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Refraction Eyes Larger Offices in Area to Accommodate Expansion

Reston-based Refraction is eyeing larger office space in the area in preparation for an expansion that will add 800 jobs in the next five years.

Currently located in Reston Town Center, Refraction plans to use a portion of the recent $1 million investment from Fairfax County toward securing new office space.

The county’s Board of Supervisors approved the use of the economic development funds yesterday (Nov. 20) for the company’s expansion.

Founded in 2014, Refraction (11911 Freedom Drive, Suite 850) is a coworking community for startups and high-growth companies. The “innovation hub” provides educational programs, along with networking and mentoring events. Currently, more than 55 companies are a part of the Refraction community.

Esther Lee, CEO of Refraction, said conversations about the move started a few months ago. Refraction wants to keep its Reston roots in order to strengthen the area’s “innovation ecosystem” by encouraging companies in its coworking space to stay and add new jobs.

A report by the Brookings Institution last year found that the D.C.-area has had the biggest loss of digital tech jobs in a five-year span compared to 50 other cities with large digital employment.

Lee called the report “alarming” and said she wants to see Refraction take an active role in boosting job growth in the region. “We want to grow the future Googles and Amazons of the world,” Lee said.

Refraction is looking to move to an office space in Reston that it roughly 25,000 square-feet in the next three to six months, she said, adding that finding a new location, receiving tenant approval and signing the lease all take time.

Refraction is working with Boston Properties to find another space in Reston Town Center.

The move to the larger space affects the launch of the Refraction’s apprenticeship program it is currently developing with the Northern Virginia Community College.

The apprenticeship, which is supported by the funding from the county, train workers for startups and high-growth companies. The goal is to launch the program early next year, Lee said.

“Lots of companies have a hard time hiring people with the right skill sets,” she said. “Many kids coming right out of college haven’t had startup experience.”

Photo via Refraction/Facebook

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Fairfax County Invests $1 Million in Reston-based Refraction’s Expansion

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors approved today a $1 million investment in Reston-based Refraction’s expansion, which plans to add 800 jobs in the next five years.

In addition to the new tech jobs, the investment is anticipated to go toward training 2,500 workers and eventually lead to $200 million in new capital investment over the next five years.

The funding will also support Refraction’s apprenticeship program under development with the Northern Virginia Community College to train workers for startups and high-growth companies, along with assisting Refraction’s move to a larger space in Reston.

The board approved the use of the economic development funds at its Nov. 20 meeting. Under its agreement with the county, Refraction must report its financial results and success metrics annually.

Founded in 2014, Refraction (11911 Freedom Drive, Suite 850) is a coworking community for startups and high-growth companies. Located at Reston Town Center, the “innovation hub” provides educational programs, along with networking and mentoring events.

The Refraction community has had more than 100 companies who have collectively raised $126 million in capital, according to a Refraction press release.

Fairfax County Chairman Sharon Bulova said the expansion will stimulate the local economy.

“As a county, we’re making strategic investments that help to support and grow our region’s innovation ecosystem, such as offering tech startups access to entrepreneurial expertise so they can scale their businesses,” she said.

Refraction will also partner with the county’s chief equity officer and public schools to train girls and students from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged communities on entrepreneurship skills — a partnership that supports the social and racial equity policy, One Fairfax.

County officials have said that a focus on women and minorities is especially important as the tech industry increases diversity in its workforce.

Last week, another Reston-based company announced an expansion that will create more jobs, just days after Amazon’s decision to bring its second headquarters to Crystal City.

IT services firm 1901 Group announced last Thursday (Nov. 15) that it will bring 225 more jobs to Reston in the next three years as part of a $4 million expansion.

Photo via Refraction/Facebook 

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1901 Group to Expand Footprint in Reston with 225 New Jobs

IT services firm 1901 Group (2003 Edmund Halley Drive) will bring more than 200 jobs to Reston in the next three years as part of a $4 million expansion.

The Reston-based company, which provides internet technology services for the public and private sectors, plans to bring 225 more jobs to Reston, along with 580 new jobs to Montgomery County by 2021, according to an announcement released today (Nov. 15). The additional 805 jobs across both counties are part of the company’s expansion of its corporate footprint in Reston and IT operations center in Blacksburg, the press release said.

1901 Group’s growth in the two counties will result in “tremendous” opportunity for the state’s citizens, State Gov. Ralph Northam said.

“With one of the largest technology talent pools in the nation, Virginia’s thriving IT industry promises high anticipated growth and upward mobility for employees,” Northam said, adding the decision reflects Virginia’s ability to compete for major projects.

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to secure the project for Virginia, according to the press release. VEDP will support 1901 Group’s recruitment activities through the state-funded Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs.

Founded in 2009, the company provides internet technology services for public and private sectors, offering infrastructure, applications management and security services through the IT-as-a-service delivery model. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce recognized the company as one of its “Fantastic 50” in 2016.

1901 Group anticipates future growth after experiencing a substantial increase in the federal government’s use of its services, according to the press release.

“1901 Group’s revenue in the federal market has increased thirty-fold in the last six years,” said Sonu Singh, CEO of 1901 Group. “Much of this growth can be attributed to operating in the Fairfax region, which has a strong technology focus and great access to talent.”

The announcement comes days after Amazon chose to locate its second headquarters to Crystal City — a decision that business leaders in the area said will transform communities including Reston into a technology corridor. Secondary and tertiary businesses lured by Amazon’s Arlington presence may entice new and emerging developments in Reston around the Silver Line, Mark Ingrao, CEO and president of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, previously told Reston Now.

Photo courtesy 1901 Group

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Months-long CEO Vacancy at Reston Association Remains

Reston Association’s top leadership position of CEO remains unfilled following the previous CEO’s departure from the organization in late February.

Since former CEO Cate Fulkerson left her position in late February and transitioned into a special advisor role, RA’s Board of Directors has not yet found a permanent replacement. In a note to RA’s members, board president Andy Sigle said the board is working with human resources to expand the search for CEO and voted last month to hire an executive search firm to assist with the hiring process.

Larry Butler, RA’s senior direct of land use and planning, took over as acting CEO in mid-April after Robert Wood, the acting CEO at the time, stepped down to take another position at a non-profit organization in the District.

Since beginning the process of selecting a new CEO “in earnest” in May, Sigle indicated that no candidates advanced during a second round of interviews with the board in August. The board voted on candidates for the first round of interviews, which were held in June and July. Candidates were interviewed by an internal board search committee with RA’s senior leadership team and selected board members.

Here’s more from Sigle’s note to members:

Members can rest assured that the board is seeking a CEO who can work cooperatively and collaboratively in establishing short and long-term goals and priorities for the association. The CEO leads the effort to develop biennial budgets, so it is vitally important to the future of Reston that resources allotted in those budgets are used wisely. The board plays a fiduciary role in making sure your assessment dollars are spent in a way that aligns with the association’s Strategic Plan and focuses on the quality of life issues that make Reston a special place to live, work and play.

While there are an array of traits and qualifications we are seeking in the next CEO, the ability to lead and manage ranks near or at the top. Integrity, ethical conduct and the proven know-how to foster a climate that attracts, retains and motivates a diverse staff are important skills in leading any community organization, especially one as large and intricate as Reston Association.

Making the tough calls isn’t always fun, but it is a necessary requirement in overseeing a staff with over 100 employees working in a broad range of jobs that all focus on RA’s mission statement. The CEO position is a member-facing, rollup-your-sleeves job that requires the ability to smartly navigate through internal issues and also external policy matters involving Fairfax County and private businesses. Financial stewardship and extensive knowledge of customer service are at the forefront of what the board and RA members expect from a CEO.

While we wind through the process of hiring a new CEO, the board wants to express its thanks to the RA staff for stepping up to make sure that “the trains continue to run on time” in the interim. The importance of selecting the right person to lead RA can’t be overemphasized enough, so we continue to appreciate the patience shown by staff and members as we do our due diligence.

While board members come and go with each annual election, the CEO should bring a sense of stability and vision to the organization that will hopefully last for years. We will keep you posted on our progress and promptly introduce you to our new CEO when they are onboard.

Photo via Reston Association

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Teen Job Fair to Come to Reston on April 21

Teens and young adults in Reston can attend the free job fair at South Lakes High School on April 21 to meet potential employers and get tips on building their resumes.

More than 40 potential employers have signed up to meet young job seekers at the event, according to Connection Newspapers, one of the sponsors of the job fair. Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, Reston Chamber of Commerce and Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity will also be sponsoring the event

The event will be from 11 a.m. to  1 p.m. and is aimed toward student job seekers between the ages of 16 and 18 who are looking for full-time employment, internships, after school employment, volunteer opportunities and seasonal work. Younger students may seek volunteer work and attend the resume building workshop.

Pre-registration is encouraged and teens can sign up here. Businesses interested in setting up a free booth can register here.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

The hunt for HQ2  The Fairfax-Loudoun bid could become one of the hottest tickets in town if Amazon becomes its anchor tenant. [Washington Business Journal]

All aboard Reston Station — Changes proposed to Comstock’s massive Reston Station project head to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for consideration today. [Reston Now]

A job for you — A free teen job fair and resume building workshop is set forSaturday, April 21 at South Lakes High School. [The Connection]

Photo by Bako Glonti

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Del. Ken Plum: Building a New Economy

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Candidate Terry McAuliffe promised during his campaign for governor that he would work to build a new economy in Virginia. A reduction of federal spending in the state along with the decline of traditional mining and manufacturing jobs had left the Virginia economy sluggish.

If there was any doubt as to what Gov. McAuliffe had in mind, one only needs to look at his performance in office. His latest performance figures — although these numbers increase daily — are 1,027 new projects, 215,100 jobs created and $165 billion in capital investments. No other governor has come close to these kinds of numbers. But he clearly is not done yet.

Just last week, Gov. McAuliffe announced that Facebook will bring more than $1 billion of new investment to the Commonwealth. Facebook is directly investing $750 million to establish a 970,000-square-foot data center in the White Oak Technology Park in Henrico County. The project will bring thousands of construction jobs to the region and more than 100 full-time operational jobs. Virginia is already a leader in data centers with a record number in Loudoun County.

An exciting aspect to this new project is that with a new renewable energy tariff designed by Dominion Energy Virginia and Facebook, hundreds of millions of additional dollars will be invested in the construction of multiple solar facilities in the Commonwealth to service Facebook’s Henrico data center with 100 percent renewable energy. That feature continues a trend that has been going on in Virginia in the use of solar-generated electricity with new and expanded business projects.

In another project, Amazon is behind what had been the state’s largest planned solar installation to date, an 80-megawatt system in Accomack County. Early last year another solar project was introduced that spurred Virginia’s solar energy market by a partnership among the state, Dominion Virginia Power and Microsoft Corp. to bring a 20-megawatt solar farm to Fauquier County. The 260,000 panels on 125 acres represented more solar energy than was available across all of Virginia two years ago.

Recent evidence demonstrates that the new economy of the Commonwealth is being recognized nationally. Recently, Virginia was ranked in Area Development magazine’s 2017 “Top States for Doing Business” annual survey for the first time since 2010. Overall, the Commonwealth placed 11th out of 20 states ranked in the prestigious annual site consultants’ survey.

The Commonwealth ranked in the Top 10 in five of 12 subcategories that impact companies’ location and facility plans, including: Cooperative & Responsive State Government, fifth; Leading Workforce Development Programs, seventh; Competitive Labor Environment, eighth; Favorable Regulatory Environment, ninth; and Speed of Permitting, ninth. These rankings represent significant advances for Virginia as the state has not placed in any subcategories since 2013. This year also marks the first time Virginia has ever placed in the Cooperative & Responsive State Government, Competitive Labor Environment, and Speed of Permitting categories.

The new economy is proving to be good for jobs, with record low unemployment, and good for communities that were struggling to recover from the Great Recession. At the same time, it is good for the environment, with record growth in solar energy production.

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Herndon Police Department Looking for New Members of Law Enforcement Team

The Herndon Police Department is looking for new officers to join its force.

According to the job listing on the Town’s website, the position pays about $53,000 in base salary, with additional pay contingent upon qualifications. In a post on Facebook, the Department says those incentives are provided based upon years of law enforcement experience, college education, military service and bilingual ability.

“We are always accepting applications for certified and non-certified applicants,” said Lisa Herndon, HPD public information specialist. “This post serves to let officers with [Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services] certifications know we are accepting applications for lateral transfers.”

For more information about what it takes to be part of Herndon’s police agency, call 703-435-6824. For more information about HPD, visit its website.

Photo collage via Herndon Police Department on Facebook

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Tuesday Morning Notes

DRB Meets Tonight — A work session about the St. Johns Wood redevelopment will precede the regular meeting of Reston’s Design Review Board tonight. [Design Review Board]

Cooper’s Hawk Job Fairs Today and Wednesday — Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant (12130 Sunset Hills Road) plans to open next month, but it must hire more than 200 people before then. Its last two hiring events will be today and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, at 12100 Sunset Hills Road Suite 130. [Reston Now]

Former SLHS Coach Takes Over at U. of Arizona — Matt Blamey, who was the head lacrosse coach at South Lakes High School for seven years, was named last week as the new head coach of the University of Arizona’s men’s lacrosse program. [CollegeCrosse.com]

Proposed Zoning Changes To Be Discussed — Fairfax County is hosting an open house Wednesday night at the Herrity Building (12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax) to discuss proposed zoning changes including those to short-term rentals, e.g. Airbnb, and rear-yard coverage such as patios. [Fairfax County]

Loudoun County Shoots Down Metro Tax — The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last week on a resolution to oppose a one-cent regional sales tax. County staff have put together an “alternative capital funding scenario” to the tax. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Photo courtesy Richard Hernandez

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Cooper’s Hawk Plans to Hire 200 People in Next Two Months

That big new building at 12130 Sunset Hills Road? It’s Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, and it has announced an Aug. 28 opening date.

Before that date, though, the restaurant is looking to hire more than 200 people. Its first hiring fair is set for Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at its temporary hiring office, 12100 Sunset Hills Road Suite 130.

“Positions range from servers to line cooks, bartenders to wine tasting room attendants,” according to a press release. “Just about every job needed to run an upscale winery and restaurant needs to be filled.”

Additional hiring events are scheduled for July 11-12 and July 25-26, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Cooper’s Hawk will be conducting open interviews with applicants on the spot, according to the release, as it aims to fill 202 positions.

According to founder and CEO Tim McEnery in the press release:

“We are currently looking to staff team members who have a passion for wine, food and first-class hospitality and look forward to meeting and working with many great members of the community. We are offering our staff a highly competitive pay rate, for example line cooks will be paid at $15 per hour and hosts at $12 per hour.”

Candidates who wish to apply but who are unable to attend a hiring fair are invited to do so online at apply.chwinery.com, or check out @CareersatCH on Twitter and Instagram.

Cooper’s Hawk will be the anchor of the RTC West restaurant and retail complex. Other restaurants expected for the site include Nando’s Peri-Peri, Mezeh Mediterranean Grill and BGR The Burger Joint.

This will be the 30th Cooper’s Hawk location nationwide. There are two others in Virginia, in Ashburn and Richmond.

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Sterling Company Looking for New Employees

Looking for a career where you’ll get to engage with people and love what you do?

SaleCycle in Sterling, Virginia is looking to fill about 20 new sales positions. The company has recently been named the top United Kingdon tech company to work for by Glassdoor.

Join members of SaleCycle for a career fair on Dec. 14 at McCormick and Schmick’s in Reston from 5-8 p.m. to hear more about the available positions and enjoy a drink or two on the company.

The company works to help companies with online shopping cart abandonment. Through remarketing and site engagement, SaleCycle helps keep people on shopping websites and encourages them to hit that final purchase button. Customers include Virgin Atlantic, Panasonic and Ralph Lauren.

Salecycle is a fast growing company with a new office in Sterling. The company has grown from four members in 2010 to more than 130. The company is going through a growth phase and is looking to expand their Sterling presence.

During the event, you’ll hear from the chief revenue officer, head of sales and international recruiters, who will talk more about the company and the opportunities available.

SaleCycle is looking for hardworking, self-motivated people with the right attitudes. Guests will be able to hear more about the company and talk one-on-one with SaleCycle staff.

While it is not required, visitors are welcome to bring copies of their resumes. No previous experience in sales is required.

For more information and to register, please visit http://salecycle.com/lovewhatyousell.

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Next Week: Hiring Open House at Red’s Table

 Red’s Table, the soon-to-open restaurant at South Lakes Village Center, is on a hiring spree.

The owners hope to start serving by the end of August, so they need lots of people to make it a success.

Red’s Table is holding hiring open houses Monday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday, Aug. 4, 1 to 5 p.m.

Apply in person at 11150 South Lakes Dr. if you are interested in the following openings:

  • Experienced Line Cooks, Shuckers, Prep Cooks
  • Experienced Servers and Bartenders
  • Dishwashers
  • Host Staff
  • Bussers

Here is what the Red’s Table folks want you to know:

At Red’s Table, we believe in hospitality on a personal level, inviting customers to our ‘table’ as readily as William “Red” Tracy did when he entertained family and friends as guests throughout his lifetime. We believe in knowing the farmers who grow our food and bring our seafood to market as well as we know our local customers. We believe in crafting food and drink from scratch, using top ingredients to bring our guests an experience to remember and a reason to return to Red’s Table time after time.

We are an independent group of locals who own multiple locations and have been in the business for two decades.  We don’t have a soul sucking corporate atmosphere but that doesn’t mean we don’t take our businesses, our jobs and our craft seriously. Under the direction of Executive Chef Adam Stein and General Manager Sharon Wetteland, we will be rocking Reston with creative, seasonal, locally sourced food and drink at a location like no other in town.

If you want to leave the cookie-cutter corporate nonsense and crushing DC commute behind, we would like to meet you. Know your stuff? Bring it.

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