Pet of the Week: Titan

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Titan, a black and white American Bulldog mix available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation have to say about him:

Titan is the top athlete at Lost Dog! He is 100 percent muscle and 1,000 percent love. Titan is looking for a loving home to call his own.

He is a friendly guy who is excited to meet new people, go on long walks and snuggle. He’s just a great guy. Titan is house trained and walks well on a leash. Titan is picky with his dog friends, but when he finds ones he likes, he will run, romp and wrestle for hours.

Titan may be very athletic, but he is a total love bug! He loves to lay on legs and laps. He also loves to adorably stretch out on the couch upside down in funny positions and makes himself so comfortable that he starts snoring. It’s hard not to fall in love with this sweet boy!

Are you and Titan a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Virginia Tech Adapts MBA Programs for Local Professionals

The working professionals who pursue the Arlington-based Executive MBA at Virginia Tech get a rich education in the fundamentals of business — accounting and finance, marketing, operations, ethics, communications and leadership.

But woven around foundation courses are “experiential modules” designed to accelerate development in four essential and current areas: business analytics, entrepreneurship and innovation, leadership and governance, and global business.

The hands-on experience of the integrated modules is meant to allow Executive MBA students to immediately put their learning into action. That’s the idea behind all of Virginia Tech’s MBA programs — giving working professionals the tools they need to advance their careers as they pursue an MBA.

“What we did at Virginia Tech a few years ago was to say that we really want to focus on the working professional — someone who wants to enhance their career or make a change in the direction of their career, but not at the expense of continuing to be a business professional,” says Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast. That allows those students to come into the classroom, he adds, “and use what they’ve learned as part of the experience of the MBA program.”

That strategy meant Pamplin had to rethink program formats and locations to ensure they were meeting the needs of their busy students. They now offer three different paths to the same MBA and have centrally located their classes in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, Richmond, Roanoke and Newport News.

Ballston is home to the Executive MBA program, an 18-month, cohort-based option for mid-career professionals that meets every other weekend.

The nationally-ranked Evening MBA program is just two Metro stops away in Falls Church. It is designed to provide maximum flexibility by allowing students to change their course load each semester to balance work and other commitments.

The Professional MBA program is a 24-month hybrid online and in-person option with once-per-month class meetings that rotate between Richmond, Roanoke and Newport News.

Visit mba.vt.edu to learn more about Virginia Tech’s MBA programs or register to attend an upcoming information session.

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Legal Insider: Supreme Court to Decide Whether Sex Discrimination Laws Cover LGBT Employees

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

On October 8, 2019, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments as to whether or not Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 involving sex discrimination applies to LGBT employees.

The U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal are currently split on the issue. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will focus on the text of the law, not politics, and do the right thing here. In my opinion, the Civil Rights Act clearly protects LGBT employees from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status. The civil rights law was written broadly and anticipates other forms of sex discrimination.

The Three Cases

The Supreme Court heard three combined cases on the issue during oral argument. They involve 3 employees, two gay males and one transgender female. The two men were fired due to their sexual orientation and the transgender woman was fired from her employment because of her gender identity. A link to the synopsis on Scotusblog can be found here.

Common Sense Should Prevail

As with so many other issues in the law, common sense has been distorted through the various legal arguments. Most individuals know that “sex” discrimination is discrimination based on some aspect of sex. Those opposing the inclusion of LGBT employees from sexual discrimination protections have tried to twist the plain meaning of the statute’s wording by claiming it to be different than it reads.

To some, it could reasonably appear that LGBT employees are attempting to enlarge the definition of a law which was meant to protect women from sex discrimination back in 1964. However, the law was also meant to broadly define sex discrimination, which can happen to anyone, regardless of whether they are straight, LGBTQ or otherwise. Opponents have argued that gender identity, sexual orientation and sex discrimination have multiple different meanings in an effort to confuse the issue.

One of the arguments put forth seems to make the concept clear to me:

The argument before the Court is that sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination under Title VII, because when an employer fires a male employee for dating men, but does not fire a female employee who also dates men, the employer discriminates based on sex. 

History of Sex Discrimination Law is Non-Existent

Furthermore, Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination was a last-minute inclusion in the Civil Rights Act that was intended to scuttle the bill by former Congressman Howard Smith from Virginia. Apparently, Congressman Smith elicited laughter from his colleagues when he proposed this addition at the last minute. He must have been shocked when the sex discrimination law passed Congress.

As a result, the definition was left broad, without any hearings and debate to define it. Many courts and the EEOC have concluded that the law was intended to protect LGBT employees. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will do the right thing here. Nobody should be subject to sex discrimination.

A ruling, either way, is probably likely to be 5-4, either way. The swing justice is likely Justice Neil Gorsuch, who has taken the view that the text was clear in that sex discrimination could include these forms of discrimination. If the 3 employees prevail it will likely be because Justice Gorsuch and/or Kavanaugh rule with them. However, if the Court rules against LGBT employees, it will only be a matter of time before a future Supreme Court overrules them and the justices that supported this type of discrimination will be remembered poorly.

Conclusion

If you are in need of employment law representation or advice, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Pet of the Week: Sirius

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Sirius, a black male Pit Bull available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation have to say about him:

Harry Potter’s Sirius Black knew a thing or two about magic, but this Sirius has everyone at Lost Dog Rescue under his spell.

He is definitely one of our favorites! Not only is he super handsome, but he is so well mannered and walks fabulously on a leash. And look at how big he smiles when he’s getting a hug from his human friend — he loves hugs!

Sirius has had an incredible journey from living all alone for over a year in an abandoned structure that didn’t even have a roof to get to where he is today. (Read more about it here!) Sirius has won over our hearts — will you let him into your heart and home?

Are you and Sirius a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Pet of the Week: Buddy

Becky's Pet Care

Meet the Buddy, a male beagle and pit bull mix available for adoption locally. Here is what his friends at Lost Dog & Cat Rescue have to say about him:

If you’re looking for a dog to take hiking, canoeing, swimming and running, Buddy is always ready for adventures!

He jumps in the car and travels like a dream. He’s done well with kids, dogs and even ducks! Buddy enjoys a good game of fetch or tug of war and is very affectionate. He knows how to heal, leave it, and no. Buddy is also house/crate trained.

Adopt Buddy today and make his next adventure the best one yet!

Are you and Buddy a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Reno of the Month: When Bad Painting Happens to Good People

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Nothing brings a home remodel or simple project to freshen up your home together more than beautiful paint. However, with the ever increasing number of gorgeous colors and types of paint available, it can be daunting knowing where to begin — or even knowing what to use. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

  • Preparation is KEY. Clean your walls and repair any nail pops or other imperfections if at all possible
  • Primer helps even out the surfaces and prevents a blotchy appearance. Stain-killing primers both prime and seal surfaces
  • When it comes to the actual paint finish to use, it depends on what your project is. Our go-to is flat/matte paint. It wipes clean, tends to show less imperfections and can be more easily “touched-up” than other paint finishes

Download our FREE “Paint Finishes” Tip Sheet to help you get started on making the right choice of paint finish for your home.

Colors, Colors Everywhere…

You’ve prepped your walls and decided which paint finish you want. Now you’re standing in a local hardware store completely overwhelmed by the array of colors. How do you make a choice?

  • First, decide which tones you like. Do you like grey tones vs. brown? Green tones over blues? Even white paint comes in different tones, so if you want a warmer feeling, use white paint with a cream or brown tone rather than grey or blue.
  • Take lots of color swatches home and tape them on your walls. What looks one color in the store will look completely different depending on the lighting in your home. Narrow your choices down.
  • Got your shortlist? Then spend a few dollars on getting sample paint pots to bring home and try them on your walls. Color swatches and actual paint color are sometimes completely different, so it’s worth a little expense upfront to make the right choice rather than buying enough to paint a room and discovering it’s nothing like the sample once you put it on your walls.
  • If you like bold colors and are planning to stay in your home, we say go for it. Statement colors are visually impactful and just plain lovely to look at. Use sparingly — consider painting one or two walls or strategically use accent color. Too much bold color in a room can make it feel smaller than it really is.
  • If in doubt or you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, go with neutrals. You may love cobalt blue, but sometimes other people can’t see beyond bold colors to imagine their furniture in the space. Use throws, pillows and other accents in the room instead. These can be switched out as the mood strikes you rather than having to do another paint job.

Using a Paint or Home Remodeling Contractor

It’s important to have realistic expectations when either hiring a painting contractor or a home remodeler for a project that involves painting. For example, unless you are having new drywall or crown moulding installed, imperfections are going to show after the painting is complete. Remember that dent you put in your baseboards with the vacuum cleaner? Or that nick in the wall when you were moving a piece of furniture? Those aren’t going to magically disappear with a new paint job.

New recessed lighting or new lighting fixtures will also show up imperfections you just didn’t realize were there because brighter/better lighting will make them more obvious. Unless you point out the areas that just plain bug you beforehand, contractors can’t give you a smooth, blemish-free end result. Even with patching or repairs, it just isn’t possible to give you a “new drywall” finish. For this reason, some home remodelers no longer include paint in their scope of work. This is because it can be a hassle trying to manage expectations about the paint finish in your home.

This month’s featured remodel is a McLean Kitchen remodel. The original green and blonde wood color scheme had to go! Use of Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” in matte on the kitchen walls and refinishing the solarium structure in the same color (but in semi-gloss) keeps the look consistent and allows the rooms to flow from one to another. It also makes the space feel much larger without being cold.

At Synergy, we believe in providing a full service design/build experience. That’s why we include painting in the scope of every project we work on. We want you to have a turn-key experience, with nothing left to do after the dust settles except relax! Ready to renovate happy? Get in touch!

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Legal Insider: Security Clearance Cases Focus on Foreign Connections

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

A common concern for security clearance holders and applicants involves foreign influence.

A significant portion of security clearance appeals typically focuses on this very issue. With respect to foreign influence, the Government is chiefly concerned with an individual’s loyalty or ties to another country over those to the United States.

The rules regarding foreign influence and security clearance cases are set forth in Security Executive Agent Directive 4 (SEAD 4), Guideline B, which discusses the foreign influence concerns that could lead an individual not obtaining or in losing a security clearance.

Examples of Foreign Influence Issues

Some brief examples of issues that might come up to cause the Government concern in potentially denying a security clearance follow:

Example 1 — U.S. citizen was born in India. She has recently inherited a home worth $75,000 and other assets of $50,000 in India. The individual’s parents and family also still live in India.

Example 2 — U.S. citizen born in Taiwan has family that still lives in Taiwan and extended family in China. The individual also has received health benefits from Taiwan in the past.

Example 3 — U.S. citizen’s brother is a general in the Iraqi forces. The risk of having a close relative in such a high foreign position causes a significant security concern for the U.S. Government. See DOHA Case.

Example 4 — U.S. Citizen had 6 relatives in the Philippines. The large number of relatives in the Philippines caused security concerns for the individual in their security clearance matter. See DOHA Case.

Specific Security Concerns Involving Foreign Influence

There are numerous examples of foreign influence issues that can arise when seeking a security clearance. According to SEAD 4, Paragraph 7 the guidelines define serious foreign influence issues as involving the following types of issues:

7(a) contact, regardless of method, with a foreign family member, business or professional associate, friend, or other person who is a citizen of or resident in a foreign country if that contact creates a heightened risk of foreign exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion

(b) connections to a foreign person, group, government, or country that create a potential conflict of interest between the individual’s obligation to protect classified or sensitive information or technology and the individual’s desire to help a foreign person, group, or country by providing that information or technology

(c) failure to report or fully disclose, when required, association with a foreign person, group, government, or country

(d) counterintelligence information, whether classified or unclassified, that indicates the individual’s access to classified information or eligibility for a sensitive position may involve unacceptable risk to national security

(e) shared living quarters with a person or persons, regardless of citizenship status, if that relationship creates a heightened risk of foreign inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion

(f) substantial business, financial, or property interests in a foreign country, or in any foreign-owned or foreign-operated business that could subject the individual to a heightened risk of foreign influence or exploitation or personal conflict of interest

(g) unauthorized association with a suspected or known agent, associate, or employee of a foreign intelligence entity

(h) indications that representatives or nationals from a foreign country are acting to increase the vulnerability of the individual to possible future exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion

(i) conduct, especially while traveling or residing outside the U.S., that may make the individual vulnerable to exploitation, pressure, or coercion by a foreign person, group, government, or country

Mitigating Security Concerns

Even when security concerns relating to foreign influence arise, there are often ways of mitigating them and enabling the clearance holder or applicant to still obtain/retain a security clearance. According to Paragraph 8 of SEAD 4, an individual may be able to still hold a security clearance if they can prove mitigating details, as defined below:

8(a) the nature of the relationships with foreign persons, the country in which these persons are located, or the positions or activities of those persons in that country are such that it is unlikely the individual will be placed in a position of having to choose between the interests of a foreign individual, group, organization, or government and the interests of the United States

(b) there is no conflict of interest, either because the individual’ s sense of loyalty or obligation to the foreign person, or allegiance to the group, government, or country is so minimal, or the individual has such deep and longstanding relationships and loyalties in the United States, that the individual can be expected to resolve any conflict of interest in favor of the U.S. interest

(c) contact or communication with foreign citizens is so casual and infrequent that there is little likelihood that it could create a risk for foreign influence or exploitation

(d) the foreign contacts and activities are on U.S. Government business or are approved by the agency head or designee

(e) the individual has promptly complied with existing agency requirements regarding the reporting of contacts, requests, or threats from persons, groups, or organizations from a foreign country

(f) the value or routine nature of the foreign business, financial, or property interests is such that they are unlikely to result in a conflict and could not be used effectively to influence, manipulate, or pressure the individual

Having counsel to assist a clearance holder in establishing proof of mitigation in foreign influence cases under Guideline B is critical. These are not cases that should be handled without a lawyer.

Conclusion

If you are in need of security clearance representation or advice, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Station on Silver Brings Refined Apartment Living and Silver Line Access to Herndon

The long awaited day is drawing near, Metro’s Silver Line extension is nearing completion this summer and the luxury apartments at Station on Silver are perfectly poised at the Dulles Innovation Center station in Herndon to provide quick access to the best of the D.C. Metropolitan area.

The community offers best in class amenities including a stunning rooftop deck complete with fire pit, hammocks, outdoor TV, cornhole and vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Additional outdoor lifestyle amenities showcase 2 courtyards with grilling areas and abundant lounge seating, plus a resort swimming pool with chaise lounges immersed in the sunshelf.

Residents enjoy the state-of-the-art fitness center and yoga studio with a WELLBEATS virtual workout system, clubroom with shuffleboard, billiards and foosball, in addition to a media room with gaming system and large flat screen for movies. If all these entertainment zones add up to too much fun, residents can also get more productive hosting meetings in the conference room or working from home in the cyber café. There also is an on-site pet spa for your four-legged best friend.

Adding to the lifestyle offerings, Station on Silver hosts an extensive resident event calendar to keep social calendars full. The activities range from Winedown Wednesdays, yappy hour for pets, game nights, Sunday bubbly brunch and weekly Zumba classes.

The community offers a selection of floorplans including studio, one and two bedroom apartments, each with top of the line finishes including quartz counters, stainless steel appliances, sleek plank flooring, spa-inspired bathrooms and built-in bookshelves.

Next stop: home. View the floor plans, availability, amenities and photo gallery online.

Station on Silver is at 2340 Carta Way in Herndon. Call 571-350-3848.

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Pet of the Week: Desmond

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Desmond, a male Hound available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation have to say about him:

Don’t let Desmond’s age fool you… it’s just a number! This sweet boy can do zoomies in the yard with the best of them. Desmond can be a little shy when first meeting new people, but once he gets to know you he is full of love and snuggles.

He has great leash manners and loves to go for long walks through the park. He’s also thrilled to go on car rides and loves to stick his head out the window! You’ll make Desmond’s day if a car ride involves a stop at Starbucks for a puppuccino (aka a cup of some sweet, sweet whipped cream)!

While Desmond has been friendly and playful with most female dogs we’ve introduced him to, he is not a fan of other male dogs, and is looking to be your one and only pet in a quiet, adult-only home.

Desmond’s adoption fee has been sponsored! One of his fans has pre-paid his adoption fee, so his new family won’t have to.

Are you and Desmond a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Master Your Future In Cybersecurity

The ever-evolving “security threat landscape” and changes in user behavior and IT infrastructure require IT professionals to keep their knowledge up to date and stay on top of the latest trends and developments.

Earning a 100% online Master of Information Technology with a specialization in cybersecurity from Virginia Tech can help individuals meet these heightened demands in a number of ways.

Ranked the #1 online master’s degree for cybersecurity by Cyberdegrees.org, and one of the top 3 online graduate IT programs nationwide by U.S. News and World Report, Virginia Tech’s VT-MIT program takes a unique approach to specialized education.

Core courses in areas such as information systems design, elec­tronic commerce, software engineering and computer programming help students master technical expertise in a business context. After completing these core courses, degree students can choose to specialize in cybersecurity.

Areas of focus range from cybersecurity management — for those interested in running their own in-house cybersecurity practice — to cybersecurity policy, which explores the legal and ethical concerns triggered by data breaches. This breadth of content allows students to tailor their education around their career ambitions.

Part of Virginia Tech’s core strength is its world-class cyber­security research, supported by $15 million in research grants and contracts. Students can access six cybersecurity research centers, including the Ballston-based Hume Center for National Security and Technology.

The VT-MIT program’s 100% online format allows students to pursue higher education at their own pace — a flexibility that allows for a longer timeline. Further enriching the student environment is the program’s openness to students with diverse backgrounds and interests, including business line leaders looking to improve their technology capabilities while leveraging their domain expertise.

Combating today’s cyber threats has never been more difficult, nor more critical to business continuity. A Master of In­formation Technology degree with a specialization in cybersecurity from Virginia Tech can help leaders better under­stand the systemic nature of these threats, and teach them strategies for dealing with an increasingly complex security landscape.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology with cybersecurity specializations here.

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Pet of the Week: Oshie

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Oshie, a brown and white Pit Bull mix available for adoption locally.

Here’s what his friends at Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation have to say:

Oshie is smiley, sweet and loves naps!

Oshie loves playing with all kinds of toys and when he’s not playing he’s sleeping. He is such a cuddle bug! He doesn’t like to be surprised, so slow movements are a must. But once he is comfortable he loves all the love he can get.

Oshie likes treats and knows “sit” and “come.” As for exercise, he’s mostly a lazy pup with some spurts of energy. He gets a little excited when he sees birds and squirrels, but is overall good on the leash.

Oshie is crate trained, and can be trusted alone in the home while his family is at work as long as he’s in the crate. He has had no accidents in his foster mom’s house and sleeps through the night in bed with her.

He has been joining doggie playgroups while at Lost Dog and has a great time! He does play rough and it is good to keep a close eye on him. Still, Oshie would likely do best in an adults-only home where he can be the only dog so that his family can give him all the undivided attention he deserves.

Come meet this love bug today!

Are you and Oshie a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Virginia Tech Offers Dual Degree MBA and IT Master in DC Area

In today’s digital age, as technology drives innovation throughout the enterprise, business acumen and technology expertise are emerging as essential skills.

At the same time, traditional functional roles are blurring, creating a blended business environment where IT leaders must embrace more business-oriented responsibilities and line of business leaders must find their way around sophisticated and complex technology systems. Only through education can these professionals gain the necessary skills and expertise to keep pace with this evolving business landscape. But it shouldn’t have to come at the cost of a full-time position.

Virginia Tech’s dual Master’s degree in business administration and information technology (MBA + MIT) is based in the D.C. area and can help professionals gain the experience, expertise and advantages they need to succeed in a blended business environment. Here’s how:

  • Career boost: Students receive an MBA while keeping up with changes in the technology industry by adding on a Master of IT. The result: greater marketability in a competitive labor market.
  • Economize time and money: The dual-degree program double-counts up to five courses earned in the MBA program toward those also offered in the MIT program or vice versa.
  • Work-life balance: Both the MBA and MIT degrees are built for full-time working professionals. Students have the flexibility to set their own pace by choosing the number of courses they will take each semester.
  • Variety: Students can select from a wide range of specialization areas including business intelligence, big data, cybersecurity, networking and software engineering.
  • Network: An in-person class format for the MBA program encourages students to establish valuable working relationships with classmates, and engage with top-notch faculty. A 100% online format for the MIT degree provides additional flexibility for working professionals and opportunity to work with students from across the country.

The Virginia Tech MBA + MIT dual-degree program offers the flexibility to contribute to business growth, revenue and innovation as a working professional today — and as a substantially more marketable leader tomorrow.

Learn more about the dual degree program here or explore Virginia Tech’s other local MBA options here.

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Legal Insider: President’s Proposed Changes in Tip Rules for Employees

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

The President recently proposed a new federal rule which will affect the wages of employees who earn tips. The new rule was proposed on October 8, 2019 by the Department of Labor (DOL) and would permit employers to require widespread sharing of tips with other types of co-workers. One of the major industries affected would be the foodservice industry. The newly proposed rule would permit employers to share wait staff tips with food preparation staff and others (e.g. dishwashers, food delivery personnel).

Difficulties With the New Tip-Pooling Rule

A problematic part of the newly proposed rule would give employers newfound flexibility in assigning non-tipped assignments to workers who rely on gratuities for the major portion of their income. The restaurant lobbying industry has sought these types of changes for some time. Former President Obama’s Administration had previously mandated that tips belonged to the workers that received them.

One of the major problems with the new rule, for employees that earn tips is that it takes funds earned by them and transfers them to employees that don’t earn tips. By doing this, restaurant owners are potentially able to compensate food staff (non-tip earners) with lower salaries.

Tipped Employees Wages will be Affected

The DOL, in their proposal, even acknowledges that the new rule will result in tipped employees spending more time on lower-paying duties:

“The removal of the twenty percent time limit may result in tipped workers such as wait staff and bartenders performing more of these non-tipped duties such as ‘cleaning and setting tables, toasting bread, making coffee, and occasionally washing dishes or glasses.’ . . . Tipped workers might lose tipped income by spending more of their time performing duties where they are not earning tips, while still receiving cash wages of less than minimum wage.”

Employers will Gain

Employers will gain from the situation and may be able to provide lower salaries to non-tip earners, offsetting the loss with tip income. The DOL also provides the real rationale for the change in the proposed regulation: “[E]mployers that had been paying the full minimum wage to tipped employees performing related, non-tipped duties could potentially pay the lower direct cash wage for this time and could pass these reduced labor cost savings on to consumers.”

The proposal should become final in about 6 weeks and could have some changes in the final version. However, if a new administration comes in, the tip-pooling policy could potentially change once again.

Conclusion

If you are in need of employment law representation or advice, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Pet of the Week: Coal and Lacey

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Coal and Lacey, a black male Labrador and a female Pit Bull mixed breed available for adoption locally.

Here’s what their friends at Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation have to say:

Coal and his buddy Lacey are like peanut butter and jelly, gin and tonic or Bert and Ernie — you just simply can’t have one without the other!

Coal’s two loves in life are Lacey and tennis balls! He plays fetch like a pro and is a complete gentleman bringing the ball back and dropping it right at your feet. Lacey loves rolling in grass, playing with toys, head scratches and Sunday morning strolls in good company.

Coal and Lacey are well-mannered house guests and good with small children. They get along with some other dogs, but would really prefer to be the only two in the home. Coal and Lacey are great walking companions, travel well in the car and are perfect on the leash.

Coal and Lacey lost their lifetime home when their owner passed away and have not yet found the right fit in a new home. This incredibly special duo and bonded pair are looking for a final, forever home where they can grow old together feeling safe and loved.

Coal and Lacey are so beloved that their adoption will be FREE thanks to a member of the Coal and Lacey fan club who couldn’t keep them in their home, but wanted to help them find their final forever home!

Are you, Coal and Lacey a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Reston Real Estate: Just Sold

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

The real estate market in Reston slowed just a bit over the past few weeks.

Buyers are not in a rush and days-on-market has stretched out a bit to an average of 36 days. Low interest rates and constrained inventory should have the impact of shorter days on market and can drive home prices up; but that’s not what we’re experiencing.

Buyers are taking things slowly and seem to know that if they miss out on one house there will be another around the corner and that is not untrue. What is harder to predict is interest rates; what we can say about them that even with a 1 point bump they’re still incredibly favorable.

Here are a few of the properties that have sold in the past several weeks.

2133 Cabots Point Lane
3 BR/2.5 BA
List Price: $974,900
Sold Price $974,900

 

 

1606 Chimney House Road
1 BR/1 BA
List Price: $249,000
Sold Price: $216,900

 

 

11719 Blue Smoke Trail
4 BD/2.5 BA
List Price: $849,900
Sold Price: $850,000

 

 

2224 Cartwright Place
3 BD/2.5 BA
List Price: $349,000
Sold Price: $349,000

 

 

1637 Stowe Road
4 BD/ 4 BA
List Price: $689,000
Sold Price: $675,000

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