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, January 9, 2018 - 10:25am

European expansion: GTT Communications, a Tysons Corner-based cloud networking provider, has acquired Amsterdam-based Custom Connect, a global provider of high-speed network connectivity to multinational enterprises and financial trading firms. According to the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, the acquisition will help GTT extend its presence in Europe and the Middle East.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 10:24am

Acquiring minds: Rappahannock Media of Washington, Va. has acquired InsideNoVa.com, two of its affiliated community newspapers and the rights to publish two military base papers from Northern Virginia Media Services.  According to Virginia Business, the deal includes Department of Defense contracts to publish the Belvoir Eagle, a weekly paper serving Fort Belvoir, and the Quantico Sentry, a bi-weekly at Marine Corps Base Quantico. The community newspapers involved are InsideNoVa/Prince William and InsideNoVa/North Stafford with a combined circulation of more than 40,000 households per week.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 10:24am

Better than snow tires: TrafficLand, a Fairfax-based integrator of live traffic video streams, has partnered with Weather Telematics to expand its road safety offerings. According to the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, Weather Telematics' data, in concert with video verification from TrafficLand's network of more than 25,000 traffic cameras, is expected to create one of the most complete resources available for hazard weather data impacting driver safety.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 10:24am

Another Notch: Tysons Corner-based Capital One has acquired Notch, a Richmond-based machine learning company and provider of technology consulting services. Stephen Babcock of Technical.ly/DC reports that the 16-person Notch team will continue to be based in Richmond. Notch previously had a working relationship within Capital One's Center for Machine Learning.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 10:23am

Great views of China: Hilton Worldwide, with headquarters in Tysons Corner, has expanded its presence in southern China with the opening of the Hilton Fuzhou. Citybizlist reports that the 331-room hotel in an expanding coastal city will occupy the first, fourth and 39th through 55th floors of a skyscraper.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 10:20am

Changing hands: Harrison Street Real Estate of Chicago has purchased the Merrifield-Fairfax Medical Campus near the Inova Fairfax Hospital. Avison Young of Tysons Corner brokered the sale of the 119,788-square-foot property for $62.5 million. Virginia Business reported the existing building is 84.5 percent leased with Children's National Health System and Pediatric Specialists of Virginia (a venture between Children's and Inova) as primary tenants.

Soon, the person helping to care for your elderly parent might not be a person at all. Fairfax-based startup INF Robotics has created Rudy, an assistive robot designed to help seniors age in place.

The space-age future is coming to a cash register near you. Fairfax County-based company Daon has been selected to provide a new authentication solution that uses biometrics to verify Visa cardholders’ identities.

Mars, Inc., is the largest private company in Fairfax County and Greater Washington’s. Now this corporate powerhouse is taking major steps to fight climate change. McLean-based chocolatier Mars has pledged to invest $1 billion over the next few years to support efforts involving renewable energy, food sourcing, cross-industry action groups and farmers. The investment will help achieve the company’s three key ambitions:

The planet has a new kind of watchdog: Fairfax County-based HawkEye 360 is harnessing the power of the small satellites to develop a new, space-based global intelligence network. The company is using radio frequency (RF) technology to monitor transportation across air, land, and sea, and to assist with emergencies. The company believes the satellites will also be able to detect criminal activities that previously went unnoticed, such as illegal fishing or oil trading.

Is it too hot in your office building? Too cold? Senseware data can help your team know for sure – and fix it – without an on-site visit.

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 10:45am

Now hear this: The FCEDA announced that Ian Metcalf has been named director of its London office. For almost three years, Metcalf, CEO of business development firm Critical Outcomes, has worked with his predecessor Ross Clarke, who retired after 17 years. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons Corner, the FCEDA maintains six global offices, including London. Here's a release with more about Metcalf and his experience in key industry sectors.

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 10:44am

Jump right in: In her debut story for subscribers of the Washington Business Journal, Katie Arcieri lists six major proposals that could  "change the face" of northern Fairfax County: Inova's expansion of the its 117-acre personalized health campus in Merrifield; Metro's proposal to build 500 homes at West Falls Church; a plan to turn the Fairfax Plaza Shopping Center into a "second phase" of the Mosaic District; a proposal for mixed-use redevelopment on 38 acres near the Dunn Loring Metro Station; the possibility of a second building at the site of the TEGNA tower in Tysons Corner; and a proposal for mixed-use redevelopment at Fairview Park in the Falls Church area.

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 10:44am

Making space: Spaces, a co-working space provider, has signed as the first tenant at Reston Station, Comstock Partners' mixed-use development near the Wiehle-Reston Metro Station. Daniel J. Sernovitz, in a story for subscribers to the Washington Business Journal, reports that Spaces will lease more than 40,000 square feet on the fifth and sixth floors of the 16-story building.

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 10:43am

Sound the alarm: Seven Corners-based Kastle Systems acquired Urban Alarm, a Washington, D.C.-based alarm company that equips single-family residences as well as commercial and institutional customers. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal reports that Urban's customers include embassies and ambassador residences. Kastle developed its offerings to serve commercial and multifamily buildings.

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 10:43am

Raising the roof: Beacon Roofing Supply of Herndon completed its $2.6 billion acquisition of Allied Building Products and is now one of the largest public wholesale building materials distributors in North America. The deal is expected to give Beacon annual revenues approaching $7 billion as it expands in the New York, New Jersey and upper Midwest markets, says Drew Hansen of the Washington Business Journal.

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 10:43am

Fast forward: DXC Technology, based in Tysons Corner, has been granted permission to move forward with its acquisitions of Chantilly-based Vencore and Colorado-based KeyPoint Government Solutions, which has offices in Oakton. According to a release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, the transaction is on track to be completed in March.

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 10:42am

Funding the fight: Perthera, a precision medicine company based in Tysons Corner, says it is more than halfway to meeting its goal of $4 million in a new round of funding. The company, which seeks to personalize cancer treatment, raised $8.7 million in 2016 funding. Tina Reed of the Washington Business Journal reports that Perthera has been successful helping pancreatic cancer patients through a partnership with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 10:42am

California teamin': Tysons Corner-based SSi Consulting, which provides financial management software implementation services, has been bought by Menlo Technologies, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of software development services. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release, noting that SSi was founded in 1983.

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 10:42am

Eero error: A Taiwanese official resigned after 200,000 passports there were printed that included an image of Washington Dulles International Airport instead of Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei. Justin Wm. Moyer of the Washington Post points out that the look of the Taiwan facility built in 1979 was influenced by the Dulles terminal, which was designed by acclaimed architect Eero Saarinen and opened in 1962. The printer could be on the hook for as much as $2.7 million to correct the error.

New director of FCEDA’s London office has trans-Atlantic experience in key industry sectors

Thursday, January 4, 2018

ian metcalfFairfax County, Virginia The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) has hired Ian Metcalf to direct its outreach efforts in the United Kingdom.

Metcalf, owner and managing director of Farnham, Surrey-based business development firm Critical Outcomes, succeeds Ross Clarke, who retired December 31.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - 10:19am

All that's missing are the s'mores: An Airstream trailer brings vacation vibe to CWPS workplace in Chantilly

When E-Bird Extra was asked if it would like to view the new "trailer" from CWPS Inc., we assumed the Chantilly-based IT services firm had a new video to show off.

Turns out it wasn't about home movies. The company actually has a trailer as part of its new lobby decor -- a fully refurbished 1979 Airstream travel trailer to be precise. The 31-foot silver beauty extends through a wall separating the main lobby area from a common meeting area on the other side.

It's a novel approach to address a serious matter: attracting and retaining top tech talent. The trailer is part of an outdoorsy design concept that seeks to convey a sense of freedom and encourage a collaborative work environment.

"Our number one challenge is talent acquisition," says Dan Smith, chief operating officer. "The demographics of our workforce skew a bit younger and, in order to attract the best workers from this group, we needed to have an office space that met their needs and allowed for collaboration."

CWPS, founded in 1980 and purchased by an original employee, Gerald Waldrop, in 1994, has expanded to about 30,000 square feet in its new headquarters. While the Airstream is a focal point, its new digs include other amenities designed to appeal to prospective employees: a well-equipped fitness center, a shuffleboard table and a beer dispenser in the kitchen/lounge area.

"This new office space has really inspired pride in the workplace among our employees," Smith said. "At our old offices, as soon as 6 pm rolled around, everyone was gone. Now, people are staying longer and hanging out. They're even bringing their families to visit -- something that never happened. We've also seen a decline in the number of people teleworking. Our employees like the new space and want to be in the office."

In at least one case, the trailer has already proven to be a useful recruiting tool.

"We have a new employee starting this month who used to work at another firm around the corner," Smith said. "He was driving home at night and saw the Airstream lit up through the doors and Googled the name of our company to see what we did. He had a the right skill set and applied because he wanted to work somewhere a little more creative."

In its formative years, Computer Word Processing Systems was a computer and software reseller. Today, the family-owned company focuses on managed cloud and security services, with core offerings from partners such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.

The company maintains a 24-hour service desk and network operations center to support more than 300 customers.

"Our engineers provide direct IT and telecom-related support from our 24 x 7 help desk whenever (customers) need it," Smith said. "Our design center and test lab is a busy place where we test systems before we deliver. Our inventory warehouse in Chantilly is well-stocked with system hardware and spare parts."

The Airstream also caught the attention of Daniel J. Sernovitz of the Washington Business Journal. He visited CWPS recently and has more.

From the Ashes: It was Christmas Day when a massive fire tore through the Mount Vernon Antique Center on Richmond Highway in the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County, destroying not only the building but the irreplaceable merchandise of some 30 vendors and a computer repair shop.

One of the affected antique dealers, Lucia Martinez, has started a Go Fund Me effort, seeking to raise $300,000 to rebuild the antique mall. So far, donations have been sparse.

"This business was the only source of income for the Nasafi family who owned the building and a second home to the dealers that occupied it," writes Martinez, observing that customers included local and military families, interior designers and real-estate stagers.  

Emily Leayman of Patch.com reported that fellow Richmond Highway antique store Evolution Home  was among the first to offer support to the devastated businesses via its Facebook page: "Our community has lost a fantastic source of antique and vintage home furnishings. We here at Evolution Home are here for our friends in any way we can be during this difficult time."

From the county web site: 

  • County to Receive State Grant for Jobs: Fairfax County and neighboring governments were collectively awarded $737,500 through a state economic development program to create high-paying jobs. The money will be used to train, attract and retain computer programmers, data analysts and network and cyber security experts to Northern Virginia. The funding also will go toward creating a state-of-the-art engineering technology "Fabrication Laboratory" in northern Virginia. The grants will come from the Growth and Opportunity for Virginia, better known as GO Virginia. This program focuses on creating high-paying jobs by encouraging regional collaboration. The funding was announced on Dec. 12, and it makes up a portion of the total $2.2 million in GO Virginia grants awarded in 2017. FCEDA President and CEO Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., and Fairfax County Supervisor John W. Foust (Dranesville District) are members of the GO Virginia's Northern Virginia Regional Council.  
  • Proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment at Final Embark Richmond Highway Open House: Fairfax County will hold a final community meeting and open house on January 10 to present proposed revisions to Comprehensive Plan recommendations for the Richmond Highway Corridor area. The Embark Richmond Highway open house will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Whitman Middle School, 2500 Parkers Lane, Alexandria. Embark Richmond Highway is a multi-year effort involving land use and transportation planning. Contingent upon adopted Comprehensive Plan recommendations and funding, the effort will include design and construction activities for a bus rapid transit system operating primarily on dedicated lanes along Richmond Highway.

County Sponsors Fosterly's 2017 Startup Census: For the second year, Fairfax County is sponsoring Fosterly's regional startup census, and county officials are encouraging entrepreneurs to participate. On average, it only takes about 20 minutes to complete the online census questionnaire, and it is open to all startups and companies participating in the Virginia, D.C. and Maryland entrepreneurial ecosystem. The information provided will be used to a report that will be published early this year. The census runs through this Friday (January 5) and you can find it here.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 10:28am

Now hear this: The E-Bird is back and so is the FCEDA's much-heralded Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County workshop series. The workshops are suited to anyone who is opening or considering a new business in Fairfax County. The first workshop of 2018 will be held January 9 at the FCEDA headquarters in Tysons Corner. Registration is required and space is limited. Reserve your place by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 10:28am

First things first: All 50 U.S. states plus Washington, D.C., and two territories have agreed to take part in Reston-based FirstNet's project with AT&T to build a national emergency broadband network. This year AT&T and FirstNet plan to offer subscribers access to a security operations center, mobile network assets, a national network with encryption technology, and public safety platforms. Jane Edwards netted this story for ExecutiveBiz

How Trump's Corporate Tax Cut Is Playing Out For Wal-Mart

Saturday, January 13, 2018 - 5:47pm

Companies like Wal-Mart say tax cuts are making it possible for them to boost wages. But other economic factors could also be contributing to pay increases.

Instagram And Shopify: How Businesses Are Targeting Your Feed

Saturday, January 13, 2018 - 7:51am
A new class of online retailer is using Shopify, a tool that allows its users to take a different route into the manufacturing ecosystem.

NPR's Scott Simon talks with Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic about how e-commerce tools are making it easier for entrepreneurs to make money without ever touching the products they advertise.

(Image credit: iStockphoto)

Fitness Superstar Shaun T: Keys To Workout Motivation Include Fun — And Selfishness

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 6:40pm
Shaun T attends the Sweat USA America

After a rough childhood and later dealing with his own weight problem, Shaun T eventually found success as a workout video guru. He says it's important to have fun and focus on yourself for a change.

(Image credit: Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Vital Sports & Entertainment)

GM Says Car With No Steering Wheel Or Pedals Ready For Streets In 2019

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 5:19pm
The Cruise AV is designed to operate on its own, with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls.

The car company said Friday that it has filed a petition with the Department of Transportation to deploy its fourth-generation Cruise AV. GM says the vehicle has no manual controls.

(Image credit: General Motors)

New Rules May Make Getting And Staying On Medicaid More Difficult

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 5:12pm
Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at a White House press conference in May. More people moving off Medicaid, she says, would be a good outcome.

Indiana is one of the states poised to get permission to require Medicaid recipients to work. Advocates say work requirements may be good politics but they're bad policy.

(Image credit: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Trump's Budget Proposal Inducing Anxiety In The Rural West

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 4:16pm

President Trump promised to be a champion for rural America. But his plan to cut rural development funds causes anxiety in at least one timber country town that's struggling to diversify its economy.

Wal-Mart Closes 63 Sam's Club Stores, Leaving 11,000 Employees Without Work

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 4:16pm

Without notice 63 Sam's Club stores closed Thursday, leaving up to 11,000 employees without work. Sam's Club is owned by Wal-Mart, which announced yesterday a raise in employee wages. NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Business Insider reporter Hayley Peterson, who broke the Sam's Club closure story yesterday.

The Recession Predictor

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 4:03pm
Yield Curve

There's a warning sign for the economy with an amazing track record. It's not flashing now, but it's close enough to make us nervous.

(Image credit: NPR)

Fearing Deportation, Food Vendors Are Leaving New York City's Streets

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 12:26pm
Julia prepares tortillas for her family

Many of the street vendors are undocumented immigrants. Some vendors say they've lost a significant portion of their income — and customers — in the wake of stepped-up immigration enforcement.

(Image credit: Rachael Elizabeth Bongiorno for NPR)

Tesla Faces Complaints Over Harassment And Racial Tensions

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 5:02am

Tesla has created a cutting-edge image with its bold approach to building electric cars. But it has faced criticism over how it handles complaints about workplace harassment and discrimination.

Facebook Rolls Out New Plan For News Feed: More Posts From Friends And Family

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 1:38am
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg laughs as he meets with a group of entrepreneurs and innovators during a roundtable discussion at Cortex Innovation Community technology hub, in November, in St. Louis.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the social media giant wants to emphasize more "meaningful" content on users' feeds to "bring us closer together with the people that matter to us."

(Image credit: Jeff Roberson/AP)

Carrier Loses 215 Employees In Latest Round Of Layoffs

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 4:16pm

NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to Drew Daudelin of member station WFYI about Carrier's most recent round of layoffs. On Thursday, 215 employees will finish their shifts at the plant in Indianapolis, and walk out of the factory doors for good.

Wal-Mart Says It Will Boost Wages, Give Bonuses With New Savings From Tax Law

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 4:16pm

Wal-Mart plans to share part of its savings under the new tax law with its employees. The giant retailer announced today it is boosting its starting wage to $11 an hour and handing out bonuses to most of its employees.

Such Cryptocurrency. So Amaze.

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 3:57pm
1,400,000,000

Dogecoin, a bitcoin spinoff created as a joke, is now worth $1.4 billion. The coin's creator tells us how the joke became real — and explains why he has mixed feelings about the whole thing.

(Image credit: NPR)

Walmart, Citing New Tax Law, Will Raise Starting Wages; Also Closes 63 Sam's Clubs

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 9:14am
Customers shop at a Walmart store in January 2017 in Skokie, Ill.

The retail giant says the changes are a way to share tax savings with hourly workers. Starting wages will rise from $10 an hour to $11, and employees will also be eligible for one-time bonuses.

(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

YouTube Limits Relationship With Logan Paul After His Video Depicting Dead Body

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 8:04am
Logan Paul came under heavy criticism for a video he posted on YouTube depicting a dead body, apparently the result of suicide.

More than a week after Paul removed a post showing him laughing beside an apparent suicide victim, YouTube pulled the star from its top-tier advertising program and shelved planned original projects.

(Image credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)