Newsletter

Morning Notes

IBM and Chima buildings at Towers Crescent in Tysons (photo by Phil Foss/Novafoto.co)

Fairfax County Leader Criticizes Senate Vote on Masks — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said he’s “deeply disappointed” in the Virginia Senate for passing a bill that would let parents opt out of school mask requirements, arguing that it usurps local school boards’ authority. He says local officials have asked the governor to work with them on “an offramp” for when to stop using masks but “have not received any response to that suggestion.” [Jeff McKay/Twitter]

I-66 West Ramp to Vienna Metro Reopens — The ramp from westbound I-66 to the Vienna Metro Station, via an exit to Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard, has reopened to traffic after an extended closure that began on Jan. 21. The closure was needed for utility work related to the project to extend the I-66 Express Lanes from I-495 in Dunn Loring. [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]

Park Authority Highlights History of Freedom Hill — “Drive through busy Tysons, Virginia, and the traffic, buildings and construction make it hard to imagine the place as anything but a busy urban center. But did you know that it was once a rural community made up of free Black Fairfax County citizens?” [FCPA]

Tysons Company Faces Facial Recognition Concerns — “Two days after the Internal Revenue Service said it would transition away from using facial recognition for taxpayers to access certain IRS documents online after a wave of privacy complaints, Tysons, Virginia-based ID.me said it would make the use of ‘selfies’ optional for all of its government clients.” [WTOP]

Farmers’ Market Managers Sought — The Fairfax County Park Authority is currently recruiting volunteers to manage its 10 farmers markets, including a McLean market that will operate from May 6 to Nov. 11 at Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road). The market managers provide on-site support by setting up supplies, enforcing rules, answering questions, and helping with vendor selection and community outreach. [FCPA]

Photo courtesy novafoto.co

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Morning Notes

Real Estate Company Relocates Tysons Office — After nearly a decade in its current space at 1850 Towers Crescent Plaza, the real estate firm JLL will move its Northern Virginia office to 1800 Tysons Boulevard in the first quarter of this year. The new office will occupy 26,500 square feet in the Lerner-owned, 12-story-tall tower. [Commercial Observer]

Spring Hill Rec Center Pool Closed This Morning — “The Spring Hill Rec Center pool will be closed through at least midday Tuesday (February 8, 2022) due to mechanical issues. The rest of the facility remains open.” [FCPA/Twitter]

Lane Shift Coming for Route 7 in McLean — “Starting on or about Thursday, Feb. 10, drivers on westbound Route 7 will experience a lane shift to the south (towards the median) between Laurel Hill Road and Lewinsville Road as crews perform utility work under Route 7. All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible.” [VDOT]

McLean Teen Makes Science Competition Finals — Ben Choi, a senior at the Potomac School, is among 40 finalists in the nationwide 2022 Regeneron Science Talent Search, a prestigious science and math competition. For his project, Choi designed a “low-cost 3D prosthetic arm that can be controlled by a brainwave-detecting headband worn on the forehead.” [Patch]

McLean Coding School Has Global Reach — “When she helped start Codefy in 2019, [Lucy] Chen was a 17-year-old junior at Langley High School in McLean. Now 19 and a student at Columbia University, Chen helps oversee an online coding school that has grown exponentially and has taught thousands of students — all for free.” [Inside NoVA]

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Morning Notes

Clothing Stores to Fill Former L.L. Bean — The now-closed L.L. Bean at Tysons Corner Center will be divided into smaller parts, including a two-story store for the fast fashion chain Primark. Plans indicate that Old Navy and Lululemon Athletica will also relocate to new spaces, leaving about 10,000 square feet left for other tenants. [Washington Business Journal]

Firefighters Flock to Woodson High School — “An early morning fire on damaged at least one building in Fairfax County Public Schools’ Woodson Complex off of Main Street on the eastern border of Fairfax City on Sunday. The complex is home to the school district’s Office of Facilities Management, which houses FCPS’ central operations, grounds operations, receiving, and food service.” [Patch]

FCPS Recognizes More Religious Holidays — The Fairfax County School Board approved a calendar for the 2022-2023 school year that designates Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Diwali, and Orthodox Good Friday as student holidays. The year will start on Aug. 22, and Veterans Day is also now a student holiday and staff work day. [FCPS]

Tysons-Based ID.me Partners with IRS — “You’ll soon have to prove your identity to a Virginia-based security company called ID.me in order to file a return, check tax records, or make payments on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. Your old username and password credentials–if they still work–will stop working in the summer of 2022.” [Fast Company]

GMU Changes COVID-19 Vaccine Policy — George Mason University students are now “strongly encouraged,” rather than required, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after new Attorney General Jason Miyares said on Friday (Jan. 28) that state universities can’t mandate the vaccine without enabling legislation. About 96% of the university’s students are vaccinated. [The Washington Post]

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A new technology repair store has arrived in Vienna, just in time to assist anyone already encountering issues with the phone they got for Christmas.

Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions — a national chain of electronics and appliance repair franchises — announced last week that it recently opened its latest location in Vienna Shopping Center (136D Maple Avenue). The store occupies the space next to Ben & Jerry’s that was previously filled by Motophoto.

The store is scheduled to host a grand opening celebration from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 8) that will include refreshments, discounts, giveaways, and other attractions, according to a press release.

“We are excited to bring Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions to Vienna,” Asurion District Manager Graham Pointer said by email. “It’s a rapidly developing area that combines a small-town feel with thriving businesses. We are eager to be at the forefront, anticipating and responding to the technological needs of this community.”

With more than 650 stores in the U.S., Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions fixes consumer electronics, including phones, computers, and gaming consoles, according to its website. The press release says diagnostics on all gadgets are free, and there is a 90-day limited warranty for all repairs.

The retailer was originally known as uBreakiFix but is now undergoing a nationwide rebranding after it was purchased by the global technology insurance company Asurion in 2019.

The Vienna store is Asurion’s 26th location in Virginia. The company also has venues in Fair Lakes, Falls Church, Springfield, and Herndon.

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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 (Nov. 1)

  • Daf Circle with Jalal Kimia — 7-8:30 p.m. at the Iranian-American Community Center’s Pars Place (2236-C Gallows Road) in Dunn Loring — Make some noise and leave the stress behind with this drumming event. Bringing your own instrument is preferred, and walk-ins won’t be accepted. Face masks are required at all times during the event. Cost is $15. Repeats on Nov. 8 and 15.

Tuesday (Nov. 2)

  • Noel Schajris — 8 p.m. at the State Theatre (220 N. Washington St.) in Falls Church — He’s sung duets with John Legend, Alejandro Sanz, Camila Cabello, and more, but the Latin Grammy winner (part of the duo Sin Bandera) is branching out on his own. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $50 plus fees in advance.

Wednesday (Nov. 3)

Thursday (Nov. 4)

  • An Introduction to Cryptocurrency — 7-8 p.m. at Mary Riley Styles Public Library (120 N. Virginia Ave.) — Still not quite sure what bitcoin is? Falls Church City’s library is here to help with a talk led by policy managers from the Blockchain Association about the basics of blockchain technology, the most notable cryptocurrencies, and related regulatory issues.
  • Harlem 100, featuring Mwenso & The Shakes at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at The Barns (1635 Trap Road) — A multimedia show features the sights and sounds of Harlem with the music of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, and more. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $52 plus fees.

Friday (Nov. 5)

  • National Symphony Orchestra: Nicholas McGegan conducts Bach & Haydn— 8 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) in Tysons — The National Symphony Orchestra comes to Capital One’s new venue to perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D major, BWV 1069,” Joseph Haydn’s “Symphony No. 98 in B-Flat major” and more. Tickets start at $39 plus fees.

Saturday (Nov. 6)

  • Habitat Restoration: Cavalier Trail Park — 10 a.m.-noon at Cavalier Trail Park (420 S Maple Ave.) — Help the City of Falls Church clear invasive plants, while planting native species that help birds, insects, and other pollinators. Close-toed shoes and masks are advised, and advance registration is required, with the event limited to 30 people to ensure social distancing.
  • Aaron Lee Tasjan, with Tristen — 8 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. East) in Vienna — The genre-bending indie rocker featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series comes to the Town of Vienna. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 plus fees.

Sunday (Nov. 7)

  • Capital Wind Symphony — 3 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) —  The Tysons-headquartered symphony will perform pieces from Johan de Meij’s “The Lord of the Rings” to John Philip Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea” at another free concert, this time at Capital One’s new venue.
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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

Local Swim Coach Arrested on Child Porn Charges — Fairfax County police have arrested a 21-year-old aquatics instructor for possession of child pornography after finding thousands of explicit images and videos in an online Dropbox account. The suspect has been a Fairfax County Park Authority employee since 2015, but so far, none of the victims appear to be county residents or have connection to his job as a swim instructor. [WTOP]

Code Violation Pushes Farmers Market Out of Vienna — The NOVA Central Farm Market has moved to Marshall High School outside of the Town of Vienna’s limits, because the town code only allows one farmers market. Operated by Central Farm Markets, the market had operated at Marshall High until the closure of schools due to COVID-19 last year prompted a relocation to Holy Comforter Church on Beulah Road. [Patch]

New Tech Company Launches in Tysons — The new technology startup LevelFields announced the public launch of its artificial intelligence platform that helps investors predict stock prices on Monday (Oct. 4). Based in Tysons, the company was developed in response to the volatility introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic and has received funding from the Center for Innovative Technology, among other sources. [LevelFields]

Meet New Fairfax Parks Director — “Jai Cole, who on Sept. 14 became the new executive director of Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), wants to make the park system more accessible and equitable. Cole spent the past 16 years with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery Parks. During a recent phone interview, the Silver Spring resident told the Sun Gazette why she returned to her home county.” [Sun Gazette]

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Morning Notes

Weekly Police Blotter Halted Over ICE Concerns — Fairfax County police no longer publish a weekly arrest blotter after officials decided that it violates the county’s Trust Policy barring employees from giving information to federal immigration authorities. Some fear this will reduce public transparency, though the department is looking at releasing the data without identifying details like alleged offenders’ names and last known addresses. [The Washington Post]

Tysons Tech Contractor Leaves for Ashburn — The eighth largest public company in the D.C. area, DXC Technology will move its corporate headquarters from the 1775 Tysons Blvd. space it has occupied since 2016 to the One Loudoun development in Ashburn. The move is expected to be complete in November and comes as part of the company’s plans to downsize with its workforce operating more remotely. [Washington Business Journal]

McLean Company Offers Stocks to Fund Indoor Ski Slope — Alpine-X, the McLean-based company behind Lorton’s planned indoor winter slope facility, has attracted 75 investors in the first week since it started selling stocks to the general public to help fund the project. Expected to open around early 2025, Fairfax Peak will include a luxury hotel, zip lines, a mountain coaster, restaurants, and other amenities. [Patch]

Fairfax County Launches New Mobile App — “New county iPhone and Android apps are now available for you to download and have county information even closer to your fingertips. This latest version of the county app includes push notifications that you can opt in to receive about topics such as tax and voting deadlines, key news headlines, [and] important updates on COVID-19 and other emerging issues.” [Fairfax County Government]

McLean Student Highlighted for Journalism Skills — Churchill Road Elementary School fourth-grader Ethan Zhang is one of 10 children from across the country that Time for Kids has chosen to be a “Kid Reporter” for the 2021-2022 school year. He stood out for his profile of Fairfax County Public Schools Director of Food and Nutrition Services Maria Perrone, a story that looked at the school system’s meal distributions during the COVID-19 pandemic. [Patch]

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Morning Notes

Lieutenant Governor Candidates Speak at Tysons Luncheon — “Candidates for lieutenant governor of Virginia told their personal stories and articulated their values at a Sept. 1 luncheon in Tysons, but provided few specifics on what they would seek to accomplish if elected.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

MCC to Hold Public Meeting on Budget Tonight — “The McLean Community Center (MCC) Governing Board will hold two, in-person budget meetings this month in order to gather input and suggestions from the residents of Dranesville Small District 1-A on the Center’s fiscal year 2023 budget. The first meeting, the Finance Committee Meeting of the Whole, will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons Startup Raises Millions in Funding — The Tysons-based startup theCut, a mobile platform that enables users to book and pay for barbershop appointments, announced last week that it has raised $4.5 million in seed money, bringing its total funding to $5.35 million to date. Company leaders say they will use the funds to build out a team that currently consists of 20 employees, including interns. [DC Inno]

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Appian is headquartered at Valo Park in Tysons (via Valo Park)

A Tysons-headquartered software company has acquired German software business Lana Labs for approximately $31 million.

Appian, which provides a cloud computing platform for mobile apps, announced the acquisition last Thursday (Aug. 5). The company says in a quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the transaction was completed on Aug. 4 and paid for with available cash.

Based in Berlin, Germany, Lana Labs has a machine learning algorithm to improve automation of business workflows. It’s known for its process mining, where problems can be detected in a data-driven approach.

The acquisition means Appian will be able to integrate that solution natively.

“There is a natural synergy between process mining, process modeling, and automation,” Appian CEO Matt Calkins said in a statement. “We believe that our acquisition of Lana Labs means that only Appian will be able to take customers from knowing to doing, in a unified suite.”

Calkins, who founded Appian in his basement over two decades ago, recently talked with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority about the importance of growing and keeping tech businesses in the area, and he noted how founding members of his company have remained with it.

Appian specializes in low-code development, where businesses can even develop apps without writing code.

The company didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry seeking comment.

Lana Labs was founded in 2016 and employs around 30 people.

“Lana’s AI-supported analysis of complex business and production processes aligns with the focus Appian brings to simplifying organizations’ most important workflows,” Appian said in its news release about the acquisition.

Photo via Valo Park

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