Stephen Ambrose, SAIC’s chief climate scientist (courtesy SAIC)

The Reston-headquartered Fortune 500 company Science Applications International Corp. known as SAIC (12010 Sunset Hills Road), has hired its first chief climate scientist.

Stephen Ambrose joined the information technology and engineering government contractor in early May. His decades of previous experience in climate science includes a 25-year tenure at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Climate change is one of the grand challenges of our time,” Bob Genter, president of the defense and civilian sector at SAIC, said in a news release. “Stephen brings a wealth of experience and expertise to SAIC as we continue to help our customers rise to this challenge with solutions scaled to meet all levels of climate and disaster risk and adaptation.”

Ambrose is particularly interested in assisting government customers with strategic planning for disaster responses and preparation not just at the federal level, but also states and localities.

“How are we prepared for these disasters? More hurricanes. Stronger hurricanes. Flooding,” he said. “The most opportunity we should go forward with is…in that effort.”

Ambrose’s primary responsibilities include helping the company understand climate change and its impacts, examining the available science and technology and applying those to climate questions, and working with customers to address issues related to climate change, resilience, and adaptation.

“His experience will guide SAIC’s efforts to support government customers as they advance solutions to deal with the impacts of climate on land, air, sea, wildlife, and civilizations around the world,” the company said in the news release. “He’ll also promote solutions for measuring and addressing climate challenges, leveraging SAIC solutions and capabilities in data science, modeling, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics.”

In addition to working for NOAA, Ambrose’s career includes stints with the Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and NASA, where he spent 10 years as a program manager executive for disasters, homeland security, and water resources.

Before joining SAIC, he was a senior advisor and program manager at General Dynamics Information Technology (3150 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church).

With about 26,000 employees, SAIC primarily contracts with the Army, Navy, and agencies in the Department of Defense, but it’s also served NASA, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal partners.

In March, the company’s annual filing showed $7 billion in revenue for the past fiscal year — 98% of it involving the federal government.

SAIC’s decision to hire a chief climate scientist comes amid a renewed focus in the U.S. on addressing climate change and other environmental issues.

As one of his first executive actions, President Joe Biden set a goal to eliminate carbon pollution from the power sector by 2035. He also wants the country to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half from 2005 levels and make all electricity renewable by 2035.

“You can tell by the administration and the focus on climate change, it’s just everyday…coming out from that so quickly, that we have to respond to that,” Ambrose said.

On a local level, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors pledged yesterday (Tuesday) to achieve carbon neutrality for all government operations by 2040, following up on a recommendation issued by the county’s Joint Environmental Task Force last year.

However, with county government facilities accounting for a relatively small amount of emissions, the private sector also needs to do its part to combat climate change, and Ambrose says SAIC is well-equipped to contribute.

He says his work will bring the company “to the forefront” of this issue, building off of ongoing efforts with different government agencies, from the Federal Aviation Administration to military bases.

“The team I have is growing rapidly,” Ambrose said. “I consider all of SAIC my team because I’m horizontal across all aspects of it.”

Ambrose says his first year on the job is more focused on planning, including developing a five-year plan with milestones for the company. He’s also working on some events to engage employees and the general community, starting with a public forum that will include a panel of speakers from NASA, NOAA, and universities.

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Morning Notes

Marijuana Possession Will Soon Be Legal in Virginia — “The Virginia General Assembly agreed Wednesday to make it legal for adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana on July 1, nearly three years sooner than had been approved by the legislature in February.” [The Washington Post]

County Residents Share Thoughts on Police Chief Search — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk hosted a public input session on Tuesday (April 6) as part of the county’s ongoing search for a permanent successor to retired Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. McKay said the board will hold interviews for the position over the next week. [WTOP]

Reston Delegate Holds Post-Session Town Hall — After the Virginia General Assembly adjourned yesterday, Del. Ken Plum and State Sen. Janet Howell are holding a virtual town hall meeting at 7 p.m. today to discuss the 2021 session. Anyone interested in attending can register in advance for the Zoom link and submit questions to [email protected]. [Ken Plum]

Metro General Manager Calls Silver Line Phase 2 “A Priority” — Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld declined to commit to a “hard start date” for when the Silver Line’s second phase will open, but he told the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance yesterday “want to get that out as quick as we can” because of the potential impact on ridership and the region’s economic development. [WTOP]

Democratic Candidates for Governor Spar in First Televised Debate — Five candidates vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination to become Virignia’s next governor discussed the pandemic, gun violence, and criminal justice reform during an hour-long event hosted by Virginia State University in Petersburg. [Virginia Mercury]

Reston Company Lands Billions in Defense Contracts — “On the heels of an $830 million U.S. Army contract won in February, Reston-based Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) has landed two more Army contracts worth a combined $4.4 billion, it announced today.” [Virginia Business]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

SAIC Raises COVID-19 Headwinds Estimate — “Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) executives think they know how much the coronavirus pandemic is going to cost them this fiscal year, and that number is $250 million.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Seeks Donations to Fight COVID-19 — “Fairfax County is still in need of cleaning supplies and child-sized face coverings — and we are also accepting fabric donations. Fabric (100% cotton) should be new and big enough to make a mask.” [Fairfax County Government]

Roundup of County Government Labor Day Schedule — County government offices will be closed this coming Monday in honor of Labor Day. Some facilities are open and schedules vary, especially as some offices offer reduced hours in response to the pandemic. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Monday Morning Notes

How Rents Near Reston Metro Compare — “Rent near the East Falls Church and Tysons Corner stations is in the mid-range among DC Metro stops. But while the median price increased near Tysons Corner, it decreased near East Falls Church, according to the analysis.” [Reston Patch]

SAIC CFO Retires — “Reston-based defense contractor Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) announced Friday that Chief Financial Officer Charles A. Mathis will retire on Jan. 29, 2021.” [Virginia Business Monthly]

Feedback Sought on Grab and Go Meals — Fairfax County Public Schools are seeking feedback via a survey on its grab-and-go meal program for the next academic year. The survey will help the school system determine the best locations and bus routes for meal services. [FCPS]

Man Stabbed on Parcher Avenue — Police believe a man was stabbed by a group of men in a parking lot on the 13200 block of Parcher Avenue on August 13. The victim was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Fall Guide for Reston Community Center is Live — Although the guide will not be mailed this year, the online program includes a detailed breakdown of all offerings. Registration begins September 1 for Restonians and September 8 for all others. [Reston Community Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Several Reston-based companies made it to a national list that recognizes employers for dedication to diversity and inclusion.

The yearly list of 500 companies, which is compiled by Forbes magazine, included three Reston-based companies and 13 companies in Fairfax County.

SAIC, an information technology company that stands for Science Applications International Corporation, ranked #91 on the list. Leidos, which is opening up its headquarters in Reston Town Center soon, got the 455th spot while Bechtel, an engineering and construction company, got the 500th spot.

“The workforce today – and the workforce of tomorrow – want to see a commitment to diversity and inclusion by employers, and it is a testament to these Fairfax County companies’ efforts to attract talented employees from all backgrounds and walks of life that they are part of this impressive national ranking,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

Forbes’ list was compiled using survey data from a sample of more than 60,000 U.S. employees. Other factors like diversity levels among executives, leadership positions responsible for diversity, and the presence of a diverse company culture were also considered as part of the determination.

Photo courtesy Boston Properties

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Monday Morning Notes

Lane Closures Planned on Eastbound Sunset Hills Road — The road near the Wiehle-Reston East Station will be closed several days this week to allow Silver Line Phase II crews to complete stormwater management work. Closures are in effect today (Monday) and Thursday (June 13) from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Friday (June 14) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

The Post’s Sietsema Reviews Bombay Velvet in Reston — Tom Sietsema writes that the upscale Indian restaurant in RTC West has “fine aspirations with an uneven start.” [The Washington Post]

Reston-based SAIC Has “Stout Revenue Growth” — “Amid the torch-passing between outgoing CEO Tony Moraco and CEO-elect Nazzic Keene on Thursday’s first quarter earnings call, Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) delivered stout revenue growth fostered by its acquisition of Engility Holdings Inc. The Reston-based technology contractor reported $1.6 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 37% increase from the prior year, fueled largely by growth attributed to the Engility buy, which closed in January.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Final Week for Reston Community Center Preference Poll — Three incumbents are seeking to return to the Reston Community Center Board of Governors, and the community preference poll that guides the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in its choices ends this week. Each property in Small District 5 (SD5) is to have received a ballot in the mail. Mail-in ballots must be received by no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, while walk-in and online ballots can be submitted through 5 p.m. the following day. [Reston Now]

Herndon Police Collect Items for Hurricane Relief — The department collected the items to send to Puerto Rico and help residents there recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. [Herndon Police/Twitter]

SAIC Gets $250M USDA Contract — The Reston-based technology integrator was awarded the blanket purchase agreement to provide enterprise architecture and security support services to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [Digital Journal]

Homeowners Save With Solar Energy — According to Fairfax County, 47 homeowners who signed contracts for discounted systems through Solarize Fairfax County will save about $1,250 per year on their electric bills. [Fairfax County]

Tree Management Workshop Set for Wednesday — Bartlett Tree Experts will discuss tree inventories, management plans and basic tree care during the event at Reston Association headquarters. [Reston Association/Twitter]

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A Reston-based technology integrator has been awarded a $165 million contract to assist the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) with modernizing the state’s technology infrastructure.

According to a press release, SAIC’s contract with the Commonwealth of Virginia has a five-year base period of performance along with a pair of two-year options, giving it a potential value of $272 million if all options are exercised.

More from the release:

“Delivering a modern, responsive technology solution to VITA is our top priority. SAIC is proud to work with VITA to serve as its new MSI [multisourcing service integrator] provider to help the state implement a marketplace of consolidated IT services and solutions to ensure security and oversight of major IT projects, and the procurement of technology-related goods and services,” said Bob Genter, SAIC senior vice president of the Federal Civilian Customer Group. “We are committed to Virginia’s mission to successfully oversee the proper governance of taxpayer dollars while still offering a marketplace of choices, with responsive service delivery.”

VITA is the commonwealth’s consolidated technology services and solutions provider responsible for the operation of the state’s technology infrastructure, governance, security, oversight of major IT projects, and procurement of technology-related goods and services on behalf of state and local governments.

Under the contract, SAIC will coordinate and monitor multiple IT infrastructure services suppliers for state executive branch agencies. The MSI is the cornerstone of a strategy that will diversify the state’s portfolio of suppliers, improve service delivery quality, ensure cost-competitiveness, and provide transparency and accountability into the commonwealth’s service delivery platform.

Headquartered in Reston, SAIC has annual revenues of approximately $4.5 billion. For more information, visit saic.com.

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Thursday Morning Notes

Free Concert Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by pan-Celtic group Iona. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Outreach Session on Bikeshare Today — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to bring 10 new locations of Capital Bikeshare to Reston, including nine south of the Dulles Toll Road. A public outreach session on the proposed locations is scheduled for today from 1-5 p.m. at Glade Pool (11550 Glade Drive). [FCDOT]

SAIC Gets $39M Task Order to Support Marines — The Reston-based technology integrator has received the order, from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic, to provide engineering services in support of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Operations Center. [SAIC]

Verity Commercial Again Named to Inc. 5000 — For the second consecutive year, the Reston-based commercial real estate company has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. [Verity Commercial]

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Amazon Web Services will use the One Dulles Tower (13200 Woodland Park Road, Herndon) as a new East Coast corporate campus, bringing up to 1,500 new jobs to the area.

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority announced the news Thursday. According to the FCEDA:

“The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Commission to secure this project for Virginia. Upon the hiring of 600 new employees, AWS will be eligible to receive $7,000 per net new job created, up to 1,500 total jobs, through a custom performance state grant approved by the governor and the MEI Commission.”

“Any community would be thrilled to have this employer and this kind of corporate presence,” said Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO of the FCEDA. “I am delighted the county’s IT base, workforce and quality of life offer the right mix for the company.”

Also Thursday, Ellucian — a global provider of higher education software and services — announced its new corporate headquarters at 2003 Edmund Halley Drive.

“The growth of the greater Reston area is due in no small part to the innovative technology companies that make up our community,” said Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) during the grand-opening ceremony. “The addition of Ellucian’s headquarters to the Dulles Technology Corridor continues this growth and brings a great value to Reston and the broader economy in Virginia. We welcome Ellucian’s expansion and thank them for their valued partnership.”

In addition, government defense contractor SAIC has announced that it will be moving its headquarters to the building it leases at 12010 Sunset Hills Road. The transition of its home base from McLean to Reston will be effective July 1.

Image at top via OneDullesTower.com; image at bottom courtesy Ellucian

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