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, June 14, 2018 - 10:50am

Seizing on a Trend: Software AG, a German technology company with longtime North American headquarters in Reston, bought Belgium-based TrendMiner, which develops visual data analytics software for manufacturing companies and the process industry. According to the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, Software AG anticipates the acquisition will complement its products for manufacturing companies.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 10:49am

Paving the way: Beacon Capital Partners sold two Tysons Corner office buildings, creating a likelihood that new owners will add multifamily housing on the site. Real estate fund manager Velocis and Washington, D.C.-based developer Altus Realty, purchased the Greensboro Drive properties that have been prepped to accommodate 520 multifamily units in two towers, according to a story by Daniel J. Sernovitz for subscribers to the Washington Business Journal.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 10:49am

Industrial revolution: MRP Realty and investors sold two Springfield-area industrial parks for a combined $143.2 million. PS Business Parks, Inc. of Glendale, Calif. acquired Northern Virginia Industrial Park and Fullerton Industrial Park, which together include 19 buildings on 65 acres of land near Fort Belvoir at the southern end of Fairfax County. According to Virginia Business, the portfolio, valued for its ease of highway access, is 76 percent occupied.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 10:48am

Focusing on its strengths: Kratos Defense & Security Solutions completed the $70 million sale of its public safety business to Uniontown, Ohio-based Securitas Electronic Security. Kratos, which is based in San Diego and has offices in the Kingstowne section of Fairfax County, will concentrate its focus on unmanned systems, satellite technology, microwave electronics and training according to Ross Wilkers of Washington Technology.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 10:48am

Sharing globally: Inmarsat, parent company of Reston-based Inmarsat Government, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Hellenic Space Agency to collaborate on research and development activities and the sharing of data. Joanna Crewson shot this into orbit for ExecutiveBiz.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 10:47am

Trash talk: As InsideNOVA reports, Fairfax County is celebrating National Garbage Man Day throughout the week of June 17-24, with a thank you event planned for June 19 at the I-66 transfer station on West Ox Road. Last year, more than 1.3 million tons of trash and recyclables were collected from approximately 400,000 households and 116,000 businesses in Fairfax County. In a separate story, Taylor J. Gouterman of The Connection takes an inside look at Covanta's renovated facility in Lorton that converts waste into energy every day.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 10:46am

Commercializing research: Blue Point Materials Research LLC of Herndon (Dr. Ratna Prakash Kolli) will receive $50,000 toward advancing bioscience research and George Mason University's Eminent Researcher Recruitment Program (Dr. Kenneth Ball) will get $250,000 toward cybersecurity efforts as recipients of Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) awards. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release from Gov. Ralph Northam's office detailing 34 fund recipients who will share in nearly $2.7 million. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 10:45am

Date change for Demo: Smart City Works, the infrastructure actuator with operations in Herndon and Reston, will conduct its Spring Cohort Graduation and Demo Day the afternoon of June 20 -- a day earlier than previously announced. Click here for information and registration.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 12:27pm
Bechtel's consolidation of global headquarters in Fairfax County will make other companies take note
Even at face value, the decision by Bechtel to consolidate its corporate headquarters at its Reston location is great news for Fairfax County.

One of the most respected global engineering, construction and project management firms in the world, the company is bringing about 150 jobs to the area -- in doing so, selecting Reston over San Francisco, which has been its home base for more than 100 years, and Houston, its base for oil, gas and chemical work.

It's reasonable to think that other major companies are taking note as Bechtel follows the recent footsteps of firms such as Arconic, Appian, MicroStrategy, Favor TechConsulting and The College Board in adding to and diversifying the workforce in Fairfax County.

"Fairfax County has once again been selected as the headquarters location for a venerable, well-respected business. This speaks volumes to other American companies," said Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., president and CEO of the FCEDA.

"The nature of Bechtel's business is also of benefit to the local economy which has a tremendous base of companies that do work for the federal government. By adding headquarters of another major corporation that is not dependent upon federal contracting, the local economy will be much more stable in the future."


DC Inno's team of Will Flanagan and Courtney Gabrielson offered three reasons why Bechtel's move to Reston is a "bigger deal" than meets the eye for the region. They write:
  • It foreshadows potential expansion regionally, meaning more local tech jobs... (reducing) dependence on the federal government as its major economic driver.
  • Other companies could follow the "let's move to Northern Virginia" trend.
  • It continues to put the region on the map.

"This is the third time that the EDA has had the privilege of working with Bechtel as it has expanded its presence here," Gordon said. "The FCEDA has a long history of working with Bechtel. "Bechtel's decision to move its corporate headquarters from its historic west coast location to Fairfax County is a reflection of its satisfaction with doing business in the county to this point."


Bechtel cannot be on the Fortune 500 because it is privately owned, but it is big -- very big.  According to the Washington Business Journal, Bechtel's $32.2 billion in revenue made it the Bay Area's largest private company in 2016. Mars topped the Washington Business Journal's list at $35 billion with 2017 revenues yet to be ranked.


Since 1898, Bechtel has completed more than 25,000 projects on all seven continents. Its areas of expertise extend to infrastructure; defense and nuclear security; environmental cleanup and management; mining and metals; oils gas and chemicals; power including nuclear, renewables, thermal, transmission and hydro.
Known for its design and implementation of innovative techniques, Bechtel was honored in December with a 2018 Digital Edge 50 Award in recognition of its new Pipeline Integrity Management tool.  
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 12:21pm
Latest in video: Thompson Hospitality is the second company to be featured in the FCEDA's video series highlighting innovative firms in Fairfax County.

The company was profiled by E-Bird Extra in February during Black History Month with a Q&A featuring founder Warren M. Thompson. 

In 2017, Thompson Hospitality was the largest minority employer in the Greater Washington area. Since recording the FCEDA video, the firm has received approval to build a hotel adjacent to its company headquarters in Reston.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 12:19pm
This rings a bell:  Last week's E-Bird Extra noted that Perspecta, formed by the three-way merger of Vencore, KeyPoint Government Solutions and the U.S. public sector business of DXC Technology, was "one to watch" on the Washington Technology Top 100 list of largest government prime contractors.

On Monday, execs from the Chantilly-based government contractor got to ring the opening bell to celebrate Perspecta's listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

"It is an honor to be a part of this milestone event," said CEO Mac Curtis, who was joined by Mike Lawrie, chairman of Perspecta's board of directors, and Ramzi Musallam, director on the Perspecta board, for the festivities. "I spent my entire first week as president and CEO meeting many of the talented and devoted employees across the country that will stand side-by-side with our customers to tackle their most complex challenges."
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 12:14pm
Down on the farm: Sara Gilgore has a story for subscribers to the Washington Business Journal about Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology grads Mike and Jack Ross and their blossoming agriculture technology startup Beanstalk.

The brothers are working toward launching a robotic system to grow organic produce in volume, raising more than $750,000 toward building their first production facility in Springfield. 

Their proprietary machinery intends to grow vegetables in a controlled environment. Although planning to start small, the brothers envision indoor farms in major cities to improve quality and create year-round availability of fresh, organic produce. The plan requires fewer employees than a typical farm and uses artificial "sunlight" from LED bulbs.

In March, Jack Ross was one of six individuals recognized with an Outstanding STEM Award from Gov. Ralph Northam for contributions to strengthen Virginia's position as a leader in science, technology, engineering and math.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:09am

Reston beckons: Bechtel, the construction and engineering giant that already has a significant presence in Fairfax County, will consolidate its global headquarters in Reston. The privately held firm will shift jobs from its San Francisco headquarters and Houston to Fairfax County this year. Bechtel had located its operational headquarters to Reston from Frederick, Md., in 2011. Aaron Gregg of the Washington Post had the scoop, and Jeff Clabaugh built this story for WTOP radio.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:08am

Keeping it in the county: Reston-based Leidos announced it is selling its commercial cybersecurity division to Capgemini, a French digital consulting firm with U.S. headquarters in Tysons Corner. Robert J. Terry of the Washington Business Journal writes that Capgemini expects the Leidos team will help it meet demand from highly regulated industries such as those involved in energy and commercial health care. The deal will need government approvals.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:08am

A bit of Claroty: Claroty, which is based in New York City and has major operations in Reston and Israel, announced $60 million in Series B funding, bringing total investment in the industrial cybersecurity specialists to $93 million. Zaid Shoorbajee of reports that Claroty is making its mark thanks to a comprehensive cybersecurity platform that provides visibility into industrial networks to provide rapid detection and response.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:07am

And a bite of Clarity: Jon Krinn's Vienna eatery, Clarity, received a RAMMY award from the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington as the Upscale Restaurant of the Year in the region. As reported by the Washington Business Journal's Rebecca Cooper, Moby Dick House of Kabob, with multiple Fairfax County locations, was recognized for Favorite Fast Bites, while USI Insurance Services was named Allied Member of the Year. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:07am

What a Concept: Deltek, a Herndon-headquartered global provider of enterprise software for project-based businesses, acquired Ottawa-based ConceptShare, a creative-operations management platform designed to streamline online proofing and approval processes for creative teams. According to Citybizlist, Deltek will integrate ConceptShare into its Workbook by Deltek product.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:07am

Locking down VC and STEM: Lockheed Martin, which is one of Fairfax County's largest employers, says it will double its commitment to emerging technology by adding $100 million to its venture capital fund and spending about $200 million of tax-reform related savings on research and development programs. Jane Edwards of ExecutiveBiz reports that the defense contractor also will devote $100 million to employee training and education during the next five years and will direct $50 million toward STEM education.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:06am

Risks and benefits: Culmen International, a government logistics and management services contractor based in Alexandria, has acquired the federal services business of Tysons Corner-based PlanetRisk, which supports the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Energy and State, as well as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Ross Wilkers of Washington Technology culled the necessary information. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:06am

Making customers happy: Navy Federal Credit Union ranks first in customer experience, according to a new report from advisory firm KPMG. Vienna-based Navy Federal excelled based on personalization, integrity, expectations, resolution, time and effort and empathy toward customers, according to the study. Paula Squires of Virginia Business noted that Hilton Worldwide of Tysons Corner also made the top 100 list.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:05am

Ideas springing forth: Pennsylvania Real Estate Trust (PREIT), owner of Springfield Town Center, is pursuing options to develop the mall's parking lots with a number of uses in mind. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal writes that the 78-acre parcel could accommodate 1,400 multifamily units, more than 800,000 square feet of offices and hotel space. The renovated mall is 92 percent occupied, Neibauer notes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:04am

Homes sweet homes: In a story for the Washington Post, Michele Lerner reflects on Long & Foster's 50 years of success and the struggles that real estate brokers face to thrive in today's Internet-driven environment. Chantilly-based Long & Foster was the largest independent real estate brokerage in the U.S. by sales volume prior to being acquired by Warren Buffett's HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate in September.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:04am

Win-win situation: Herndon-based nexVortex came away with awards for CSP Communication Deployment of the Year, Hosted VoIP and Managed Services when Beka Business Media announced winners of its 2018 Visionary Spotlight Awards. The awards highlight channel and service-provider innovation in communications, according to nexVortex also expanded its sales channels in the southeastern U.S. by signing an agreement with Telecom Consulting Group last week.

Bechtel to consolidate global headquarters in Fairfax County, add 150 jobs to major presence

Friday, June 8, 2018

Fairfax County, Virginia -- Bechtel, one of the world’s largest and most respected engineering, construction, and project management companies, will consolidate its global headquarters in Fairfax County. The company will move corporate positions from Houston and San Francisco to the Reston community by the end of 2018.

The Plight Of The Living Dead

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 5:35pm
111 million

The Death Master File is a list kept by the government. It keeps track of everyone who has died. But what happens when you end up on the list while you're still alive?

(Image credit: NPR)

We're looking for two interns!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 5:08pm
Former Planet Money intern, Sindhu Gnanasambandan, hoverboarding around the office.

You won't have to get coffee. But you might have to ride a hoverboard. Apply by Sunday, July 8th.

(Image credit: Cameron Robert / NPR)

How An American Company Is Grappling With The Potential Impact Of A Trade War

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 4:27pm

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Tony Satterthwaite, vice president of Cummins, the world's largest independent producer of engines and generators, about the administration's proposals on tariffs and trade.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Defends U.S. Trade Policies

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 4:27pm

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said tariffs on U.S. allies were necessary to prevent China from "trans-shipping" goods through those countries. He also said China would not change its policies if the U.S. doesn't continue to apply pressure.

Atul Gawande Named CEO Of Health Venture By Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway And JPMorgan

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 1:02pm
Dr. Atul Gawande has been picked to lead the high-profile joint venture in health care formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase.

A surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Gawande is probably best known for his work writing about how to improve quality and lower costs in health care.

(Image credit: Mint/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

D.C. Voters Back Measure To Raise Minimum Wage For Tipped Workers

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 5:07am

Voters in Washington, D.C., a have approved a ballot measure to gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to $15 an hour.

What Tariffs Mean For Markets

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 5:07am

The Trump administration has dramatically escalated its trade dispute with China. NPR's David Greene talks with Stephen Moore, who has advised the Trump administration on economic policy.

NBA Moves Into E-Sports

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 5:07am

E-sports has doubled in size in the last three years and professional athletic associations are now getting more closely involved.

Dow Jones Drops GE, A Member Of The Original Industrial Average In 1896

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 11:51pm
Specialist John McNierney works at the post that handles General Electric on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in January. The struggling company is being dropped from the Dow Jones industrial average.

As recently as 2005, according to Reuters, General Electric was the most valuable publicly traded company in the United States. It will be replaced by the parent company of Walgreens pharmacies.

(Image credit: Richard Drew/AP)

China Tells Farmers To Grow More Soybeans Amid Trade Fight With U.S.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 11:16pm
A single soybean plant grows in a field in the village of Sandaogou, China.

After hitting U.S. soybeans with retaliatory tariffs, China is seeking alternatives to supply its important crop.

(Image credit: Rob Schmitz/NPR)

Former Mexico President Fox Joins 'High Times' Board As Company Plans IPO

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 10:35pm

"There's never been a better time to join the fight" to decriminalize cannabis, Vicente Fox said as he joined the marijuana-focused magazine, which he said has been "building an empire in the dark."

(Image credit: Mario Armas/AP)

Big Banks Are Once Again Taking Risks With Complex Financial Trades, Report Says

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 5:03pm
After the 2008 financial crisis, rules required much greater transparency on the sale of credit default swaps. But a loophole allows banks to evade regulation by offloading the trades to foreign subsidiaries.

Are banks exploiting a loophole in U.S. rules that allows some derivatives traders to escape federal regulation? "We've seen this movie already," said the report's author, Michael Greenberger.

(Image credit: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Global Markets Fall As U.S.-China Trade Tensions Rise

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 4:23pm

Economists have generally downplayed the impact on the U.S. and global economies, but many are reassessing now that trade tensions appear to be entering a new phase.

Trump Touts Economic Gains, As Trade War Looms

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 4:12pm
President Trump threatened to impose a new round of tariffs on China. Critics say the fallout is likely to cost tens of thousands of American jobs.

President Trump boasted of a improving economy in a speech to small-business owners Tuesday. But those gains could be jeopardized by his escalating trade battles.

(Image credit: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images)

The Measure Of A Tragedy

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 4:03pm

Venezuela's economy has collapsed, and the normal economic indicators have gotten so bad they're almost unfathomable. So one economist created an indicator to capture the awful human cost.

(Image credit: NPR)

This Fashion Brand Grew On Instagram With Help Of Celebs, Relatable Models

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 12:10pm
Growing up, Gabriella Lascano says she was told she should model. But all she could think was, "I

Fashion Nova was among the top-trending fashion brands online in 2017. How did a retailer with only five stores get so popular? Associating its brand with Cardi B and Kylie Jenner didn't hurt.

(Image credit: Antonio Foster/Instagram)