Biz Talk: International Businesses Choose Arlington as U.S. Home Base

This article was written by Sindy Yeh, Senior Business Ambassador for Arlington Economic Development.

It comes as no surprise that both domestic and international companies select Arlington as their home to grow their businesses. They choose Arlington for similar reasons, such as proximity to customers and partners, accessibility to major transportation infrastructure, and the availability of a talented workforce. Here are perspectives from three international companies based in Arlington.

For the Japanese global conglomerate NEC Corporation, Arlington and the Northern Virginia area are excellent places for technology businesses. Mr. Shin Takahashi, chairman of the board of NEC Corporation of America (NECAM), selected Arlington to both live and work when he began leading NECAM’s government relations and public policy office in early 2018.

“Having a strong local management team is key to success for international companies,” Takahashi said. “Arlington is a good location for hiring great talent with excellent education and experience. There are lots of good companies around here, so it is easy to find highly qualified talent.”

NECAM’s Arlington location has grown to several business units, including a customer experience center to showcase its IT and facial recognition technology. It will relocate to a new office in Ballston in the fall.

“We only looked at Arlington when considering a new location to house the business units,” Takahashi said. “Arlington is diverse, safe and international. I could carry the same lifestyle as in Tokyo, where I could walk every place at night, go to grocery stores and restaurants, and visit movie theaters.”

Takahashi is also amazed at the number of fitness studios and gyms in the area and how healthy Arlingtonians are. “From my window, I can see people carrying yoga mats to exercise, so it is a big booster for my own wellness and a motivation to work out.”

TELE’s Daniel Kroepfl, who established the Austrian industrial electronics, manufacturing and services company in Arlington in late 2018, expresses a similar sentiment. “I travel to many cities throughout the country to visit customers and partners, and I do not see as many people running and exercising as in Arlington,” he said. “Arlington lives up to its name as America’s fittest city.”

When TELE was first considering expanding to the United States, the company looked at different cities across the country. “We chose Arlington because we want a location where we can recruit talent but also where our employees from Austria would enjoy visiting,” Kroepfl explained. “Austrian Airlines offers frequent direct flights from Vienna to Dulles, so I can visit my family and travel to headquarters easily.”

Accessibility to Europe and the U.S., Canada and Mexico markets is also a major consideration. “Access to major transportation hubs is key for our industry, which is industrial production, automation and electronics development,” Kroepfl said. “Everything is within easy reach by having an office here, allowing us to achieve our business goals.”

For the Australian digital intelligence startup Fivecast, accessibility to decision-makers in federal government agencies was the primary reason to choose Arlington for its first U.S. office. Duane Rivett, one of the founders of Fivecast, moved here in late 2019 to build up the company’s U.S. operations.

“The U.S. federal government represents an important customer base for Fivecast. Our digital intelligence solutions are built from the ground up to address challenges facing national security, defense and law enforcement organizations,” Rivett said. “The business community in Arlington provides lots of great opportunities for networking across the public sector and sharing ideas, expertise and connections, which are invaluable for establishing a new business.”

Fivecast was able to grow its team to 10 people, even during the pandemic. Having relocated, an experienced founder such as Rivett was instrumental in helping build the team culture, transferring corporate knowledge and history, and accelerating growth opportunities.

“Within 18 months, we established a tradecraft and business development team in the U.S., and these team members are fully trained and executing on the Fivecast business growth strategy,” Rivett said. “This execution focus has enabled us to launch the Fivecast Academy, an online training solution to help customers quickly learn and gain value from our solutions, which will aid in customer retention and revenue growth objectives.”

Again, Arlington proves to be an excellent location for domestic and international companies varying in size, years in business and industry. As NECAM’s Takahashi says, “Arlington is just a great place to live and work.”