Reston, VA

Tuesday Morning Notes

Beware of Downed Power Lines — “The National Weather Service has indicated sustained winds of 10 to 20 mph with wind gusts up to 30 mph are likely for our area today. These winds, along with the saturated ground, may cause trees, tree limbs, and power lines to fall. Scattered power outages are possible.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

New Leadership at CertiPath — “CertiPath — a high-assurance identity management leader — has appointed industry veteran Jack L. Johnson as Advisor to its Board of Directors. In his new role, Jack will provide expertise and guidance on growth opportunities to the CertiPath leadership team and much more.” [CertiPath]

Reston’s EverWatch Buys Firm — “Reston’s EverWatch, a defense and national security contractor under the Enlightenment Capital umbrella, has made its largest acquisition to date, an Anne Arundel County IT and cloud services firm.” [Washington Business Journal]

Touring Artists to Take CenterStage — “Even as it faces the challenges of COVID-19, the Reston Community Center CenterStage has programmed a Professional Touring Artists Series that aims ‘to help our community reflect on how structural racism impacts us all and to celebrate diversity,’ said Paul Douglas Michnewicz, RCC’s Director of Arts and Events.” [DC Metro Theatre Arts]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Walmart Labs is expanding its presence in the Reston area.  The announcement comes as a growing number of technologies — including Microsoft — expand their footprint in the community.

The company’s technology arm has signed to lease establish a new technology center at 2245 Monroe Street, according to the Washington Business Journal.

WBJ also reports that the company will take up roughly 162,300 square-feet of a building owned by an affiliate of Barings Real Estate.

The building, which is located near the Herndon Metro Station, was recently renovated. The company already leases spaces at 10780 Parkridge in Reston.

The move would bring more than 100 jobs to Reston.

Photo courtesy Transwestern

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Volunteer Fairfax Announces 2020 AwardsVolunteer Fairfax is proud to share the Virtual 2020 Annual Volunteer Service Awards, where the 13 competitive award winners, and the Community Champions, are recognized and celebrated. Each honoree will have a uniquely crafted celebration board, called a Kudoboard. Volunteer Fairfax encourages everyone to visit these celebration boards and join them in recognizing these amazing volunteers by posting a congratulatory message, image, or video.” [Volunteer Fairfax]

Public Art Reston Launches New Online Platform — “Designed for the whole family to enjoy together, Public Art Reston’s Public Art Explorer pages are packed full of absorbing activities to do at home or while “exploring” the public artworks realized by Valerie Theberge, Mary Ann Mears, and Gonzalo Fonseca and found at various locations throughout Reston. Each activity packet introduces a key theme inspired by the artists and their artworks. Kids of all ages and their adults will learn fun facts, explore public art from different angles, and create through writing, drawing, and making the suggested art projects.” [Public Art Reston]

Boston Media Company Buys Reston Firm — “Reston-based marketing automation company Triblio has been acquired by Boston-based tech marketing and media company IDG Communications, the companies announced Tuesday. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.[Virginia Business]

Nearby: Search Underway for Missing 12-year-old — Local police are searching for Adi Pillau, a missing juvenile who was last seen in the 5300 block of Danas Crossing Drive. He is 5’4”, 120 pounds, and has brown eyes and black hair. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Reston Regional Library to Host Virtual Trivia Happy Hour — The library is organizing an online happy hour tomorrow (Thursday) from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The event takes place online and registration is required. [Reston Regional Library]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Metro to Reopen 15 Stations — “Metro today announced that 15 rail stations that had been closed as part of the transit agency’s Covid-19 response will reopen on Sunday, June 28. In addition, beginning Monday, June 29, buses will be added to the system’s 14 busiest bus lines to provide more capacity and more frequent service as the region reopens.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Election Day is Today — Polls are open until 7 p.m on the ballot for the Republican primary for U.S. Senate and Democratic primary for the U.S. House, district 11. Residents are reminded to wear a face-covering while voting. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Startup Raises $5 Million — “Reston, Virginia-based careMESH, curator of a healthcare communications platform, has closed on a $5 million seed funding round led by Assurance Capital and Pavey Family Investments. Dr. Peter S. Tippett, founder and CEO of careMESH, launched the company four years ago with a mission to improve healthcare communications with technology by streamlining patient information and maintaining data privacy.” [Technical.ly]

Supplies Needed for Child Care Programs — “The Office for Children (OFC) is seeking donations to support child care programs countywide in providing essential services to children and families. Donated supplies will support healthy hygiene practices and help child care centers and family child care programs maintain a clean and healthy environment.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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In an attempt to embrace the new normal, Herndon co-working space Office Evolution (205 Van Buren Street Suite) made serious changes around the facility that are intended to keep people safe as they return to an office environment.

Martin Gruszka, the location’s owner, said that he only lost around 5 percent of total revenue because of COVID-19. The remainder of his 120 customers is slowly preparing to return.

To maintain his customer base, while the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many non-essential businesses, Gruszka allowed people to freeze their memberships for three months so they wouldn’t have to pay for space they couldn’t use.

Gruszka said he worked through the last months to institute “’emergency operation” procedures to keep tenants safe.

Changes include:

  • thinning out seats in board rooms
  • getting rid of certain furniture items
  • spreading out desk
  • putting up whiteboards between workspaces that act as dividers
  • creating “sanitation stations” that offer cleaning products and hand sanitizer
  • putting up traffic direction signs
  • UV air sterilization systems

In addition to all the layout changes, Gruszka said that crews are coming in more frequently to dee-clean common areas in the space as well.

Though the co-working space didn’t host many virtual events because Gruszka said people didn’t really find value in them, he also said that the staff at the space work to create a welcoming “family” environment.

“We’ve had some networking groups that have been using our center,” he said.

As a national chain, Office Evolutions has locations around the United States and typically caters to mid-career adults who want a quiet, mature space to work, according to Gruszka.

To help its members, Office Evolution has used social media to promote things like small business loans, safety information, and other ways to help stay afloat during this crisis, Gruszka said.

Photos courtesy Office Evolution

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Herndon Police Department Releases ‘Where We Stand’ Guide — The police department offers a look at its use of force policy. “Trust and respect come through a solid foundation build on professionalism, strong policies, and continuous community engagement,”  HPD wrote. [Herndon Police Department]

Facial Recognition Tech Pitched at Microsoft Office — Microsoft tried to sell its facial recognition technology to the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to newly released emails. The company privately hosted DEA agents at its Reston office. [Tech Crunch]

Chicago Company Acquires Reston-based PagnatoKarp — “Reston-based wealth management firm PagnatoKarp has been acquired by Chicago-based Cresset Asset Management, the companies announced Wednesday.  A transaction amount was not disclosed. [Virginia Business]

State Not Ready for Phase Three — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday that statewide Covid-19 numbers ‘continue to look favorable,’ but that he will not move the commonwealth into phase 3 of reopening this week. ‘I want to have more time to see how the numbers look before we make changes, especially as we see surges in other parts of our country,’ Northam said.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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At a time when other industries are cutting back, Microsoft Corp. will invest $64 million to establish a new research and development hub in Reston Town Center.

The move will create 1,500 new jobs as the software giant occupies 400,000 square feet in Two Freedom Square (11955 Freedom Drive) in Reston Town Center. The company will retain 153,000 square feet of space it currently occupies at 12012 Sunset Hills Road.

Terrell Cox, Microsoft’s general manager said the company’s expansion in Reston will allow the company to “deliver even more solutions from a region known for its innovation and passion for technology.”

“One of Microsoft’s core principles is actively listening to our customers, so we can build and improve our technology based on their feedback. Being close to our customer base is extremely important to our ongoing collaborations,” Cox said.

Here’s how local and state elected officials responded to the news:

“Virginia, like the rest of the nation, is facing unprecedented job loss due to COVID-19, so this announcement couldn’t come at a better time,” said Governor Northam. “Microsoft Corp. and Virginia share a strong history, and we are proud that this major operation in Fairfax County will add to the company’s significant job count across our Commonwealth. Virginia is a leader in the information technology industry, and Microsoft’s continued investment here is a testament to our top-ranked business climate, infrastructure, and world-class workforce.”

Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill thanked Microsoft for its vote of confidence in Fairfax County and noted that he and Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, have made diversification of the local economy a priority.

“We are very excited about Microsoft’s expansion in Fairfax County,” Hill said. “This investment further strengthens our reputation as a business-friendly community and showcases our ability to attract the country’s top companies, even in these turbulent times. Chairman McKay, the Board of Supervisors and I are thrilled with this news, as we continue to work to diversify our economy.”

“Microsoft can choose from any number of technology hubs for its operations, and we are so pleased that the company chose to expand its operations in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia,” said Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “Because of our wealth of technology talent and the tech ecosystem here, this area is a great match for the company’s talent needs as well as its business goals.”

“Reston is proud to welcome Microsoft’s expansion in our Town Center,” said Senator Janet Howell. “Microsoft Corp. has been an important corporate citizen for many years. The decision to grow here is yet more proof that our region is a major technology hub.”

“I am thrilled that Microsoft has chosen to locate this significant operation and create 1,500 new jobs in Fairfax County,” said Delegate Kenneth Plum. “The Commonwealth and the County have a longstanding relationship with Microsoft, and this operation will only strengthen it. We look forward to welcoming the software development and R&D regional hub to the Reston Town Center.”

Microsoft will be eligible for a $22.5 million grant from the state once it completes the project. Some of that money will be used to fund partnerships with local colleges and universities to “develop the tech talent pipeline for cloud computing and related degrees to support its local expansion,” according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

The company has been in Reston since 2002. The initiative is expected to go live in summer 2021.

Photo via Google Maps

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Several local companies have snagged spots on the Fortune 500 list of the largest publicly-traded companies in the United States.

The list, which was published today, includes 11 companies from Fairfax County, representing the high number of Fortune 500 companies the county has ever had.

Rankings are based on revenues from last year.

“Only a handful of communities can say they are home to 11 Fortune 500 companies. It sends a really strong message from the corporate world that this is a strong, stable, resilient location for headquarters operations,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

Reston-based informational technology company SAIC was a newcomer to the list, coming in at#466. Beacon Roofing, a Herndon-based building materials company, came in at #434. Reston-based informational technology company Leidos Holdings took spot #289.

Photo via SAIC

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Parabon NanoLabs Inc., a Reston-based company that’s known for cracking cold cases across the country, is coming to a TV near you.

The DNA technology company is featured in “The Genetic Detective,” a new ABC docuries that will premiere on May 19 at 10 p.m. The show takes a deep dive into the company’s genetic genealogy division, which is led by genetic genealogist CeCe Moore.

Here’s more from ABC on the show:

From ABC News comes “THE GENETIC DETECTIVE” debuting TUESDAY, MAY 19 (10:00 – 11:00 p.m. EDT). The all-new series follows investigative genetic genealogist CeCe Moore as she uses her unique research skills to transform the face of crime solving. By working with police departments and crime scene DNA, Moore is able to trace the path of a violent criminal’s family tree to reveal their identity and help bring them to justice. “The Genetic Detective” is a co-production with ABC News and XCON Productions. Carrie Cook and Marc Dorian serve as co-executive producers for ABC News. Christine Connor is executive producer and Christopher K. Dillon is co-executive producer for XCon Productions. CeCe Moore is producer.

Moore, who is known for her genealogy work and the PBS series, “Finding Your Roots,” was hired by Steven and Paula Armentrout, the founders of the company, two years ago.

The series takes a look at Moore’s first case, the 1987 double homicide of a young Canadian couple, and the 1988 murder of an eight-year-old in Indiana. The show will air on Tuesdays from 10 to 11 p.m.

 

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Friday Morning Notes

Weird Brothers Adapts to Coronavirus — The local veteran-owned coffee shop has adapted to takeout curbside pick up and is offering local deliveries in the Herndon and Reston area. The owner says he’s seen a 50 percent drop in sales. [Patch]

Reston IT Company Names New CFO — “Reston-based information technology company Contegix announced Thursday that it has named Mike Dunn as its new chief financial officer. Dunn was most recently the CFO of systems integrator and managed hosting provider NeoSystems LLC.” [Virginia Business]

More Postponements for County Dockets — Although the Fairfax County Courthouse remains open, the Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court have changed their bond and arraignment schedule until further notice. [Fairfax County Government]

Verisign Inc. Donates $500,00 — The Reston-based company has donated the money to Northern Virginia’s COVID-19 response fund “as part of a broader effort to support those in the region.” [Community Foundation for Northern Virginia]

Metro Scales Back Service — “Metro will operate significantly reduced rail and bus service on Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5, maintaining a core network of 27 “lifeline” bus routes and providing twice-hourly rail service on all lines for the region’s essential travel need.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Education technology giant Blackboard, which operates its global headquarters in Reston, is a major force in the shift to digital teaching and learning during COVID-19..

The company — which is contracted by Fairfax County Public Schools and many other jurisdictions nationwide — is partnering with K-12 districts and higher education institutions in the region as COVID-19 forces schools to close for the remainder of the school year.

Earlier this week, State Gov. Ralph Northam ordered all schools to close through the academic year. The Fairfax County School Board is expected to release information on online teaching, impact on seniors and grading over the next several days.

We appreciate and support the work that our superintendent and staff have done to set in motion the distance learning initiative. Adjustments will be made over time as we learn from our students and staff. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has provided school districts additional guidance regarding continuity of learning that has an equity focus,” wrote board chairwoman Karen Corbett Sanders on Tuesday.

Classrooms will likely leverage Blackboard Collaborate, an online classroom solution, to complement Blackboard’s existing online communication tools and website.

“We reach over 50 percent of the top 100 U.S. largest school districts with our educational communications and learning management tools,” a Blackboard spokesperson told Reston Now in an interview.

The company is currently working with Amazon Web Services, an Amazon subsidiary that provides cloud computing platforms, to ensure the company can meet increased demand.

The spike in global demand for cloud-based learning solutions like Blackboard due to the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. But the company says it can apply lessons learned and best practices from situations like Hurricane Harvey and H1N1.

Blackboard is working with clients to understand how they might use the company’s services in two-week intervals to “improve our own processes and readiness,” the spokesperson said.

“These two-way conversations help us plan so that we can be more proactive with changes to our capacity.”

Photo via Blackboard

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A mini-satellite by a Herndon startup is getting special attention from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

HawkEye360, a data-analytics company that launched in 2015, will partner with the museum in an upcoming exhibit. The company uses satellites to gather data from across the world, the company’s chief operating officer Rob Rainhart told Reston Now.

The group was approached by the Smithsonian representatives after learning about the HawkEye360’s new Pathfinder satellite, which Rainhart said is leading the industry when it comes to small satellite data collection. Pathfinder was officially launched in December 2018 and uses geo-location to collect data.

HawkEye360 has already built the lifesize model and handed it off to the Smithsonian, Rainhart said, adding that he is excited for the company’s work to be included at a permanent exhibition at the museum.

Patrons will be able to visit the exhibit which includes the “microwaved size” model, sometime starting in 2025, according to the press release.

HawyEye360 was partially chosen to be included in the Smithsonian’s new exhibit because of the company’s effort to be a leader in refining the”space 2.0″ revolution, Rainhart said. Currently, the company has three satellites orbiting the earth — all pulling the data that served roughly several dozen customers in both the private and public sectors.

Scientists and engineers at the company use a unique class of radio frequency data to learn about the world, a press release said. Rainhart added that this is what helps to set the company apart from competitors — along with the new data sets that the company brings to the market.

“It’s a really innovative, high-tech startup that’s growing really fast,” Rainhart said. He says that the company also helps to monitor things like illegal fishing or maritime activity, as well as things like providing a visual view of an area after natural disasters.

Going forward, the company wants to launch 18 satellites and are on track to launch three more in September.

With roughly 60 employees, Rainhart said that the company hopes to grow and continue working with clients across the globe.

Photo courtesy HawkEye360

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It’s no secret that Northern Virginia is well-known for being a technology corridor.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn (D) is looking for ways to bring the benefits of emerging technologies to all residents.

In a board matter proposed this week, Alcorn says he wants to find ways to promote innovative and equitable technologic Fairfax County.

Here’s more from the board matter:

Beyond our internal investments in GIS, other examples of our leadership in advancing technology include these initiatives championed through our Economic Advisory Commission (EAC):

  • Our pilot with Dominion Energy is the first state-funded connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) public transportation demonstration in Virginia.
  • Testing of driverless cars, by public and private entities, on our more than 70 miles of “connected corridors” in the county.
  • The county’s state-funded efforts to attract and retain workers for high-demand IT positions, including cybersecurity.   
  • Our partnership with Smart City Works and Refraction utilizing their $750,000 federal grant to increase regional capacity to bring technologies to market and grow innovative companies.

To complement these EAC activities we can also do more to promote innovative and equitable technology in Fairfax County. The Board’s IT Committee, which I now chair, provides an excellent opportunity for board members to explore how we can use technology more efficiently and ensure that our residents also benefit from new technology.

In concert with the efforts by the county’s EAC and the Economic Development Authority (EDA) to encourage emerging technology companies, it is also important that we look to bring the benefits of safe and consumer-friendly emerging technologies to our residents as consumers.  And we should do so with an equity lens in mind so that residents who are in most need of the efficiencies and cost reductions often associated with these innovations actually receive the benefits.

The board is expected to discuss ways to promote emerging technologies at a future IT meeting committee.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Carahsoft, a Reston-based IT company that was founded in 2004, is taking part in the state-based veteran employment program.

State Gov. Ralph Northam announced this week that the company will participate in the Virginia Values Veterans Certification Program, which aims to give veterans more employment opportunities through training and education.

The Reston-based company is the 1,000th to receive certification in the state program.

The program was created in 2012 and is describes the first state-based program dedicated to improving employment opportunities for veterans by training employers on national best practices for recruitment, hiring, and retention.

Northam plans to visit Carahsoft next week to present the certification.

Photo via Unsplash

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A company that specializes in delivering vitamin infusions created by its medical professionals will celebrate its grand opening next week.

Core IV Therapy recently opened at 1900 Campus Commons Drive. It offers “on-demand vitamin IV hydration,” according to its website. Customers request concierge mobile services in Northern Virginia or make an appointment at the Reston location.

Here’s more from the company:

We specialize in providing a fast and effective way to deliver hydration, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes right into your bloodstream for 100% absorption and bioavailability by one of our experienced and knowledgeable medical professionals.

Our drips are designed to help you achieve increase energy, enhanced mood, improved stamina and muscle recovery, decreased stress and anxiety, better immunity, hydration, improved skin, and overall wellness just to name a few.

A grand opening ceremony with the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is set for Wednesday, Feb. 12. from 3-5 p.m.

Image via Core IV/YouTube

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