Tysons, VA

Two Tysons companies are among the 15 tech employers listed for an upcoming virtual job hosted by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

The fair is targeted to mid-career tech professionals, especially ones with security clearances, and the companies represented will have a total of 3,000 open jobs in the Northern Virginia region, according to FCEDA.

“While the fair is primarily for those in tech fields including data science, software engineering, IT, cybersecurity, defense and aerospace, some companies are featuring non-tech positions such as marketing, sales, finance, human resources and legal,” according to FCEDA.

Companies signed up for the fair include:

Previously, FCEDA hosted a virtual career fair for recent college graduates.

“Every job represents a household, so when we connect people — whether newly minted graduates or those midway through a career — to thousands of open jobs, we are really improving lives, saving households and communities,” Victor Hoskins, FCEDA’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

People will be able to browse companies in a virtual lobby before entering “virtual booths” to view open positions and video conference with recruiters.

The job fair will be hosted on Tuesday, July 14, from 1-4 p.m. People can register online.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

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Park Party Is Over — “A video supplied by a local resident showed throngs of bathing-suit-clad youths cavorting and whooping it up and swigging alcohol at the park’s scenic waterfall… Fairfax County Park Authority officials are beefing up police presence at [Scotts Run Nature Preserve], and authorities soon will be prohibiting parking along Georgetown Pike and some nearby neighborhood streets.” [Inside NoVa]

Empty Offices — “Many companies in the county are likely to shrink their footprints to account for increased remote work, according to surveys the FCEDA has tracked, while others that may have been considering a move to Fairfax have put those searches on hold, [Victor] Hoskins said. The county’s office vacancy rate stood at 13.9% at the end of 2019, according to the county’s 2021 budget plan.” [Washington Business Journal]

Vienna Hit With Power Outage — Thunderstorms last night swept across Northern Virginia. Dominion Energy has now resolved a power outage that was affecting over 1,700 customers around 8 p.m. in the Vienna area. It was caused by a circuit outage, according to Dominion. [Dominion Energy]

ICYMI: Protest Held in McLean — “Hundreds of people chanted and marched in a Black Lives Matter protest led by six McLean High School students on Wednesday.” [Tysons Reporter]

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Five companies headquartered in Tysons and one in the Falls Church area have made this year’s Fortune 500 list.

At #41, Freddie Mac in Tysons nabbed the highest spot of the 11 Fairfax County companies on the list, according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA).

The rankings are based on the companies’ 2019 revenue, according to the press release.

The local companies on the list cover a wide variety of industries. “The wide diversity of the industry sectors represented here also is striking, everything from our traditional strengths in IT, aerospace and defense to financial services, hospitality and construction, and that also speaks well for the stability and resiliency of our business base,” Victor Hoskins, FCEDA’s president and CEO, said in the press release.

The Tysons companies on the list include:

  • #41 — Freddie Mac
  • #96 — Northrop Grumman in the Falls Church area
  • #97 — Capital One Financial
  • #155 — DXC Technology
  • #338 — Hilton Worldwide Holdings
  • #450 — Booz Allen Hamilton

“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,” Hoskins said.

Last year, seven of the 10 Fairfax County companies on the Fortune 500 list were based in the Tysons area.

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New Unemployment Numbers for Fairfax County — “With 629,185 county residents in the civilian workforce and 16,992 looking for jobs, the county’s unemployment rate of 2.6 percent was up from 2.1 percent in February, according to figures reported April 29 by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.” [Inside NoVa]

Falls Church Senior Home Needs Masks — “The Kensington Falls Church is asking community members to sew surgical gowns for use by its staff.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Electric Bills Going Down — “Most Dominion Energy residential customers should see their bills drop in May, according to a Thursday news release from the company. The reduction will be around $6 per month for the ‘average residential customer,’ the release said.” [The Virginian-Pilot]

Create a Love Letter to Tysons — “Tysons Reporter is looking for video submissions of verbal ‘love letters’ to neighbors around the Tysons area.” [Tysons Reporter]

Small Business Loan Success — The Fairfax County Economic Authority interviewed the owner of Tysons-based Falcon Labs on what it was like getting a PPP loan. [FCEDA]

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As part of the Town of Vienna’s efforts to boost economic development, the town recently partnered with a state agency to offer free counseling sessions for small businesses.

The town announced the Small Business and Supplier Diversity program yesterday.

“This is an opportunity for Vienna small businesses to learn about and take advantage of state programs and certifications that may help them do just that,” Economic Development Manager Natalie Monkou said in a press release. “This is a free service provided to current and future business owners and is an easy partnership that benefits businesses, the town and the state.”

The one-on-one, one-hour counseling sessions will be coordinated by Chris Ley, the NoVa business services manager at the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, according to the press release.

“Ley will discuss with small business owners and managers state certification programs and purchasing opportunities that may open them to new opportunities,” according to the press release. “She’ll also have information about regional events that help connect businesses and marketing opportunities.”

The first meeting is set to take place from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday, March 20, in the second-floor conference room at Town Hall and will be held the third Friday of every month. The town requests that businesses schedule an appointment by emailing [email protected]

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A new apprenticeship program in Tysons will allow a wide range of job seekers in the technology industry to get a foothold in the workforce.

The initiative welcomed 10 apprentices at a signing event last Friday (Feb. 21) at the Alarm.com headquarters, where the apprentices will be working for a year, according to a press release.

The 10 chosen participants were selected from over 600 applicants, according to Megan Johns, the apprenticeship program manager. “It was a pretty rigorous process,” she said.

Applicants went through an aptitude test, which consisted of computer skills, a phone call and an in-person panel interview, Johns said.

Apprentices range in age and background according to Johns, who added that the participants are roughly 20-40 years old. 

The Tysons-based company helps clients with home and business security, according to its website. Founded in 2000, the website said Alarm.com lets people secure their homes remotely using technology that coordinates with personal devices.

As a state-funded initiative created in partnership with the Northern Virginia Community College and GO Virginia‘s economic development initiative, the program will include three members from the military community, the press release said.

One program participant spent more than 20 years serving in the army and National Guard, while another is a marine and the third is a military spouse, Johns said.

“There are more than 100,000 job openings right now in Northern Virginia, half of them in technical fields, so the need for connecting companies with talent is obvious,” Fairfax County Economic Development Authority CEO Victor Hoskins said.

At the signing event, speakers discussed talent acquisition efforts, the growing demand for on-the-job learning experiences and technical education, according to the press release.

After their initial year at the company, program participants will be able to apply for long-term positions within the company, according to Johns, who said Alarm.com is “rapidly growing” and looking for talent.

Photo courtesy Alarm.com

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Three months into her job as Vienna’s new economic development manager, Natalie Monkou has an abundance of ideas for how to boost business in the town.

Monkou, an Annadale resident, previously worked in Arlington County as a liaison between the county and three business improvement districts (BIDs): Rosslyn, Ballston and Crystal City. Before that, she worked as the special assistant to Prince George’s County’s deputy chief of economic development.

Currently, Monkou has been on a “listening tour” around the town and holding public forums to receive input.

So far, the tour has been “really good,” Monkou told Tysons Reporter at Caffe Amouri earlier this week. “I’m trying to meet everybody.”

“Everybody” includes local businesses, commercial real estate brokers, local organizations that work with businesses and the Vienna Business Association.

While Monkou said she hasn’t heard anything surprising yet — mostly issues about high rents, property owners, vacancies and traffic — she said the people she has met with have different opinions on what economic development is and how it should work.

In an hour-long conversation with Tysons Reporter, Monkou shared a variety of ideas she’d like to look into for boosting Vienna businesses, like offering a walking tour with the mayor, improving the website for tourists and looking into how to turn the industrial area — what she calls a “sleeper hit” — into more of a destination.

But she said her main goal for this year is to get more data before she starts to make big changes. “I’ve heard lots of stories,” she said. Now she wants the data.

Currently, she said she’s working on a proposal for a market study that will look into Vienna’s competitiveness in the D.C. market, along with collecting demographic information and a SWOT analysis.

Using the study’s data, she wants to create an economic development strategy. Both the study and strategy could take anywhere from six months to a year, she said.

Her other top priorities for this year include a focus on the town’s budget and also figuring out how to market local businesses better outside of the town.

“I think there are opportunities to do more marketing and promotion of business here,” she said, adding that Vienna already supports local businesses well. “Why would I come here? Why would I shop here when I don’t live here?”

How to make Vienna a destination for nonresidents is on Monkou’s mind, as are controversial topics like the moratorium on new development guidelines for Maple Avenue — known as the “MAC” — and Tysons’ potential impact on Vienna.

“I want to be a part of MAC convos,” she said, adding that businesses have brought it up in discussions with her.

Monkou is clear that whatever happens with the MAC, which has been put on hold until June so the town can redo its guidelines, won’t slow her down and that there are plenty of areas around Vienna — like near Caboose Tavern — that she can focus on.

As for Tysons, Monkou said business owners can look to the growing community for potential customers.

A part of that involves making it easier for people to get to Vienna, which will require a look at traffic congestion and parking problems, she said. (For cycling enthusiasts, Monkou said she’s aware of how “special” the W&OD Trail is to the town and she said she wants to promote it more.)

As she dives more into these areas, Monkou expects lots of conversations with several town departments, like parks and recreation staff, as she works to merge traditional economic development with a “BID-like overlay” that includes online ads and events.

At the end of the day, Monkou said it’s all about “unique ways to promote the town’s assets.”

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The West Falls Church Economic Development Project in the Little City has updated plans, including a new design for the hotel.

The Falls Church City Council held a joint work session with the Planning Commission and Economic Development Authority on Monday (Dec. 9) to review progress and discuss project aesthetics.

A presentation by James Snyder, the city’s director of community planning and economic development services, explored how the new development will look in the community and revealed a variety of building styles and colors to break up block redundancy.

People can expect numerous trees to be included in the final project, rooftop greenery, a grocery store, hotel, a new high school, senior living homes, family housing, shops and pedestrian-friendly walkways in the development, according to the presentation.

It has not been announced which hotel or grocery store will move into the space, but a commissioner said the announcement should be made either in the spring or summer of 2020.

Images and blueprints from the presentation primarily featured grey and white brick buildings with red, light wood and metal accents. Architects and designers said they looked toward New York and D.C. for industrial design ideas.

“The biggest change is the hotel. We heard everybody’s feedback that time that they were not thrilled with the hotel design, so we have started in a new direction,” another representative said.

The plans are expected to remain somewhat consistent throughout the next ideation phases, except for the senior living center, according to Snyder, who added that the Planning Commission is still awaiting development plans from the senior living facility.

“I like the geometric forms and modern architecture,” Planning Commission Chair Russell Wodiska said. “That’s a new look for Falls Church.”

Going forward in January, the next steps will be to work on creating a sense of community in the development, another commissioner said.

This Thursday (Dec. 12), community members are welcome to attend an event at the Town Hall (300 Park Avenue) from 7-9:30 p.m. where they will be able to learn more about the project and share their comments.

Image via City of Falls Church

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The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) announced today (Monday) that it has poached another one of Arlington’s economic development officials.

Back in July, Fairfax County hired Victor Hoskins, the then-head of the Arlington Economic Development (AED) who helped bring Amazon’s HQ2 to Arlington, to become FCEDA’s president and CEO.

Now, FCEDA is hiring Alex Iams as executive vice president, according to a press release.

Iams served as AED’s interim director after Hoskins left for the Fairfax County position.

“Iams has spent 13 years at AED, including five years as [an] assistant director before being named interim director,” the press release said. “The position is a new one at the FCEDA.”

AED’s bio for Iams says:

Alex Iams has spent the last 16 years working in economic development experience, including the past 12 with Arlington County. He has been the Assistant Director at Arlington Economic Development (AED) since 2014, focusing on efforts to lower the office vacancy rate and diversify the local economy. Before joining the director’s office, Iams worked on the land use and infrastructure finance plans for the redevelopment of Crystal City and the Columbia Pike area.

In addition, he has served in various leadership roles in Arlington County government, including a four-year term on the Arlington County Employee Retirement System Board of Trustees and as Acting Assistant Director of the Department of Environmental Services.

Iams has a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington.

Iams is set to begin his new job on Jan. 21.

“The EDA’s talent initiative is unprecedented in this region, and I am excited to have the chance to make a difference in such a large community and one that is emphasizing transit-oriented development,” Iams said in the press release.

Photo via Arlington Economic Development

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Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors approved funding to help the Town of Vienna find economic development solutions.

The Town of Vienna approached the county earlier this year about splitting the cost of an economic development strategy and market study totaling $100,000.

The town set aside its $50,000 half when it approved its fiscal year 2020 budget.

Recently, the town has taken steps recently to work towards boosting its economic development and address vacancies plaguing Maple Avenue.

The town created its first-ever economic development manager position in the summer and hired a business development manager in Arlington County for the role in November.

The town had a 15% vacancy rate with 138 vacant spaces — 68 of which are on Maple Avenue, Scott Sizer from the Department of Economic Initiatives told the Board of Supervisors during a Budget Committee in September.

The new strategy and study — which could take up to a year to complete — are meant to revitalize Maple Avenue, find more efficient use of resources to address the vacancies, discover how to aid business recruitment and create place-making strategies, Sizer said.

“The proposed project is an opportunity to support [the] revitalization of the Town’s Maple Avenue corridor and improve property tax revenues for the county and town,” according to county documents, noting that the new economic development manager will oversee the studies and implement the recommendations.

The board approved the $50,000 yesterday (Tuesday). The funds are coming from the Economic Opportunity Reserve.

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