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Kaine Tours GridPoint in Clarendon

by Aaron Kraut August 3, 2012 at 10:00 am 3,771 59 Comments

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine spoke about his economic development record during a Thursday afternoon campaign stop at Clarendon-based clean energy company GridPoint, Inc.

The company sells efficiency-monitoring software to electrical utilities, government agencies and private corporations. According to CEO John Spirtos, it employs about 100 people between its corporate headquarters (2801 Clarendon Boulevard) and its manufacturing facility in Roanoke.

In a statement, Kaine touted GridPoint as an industry leader in energy efficiency solutions.

“GridPoint’s innovative energy management systems are saving companies up to a fifth of their total energy costs per month,” Kaine said. “These are dollars that can be invested back into the business to expand and hire new workers. Their advancements in energy efficiency and conservation technology are absolutely essential to ensuring our businesses can compete in an increasingly competitive global economy.”

Kaine also touted his own record of helping to bring GridPoint to Arlington. In 2007, Kaine approved a $500,000-incentive package from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to entice GridPoint to move its headquarters to Arlington from Washington, D.C.

“My economic development team played a big part in bringing GridPoint’s headquarters here. We considered it a big victory because of the kind of business that it has and the kind of talent that it has,” Kaine told a roomful of GridPoint employees on Thursday. “Where we really have thrived is we just try to bring the best talent here. If you win the talent race, you win the economic race.”

Kaine toured part of the company’s 30,000-square-foot space at the corner of Clarendon Boulevard and N. Edgewood Street with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Spirtos to highlight his “Strengthening Our Economy Through Energy Innovation” plan.

“Oregon and Virginia are really kind of innovation economies and we know that today we aren’t just competing against people sort of 20 miles down the road, or in my case, California or Seattle. But we are competing against the Chinese. We are competing against the Indians,” Wyden said. “The governor is proven in terms of some of the energy investments he’s been able to invest in and make.”

Professional and technical services accounted for a fifth of Arlington County’s jobs, according to the county’s annual profile. Spirtos said that local base of highly-trained workers is one reason why GridPoint fits among Clarendon’s high-end retail shops and restaurants.

“D.C. is a great place to be but it’s a tough place to get [computer] developers to go to work. We needed access to the talent. There’s a lot of folks who won’t cross the river to go into D.C. There’s a lot of folks who won’t cross the river to go into Maryland,” Spirtos said. “And in this location, we have the Apple Store and the Whole Foods and the whole thing and that’s great. This is a great neighborhood. It’s an ideal neighborhood.”

It was revealed this week that Gridpoint has received another $23 million in venture capital funding, bringing its total funding to $263 million, according to GigaOm. In addition to its Virginia locations, Gridpoint has offices in Austin, Texas; Ottawa, Ontario; and Seattle, Washington.


  • novasteve

    Funny, that’s the polling station I vote out…

  • Hollywood

    “My economic development team played a big part in bringing GridPoint’s headquarters here. We considered it a big victory because of the kind of business that it has and the kind of talent that it has,”

    When politicians start planning economies, things get scary.

    Glad to know he visited a mini-Solyndra and gave them a nice tax payer-funded kick-back.

    • drax

      What a crock. Every governor tries to bring businesses to their state and to help create new ones, and people in both parties think so.

      • WLO

        But were these new jobs?

        • drax


        • Clarendon

          I seem to recall that Gridpoint was considering Austin as well as Arlington and that they were touted as a fast-growing business. I think its the type of business we would want to cultivate in Arlington as it is different than the typical government contractor. I don’t know how fast growing they have been though.

    • Josh S

      I guess it depends on how you define “plan” but certainly politicians are deeply involved in picking winners and losers in the economic realm. They set tax policy, for example. It’s scary, to be sure, but this is hardly some kind of special example or evidence that something different happened here.

  • this post brought to you by kaine for senator & gridpoint.

    • JamesE

      they are next to an apple store and whole foods!! It is literally ideal

  • Ashton Heights

    I’ll never forget how Kaine secretly gave Jon Stewart the middle finger when Stewart ridiculed him for his DNC strategy. Kaine was so pathetic with his little key chain; “don’t give them the keys back!”, was the best he could do. I’m not a member of either party and have no personal beef here, but he is very much responsible for the Democrats failure to keep the house in 2010.

    I’ll just vote for the other guy.

    • SteamboatWillie

      Are you aware of who “the other guy” is?

      • Hank For Senate

        Yeah that is a problem….that is why I will vote for Hank


        Better a cat than some mealy mouthed guy or someone who is likely to call you a Maccaca…..

        • drax

          So you won’t be voting then. Great way to make a choice.

          • Hank For Senate

            I will be voting for the only candidate worth voting for !!

        • HANK’S GOT MY VOTE

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Heck with both the Dems and the Pubs, Hank the cat would get my vote!

      • Buckwheat

        The “other guy” will be just like Reagan. Following Carter was easy.

        Following the current guy will be even easier. Our economy has tremendous pent up growth. Let loose the reins a little and let this horse gallop!

        • KeynesLives

          the private sector is still deleveraging, which is what has held the econ back so far – plus the euro crisis. Economy will still grow very slowly through 2013 at least – might grow fast before 2016, but that will the case whoever is elected. Nothing Mitt will do will be different in macro terms, unless he cuts taxes (a fiscal stimulus) and refrains from offsetting that with (contractionary) spending cuts – which is possible, but would mean ignoring all the “deficits are evil” rhetoric of the last couple of years.

          • Buckwheat

            I’m not an economist, but that is Uncle Ben’s forecast based on the current environment.

            Get the GDP growth to 3 or 4 percent and the deficits will disappear.

            Can’t imagine higher deficits than we have today. What would the deficits be if we had to pay historic interest rates of 5 to 7 percent on our debt and not the current zero. This Government is still kicking the can down the road.

            Get the people off the dole, back to work, and contribute to GDP.

          • KeynesLives

            yes, higher GDP growth would help a lot. But you can’t get it without an increase in aggregate demand, and the GOP has been fighting any policy to increaese aggregate demand. Cutting taxes on the rich would mean less agg demand per dollar of increased deficit, cause the rich spend less of their income, at the margin.

            A cut in taxes without a parallel cut in spending would increase our deficits, yes. OTOH cutting spending would severely increase UE.

          • Buckwheat

            ” the GOP has been fighting any policy to increase aggregate demand” Really?

            I agree there are Euro and Asian impacts, but demand is there. We continue to run trade deficits, importing more than we export. People continue to buy cars, big screen TV’s, and other high $ items. Money is almost free with the historic low interest rates.

            The message of tax increases to the rich is too simplistic. We need to broaden the tax base. Get back to a balanced tax burden like in the ’80’s with more than 70% paying a share. I would support that tax increase.

            We need a jobs program and not a stimulus. Corporations have over $2 trillion in cash waiting for the opportunity to invest. Let’s make it so they invest in the USA.

            Interesting discussion. Thanks!

          • KeynesLives

            money is free, but at they say, you can’t push on a string. People without jobs, people worried about their jobs and incomes are reluctant to borrow.

            Why would we go back to having more of the working poor pay federal income tax (its a lie that they dont pay a share – they pay other taxes)? The incentive benefit of lower taxes is at least as great for the poor as for the rich – the stimulus effects are greater – and it makes our societys distribution of income more equal, which I think is a good thing.

            I dont know what you mean by a jobs program vs a stimulus. Corps are waiting for aggregate demand. Increasing agg demand IS a stimulus. of course we need a stimulus. I hope you havent been swayed the propaganda against the first stimulus.

          • Josh S

            The “dole?” What is this, 1934?
            I think there might be a little disconnect between what is actually happening with unemployed / underemployed people and your perception.

            In any case, getting people back to work is a fabulous idea, which is why I hope Obama finds the guts to establish a new WPA.

          • Elmer

            Josh S, So you dismiss use of the word “dole” as being from the 1930s but your solution is “…a new WPA”.
            Now who’s stuck in the ’30s?

    • drax

      So you’ll vote for the Republican because you think the Democrat failed to keep Democrats in control of the House. Great logic there.

  • Hollywood

    Also, why would you pay them half a million dollars to move to NoVA when plenty of companies are already fleeing DC and MD for high taxes and generally unfavorable business climate?

    Also, “The company sells efficiency-monitoring software to electrical utilities, government agencies and private corporations.” Since utilities are essentially government-owned, two of three types of customers are government entities. I’d be curious what % of revenues these accounted for.

    • Sam

      Government regulated and government owned are two completely separate things.

    • faintlyprogressive

      odd, DC has a lower office vacancy rate and higher commercial rents than NoVa as a whole (not sure about Arl Co)

      Arl Co, though better situated than the outer suburban counties, faces issues with loss of DoD jobs and contractors. Adding new businesses seems like a good idea (whether any particular incentive is, is a different matter)

  • that guy

    Wow, I don’t know if the Gridpoint guy is super tall, but Kaine looks tiny next to him… Kaine the tiny man but with the eyebrows of someone twice his height!

    • Courtlander

      That’s actually Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon, but generally yes Kaine is not very tall and while Wyden is.

      • Aaron

        Wyden did begin college on a D-1 basketball scholarship (as well as playing ball for Jeremy Lin’s high school alma mater).

        • drax


  • JamesE

    “D.C. is a great place to be but it’s a tough place to get [computer] developers to go to work. We needed access to the talent. There’s a lot of folks who won’t cross the river to go into D.C. There’s a lot of folks who won’t cross the river to go into Maryland,”

    All of their job openings for actual engineering and software are in Seattle, Roanoke and Ontario. Sales and Marketing for Arlington, truly keeping those developers far from DC.

    • Kevin Diffily

      “D.C. is a great place to be but it’s a tough place to get [computer] developers to go to work.” Interesting comment. Although I live in Arlington and work (software developer) in Fairfax I would love to be heading east in the morning.

  • Elmer

    I’ll never forget Kaine’s smart-aleck remark after O. narrowly won Virginia: “The Ol’ Virginy’s Dead”.
    Now he wants to be our senator?
    I predict that remark will come back to haunt him-and not just among native born Virginians..

    • jackson

      Won’t he be running against George Allen? There’s a guy who’s said a few regrettable things too. (cough* Macaca* cough)

      • Elmer

        That was considerably before Kaine’s insulting remark
        Allen paid for his remark. Now its payback time for Kaine.

    • drax

      The Ol’ Virginny IS dead. Good riddance.

  • Ted

    Put up solar panels on the building roofs and significantly reduce energy consumption. Oh, they also shade the roof and reduce heat load.

    Time to bring companies here who are not looking for bonus density gimmes so they can build LEED Silver buildings that aren’t energy efficient

    • novasteve

      Except when you have the first thunderstorm that throws tree branches into and and hail that breaks the solar panels.

      • Josh S

        Not gonna happen in most commercial settings.

      • Elmer

        Not if they buy their solar panels from Solendra. Comes with a double your money back gurantee from the government-I mean the taxpayers.
        Whoops. Guess you’ll have to get those Solendra panels from the bankruptcy court now.
        What a shame……..

      • jackson

        These are of course the same supernatural branches that will bring the trolley to a halt.

        • DCBuff

          Ah yes, the trolley. No doubt it will be completely immune to any sort of weather-related problems, just like Metrorail!

  • Former GP employee

    This is total BS. The current GridPoint exec team complained about being in Arlington because the rents were too high.

    While they had raised in excess of $200M, they blew through a large chunk of it on exorbitant salaries, crazy benefits for a start-up, expensive flashy offices and such with nothing to show for it by mid to late 2010. Since they had nothing to show for their investment and no worthwhile product, they spent their last dollars buying companies with actual products and revenue streams so that they would actually have some revenue.

    That failed due to atrocious due diligence on their part. They also immediately fired a lot of people from the companies they acquired and then found out that they could not run them. They spent a small fortune cleaning up financial and operational issues that they never should have overpaid for in the first place.

    Those purchases blew the rest of their cash hoard, so their investors made them clean house (bye Corsell! bye Lach!) and Spirtos is now tasked with trying to take it public so Goldman & all can unload this turd on other suckers.

    GREAT story indeed!

    • IG candidate

      That sounds pretty awful. I wonder if they are in danger of not fulfilling their responsibilities and requirements for obtaining money from the Opportunity Fund.

    • Elmer

      I’m sure they would have stayed if they had known they could put their corporate logo up in lights on the building.

  • Hollywood

    Nuclear power is by far the most efficient and cleanest form of energy. Nothing else comes close.

    • Josh S


      Tell the former residents of the towns around Chernobyl.

      Also, it may be efficient and not emit pollutants during normal operation, but the costs are enormous. And the risks are also quite high.

      So while you’ve got some nice things on the pros side of the ledger, you’ve got some huge issues on the con side of the ledger.

      • novasteve

        That’s what happens who you half ass safety like the soviets did. A lot lot more people have died from coal related incidents, than from nuclear.

        • drax

          True. Coal kills us every day.

        • Josh S

          Yes, everyone knows that nothing like that could EVER happen in the US. Our humans are better than their humans.

      • Elmer

        Or even Solyndra?

      • Hollywood

        On a dollar per KWh basis, it’s still the cheapest energy source.

        I am not denying there have been some bad accidents, but it’s still very safe. Do you not fly on airplanes? I don’t know for sure but I bet more people have been killed from airplane accidents than accidents related to nuclear power plants.

        • Josh S

          Yeah, I don’t want to come off as some kind of anti-nuke crusader. I think it still has a role to play. I just think the risks are tremendous and so have to be very soberly addressed.

          • Hollywood

            I agree.

        • book it

          Yeah, but most reactors are only 12 seconds away from melting down.

  • nota gain

    dont vote for the other guy, his actual last name is A L E N as in a ET type individual. GA is almost identical as Trent Lott; very self serving egoists and forget their constituencies. TL probably does not have one. Is he now a lobbyist?
    Send packing the A L E N.

  • Edward

    Well that explains it. I always wondered what GridPoint did…


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