Editor’s Note: 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.
It goes without saying the federal government has a lot of data, perhaps an incomprehensible amount of it, and all of it stored away on servers near and far.
Think of all the contracts, bid proposals, analyses, surveys and every other piece of internal and external business communication Washington receives, creates and keeps over the decades, and you have a gi-normous pile of virtual information. And much of it is in accessible, and therefore, not very useful.
Three-and-a-half years ago John O’Brien, a former government employee with a penchant for building things, decided to create a way that made that digital information accessible, and therefore useful, to government agencies and to companies eager to do business with the government. He started 540, named for the sum of the internal angles of the Pentagon, knowing that his experience within the government and later at a contracting firm could help make dealing with the government successful.
He was right: Just three-and-a-half years later the 18 employees — more than double this time last year — of 540 stay busy at Crystal City’s 1776 startup incubator helping the government and its contractors get things done. In fact, that’s their mantra: #getshitdone.
“That’s really our focus,” said Chris Bock, chief operating officer. “Our mission is to try to help the government lean forward in it’s approach to using technology, especially emerging technology.”
“We have a mission of connecting internal groups across the government by continuing to promote/deliver data sharing strategies,” wrote O’Brien in an email conversation. “Much of this has begun in the ‘government -> public’ realm — but we find it is still behind in the ‘government <-> government’ space.
“We are working hard to ensure that the same approaches and technologies are used to accelerate that data sharing as well.”
The niche 540 is filling is one the federal government is admitting it needs help with: Emerging technology. “We definitely see the government pushing toward modern technology,” Bock said, “and I think the government recognizes that it’s beneficial to them to try to take advantage of what modern technology can bring.”
“At a deeper level it’s about helping the government unlock it’s data,” Bock said. “Some of it is locked away in a legacy system somewhere. Some of it is stuck in PDF documents or in some other hard-to-get-at format. We’re building capabilities to help the government unlock that data–and to help them do cool things with it.”
To do this, 540 is using tools not uncommon in Silicon Valley, but 540 also builds its own tools, Bock said, “so you access data, see it and understand it.”
Tourism Spending Record in Arlington — Visitors to Arlington spent about $3.1 billion in 2015, a new record. That’s up 3 percent compared to 2014. The tourism spending generated $86 million in county tax revenue and $115 million in state tax revenue. [Arlington County]
New ART 92 Schedule Starts Today — A more frequent ART 92 bus schedule starts today, with buses running every 15 minutes during peak times. ART 92 runs from Crystal City to Long Bridge Park to the Pentagon. [Arlington Transit]
Cesar Millan in Crystal City — ‘Dog Whisperer’ star Cesar Millan was spotted walking the streets of Crystal City on Sunday. Millan was in town filming a new show, Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation, which will air on the Nat Geo Wild channel. [Patch, Twitter]
Arlington ’40 Under 40′ Honorees — The Leadership Center for Excellence has announced this year’s Arlington “40 Under 40” honorees. The 40 Under 40 luncheon will be held Dec. 2. [InsideNova]
Photos from Weekend Events — Pleasant late-summer temperatures helped drive big turnouts at Clarendon Day and Pups and Pilsners this weekend. Meanwhile, ARLnow’s Fall Beer Mega Tasting Event at Arrowine drew a (relatively) big crowd as well.
Flickr pool photo by Angela Pan
Bin 1700, a restaurant and lounge inside the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy) in Crystal City, is currently undergoing renovations.
Numerous workers could be seen working inside the demolished and under-construction space Thursday afternoon.
It’s unclear what exactly will be replacing the restaurant, though county permits indicate that the work is part of a larger interior renovation of the hotel’s lobby, common areas, hallways and rooms.
Bin 1700’s only two Yelp reviews describe a fairly middle-of-the-road restaurant that primarily served hotel guests.
You don’t need your favorite four-legged friend to sniff this deal out for you, but it will be more fun if you bring them along!
Today’s Deal of the Day will get you 50 percent off tickets to the 5th annual Pups and Pilsners event in Crystal City.
Tickets include a souvenir tasting glass, 15 tasting tickets, and one full beer — chose your favorite wisely! There are only a limited quantity of $10 discounted tickets available, and the deal ends at midnight, so act quickly.
Purchase Today’s Deal Now
Daily Discount Code: ARLnowPups
WHEN: Sunday, September 18 from 2-6 p.m.
WHERE: Park at 12th and Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
WHAT: Bring your friends — of both the two and four-legged variety — to the 5th annual Pups & Pilsners outdoor beer festival in Crystal City. This dog-friendly festival features a beer garden with craft brews and offerings from local breweries and a live music stage within an intimate and relaxing park setting. Plan a picnic or grab a bite from a local Crystal City restaurant or on-site food truck. This event is free to attend but tasting tickets are normally $20 online and $25 at the door. Each ticket includes one souvenir glass, 15 tasting tickets and 1 full drink. Online ticket sales end at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
The event, held from 2-6 p.m. in the parking lot next to 220 20th Street S., features “delicious wines from Spain, Portugal, and Argentina together with food tastes from restaurants in Crystal City and the region.”
There’s also live Latin jazz, wine lessons from the Washington Wine Academy, and free salsa dancing lessons from Columbia Pike’s Salsa Room.
Crystal City says Sip and Salsa ” is the D.C. region’s only inside the Beltway, outdoor wine festival with the ease of safe and responsible transit access.”
Food and drink tickets are $20 online, while food-only tickets are $10.
The local professional football team, it should be noted, won’t be playing Sunday — the Redskins will face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
The California Tortilla location in Crystal City location has closed.
The locally-based Mexican fast casual chain opened the location at 2450 Crystal Drive in 2012. It apparently closed this week.
A sign posted on the door reads: “California Tortilla is closing! We thank you for your patronage these past four years, and wish you the best of tacos in the years to come!”
An employee was removing the lettering with the restaurant’s hours from the door this afternoon.
Separately, the former Seattle’s Best Coffee location down the block is under construction. Permits displayed on the windows indicate that a Navy Federal Credit Union location will be moving in.
Hat tip to @34smiley
Get ready for the imminent return of Crystal City’s outdoor pop-up beer and wine garden by stocking up on discounted drink tickets.
Today’s Deal of the Day gets you drink tickets at 50% off. Sold in packs of four drink tickets for only $10 (plus transaction fees), the tickets are valid for any regularly-priced beers or wines available at Wine in the Water Park every Friday in September.
Can’t make any of the Friday dates? You can still stock up because these drink tickets are valid at any event with a cash bar sponsored by the Crystal City Business Improvement District, including at the beer/wine garden at the Crystal Screen: Sips & Sweets movie festival, the annual Father’s Day Auto Show, the Air Force Association Cycling Classic Beer Garden, Wednesday Night Spins, or next year’s edition of Wine in the Water Park.
Daily Discount Code: SIPtemberWWP
WHEN: Every Friday in September from 5-10 p.m.
WHERE: Crystal City Water Park (1751 Crystal Drive, Arlington)
WHAT: Crystal City’s popular outdoor beer and wine garden returns for SIPtember with expanded hours. Now opening immediately after work at 5 p.m., patrons can ease into the weekend with a delicious beverage, live music, or even a painting session with ArtJamz (limited tickets available). As usual, experts from the Crystal City Wine Shop and the Washington Wine Academy will curate the delicious selections.
You’ll want to take advantage of this deal quickly — only 200 ticket four-packs are available and the deal ends after noon on Friday. Our previous deal sold out within a day.
Over The Edge, an organization that helps raise money for nonprofits across the U.S., is set to partner with Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure during a daredevil event at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Jefferson Davis Highway) on Sunday, Sept. 18.
During the challenge, participants who register and raise at least $2,000 to help fund brain cancer research will get the chance to rappel down the side of the hotel. Though the feat might look daunting, no experience is necessary to join in on the fun, organizers said.
Registration costs $75 and reserves attendees a spot on the list. All who want to participate must raise at least $2,000, according to organizers.
Photo via Twitter / Over The Edge
The incident happened around 10 p.m. Monday in a restaurant on the 500 block of 23rd Street S., in Crystal City. Police and medics responded, but were told that an accident caused the injury.
The next morning, police were called again and told that the injury was the result of an assault, not an accident.
Two restaurant employees “were involved in a verbal altercation that turned physical,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The victim was washing a knife at the time of the altercation and suffered a laceration to the hand which required medical treatment.”
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
LATE MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 160823025, 500 block of S. 23rd Street. At approximately 10:11 a.m. on August 23, officers responded to the report of a late assault with a weapon. Upon investigation, officers determined that the incident occurred the night prior when a male victim suffered a laceration to the hand following a verbal altercation. Police and medics had previously responded to the location on August 22 at approximately 10:00 p.m. but the incident was reported as an accident requiring medical attention. The victim was transported by medics to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The investigation is ongoing.
The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.
Get ready to Sip, Salsa and Save with today’s Deal of the Day.
Snag a general admission ticket to the 10th annual Crystal City Sip & Salsa for only $10 (or get a food only tasting ticket for $5) and enjoy great Spanish and South American wines, delicious bites from area restaurants, live music, and, of course, salsa dancing!
That’s half off the usual price. You’ll have to hurry — only 100 discounted tickets are available and the deal ends at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Daily Discount Code: ARLnowSip
WHEN: Sunday, September 11 from 2-6 p.m.
WHERE: Parking lot at 220 20th Street S., Arlington, VA 22202
WHAT: The region’s largest inside the beltway, outdoor wine festival is celebrating its 10th year! Crystal City’s 10th Annual Sip and Salsa features delicious wines from Spain, Portugal, and Argentina, food tastes from restaurants in Crystal City and the region, great live music, and live dancing demonstrations and lessons from Columbia Pike’s Salsa Room. Part of Crystal City’s SIPtember series, enjoy a variety of sipping events with Sip & Salsa, Pups & Pilsners, Wine in the Water Park, and Crystal Screen: Sips and Sweets movie festival.
Arlington Searching for Ultimate Frisbee Coaches — With ultimate frisbee approved as a new school-sponsored sport, Arlington Public Schools in now on the hunt for frisbee coaches at each of its middle and high schools. [InsideNova]
Dems Hold Unity Event — Arlington Democrats are presenting a unified front heading into election season. After a bruising primary, both County Board Chair Libby Garvey and her once-challenger, Erik Gutshall, attended a Democratic unity event at the house of County Board member Jay Fisette last night. [Twitter, Twitter]
‘Tranquility’ in Crystal City Underground — Gallery Underground, the subterranean art gallery in the Crystal City Shops, is preparing for its next exhibit, on the theme of “Tranquility.” The month-long art show starts Sept. 1. [Gallery Underground]
Photo courtesy Eric LeKuch
APS Testing for Lead in Pipes — Arlington Public Schools has been testing systemwide for lead in pipes. Already, the school system has replaced a water fountain in Jamestown Elementary School found to have lead levels above a level considered safe by the state health department. [InsideNova]
Bayou Bakery Raising Money for Flooding Victims — Bayou Bakery in Courthouse is raising money for Louisiana flooding victims. The restaurant is offering a special Shrimp Creole appetizer for $9 this week; half the proceeds from that dish will benefit flood victims, including chef/owner David Guas’ own aunt, whose home in Abbeville, LA flooded with two feet of water. [Bayou Bakery]
Arlington Names New Communications Director — Dr. Bryna Helfer has been named Arlington County’s new Director of Communications and Public Engagement. She joins county government from the federal government. “Helfer currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement at the U.S. Department of Transportation and also serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Accessibility and Workforce,” a press release notes. [Arlington County]
Crystal City Boxing Recap — It was a nine-bout, nine-knockout night at the Crystal City Hilton Friday night. [Fight News]
Transport Nerds ‘Playing With Traffic’ — A big group of “transportation techies” gathered recently at WeWork in Crystal City to discuss creative and tech-based solutions to transportation problems. The group is sponsored by Mobility Lab, the research arm of Arlington County Commuter Services. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Former Mansion Owner is In Jail — Rodney Hunt, the man who once owned the $23 million Arlington mansion that’s being used to throw large parties (and which was recently sold at a foreclosure auction), is currently in the Arlington County jail. Hunt was ordered to spend 90 days in jail earlier this month for violating his parole. An attorney says Hunt doesn’t know anything about the parties. [Washington Post]
Tourists Can’t Handle the Heat at the Cemetery — Anytime it gets sufficiently toasty outside, medical calls to Arlington National Cemetery become frequent. Tourists at the cemetery regularly suffer heat-related ailments that require paramedic dispatches during the summer. The cemetery is advising visitors to wear sunscreen and bring a bottle of water during the warm weather months. [Twitter]
Airbnb Is Costing Arlington Tax Revenue — Arlington County has yet to figure out a good way to get those renting out their homes on Airbnb to pay the county’s 5.25 percent lodging tax, which is paid by hotels and should be paid by Airbnb hosts. “Very few of the folks who should be paying taxes have stepped up to fork over the money,” reports Michael Pope. [WVTF]
Art Murals in Crystal City — Crystal City has more than two dozen outdoor art murals, implemented by the Crystal City Business Improvement District. The murals are part of an effort to “visually revitalize the area,” which is noted for being something of a concrete canyon. [Curbed]
Teacher Salaries By School — A list shows the average teacher salary, by school, at Arlington Public Schools. Topping the list is Kenmore Middle School, at $80,411. At the bottom of the list is the Arlington Mill high school program, at $61,731. [Patch]
APS Finance Chief Wins Award — Leslie Peterson, the assistant superintendent for finance and management at Arlington Public Schools, is one of three officials in the U.S. to receive the 2016 Pinnacle of Achievement Award from the Association of School Business Officials International. [InsideNova]
Amtrak Police Chief Shared Apartment With ‘Alleged Boyfriend’ — Amtrak Police Chief Polly Hanson, who’s under investigation for fraud and conflict of interest, reportedly shared an Arlington apartment with her “alleged boyfriend,” a senior director at a contractor that Amtrak hired under Hanson’s supervision. The two also are said to have co-owned a condo in Dewey Beach, Del. [Washington Post]
Dominion says more than 300 customers, in an area centered around the Metro station, are in the dark as a result of a storm-related outage. Power isn’t expected to be restored until this afternoon.
The outage includes large office buildings and traffic lights up and down Crystal Drive. Police are on scene, setting up cones to direct traffic through the uncontrolled intersections, though generators are being brought in to bring the traffic signals back online.
Last night’s storm is causing other issues around Arlington this morning, as well. On the Custis Trail, a large tree has reportedly fell onto and blocked the trail between N. Quincy and Nelson streets.
— AlliMoe (@AlliMoe21) August 18, 2016
County Considering Rideshare Subsidies — Arlington County is studying a plan that would subsidize rides on Uber and Lyft for residents who live in “more remote residential areas of the county where bus service to Metro stations is limited.” The plan, if implemented, would “replace some fixed bus service in north Arlington.” [Washington Post]
APS SOL Results — The results of the Virginia Standards of Learning tests are out. In response, Arlington Public Schools released a press release with the title “APS Continues to Make Progress in Closing the Achievement Gap.” It says: “In 2016, the APS met or exceeded the state passing rates on 28 of 29 assessments, across all grade levels and subjects. APS exceeded the state passing rates by 5 to 13 percentage points on 16 of the assessments.” [Arlington Public Schools, InsideNova, Washington Post]
APS Doesn’t Make Newsweek List — Updated at 2:05 p.m. — Newsweek is out with its annual list of the top 500 public high schools in the country, and no Arlington public school made the list. In fact, only four Virginia high schools made the list. In 2010, every APS high school was on the list. APS says it has not been submitting stats to Newsweek over the past few years. [Newsweek]
Boxing Coming to Arlington This Weekend — A nine-card boxing bout will take place at the Crystal City Hilton hotel Friday night. [Fight News]
ACPD Wreath-Laying Ceremony at ANC — Arlington County Police brass laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. [Instagram]
Lost Dog On the Pike — A woman is trying to find her lost chihuahua, which was last seen near the intersection of Glebe Road and 9th Street S., near Columbia Pike. [Twitter]