Fairfax's Next Target
Fairfax County in Northern Virginia has spent decades building a tech scene that helps put the DC region on the tech hub map. But it sees a hole that can be filled with a new Northeast presence.Jerry Gordon
will be perfecting his Boston accent as the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority he runs establishes a presence there to woo companies
. Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications has been hired to run the Boston marketing efforts. (One of its VPs is a product of the county's public schools.) The strategy is not to move Boston businesses to the county but to offer them a place for expansion
. The pitch to Boston's large biotech
community will focus on the county as a hub for the confluence of IT and life sciences.
Fairfax's Maryland neighbor has long been home to biotech and life sciences, but Jerry doesn't think the county's Boston strategy will ruffle any feathers
. He sees Maryland as more of a science hub, whereas Northern Virginia's strengths are personalized medicine
research, as well as a large IT community. Fairfax has been laying down roots in other big cities like LA and London for 20 years, resulting in nearly 400 foreign-owned businesses
coming to the county and 25,000
in direct employment.
Don't Mess With Maryland?
Fairfax County may have a tougher time wooing Maryland tech workers
. A recent study found that Maryland is one of the top five hardest states to recruit tech workers for jobs out of the state. Only one-third
are willing to relocate for work and two-thirds
of Maryland IT people say they could find a new job this year. Tech workers in Georgia, Minnesota, Delaware, and North Carolina are also more unwilling to move, according to the Dice study. The easiest to lure
: tech folks in Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alabama. (We're beginning to think tech nerds don't care about states with great college basketball. Look for more on that in this month's Obvious Bisnow
Ambit Expands In the Face of Danger
Sequestration is forcing lots of government contractors to suffer quietly
as they wait. But The Ambit Group is expanding
its square footage by 30%. Its new CEO Kim Hayes
(right), who took over after founder John Condon moved to the board chair role, tells us the Reston, Va.-based IT management consulting firm has been growing through contracts that help agencies analyze
what's working in their IT portfolios, big IT consolidation
projects, and data management
programs. The woman-owned, service-disabled, vet-owned small business celebrated its 9th birthday Friday at the new HQ, which Newmark Grubb Knight Frank managing director Donna Koski
chats with Ambit president Lou Kerestesy
. At just under $25M
in revenue, the company has been building a health IT team
that includes clinicians and people with DOD health backgrounds. The company now has two years' worth of smaller health projects, including establishing virtual health
plans for federal workers. As someone with Type 2 diabetes, Kim says the new focus is personal. The company has also been building its cybersecurity
work and recently positioned itself to start competing for prime
spots on contracts. Kim says Ambit got into cybersecurity work through partnerships and worked on building high performance ratings to be able to compete as a prime.
Tech solutions VP Doug Berry, PMP director Tom Oates, and COO Bob Nunnally discuss Ambit's new 10k
square foot space, which includes a large training room for client working sessions and a SCIF
(Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility) that will help the young company win more cyber work. (And add a cool vocabulary word to water-cooler convo.) Kim says the new office is strategically located
within walking distance of the future Reston Metro
stop, which will be a recruiting and retention tool, as well as an easier way for employees and clients to get to and from Washington.
NASA Keeping Tabs On Weather
If you think thunderstorms are scary
for your dog, imagine what they do for the people at NASA in charge of aircraft operations and rocket launches. Earth NetworksSM was recently chosen by the agency's Wallops Flight Facility at Goddard to provide total lightning data
to let operators know about severe weather before it actually happens. Info from the Germantown, Md., company could lead NASA to delay launches
. Earth NetworksSM federal programs VP Bill Callahan
says NASA was using outdated lightning detection tech that was getting harder to maintain.
Wallops is a new customer for Earth NetworksSM, but the company operates weather stations
and provides intel to 33 million monthly users though its WeatherBug products. One of its biggest federal customers
is the National Weather Service, but it also provides data to the Air Force's weather agency. Bill tells us the company is also focusing on providing data to the FAA
as it modernizes the National Airspace System
. Sequestration is on the company's radar, but Bill says, "weather has a huge impact on our economy
and everyone is looking to the latest technology to do more in terms of observations."
Do you hide under the bed or fly a kite when it storms? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org.