Business News from the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority – October 5

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Talk of Tysons

150+ Jobseekers Attend HIRE VETS NOW Career Fair

More than 50 companies interviewed transitioning service members, military spouses, and veterans at a HIRE VETS NOW Networking & Hiring Fair at Fort Belvoir, Virginia on September 19 (in person) and September 20 (virtual). Participating employers are offering career opportunities in IT, healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, defense, government, law enforcement and more. The co-hosts of the event were Virginia Chamber Foundation, Virginia Values Veterans (V3), Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), Transition Assistance Program, Army Community Service, Fort Belvoir, Fairfax County Government and Virginia Veterans Services Foundation.

At the events, job seekers met with Virginia employers dedicated to hiring military talent, including:

  • Army Civilian Career Management Activity
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • CACI International
  • CALIBRE
  • CATHEXIS
  • Clark Construction
  • Defense Commissary
  • Fairfax County Government
  • Fairfax County Public Schools
  • First Command Financial Services
  • Fort Belvoir Gate Guards/DES
  • GDIT
  • General Dynamics Mission Systems
  • George Mason University
  • Inova Health System
  • Leidos
  • M9 Solutions
  • Maximus
  • Microsoft
  • Mission Essential
  • NAF MWR/CYS
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • NetImpact Strategies
  • Palo Alto Networks
  • PenFed Credit Union
  • Peraton
  • PRISM
  • TekSynap
  • S. Army Financial Management Command
  • S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Volkswagen Group of America
  • VTG

In addition, job seekers were able to Connect with DOD-approved SkillBridge opportunities and learn about upskilling resources and providers. Resume writing assistance was available.

Virginia’s HIRE VETS NOW, a statewide initiative launched in the Spring of 2018, brings together transitioning service members, veterans and dedicated businesses to share in camaraderie, professional development and career networking. Monthly networking events, held on military installations, expand opportunities for veterans to gain access to career openings with Virginia Values Veterans (V3) employers and Chamber members prior to transitioning from the military. Virginia’s HIRE VETS NOW is hosted by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, the Virginia Chamber Foundation and Transition Assistance Offices on military installations throughout the Commonwealth.

For more information about careers for transitioning service members, military spouses, and veterans in Northern Virginia, please visit https://workinnorthernvirginia.com/veterans-clearance. Companies interested in connecting with veteran talent may contact Roderick Williams, Military Talent Manager, FCEDA at rwilliams@fceda.org.

Free Entrepreneurship Resources Abound

Small businesses often overlook the government as a source of free advice and resources—leaving unexplored a host of opportunities available through the Small Business Administration, Wall Street Journal reported. These programs can help small businesses with advice, mentoring, access to capital, federal contracting assistance and other areas. Resources include Small Business Development Centers; SCORE Mentoring Program; Federal contracting-assistance programs; and Small Business Innovation Research programs.

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority provides a wide range of free services to aspiring entrepreneurs, include access to SCORE mentors. SCORE provides one-on-one counseling and mentoring, low-cost business-related workshops and free house calls to your business location to conduct business reviews.

FCEDA is hosting an upcoming “Entrepreneurship 101 Workshop” on how to start a business in Fairfax County on November 14. Presented in partnership with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), the Community Business Partnership (CBP), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives (DEI), this workshop will provide the business fundamentals needed to successfully start a business. Featuring a panel of small business experts, the workshop will provide attendees with informative step-by-step information on registering a business, permitting requirements, business feasibility and business plan basics, business certifications, financing options and government resources. In addition, the Entrepreneur Spotlight will feature Founder of Veterans Growing America, Donnell E Johns, Sr.

Click here to register.

Looking for more information on starting a business? Contact Karen Smaw, Director, Diversity Business Investment and Entrepreneurship at ksmaw@fceda.org.

Forefront of technology advancements

General Dynamics Information Technology opened a 6,200-square-foot GDIT Emerge Innovation Center at the company’s headquarters in the Falls Church area, according to ExecutiveBiz. GDIT said that the center is the latest investment in its expansion of research and development and technology labs nationwide to support government missions. “Our customers’ needs have evolved, and they require innovation much faster,” said Amy Gilliland, GDIT’s president. “We have increased investments in our Digital Consulting Practice and expanded R&D to ensure we remain at the forefront of technology advancements. This new innovation center will facilitate collaboration and accelerate solution development for agency missions.” GDIT has also opened R&D labs throughout the country aligned to specific customers or technologies. Its three labs in Virginia focus on cyber, 5G and biometrics.

New Leadership

Rick Wagner, former president of Microsoft Federal, has joined Reston-based Enlightenment Capital-backed information technology company Agile Defense as its new CEO. Jay Lee, who previously held the position, will move into a strategic advisory role while remaining on Agile’s board of directors, according to ExecutiveBizWagner said the organization has “built an amazing team dedicated to helping customers integrate technologies by delivering end-to-end IT services and solutions.” “I am excited to join the Agile Defense team and look forward to leveraging my experience as we enter the next stage in our partnership with Enlightenment,” Wagner added. While serving as Microsoft Federal’s president, he managed a $5 billion business unit that provides technology offerings to civilian, defense and intelligence agencies within the U.S. government. Before taking on this role, he was president of ManTech’s Mission, Cyber and Intelligence Solutions group, where he led a large, $1 billion team focused on Intelligence Community, DoD and other federal clients. Earlier, he served as chief strategy officer at TASC, where he guided the organization’s growth strategy and business development activities. Wagner is the Vice Chair of the FCEDA Board (officially referred to as FCEDA Commission).

Historic ascent

Toni Townes-Whitley officially started as the CEO of Reston-based Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) on Monday, October 2. Townes-Whitley is one of two Black women currently running Fortune 500 companies. She succeeds Nazzic S. Keene, a rare example of a woman CEO handing off to another woman at a large publicly-held company. Townes-Whitley spoke with Fast Company ahead of officially taking the CEO reins about her historic ascent. Asked about the message she wants to send shareholders, boards, and corporate America about the need for greater diversity at the CEO level, Townes-Whitley said: “This is an opportunity for me not only as a female but as an African American female. We’ve never had an African American female as a CEO in national security. And yet, if you look at our security forces, they’re quite diverse. And so, we’ve got to ask ourselves, both by sector and by size of company, why are we not building that pipeline? And then, quite frankly, people like myself and others—we have to show up. We have to demonstrate that we can make this happen. We can grow businesses, we understand top line, bottom line, and all of the shareholder pressures, and we can deliver. And I think the more that occurs, you’re going to start to see some changes.”

Transformation in Tysons

Years ago, Tysons had a reputation as the place where you went to the mall or to work. Now, a market study shows it’s evolving into a more balanced live-work community, according to Northern Virginia Magazine. Household growth tripled over the past three years compared with the preceding three years, helping Tysons recover from the pandemic, the 166-page Tysons Market Study found. The population grew by 17 percent between 2015 and 2021 to more than 29,000. And it’s projected Tysons will be home to 43,000 people by 2030. “Available housing units are projected to grow by over 82 percent in the next 10 years. This is substantially higher than the [Fairfax] county rate of 25 percent,” according to the report, commissioned by the Tysons Community Alliance. “The extent to which Tysons has truly, dramatically, outpaced growth, not only within our region, but among our national peers, is really striking. … It feels like transformation is happening in Tysons,” said Katie Cristol, CEO of Tysons Community Alliance.

Green light for next phase

Tysons Corner Center can move forward with new plans for its next phase of development, FFXnow reported. After a public hearing on Sept. 26, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved revisions requested by property owner Macerich that will build on the mall’s plaza, shift planned office space closer to Metro and pave the way for more street-level activity. “A lot of work has gone into this, but we are seeing wonderful improvements and commitments, mainly the park and open spaces that would come with this, the ability to expand a very successful plaza [and] connecting that to the ground level,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said. “…Having more retail and restaurant uses, I think, [is] very much something we and the community are looking forward to.”

On a roll

Beacon a Fortune 500 roofing and building supply distributor headquartered in Herndon, has acquired Medford, Massachusetts, waterproofing distributor Garvin Construction Products, Washington Business Journal reported. The transaction includes Garvin locations in North Haven, Connecticut; Carlstadt, New Jersey; Long Island City, New York; and locally in Beltsville, Maryland. The deal follows Beacon’s purchases late last year of Jacksonville, Florida’s Coastal Construction Products and Boston’s Whitney Building Products. Under CEO Julian Francis, Beacon is pursuing an aggressive expansion in which it aims to boost yearly sales to $9 billion by 2025. With the Garvin purchase, the company — officially listed as Beacon Roofing Supply Inc. — has now made nine acquisitions so far this year.

Looking at us

Herndon-based Airbus DS Geo and Tysons-based Spire Global are among the seven companies selected by NASA to provide commercial data in support of the agency’s Earth science research, SatNews reported. An emphasis in the contract will be placed on data acquired by commercial satellite constellations, affording the means of complementing NASA’s Earth Observation data with higher resolutions, increased temporal frequency or other novel capabilities.

Top public high schools

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology was named the top high school in Northern Virginia by Northern Virginia Magazine. Five additional Fairfax County Public Schools landed in the top 10 on the list: Langley High School (no. 2); McLean High School (no. 3); Oakton High School (no. 5); Madison High School (No. 6); and Robinson High School (no. 10).  Northern Virginia Magazine said it determined the ranking by looking at data for 2021–2022— the first full school year that students were back in the classroom after the pandemic, and the most recent year for which data was available from the Virginia Department of Education. 

Best private high school

BASIS Independent McLean has been named the best private high school and the best college prep private high school in Virginia for the second year in a row by Niche, a data analysis company. The McLean school was also named the best private K-12 school in Virginia for the second consecutive year in Niche’s annual 2024 school ranking list. For 2024, BASIS Independent McLean was also ranked the No. 1 private high school in the Washington, D.C. area. Nationally, the school was ranked No. 7 on Niche’s list of best college prep high schools in America, No. 10 on its ranking of best private K-12 schools in America and No. 29 on its list of best private high schools in the nation. “We are very proud of our Niche rankings. Each year they get even better as we continually strive for excellence,” Jason Shorbe, head of school at BASIS Independent McLean, said in a statement to McLean Patch.

Done deal

McLean-based Mars completed its previously announced acquisition of the assets of SYNLAB Vet from SYNLAB Groupcitybiz reported. SYNLAB Vet is now part of Mars Petcare’s Science & Diagnostics division, enabling broader coverage across diagnostics and technology, while accelerating R&D and expanding access globally to pet healthcare solutions. Nefertiti Greene, President, Mars Science & Diagnostics said: “We are excited to welcome SYNLAB Vet to our division and look forward to working together in service of our purpose: A better world for pets™. Together we will support more veterinary professionals and pets in Europe with a full diagnostics portfolio across reference laboratories, point-of-care, imaging and technology solutions, rapid diagnostics, telemedicine and software solutions and services.”


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  info@fceda.org.

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