Newsletter
A satellite in orbit (via NASA/Unsplash)

A telecommunications company dedicated to filling gaps in NASA’s data-relaying satellite network will create dozens of new jobs in Fairfax County with newly announced plans to expand its headquarters in Tysons.

A subsidiary of the Australian aerospace and defense contractor Electro Optic Systems, SpaceLink currently employs 10 people in Virginia at the headquarters it established at 8260 Greensboro Drive in March. It also has offices in Silicon Valley, California.

With the expansion, the company will create 41 new jobs and gain more capacity to develop and deploy a satellite communications system intended to “provide secure and continuous communications between spacecraft on orbit and the ground,” according to a press release from Gov. Ralph Northam’s office.

Fairfax County’s proximity to D.C. and the region’s abundance of government agencies and contractors made it “a natural choice” for SpaceLink’s headquarters, CEO David Bettinger says.

“As an innovative space company, we also have the opportunity to draw from the rich pool of talented technology and business professionals who are drawn to the region for its opportunities and dynamic environment,” Bettinger said in a statement. “Northern Virginia is an important hub for the aerospace and defense industry, which makes it a great fit for SpaceLink’s corporate headquarters.”

According to Northam’s office, SpaceLink’s relay network will be developed in Fairfax County and is designed to fill in the gaps of the U.S. Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System.

Here are more reactions from the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, which collaborated with the Commonwealth to secure the project:

“We are proud to see SpaceLink growing here and we welcome the opportunity to work with the company further,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “Fairfax County and Northern Virginia have developed a robust aerospace and satellite cluster and SpaceLink is the perfect company to take advantage of our many assets in that industry sector and the workforce supporting it.”

“Fairfax County leads the Commonwealth in innovation and our businesses reflect that,” said Fairfax County BOS Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay. “The Board of Supervisors has invested significantly over the decades to build Fairfax County into a community that attracts great companies and a great workforce, and that work continues to pay off. We are looking forward to welcoming SpaceLink.”

The FCEDA worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to secure the project for Virginia and will support SpaceLink’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). State-funded VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies and demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for residents.

“SpaceLink’s expansion in Fairfax County will strengthen the Commonwealth’s position as a leader in the aerospace industry,” Gov. Northam said. “Small businesses are critical to fueling economic growth, and we are proud to support this Virginia-founded company as its innovations make a name for itself in space exploration and defense.”

Photo via NASA/Unsplash

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Morning Notes

Virginia Requires Vaccinations for All State Workers — About 122,000 state employees must show proof that they have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 1 or undergo weekly testing with proof of a negative result, Gov. Ralph Northam said yesterday (Thursday). Noting that 98% of COVID hospitalizations since January have been unvaccinated people, he encouraged local governments and businesses to adopt similar mandates. [Office of the Governor]

Woman Shot by Fairfax County Police Officer Charged — “Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis on Thursday released body-camera video of the July police shooting of a resident of a group home for the intellectually disabled…Police identified the woman who was shot as 30-year-old Jiyoung Lee of Springfield. Lee, who was later charged with assault on an officer, was taken to the hospital following the shooting and is still recovering.” [The Washington Post]

County Prosecutor Launches New Specialized Units — Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced on Tuesday (Aug. 4) that his office has established two new teams that will focus exclusively on domestic violence cases and crimes against children. The units will consist of 15 new prosecutors who will all be trained in working with victims of trauma. [WTOP]

Capital One Hall to Hold Job Fair — Scheduled to open on Oct. 2, Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) in Tysons will hold a job fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 10) as the performance venue prepares for its inaugural season. Available positions include bartenders, cooks, banquet servers, dishwashers, security, audiovisual technicians, and more. [Capital One Hall/Twitter]

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A person holds a phone with the Instagram app opened (via Solen Feyissa/Unsplash)

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority gave nearly $29,000 to 10 social media influencers over the past year to highlight its jobs portal and virtual career fairs.

The campaign primarily involved Instagram users posting about events with hashtags and links to drive traffic. Economic development officials said the effort was intended to develop its brand as well as the region’s job market and engage target audiences, specifically with millennials in mind.

“We felt like we needed to do some experimentation,” FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins said.

The campaign drew 536 clicks to the authority’s Work in Northern Virginia jobs board and generated 276 views in online registration page traffic for technology and entry-level career fairs.

While Instagram advertising can average around $1.25 per click, the FCEDA said influencer marketing helps reach a highly targeted audience through sources that users trust. The campaign required the influencers to note that their social media posts were sponsored content.

The social media influencer contracts cost a total of $28,800 with individual agreements ranging from $800 to $7,000 and mainly required users to make Instagram posts and stories, according to agreements obtained by Tysons Reporter. One agreement included an Instagram video, and some included blog post requirements.

The authority says third-party consultant New York City-based Development Counsellors International and each influencer negotiated rates.

“[What we’re] really ultimately trying to do is build awareness of northern Virginia as this location that has thousands and thousands of jobs, and it’s a great place to live,” said Alan Fogg, the authority’s vice president of communications.

Economic development officials say the campaign delivered $205,000 in earned media value, reached more than 332,000 Instagram users, and generated nearly 25,000 likes, comments, and shares.

The FCEDA is not unique in using social media personalities to reach potential audiences. Other governmental bodies have turned to social media influencers for tourism marketing as well as running COVID-19 messaging.

Fairfax County funds the economic development authority with around $9 million each year currently, and social media advertising is just one way economic development leaders are trying to market the region to help improve the jobs pipeline.

“The message we deliver to all the recruiters and chief human resources officers from all the companies here in Fairfax County is: You sell your organization, your company, and why [to] come work there, and we’re going to help complement you with selling the region,” Mike Batt, the director of the authority’s talent initiative program, said.

The FCEDA used Development Counsellors International to identify and vet the influencers, set goals for the number of posts, and ensure posting requirements were met, Fogg said in a statement. FCEDA staff selected the influencers presented to them.

Batt said Development Counsellors International received a competitively awarded contract from the EDA. The consultant also developed the jobs hub, which the authority recently lauded.

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority spearheaded the jobs posting site, but it’s connected to nine other economic development groups and localities in Northern Virginia.

“Economic development is not the business it was five years ago,” Hoskins said. “It really takes a lot of innovation.”

Photo via Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

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Morning Notes

Vienna Metro station across I-66 (photo by John Lee/Twitter)

Vienna Contractor Settles Federal Lawsuit — IT company Sage Consulting Group, Inc. agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle allegations that the company and its owner Robert Pleghardt paid kickbacks to obtain subcontracts on set-aside contracts intended for small businesses owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged citizens. The settlement was announced yesterday (Tuesday) by Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia. [U.S. Attorney’s Office]

Capital One Plans Technologist Hiring Surge — “Amid cloud growth, banking giant Capital One plans to add 3,000 new roles for technologists by the end of 2021…Almost 75% of the hires will be in engineering roles, focusing on machine learning, software development and data work to advance the company’s natural language processing.  Capital One said ‘hundreds’ of positions will be open at the company’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia, with others will be at locations across the country.” [Technical.ly]

Language Barriers Challenge Those Seeking Unemployment Benefits — “Many non-English speakers who lost their jobs during the pandemic had to rely on their children, family or friends to help them file unemployment insurance claims with the [Virginia Employment Commission]. The state agency does not provide claimants with any language translation options other than English and Spanish on its website.” [Inside NoVA]

Wolf Trap Adds More Summer Concerts — Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts has added five more shows to its 50th anniversary season lineup, including singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, “Star Wars: A New Hope” in concert with the National Symphony Orchestra, and a “Broadway in the Park” musical theater showcase featuring “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry and Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell. [Patch]

Photo by John Lee/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Inova Will Require COVID-19 Vaccinations for Workers — “Inova Health System is requiring all employees to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, making the Falls Church-based nonprofit the latest in the region to employ such a mandate. Inova, which counts 18,000 employees across the organization, notified staff last week of the requirement, which goes into effect Sept. 1.” [Washington Business Journal]

McLean Swimmer Qualifies for Summer Olympics in Tokyo — “After coming up short at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in 2012 and 2016, McLean native Andrew Seliskar has made the Olympic Team. The 24-year-old placed fourth in the 200-meter freestyle at Trials, earning a spot on the 4×200 meter freestyle relay team.” [WJLA-ABC7 News]

New Tysons Child Care Center Now Enrolling — After breaking ground on its new early childhood education center on Jones Branch Drive in March, Celebree School has opened enrollment for kids from infants through pre-kindergarten. The private school is also currently looking to hire teachers in preparation for its anticipated opening later this summer. [Celebree School]

Wolf Trap Announces More Summer Shows — “On Tuesday, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts announced the following new concerts: The Avett Brothers, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with Michael Franti & Spearhead, A Tribute to Marvin Gaye featuring Raheem DeVaughn and Friends, and ABBA the Concert. The shows are part of the Filene Center’s 5oth anniversary season.” [Patch]

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The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) is hosting its fifth virtual career fair on May 20.

More than 25 Northern Virginia companies will participate in the fair, which is focused on hiring entry-level workers. The FCEDA is broadcasting the event to more than 100 colleges and universities across the country, and anyone who registers can join for free.

The fair is part of a series that the FCEDA has been organizing during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made finding work more challenging due to the ongoing economic uncertainty and limited chances for face-to-face interactions. Hiring for college graduates at entry-level positions has dropped 45% since the beginning of the pandemic, the FCEDA says in a news release.

“We want to let anyone looking to start or restart their career – from recent college graduates and retired members of our military to parents reentering the workforce – that Northern Virginia is the place to do it,” FCEDA President and CEO Victor Hoskins said. “We couldn’t be prouder to partner with such a diverse group of companies to introduce fresh faces to an incredible place to live and work.”

The virtual career fairs is part of a talent initiative that the Fairfax County government is funding through the FCEDA to “attract, retain, retrain and grow the workforce that businesses need to succeed in Fairfax County — and to help those looking for jobs find them here, particularly during the pandemic.”

The four previous virtual career fairs in the initiative have attracted nearly 2,900 attendees, according to the FCEDA.

As part of the initiative, the FCEDA also launched a job search website that lists all job postings in the Northern Virginia area and sorts them by different sectors and job types. There are also opportunities to enhance or gain new skills for people who may be looking for a career change.

The Entry-Level Professionals Virtual Career Fair will be held on May 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. Prospective applicants can register to receive the link to the event. They do not need to reside in Northern Virginia.

Employers looking to promote their job openings can still register their companies by visiting the employer resource page.

More information on the virtual career fair, what companies will be attending, and how to register can be found on the FCEDA website.

Photo via Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

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The consulting company Guidehouse will bring more than 900 new jobs to Fairfax County later this year when it opens a new global headquarters in Tysons, Gov. Ralph Northam announced yesterday (Monday).

The new campus will be located at 1676 International Drive and house more than 1,550 employees when at full capacity.

“This move will allow us to best accommodate growth, serve our people and clients, and attract talent,” Guidehouse CEO Scott McIntyre said. “Virginia offers a highly skilled workforce and business-friendly climate, making it an ideal location for Guidehouse’s future.”

In terms of geography, the announcement represents a small move for Guidehouse, whose current headquarters is just down the road in Tysons Galleria. But the company says the new building will better accommodate the growth and increased demand for its services that it has experienced recently.

Guidehouse currently has more than 9,000 workers and over 50 offices around the world. It works with both the commercial and public sectors in industries ranging from financial services, health, and energy to defense and national security.

According to a company news release, Guidehouse will invest $12.7 million to establish its new headquarters and plans to create more than 1,000 new jobs in Virginia over the next three years.

“We are currently in design development of the space and targeting an early Fall occupancy date,” Guidehouse spokesperson Joy Jarrett said.

According to Northam’s office, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and Virginia Economic Development partnership collaborated to help Tysons beat out D.C. and Maryland for Guidehouse’s global headquarters.

The company is now eligible for the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, a state-funded initiative that reimburses companies for the costs of training new full-time employees, and the state’s Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit.

“A headquarters in Tysons puts [Guidehouse] in the center of the largest business hub in the D.C. region and a talent pool that will be able to enjoy the growing number of amenities in the area,” FCEDA CEO and President Victor Hoskins said.

Guidehouse says it was drawn to Tysons for the area’s strong education and healthcare systems as well as Fairfax County’s “commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.”

The news comes on the heels of Northam’s April 30 announcement that the cybersecurity company Ridgeline International will expand its operations in Tysons with 162 new jobs and a research and development hub expected to launch in June.

Fairfax County currently hosts corporate headquarters for 11 Fortune 500 companies, and just in the past year, the county has secured major commitments from Microsoft, Google, and Volkswagen.

“This announcement by Guidehouse is another indication of the strength of Fairfax County as a headquarters location for companies that operate around the globe,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “It is a testament to the investment the county government has made into creating and sustaining a world-class business location that also draws the kind of professional workforce the company needs to grow and succeed.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Truck of Fish Crashes on Capital Beltway in Tysons — A tractor-trailer filled with 41,000 pounds of frozen fish crashed on the Beltway Outer Loop at Route 7 around 4 p.m. yesterday (Monday), closing three lanes for more than an hour so a towing company could recover the vehicle. Because the trailer was “breached (rendering the fish unsalvagable),” crews ultimately decided to wait until after rush hour to complete the recovery. [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]

Fairfax County Seeks Health Workers to Help with Vaccination Effort — “Since most school public health nurses have returned to schools, the Health Department is hiring approximately 250 vaccinators…in coming weeks to help get the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of residents as quickly as possible. Vaccinators will be assigned to work at Health Department vaccination sites that operate six days a week, including the Fairfax County Government Center.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Virginia Bans Single-Use Styrofoam — Gov. Ralph Northam signed a law yesterday prohibiting the use of polystyrene foam cups and takeout containers. The ban takes effect in July 2023 for food chains with 20 or more locations and in July 2025 for all other food vendors, nonprofits, schools, and local governments. [Patch]

Tysons Digital Security Company Raises $100 MillionID.me officially announced yesterday that it has raised $100 million in new funding, as first reported by Washington Business Journal. The company is now valued at $1.5 billion and says it will use the funding “to build out its secure digital identity network by attracting top talent and expanding the number of businesses and government agencies it serves.” [ID.me]

Photo courtesy Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (March 15)

  • Honoring Women Warriors (Online) — 7-8:30 p.m. — In celebration of March as Women’s History Month, the Fairfax County Commission for Women is hosting a virtual event to highlight the work of women who have helped lead the county’s pandemic response, including Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu. The forum will stream on Facebook Live, and comments can be submitted before and during the event.

Tuesday (March 16)

  • Mystery Book Club (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — The mystery book group will be discussing The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey. New members are welcomed. Copies are available for curbside pickup at the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library. Register for the Zoom link for the book club.
  • Bollywood Dance Fitness (Online) — 6-7 p.m. — Join fitness instructor Aparna Rao in a Bollywood dance fitness class. The class is virtual and free to join. No experience necessary. Register one day in advance to receive the Zoom link. This class is for adults.

Thursday (Mar. 18)

  • Vienna Metro Station Improvements Meeting (Online) — 7-8:30 p.m. — Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will host a meeting to present the ideas to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety and accessibility to the Vienna Metro stations. Some proposed improvements include shared-use paths, sidewalks, and two-way cycle tracks according to the project’s website. To join the live webinar register on the VDOT website.
  • “We’ve Got Issues” Teen Forum (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — While it’s hard to see each other in person, join fellow teens virtually to talk about topics like stereotypes, relationships, and more. Program kits are available while supplies last at your local Fairfax County regional library. Register online by Tuesday (March 16) to get the Zoom link.
  • Let’s Talk: Human Trafficking in the Age of COVID (Online) — 7:30 p.m. — The McLean-based nonprofit Anti-Trafficking International is hosting a discussion on how the pandemic has heightened the risk of trafficking, especially for young people. The talk will be led by ATI founder and Department of Justice Director of Human Trafficking Programs Bill Woolf. Contact [email protected] for more information on the webinar.

 Friday (Mar. 19)

  • Virtual Glow Party (Online) — 7-9 p.m. — McLean Community Center is hosting a free virtual dance party. Join online and request your favorite songs. The night will include music, games and other surprises! Open to all ages.

Saturday (Mar. 20)

  • Fairfax County Teen Job Fair (Online) — 11-2 p.m. — Fairfax County will host its annual teen job fair this Saturday. Normally spread across multiple high schools, this year’s fair will take place online over two days due to the pandemic. This is the second of the two-day event. The fair is open to all teens in Fairfax County looking for work, volunteer, and internship opportunities. Businesses and organizations can register for free “booth space” to advertise their available positions. Teens must register online to get a link for the event.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Information Session (Online) — 2-4 p.m. — McLean Community Center instructor Quentin Levin will teach a class on how to register to get the COVID-19 vaccine for those who are eligible. The class has no affiliation with any vaccine providers. The class will focus on navigating technical issues but does not guarantee an appointment. Check the McLean Community Center website for more registration and to register for this class.
  • Vienna Photo Show — 10 a.m. at Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street) — The Vienna Photo Show will be open Mar. 20 through Apr. 17. The exhibit will be open for visitors during business hours, except between 12 and 1 p.m. every day, when it will be closed for cleaning. Ribbons for various categories will be awarded.
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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Mar. 9)

  • Fairfax County Solar Panel Hearing (Online) — 2 p.m. — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on 22 proposed sites for the next phase of the county’s solar panel program. The meeting starts at 2 p.m., but the hearing is expected to start at 4 p.m. and will be available to watch via the county’s cable TV channel and online live stream. Live audio can be accessed by calling 703-324-5300.
  • On Deck with Mercury — 6-8 p.m. at Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry St. SE) — Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton and Mayor Linda Colbert will answer questions at this monthly community forum. While in-person attendance is limited by social distancing requirements, people can also register to participate in the Q&A session by Zoom, and the event will be rebroadcast on the town’s cable access channel and uploaded to YouTube.

Wednesday (Mar. 10)

Thursday (Mar. 11)

  • Trivia Night at Solace Outpost — 7 p.m. at Solace Outpost (444 West Broad St.) — It’s trivia night at Solace Outpost, and everyone is invited. Teams of up to seven people can compete in the free game to win a first-place prize of a $30 gift card or a $20 gift card for second place.

Friday (Mar. 12)

Saturday (Mar. 13)

  • Fairfax County Teen Job Fair (Online) — 2-5 p.m. — Fairfax County will host its annual teen job fair this Saturday. Normally spread across multiple high schools, this year’s fair will take place online over two days due to the pandemic. The fair is open to all teens in Fairfax County looking for work, volunteer, and internship opportunities. Businesses and organizations can register for free “booth space” to advertise their available positions. Teens must register online to get a link for the event.
  • The Joshua Show (Online) — 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. — The McLean Community Center will host this show of music, comedy, and puppetry by Joshua Holden about “the joy in being yourself.” The show is $15 per device ($10 for MCC tax district residents), and participants must register two hours before showtime.

Image via McLean Community Center

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