businesses In Africa

Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 4:20pm

The Trump administration is trying to counter what it calls Russia and China's predatory practices in Africa and promote U.S. businesses instead through an initiative called "Prosper Africa."

Take Care: The Affordable Care Act In 2018

Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 10:06am

Enrollment in the ACA is down compared to this time last year.

(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)