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On Monday, ARLnow.com editor Scott Brodbeck sat down with Pinkie Dent Mayfield of Rosslyn-based Graham Holdings to talk about her path to success in the business world.

A native of Oakland, California, Mayfield talked about her journey to the executive suite and offered words of wisdom about leadership, plus career advice for young professionals.

The event was held at 1776 in Crystal City and organized by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, as part of a new “Secrets to Success” podcast series with ARLnow. Stay tuned for details about future live recordings that you can attend in the coming weeks and months.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

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Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Passengers at the region’s airports could have an easier time during their travels thanks to a new partnership between the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Crystal City startup incubator 1776.

1776 front deskThe partnership, announced last month, means the two organizations will work together to find and mentor firms that look to use technology to make air travel more efficient. That technology includes proposals that can benefit airports, transit agencies and more.

MWAA operates Ronald Reagan Washington National and Dulles airports, as well as the Dulles Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road. It also manages construction of the Silver Line project into Loudoun County.

“In today’s rapidly changing world of business and commerce, it is imperative that transportation providers, such as airports, take advantage of new technologies that help us meet the demands and expectations of our increasingly mobile customers,” said MWAA president and CEO Jack Potter in a statement.

Already, 1776 is affiliated with companies that look to improve the travel experience in and around airports. The startup incubator, which has an office at 2231 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, partnered with mobile application company Airside Mobile to add Automated Passport Control devices that help international passengers arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport be processed more quickly.

Reagan Airport (file photo)MWAA also has been innovating through a partnership with CLEAR, a firm that helps its members move quickly through airport security lines and advances the use of biometric technology for security screening.

Additionally, the authority has invested in mobile app technology to aid security screening and airport signage, and is developing patented processes and technologies to make airport operations more efficient.

“Startups and new technologies continue to rapidly disrupt the way we travel from point A to point B,” said Evan Burfield, cofounder and CEO of 1776, in a statement. “1776 is excited to partner with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to harness the latest innovations within the transportation and aviation industry.”

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Four months after a triumphant announcement featuring the governor and county leaders, startup incubator 1776 is starting to warm up to its new Crystal City offices.

The company recently opened its new location at 2231 Crystal Drive, less than a half mile away from the Crystal City Metro station. The new 1776 office is spacious and bright, with walls made up of mostly windows overlooking Reagan National Airport, the Potomac River and D.C.

1776 came to Crystal City after acquiring startup funder and research firm Disruption Corporation, which previously ran its Crystal Tech Fund and offered office space to startups in the space. Both companies were working on a similar system that tried to determine which startups were worth investing in.

Disruption founder Paul Singh joined the 1776 team but left shortly after the acquisition was completed, according to the Washington Business Journal; the paper later revealed that 1776 hastily acquired Disruption after Singh’s company ran out of money.

The office space is currently being redesigned to make the new place look more like 1776’s headquarters, near Scott Circle in the District. The company’s co-founder and CEO, Donna Harris, said 1776 saw a chance to expand its footprint, its network and its mission in Crystal City.

“We saw a real opportunity to try and bring together the region’s abundant resources to help empower those startups, and to drive new economic growth across the region,” Harris said.

Since its arrival in Arlington, the incubator has held a Challenge Cup and hosted Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) to celebrate the White House’s Startup Week. During his visit, startup members of 1776 talked about their products, and a couple of the startups gave demos.

The new Crystal City office is similar to the original D.C. office in that it is a hub for startups, Harris said. The company is planning to use its new location to provide classes, curriculum items, events and mentoring for startups in Arlington.

“As part of our effort to create new opportunities for local startups throughout the Washington Metro region to grow and scale, we plan to use our Crystal City campus as a hub for connecting startups to the growing innovation economy and the powerful talent, expertise, corporations, and government agencies in Crystal City and throughout Virginia,” Harris said.

1776 is also looking to help connect startups with institutions within the private sector and government that are connected with cyber security and data, Harris said, and the location in Arlington helps the company provide these resources.

“As the headquarters for the world’s most important government agencies, regulatory bodies, corporations and policymakers, we believe there is unique promise right here in the Washington metro area for civic-minded startups — and unique resources they can’t find anywhere else,” Harris said.

1776 isn’t the only startup incubator in Crystal City. Eastern Foundry, which works to connect new businesses with government contracting, is a few buildings over at 2011 Crystal Drive.

What makes 1776 unique, Harris said, is that the incubator looks to help startups in industries that are important to everyday life but are hard to change.

“Everyday, there are hundreds of startups working diligently on ideas that have the power to transform and improve our lives as citizens,” Harris said. “We are excited to see how we can work with those startups to improve Arlington’s community and economy.”

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1776 announces expansion into Crystal City (photo via @1776)The heralded 1776 tech incubator and seed fund is moving into Crystal City, bringing tech bonafides and millions of dollars with it.

Today, on the roof of 220 20th Street S., Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes, Vornado CEO Mitchell Shear, 1776 co-founders Evan Burfield and Donna Harris and former Disruption Corporation CEO, and now 1776 Managing Director, Paul Singh joined forces to make the announcement.

“We’re proud that this new partnership will be anchored in Crystal City, which is increasingly becoming a globally-recognized home for world-changing startups,” McAuliffe said. “This new, unprecedented level of regional collaboration removes the traditional regional boundaries, creating tremendous opportunity for broad-based economic growth that benefits the entire region, and offering a model for future, long-term economic growth throughout Virginia and the D.C. Metro area.”

As part of its deal to expand in Crystal City, 1776 acquired Singh’s Disruption Corporation, a combination of a venture fund and financial advisory firm. Disruption’s headquarters on the 10th floor of 2231 Crystal Drive will be 1776’s base of operations in Arlington, according to Crystal City Business Improvement District Angela Fox.

“One of the beauties of Crystal City is there is so much space to expand, and if they do well, that’s certainly the thinking in all of this,” Fox told ARLnow.com this afternoon.

Earlier this week, 1776 announced a partnership with Montgomery County, and the incubator’s announcement today makes it one of the, if not the premier, dominant forces in the D.C. area technology space. In 1776’s new headquarters, it will already have member companies like Bloompop, Power Supply and Onomono Media.

1776 also hosts the Challenge Festival, an international, weeklong festival aimed at bringing together entrepreneurs in the energy, education, health and transportation sectors. The company anticipates more than 10,000 industry members will attend, and the opening party will be in Crystal City, at 2121 Crystal Drive, on May 8 from 7:00-11:00 p.m.

The incubator hopes to leverage the still-significant hub of government agencies and contractors in Crystal City, as well as the close proximity to the Pentagon, in its latest expansion.

“This region’s growing innovation economy and its future economic growth are closely linked, which is why at 1776 we’ve focused our attention on creating new opportunities for regional innovation and unfettered access to the networks that exist across regional borders,” 1776 co-founder Donna Harris said in a press release. “Between our partnership with Vornado and the acquisition of Disruption, this exciting new venture will allow us to bring together ALL the tremendous assets this region has to offer, from the NIH and MedStar in Bethesda to the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin in Crystal City, and create one of the most vibrant technology communities in the country.”

Photo via @1776

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Firefly (photo by Bruce Marlin, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Arlington Firefly Festival is returning to Fort C.F. Smith Park next month.

On Sunday, June 19, the festival celebrating insects that light up summer nights is back for the first time since 2019. Last year, a smaller firefly “prowl” (essentially, a nature walk) was held due to the pandemic.

This year there will be firefly arts and crafts, bug bingo, storytelling, a nature walk, and flashlight games. All are encouraged to go on a firefly hunt, catching and releasing the twinkling bugs.

Naturalists will also be on hand to explain how to best attract fireflies and ways to maintain backyard habitats to encourage insect visitors.

“Fireflies are fascinating and inspire a sense of nostalgia for many adults,” saud the press release. “The festival is an opportunity to introduce the next generation of citizens to the wonders of the night sky and the value of natural spaces.”

The event is sponsored by the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation. Registration began last week.

In general, fireflies are not lighting up the night sky as they used to.

“There are fewer, like a lot of insects,” says Rita Peralta, Outreach Manager at the Long Branch Nature Center and in charge of putting on the festival. “It’s largely referred to as an insect apocalypse. Like a lot of animals, it’s due to, mostly, habitat loss.”

But on warm Arlington summer nights, fireflies can be found across the county. The best place to see their nightly light show is near undistributed mature trees, in areas that have little light pollution.

That’s why Fort C.F. Smith Park in the Woodmont neighborhood is a great spot for the festival, says Peralta, because of its tree canopy and open meadows.

There are about 2,000 different firefly species in the world, with anywhere from 24 to 36 species calling our region home. Their ability to light up is part of their mating process, but one local species uses the light as a way to attract a meal.

“One local firefly species — the Femme Fatale or Photuris genus — is predatory,” noted the release. “The female will send a false signal to a male of another species to attract him and will then eat him when he arrives to mate.”

The festival starts at 7:30 p.m. and runs for two hours. Admission is $7 and tickets can also be purchased at the event, in addition to online. Heavy rains will cancel the event and there’s no rain date.

As of today, more than 100 people have already registered online, according to the county’s website.

Photo by Bruce Marlin via Wikimedia Commons

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Arlington School Board candidate Brandon Clark (left) and the Clark family (right) (courtesy of Brandon Clark)

A candidate for the Arlington School Board has withdrawn his name from the Democratic endorsement process.

Brandon Clark, a teacher at Gunston Middle School, said he decided to remove himself from consideration this week so he could run independent of party affiliation. He realized the partisan process did not align with his beliefs, he said.

“The more I thought about it, the more I was like, wait, this shouldn’t be part of the process,” he told ARLnow. “Education shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”

The caucus “represents a small microcosm of Arlington County,” Clark said. ‘It’s not up to the Arlington Democrats to decide who the School Board member’s going to be.”

The Arlington County Democratic Committee will now vote in June on whether to endorse Bethany Sutton, the only remaining candidate seeking the party’s endorsement, ACDC Chair Steve Baker said.

Clark had been steered in the direction of going through the Democratic Committee’s voting process when he decided to run in the otherwise nonpartisan election, he said.

“Because as a family, both of us being teachers, we don’t have a lot of disposable income to spend on a campaign, so I was told this is the only way you’re going to win,” he said. “It shouldn’t have this air of like, ‘this is the process where you win the race.’ No, the people need to decide and that happens on Election Day.”

Clark thanked the volunteers who began to lay the groundwork for the four-day caucus that will no longer take place.

James Vell Rives IV is also running without a party affiliation. Rives and Clark are the only two candidates who have qualified to be on the ballot so far, according to the Arlington elections office.

The Democratic endorsement process has been scrutinized for its overrepresentation of white, affluent Arlington residents, and discouraging participation in the general election while potentially making nonpartisan officials beholden to a political party, among other concerns. Calls for reform were ultimately defeated.

Clark said he hadn’t realized there were groups criticizing the caucus until he started going through the process.

“But I’m seeing now why these organizations have the grievances that they do,” he said. “In my opinion, it seems like a very insider kind of process.

This past weekend, before he pulled his name from endorsement consideration, he criticized local Democrats for selling a “Russian named vodka” at their Blue Victory Dinner, saying it “speaks to being out of touch on what our community might regard as tasteless and, although seemingly insignificant to others, [and] represents tacit support for Russia.”

He said as a teacher, he encourages his students to look at all sides of an issue to make well-informed decisions, so he didn’t think it was appropriate to align himself with a political party.

“In the future, I hope this process is more inclusive and more open and that there is a support for individuals who are trying to run,” Clark said.

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The Arlington School Board during its April 7, 2022 meeting (via Arlington Public Schools)

(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) Arlington’s School Board race is starting to take shape.

With School Board Chair Barbara Kanninen’s seat up for grabs, a few hats have been tossed in the ring so far.

Wednesday marked the end of the filing date for the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s endorsement process, which has a few changes this year in light of calls for a broader reform that were ultimately defeated.

Two candidates are seeking the Democratic endorsement in the otherwise non-partisan November school board election. A four-day voting process to determine the endorsee will be held in June.

Bethany Sutton is hoping to get the endorsement over Brandon Clark, the first person to qualify to run for school board through the Voter Registration and Elections Office. And James Vell Rives IV has also qualified for the November ballot.

Sutton is a certified leadership coach, executive search consultant and a former PTA president. She has lived in Arlington for more than 20 years and has a background in governance, strategic planning, staff and leadership development, and nonprofit management, according to her profile in the ACDC announcement of candidates.

Sutton served on Randolph Elementary School’s PTA board for seven years, three of which she was president of the board. Since spring 2020, she has led the Randolph Food Pantry, a community-based volunteer effort to support families affected by the pandemic.

Bethany Sutton, who is running for School Board (via Arlington Democrats)

For her work at Randolph Elementary, she was awarded the APS Honored Citizen Award in 2021 and the Distinguished County Service Award in 2020 from Volunteer Arlington and the Leadership Center for Excellence.

She also serves on the Arlington County Food Security Task Force and is chair of the APS Advisory Council on Teaching and Learning, which she has been on since 2018.

“She has a passion for excellence in student learning and a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” according to the ACDC writeup.

Sutton grew up in the Philadelphia area, attended college at the University of Mary Washington and graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also completed a graduate program in leadership coaching at Georgetown University.

Arlington School Board candidate Brandon Clark (left) and the Clark family (right) (courtesy of Brandon Clark)

Clark, a Gunston Middle School teacher, says he wants to bring a needed employee perspective to the school board, while pushing to improve the school system’s communication and engagement efforts.

While Clark is seeking the Democratic endorsement, he expressed displeasure with the party over the weekend. He told ARLnow via email that he left ACDC’s Blue Victory Dinner, held at a Ballston hotel Saturday night, miffed at the choice of vodka offered given the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“I briefly attended an event hosted by Arlington Democrats as a school board candidate… I left early and before the event started, when I saw that Russian named vodka, originally started in Moscow, was being offered for purchase,” he wrote. “I am confused and appalled by this and would like to say that this is an oversight and greater symptom of a larger problem in Arlington politics.”

A day after the initial publication of this article, Clark clarified that the vodka issue was not the only reason he left the event early, while adding that it “speaks to being out of touch on what our community might regard as tasteless and, although seemingly insignificant to others, [and] represents tacit support for Russia.”

Rives, meanwhile, is not seeking the Democratic endorsement, and is running as an independent. He is a psychiatrist and serves as co-chair of Arlington Public Schools’ School Health Advisory Board.

Rives has lived in Fairlington with his wife Carmen since 2003, and their children attend Wakefield High School and Claremont Elementary.

As a physician with a background in mental health, he said he can bring a unique perspective to the board. He particularly wants to help as schools recover from the effects of the pandemic, keeping schools open so students can catch up on lost skills and ensuring the school system retains its teachers.

“Restarting has been bumpy,” he said. “I want to help get back on track.”

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With high demand for homes and low home inventory, the current market is hot and favoring sellers.

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Morning Notes

New Deputy County Attorney Named — “Mr. Ryan Samuel, who joined the County Attorney’s Office (CAO) in 2018, serves as a board member for the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia and is a member of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation American Inn of Court.” [Arlington Government]

APS Launches Test to Stay — The Virginia Department of Health has authorized Arlington Public Schools to implement its “test to stay” pilot program, which consists of contact tracing and serial COVID-19 testing so students can continue attending school during after being a close contact to someone who tested positive. [APS]

Still Not Getting Mail? — From Rep. Don Beyer: “We’re working with USPS leadership to resolve mail delivery problems arising from winter weather and omicron-driven staffing shortages. I’m told some USPS units are working with just 1/3 of normal staff. Keep alerting my District Office to your issues, we’ll do our best to help.” [Twitter]

DES Seeks Input on Eads Street — From DES: “It’s a concept. It’s a design. It’s a concept design for upgrading S Eads Street between 12th and 15th Streets S. And you can chime in.” [Twitter, SurveyMonkey]

Virginia Hospital Center Names CEO — “The Arlington hospital said Wednesday that New York health care executive Christopher Lane will succeed Jim Cole, who’s retiring after nearly 37 years as its president and CEO.” [Washington Business Journal]

Speed Cameras Could be Coming — “Coming soon to a thoroughfare near you – Arlington aims to install speed-monitoring cameras that will spit out $50 citations to offenders.” [Sun Gazette]

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Inca Social, a restaurant serving modern Peruvian cuisine in an elaborately-designed space, is set to open tomorrow in Rosslyn.

The eatery is opening in the 7,600 square foot space at 1776 Wilson Blvd formerly occupied by Kona Bar and Grill. This is the business’s second location; the other, in Vienna near the Dunn-Loring Metro station, opened in early 2019.

Inca Social is known for its modern take on Peruvian cuisine, but co-owner Fito Garcia told ARLnow last month that the Arlington location will focus on Nikkei cuisine — a fusion of Peruvian and Japanese that’s becoming popular in Peru.

That includes sushi and ceviche, combining Amazonian fish with Japanese ingredients and preparation methods.

For the moment, though, Arlington’s Inca Social will have the same menu as the one in Vienna while adding a “few special fusion dishes,” a spokesperson says. An Arlington-specific menu will be rolled out in January.

Traditional dishes on the menu include empanadas, Peruvian street style skewers of beef heart, causas (“potato salad on steroids“), and tres leches. There’s also set to be a to-go market with ceviche kits and bottles of Inca Social’s leche de tigre marinade for sale.

A large indoor bar, specializing in pisco sours, has windows that also serve the restaurant’s outdoor patio.

Decor is a large part of Inca Social’s vibe in Arlington.

While it does resemble the original location, the interior also has colorful murals, moss-lined walls, and cherry blossom trees meant to invoke Japanese culture. Globe lights and cooper lights spread out through the space are intended to symbolize the sun, which the Incas worshiped. The tables, if pushed together, depict the Amazon River and much of the art is supposed to be reminiscent of Nazca lines. Additionally, there’s wall art featuring llamas, an animal important in Peruvian culture.

“The interior… will tie together inspiration from Machu Picchu and the Inca civilization into the restaurant’s modern environment,” says a press release.

Inca Social co-owner Fito Garcia is an owner of Courthaus Social in Courthouse, just up the street. He told ARLnow in November that he always envisioned opening an Inca Social in Arlington.

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Inca Social expects to start serving modern Peruvian cuisine on Wilson Blvd by December 21, though there will be a free preview this weekend.

The Peruvian restaurant and bar is looking to open its Rosslyn location by late December, co-owner Fito Garcia confirmed to ARLnow. It originally hoped to open in late October, but supply chain issues and a slight miscommunication pushed it by a couple of months.

The free preview will take place this Saturday from 12-4 p.m. on the restaurant’s outdoor patio, featuring tastings, music, dancing, and an appearance from a llama.

Inca Social is moving into the former Kona Bar and Grill space at 1776 Wilson Blvd, which rolled out of Arlington in April 2019.

Garcia is also co-owner of Courthaus Social on Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse, which opened in 2015. He tells ARLnow that they’ve always wanted to bring Inca Social to Arlington.

“I’m a big fan of Arlington and we were looking at multiple spots,” Garcia says. “We are very picky about what we want.”

The 7,600-foot restaurant will serve cocktails, empanadas, ceviche, and other Peruvian favorites. There will also be a focus on Nikkei cuisine, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian, including sushi and ceviche, that’s becoming popular in Peru, says Garcia.

The menu will differ slightly from the original Vienna, Va. location in that it will highlight more modern cuisine.

“What’s blowing up in Peru is what you are going to find here,” he says.

There will be a large indoor bar with windows that serve the outdoor patio, Garcia notes. The bar will specialize in serving pisco sours.

There will also be a to-go market where customers can purchase a ceviche kit which will include bottles of Inca Social’s leche de tigre marinade, Eater previously reported.

The interior of the restaurant pays homage to Machu Picchu, the 15th-century citadel in the Andes mountains of Peru, and will feature a wall of moss, says Garcia. There may eventually be a projection screen outside, if the owners are successful in obtaining a permit.

The restaurant is currently hiring and recently held an interview open house. Inca Social’s first location near the Dunn-Loring Metro station opened in early 2019.

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