Del. Ken Plum: Electric Vehicles to be the Norm

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

In 1996 I had the great learning experience of chairing the Northern Virginia Electric Vehicle Launch Committee through the sponsorship of the Electric Transportation Coalition (ETC) and the US Departments of Energy and Transportation. The national goal to clean up the air we breathe was the impetus to the study we did in our region as was being done in nine other suburban regions throughout the country. The one-inch thick report we produced–“The Path to an EV Ready Community”–provided a guide that is still relevant and valuable today.

General Motors came out with its EV-1 vehicle which I had the pleasure to drive for a day; prospects were looking good for electric vehicles until suddenly the bottom dropped out of the market. All big manufacturers dropped their testing and production of electric vehicles. Our report was clearly ahead of its time.

Fast forward a couple of decades and electric vehicles have come into their own. All manufacturers I know of are predicting that over the next couple of decades electric vehicles will be the only cars and trucks they produce. They are environmentally clean, outperform traditional cars, need less maintenance, and are safer.

Hybrids that use traditional engines with electric assist have virtually taken over the market. Jane and I felt like pioneers in 2003 when we bought our first Prius. It got great gas mileage, required little maintenance, had less harmful emissions, and ran until we finally traded it in with more than 150,000 miles. Our experiences with the Priuses we bought in 2007 and 2012 were the same.

The path to electric vehicles that my earlier study had considered has made huge strides over the past several years. While Tesla is probably the best known of the electric vehicles, most manufacturers have an all-electric option. Chevrolet has the Bolt and Nissan has the Leaf among the better known models. They will help us reduce our carbon footprint, clean up the air, and more easily adapt to the many new automatic features that are becoming available.

But the shift in the power sources of our vehicles brings new challenges, all of which must be recognized and can be met. At a session “Juicing Up for Electric Vehicles” at the recent National Conference of State Legislatures I attended some of the issues were discussed. How should the sale of electricity be provided and regulated if necessary? Will utilities be able to handle the increased demand? How can equity and access be assured for drivers in the market if prices go up?

Coming with the electric vehicles are many automated features that can make driving safer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that of the over 37,000 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, more than 90% had a human error factor. Maybe the new cars will be able to have safety engineered into them.

Continuing my story about electric vehicles that began more than two decades ago, Jane and I purchased a Tesla a week ago. It is environmentally friendly, has many safety features, and will be very comfortable for my numerous trips to Richmond!

 

File photo 

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Thursday Morning Notes

Light Shines on ‘Humble Reston Artist’ — “John Charles Koebert of Reston said that when he came home from college in the 1970s, and announced to his parents that he had decided to change his life direction and become an art major, he recalled that they said, “You are making a hard 90 degree turn to nowhere. …You’ll be living with us for the next fifty years.” After college, Koebert embraced his new career teaching art during the day and honing his artistic skills at night.” [The Connection]

ThreatQuotient Banks Millions in Funding — “Reston threat intelligence and security software company ThreatQuotient Inc. has raised $7.86 million in fresh funding — and it aims to double in size in the next year, according to CEO John Czupak.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Companies Top Fastest-Growing Businesses List — “Fairfax County is home to 116 companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 list, which is 37 percent of the 315 companies on the list from the Washington region and more than double the number from any other Washington-area county or city. Fairfax County’s businesses also account for 40 percent of Virginia’s 288 businesses appearing on this year’s list.  [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Poll: How Do You Feel About ‘FCPSOn’?

This week, students from Herndon and South Lakes High School are picking up laptops from their respective schools as part of the new county schools initiative “FCPSOn.”

Fairfax County Public Schools plans to issue computers to all high school students in the county through the initiative. It is meant to transform learning for students and educators by providing ““equitable access to meaningful learning experience and technology to support their learning.”

A $50 annual fee is required for the program.

As the initiative rolls out, we’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think of the program in the poll below.

Photo via FCPS/YouTube

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Reston Company Named One of the Fastest Growing Companies in the Country

Verity Commercial, a Reston-based company, was recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in the country for the third time in four years.

The company, which is a real estate advisory and investment firm, was listed in the magazine’s Inc. 5000 list.

“Making our 3rd appearance on the most prestigious ranking for the nation’s fastest-growing businesses is incredible,” says Herm Diebler co-Founder of Verity. “Repeated success means we’re doing something right and our clients are experiencing long-term success using Verity’s approach. We wouldn’t be here without them.”

Verity was also given the 2019 ACE Business of the Year award by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. It was established in 2010.

The Inc. 500 list ranks businesses based on percentage revenue growth when comparing 2015 and 2018. Only companies that are U.S.-based, privately held, for profit and independent are considered for the list.

Photo via Google Maps

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Honoring the Greatest Generation — Students from Herndon High School’s marching band reflect on their travels to Normandy, France, where they performed in the festivities commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. [Fairfax County Public Schools via YouTube]

HawkEye 360 Closes on $70 Million Deal — The Herndon-based company, which uses formation-flying satellites, closed on a $70 million financing round led by Airbus, which bases its North American operations in Herndon. [DC Inno]

StreetShares Raises $30 Million — The Reston-based company raised nearly $30 million in fresh debt funding. The company specializes in small-business loans to veterans. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via Dario Piparo/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Tickets Open for 2019-2010 Professional Touring Artist Series — Members of the public can now purchase tickets for Reston Community Center’s professional touring artist series, which features best-selling authors, musicians, and other notable figures. [Reston Community Center]

A Recap of Totally Trucks — Reston Association crew members encouraged children and adults to climb their smaller and mostly off-road units at the 20th annual Totally Trucks event on August 1. [The Connection]

Public Interest Registry Has a New Chief Financial Officer — The Reston-based firm hired Laurie Tarpey as its CFO. She will expand the expertise of the company’s executive team and ensure the “the measured growth of the .org domain.” [Cision]

Photo by Dario Piparo/Flickr

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Reston Community Center Launches Community Survey After a Decade

Reston Community Center is in the midst of launching a community survey to help the center improve its services.

The survey, which went live today and is now available online, will explore how the community uses the center’s programs, faciliteis and services. It will also explore people’s opinions on a potential new performing arts venue in Reston.

The University of Virginia’s Center for Survey Research is conducting the survey, which will be available online through August 31. Selected Small District 5 households received a paper survey in the mail earlier in the summer.

“It has been 10 years since RCC did a comprehensive, scientific survey of its constituents. During that time, the population in Reston has changed and is expected to experience major growth as both new residents and businesses come to the part of the community that is now served by Metro’s Silver Line,” said RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon in a statement. “RCC wants to know how people recreate, enjoy arts and culture, obtain information about leisure-time options, and what they hope RCC offers – both now and in the future.”

After the survey is completed, the Center for Survey Research will analyze the survey and share results with the community and RCC’s Board of Governors. A full report will be issued in October.

Here’s more from RCC about the survey’s purpose:

We want to understand the preferences and experiences of residents in Reston regarding leisure, recreational, and cultural activities. Specifically, we are interested in how people want to spend their leisure time, how they find out about leisure and cultural opportunities, and how people feel about the potential of a new performing arts center.”

All responses are anonymous and the survey should take between 20 to 25 minutes to complete.

In addition to the survey, RCC plans to reach out to Reston businesses and employees to gauge their opinions.

Photo via Reston Community Center

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Monday Morning Notes

South Lakes High School to Begin Distributing Laptops — Distribution of laptops provided by the school system begins this Wednesday (August 7). Students must be present to receive the laptop, which is part of a recent initiative by the school system to give laptops to students across the county. [South Lakes High School]

Police Search for Missing Great Falls Man — Local police are looking for William “Billy Brener, an 83-year-old Great Falls Man who went missing over the weekend. Brener is roughly 150 pounds and has gray hair and brown eyes. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Silver Line Construction Prompts Closures — Access to several lanes and ramps will be limited this week due to ongoing construction, including Sunrise Valley Drive, Sunset Hills Road, and Herndon Parkway. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Photo by Caroline Causey/Flickr

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Local High School Students to Receive School-Issued Computers This Fall

Students at Herndon and South Lakes high schools will go home with a school-issued laptop in the fall as part of a new countywide initiative when schools begins in late August.

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) plans to issue a computer to all high school students in the county through FCPSOn. By 2023, all students in the county could go home with laptops.

School officials say FCPSOn will transform learning for students and educators by providing “equitable access to meaningful learning experience and technology to support their learning.”

Devices will not replace teachers. Teachers are supported through ongoing, dynamic professional learning for teachers that will result in purposeful, collaborative student learning experiences,” FCPS wrote in a statement.

SLHS and HHS staff plan to distribute laptops during Teacher Advisory classes during the first week of school. A community meeting to discuss the initiative is planned for August.

The program requires an annual $50 fee for high school students. The fee covers technology support services and the potential costs of replacing equipment in need of repair.

FCPS also allocated $4.3 million in the fiscal year 2020 budget for the initiative. The budget was approved on May 23.

Students can use their own laptop instead of a county-issued laptop, but they must receive approval from their school to do so.

A pilot program first began in 2016 for schools in the Chantilly Pyramid.

More information about the rollout of the program in Reston and Herndon will be available over the summer.

Video via FCPS

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Local Social Media Influencer to Perform in Baltimore

Sissy Sheridan, a 15-year-old social media influencer, will perform in Baltimore in early August.

Sheridan, who has a combined following of more than 70,000 people, is set to perform at the Girls’ Life Fashion Bash on August 5.

She is known for hosting Nickelodeon’s web series “DIY with Me” and “Brat’s Chicken Girls.” She is also known for playing Angie in  “Chicken Girls,” a children’s web series. She also appeared on the Netflix show, “Maniac.”

The Girls’ Life Fashion Bash is a concert and fashion festival taht is organized by Girls’ Life magazine and iHeartRadio’s z104.3, according to its website. The bash will star Anna Cathcart, a Canadian actress, and Hayden Summerall, a singer and entertainer.

Photo via Sissy Sheridan/website

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Friday Morning Notes

OS International Expands — The Reston-based company acquired Vykin Corporation, which specializes in communications, intelligence, and IT support to the intelligence community. The move is the company’s fourth acquisition in the past four years. [ExecutiveBiz]

LeaseAccelerator Acquires Australian Company — The Reston-based developer of enterprise lease accounting software acquiring Guardian Global Systems, which provides real estate administration software. [Potomac Tech Wire]

Summerbration Concert is Tonight — Cedar Creek offers a country performance with dance construction at Reston Station Plaza from 7-9 p.m. The concert is free and open for all ages. [Reston Community Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Burglar Breaks into Business with Cinder Block — Local police believe Wilson Escobar, 27, of Herndon broke into a business on the 1100 block of Elden Street on Sunday, July 7 at around 4 a.m. Police said the suspect broke into the business using a cinderblock, took cash and cigarettes from the business, and fled from the scene. [Herndon Police Department]

Big Money for PROOF.VC — The strategic capital firm, which is based in Reston, has raised more than $50 million in its second fund. Its second fund topped the first. [Washington Business Journal]

Two Northern Virginia Credit Unions Merge — Northwest Federal, which is based in Herndon, merged with Constellation Federal, which has operations in Reston and Herndon. The new company will be called Northwest Federal. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Augmented Identity Firm Officially Opens in Reston

Global firm IDEMIA, a company specializing in augmented identity, officially opened today (Thursday). The company moved its North America & Security headquarters from Billerica, Mass. to Reston Town Center.

The move brings 90 new jobs to Reston. Gov. Ralph Northam announced IDEMIA’s move to Reston in December last year.

IDEMIA develops, manufactures and markets security technology products and services for the telecommunications, payments and identity markets.

It defines augmented identity as “identity that ensures privacy and trust and guarantees secure, authenticated, and verifiable transactions.”

Photo via  IDEMIA/Facebook

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Report: Amazon Moves to Acquire Herndon Property

VAData Inc., an Amazon.com subsidiary, is moving to acquire a Herndon property from an affiliate of Perspecta Inc., the Washington Business Journal reports.

Although the transaction has not closed yet, the 57-acre site located at 13600 EDS Drive went under contract several months ago, according to the report.

The property has an assessed value of $80.7 million.

Future plans for the site are unclear, but sources told WBJ that demolition and data centers are anticipated.

Here’s more from the story:

The site has changed hands a couple of times over the years, but the family tree leads back to H. Ross Perot and his Electronic Data Systems Corp. EDS was acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co. in 2008. HP then spun off and merged its enterprise services business, including EDS, with Computer Sciences Corp. to form DXC Technology. DXC’s public sector business was then merged in 2018 with Vencore Holding Corp. and KeyPoint Government Solutions to form Perspecta.

When it was launched, Perspecta listed 13600 EDS as its primary corporate office, but it has since relocated its headquarters to Conference Center Drive in Chantilly. Perspecta continues to maintain a presence in the building, according to public filings. The property’s owner is listed in Fairfax County records as Enterprise Services LLC.

VAData is Amazon’s datacenter unit, which has been rapidly expanding in Northern Virginia.

Map via Google Maps

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Herndon Police Department Investigates Car Crash — Local police are investigating a car crash that left the driver of the vehicle, a juvenile, dead on Sunday (June 9) at 2 a.m. The cause of the crash is unknown. Three passengers were transported to area hospitals where they remain in serious condition. [Herndon Police Department]

Democratic Party Primary Set for Today — Polls opened at 6 a.m. for the primary today. Five candidates are vying for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor after veteran legislator Cathy Hudgins announced her intentions to retire earlier this year. [Fairfax County Government]

Farmers and Makers Market in Reston Town Center Today — The market, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, features farmers and artisans selling a mix of items, including produce and vintage items. [Reston Town Center]

Local Company Works to Reduce Electric Vehicle “Range Anxiety” — Electrify America is expanding its partnership with Walmart to a create a cross-country network of fast-charge station for electric vehicle owners. The partnership aims to tackle “range anxiety” with 120 fast charging stations at Walmart stores in 34 states. [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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