the Power of Ideas channel

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 1:02pm

Beyond the military: PenFed Credit Union in Tysons Corner announced an employment program aimed at providing career training to members of the military community interested in joining its workforce. Katishi Maake of the Washington Business Journal writes that the program will offer internships, outreach, recruiting, hiring, onboarding, professional development, mentoring and retention training. It is open to veterans, military and surviving spouses, wounded warriors and their caregivers, reservists and National Guardsmen.

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 1:02pm

More fiber is a good thing: Tysons Corner-based GTT Communications, a global provider of cloud networking services to multinational clients, upgraded its fiber network spanning Central and Eastern Europe. According to a releasepicked up by Potomac Tech Wire, the company has doubled the optical capacity along routes between its network points of presence in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 1:01pm

Book 'em, Danno: BridgeStreet, a global hospitality firm based in Reston, launched an online booking platform geared toward longer-term accommodations for business travelers. DC Inno reports that the platform enables corporate travel managers and others to book extended-stay hotels, furnished homes, vacation rentals, serviced apartments and hostels through one system. Benefits include improved rate transparency, data management and security, reporting and booking speed. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 1:01pm

Sprouting up locally: Sprouts Farmers Market, a Phoenix-based natural and organic grocery chain with more than 300 stores nationwide, will open its first Virginia location in Herndon. Sprouts is taking over part of a former Kmart store at Herndon Centre, which will also become home to an LA Fitness gym and other retail establishments, writes Fatima Waseem of Reston Now.

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 1:00pm

Mixed-use for Midline: The Fairfax County Planning Commission is expected to vote tonight on a project known as Midline -- a joint effort of JBG SmithEYA and Chevy Chase Land Co. to develop a 17.5-acre site near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. The mixed-use proposal would include residential housing for up to 1,500, 260,000 square feet of office space and up to 250,000 square feet of retail. Katie Arcieri reports for the Washington Business Journal.

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 1:00pm

Opportunity knocks: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Association (WMATA) is seeking developers for a 12.4-acre mixed-use development near the Huntington Metro Station on the Yellow Line. The project in southeastern Fairfax County would include demolition of a 35-year-old parking garage on a 6.3-acre site and construction on another 6.1-acre parcel. Jon Banister rode this onto the Bisnow site.

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 12:59pm

World-class education: Fairfax-based George Mason University is one of four Virginia schools to be included among the 2018 "Academic Rankings of World Universities" by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. GMU is ranked among the top 95 universities in the U.S. and top 300 in the world. InsideNoVA has more specifics.

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 12:58pm

Hot off the press: Wednesday's E-Bird Extra detailed The St. James, a massive sports and active-entertainment center opening this weekend in Springfield. Erik Brady of USA Today spotlighted the long-time friendship between co-founders Kendrick Ashton and Craig Dixon, former classmates at the College of William & Mary, and the origin of the St. James moniker. Turns out the pair have an affinity for all things British. Says Ashton: "[The name] is derived from the Court of St. James...for a very long time the center of much of the activity happening globally."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 10:45am

The St. James sports and wellness complex in Springfield will offer something for everyone

Roughly one year since its groundbreaking, The St. James -- expecting to become known as the premier sports, wellness and active entertainment destination in the Washington area -- is set to open its doors near the intersection of interstates 395 and 495 in Springfield.

Workers were still applying finishing touches on the state-of-the-art, first-in-the-nation complex when E-Bird Extra toured the facility earlier this month. Even in its unfinished state, the venue is as impressive as it is massive.

It needs to be both to accommodate more than 30 sports and activities with facilities that include a FIFA-size fieldhouse for soccer, lacrosse, football and rugby, two NHL-size ice rinks, an Olympic-competition regulation pool, six batting cages, seven golf simulators, eight squash courts, plus a family-friendly water park, active entertainment center and lifestyle amenities such as a full-service restaurant, health spa and luxurious locker rooms.

The grand opening is set for this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., during which time the public is invited to not only view but experience many of the amenities the St. James has to offer, from soccer, lacrosse and basketball to hockey, yoga and dance.

The St. James -- all 450,000 square feet of it -- is more than just sports and fitness, say co-founders and co-CEOs Kendrick Ashton and Craig Dixon.

"There's something for everyone -- from gourmet dining and premium spa services to unparalleled sports, fitness, and active entertainment spaces, including an indoor water park and VR gaming theaters," Ashton says. "We will offer more than 30 sports programs, from developmental programs to competitive leagues. The St. James is about helping athletes of all ages and skill levels maximize their potential."

The company operates on the idea that time is a precious commodity and that existing sports and entertainment options are far too fragmented. That's why it offers so many ways to satisfy the varying interests of different age groups and family members under one roof. 

"A highly-synergistic experience," Ashton calls it. "We think it will be great for everyone from your 4-year-old to your grandparents."

The St. James will offer sport-specific training and competition through its developmental programs, in-house and regional competitive leagues, camps and clinics. Additionally, the St. James will host regional tournaments, exhibitions and combines. That could mean more tourism dollars for Fairfax County.

"We expect The St. James to be the epicenter for sports and competitive activities in the region," Ashton said. "We're incredibly excited about becoming a real national beacon for high level sports competition, hospitality and wellness."

Ashton says that sport-specific training, and medical and therapy services in partnership with MedStar Health will make The St. James a haven for athletes of all skill levels, not just elite athletes.

"We have everything from squash and soccer to gymnastics and baseball here at The St. James. But we have programs for four- and five-year-olds all the way up to your Masters level for people 50 and older." Dixon says. "We've assembled a really spectacular team of coaching directors in over 30 sports who will really help elevate your game, whether you are just learning to play or you want to take your game to the collegiate or professional levels."

Dixon is equally excited about what The St. James has to offer beyond sports training and competition.

"Aside from the sports experience we have a premium spa and a premium restaurant we are doing with celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn, as well as an active entertainment center with 20,000 square feet of fun called 'Super, Awesome and Amazing.' I can't wait to share it."

FCEDA President and CEO Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., views The St. James as an exciting addition to Fairfax County's list of amenities. "In today's business world, it is vitally important to attract the best men and women to the community to become part of the workforce," Gordon said. "The St. James facility is one of the community amenities that will help accomplish that -- a world-class amenity for a world-lass community."

  • Click here to watch a Meet The St. James video: "Sports Wellness and Active Entertainment, Reborn."

Ashton sees the Springfield facility, which will employ about 300, as just the start for The St. James, which is backed by investment partner Cain International.

"The Washington region and Fairfax County, in particular, is a fantastic place for us to develop our very first St. James. But we believe there are markets around the country that have similar dynamics in terms of a high demand for a high-quality sports experience," he says, noting that the company plans to open a similar facility outside of Chicago in 2021. "In terms of instruction, products and services, we think this is a real breakthrough."

10 things to know about The St. James

  1. Although The St. James is based on a membership model, membership is not required to utilize many of the amenities. "You don't have to be a member to come and enjoy," Dixon says. "We have a multi-access model with multiple 'a la carte' ways to access what works best for you."

  2. Spike Mendelsohn's gourmet restaurant Vim & Victor will be open to the public in November. It will include a lounge and quick service area for smoothies, coffee drinks and to-go items. Mendelsohn will be responsible for food and beverage service throughout the building -- an important element of The St. James's focus on hospitality.

  3. The St. James will offer a full range of spa services at Courted, its onsite premium med-spa. Services will include: massage, facials, manicures, pedicures as well as cutting-edge wellness treatments such as cryotherapy and IV infusions.

  4. A sports medicine healthcare center operated by MedStar Health will provide non-emergency services, including health screenings, corporate wellness programs and pre- and post-operative rehabilitation services.

  5. Facilities are convertible and flexible. The Courthouse can transform from four full-size basketball courts to nine NCAA-regulation volleyball courts; the fieldhouse can accommodate football, field hockey, lacrosse, rugby and soccer in a variety of field sizes.

  6. "Super, Awesome and Amazing" will offer 25,000 square feet of active entertainment, including an indoor water park, VR gaming setups, birthday party rooms and American Ninja Warrior-inspired obstacle courses. There's a rock climbing wall and zipline.

  7. In addition to two ice rinks (each with their own ice-making Zamboni) for hockey, figure skating and speed skating, the Ice House boasts a skating treadmill and Rapid-Shot hockey skills training center.

  8. Performance boutique Strivers can outfit patrons with sneakers, performance-oriented (and St. James-branded) apparel, technology and equipment.

  9. Members can benefit from free child care services.

  10. Beyond standard membership ($169 monthly), options are available for families, children, seniors and members of the military.

Open house details: The St. James is inviting the community to its grand opening and ribbon  cutting on Saturday, September. 15.

The day will begin with outdoor fitness registration at 7:30 a.m. and yoga at 8 a.m. The ribbon cutting will take place at 10 a.m. followed by ice hockey and ice skating exhibitions. The afternoon will feature soccer, squash and water polo exhibitions.

The public is invited to participate in skating, gymnastics, football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and other sports activities including the interactive water park and three-story climbing wall. Time slots are limited and pre-registration is suggested. Click here for more information and to register.

The St. James is located at 6805 Industrial Road, Springfield, VA 22151; Phone: 703-215-8905.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 10:48am

Now hear this: Brian Fanzo, the high-energy keynote speaker at the inaugural Social Media Week Fairfax, is a new addition to this year's already-loaded lineup of media-savvy experts who will appear Friday during the FCEDA-sponsored event at Capital One headquarters in Tysons Corner. Fanzo's topic will be "Limitations Inspire Creativity!" See the day's entire lineup of speakers, panelists and exhibitors at E-Bird readers receive a 20 percent discount on registration by clicking here and entering promo code FairfaxEBird.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 10:48am

SAIC stocks up: Reston-based SAIC will buy Chantilly-based competitor Engility in an all-stock transaction valued at $2.5 billion. The deal will create one of the world's largest publicly traded IT and professional services companies. With combined annual revenues of $6.5 billion, the merged company will have about 23,000 employees and figures to provide SAIC with enhanced capabilities in IT and systems engineering. Ross Wilkers of Washington Technology reports that SAIC intends to close the deal prior to Feb. 1.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 10:47am

Working in Tandem: The Tandem Innovation Alliance launched an education program, Tandem Product Academy, that will offer 25 technology entrepreneurs whose companies make products rather than provide services. The initial cohort will begin a four-month semester on Oct. 13. The program is receiving $50,000 in seed money from Fairfax County and is supported by other groups including the Northern Virginia Chamber of CommerceNorthern Virginia Technology Council and the Center for Innovative Technology. Andy Medici of the Washington Business journal reports the program -- the brainchild of Alliance founder Jonathan Aberman -- provides classes to help existing companies better manage areas like investment, P.R. and fundraising.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 10:47am

Shopping for more talent: Walmart Labs in Reston plans to double its 180-employee workforce, reports Kieran McQuilkin of DC Inno. Demand for automation has the technology arm of the world's largest private employee seeking additional software engineers and data scientists. Among tech initiatives being explored in Reston: a robot that scans shelves and alerts associates when restocking is necessary; an automatic freight unloading system for receiving and scanning shipments; a method of mapping paths through stores to help associates efficiently fill online orders.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 10:47am

Rock the Cashbah:  ORock Technologies, a tech startup in Reston, has raised at least $15 million in a round of equity funding. The company provides cloud services and infrastructure to IT companies and enterprise customers in highly regulated industries. In a story for Washington Business Journal subscribers, Andy Medici notes that ORock has been busy beefing up its management staff.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 10:46am

Perspective on Perspecta: Robert J. Terry of the Washington Business Journal takes a deeper look at the $787 million contract extension the U.S. Navy awarded Perspecta last week -- and what else might be coming down the pike for the Chantilly-based contractor.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 10:45am

Nice ring to this tale: Nuix, an Australian firm with U.S. headquarters in Reston, has acquired the Ringtail e-discovery software business of Washington, D.C.-based FTI Consulting for $55 million. A release picked up by the Potomac Tech Wire notes that FTI has also entered into a three-year licensing deal with Nuix.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 10:45am

E is for entrepreneur: Mark Ein's Washington Esports Ventures is bringing an Overwatch League team to the region. The professional league for the video game "Overwatch," expects to have 20 teams competing internationally in its second season. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal writes that Overwatch is played by about 40 million globally, about 1 million of whom are in the Washington area. The league has media deals with Amazon-owned Twitch, ESPN and Twitter. Ein is founder of Falls Church area-based managed-security firm Kastle Systems, and owns the Washington Kastles World Team Tennis franchise and the Washington City Paper.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 10:43am

Cali company comes to county: Rahi Systems, a Fremont, Calif.-based global provider of IT, data center infrastructure and productivity tools, opened a location in Herndon to serve East Coast customers. A release picked up by the Potomac Tech Wire notes that the new location at 13876 Park Center Road features integration, warehousing and office space.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 10:43am

Marketing simplified: Gannett's USA Today Network launched LOCALiQ, a data-driven marketing platform to simplify marketing and drive results for businesses. The tool pairs local audiences of 125 million consumers with platforms such as Google, Bing and Facebook and technology powered by data intelligence and insights. Potomac Tech Wire carried the news release

Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 11:20am

Now hear this: More than 50 participants, including representatives from eight South Korean cybersecurity companies, were in Tysons Corner Wednesday for a  conference co-presented by the FCEDA and the Korea Information Security Industry Association. "Fairfax County is a very attractive place for Korean cybersecurity companies that hope to [connect] with overseas partners so they can move forward with their products," said KISIA spokesman Seong-Yong Ham. More than 60 Korean-owned businesses have a presence in Fairfax County. Read the FCEDA release about the event.

Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 11:20am

Quite an ad-on: PenFed Credit Union acquired WHITE64, a 50-person marketing and advertising agency based in Tysons Corner. Douglas Fruehling, in a story for subscribers to the Washington Business Journal, says that adding the agency is expected to help the second-largest credit union ramp up its national marketing. PenFed spends about $10 million on TV and radio advertising in a year. WHITE64 has been PenFed's marketing and ad agency since 2014 and helped the credit union rebrand from Pentagon Federal to PenFed after it relocated headquarters to Tysons Corner.

Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 11:19am

Support for a Metrics system: Metricly, a cloud-monitoring company headquartered in Reston, raised $9 million in a Series A funding round led by Rembrandt Venture Partners and Bowery Capital. Citybizlist reports that the company also secured an additional $2 million from Western Technology Investment. Metricly's product, built on a machine learning platform, ranked fourth on Computer World's list of Best Cloud Management Tools of 2018.

Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 11:19am

What goes up, must come down: Isaac Newton Square, a 49.2-acre office and flex-industrial development in Reston, is the subject of a redevelopment application that would convert it to a primarily residential site. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal reports that the Peter Lawrence Companies and MRP Realty have applied to redevelop about two-thirds of the complex close to the Wiehle Reston-East Metro Station. Resulting apartments, condominiums and townhomes would combine for about 2,100 of 3,200 units eventually projected across the entire 49 acres.

Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 11:18am

Big deal for mid-size firms: A $300 million Department of Homeland Security contract for agile and DevOps software developers resulted in important contracts for multiple area firms. The Washington Business Journal's Robert J. Terry highlights the potential five-year deal secured by Octo Consulting of Reston. But others, including Alethix LLC (Reston), Ardent Management Consulting (Reston), Celerity Government Solutions (Tysons Corner), Favor TechConsulting (Tysons Corner), Halvik Corp. (Tysons Corner) and Net eSolutions (McLean) have also secured spots on the Services Enabling Agile Delivery (SEAD) contract.