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, October 12, 2017 - 10:14am

Doubling down: Reston telehealth provider Avizia will nearly double in size thanks to its acquisition of Carena, a competitor based in Seattle, Wash. Tina Reed of the Washington Business Journal reports that the combined company will provide services to more than 1,300 hospitals and employ more than 140. Avizia, part of Cisco Systems until 2013, plans to remain headquartered in Reston and maintain a Seattle office.

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 10:13am

It all Chx out: Reston-based NCI, which provides information technology and services to federal agencies, has partnered with Ohio-based CrossChx, a developer of operational artificial intelligence tools. According to Ramona Adams of ExecutiveBiz, the companies intend to bring AI to government clients by capitalizing on the CrossChx "Olive" program.

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 10:13am

Exerting control: Parsons Corporation, a Pasadena, Calif.-based engineering contractor with multiple offices in Fairfax County, has purchased Fort Walton Beach, Fla.-based Williams Electric. Jane Edwards of GovConWire reports that Parsons is seeking to expand its control systems business for defense and federal clients.

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 10:13am

Scouts' honor: LookingGlass Cyber Solutions announced a significant investment in its security platforms from Japanese tech firm Soliton Systems. Citybizlist reports that Soliton will implement LookingGlass' ScoutVision and ScoutShield platforms to combat cyber threats leading up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 10:12am

An Upskill battle: Tysons Corner-based Upskill is coming out with its next-generation Skylight software platform with live HD video tools and software development kits designed to support augmented-reality needs of Fortune 500 companies and government contractors. George Mocharko of  reports on ways Upskill's AR is simplifying job assignments and improving on-the-job safety with wearable, hands-free products.

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 10:12am

Springboard for startups: MACH37, the cyber accelerator based at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, is accepting applications for its spring 2018 cohort. Scheduled to begin on March 13, the 90-day program for information security startups will include coaching and an initial $50,000 investment to develop and bring ideas to market. Potomac Tech Wire carried the notice and application information which can be accessed here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 9:59am

Aloha: Ono Brewing Company opens in Chantilly with Hawaiian theme and self-serve technology

Fairfax County's seventh craft brewery recently opened with some novel twists.

Notably, Ono Brewing Company, located in an industrial park across from the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly is Hawaiian-themed, taking décor cues from its husband-and-wife ownership team.

Scott Hoffman, an engineer, was stationed in Hawaii while in the Army and experimented with home brewing there. Cyndi Hoffman, a former biology teacher with a background in restaurant management, spent considerable time in Hawaii, given that her mother was born in Oahu.

But Ono's real differentiator isn't the Hawaiian artwork on the walls, the handcrafted wooden tables and bars, beach-themed music in the background or even the selection of brews with names like Manako Mango White Ale, Island Hopper IPA, Peweli Pale or Coconut Brown Ale. 

It's the manner in which island culture intersects new-wave technology.

There are no bartenders at Ono -- only a self-serve beer wall, currently equipped with eight taps.

"The way it works," Scott Hoffman explains, "customers are greeted by a tasting room attendant who takes a credit card to start a beer tab by activating an "Ono" card. The Ono beer card has an RFID chip that will activate the tap, enabling customers to pour a half glass, full glass or just a taste into several glasses, then bring them back to their table."

Beyond the novelty, Hoffman believes customers like the concept of being in control of when their next beer arrives and exactly how much of it they wish to consume. Of equal importance, the system also works to dispense valuable information for the brewer.

"Our data system provides up-to-the-minute updates of exactly which beers the customers are enjoying the most," Hoffman says. "That enables us to make informed business decisions for the future. ... With our automated brewing system, I can start brewing a batch of beer with a touch of my phone. Our whole approach is: work smarter, not harder."

Also setting Ono apart is its commitment to the community. Employees do not rely on tips to earn a competitive wage, but any tips that are collected will be donated each month to a different local charity. Ono's first recipient was the CIA Memorial Foundation, supporting families of CIA officers who have died in active service.

The Hoffmans celebrated Ono's official grand opening and ribbon cutting on September 20, which coincided with their 20th wedding anniversary. Those alongside three gleaming 30-barrel fermenters in the brewing room included Sharon Bulova, chairman Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith, Jerry Gordon, president and CEO of the FCEDA, Barry Biggar, president and CEO of Visit Fairfax, who called Ono, "an example of vision and American entrepreneurship."

Added Gordon: "The backbone of this county is small business. One of the trends in commerce is a place that attracts people ... one reason this is enormous for us on so many levels."

To that end, Fairfax County has streamlined zoning regulations, permitting craft beverage producers in select industrial, commercial and planned developmental districts.

Bulova said that establishments such as Ono contribute the "diversity" and vibrancy" of the county. "Craft brewing is exactly the kind of business we want to see grow and flourish in Fairfax County," she said.

The Hoffmans say they have been heartened, not only by the backing of local government and positive response by the community, but by the camaraderie and support of breweries already in the county.

"There's a rising tide (helps all ships) mentality," says Kenny Allen, head brewer at Mustang Sally Brewing Company, who helped the Hoffmans get their brewing process off the ground and attended Ono's grand opening.

"We all support one another. The guys at Caboose have been nice to us. We have a really good relationship with the guys down at Fair Winds. We loan each other stuff, share ideas and solve problems. When we had a problem with our kegger, we knew the guys at Fair Winds had one and we trouble-shot it together. We both learned something."

Allen says the entire industry might learn from Ono's self-serve technology.

"I've been brewing beer for like 20 years and the dispensing method is pretty darn cool," he said. "I can see a lot of cool ideas coming with this. It's fun when you can put people in charge of their beers."

Craft breweries operating in Fairfax County include:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 11:12am

The future of health care: What paths will Inova travel in the next decade and what kind of leader will it take? The Washington Post's Kolby Itkowitz ponders those questions in a conversation with Inova CEO Knox Singleton, who is stepping down after 35 years. "You wouldn't pick someone like me for the next decade," Singleton says. "I think it would be someone with a deeper appreciation of the science, the research and more of the clinical knowledge of how these new systems are going to evolve."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 11:12am

Coast to coast coverage: Herndon-headquartered Deltek will buy Onvia, a Seattle-based rival in the market intelligence business, for about $70 million in cash. Ross Wilkers of Washington Technology writes that the deal is expected to close before the end of the year, at which time Deltek will incorporate Onvia's platform for offering contracting leads in federal, state and local government into its GovWin IQ platform.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 11:11am

Brushing out the kinks: Keeping up with times is difficult in any business -- perhaps even more than the norm in the hair care game, where nothing is permanent. The Washington Business Journal's Sara Gilgore talks with Phil Horvath, new COO of the Tysons Corner-based Ratner Cos., whose lineup of brands includes Hair Cuttery. The company says it will invest "several million" in education programs for its stylists, plans to up its social media game and offer appointments in addition to walk-in service.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 11:11am

Next Frontier: Hilton Worldwide, with headquarters in Tysons Corner, says it will invest $50 million during the next five years to add 100 hotels to its business in Africa. Clark Schultz of reports that the company is seeking to convert existing hotels to the Hilton brand and that the first new property under the Hilton label is scheduled to open this year in Nairobi.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 11:10am

Ironing out telehealth: Iron Bow Technologies of Herndon was recently recognized with a Washington Business Journal Innovator Award. Joseph Coombs writes about Iron Bow's telehealth solutions which emphasize efficiency, ease of access and lower costs for both patients and healthcare providers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 11:09am

Cooking up content: Gannett acquired a majority stake in Grateful Ventures, an Arizona-based online media and publishing company. Citybizlist reports the new addition, which seeks to monetize strategies for high-influence food and cooking websites and bloggers through its audience of 8.5 million, will become part of the USA Today Network.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 11:04am

Supermarket shuffle: If Wegmans goes through with plans to open a store next to the future Reston Town Center Metro station, it's likely the 36-acre Reston Crescent project by Brookfield Properties will need to be redesigned. In a story for subscribers to the Washington Business Journal, Karen Goff reports that Wegmans had been considering a store on Association Drive in Reston before switching gears.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 11:02am

A battle on multiple fronts: Andy Reed of ExecutiveBiz has a Q&A with Ted Davies, CEO of Tysons Corner-based Altamira. Davies says the greatest challenge for the national security community is "continual evolution and expansion of the threats facing our country." But another challenge is the battle to maintain the appropriate workforce. "There is a war for talent within the government and between contractors that support them for people who possess the right skills and clearances," he adds.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:24am

Big fish: The Peterson Companies of Fairfax, known for business and residential developments in this region, are branching out as a major investor in "National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey," a 90-minute virtual experience opening Friday in Times Square. Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal notes that the immersive adventure, which puts the audience in touch with whales, sharks and other aquatic life, is produced in conjunction with SPE Partners and National Geographic Partners, a partnership with 21st Century Fox. E-Bird Extra  reported Peterson's role in a Q&A with company founder Milt Peterson last December.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:23am

GeTT-ing larger: GTT of Tysons Corner continues its expansion, acquiring New York City-based Transbeam, a provider of managed data and voice services. According to the Citybizlist, GTT paid $28 million in cash to diversify its network capabilities and add new clients in the Northeast as well as the hospitality, entertainment and retail sectors.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:23am

Part of the BUZZ: Yombu Inc. of Tysons Corner has been selected to participate in the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association's Fall TechBUZZ program. On Oct. 19, MAVA will offer startups a chance to share their company launch and fund-raising pitch with hundreds of fellow innovators, potential investors and strategic partners at George Washington University. Citybizlist notes that Yombu has developed a method for customers to pay at point of sale by use of fingerprint terminals.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:23am

Aligned and balanced: Tysons Corner-based, which has developed a digital roadside assistance platform, announced it has raised $10 million in its second round of funding. According to the release picked up by Potomac Tech Wire, American Tire Distributors joined existing investors Verizon Ventures and Forte Ventures in the round. plans to expand its platform across automotive, insurance, and transportation-related segments.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:22am

Scouting public investors: Network security software company ForeScout, which has offices in Tysons Corner, has filed for an IPO. Jeremy C. Owens of reports that the San Jose, Calif.-based international company, founded in 2000, is valued at $1 billion by private investors and reported $166.8 million in revenue last year. Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Citibank are expected to lead the IPO.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:22am

Sub text: Writing for the Motley Fool, Rich Smith takes a look at General Dynamics' "long and lucrative underwater mission" to produce a new fleet of nuclear submarines for the U.S. Navy. Smith reports that the prototype -- the first of a dozen Columbia-class subs expected to be produced -- is projected to cost as much as $13 billion to design and build.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:22am

More Man power: ManTech completed its previously announced, $180 million acquisition of InfoZen, an IT solutions provider with threat monitoring and assessment capabilities to support national and homeland security missions. Washington Technology's Nick Wakeman reports the deal will add 300 employees and $100 in immediate revenue to ManTech's bottom line.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:21am

Making the grade: With Virginia seeking to beef up its heavy construction workforce, Northern Virginia Community College has partnered with the Heavy Construction Contractors Association, Alban CAT of Northern Virginia, Lord Fairfax Community College and the Commonwealth of Virginia to develop the Heavy Construction Talent Development Program. According to Virginia Business, a grant, administered by the Virginia Community College System, will help NVCC purchase heavy construction equipment simulators to enable workers to train on the specialized equipment. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 10:21am

In our backyard: See George Washington's death bed, stand beneath the Space Shuttle Discovery, check out Annie Oakley's guns. These are just three of "15 Cool Things You Didn't Know You Could Do in Fairfax County, VA" as listed by the Malerie Yolen-Cohen of for -- who says you can also milk a cow, sip a craft beer, visit with artists at work or do any of nine other cool things.

Zoë Quinn On #Gamergate

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 11:06am

The Internet can be a terrible place.

Employees In Flooded Houston Could Find It Difficult To Show Up For Work

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 5:04am

After a long holiday weekend of clean up and recovery, Houston tries to get back to work. It won't be easy for many. Thousands remain in area shelters or FEMA-paid hotel rooms.

Professor: 37 Historic Dictionaries Disagree With Trump's Definition of 'Emolument'

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 5:00am
In this Sept. 12, 2016, file photo, pedestrians cross Pennsylvania Avenue across the street from the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington.

The word — at the heart of a suit about the Trump D.C. hotel — now seems obscure and technical. It was more common, and had a more general meaning, when the Constitution was drafted, a scholar said.

(Image credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

In Texas, Concerns About Damage To Flooded Toxic Waste Sites

Monday, September 4, 2017 - 5:23pm
The Highlands Acid Pit Superfund site remained flooded on August 31. The water has since receded, and some residents are concerned that toxins from the site could have spread into the nearby neighborhood.

Environmental officials are inspecting toxic waste sites in southeast Texas that were flooded and potentially damaged last week.

(Image credit: Jason Dearen/AP)

What Parts Of The Workforce Might Be Safe From Robots?

Monday, September 4, 2017 - 4:50pm

To kick off our series "Is My Job Safe?" NPR's Ari Shapiro asks Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy whether artificial intelligence is threatening our jobs.

So You Want To Buy An Electric Car? It Requires Some Planning

Monday, September 4, 2017 - 4:40pm
Charging station for electric cars in Glasgow, Scotland. With new models aimed at the mass market going on sale, Americans will be hearing a lot more about electric cars.

With new models aimed at the mass market going on sale this fall, Americans will hear a lot more about electric cars. Here's what you should know if you're on the market for one.

(Image credit: John Guidi/Getty Images/Robert Harding Worl)

On Capitol Hill, 'See You in September' Is A Refrain Without Romance

Sunday, September 3, 2017 - 7:00am
The Capitol, Washington, D.C.

A default on U.S. debt is unknown territory. It's never happened. That may make some people say: "Let's try it." But those might not be the people you want to trust with your life savings.

(Image credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The Reason Behind The Recent Spike In Gas Prices

Saturday, September 2, 2017 - 6:22pm

Motorists are finding that the average price of a gallon of gasoline is 20 cents more than it was a month ago — the highest it's been in two years. The reasons have a lot to do with Hurricane Harvey.

Whatever Happened To ... The Airbnb 'Superhost' From Tanzania?

Saturday, September 2, 2017 - 8:45am
Godwin Ndosi rents out rooms at his parents

After Godwin Ndosi found success renting out his family's house to tourists, he vowed to expand his business and go to grad school. Did he stick with the plan?

(Image credit: Courtesy of Godwin Ndosi)

Trump Hotel Lease Under New Review As Lawmakers Keep Up Criticism

Saturday, September 2, 2017 - 7:00am
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., is raising questions about the ownership of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., located blocks from the White House.

The General Services Administration approved the Trump Organization's lease for the Washington, D.C., property. But the GSA Inspector General's Office is taking another look at the contract.

(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Hurricane Harvey Sends Gasoline Prices Up

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 6:44pm
A customer walks out of an Exxon station in Bedford, Texas, Thursday. Refinery shutdowns have sent prices up all over the country.

The historic rain and high winds have caused refineries throughout the Gulf Coast to shut down or reduce production.

(Image credit: Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Asian Bike-Sharing Companies Move Into New Markets With Mixed Results

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 4:31pm

Dockless bike-sharing that allows riders to pick up and drop off bicycles anywhere took off in China last year. Now Asian firms have expanded to the U.K., but not everyone is pleased.

Countries Pledge To Recover Dwindling Pacific Bluefin Tuna Population

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 3:50pm
Pacific bluefin tuna for sale at the tuna market in Katsuura on the Kii Peninsula, the premium tuna auction in Japan. The new agreement to protect the tuna is aimed at putting the species on a path to recovery.

The long-term agreement would aid fish stocks that have fallen to just 2.6 percent of their historic size. The news comes at a time when Atlantic bluefin populations are also rebounding.

(Image credit: Leisa Tyler/LightRocket/Getty Images)

U.S. Economy Generated 156,000 Jobs In August, Short Of Estimates

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 8:37am

The Labor Department also cut previous estimates for job growth in June and July by 41,000.

An Industrial Giant Returns To Pittsburgh

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 5:13am

Aluminum maker Alcoa is coming back home to Pittsburgh after moving its headquarters to New York for the last several years.

Trump Says Jobs Can Close Racial Divides. Here's Why That's Unlikely

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 5:00am
Since the violence in Charlottesville, Va., the president has said that job creation will ease America

The unemployment rate for black Americans has been roughly double the unemployment rate for white Americans for a very long time.

(Image credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)