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, April 11, 2019 - 11:12am

Sea you later: Reston-based IDEMIA will supply Royal Caribbean Cruises with its MFace technology to help speed the debarkation process at two ports. The 3D face-capture technology will be used for voyages leaving Cape Liberty, N.J., and Miami. According to a release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, IDEMIA expects to deploy its technology at additional Florida ports later this year.

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 11:12am

New Frontier: Frontier Kitchen, a Lorton-based food incubator, has been selected to manage the food and beverage services at Loudoun United FC's 5,000-seat soccer stadium slated to open in Leesburg this August. Michael Neibauer's story in the Washington Business Journal notes that vendors will feature local breweries, restaurants and food trucks, which are a staple of Frontier's clients. Frontier offers food vendors -- including bakers, manufacturers, caterers and food trucks -- facilities for preparation, storage and distribution.

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 11:11am

Sound advice: Cassaday & Company, based in Tysons with nearly 50 employees, is ranked atop the Investment News list of 75 Best Places to Work for Financial Advisors. Checking in at eighth on the list is another Tysons firm: Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blayney.

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 11:10am

Awaiting response: The Washington Business Journal reported that Merrifield-based Inova Health System suspended its MediMap genetic tests after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration questioned how the tests were being marketed. Sara Gilgore, in a story for Business Journal subscribers, writes that the FDA asked for a 15-day response to its questions.

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 11:09am

Hanging new shingles: Beacon Roofing Supply, headquartered in Herndon, opened five new branches in the first half of its fiscal year. Citybizlist notes the new locations are in Texas, Florida, California and Nevada. Beacon is the largest publicly traded distributor of residential and commercial roofing materials and other building products with more than 500 branches in all 50 states and Canada.

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 11:09am

Nuts for pistachios: Tysons-based Gladstone Land Corporation acquired a Chowchilla, Calif., property that includes 852 acres of pistachio trees. According to citybizlist, the deal also includes a 10-year lease with The Specialty Crop Company of Madera, Calif., one of the world's largest growers of nuts and figs.

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 11:08am

In good company: Virginia Business magazine is accepting applications for its Best Places to Work in Virginia competition. Companies with 15 or more permanent employees working in Virginia are eligible to submit an entry and accompanying employee engagement and satisfaction surveys. Best Companies Group is overseeing the process. For more information and registration, visit

Google becomes latest global technology giant to expand presence in Northern Virginia

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Fairfax County, Virginia – Google, the global technology and media giant, announced this week that it will expand its presence in Fairfax County, becoming the anchor tenant at the Reston Station office building at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 10:47am

LOVE letters celebrate tourism in Fairfax County, 50th anniversary of "Virginia is for Lovers" campaign

It's spring and, if it's not already, love will soon be in the air throughout Fairfax County.

Visit Fairfax is partnering with the Virginia Tourism Corporation to commemorate "50 Years of Love," a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the "Virginia is for Lovers"tourism slogan and marketing campaign, created in 1969 by Richmond-based advertising agency Martin & Woltz.

The firm originally tried the slogans, "Virginia is for History Lovers," "Virginia is for Beach Lovers" and "Virginia is for Mountain Lovers" before settling on the more-generic theme, which was first used by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) as part of its marketing campaign in the March 1969 issue of Modern Bride magazine.

In 2009, "Virginia is for Lovers" was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame and, that same year, was acknowledged by Forbes.comas one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all time.

"Virginia is for Lovers is one of the most iconic tourism slogans in the world, and we are thrilled to be celebrating 50 years of LOVE with partners from around the Commonwealth in 2019," said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the VTC, which awarded $10,000 grants each to 30 tourism marketing programs across the Commonwealth to increase visitation and revenue.

"This grant program provides an engaging opportunity for destinations across the state to showcase what makes a vacation in Virginia so special, and helps to show travelers why 'Virginia is for Lovers' still rings true 50 years later."

In Fairfax County, the tourism industry contributes more than $3 billion to the economy according to the VTC. In 2017, visitors to Virginia spent $25 billion, which supported 232,000 jobs and contributed $1.73 billion in state and local taxes.

"Visit Fairfax is privileged to be among those chosen for the '50 Years of Love' grant, as we celebrate this great anniversary of such an iconic brand," said Barry Biggar, president and CEO of Visit Fairfax. "Fairfax County indeed has such a wide array of tourism experiences, and we welcome our visitors and residents to explore these locations during this exciting summer program."

As part of the celebration, Fairfax County will receive its first permanent "LOVEwork" sign, which will embark on a Summer of LOVE tour to county attractions. The LOVE tour will kick off on the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center from May 9 to May 19, coinciding with National Travel & Tourism Week.

The tour will conclude in August, at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, where the letters will permanently reside. There, they will be creatively "bedazzled" by artists-in-residence, making the new Fairfax County "LOVEwork" sign a unique piece of art.

 Other display stops will include:

  • May 21-27: Roer's Zoofari, Reston

  • May 29-June 4:  Reston Town Center

  • June 6-9: Celebrate Fairfax! Festival, Fairfax County Government Center

  • June 11-16: George Mason's Gunston Hall, Mason Neck

  • June 18-24: The Winery at Bull Run, Centreville

  • June 26-July 1: Caboose Commons, Mosaic District, Merrifield

  • July 3-10: George Washington's Distillery & Gristmill, Mount Vernon

  • July 12-24: Wolf Trap, Vienna

  • July 26-August 4: Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon

  • August 6 - beyond: Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton


Untethered girl power: Fusion Four, a state champion all-girl robotics team from Fairfax County, is set to represent Virginia and Washington, D.C., at an international competition.

Ema Hrabak, Minah Sisco and Reira Erickson, who attend Lake Braddock Secondary School, and Devon Rudolph, who attends Robinson Secondary Schoolhave known each other for years. They captured the state title at James Madison University in December.

In doing so, Kristi King of WTOP reports that Fusion Four qualified to compete in the 2019 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League World Championship in Detroit, April 24 to 27.

The team, competing in the Grade 3 to 7 division, already built and programmed a robot made out of Legos and focused a project on creating a safe system for astronauts to perform untethered spacewalks.

"It is a very heavily male competition. Yes, there are girls who compete, but it's very rare to see an all-girl team," Michael Hrabak, one of the team's three coaches, told King. Ema Hrabak says the team plays off each other's strengths. "We fuse our talents make the perfect team," she said.


The Original Mount Vernon High School is a step closer to once again becoming a learning hub for residents of the Richmond Highway corridor.

Fairfax County Public Schools and Northern Virginia Community College signed a letter of intent to offer educational and career certification programs at the school. 

Built in 1939, the future of the iconic building had been debated for years. In 2015, a community task force recommended it be used as a learning center, offering higher education and early childhood education courses.

Lori Ostrow of the Fort Hunt Herald reports that the nonbinding plan calls for a strategic outline by August 30. The letter of intent calls for FCPS and NOVA to "work together to determine space needs for each program, cost and scope of necessary renovations and cost responsibilities, including future lease payments."

Among the partnership's objectives listed in an initial outline are: expanded workforce and training certification programs; cyber technology, health, hospitality and culinary arts programs; affordable early learning and development programs for children up to age 5.

Going solar: Fairfax County plans to install solar panels at more than 200 school and government buildings, aiming to decrease electric costs, curb greenhouse emissions and create awareness around renewable energy.

Brad Swanson of The Connection reports that bids will be sought from installers to provide terms for "power purchase agreements." 

It's expected that contractors will install panels and related equipment at their own expense, then sell the electricity to the buildings owners at agreed-upon rates.

The project hopes to expand school and government use of solar power by 5 to 15 megawatt hours.

While that is only a fraction of the total used, officials hope the project will demonstrate the potential for renewable energy generation from publicly owned assets - and encourage similar projects in the private sector. For more, visit the county's Renewable Energy web page.

The move comes as the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County School Board created the Joint Environmental Task Force (The JET) to collaborate on initiatives related to climate, energy and the environment.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 11:02am

Google deepens Reston commitment: On Monday, Google made it official. This summer the tech giant will become the anchor tenant at Comstock's Reston Station development. According to Catherine Douglas Moran of Reston Now and Google's news release, the company will occupy the top floors of the distinctive 16-story building that overlooks the Dulles Toll Road and the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. Google initially opened an office in Reston in 2005 and its local staff has grown to about 200 since. Google previously said it plans to double its workforce in Northern Virginia as part of a $13 billion nationwide investment in new offices and data centers.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 11:02am

Insight into a new home: On the heels of acquiring two contractors in February, analytics and cyber contractor Applied Insight announced a move to new headquarters in Tysons along with significant changes in leadership. The company is occupying more than 17,000 square feet at 1850 Towers Crescent Plaza. Ross Wilkers of Washington Technology notes that Applied Insight, formerly based in Loudoun County, beefed up its offerings by adding Maryland-based companies Stratus Solutions and Applied Technology Group.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 11:01am

Speeding this automaker's track: Tysons-based DXC Technology is supporting BMW's development of autonomous vehicles by supplying the technology to collect, store and manage vehicle sensor data. The Washington Business Journal's Drew Hansen writes that the DXC platform, called Robotic Drive, is accelerating the autonomous evolution. BMW says that data collection and analyzation processes that took days or weeks are now taking seconds.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 11:01am

Customized growth: Major changes are happening at Custom Ink, the T-shirt and custom-apparel maker based in the Mosaic District of Merrifield. Longtime investors including Revolution Growth (co-founded by Ted Leonsis) and SWaN & Legend Venture Partners (led by Fred Schaufeld) are selling their shares to private equity firms Great Hill Partners and HarbourVest. Aaron Gregg and Thomas Heath of the Washington Post write that co-founder and CEO Marc Katz will continue to run the company and own a significant stake. The Washington Business Journal's Andy Medici reports that Custom Ink is testing whether to set up shop in more brick-and-mortar locations. Medici also has a story with Schaufeld explaining to WBJ subscribers why Custom Ink's refinancing is a good sign for east-coast tech firms.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 11:00am

Seeing is believing: Elbit Systems of America, which has operations in Reston, agreed to acquire the night-vision business of Harris Corp. for about $350 million. The purchase is contingent upon Harris completing its proposed merger with L3 Technologies, and regulatory approvals. Washington Technology's Ross Wilkers reports that Harris, which has operations in Chantilly and Herndon, supplies night-vision technology to U.S. and allied military forces as well as the Department of Homeland Security Department for enhanced threat protection.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 10:59am

Cutting the ribbon on innovation: ECS, a Fairfax-based division of ASGN that provides technology services to government and defense clients, opened its new Cybersecurity Innovation and Technology Operations Center to house its security operations, cyber range and labs. Potomac Tech Wire carried a release from the company, which has more than 2,700 employees nationwide.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 10:58am

Eye in the sky: HawkEye 360 unveiled its first radio-frequency signal-mapping product last week. Debra Werner of reports that RFGeo will initially help customers identify and locate maritime VHF radio channels, marine emergency distress beacons and vessel Automatic Identification System signals. In coming months, the Herndon-based company plans to expand the signals it can pinpoint and identify via its satellites to support additional maritime, defense, border security, emergency response and telecommunications applications.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 10:58am

Risky business: RiskLens, a developer of quantitative cyber risk management software headquartered in Reston and Spokane, Wash., raised $20.55 million in a second round of funding, led by DC-based Paladin Capital Group. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release which notes that previous backers Dell Technologies Capital and Osage Venture Partners are also among participants.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 10:58am

Plenty to keep them Octo-pied: Octo Consulting Group of Reston has received a major investment from private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners. The IT consulting firm serves federal clients in health care, security and defense through Agile software development, cloud, infrastructure, blockchain and emerging technologies. Katishi Maake of the Washington Business Journal reports the funds will be used for strategic hiring, enhancing technological capabilities and future acquisitions.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 10:57am

About flight...and fancy: Akridge, the developer of One Tysons East, is considering measures to help ensure the safety of birds and motorists. Vernon Miles of the Tysons Reporter writes that the distinctive curved-glass building will incorporate bird-friendly measures to reduce collisions. Design elements could involve use of color, texture, louvers, screens or ultraviolet materials. Traffic improvements to the area around Old Meadow Road will also be under discussion as the project, which needs rezoning approval, is scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors today.

Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 11:04am

Mixing it up: Bisnow takes an illustrated look at projects that are in varying stages of development around Reston and Herndon Silver Line Metro stations. As noted by writer Jon Banister, the mixed-use developments will bring millions of feet of fresh offices space and thousands of new residential units to the county.

Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 11:03am

Flight to quality: More domestic passengers are flying in and out of Washington Dulles International Airport. Jonathan Capriel of the Washington Business Journal links lower fees charged to airlines and passengers, government assistance and upgraded shopping options with airlines' decisions to add flights, resulting in an increase from 14.9 million in 2017 to 15.9 million domestic passengers last year.

Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 11:02am

Investors go deep: deepwatch, a managed-security services company spun out of Herndon-based GuidePoint Security, raised $23 million in its first round of funding. According to the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, Baltimore-based private equity firm ABS Capital Partners led the round. deepwatch intends to use the proceeds to accelerate research and development for its machine learning security analytics platform and for go-to-market activities.

Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 11:01am

Developing story: With 422 million square feet under construction, Tysons-based Kettler was the largest commercial real estate developer in the D.C. area in 2018 according to numbers compiled by the Washington Business Journal. Based on metro-area square footage under construction, Orr Partners of Reston ranked fifth at 2.75 million square feet and The Ardent Company of Reston ranked 11th at 1.93 million. Other Fairfax County-headquartered developers on the list: No.14 Rappaport (Tysons); No.24 Atlantic Realty Company (Tysons), No.25 Peterson Companies (Fairfax).

Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 11:00am

New recruits: The Navy and Marine Corps have signed on to use FirstNet's wireless nationwide public safety communications network. Ross Wilkers of Washington Technology reports that the First Responder Network Authority,, headquartered in Reston, has agreements with all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories. AT&T received a 25-year contract to build the network.

How Quebec's Maple Syrup Stockpile Can Impact An Entire Global Industry

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 4:26pm

Maple syrup is so important to Canada that producers in the province of Quebec have created a strategic reserve of the sweet stuff. The Planet Money Indicator team paid the reserve a visit.

Why Do Introverts Get Paid Less?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 4:18pm

There's a gap in career earnings between introverts and extroverts.

(Image credit: NPR)

After Boeing Crashes, More People Want Help Taming Fear Of Flying

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 5:01am
For those who are scared of flying, an array of apps, websites and classes teach relaxation techniques and explain how airplanes work.

If you're scared of flying, the news of two recent airline crashes might have you in jitters. Instructors who help people overcome that fear say enrollments have doubled since the incidents.

(Image credit: Francisco Rama/Getty Images/EyeEm Premium)

Trump's Trade War Forces Volvo To Shift Gears In South Carolina

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 5:21pm
Tremaine Smalls (center) attaches parts to an engine at Volvo

The Chinese-owned Swedish automaker was originally planning to ship U.S.-made luxury sedans out of the Port of Charleston and send them to China. Trump's trade war threw a wrench in those plans.

(Image credit: Camila Domonoske/NPR)

Why Do We Still Use QWERTY Keyboards?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 5:00pm

The story behind the first six keyboard letters are driven by economics.

(Image credit: NPR)

2 House Committees Issue Subpoenas To Deutsche Bank For Trump's Financial Records

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 4:47pm

House Democrats have ramped up their investigation of President Trump's finances by issuing a subpoena to Deutsche Bank, which is one of few financial institutions willing to lend to Trump recently.

Tax Troubles, Tax Triumphs

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 10:05am

We talk about the other certain thing — you know, the one that's not death.

(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Congress Subpoenas Deutsche Bank As Part Of Democrats' Probe Of Trump Finances

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 9:59am
A branch of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. The company has received subpoenas from two U.S. House committees about its business dealings with President Trump.

It's the latest sign that Democrats will continue to seek information on potential criminal activity by President Trump and his businesses after special counsel Robert Mueller's report is made public.

(Image credit: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

A Guardian of Global Capitalism Warns Capitalism Has A Problem

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 7:30am
Pedestrians walk past the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The IMF finds companies are getting increasingly powerful. Here's why that's bad for consumers and for the whole economy.

(Image credit: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Boeing Slow To 'Own' Recent Air Disasters, Analysts Say

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 5:05am
Analysts say Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the company were slow to take responsibility in the crashes of two 737 Max planes within months of each other.

After a second 737 Max jet crashed in less than five months, it took Boeing weeks to speak openly about the role its flight control software may have played. Critics say that's too long.

(Image credit: Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Did You Successfully Negotiate A Great Package For Your New Job? Tell Us About It

Monday, April 15, 2019 - 6:09pm

It's a great job market. Were you able to score a great deal by negotiating for something unusual — or unusually great? We'd like to hear about it.

The Losers And Winners Of The Trump Administration's Big Tax Cut

Monday, April 15, 2019 - 6:06pm

It's tax day and many Americans are finding out whether last year's big tax overhaul really did cut their taxes. Most did, but some people saw their tax bill go up considerably.

The Cost Of Measles

Monday, April 15, 2019 - 4:55pm
As a measles epidemic continues to spread, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a state of emergency and mandated residents of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg at the center of the outbreak to get vaccinated for the viral disease. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The cost of a measles outbreak - to individuals, families, communities, and the country - is high.

(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods Rises Again — And Sponsors Are Celebrating His Resilience

Monday, April 15, 2019 - 4:09pm
Tiger Woods celebrates after making his putt on the 18th green to win the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday in Augusta, Georgia.

Woods' historic victory Sunday at the golf Masters Tournament shows the continued earning power of a player who was dropped by many of his sponsors over the course of a tumultuous decade.

(Image credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

My New Diet Is An App: Weight Loss Goes Digital

Monday, April 15, 2019 - 3:05pm
Jessica Holloway-Haytcher uses an app that helps her track meals, exercise and keep in touch with an online coach.

The popularity of weight loss apps, especially among younger people, has forced the traditional weight loss programs to revamp their models to include online, on-demand support.

(Image credit: Mark Rogers Photography)

5 Cool Things That Could Make The World A Better Place By 2030

Monday, April 15, 2019 - 10:53am
Trying to make the world a better place: (left to right) Skoll Award winners Gregory Rockson of mPharma, Nicola Galombik and Maryana Iskander of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, Nancy Lublin of Crisis Text Line, Bright Simons of mPedigree and Julie Cordua of Thorn.

The 5 recipients of the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship predict how their projects will make the world a better place.

(Image credit: Greg Smolonski/Skoll)