Tysons, VA

In today’s digital environment, organizations must collect vast volumes of data, analyze that data to retain high-value customers, predict trends, identify emerging markets, mitigate risk, drive innovation and more.

This means IT leaders must know how to gather and store information, combine data into meaningful clusters, mine it for compelling insights, and present it in a way that can help the business.

“Nowadays every company needs data-literate IT leaders who understand how to manipulate data, hear the voice of data, and translate insights into a competitive advantage for the business,” says Barbara Hoopes, Associate Professor of Business Information Technology at Virginia Tech.

For those companies or individuals looking to deepen their data analytics skill set, Virginia Tech’s online Master of Information Technology (VT-MIT) program provides an excellent foundation.

Not everyone has the time or financial resources to commit to a full master’s degree program, however. Some may already have a master’s and are just looking for a narrow update on a current skillset. For these reasons, the VT-MIT program also offers IT professionals the option to earn a graduate certificate in six specialized IT subject areas, including Business Analytics and Data Mining.

“IT leaders can find a certificate that speaks exactly to their professional needs without having to commit several years to pursuing a master’s degree,” says Hoopes. In fact, students can earn a certificate in as little as 12 months.

Whether looking to enhance existing skills or prepare for a major career transition, VT-MIT students can expect:

  • Enhanced marketability as they develop skills where a current dearth of talent is driving competitive salaries and prime opportunities for career advancement.
  • Greater convenience through exclusively online courses and a flexible schedule that allow for VT-MIT students to stay in the workforce while they earn a credential, shift their course loads at busier times for their business, and benefit from the experience of peers from across the globe.
  • Rapid upskilling in high-demand areas through focused graduate certificate options. Employers often provide tuition reimbursement “to contribute to the skill sets and the knowledge base of employees without having to release them to earn a degree as a full-time student,” says Hoopes.

Data analytics can provide organizations with invaluable insights — but only if IT leaders know how to parlay data into insights that drive informed business decisions.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology and graduate certificate options at vtmit.vt.edu.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

As we begin week 3 of this fight against the Coronavirus, I wanted to take a moment and express my sympathy for everyone impacted by this horrendous circumstance.

I know this hasn’t been easy in so many different ways, for so many different people, but hopefully we’ll all be able to go back to normal life soon(ish) and get everyone back on their feet. In the meantime, if you are able to, there are many ways you can support our local community. If I don’t mention your organization, PLEASE add it to the comment section below to get the word out.

Meals for Those on the Front Line (Nurses, Firefighters, EMT, Doctors): This helps support the local restaurants all while donating meals to those who deserve extra thanks right.

  • Social Burger + Sandwich Shop: A partnership to drop off 900 meals to INOVA Fairfax over the next 3 weeks. Meals are $12 + tax, and will be donated to ER, respiratory, laboratory, surgical and several other departments. Order on the Social Burger site, look for “Frontline and First Responder Meals“.
  • CrossFit Mill Street is joining this partnership and hosting ZOOM Fitness Sessions (check out the times on their Facebook page). For everyone who attends, they’ll donate $2 per person towards a meal through Social Burger + Sandwich Shop.
  • INCA Social: Delivering 50 meals 2 days a week to the INOVA Critical Care Unit at $8 a meal. You can order on their app or website: Order Now -> Delivery -> Choose Items -> Buy a Nurse a Meal (at the bottom).
  • Vienna Inn + Church Street Pizza: Providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the Vienna Fire Department and Vienna Police Department. You can sign up for a slot here.
  • A Shout out to Clarity in Vienna for delivering their Focaccia Pizza to some medical workers and emergency personnel last week on their own.

Also don’t forget about the BRAWS Organization in Vienna. Not only do they support women directly, they support other organizations like Women Giving BackDonate money, new undergarments or menstrual supplies here.

There are also multiple signs up for helping people directly impacted:

Last but not least — I know for my family, talking about where we’re going to get take out or delivery can infuse some small bit of normalcy into our day, all while supporting our local businesses to help them weather this storm. The Vienna Foodies group has put together a spreadsheet to help identify places that are open, their operating schedules, and how you can get the food.

Some things we’ve done are take my kids for a walk to get ice cream at Rita’s or Kiln & Co, grab sandwiches at Sandwich Shop, or go try a new restaurant we normally wouldn’t get a chance to. A positive note is that there’s no traffic — so it’s a quick drive to anywhere to get take out from a new place.

Last night we actually got Peter Chang’s in Arlington, we got Liberty BBQ one night in Falls Church… you can see where my savings in gas money has gone these past 2 weeks. If you’re worried about how they’re handling the food — call and ask. For example, Kiln and Co has free toppings, but nobody should be sharing a spoon… so the smart people there are packaging the toppings to go so there’s no contact.

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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 Kimberly Berry

Our law firm handles many different types of federal retirement issues in our representation of federal employees.

One of the more common types of retirement cases that we often handle involves the representation of federal employees in the disability retirement process before various federal agencies and the Office of Personnel Management.

Federal employees filing for disability retirement are typically covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System or the Civil Service Retirement System.

Federal employees should consider the following questions before they pursue OPM disability retirement:

How serious are the federal employee’s medical issues and are they linked to the federal employee’s position description duties?

When making a disability retirement decision, keep in mind that OPM evaluates your continued ability to work with your medical condition in the context of the duties described in your position description. If the medical disability is not deemed serious enough, or not fully supported by medical documentation and evidence, and is not sufficiently linked to your inability to “usefully and efficiently” carry out your job duties, then OPM may deny the disability retirement application.

How long is the medical disability realistically expected to last?

OPM requires that a medical disability be expected to last at least one year in duration. When considering whether to file for disability retirement, it is important for you to consider the expected duration of your medical disability. Disabilities with known shorter duration could be problematic for you in the application process.

Can a federal employee survive on a reduced annuity?

If you are considering filing for OPM disability retirement, understand that this type of retirement usually provides you with a lower monthly retirement annuity in comparison to full retirement. As a result, we recommend that you obtain benefit estimates from your human resources representative and consult with a financial advisor about the impact of a potential reduced annuity prior to filing for disability retirement.

Are there modifications to a federal employee’s current position that can be made to allow the federal employee to continue to work?

Oftentimes a federal agency will work with you to provide you with a reasonable accommodation (i.e., change in duties, hours, telework or other adjustments) that can make your current position and medical condition workable. This can often be the best solution, even if it is only a short-term solution.

As a part of the disability retirement process, the federal agency is required to certify that it is unable to accommodate your disabling medical condition in your present position. The agency must also certify that it has considered you “for any vacant position in the same agency, at the same grade or pay level, and within the same commuting area, for which [you] qualified for reassignment.”

Do your medical professionals believe that you should not continue in your current position?

This is an important consideration when filing for disability retirement. In most cases, physicians will be open with their patients about whether it is a good idea to keep working in their current federal employment position.

There are at least two reasons to discuss a possible filing for OPM disability retirement with your treating medical provider(s). First, your health should be of primary importance and a consideration when determining whether continuing in a job hinders or impedes your recovery. Second, physicians and their medical opinions are necessary and, in fact, crucial in the disability retirement application process with OPM.

OPM will require a physician’s statement about your medical issues, and the physician’s statement can either make or break the outcome of your disability retirement application.

When considering OPM disability retirement, it is important to obtain the advice and representation of legal counsel. You can contact our law firm through www.retirementlaw.com, www.berrylegal.com, or by telephone at (703) 668-0070, to schedule a consultation to discuss your individual federal employment retirement matter. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Open Houses: March 27

Three Stones Residential agents pride ourselves on our consultative service approach, local expertise and real estate market knowledge. With over 26 years of business experience in the DMV, we have consistently performed in the top 2% of local Realtors and are currently the #1 group at Keller Williams Metro Center. 

2913 Rensselaer Court, Vienna
4 BD/2.5 BA
Agent: Weichert Realtors
Listed: $625,000
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

10509 Wickens Road, Vienna
4 BD/3.5 BA
Agent: Optime Realty
Listed: $960,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

9480 Virginia Center Boulevard #203, Vienna
2 BD/2 BA
Agent: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Realty
Listed: $389,900
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

1943 Griffith Road, Falls Church
6 BD/5 BA
Agent: Kw Metro Center
Listed: $1,455,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

6721 Kennedy Lane, Falls Church
6 BD/5.5 BA
Agent: Signature Realtors Inc
Listed: $1,065,000
Open: 4:30-6:30 p.m.

 

1839 Lusby Place, Falls Church
6 BD/6 BA
Agent: Samson Properties
Listed: $1,394,500
Open: 1:30-3 p.m.

 

6801 Market Square Drive, McLean
4 BD/2.5 BA
Agent: Keller Williams Realty Falls Church
Listed: $849,900
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

6600 Old Chesterbrook Road, McLean
6 BD/5.5 BA
Agent: Weichert Realtors
Listed: $1,399,000
Open: Saturday & Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

Our role is to offer sound advice and guidance to our clients in order for them to achieve their goals in either buying, selling, leasing or managing real estate. We are truly “Your Home… for Everything Real Estate.” To schedule a private showing of these or any other properties of interest please do not hesitate to contact us here or email us at [email protected].

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Three Stones Residential agents pride ourselves on our consultative service approach, local expertise and real estate market knowledge. With over 26 years of business experience in the DMV, we have consistently performed in the top 2% of local Realtors and are currently the #1 group at Keller Williams Metro Center. 

The following properties were recently listed in the Tysons, McLean, Vienna and Falls Church areas

Our role is to offer sound advice and guidance to our clients in order for them to achieve their goals in either buying, selling, leasing or managing real estate. We are truly “Your Home… for Everything Real Estate.” To schedule a private showing of these or any other properties of interest please do not hesitate to contact us here or email us at [email protected].

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Are You Ready To Be Counted?

The U.S. Census count is underway, the enormous effort happens once every 10 years to count every person living in the United States regardless of age or immigration status.

The census helps determine how much funding Fairfax County receives from money allocated by the federal government to improve transportation, provide education, healthcare, affordable housing and prepare for emergencies. It also determines how many representatives are sent to Richmond and Washington D.C to advocate for the county.

According to the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia, Fairfax County could lose $12,000 in potential funding over the course of a decade for each person who does not respond to the census.

In March, the U.S. Census Bureau began mailing every household an invitation to complete a simple questionnaire about who lives at their address on April 1. People can respond to the census online, by phone, or by mail.

The census will ask for names, age, sex, race and the relation of everyone living in each household. Federal law keeps those responses safe, secure and confidential.

Everyone should be counted to ensure Fairfax County receives its fair share of federal funds and representation.

Learn more at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/topics/census.

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Luxury for Less: March 25

Welcome to Luxury For Less, a weekly column highlighting the best deals in luxury real estate. Written by Brandy Schantz of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury For Less offers tips and tricks navigating the competitive real estate market and securing the home of your dreams. To learn more, visit ttrsir.com.

These are certainly unprecedented times. I hope everyone is staying safe and practicing social distancing.

The real estate market is still moving though a bit differently than usual. We’re using FaceTime, Zoom and other video tools to show homes and TTR Sotheby’s International Realty has stopped holding open houses and instead we are taking appointments for one person at a time to see our listings. This week felt like a good time to feature a home I would most want to be quarantined in.

This house features over 15,000 square feet, 2 guest houses, an amazing wine cellar and a gym. Renovated by award winning BOWA in 2012, you can relax in the jetted tub, enjoy a glass of wine in the recreation room, or swim in the saltwater pool. Who would actually want to leave this house? Now reduced in price by nearly $500,000, check out this amazing home in McLean.

To see this beautiful home or any of the other homes on the market in the D.C. area, please contact Brandy at [email protected] or 571-263-0206.

8548-A Georgetown Pike McLean (Reduced $495,000)

Check out the rest of this week’s Luxury for Less listings:

The properties listed are a small selection of properties available in the Tyson’s Corner area. For a full list of properties listed on MLS and private exclusives, please contact Brandy Schantz.

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This is a sponsored column by 3Summit Investment Management, LLC based in Vienna, VA. 3Summit designs custom, modern investment portfolios and has unique expertise in managing investment risk.

By Dan Irvine | Principal, 3Summit Investment Management

Many investors who have looked at their investment account recently are stunned by both the size of the losses they have experienced and how quickly those losses happened.

In late February, stock markets around the world descended into bear market territory (losses greater that 20%) in the shortest period in history. That is right, our markets declined to bear market territory faster than during the Great Depression!

Worst of all, conventional diversification techniques of holding stocks, bonds, and precious metals has not helped lessen the pain. The chart below shows the returns of different asset classes from their highs through March 23, 2020.

Asset Class Losses from Highs Through March 23, 2020

Chart Data: Source – Morningstar Direct. U.S. Bonds (AGG) from high 3/6/20. U.S. Stocks (SPY) from high 2/19/20. International Stocks (ACWX) from high 1/16/20. Gold (GC00) from high 2/24/20.

The only true safe haven in this market route has been cash. Investors often do not realize that conventional diversification usually fails during severe bear markets until they look at their investment account balances during times like these.

Lowering the Risk of Large Losses

If conventional diversification fails, what can an investor do to protect their portfolio against large losses in bear markets? The best solution is to add additional sources of diversification not found in conventional portfolios but actively used in modern portfolio design.

Investment strategies like trend following are designed to protect portfolios against rare events like we face today. Trend following strategies reduce the amount of stocks in a portfolio when markets begin generating large losses and start to trend down. Trend following strategies are a time-tested method to help avoid large portfolio losses, and they have been successful once again in this bear market.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Val Sotillo, Northern Virginia-based Realtor and Falls Church resident. Please submit your questions to her via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: How has COVID-19 affected our real estate market so far?

Answer: I hope this column finds all of you healthy and safe. Many people who had planned to or needed to buy or sell their home this year are struggling with that decision during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While I would like to give a straightforward answer, no one knows what is going to happen next because we’ve never been here before. All I can do is offer my perspective on what is happening right now.

What Is Happening In Our Market

As of today, real estate is included as an essential business, so realtors can continue to practice and assist in transactions. However, this is not “business as usual,” including the requirements that social distancing and preventive measures are essentially mandated.

Other service providers like lenders and title companies, are continuing their business operations. Many banks are going to remote and drive-through only operations. Title companies are likely taking precautionary measures as well and they might attempt to employ alternate procedures using mail, electronic means and/or a combination of these to meet their legal requirements.

Combining the reactions of my clients and clients of other local agents I’ve spoken with over the last few days, it seems that most buyers are staying the course with their purchase. This is a period of uncertainty, so financial situations are changing by the minute. While some might elect to sit it out, others will be looking for opportunities to take advantage of low interest rates.

I’ve been closely monitoring the Tysons market, and the number of new listings in the past weeks has not yet changed that much. Within 5 miles from Tysons, there were 113 new listings in the first week of March, 127 on the second week, and 100 new listings on the week of March 16 to the 22.

However, the graphic below provided by ShowingTime indicates the number of showings in Virginia has significantly dropped in the past week.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

It’s hard to believe, but agents are still out showing homes for now.

It looks a lot different: gloves, sanitizer, Clorox wipes, or maybe a FaceTime showing, but people are still buying and selling homes in Vienna. My company, McEnearney Associates, has cancelled all public and broker open houses for the remainder of the month (and probably longer), however individual showings are still happening.

In the past 10 days, as of this writing, there were 70 new properties listed for sale in all of Vienna (including a bunch that were listed as “coming soon”). During those 10 days, 34 homes have gone under contract.

Believe it or not, I think any impact on the housing market will be short lived, and it’ll mostly look like lower or paused inventory, especially if our state is put on shut down. Talks of a recession don’t resemble the housing market crash of 2008, mostly because most of the people who own a home right now, were actually qualified to buy it instead of the bad loans given out during 2005-2006.

Unemployment will certainly have an impact on mortgage, but there’s also talks of suspending mortgage payments for a year on Fannie or Freddie mac loans, so I don’t expect there to be a sudden influx of distressed properties when this is done.

My educated guess is that in May or June when we get the “mostly clear” to resume activities, you’ll see all of the homes that would have been listed during March/April hit the market at once. Our low inventory issue may suddenly be temporarily solved.

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