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Alexandra Turshen in Netflix’s “Partner Track” (photo courtesy of Netflix)

Within the first five minutes of Netflix’s new series Partner Track, Arlington native and Yorktown High School graduate Alexandra Turshen already has her “boss” moment by telling the new paralegal to get his feet off the desk.

“I would be lying if I said that I didn’t always want to play a fierce Manhattan lawyer,” Turshen told ARLnow, laughing. “The role of Rachel is so aligned with who I am. She’s a boss.”

But before 36-year-old Turshen was starring as “Rachel,” the best friend in a romantic comedy about lawyers climbing the ladder, she was a boss in the Yorktown marching band.

“Your girl was playing cymbals with the best of them,” Turshen said. “We were absolutely the coolest kids in town. I can say with absolute certainty that the best time I had in high school was being part of the symphonic band and marching band.”

From slamming cymbals at Yorktown to being a fictional high-powered attorney on a Netflix show, it’s been a bit of a journey for the hometown actor.

Turshen grew up in the Rock Spring neighborhood of North Arlington, within walking distance of Yorktown High.

Performing arts has always been, quite literally, in her blood. Her mom, who still lives in Arlington, was a music teacher for nearly 50 years working mostly in D.C. and Fairfax County. Her dad was an Arlington attorney. The two met doing community theater at the Hexagon, a long-running political satire musical theater in D.C.

“My family has always this real appreciation and foundation in music and performance,” Turshen said.

And Turshen followed in her family’s musical footsteps, playing the string bass in Yorktown’s symphonic band and cymbals in the marching band.

“The whole band would walk uniformly out to the field to the beat of the drums with the cymbals right in front. It was such a great feeling,” she said.

But Turshen dreamed of dancing. So, she joined a program while at YHS where she left school early for lessons at the Washington Ballet Company. She would wear “leotards and tights” under her clothes at school all day and leave right after band class to make her way downtown. While she loved dancing, her body didn’t.

“As it turns out, my body just kinda gave out. I got injured… the tendons and ligaments started tearing in my feet and they just really couldn’t take the 9 to 5 job as a ballerina,” Turshen said.

So, she went to college in Massachusetts and studied international human rights. But she missed performing, so shortly after graduating she moved to New York to become an actor.

Arlington native Alexandra Turshen (photo courtesy of Netflix)

It wasn’t easy, though. There were times when she wanted to give up, but early on she got advice that “perseverance, persistence, and patience” is how one makes in the industry.

For Turshen, that’s held true. She has had plenty of roles over the years, but it’s taken time to build her career.

“It’s so heartbreaking. It’s so brutal. You get so close sometimes and then it just doesn’t go your way and then it can really get you down. After five years, after ten years, or 12 years, it wears on you,” she lamented. “You really have to have a strong sense of purpose, and you have to believe in yourself when others don’t. And that takes practice, especially as the years turn into decades.”

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Ballston-based Federated Wireless is moving its corporate headquarters to Crystal City — and it is bringing 5G connectivity with it.

The move marks the next step developer JBG Smith is taking to turn the area into the world’s first large-scale “Smart City,” with futuristic experiences such as self-driving cars and virtual reality powered by a speedy wireless network.

Federated Wireless, currently located at 4075 Wilson Blvd, will occupy approximately 36,000 square feet of office space at 2121 Crystal Drive, per a press release from property owner and developer JBG Smith.

This building is home to aerospace company Lockheed Martin and a park, as well as a forthcoming restaurant called “Surreal.”

As part of the move, the wireless services company will design, deploy and manage 5G Private Wireless networks for commercial tenants and residents living and working in JBG Smith’s offices and apartments in Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard (known collectively as National Landing).

The area is saturated with companies that need what private 5G provides: high-speed data and few communication delays. National Landing’s roster includes Amazon’s second headquarters, Boeing’s recently relocated global headquarters, Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus and numerous tech, defense and cybersecurity companies.

“We will be developing a showcase to demonstrate the power and cutting-edge capability that Private Wireless can bring defense contractors, government, retail clients, residential tenants, smart cities, and other customers and citizens in the area,” Federated Wireless Chief Commercial Officer Chris Swan said in a statement.

That could draw more innovative companies to the area, too.

JBG Smith has said its “smart city” would be replete with Internet-connected devices supporting futuristic experiences such as self-driving vehicles, immersive and augmented reality, building automation and environmental sustainability.

2121 Crystal Drive (via Google Maps)

The company already had expansive real estate holdings, from existing office space and apartments to developable land, to realize this goal — but it needed the technology to do so.

Over the last two years, it has assembled the radio frequencies and fiber networks needed to support the vision.

In 2020, JBG purchased seven blocks of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum from the Federal Communications Commission. In 2021, it announced partnerships with AT&T and Arlington County to bring about ubiquitous indoor and outdoor public 5G in 2021.

And now, Federated Wireless is providing a third piece to the puzzle.

Cloud, Edge, and [Internet of Things] combined with 5G Private Wireless represent a once in a generation opportunity to transform buildings, cities, and citizens’ experience. The game-changer here is that the 5G Private Wireless network we’re building with JBG Smith is the catalyst that will bring that reality to life in National Landing,” Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi said in a statement.

“Our partnership with JBG Smith is all about enabling shared spectrum solutions to power the next generation of connected businesses, cities and people,” he added.

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There was a time when Arlington — Clarendon, in particular — was known for bar crawls.

There was Shamrock Crawl, the Clarendon Halloween Crawl, and Shirlington’s SantaCon. Thousands of mostly younger people attended. Along with the revelry, however, there were arrests, property damage, public intoxication, and nudity.

Then, in 2014, the Arlington County Board had enough and passed a number of regulations designed to allow local officials at least some control over how bar crawls operated in the county. It made event organizers apply for a special events permit, have insurance, and reimburse the county for any event-related expenses, like the cost of assigning extra police officers.

The regulations not only curtailed the number of incidents related to bar crawls but decreased the number of crawls in Arlington overall. From many people’s perspectives, the regulations worked.

Eight years later, the bar crawl scene in Arlington still hasn’t recovered.

Only 9 bar crawls have been issued special event permits since 2018, per data provided to ARLnow by the county’s Dept. Parks and Recreation (DPR), which manages the process.

“Pub crawls can draw a crowd and impact our community, so their organizers need to have a permit to hold a pub crawl,” DPR spokesperson Susan Kalish told ARLnow. “Special event organizers are required to pay any costs to the County due to their event, such as public safety, trash removal, and more.”

The upcoming crawls include an 80’s and 90’s themed crawl set for this Saturday (Sept. 17) in Clarendon. It’s being co-organized by local restaurateurs Christal and Mike Bramson.

There are two more bar crawl applications pending for this year as well.

While DPR said statistics are not available for permitted bar crawls prior to 2016, anecdotally and going through the ARLnow archives, it appears there are now far fewer bar crawls — especially those of the large, 1,000+ attendee variety — than prior to the enactment of regulations.

While the pandemic certainly impacted the last several years, 2018 and 2019 both only had 3 permitted crawls per year. That’s out of combined 401 permitted special events. With 2022 wrapping up, though, special events are returning to the level of the “before times,” including bar crawls.

“This fall we are pretty much back to pre-pandemic levels of applications,” said Kalish.

It takes a lot more to put on a bar crawl in Arlington today than it did in the free-wheeling days of the early 2010s.

“You’d be surprised how many people who are organizing a special event haven’t thought about all the specifics,” Kalish wrote. “Trash. Toilets. Noise. Flow. The [county’s] Special Events Committee helps them through a number of possible scenarios so they can have a successful event.”

How far in advance organizers need to submit their application, either 30 or 90 days, depends on a number of factors including the size of the crawl. Kalish noted crawls with only three or four establishments on the route usually require less time to process.

“The first year we had [permitted] pub crawls they were quite large, but recently they have gotten much smaller,” Kalish said.

A crawl or organizer “with a satisfactory history” of managing safe events also requires less processing time, as well as one that has a clear mapped route.

Because of these regulations, guidelines, and extra costs, though, some companies have decided to forgo organizing crawls in the county and instead stick to a place where the process is more straightforward and there’s no shortage of potential young and single attendees: the District.

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Address: 818 N. Fillmore Street
Neighborhood: Lyon Park
Type: 5 BD, 3.5 BA – 3282 sq. ft.
Listed: $1,660,000

Noteworthy: A classic from Lyon Park that has been expanded and updated.

A Historical 6 bedroom, 4.5 bath Craftsman situated on a quiet road in Lyon Park.

Two renovations were undergone, which significantly updated and expanded this 1925 Sears house — making it the ideal fusion of traditional charm served with contemporary elements.

An inviting front porch where you can soak up the sun welcomes guests to such a brilliant house. In the back, you will find a backyard porch with Trex flooring that leads to the sizable pool and built-in jacuzzi for an indoor/outdoor living experience like no other.

This true gem is within close proximity of the Clarendon Metro, Trader Joe’s, the Lyon Park Community Center and a wide variety of stores, restaurants, coffee shops, post offices, fitness centers, parks, and playgrounds.

Listed by:
Natalie Roy — Bicycling Realty Group of Keller Williams Metro Center
[email protected]
(703) 819-4915

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Autumn is upon us and a local cookie company is hoping to mint some pumpkin spiced profits with new seasonal flavors.

MOLTN, a late-night cookie shop operating from a ghost kitchen in Arlington’s Dominion Hills neighborhood, is jumping on the fall flavor hay wagon as it seeks to continue its warm and gooey growth path.

“Regardless of where you fall on the PSL [Pumpkin Spice Latte] debate, we’re pretty sure you’ll love our pumpkin white chocolate pecan cookie, which we just added to the menu this week,” co-owner Neal Miglani said.

The company — which operates from Allspice Catering at 6017 Wilson Blvd — is finalizing recipes for other seasonal menu items, as well as vegan chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.

The pumpkin white chocolate pecan cookie from MOLTN (via Toast)

He said he will soon be announcing a “top secret” vegan flavor, while year-round ice cream lovers should be able to enjoy shakes and sundaes by October. Ice cream-based desserts items were advertised when the company launched in the spring, but have yet to go on sale.

“We haven’t been able to add the ice cream items to the menu yet because our freezer is still on backorder due to supply chain issues,” the co-owner said. “We’ve got everything ready to go as soon as it gets here, which we hope will happen within the coming weeks.”

Miglani reported that local businesses and the county government have been sweet on MOLTN’s catering arm.

“We… recently delivered 1,000 cookies to 22 of the Arlington County government buildings for their Employee Appreciation Day, which may have been the most fun we’ve had yet with catering orders,” he said.

But the most loyal sweet tooth customer base remains those trolling delivery apps for a comforting late night treat.

“While we see that late-night cookie cravings know no age or gender boundaries, the largest share of our customers are Millennial and Gen Z women,” he said.

And the company’s most popular flavors are the Reese’s peanut butter, s’mores and red velvet varieties.

A 12-pack of MOLTN cookies and its red velvet flavor (courtesy of MOLTN)

To give employees a break, the co-owner did roll back MOLTN’s night-time hours from 2 a.m. on weekends to 1 a.m.

“To be honest, we did this primarily for our team,” Miglani said. “Demand usually starts to drop after the midnight to 1 a.m. window, and we didn’t want to ask people to stay so late when the sales were coming in sporadically.”

Despite one fewer hour of operation, MOLTN has been baking more than 2,000 pounds of cookie dough every month “right out of the gate,” he said.

“We’re really lucky to be a part of the amazing community in Arlington, from the customers who have been so supportive since we opened to our all-star team of employees who make the job fun and easy,” Miglani said.

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The Aug. 9 bike-on-bike crash on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn (image via Arlington County traffic camera)

Paul Kiendl doesn’t even remember what happened.

It was early August and he was on his bike, making his way to work via his regular route on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn. He recalls being stopped at a traffic light near the intersection of Langston Blvd and Fort Myer Drive.

Then, memories come in bits and pieces for Kiendl. Lying in a patch of poison ivy, in the back of the ambulance, and then being in the hospital.

It’s been about a month since the bike accident, which left Bluemont resident Kiendl with a severe spinal injury and nerve damage. He’s begun to piece together what exactly happened, believing he clipped another cyclist when it sped ahead of him at the traffic light.

“I think that was just a bicyclist that was trying to run a red light on Fort Myer Drive,” Kiendl tells ARLnow. “And I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.” 

But knowing exactly the cause of the accident has proven to be very difficult. That’s because Arlington County Police Department didn’t prepare a crash report, as it would when a driver of a car hits a bike or pedestrian.

So, there’s no account of what happened, no identifying details, no interviews with witnesses, and no diagram of the crash.

The information about Kiendl’s crash was so sparse that a family member reached out to ARLnow, after seeing our brief post on Twitter, above. We did not have any information beyond what was in the tweet, however, and at the time the injuries involved were reported to be minor so no reporter was sent to the scene.

The lack of a crash report in keeping with police protocol, ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage notes. The county police department does not put together crash reports for bike-on-bike or bike-on-pedestrian incidents.

“ACPD follows Virginia law and guidance by the DMV for reporting crashes,” Savage said in a written response to ARLnow. “In Virginia, a crash report involving a bicycle is required only when the bicycle is involved with a motor vehicle in transport.”

Bruce Deming, the “bike lawyer,” thinks this is a very bad policy. He’s been practicing law in Arlington for more than 30 years, exclusively representing injured cyclists and pedestrians.

Deming notes that by not taking a crash report, there’s no information or official documents one could use to pursue any sort of civil compensation or insurance claims for help with medical bills.

“Why should the Arlington County police treat injured cyclists that are involved in a bike-on-bike collision as second-class citizens?” Deming rhetorically asks. “They’re badly injured and they need the information to pursue their own civil claims just as much as a motorist would need it.”

Per Savage, a crash report is taken in accordance with Virginia Code § 46.2-373 which says one must be prepared when a “motor vehicle accident” results in injury, death, or property damage of $1,500 or more.

As defined by Virginia Code § 46.2-100, the term “motor vehicle” does not include bicycles, scooters, e-bikes, mopeds, electric personal mobility devices, or motorized skateboards.

Just because a crash doesn’t involve a car, however doesn’t mean someone can’t be badly injured.

Deming recounts another situation back in 2015 when a client of his was severely hurt colliding with another bike in the Rosslyn/Courthouse neighborhood. Deming says the police showed up, but wouldn’t take any witness contact information or interview the other cyclist.

Bike-on-bike crashes often result in terrible injuries. You’ve got two bodies and quite often [it’s] a head-on type of situation,” says Deming. “It doesn’t take a physics professor to understand the type of force that happens when you have two bodies collide at any kind of speed. It’s a terrible policy.”

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Arlington-based oxygen-monitoring tech startup OxiWear is aiming to go to market by the end of next month.

After raising $1.25 million last year, OxiWear founder Shavini Fernando told ARLnow that they are now in midst of testing in order to start selling the small, ear-worn blood oxygen alert system by late October. The hope is to, at least initially, appeal to the fitness and exercise market.

After that, the aim is to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the device for prescriptions by mid-2023 and for off-the-shelf retail by the end of next year.

That would cap the Rosslyn resident’s five-year journey to offer a device that has saved her life to others.

For years, even though she was a swimmer and lived an active lifestyle, Fernando struggled to breathe. Doctors in her native Sri Lanka said she had asthma, but after a particularly troubling episode in 2015 when her face turned blue, she was diagnosed with severe cardiovascular disease and told that she had two years to live.

Fernando flew to the United States for a second opinion. Getting off the plane, she suffered a stroke. Soon, it was discovered she suffered from severe pulmonary hypertension (PH) due to Eisenmenger Syndrome. Meaning, there’s a hole in her heart that can lead to cardiac arrests and hypoxia strokes.

“With that, it damages my lungs due to the overflow of blood to the lungs,” she said. “It’s called Eisenmenger when it comes to that stage and it’s irreversible.”

 

Fernando has had to deal with near-fatal situations, including four cardiac arrests and two strokes. She is also not allowed to fly above certain altitudes, meaning she hasn’t been able to fly home to Sri Lanka since leaving in 2015.

While there’s no cure for Eisenmenger, Fernando thought there might be a way that she could monitor her oxygen levels in order to prevent potentially fatal consequences. In 2015, she started working on a wearable device that would alert people like her when their oxygen levels drop to dangerous levels.

“Once we get a cardiac arrest, you only have three minutes. That’s not enough time to call 911. That’s where OxiWear comes in. You get the alert ahead of time before you go into cardiac arrest or have a stroke,” she said.

It does that by being attached to the ear and pulsating when the wearer’s oxygen levels dip below a certain level. The ear is one of the best and most accurate body parts for measuring oxygen, Fernando said.

Additionally, the device connects to a mobile application that allows the user to keep an eye on their levels at all times. If they do drop dangerously, it will buzz the device as well which will send out an alert to emergency contacts.

“In case you can’t call for help, someone will know you need help,” Fernando said.

Beyond medical necessities, OxiWear is also being marketed to high-performing athletes.

Oxygen levels, even more than heart rate, can give a sense of how fatigued an athlete might be or how well they are adapting to certain environments. Earlier this year, OxiWear signed an agreement with a company that does high-altitude obstacle courses and endurance races.

“It gives the coach an idea of an athlete’s… tolerance level and how long they can stay the course. And, also, how they behave in different environments,” she said.

This is one of the reasons why Ted Leonsis — local owner of the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics — has been such an advocate of OxiWear and Fernando, with not just financial investment but mentorship as well.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

(Updated, 8/31/22) Twenty-five Arlington-based companies are on this year’s Inc. 5000 list, an annual barometer of the country’s fastest-growing companies.

Among them are a Clarendon-based digital media company, a restaurant management software company on Fairfax Drive, and a food tech start-up in Ballston.

The highest-ranked Arlington company at No. 461 is Piedmont Global Language Solutions, which specializes in translation, interpretation, and language training. The company’s headquarters is located in Ballston on N. Glebe Road.

The median growth over the last year for the local companies is 256%.

The 23 companies with local ties on the latest Inc. 5000 list are fewer in number than in previous years. In 2021, 30 Arlington companies graced that year’s list while there were 30 in 2020 and 34 in 2019. Just under half of the companies (11) on the 2022 list were also on the 2021 list.

While looking through the list, a few trends emerge. Most of the local companies are headquartered in Clarendon or Ballston. Many are software or tech-based that count the federal government as a major client. At least a couple were founded by first-generation Americans and a few were at one time featured by ARLnow.

Here’s a list of all the Arlington-based companies included on this year’s Inc. 5000 list:

  • 1,218, HUNGRY, 534% — A food tech start-up that connects companies and consumers with local chefs, food trucks, and restaurants. It has a number of celebrity investors and is based in Ballston.
  • 1,219, SweatWorks, 533% — A software company that helps engineer and design fitness products. It’s headquartered in Ballston.
  • 1,321, Grey Market Labs, 494% — A software company with the “mission to protect life online.” The company is headquartered in Clarendon.
  • 1,486, Kasma, 432% — A compensation software management system that provides employee pay data from across the globe.
  • 1,544, C3 Integrated Solutions, 414% — An IT service that secures clients with cloud-based tech and is located on Wilson Blvd in Clarendon.
  • 1,651, DonorBureau, 378% — A software analytics company helps organizations better fundraise and get donor support.
  • 1,879, Blake Willson Group, 323% — A veteran-owned business that provides “technology solutions” to the federal government.
  • 2,148, Competitive Innovations, 276% — A government service company that’s based on N. Glebe Road in Buckingham.
  • 2,227, Axios, 264% — A Clarendon-based digital media company that covers national as well as local news often with short, punchy articles.
  • 2,294, ITC Defense Corp., 256% — A tech-based global defense business that specializes in system engineering. It has an office in Crystal City.
  • 2,296, Fors Marsh Group, 255% — Conducts market research to help companies with customer service. It’s in Ballston.
  • 2,450, PhoenixTeam, 236% — A mortgage technology firm on N. Glebe Road in Ballston.
  • 3,092, iTechAG, 174% — A tech firm that helps organizations “streamline their operations to achieve better, faster and more predictable results.” It’s in Clarendon.
  • 3,094, Association Analytics, 174% — A data analytics company in Rosslyn that helps organizations operate more efficiently.
  • 3,292, Web Development Group, 161% — An advertising and marketing company that builds websites. It’s based in Clarendon.
  • 3,364, Ostendio, 156% — A digital platform company in Rosslyn that automates security.
  • 3,422, Nuvitek, 153% — An engineering firm that provides automation and cloud services to government agencies. It was on last year’s list as well and based in Rosslyn.
  • 3,541, Changeis, 146% — The Rosslyn-based company works with federal agencies in “emerging technologies.
  • 4,020, 540.co, 120% — As the company describes itself on its website “we are a forward-thinking company that the Federal Government turns to in order to…#GetShitDone.” It’s based in Crystal City.
  • 4,199, Quantum Search Partners, 111% — A recruiting company for cybersecurity, tech, data, and architecture sectors with an office in Clarendon.
  • 4,353, DWBH, 103% — A veteran-owned company that offers subject matter expertise “in support of mission-critical functions.”
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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Seeing his cart flipped in the middle of what was then called Lee Highway in Rosslyn, with eggs and taco shells spilling down the street, Osiris Hoil was close to giving up his dream.

The co-founder of District Taco, which in 2011 was but a simple taco cart, called his neighbor and business partner Marc Wallace for help. He came to Hoil’s rescue bearing tools, know-how, and resolve to fix the cart’s broken hitch.

“I’m so stressed out, so tired,” Hoil said as he recounted the story of the flipped taco cart to ARLnow. “But then Mark said, ‘don’t worry man, someday we will be laughing about this.'”

Sure enough, more than a decade later, Hoil and Wallace are indeed laughing at the memory of their flipped taco cart, an incident that was covered by ARLnow at the time (and followed soon thereafter by another Rosslyn fender bender).

Today, the two Arlington-based entrepreneurs have just sold their 10 millionth taco and are on the verge of franchising the Mexican fast-casual restaurant that started as a taco cart on the streets of Rosslyn (and then Crystal City) in 2009.

District Taco founders Osiris Hoil and Marc Wallace (courtesy of District Taco)

As Hoil and Wallace explain it, the idea of District Taco and their partnership came out of two neighbors drinking beers on each others’ porches and lamenting about the economic downturn.

It was 2008 and both were living near Yorktown High School at the time. Wallace had just sold his tech company and would often chat with Hoil about the hardships of the construction business, the industry that Hoil worked in at the time. They’d also scarf down chips and Hoil’s homemade salsas, made from traditional recipes that his mom used back in Yucatan, Mexico.

With both at transition points in their careers — Hoil was laid off during the 2008 financial crisis — they decided to partner and open a Mexican food truck, at a time when those were still a bit of a novelty. But an actual food truck proved to be too pricey.

“So, we got a cart which we pulled behind a pick-up truck,” said Wallace. “A food truck costs $100,000, so we went with a cart.”

They got the necessary permits from Arlington County (D.C. initially denied their request) and set up their cart by the building that houses WJLA in Rosslyn.

The original District Taco cart in Crystal City (courtesy of District Taco)

Within months, breakfast tacos became District Taco’s calling card.

They also had help from local notables. WJLA’s meteorologist Brian van de Graaff would grab a couple of breakfast tacos before work and talk about it on-air, Wallace remembered.

“Before he went on the news, he would come down and get his tacos,” he said. “It was great PR for us.”

ARLnow wrote about the popular Rosslyn food cart a number of times in those early years too.

In late 2010, Hoil and Wallace opened their first brick-and-mortar location at 5723 Lee Highway (now Langston Blvd), near their homes. The original District Taco is still there today.

The first brick-and-mortar District Taco in Arlington’s Yorktown neighborhood (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Despite that initial success, both say it was not an easy road. Beyond a flipped taco cart, there were also lean times, delays, and near disasters.

“If I told you how many times I wanted to give up, you wouldn’t believe it,” said Hoil. “I was working so many hours, wasn’t making any money… and, one time, I almost burned down my house cooking.”

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Ireland’s Four Courts on fire and an injured person being helped after a vehicle crashed into the pub (photo courtesy Craig Smith)

When Timo Klotz saw the smoke and the gaping hole from across the street, he sprinted towards Ireland’s Four Courts.

“I ran across the intersection right there and followed the hole into the building, to go inside,” Klotz told ARLnow, a few days after a car barrelled into the Courthouse pub, critically injuring several people. “As soon as I saw what happened, I was like ‘I need to help.'”

A volunteer firefighter and EMT in Fairfax County with a job in emergency management, Klotz knew he had only a matter of seconds. Sifting through the wreckage, alongside Four Courts customers who also put themselves in harm’s way to help the injured, he helped pull people out of the pub and got them to safety only moments before the inferno engulfed the bar.

If it wasn’t for Klotz’s quick thinking and instincts, the situation might have been a whole lot worse.

“If it would have been 20 seconds more, yeah,” he said, trailing off a bit. “I don’t think they would have made it out.”

The fateful moment — last Friday, Aug. 11, around 6:45 p.m. — will be long etched in the memories of those who were there. A rideshare driver plowed a car into Ireland’s Four Courts at the end of a “T” where N. Courthouse Road and Wilson Blvd intersect. A total of 15 people were injured with three still remaining in the hospital. One person is still in critical condition, as of the last update from Arlington County police.

It remains unclear what led to the crash. Police said the driver is cooperating with authorities, didn’t do it intentionally, and alcohol was not a factor.

“The cause of the crash remains under active investigation and detectives continue to collect and review evidence and speak with witnesses to determine the events that preceded the crash,” an ACPD spokesperson told ARLnow yesterday (Thursday).

What is clear, though that the actions of Klotz and others likely saved lives.

Friday was Klotz’s last day working for the Arlington County Circuit Court before moving to a new job with Fairfax County’s Department of Emergency Management. So, he and several colleagues decided to have a going-away party down the street from his office, at Four Courts.

It was about 6:30 p.m. when he stepped out of the pub to move his car out of a parking garage that was set to close for the weekend. Klotz retrieved his car and parked it on N. Courthouse Road near Bayou Bakery. While getting out, that’s when he heard a loud bang.

“There’s always a lot of noise [around there], so I really didn’t make anything out of it,” he said.

But then he started hearing people screaming and seeing lots of commotion. Then, a person on the street said a car had ran into a building. Klotz ran and saw the bar he had been in only a few minutes earlier now had smoke pouring out of a large, jagged hole.

That’s when he made the split-second decision to go inside and help. Klotz told ARLnow that when he entered through the hole made by the Toyota Camry, he was stunned at what he saw.

“I couldn’t even make out that there was a car in there. There was ceiling, wires, cables, tables… everywhere,” Klotz said. “It was demolished. Like a bomb went off.”

Then he saw a person on the ground to his right. He helped that person up but saw another trapped under debris. Before he could even help them, he caught a glimpse of another person, bloody, lying on the ground.

“There’s people everywhere,” he said. “At that moment… I was almost overwhelmed to the point of thinking ‘what am I going to do? There’s so many people.'”

But Klotz’s instincts kicked in. As a volunteer firefighter, he had seen fires grow fast. As the smoke turned hot and flames started shooting out of the debris, Klotz knew there was one thing that had to happen now.

“We have a fire. We need to get people out,” he said, remembering that moment.

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

When Marine veteran Brendan McElroy started working on the sales side of the consulting industry, he quickly realized that although he enjoyed the more interactive part of his job, he did not like the “typical consulting-sales model.”

McElroy described the model as consultants “[complicating] people’s problems.”

As a result in 2019, he founded and became the CEO of the management consulting company called Franklin Consulting, LLC. A year later in April, it merged with the Seattle-based consulting firm T.S. Marshall & Associates, Inc., which specialized in professional training and coaching.

Out of the venture, Ballston-based Franklin IQ was formed, according to a news release. Franklin IQ provides services in several areas of management consultancy, including strategic planning, employee engagement and workforce planning, according to its website.

“Our real passion is working with leaders on things like organizational development, leader development, learning and developing, or managing massive complex changes like return to work or employee engagement,” McElroy said.

What distinguishes Franklin IQ from other consulting firms is its mindset, he believes. “We don’t start with a product and say, ‘Hey, can you buy my product?'” Instead, his company first seeks to “understand the issue” in order to “offer unique and tailored approaches” to solve his clients’ issues.

Similarly, the consulting firm uses a nontraditional way of hiring people, relying less on putting up job notices and waiting for people to answer. There are 18 people working full-time, as well as a network of experts in different subject matters for different projects, McElroy said.

“Everyone around here kind of does it the same way, it’s tough to do this in a labor market where you’re recruiting through fairly traditional means,” he said about hiring practices.

Encouraged by the methods used in many Silicon Valley startups, McElroy said he believes in the importance of everyone in his company to network, especially in connecting with experts in different fields.

The firm’s approach appears to be working.

During the pandemic, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs requested the company’s consultancy on PTSD treatment, sexual assault response and prevention, as well as suicide prevention for about 600 veteran health clinics in the United States. Franklin IQ helped transition the clinics from primarily conducting face-to-face interactions to a virtual environment.

“We’ve really gone from the point where we’re really focused on communications outreach to now we’re training on really complex and modern therapeutic techniques for how to diagnose and treat mental health issues,” McElroy said.

Currently, around 40% of the company’s clients are from the defense industry, another 40% from federal healthcare and the rest are miscellaneous private businesses, McElroy estimates. Franklin IQ has provided consulting services to the first two sectors for the longest, McElroy said. The company has worked with over 45 government agencies, according to its website.

Even though it is now based in Arlington, McElroy’s company started off in nearby Alexandria. As a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, the consulting firm got its start by joining the national Bunker Labs program which supports veteran-owned businesses.

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