Business News from the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority – October 20

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Talk of Tysons

Hoskins Lands on WBJ ‘Power 100’ List

Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, was named for the third time to the Washington Business Journal’s “Power 100” annual roster of the most influential and impactful business leaders in Greater Washington.

“It is a tremendous honor and a blessing to be counted among these leaders of Greater Washington, said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “Collaboration between the public and private sectors, including all of the leaders recognized here, is key to the phenomenal growth and economic development of the region.”

According to the Journal: “Since 2019, Hoskins has headed the economic development activities of one of the region’s undisputed economic powerhouses. He’s an important, connected figure regionally, serving currently as chair of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance and having served previously in executive economic development roles in D.C., Prince George’s and Arlington. He oversees 36 employees, offices in five international business hubs and an annual budget topping $9 million.”

Women-owned companies

Fairfax-based Omega World Travel leads as the number one largest woman-owned business in the Greater Washington region, ranked by total revenue for 2021, according to the Washington Business Journal in subscriber-only content. Omega World Travel was founded in 1972 but Gloria Bohan, its president and CEO. With total revenue of $485 million for 2021, the company has 495 employees. Eight additional Fairfax County-based companies ranked on the list of 30 firms: NVE (Reston); Sekon Enterprise (Reston); Quadrant (Reston); Computer Systems Center (Springfield); Communications Resources (Tysons); Gridiron IT Solutions (Reston); Nolij Consulting (Tysons); and Grimm & Parker Architects (Tysons). An additional nine companies based in other Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance jurisdictions placed on the annual list.

Milestone met

The D.C. region met its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020, according to a new report by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. This means the region is on track to meet ambitious climate goals for 2030 and 2050, but the hardest part still lies ahead. “We’re not talking about the low-hanging fruit anymore,” said Maia Davis, senior environmental planner at COG. “We need to push towards the zero’s: zero carbon or carbon-neutral grid, zero-energy buildings, zero-emission vehicles, and zero waste.” For 2030, the region’s jurisdictions have committed to cutting carbon emissions by 50 percent, compared to 2005 levels. The goal for 2050 is an 80 percent cut in emissions. DCist has more.

New tack

Tysons Partnership — the nonprofit charged with implementing Fairfax County’s vision for Tysons — will be phased out in favor of a newly created Tysons Community Alliance (TCA) that will advocate for local residents, businesses and nonprofits, the partnership announced Monday, FFXnow reported. County government officials joined representatives from Tysons businesses, residential neighborhoods, and nonprofits to officially create the new organization, voting to elect its first board of directors and appoint Tysons Partnership acting Executive Director Richard Bradley as the acting CEO. “The extensive coordination and commitment from the County together with the business and residential communities allowed everyone to focus on a vision and mission that would best serve Tysons as a whole. Tysons Community Alliance blends the best of public sector interests and the flexibility of the private sector working together,” said Tysons Partnership Board Chair Josh White, who will serve as the TCA’s first board chair. The Washington Business Journal has more.

Wish fulfilled

With the recent grand opening of the new Workforce Innovation Skills Hub (W.I.S.H.) at the Hybla Valley Community Center, Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk is fulfilling his campaign promise to deliver in his first term a workforce center in an economically challenged part of Southeast Fairfax County, reported On the Move. When Lusk first hatched his plans a few years ago, his primary focus was on innovation — attracting companies involved with emerging technologies to the Richmond Highway corridor. Over the course of the pandemic, however, as many people in service industries lost their jobs, Lusk shifted his focus to creating employment opportunities. Specifically, his aim is to get unemployed or low-paid workers —those earning less than $20 per hour— upskilled into higher paying and in-demand fields with immediate job placement opportunities. “Innovation is still part of it, but workforce development is now the focus,” said Supervisor Lusk. While building out the new workforce center’s 8,000-square-foot space at the community center, Lusk’s team set about forming partnerships with organizations like Amazon, Dominion Energy and the Inova Health System.

Launch flexibility and control

Tysons-based Spire Global, a global provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, entered into an agreement with Long Beach, Calif.-based launch provider Virgin Orbit to purchase multiple launches over several years. The first launch is expected to take place in 2023. Exemplary of the growing demand for the small satellite market, the launches will support the growth of Spire Space Services, a platform that offers customers fast and scalable access to space through a subscription model, and continual upgrades and enhancements to the company’s fully deployed satellite constellation, according to the Space Channel. “Working with Virgin Orbit gives us flexibility and control over launches, rather than waiting for the secondary rideshare market to provide the orbits we want on timelines that we have to work with,” said Robert Sproles, Vice President, Constellation Planning & Operations at Spire Global.

On a roll

Modus Create, a Reston-based digital product and development firm, acquired Philadelphia-based Promptworks, a product and application development firm forced on the retail, healthcare and life sciences markets. The company said the acquisition of Promptworks will give it a foothold in the Philadelphia area, and also strengthen its product development capabilities. “The addition of Promptworks further strengthens our reputation for building unique, human-centered applications for leading global brands,” said Sarah McCasland, chief strategy officer at Modus Create. “Creating successful products is more important than ever as organizations strive to attract and maintain successful customer relationships.” This past summer, Modus Create acquired Atlas Authority and Tweag. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Done deal

Tysons-based completed a majority-stake acquisition of Missouri-based Noonlight, a next-generation connected safety and event management platform that enables new applications and provides enhanced emergency response capabilities, citybiz reported. Noonlight was founded in 2013 to deliver advanced technology that protects and comforts people so they can live freely. The company began as a personal safety mobile application and has grown into a connected safety platform that has organically attracted over 3.5 million Noonlight app users. Noonlight’s software platform enables context aware event management and emergency response for a range of IoT device vendors.

True leveling up

Tysons-based Booz Allen Hamilton and Washington, D.C.-based Armaments Research Company (ARC) announced a partnership to demonstrate the performance of ARC’s weapons sensing data across BAH’s fifth-generation mobile technology (5G)-powered network. This project is part of a previously awarded Booz Allen contract to maximize soldiers’ performance on and off the battlefield. “This partnership will help reveal what’s conceivable as the Army considers new approaches to gaining overmatch in future conflict. The collective creativity across the Army, BAH, and ARC teams thus far has inspired a more ambitious vision of scale for this combined solution,” said ARC CEO Michael Canty. “This project represents the forefront of a true leveling up of our nation’s military.” Intelligence Community News has more.

Cool news

Chantilly-based CoolR Group, a developer of automated ordering technology for brands using AI-based image recognition, raised $10 million in a new round of funding, led by previous backer First Analysis. Moneta Ventures and Remarkable Ventures also participated in the round, which the company plans to use to drive growth and invest in R&D. CoolR’s platform, called Playbook, directs brands to take immediate actions on retail shelves based on ROI and revenue opportunity. The company uses its proprietary cameras along with third-party apps and devices to collect images in real time from shelves, then translates those pictures into prioritized actions. Potomac Tech Wire carried the release.

Bigger connection

EdgeConneX, a Herndon-based provider of data center services, secured a $150 million loan to continue its expansion in Latin America, including Chile and Colombia. The loan, which refinances outstanding debts, comes after the company secured $1.7 billion through a series of financing transactions earlier this year. “This latest funding provides EdgeConneX with the backing necessary to continue its regional expansion in Latin America and to do so in a sustainability-minded way,” said CFO Joe Harar. Potomac Tech Wire picked up the release.

We’re almost there

Northern Virginia’s two major airports have just a little more ground to make up before they surpass pre-COVID travel figures, Sun Gazette reported. The 4,373,369 passengers moving through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport in July compared to 4,539,322 in July 2019, according to data from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. The remaining shortfall? Only about 3.7 percent. Reagan National already has surpassed pre-COVID levels for several months. Its 2,216,200 passengers in July 2022 compared to 2,078,406 in July 2019. At Dulles, the 2,156,169 passengers of July 2022 compared to 2,460,916 of July 2019.

And speaking of Dulles

United Airlines will add a flight to Paris and increase service to Berlin from Washington Dulles International Airport in 2023, according to InsideNoVa. Starting May 25, United plans to add daily nonstop service between Dulles and Berlin. It will be the only nonstop option between Washington and the German capital. While service is pending government approval, tickets have been placed on sale. On June 2, the airline plans to add a second daily flight between Dulles and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Chef-driven concept at Reagan

Tysons-based Capital One Financial Corp. is expanding its airport lounge, announcing plans Tuesday to open a new concept, Capital One Landing, at Ronald Reagan National Airport, as well as at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Capital One partnered with chef José Andrés to design the food and beverage program for what Capital One calls a “new chef-driven concept focused on bringing an elevated experience to the heart of the terminal.” The featured menu items will be tapas, an Andrés specialty, per Capital One. At Reagan National, the 5,482-square-foot lounge will be located post-security in Terminal 2 at the intersection of National Hall and Concourse D. Because of how the airport is set up after the $1 billion Project Journey, passengers using other concourses will also have access. A timeline for construction and opening was not provided, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Service Humans Needed

McLean-based Mars Petcare announced the launch of its pet shelter volunteer program —Service Humans Needed—which enlists the help of more than 60,000 Mars Associates and pet advocates across North America to support pets by volunteering acts of service to help shelters and pets in need, Pet Business reported. According to a recent survey from Adopt a Pet, nearly 9 in 10 animal shelters and rescue organizations in the U.S. reported that resource constraints and overpopulation have remained consistent or worsened since the first half of 2022. “As the shelter crisis has developed in recent months, we talked with many partners across the animal welfare community about how and where we could best help,” said Silja Schiller-Moumtzidis, global director of shelters and pet adoptions, Mars Petcare. “Shelter teams work tirelessly to help pets in need. We are thrilled that by uniting associates across Mars in a timely volunteer program, we can offer relief when it’s needed most.”

More in store

Mini-golf-themed entertainment concept Puttshack is coming to Reston, the Washington Business Journal reported. The company, with locations in Atlanta and Chicago, has leased 29,000 square feet at 1850 Reston Row Plaza. The location, slated to open in summer 2025, is part of the second phase of Reston Station, the 80-acre mixed-use project being developed by the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station by Comstock Holding Companies. Puttshack will join a growing mix of retail tenants at the development including Big Buns Burgers, Matchbox, Scissors & Scotch and Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse.

About the Fairfax County
Economic Development Authority

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) promotes Fairfax County, Virginia, as a business and technology center. The FCEDA offers site location and business development assistance, and connections with county and state government agencies, to help companies locate and expand in Fairfax County.

Want to know more about the services of the FCEDA, or how economic development helps Fairfax County? Visit the  FCEDA website or e-mail

Fairfax County: “One of the great economic success stories of our time” — TIME