Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Loudoun Small Business Blogging - Multi-Author Blog & Digital Marketing Help for Loudoun Small Businesses

Need help, as a Loudoun small business, in getting started with blogging?
Join the "Made in Loudoun - Small Business Blogging Community"!





The community of Loudoun Small Business Bloggers, and our stewardship role in it, is a long and storied history....all the way back to the early 2000's - well, basically back to 2005 or so...(Check out this blast from the past - this list of Loudoun bloggers from 2011!)

As a small business in Loudoun, you may have already tried your hand at blogging and social media - Facebook's typically the easiest first route (it's really a "micro-blogging" channel) - followed then by Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, etc....Really a lot to keep on top of. This doesn't even include "paid" online advertising - i.e. banner ads, Google Adwords, Facebook promotions, classifieds, etc.

The less comfortable route for blogging is "long-form" - i.e. traditional blogging on your website, or someone else's - like Wordpress.com or Blogger. It requires a bit more thought, creativity, planning - but is ultimately the most effective form of online marketing, or "digital, inbound content marketing"!

Looking for help to get your first blog posts out there, to try it out? In a way that not only promotes your message and business, but truly "markets" it online to the surrounding, hyperlocal Loudoun or more broad Northern Virginia communities? On someone else's platform - i.e. the "training wheels" approach, with very little risk?
We're currently accepting new Loudoun small business blogger candidates - who are looking to jump into the blogging arena, with a bit of very professional, locally-experienced help. To also kickstart a renewed "Made in Loudoun" small business and startup community - that will include some great updates to this site in the coming Month...

The kind of help that's ONLY available through those who have gone before, stewards and experts at promoting Loudoun's vibrant, diverse and truly exceptional small business community via digital media. That's us, here at KME Internet Marketing - Loudoun's small business, resident marketing experts. It's also a Loudoun County-owned, multi-author blogging platform - the only one of its kind - that's been around a while (5 years!), and is therefore already trusted by both the local community, AND by the search engines' "domain age" filters.

Contact us here - to start your online, Loudoun small business blogging adventure - promoting your business online, attracting new customers and partners.

For No Cost to You, Available Nowhere Else - You Get:
  • Exposure, online, of you and your business to the Loudoun business and consumer community - exposure that's unlike any other, already developed, and not available anywhere else
  • A search-engine-optimized (SEO'd) page representing you and/or your business on Made in Loudoun's blog - that links directly to your business website
  • Blog topic creation/curating, authoring, media supplementation, SEO, hyperlocal amplification* and editorial assistance from KME for posts on this blog, including extracts and mobile renderings.
  • Contributors-only access to blogging and additional digital marketing, strategy resources available exclusively through KME Internet Marketing
  • Publishing schedule planning and management assistance - keeping you accountable for consistent, effective, "fresh" publishing.
  • Technical support for using the "Made in Loudoun" blog, using it as part of your new or existing online marketing campaign(s).
  • Coordination support for linking, re=purposing or otherwise sharing your content (without duplication or copyright penalties) from here, to/from other local blog and social media communities (the more content you post and share, the better!).
We Get: ...to know more small, local businesses - the lifeblood of our County, to better understand and assist the needs of the local business community, and to showcase fantastic resources and perspectives shared by our Loudoun small businesses with possible future visitors, travelers, investors, and others seeking to expand the assets and economic development success of Loudoun County.

This is great, unique way for Loudoun small businesses to get movin' and groovin' in the blogging world - and an extremely important part of the overall Internet Marketing plan for new businesses - check out the definitive "Internet Marketing Checklist for New Businesses", created here in Loudoun.

This is "Guest Blogging" on Locally-Grown Nutrients -
Actually Made in Loudoun!

Blogging here, with our help, also connects you** directly to experience and hyperlocal business marketing expertise available through the Loudoun Small Business Development Center (SBDC - Counselor), the Mason Enterprise Center (MEC - Resident), the Loudoun Economic Development and Advisory Commission (EDAC - Commissioner), the Loudoun and Dulles Regional Chambers of Commerce (Members), "Loudoun Local" and all other Loudoun small business and startup marketing resources - KME Internet Marketing is and has been a contributing member, partner and/or volunteer of all of these, and only KME can channel this expertise directly into your successful blogging efforts here at Made In Loudoun.

*Loudoun Small Business Digital Marketing/Social Media Amplification is available *ONLY* through KME's hyperlocal, digital network of websites, blogs, social media channels (see below!) - making your content accessible and available to thousands of additional readers and customers, beyond this site. These include @Loudoun and @LoudounBusiness on Twitter, our GoFFX mobile events App, NorthernVirginiaBusinessNews.com and NOVA@Home.com, our "Gateway to Loudoun" blog (the longest-running business-focused blog in and about Loudoun County!) and associated Twitter, G+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Paper.Li and Facebook channels - your blog entry here, will reach - when scheduled - the readers of all those sites, and more, extending beyond Loudoun, to Fairfax, Prince William, Northern Virginia, all of metro Washington DC!

**"Made in Loudoun" as a KME-branded website and social media platform is not officially associated with these organizations, unless specifically indicated.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Music Cave Studios Opens for Audio Recording & Rehearsal Rooms, Lessons, Rentals in Sterling, Serving South Riding, Chantilly, Dulles

Music Cave rehearsal, tracking and recording studios in Sterling VA, near Herndon, Reston, Leesburg and the Dulles corridor in Loudoun/Western Fairfax, has opened their doors to musicians, bands, ensembles, producers and the entire ecosystem of music performance, rehearsal, instruction, recital, digital recording and production professionals, amateurs and students in the Northern Virginia area.

Music Cave Rehearsal & Recording Studios

Music Cave Studios opened at the Loudoun Tech Center in Sterling, Virginia - offering a truly professional, state-of-the-art experience for acoustic musicians, digital recorders and producers, rock and jazz bands, or students and their music tutors or instructors. They are very conveniently located right off of Route 7 near Hyatt Place Sterling/Dulles Airport-North, Sweet Water Tavern, Plaza Azteca, Olive Garden, and Melodee Music - right up 28 from the Dulles Toll Road/267, just a few miles northwest of the Reston and Herndon areas, and east of Leesburg. A 30 minute straight shot west of Washington DC.

Music Cave Studios Rehearsal in Action

The winner of the 2013 Loudoun County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) business plan competition, Music Cave's primary focus is to provide space for musicians, artists, and photographers to have fun, make and record great music - by themselves, or in groups, bands, trios, ensembles. In addition to spacious, sound-proof, comfortable rooms and digital infrastructure, Music Cave offers music lessons and onsite rentals of quality music instruments and equipment. It's the newest and quickest-growing place for extremely high-quality music and drum lessons in Northern Virginia, particularly for those seeking a music classroom or lessons around the Dulles area. Absolutely professional music tracking, mixing and mastering capabilities are available for your next digital music recording or publication project, whether it's pre-recorded voiceovers, vocals, instrumental or any combination.

Read and find out more about this Northern Virginia & Loudoun Small Business Event - at Music Cave Rehearsal & Recording Studios .

This is currently the only full-service, professional audio rehearsal & recording studio in the South Riding, Ashburn, Stone Ridge, Brambleton, Chantilly area, in the Rt. 50 corridor, that's completely focused on renting a variety of rooms and space for auditions, recitals, rehearsals, jams, recording, voiceovers, tracking, mixing, pre- and post-production of audio (and video) projects.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Loudoun Startup and Crowdfunding News - Indiegogo Focus

A very popular and quickly-growing source of donations, funds and attention for startups - or really any initiative seeking funding - is the crowdfunding service and platform at Indiegogo.com . They say "Everyone should have the opportunity to raise money. Now everyone does. People all over the world use our industry-leading platform to raise millions of dollars for all types of campaigns. No matter what you are raising money for, you can start right now with no fee or application process."

Startup initiatives come in all shapes and forms, like the new Gideen music licensing, royalties and publishing platform for the global secondary Indie music song market below....

Gideen Music Licensing Platform

Loudoun startups and crowdfunding initiatives are out there...including startups leveraging online marketing and social media assistance from Loudoun companies....

Read more at Made in Loudoun

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Loudoun Math

The phrase "canary in a a coal mine" comes to mind with these statistics. In this very informal, brief analysis of public data by a LCPS constituent, while Loudoun County debates how much of the annual school budget to allocate on Promethean Boards, nearly 50% (for 2012-2013) of Loudoun High Schools (14 out of 33) are yielding a Math SOL (Standards of Learning Tests) failure rate equal or greater than the statewide average - and in many cases, almost double the statewide failure rate (for example the Algebra 1 failure rate at Heritage, Freedom, Park View and Tuscarora are all greater than 48%, 2X the statewide average). The numbers simply speak for themselves - the reasons and solutions probably need critical, more focused attention, particularly if LCPS has any chance of evolving its capabilities in STEM education.


Where's the community outrage?

Here's a great new, local startup and resource to help:

Education Online - Affordable, Online SAT/PSAT Math Tutoring & College Consulting

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dulles South Roundabout Needed, Supported by Facts - Pleasant Valley & Braddock Road on Fairfax Loudoun Border

A long-needed solution to the ridiculous traffic situation experienced by both Fairfax and Loudoun residents in the Dulles South area is coming to a head, at the intersection of Braddock Road and Pleasant Valley. Opposition has built by the Fairfax residents - though there truly is not much reason at all, in the eyes of VDOT, Loudoun or Fairfax Supervisors, to delay construction of the proposed roundabout.

Here's a reprint (from the Facebook South Riding Community Group) of some of the opposition points, and very reasonable rebuttal facts regarding the very appropriate and needed roundabout approach proposed by VDOT for the Pleasant Valley & Braddock Road intersection - in the Dulles South border area between Loudoun County and Fairfax County. A proposal irrefutably supported by need, common sense and factual traffic engineering data.

1) It will increase traffic on Pleasant Valley through VA Run from people trying to get the Dulles Tech corridor form points south and west who want to avoid 28 and 66. Response: The traffic is already there, and the project will allow it to flow more safely and efficiently.

2) It will result in more people speeding on Pleasant Valley. Response: This has nothing to do with the roundabout.

3) It will be less safe (citing the Gilbert corner circles). Response: Not even close. This FHA report documents that intersections that have been converted to single-lane roundabouts have an average of 51% LESS accidents and 73% fewer injury accidents. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/00068/00068.pdf

4) Neighborhoods in Fairfax County that exit onto Braddock and Pleasant Valley won't be able to turn out of their neighborhoods because of the constant stream of traffic. Response: Traffic modeling shows that traffic density PAST the intersection will be the same after a couple hundred feet REGARDLESS of the type of traffic control put in place at the intersection. The neighborhoods will have no more trouble after than they do now.

5) Traffic along Braddock will "fly" through the intersection. Response: The speed limit approaching and in the roundabout will be 15mph.

6) A traffic circle 'favors' Loudoun county traffic because Pleasant Valley traffic (heading north) with have to yield to Braddock traffic (heading east) and never be able to enter the roundabout. Response: Simple misunderstanding of how traffic circles work. The speed limit in the circle will be 15mph. Natural car separation while driving as well as cars entering from the other directions will open up gaps in the roundabout.

7) It isn't needed. They should wait until the 50 construction is done which will solve all their problems. Response: Ha.

8. It will be a disaster "like the traffic circles in downtown DC". Response: Those are signal controlled traffic circles, not modern roundabouts.

9) Environmental concerns. Response: Roundabout has significantly smaller environmental footprint than a traffic light and I'd argue less emissions and fluid impact than cars standing at idle for 10-15 min.

10) It isn't our [Fairfax County's] problem… Loudoun shouldn't have built so much housing in this part of the county without infrastructure to support it. (Ok, I agree with this one).

If you want more information, the VDOT project page is located here: http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/braddock_and_pleasant_valley.asp

Information brochure here (including contact info): http://www.virginiadot.org/VDOT/Projects/Northern_Virginia/asset_upload_file399_64596.pdf

Here is the analysis of alternatives:
http://www.virginiadot.org/VDOT/Projects/Northern_Virginia/asset_upload_file820_64596.pdf

The poster boards that were up are here: http://www.virginiadot.org/VDOT/Projects/Northern_Virginia/asset_upload_file181_64596.pdf

Please, please, please, … provide your comments to feedback regarding this project (They must be RECEIVED by October 23rd).

Send an email to Mr. Bud Siegel at meeting_comments@vdot.virginia.gov and bud.siegel@vdot.virginia.gov (Include "Braddock and Pleasant Valley Roundabout" in the subject line).

You can also snail mail your comments card by printing out the following, stamping and dropping in the mail:

http://www.virginiadot.org/VDOT/Projects/Northern_Virginia/asset_upload_file759_64596.pdf .

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Monday, September 16, 2013

How Pohanka Chevrolet of Chantilly VA Lost 4-5 Car Sales - A Customer Retention #Fail

This brief story is a perfect "penny wise, pound foolish" example of how NOT to treat customers in the new economy.

A large family, with a long history of Chevy purchases including a Cavalier, Blazer, Tahoe and 2 Suburbans faces an engine failure on the most recent, a 2008 LTZ. The diagnosis from Pohanka Chevrolet is a quick (i.e. un-motivated) $4K for engine repair, or $7K for new engine - therefore it makes sense to the family to seek a trade-in and get a new, pre-owned Suburban. Blue-book valuation on the 2008 Suburban is anywhere from $18K to $24K - with a good engine. The trade-in offer is an absurd $8K. No deal, no negotiating, no interest in true customer service - despite the fact that the family is also ready to immediately buy a Suburban in inventory, that's already aged a month in the parking lot.

In the moment, it seems penny wise for the dealer to stand firm on the trade-in, as the wholesale market is pretty stingy, particularly for a car needing full engine repair. However, what was truly lost as the family exited the dealership (never to return), was:

-Sale of a 2013 pre-owned Suburban, about $35K
-Sale to auction of an engine-less 2008 LTZ Suburban (maybe just a few K value)
-Sale of ANOTHER, 2nd Suburban (likely another $40K), given the family's other 2002 Suburban (190K miles) was rapidly declining
-Sale of ANOTHER used Tahoe (likely another $30K), intended for the recently-licensed new driver in the family

In fact, this was the 2nd time the family walked away from this Chantilly Chevy dealer, when a 2010 sale could not also be negotiated (and wound up getting a great deal from Sport Chevrolet of Silver Spring).

Therefore 5 sales were actually lost, plus now all future sales and service (thousands of dollars already, to date), plus significant negative review and feedback to other potential consumers, neighbors, etc.

Not a very wise strategy, in this economy, as it turns out. It's not a rip-off story - it's a simple lack of interest in long-term customer retention, and lack of understanding of the new client-centric retail economy.

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Friday, August 02, 2013

Economic Development Value for Loudoun and the Board of Supervisors

A currently evolving initiative of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors is to explore additional, or different ways to derive value from the current Economic Development Commission. The EDC is a non-partisan, volunteer group of very experienced Loudoun business owners and leaders, representing most business sectors, who are appointed by the BOS to directly advise them (collaborating with the Department of Economic Development, or DED) on topics regarding Loudoun's business economy.

The EDC is effectively the "unfiltered, expert voice of the entire Loudoun business community" for the BOS to draw upon - when considering or analyzing topics that impact Loudoun's economic development. This voice persists across BOS election cycles, economic conditions and Loudoun's growth and diversity of its business segments. This voice is fully public and transparent, accepting of all relevant input. It's not the only voice, but others such as the Loudoun Chamber, the SBDC/MEC, and the LCVA are more focused on the needs of the membership or participants (by design), or are otherwise self-limiting in terms of constituents.

The EDC is not only the active "voice", but the "persistent steward" of Loudoun's collective business community interests, strategy and brand. (Point of note - the Loudoun business community had zero online, Internet social media, brand or collective economic development/marketing value or stewardship up until 3-4 years ago, when the EDC's Marketing and Business Retention Committee (MBRC) began providing the BOS and DED with the knowledge, strategic input and tactical direction required to make this happen.)

At the heart of the conversation is the concept of "value" - of the EDC, for the BOS. So far, the EDC's "value" has in fact not been adequately expressed or shared with the BOS or the general public, nor has the BOS clearly expressed their requests or concerns in terms of "value". How should and can the EDC's value be expressed?

There is, of course, all manner of unquantifiable but professionally-acknowledged value derived from the EDC, directly and indirectly by the BOS. Business leaders (new and established; young and old; small and large; profit, non-profit or academic) actually have a balanced forum to find ways to add value, and be recognized for it (thereby encouraging more). Professional, relevant, sage advice and perspectives that the elected BOS does not have (neither individually nor collectively), and in many cases doesn't exist within the County Government, is readily available - and offered proactively. Real-time awareness, intelligence and feedback concerning the broader context of Loudoun's economic development opportunities is provided - including regional, national and international perspectives and experience.

This world-class advice is freely given and professionally packaged, with no expectations of personal gain or influence. It's quite unlike most of the rest of Washington, where the pervasive lobbying, business development and special interest organizations feed at the trough. The Loudoun BOS and their constituents are privileged to have such an asset, if only considering the "qualitative" value it generates. Without the EDC, Loudoun's political leadership would be far busier attracting and engaging with those peddling special interest influence - and therefore far less productive or capable, particularly from a strategic perspective.

EDC value can, in fact, be quantitatively categorized and measured as well - though this hasn't yet been attempted. Simply categorizing the types of value delivered, however, completely overcomes any of the simplistic, absurdly-shortsighted assessments of "excessive costs" the BOS has put forward to challenge the EDC's value - for example that County Staff spend about 46 hours a month directly supporting the EDC. At, for example, $60/hr., this is less than $3,000 cost.

The EDC value delivered comes in two basic flavors - "benefits" and "cost savings". The list of EDC benefits is long, including increased exposure, reputation, "in-kind" services, and actual new business for Loudoun. We'll not focus on these here, but on cost savings (a broad type of value that's been generally ignored to date) - which are harder to measure in a tangible way, but of no less value. Here are some example categories, examples and rough orders of magnitude of "value" that can become more quantifiable (given access to data and analytical resources):

Direct Cost Savings - EDC committee members, in particular, provide free information, analysis and guidance to county staff and BOS members, that they would otherwise have to pay for. Value can be measured in terms of hours multiplied by market value (per role), or simply market value (or "in-kind" value) of the information product.

Indirect Cost Savings - By independently researching, analyzing and packaging information for use by the BOS and DED, the EDC saves the County costs it would otherwise have to train its staff, hours spent gaining the requisite experience and access to resources, and hours spent developing productive industry relationships.

Shared Savings - Some output and relationship-based assets of the EDC are equally applicable to other segments of County Governance and BOS responsibilities - for example, transportation-related information developed to inform business development strategies is critical input as well to the Board of Education and to the County's Public Safety and Homeland Security mission.

Direct Cost Avoidance - Through its proactive, expert, collaborative assessments, analysis, expertise identification and published output (either in writing or recorded meeting minutes), the EDC enables the BOS to ask less of county staff in a reactive mode, therefore incurring overtime additional expenses - when a new or unplanned issue arises. Call it the avoidance of "startup" costs to address new issues. It's also the avoidance of known or unplanned costs due to mistakes, errors or other mis-steps - in other, "public sector" words, this is "government risk mitigation".

Indirect or Collateral Cost Avoidance - Through the diverse activities and representation of the EDC members in economic development-related areas, potential BOS work and expense can be avoided essentially by the "proxy" labor of the EDC members. For example, delivery to the DED of interactive marketing strategies can help avoid future expense to deal with PR or communications issues the BOS finds itself addressing. Participation of EDC members in economic development-driven analysis regarding STEM-related education and workforce development, helps the BOS avoid additional costs it would otherwise expend along with the Board of Education in responding to STEM requirements. Feedback and analysis published by the EDC (or available from its members) may be critical input to address future challenges or changes to things like the Strategic Plan, the County IT Strategy (which is another whole discussion), etc. - for example possible future impact assessments of the rapid growth of Data Center facilities, that while helpful and attractive from a taxes (high) and services utilization (low) perspective, may not necessarily offer what's necessary to accommodate future local resident and business community demands.

It's important to note that "lost opportunities" (i.e. loss of access and influence in attracting and retaining new commercial revenue sources), result in direct or collateral future costs (in re-starting, or duplicating the effort) that can and should be avoided.

Very back-of-the-napkin calculations using simple hours spent by EDC members - resulting in these Value Categories, yield orders of magnitude value BOTH in terms of benefits (i.e. new commercial tax revenue), and cost savings/avoidance.

Value that can be estimated and measured in tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions (in recursive or compound value, over time). Value that comes from no other source, is utterly indispensable, and in fact demanded by the BOS electorate - whether as a direct or indirect beneficiary of the proven economic development results.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

2013 Northern Virginia (NOVA) Brewfest is here! Live bands, food, beers in Leesburg VA Jun 22-23

Coming soon on June 22-23rd 2013, the 6th Annual Northern Virginia Summer BrewFest makes its way to Leesburg Virginia's Morven Park (Loudoun County).

The NOVA BrewFest elevates beer tastings to a whole new level and is ready to host serious brewers and beer connoisseurs. Beers with “aromas of coriander and orange peel with a flavor of wheat", or "golden in color with an intense floral aroma and flavors of citrus, fruit, light malt with hints of powdered sugar and American hops" are just a few beer flavors to sample at this year's Brewfest.

The spotlight for this festival will be more than 60 microbrews from all over the country, including some right here in our own backyard, from Vintage 50 Brew Lounge (Leesburg), Mad Fox Brewing (Falls Church) and Lost Rhino Brewing Company (Ashburn).

If you are a fan of hand-crafted micro brews created in small batches with an interesting blend of flavors, joining other Virginia craft beer lovers and live music fans at the Northern VA Brewfest will be an absolutely perfect way to spend an early summer weekend in June!

It takes skill, patience and experience to produce craft beers, and local brewmasters take immense pride in their creations. Like the many small wineries that have developed in Northern Virginia (Loudoun County hosts 35 wineries, more than any other Virginia county!), so too are the number of small craft breweries quickly growing - right here in "DC's Beer Country".

Selecting and pairing foods with beer is becoming as popular as wine and food pairing. The primary sponsor of this event, Vintage 50 restaurant, will be showcasing their specialty brews created by their brewmaster, Bret Kimbrough. Bret's creations available for sampling include:

Tyrannosaurus Rye, a Canadian pale ale with caramel rye malts giving a toasty malt skeleton to this beast with a piney, citrus flavor and aroma coming from the American Warrior and Simcoe hops.

Doages Dunkel, a dark Bavarian lager, combines the deep complex flavor of a dark brew with the clean finish of a great lager.

Anonymous Dampf, a remarkably refreshing summertime brew, exudes a tropical fruit aroma, has a light body and a thirst quenching tartness that is perfectly refreshing on a hot day.

An entrance ticket to the Brewfest gives you a special commemorative beer tasting glass and 4 tickets for tasting your choice of craft brews. This festival is not only about the beer sampling, it's also a fantastic event for the entire family! There will be food, crafters, live music and even activities for the kids. If you can't make the NOVA Brewfest this summer, no worries, the Brewfest will be back this fall in Centreville at Bull Run Regional Park on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 & 21st.

Local, live bands include (Saturday) Dance Manifesto, Rew Smith, Jason Dean and The Fuzz, and (Sunday) Grand Theft Radio, Trey Schneider and Road Soda.

For more event and volunteer information for this year's summer and fall BrewFests, including a complete list of breweries and live bands, visit www.novabrewfest.com/summer. For press inquiries or vendor participation, please contact Elysa Leonard with Splash Communications at elysa AT splashmarcom.com or 571-426-5145.

As always, KME Internet Marketing of Loudoun County is a proud digital media & marketing supporter of Northern Virginia's premier beer tasting and live band event!

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Friday, April 26, 2013

STEM Education Demand Fulfillment and Workforce Development Crisis Growing in Loudoun

Loudoun County Public Schools has promoted its vision for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for many years. Per the most recent web information, "Loudoun County Public Schools has many exemplary programs designed to answer the call for STEM education. The Loudoun Governor's Career and Technical Academy at Monroe Technology Center (MTC) and the Academy of Science (AOS) at Dominion High School are specialized programs that meet these goals. Additionally, LCPS offers students a variety of STEM courses and opportunities that are rigorous, demanding, and help students develop skills required for the 21st century."  This includes a new focus on "integrated STEM education for all LCPS students".

What's not mentioned is Loudoun's participation in the regional Governor's magnet school, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) in Alexandria (Fairfax County).  Loudoun, like other jurisdictions around the nationally-renown school, invests about $13,000 per student in annual tuition for students who are accepted to attend.  Over the past decade, the number of Loudoun students qualified to attend this extremely rigorous, competitive program has hovered somewhere around 40-50 students, making the long trek to Alexandria each day to participate in STEM programs not available anywhere else in the entire state.

The investment has paid dividends – for example, of the 14 students from Loudoun recently named National Merit Semi-Finalists, 6 attend TJHSST. Loudoun's participation in the Governor's school program has helped attract many families, businesses and economic development benefits over the years, as a participating jurisdiction supportive not only of VA's growing list of STEM academies, but also of Virginia's "Governor's School Program" (TJHHST is an example, serving most of Northern Virginia).

A perfect storm, however, has developed with respect to Loudoun student and family demand for STEM education outgrowing the supply.  Primarily the result of very significant demographic shifts over the past 10 years (particularly in Eastern Loudoun, supported by the newest "cottage industry" of "TJ Test Prep"-style tutoring), hundreds more Loudoun students (about a thousand in this past year) are applying for advanced STEM offerings at the Loudoun Academy of Science program (which only offers about 65 slots each year), and for one of usually about 50 slots at TJHSST - though this year, that number increased significantly to 72, an unprecedented number of acceptances.  Only about 130 very advanced, deserving Loudoun STEM students are able to pursue rigorous programs that meet their capabilities, out of the rapidly growing numbers who apply.

Half of this opportunity for Loudoun students will shortly disappear – the TJHSST renovation activities are (per Fairfax County) requiring participating jurisdictions to pony up support (Loudoun's bill is close to $11M) or drop out of the program.  While Loudoun may support current and the newest students (i.e. the next 2 years), future support is most likely to end, under the current political posturing.  Fairfax County's "capstone" to its vaunted Gifted program (Advanced Academic Program), i.e. TJHSST, is under significant internal County pressure to offer more slots to its own growing population of deserving County residents (and children of registered voters).  Loudoun has no such capstone currently (nor comparable gifted programs), and it will be many years, perhaps decades until this is made possible (through perhaps expansion of the AOS, expansion of the MTC, a slowdown in new school construction, etc.).

So here we stand, with no clear solution – rapidly increasing demand for advanced STEM in Loudoun, a significant, probable loss among the already slim set of offerings, and rapidly growing momentum and requirements in the County to provide current and future businesses and investors with a STEM-educated workforce – to maintain Loudoun's self-designated role as "D.C.'s Technology Corridor". As well, private offerings are non-existent; there are no private High Schools close to Loudoun offering the breadth and depth of curriculum as is available at TJHSST (or AOS), and recent attempts to create a new "Math and IT" charter school failed miserably.

Notwithstanding the political ideal bubbling within Fairfax regarding TJHSST reverting from a regional, Governor's school to a Fairfax County HS for the Gifted, it does seem as though several avenues of solution don't seem yet to have been explored – that maintain a Return on Investment (ROI) benefit for all Northern Virginia and VA taxpayers, educators, colleges and universities and businesses.

For example, TJHSST is indeed a very old, run-down facility, and requires upgrade – simply to continue to meet public school occupancy standards for any Northern Virginia region.  This expense, it would seem, is solely Fairfax's to bear – and Loudoun taxpayers indeed shouldn't be responsible for these costs.  The additional "accoutrements" (i.e. specialty labs, equipment, faculty, etc.) implemented to accommodate TJHSST's status as a Governor's STEM Magnet School, however, are those that in reality might be proper reason for co-investment by all participating jurisdictions (and grounds for more input from the State) – since these aren't available anywhere else.

(Update - it does appear Loudoun is questioning the State regarding whether local taxpayer funds can be used for capital expenses in another jurisdiction).

Also, while TJHSST is supported in many ways by the local and regional business community – much more can probably be done by each jurisdiction to persuade businesses and Universities to more aggressively support (and perhaps brand) elements of the TJHSST Capital Improvement Plan. Additionally, options for families or businesses to pay student tuition (outside Fairfax) directly, or through business-supported scholarships, can be developed.

What other solutions or forums for input, should be addressed, not only regarding Loudoun and TJHSST, but other near-term solutions entirely within Loudoun?

(Update - the Loudoun County Public School System recently put out a survey, underway till the end of May, that asks the question regarding preference for "participation in TJ" vs. "prefer to expand our own Academy of Science (AOS) program and slowly phase out our participation in TJ".  This second choice of expansion will require many, many years and significant investment to accomplish, as the AOS program and TJ aren't close to being equivalent - AOS is new, small, health sciences focused and part-time, while TJ is the opposite, along obviously with its national and international recognition built over several decades. )

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Quick Northern Virginia and Chantilly Business Review Shout-out

Just a quick shout-out to a couple of extraordinary businesses in the Chantilly and close by Northern Virginia area:

Suna Lee McLean Photography - a very long-term, highly respected portrait and family photography studio in McLean, VA  - expert, friendly, reasonable cost, an absolutely professional outfit and service.  Our photos are amazing. Here's an example of a 5-star "excellent" review.

Augustine Roofing in Sterling - came right out to investigate a roof issue, provided a reasonable quote, and quickly scheduled the maintenance work....always friendly, always helpful, true local professionalism. Here's a great review of Augustine Roofing in Yelp..


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Monday, February 11, 2013

Custom Barn and Home Building in Loudoun County - Historic Renovation Imagery

Custom Home Building and Barns in Loudoun


(Reposted from Made in Loudoun)

If you're out and about the scenic highways and byways of Loudoun County and points west, you may run across some absolutely gorgeous historic renovations in progress - for example this complete dismantling and period rebuild of a historic log barn.

Loudoun Custom Home, Bridestone Barn Nearly Finished

Loudoun Custom Home, Bridestone Barn, Underway

Carpenter Beach, a custom home builder in Loudoun County is hard at work on this, along with many other transformations of beautiful custom, country homes, barns and other outbuildings. Custom home building in Loudoun had slowed considerably during the economic downturn, but is picking up slightly, particularly where historic properties are concerned (that require timely renovation or custom repair).

Check out some other fabulous custom home building projects in Loudoun County and surrounding areas, on the Carpenter Beach website...

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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Dulles South Alliance - Loudoun County Schools, Transportation 2013 Update

Dulles South Alliance - Loudoun Growth, Transportation, Education
Today's Dulles South Alliance meeting was overstuffed with information concerning the Loudoun County Dulles South area and vicinities, focused on education and transporation topics for 2013. The central theme revolved around very significant, ongoing growth in population and the local jobs base, with enormous resultant and guaranteed pressures on Loudoun budgets for schools and road projects.

After welcoming remarks by Scott Plein (DSA President), Dr. Julie Leidig (NVCC Provost) opened the session with an overview of NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College), including news on planning for further expansion into Loudoun County. NOVA is the largest source of college education in the DC area, with over 78,000 enrollments annually, representing students from over 150 nationalities. In helping to close the gap between regional workforce and education needs, particularly in the healthcare support and IT industries, a second Loudoun campus is being strategized for the Brambleton area.

In other news, the "SySTEMic Solutions" program may offer a summer robotics camp in Loudoun this year, as well as at its Prince William campuses. Through SySTEMic Solutions, NOVA has created a collaborative arrangement among school divisions, higher education institutions, and employers to develop a sustainable workforce that by the year 2015 will have more than 3,000 students preparing for STEM careers.

Loudoun Supervisor Janet Clarke (Blue Ridge District) provided an overview of growth and density issues for that District, which extends East to the Dulles Airport through including Brambleton and Kirkpatrick Farms areas of the general Dulles region. The primary message was that of continued growth and pressure on County budgets, particularly for transportation and schools. The Dulles Landing project (Arcola and Rt. 50), coming online by the end of this year, is an example of critical retail outlets needed by the Dulles area population, along the Hal and Berni Hanson Regional Park (in planning stages only, with initial funding expected in the upcoming 2014 budget). This 254 acre park straddling Evergreen Mills Rd in the Arcola area would include disabled-access playgrounds, many soccer and baseball fields, and other significant parkland amenities. Additionally, the agreement between Loudoun and Fairfax City, owner of the Beaver Creek Reservoir in Loudoun, has now expired (evidently to the detriment of a nascent high school Crew club), and discussions are ahead to revitalize.

Jeff Morse, Dulles District School Board Member, provided an update on all local school building and capital improvement planning, including new schools coming online to relieve current overcrowding at Pinebrook and Liberty Elementary Schools, and projected overcrowding at the corresponding Middle and High Schools. Much dialogue remains by the School Board, to close the $50M+ gap between the School Supervisor's (Dr. Hatrick) recommended 2014 budget and guidance provided by the Board of Supervisors. Some relief may come in rebalancing and allocations associated with post-employment benefits and healthcare costs. New turf fields for many schools have specific cost-benefit gains, particularly if efforts to provide public/private funding succeed (with local Sports Booster organizations). The sole Charter School application received last year was rejected for weaknesses in academic, financial and governance models - though, according to Jeff, was a very good idea at its core and worthwhile to continue pursuing.

Other opportunities to enrich the quality and content of Loudoun academics include dual enrollment in high schools with NOVA, plus a strategy for a new Loudoun magnet school on a Sycolin Rd property, focused possibly on the Arts and additional STEM offerings as currently available at the Monroe Technology Center (a Virginia Governor's Career and Technology Academy). The School Board is also supporting about 60 local business-to-school relationships, where businesses support a school through donations in employee service, supplies or program assistance - including support for Lego League teams, plus academic contests and programs like that offered by the Oracle ThinkQuest Education Foundation and other companies. Note also that the Loudoun Department of Economic Development (DED) will shortly introduce a new "Intern Match" service, to attract Interns from Loudoun, the DC region and the rest of the country to positions with Loudoun-based businesses.

Bob Chase (President of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance) provided some stark reminders and strong advocacy (as the Virginia General Assembly begins its session tomorrow) for additional, regional and local investment in road infrastructure - absolutely critical to support the needs of our region and county, and imperative given the projected loss of state roads construction funds after 2018. "Investment" will likely include new local taxes, tolls and considerable participation and collaboration on the part of local political organizations and landowners to avoid significant gridlock and loss of business in the very near future.

Charles Yudd (Assistant County Administrator) provided further updates on local transportation progress, including progress on the Rt. 606 widening around the Airport and over the Horsepen Run Dam, Rt. 50 and the parallel, east-west collector roads. Scott Plein closed the meeting with an introduction to the next meeting in March, discussing the pending explosion in healthcare-related business and infrastructure requirements soon to come, driven mainly by the HCA Hospital and Emergency Center (HCA Virginia's StoneSpring Medical Campus) being now built on Rt. 50.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy Holidays from KME Internet Marketing in Loudoun!

Happy Holidays from KME Internet Marketing!

Hopefully you and yours will find time to decompress and finish up planning for business success in the new year.

KME has several significant announcements to report. We're now a certified "SWaM" (Small Woman-Owned Business), by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprises (DMBE). This certification both solidifies our presence and support for the small and local business community in Virginia and the DC area, and enables additional teaming and partnering opportunities for our services, aligned with responses to very large, complex government initiatives. Find out more about our Virginia SWaM Certification.

We're also now delivering IT & Marketing advisory services to startups and emerging businesses, essentially providing CIO/CTO/CMO consulting during the strategic planning and investment control stages of a new business. We've already helped several new, local and national startups through IT planning, marketing strategy and other technical decision hurdles, for both the benefit of the startup team itself and for communications, engagement with the investor community.

Several of these startups will emerge this year, and one has already been purchased; obviously they're somewhat "under wraps" at this time but moving aggressively towards their Beta release and securing additional rounds of investor financing, partnerships and growth.

Along with our roster of startups, our successful and satisfied client and partner list continues to grow. Newer SEO, SEM (Search Engine Optimization/Search Engine Marketing) or interactive web marketing initiatives range from Government to Commercial, large to small businesses - including the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development (DED), Hunt Country Propane, HIS Sign, Belfort Furniture, Kastle Systems, Signature Kitchens, ProTier Industries, and Shenandoah Urologic Specialists.

2013 is shaping up to be a very busy year for us and our Internet Marketing clients, particularly as web and mobile engagement technologies become a critical part to every business growth and marketing plan under the continuing pressures of the sluggish economy and cost savings requirements.

Have a fantastic holiday season, and happy New Year!

Kelly McLaughlan
CEO - KME Internet Marketing

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Thursday, December 06, 2012

TriVision Studios Media Production in Chantilly VA Celebrates 20 Years with Studio Expansion and New Brand

Chantilly, Northern Virginia, Washington DC Metro – December 3, 2012


TriVision Studios marks its 20 Year Anniversary with an expansion of its Washington DC area media production studio, and with a revamped logo that better reflects TriVision’s multi-layered marketing and media communications services.

As one of the Washington DC area’s largest full-service video production facilities, integrated with a marketing and branding agency, TriVision’s roster of clients range from federal government agencies, Fortune 100 corporations, emerging businesses and startups, non-profit organizations, institutions and schools.

Founded in 1992 as a family-owned business operating from a small home office, TriVision has come a long way in the past two decades. This month it opens an additional large, hard cyclorama (cyc) green screen studio next door to its 12,000 square feet media production facility, making it one of the largest and most multi-functional media production studios in the Washington DC and Northern Virginia area.

Trivision Media Studios and Creative Marketing Facility in Washington DC Chantilly Virginia area

To celebrate its growth and engage in significant new opportunities, TriVision Studios has re-branded itself using a new, refreshed logo that introduces rich, vibrant colors emerging from three “eye-shaped” petals, creating a 3D appeal.

The new media studio facilities, revamped logo and branding are significant stepping stones in TriVision’s evolution as a company. Its integration of video production, creative services (such as branding and multimedia design), web design and development with integrated marketing and public relations sensibilities, are all attributes that make TriVision an extremely unique, highly-qualified company for any and all International, National or DC-area media production and marketing services.

Trivision Studios in Washington DC

TriVision’s founding members reflect back to their heritage as first generation Afghan-Americans who, with hard work and dedication, are realizing the American dream of entrepreneurship. “Our 20th anniversary means a great deal to us and we owe it all to our creative team, as well as to our clients and local partners who have supported us and believed in our work over the years,” said Mr. Sulaiman Lutfi, CEO & President of TriVision.

As an extension of its branding services, TriVision launches a new venture called Elegance Décor, a state-of-the-art showroom of contemporary office furniture, offering space planning and interior design services.

TriVision is proud to reach this significant milestone and looks forward to many more years of excellence in creative marketing communications and media production.

Find out more about all of our Media Production Studios, and our Integrated Marketing, Communications and Branding capabilities.

Press Release by KME Internet Marketing, a Virginia SWaM-certified business.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Loudoun County Gifted and Talented Students - Parents Group Formed

This past Thursday, an introductory meeting for the new "Loudoun County Parents of Gifted Students" (LocoPOGS) was held at the Loudoun Country Day School. The non-profit group was set up by Chris Croll to help provide information and support among families with very academically gifted children.

Child psychologist Patrice Garver spoke to the audience of 50-60 about the benefits of cognitive testing, followed by a panel discussion regarding how IQ information can be used. The panel included Nysmith School for the Gifted Head of School Ken Nysmith, Loudoun Country Day School Headmaster Dr. Randy Hollister, Loudoun School for the Gifted Head of School Deep Sran, Loudoun County Public Schools’ head of gifted and talented programs Julie Kelly, and Compass Classes Home School Enrichment founder Jenny Grove-Bradshaw.

Ms. Garver's comments overviewed her experience with IQ testing in Fairfax County, including use of the popular CogAT test, which according to the LCPS site "...measures learned reasoning and problem-solving skills in three different areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Reasoning skills develop gradually throughout a person’s lifetime, and at different rates for different individuals. CogAT does not measure such factors as effort, attention, motivation, and work habits, which contribute to school achievement as well." The test is administered in the 2nd grade, and is a heavily-used indicator for assessing gifted students - but not the only factor; others include interviews and teacher recommendations as available.

A very important facet of success in having your child privately assessed, with services such as Ms. Garver's, includes making sure your "child is comfortable and has a nice rapport with evaluator - this will ensure reliability and validity of results". While the IQ test is an important signal, it's really an "imperfect predictor of future success", according to Deep Sran in his comments. It's important to "still be the parent - America's about choice, so you really need to shop around for the best school choice for your child". That's a very key point - parents need to make significant, ongoing, engaged and fully-informed investments in a gifted child's pathway to academic and personal success.

In our own Loudoun household, we've experienced this - raising gifted children requires full-time planning and involvement, including shopping around Loudoun and Fairfax for the most appropriate advanced learning options, schools, tutors, extra-curricular programs, tests and testing preparation services. The interaction and resources available to similarly-motivated families has to date been quite fragmented in Loudoun - though the TJHSST (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology) parent and student's community from Loudoun is quite strong and helpful. We've found the Fairfax County Association for the Gifted (FCAG) is a very involved, helpful and important local resource - Ms. Croll's new Loudoun group should align well with the success and impact experienced by that group.

Dr. Hollister also explained that in addition to parental involvement, it's very important to also "listen to your child" regarding their needs, understanding and ambition, and Ken Nysmith suggested being sure to "find a school that fosters a true love for learning".

As the most well-known and experienced K-8 school focused on "Gifted and Talented" students in the region, the private Nysmith School in Herndon VA draws students from all over the Northern Virginia region, primarily from Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Children advance in all subjects at their own pace, leading to differentiated learning, peer-level placement and access to subject matter and very small instruction groups typically not available in local private schools, Loudoun County schools or the Fairfax County Gifted Programs. It's a very highly-recommended, successful and highly-sought after resource for advanced and gifted learning from elementary through middle school, right here in the Dulles region. Multiple parent groups support the school community, including a "Dads of Nysmith" interactive professional and social community.

The LocoPOGS group is free and open to any families who may draw some support from participation, and is not specifically affiliated with any particular school. The group’s second meeting is 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, at Loudoun School for the Gifted, 44675 Cape Court in Ashburn, and the next at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at Nysmith School for the Gifted, 13625 Eds Drive in Herndon. For more information, go to Loudoun County Parents of Gifted Students’ Meetup page or Facebook page, join and/or contact the resources outlined.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Loudoun and Northern Virginia Unique Businesses - Fall 2012

Check out this 2012 roundup of really interesting businesses in the Loudoun County and Northern Virginia supported at KME Internet Marketing and Fulcrum Marketing Group - businesses you've probably never heard about, with very unique, helpful products and services.

Take a look, visit, or give them a call, including:

Ashburn sign language interpretation services and training at HIS Sign.

Paxton Manor's Shoktober features Leesburg VA's only true haunted hause, at the historic Paxton Campus .

South Riding's own Heidi Carlstadt at Forks, Corks and Kegs Loudoun County meetings, tours and events concierge.

Karen McPadden at Kinections Physical Therapy in Arlington.

Suna Lee Photography in McLean.

Greenworks Landscape Design and Garden Center in Loudoun

Ready Depot national providers of emergency preparedness supplies online.

Hunt Country Propane, delivering fast, affordable Loudoun propane supplies to individuals and businesses throughout our Hunt Country region (Loudoun, Fauquier, Clarke & Western Prince William Counties, plus Middleburg, Purcellville, Leesburg, etc.)

The next roundups will cover a full array of Northern Virginia home improvement and design companies in the area (including Dulles South/South Riding/Chantilly), as well as a selection of corporate B2B business services, that you may not have heard of.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

NOVA Brewfest This Weekend, Oct 20-21!

Stop by the World Beers experience at Bull Run Park in Centreville, VA - for the annual NOVA Fall Brewfest! Live bands, great food, and over 50 beers to sample....weekend weather looks absolutely fabulous for an outdoor fall festival in Virginia!

Find out more at the NOVA Brewfest website...

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Monday, September 03, 2012

Trivision Studios Hosts Dulles - Reston Regional Chambers of Commerce Global Business Mixer

The recent 2012 Dulles & Reston Chamber of Commerce Global Mixer was an unprecedented success, hosted at TriVision Studios in Chantilly. Several hundred Dulles area business leaders and chamber members gathered at TriVision's beautiful, expansive multimedia recording and publishing studios, to sample international cuisine, share business information and build long-lasting relationships in the heart of the Loudoun-Fairfax Dulles regional business districts.



The TriVision Studios Team and Local Business Leaders

Find more pictures of this summer-ending local business event of the season, on TriVision's Facebook page!

The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce include local and regional business members leading the growth and entrepreneurial spirit of the entire Dulles corridor, extending from the Dulles and Sterling areas of Eastern Loudoun County, to and through the Chantilly, Herndon, Reston and Great Falls areas of Western Fairfax. These Chambers essentially serve the business interests and provide collaborative relationship-building for the entire Dulles Corridor, coordinating economic development interests with the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce to the West of Dulles Airport.

TriVision's partnership with these regional Business Chambers, local/state government agencies and other local businesses will soon include the "TriVision Seminar Series", launching to match DC-area business superstars with innovative thought leadership and entrepreneurs through educative, entertaining and multimedia-driven events.

TriVision Studios is a Washington DC regional global creative media production and marketing agency headquartered in Chantilly, VA, providing industry-leading multimedia production and marketing solutions to Washington DC area businesses, Federal and International Government clients - with an overseas international presence in Afghanistan as well. In their 12,000 square foot full service, custom built video production studio, TriVision creates music videos, commercials and chroma-key productions for clients ranging from Chevrolet and the Discovery Channel, to the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art and the White House. TriVision also hosts live entertainment and performances, recordings and events; such as this first-of-its-kind local Dulles area Chamber business collaboration and social mixer.



The Trivision Studios Live Event and Recording Facility Studios

TriVision Studios also delivers full service marketing and advertising capabilities from creative print and DVD production to Interactive, Internet Marketing, SEO and broadcast advertisement strategies. TriVision is an integrated member of the Washington DC and Northern Virginia digital publishing and marketing business community, collaborating with leading regional IT, digital marketing specialists and SEO/Adwords subject matter experts such as KME Internet Marketing and AML & Associates.



Local Business Leaders, including Ted McLaughlan (KME/TriVision Advisory Digital Marketing CTO)

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Velocity Five Sports Restaurant & ESPN 980 "Home of the Redskins" - Northern Virginia Broadcast Partnership

STERLING, VA – Velocity 5 Sports Restaurant and ESPN 980 (AM Radio and Online Audio) will once again team up to present "Monday Night Live with Chris Russell" and "The Sports Reporters" broadcast live from Velocity 5 every week during the upcoming football season. During each live broadcast at Velocity 5 restaurants, patrons will be able to watch the broadcast and meet the Redskins "Player of the Game." The player of the game will be a part of each broadcast and will be at Velocity 5 in Lansdowne or Sterling (Loudoun County) each week.


"Monday Night Live", hosted by ESPN 980 Redskins Beat Reporter Chris Russell, features
Washington Redskins players as guests. "The Sports Reporters" is hosted by veteran ESPN
980 personalities Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban. The shows will be held at the Velocity
5 locations in Lansdowne and Sterling due to their close proximity to Redskins Park.
Velocity 5, the Northern Virginia area's leading sports restaurant chain, also has locations
in Arlington, Falls Church and Centreville.

The Velocity 5 restaurant chain was founded by Jim Speros, former assistant coach for the
Washington Redskins in the 1980's under Hall of Fame Coach Joe Gibbs. Jim was with the
team during their winning 1982 season, coached with the Buffalo Bills and then went on to
own several football teams including the Canadian Football League Grey Cup Champion
Baltimore Stallions, and the Montreal Alouettes. Jim is extremely passionate about football
and especially the Redskins. Bringing this type of access to his customers is a dream come
true.

"We are extremely excited to renew our relationship with ESPN 980," Speros said. "ESPN
980 is the voice of DC sports and the Home of the Redskins, and our partnership will allow
Velocity 5 to become the headquarters for football in Northern Virginia once again this
season. I am pleased to be able to offer this exclusive player access to my customers. It is
nice to be able to bring the team closer to their fans. This promises to be one of the most
interesting seasons in Redskins history, and we look forward to reviewing the games every
Monday night with Chris Russell and his Redskin guests."

"Monday Night Live" debuted last season and some of the players who appeared as guests
at Velocity 5 included Ryan Kerrigan, Tim Hightower, Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Mike
Sellers, Jamaal Brown, Graham Gano, Lorenzo Alexander, Kedrick Golsten, Anthony
Armstrong, Stephen Bowen, Adam Carriker, Darrel Young, Sav Rocca and Jarvis Jenkins.

"We are also looking forward to expanding our charitable and fund raising activities
associated with 'Monday Night Live'," Speros added. "The show is a great vehicle to help
local charities, schools, churches and youth teams raise money with events centered on the
live shows from Velocity 5." Velocity 5 has been actively involved with fund raising events
for Wounded Warriors, Cystic Fibrosis, the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, Breast Cancer
Awareness, local churches, schools and athletic teams. Velocity 5 also provides pre-game
meals for high school football teams and cheerleaders from Stone Bridge High School,
Centreville High School, Dominion High School and Potomac Falls High School.

"Our presentation of "The Sports Reporters" on Thursdays is also one of the highlights
of our week," Speros said. "Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban are extremely knowledgeable
and entertaining, and our customers enjoy their in-depth discussions and guests. Velocity
5 is all about great food and great sports in Northern Virginia, and being on the "inside"
with the Redskins, Chris Russell and 'The Sports Reporters' is a major part of our sports
concept. We are looking forward to another great season with ESPN 980 and the Redskins.
We encourage our fans and customers to come on out for these broadcasts and be part of
the action all season long! This is a great opportunity for fans to come out and meet the
Redskins players, take pictures and get autographs."

"Monday Night Live" will be broadcast from 7:00 – 8:00 PM on Monday nights beginning
on Monday, September 10th, following the Redskins season opener against New Orleans.
"The Sports Reporters" will debut on Thursday, September 13th, from 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

A special edition of "Monday Night Live" will be broadcast on Wednesday, September 5th
from the Velocity 5 Sports Restaurant in Lansdowne at 7:00 PM prior to the NFL season opening game between the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys.

For more information about this press release, contact Elysa Leonard, Splash Communications, LLC, at 571-426-5145, or elysa@splashmarcom.com. For more information about distribution of optimized, local press releases like this online and in social media around DC and Northern Virginia, contact us here at KME Internet Marketing.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Quick Shout Out - Local Attorneys in Northern Virginia and DC

Quick shout-out to some of our favorite local attorneys - at Cohen and Cohen (Personal Injury Services in the DC area) and Frias and Daisy (Business and Government Contract Law in DC and Northern Virginia). Thanks Wayne and Erik for helping those who need it, with your superior professionalism and expertise!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Dulles South Youth Sports Community - May 2 Hanson Park Info Session

(Reprinted from DSYS newsletter)

To the Dulles South Youth Sports Community —

An important planning event that impacts DSYS is fast approaching, and DSYS needs a loud voice to ensure appropriate facilities are available for our athletes. DSYS representatives will be there, but the more, the louder, the better. The third and final design workshop for the Hal and Bernie Hanson Regional Park is scheduled for this Wednesday May 2nd from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Briar Woods High School, 22525 Belmont Ridge Road, Ashburn.

Hanson Park is a multi-use facility planned on a 257-acre parcel on Evergreen Mills Road, at the western-most edges of Brambleton. This park will be THE first-class sports and recreation site for the Dulles South area, on the same order as Claude Moore Park in Sterling and the recently-opened Phillip Bolen Park outside Leesburg. The plans for this park are important for the Dulles South community in general, but of particular importance to the Dulles South Youth Sports families as park planning impacts the sports offerings for our children.

DSYS representation at the May 2 workshop is critical given the shortage of fields, especially given the continued growth of the league. Our growth will continue to outpace new field construction for some time to come, so it is extremely important that our county officials understand the importance decisions made about Hanson Park are to DSYS families.

The workshop will include a presentation of the preferred design concepts based on input from the first two workshops, and will provide an opportunity for additional public input. DSYS urges you to attend this session and voice your support for facilities that benefit DSYS families. Below is a brief explanation of how the design of Hanson Park could benefit DSYS athletes and families.
We look forward to seeing you and hearing you at the workshop this week.

~ The Dulles South Youth Sports Board

Our outdoor sports, such as Football, Cheerleading, Track and Field and Cross Country, can benefit greatly from additional park facilities as follows:

• Rectangular fields / Turf surface: DSYS is taking steps for 2012 to ensure our athletes play and cheer at the high quality turf facility at John Champe HS, but believe the long term solution to address field shortage and field overuse is to leverage additional artificial turf playing surfaces in the Dulles South area. For perspective, turf fields cost Fairfax County on average $600,000 to $800,000. DSYS Football and Cheer would be able to pay for 1/3 – 1/2 of a Turf field in 5 years, at current Loudoun County Public School lease rates. Additional resources, such as might be constructed at Hanson Park, could give DSYS more, and perhaps more affordable, options for playing surfaces.

• Families north of Route 50: DSYS serves the families north of Route 50, as well as south. As this area expands in number of homes, and to serve the continued growth of the Brambleton area, facilities in this part of DSYS will help the league serve our entire area with premier sports facilities. For example, our quickly expanding Track & Field and Cross Country programs are limited by the availability of appropriate courses and tracks for the exploding number of participants from both north and south of Rt 50.

• Collateral facilities that benefit youth sports:
o Permanent and convenient restroom facilities
o Lights to extend and maximize field use
o Bleachers and more space for spectators
o On site equipment storage capabilities
o Concessions capable building near fields (running water and electricity) – concessions are the #1 fundraising income contributor for all athletics, all levels. Income from concessions could defray participant fees.

• Turf surfaces in general: Turf, as opposed to traditional grass, increases safety for athletes:
o 74% Fewer Muscle Tears
o 42% Lower ACL Trauma
o 32% Fewer Ligament Tears
o 22% Fewer Severe Injuries
o 19% Fewer Substantial Injuries
o 12% Fewer Concussions
o 10% Less Injury From Shoe Surface Interaction during Contact
o 8% Less Injury From Shoe Surface Interaction during Non-Contact
o 7% Fewer Total Injuries

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

DC & Northern Virginia Video Production @Trivision1 Studios - National Gallery Japanese Paintings Colorful Realm

Gateway to Loudoun shoutout to local DC, Northern Virginia audio/video production and marketing/PR firm Trivision Studios in Chantilly - amazing and beautiful video work accompanying popular, rare exhibit currently at the National Gallery of Art (through April 29, 2012!).

 

National Gallery of Art Exhibits Rare Japanese Paintings: "Colorful Realm"

Japan marked the 100th anniversary of its gift of cherry blossom trees to Washington, D.C. by lending the National Gallery of Art an exhibition of a world-renowned cultural treasure: Colorful Realm of Living Beings by Itō Jakuchū. The historic 30-scroll set of bird-and-flower paintings on silk with three-panel altar piece, which was painted in the mid-1700s, can be seen at the National Gallery of Art's West Building from March 30 through April 29, 2012. The exhibition is on loan from the Japanese Emperor's Imperial Household private collection and is being seen outside of Japan for the first time.

Colorful Realm of Living Beings by Itō Jakuchū

Masterpieces of Japanese paintingsWidely considered as one of the supreme masterpieces of Japanese paintings, Colorful Realm depicts each of its 30 subjects in meticulous detail, going beyond surface appearances. Most notable is the artist's application of paint to the backside of the silk which becomes visible from the front, creating a unique glow and inner life within the painting. Due to their extreme fragility, the scrolls will be exhibited in a low-light setting for only four weeks and are a major high point of the 2012 National Cherry Blossom Festival.

For this once-in-a-lifetime art exhibition, the DC National Gallery commissioned TriVision Studios to provide onsite video production, editing and media/PR services for their private VIP viewing that took place on March 26, 2012. Having worked with the National Gallery before, TriVision DC video production services were up for the task of documenting various aspects of the cultural event and record VIP interviews for educational and media use.

TriVision productionTriVision Video Production Studios produced full-scale, high definition B-roll of the exhibition, with speech excerpts, along with VIP interviews of the Japanese Ambassador, the exhibition curator, and the corporate sponsors who made it possible. The team also shot footage of the opening Buddhist dedication ceremony with monks from the Kyoto monastery where the three-panel altar piece is housed, capturing observer reactions who were viewing the priceless scrolls behind plexiglass panels.

Logos

Same day, onsite video editing was part of the Trivision Washington DC video production & post-production team's challenge. The team was able to edit and upload video streams within hours to the client and press. TriVision circulated the footage to national and local television news markets in Washington, New York, Baltimore and Richmond in advance of the public opening on March 30. Targeted media in national broadcast news outlets consisted of ABC News, CBS News, NBC News and CNN News among others. To watch a video clip which was broadcasted on CBS Channel 9 News.

Colorful Realm at the National Gallery of Art - A TriVision ProductionIn addition, a brief, edited documentary on "Colorful Realm" with score, was prepared by TriVision for archival purposes. To watch this highlight video piece, please click on the thumbnail to the left.

The public opening for the exhibition started on Friday, March 30th and will end on April 29th, 2012. Colorful Realm is organized by the National Gallery of Art, The Imperial Household Agency, and Nikkei Inc., in association with the Embassy of Japan. Passes are not required for this exhibition.



Read more about Trivision Studios and their full service DC video production, marketing & PR recent clients, services and advice in their recent newsletter!

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Belfort Northern Virginia Furniture DC Sponsor - Walk for Hope

Belfort Furniture in Dulles, VA is the local Washington DC Sponsor for the 2012 "Walk for Hope, Women's Cancers, Women's Cures" held in Washington DC on April 28, 2012. Belfort Furniture will match will match the total team donation, up to $5,000. Join the Belfort Furniture team and walk to help find a cure for Women’s Cancers. Mike Huber, CEO of Belfort Furniture, will be walking this year as part of the team along with his wife Kristi, daughter Lacey and other employees and friends of Belfort Furniture. He feels strongly about supporting this great cause. Mike, in his own words stated, "The Belfort Furniture team has joined Walk for Hope to put an end to women's cancers. We want to build a large team to raise as much money as we can. Please register for our team"...

More information about Belfort Furniture in Northern Virginia ...

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Thomas Jefferson HS for Science & Technology - Prep Takes a Village, Not a Book

Per this WAPO article, a New York-based college counseling firm will publish shortly a test-prep workbook specifically geared towards preparing 8th graders to take the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST, in Annandale VA) entrance exam. The $199 retail book, complete with sample questions, answers and explanations, is being touted as a "low-cost alternative to test-prep courses and one-on-one tutors, which can cost thousands of dollars a year".

Will it work, is it something that truly fills a need and can replace what it claims?

In our opinion and recently qualified experience (go TJ Colonials Class of 2016!), the book should sell incredibly well but offer very little actual advantage. The actual investment required for maximum ROI (return on investment, or the "golden ticket" of admission to this #1 high school in the nation) is difficult, complex, costly, lengthy and in many community circles a closely guarded portfolio of "secrets" both proven reasonable and purely conjecture. This is obviously in addition to starting with the raw goods - a very bright, motivated, confident and academically-successful child who's sincerely, demonstrably and passionately interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) subjects.

The book will sell well, because the local, regional and international demand for any edge at all to be gained in the dramatically-increasing competitiveness for only 480 slots is rapidly intensifying, in lockstep with the rapid increase in the newer, very academically-motivated demographics of Northern Virginia (particularly eastern Loudoun and Fairfax). There also really isn't such a book available right now with this explicit focus (and therefore marketing exposure) - though the existing volumes of test-prep books to prepare for the PSAT, SAT, and SHSAT tests are well-known and utilized.

What such a book won't do, is replace the multitude of teachers, administrators, tutors, family members and friends that form the broad educational achievement team and irreplaceable support structure behind a child's overall success in reaching their academic goals, along with critical and focused achievements such as admissions to TJHSST. As well, harnessing and participating in such a group effort costs a lot in many ways, from actual money for project supplies, tutoring, books, field trips, camps, gas, software (...an endless list), to the unpaid costs in time and emotional energy spent on your child's behalf by volunteers, family members, friends and neighbors. A $200 book doesn't replace this, and is actually just a tiny drop in the years of expense and effort that amount to a worthwhile and successful education.

The highly-selective TJHSST admissions process includes not only the entrance exam, but demonstrated, high-caliber success in school (particularly math and science), writing samples, extracurriculars, noteworthy achievements, honors and awards, teacher recommendations, etc. The focus is on the student's personal and academic achievement in 7th and 8th grade - but it's clear that preparation for success here begins far earlier in elementary school.

In our experience, major outside credits for an example of success over this time begin with The Nysmith School and their fabulous, amazing teachers and tutors, utterly knowledgeable administrators and supportive community of parents and students. No elementary/middle school, public or private, in Northern Virginia is as capably demonstrable in preparing and supporting their students for these kinds of advanced academic challenges and opportunities. Note that the Fairfax GT program is of course an extremely successful, leading public school alternative in this area to the private schools - though no similar structure exists for Loudoun students.

Another set of major credits go to the MyEdMaster tutoring team in Herndon - the depth of educational experience, wisdom and compassionate attention co-owners John and Sagar personally and professionally expended to the benefit of their students and parents is simply unmatched, and the results absolutely speak for themselves. MyEdMaster provides individual tutoring for SAT/PSAT/TJ Test Preparation, College/GT/JT/AOS applications, and tutoring for all K-12 courses and test scenarios. Most importantly, MyEdMaster expertly coaches and guides the students (and parents) through the test-taking processes and application-completion strategies necessary for their individual success.

Between the Nysmith School, MyEdMaster and self-study Internet sources, quite literally hundreds of "practice" tests and exercises were leveraged and taken over many years (after/during/before school and on weekends), with personal, engaged and expert assistance - a far more valuable and extensive universe of test-prep assistance than a single book could ever offer.

The State of Virginia VDOE Governor's Schools Program and Fairfax County deserve significant credit as well, along with supportive taxpayers, as part of the overall team for academic success - for allowing our young resident made in Loudoun the opportunity to apply to and attend such an amazing on-ramp to future contributions in STEM fields.

At the end of the day, we could certainly write a book about the experience, filled with tips, techniques and actual input from admitted students...but it will then be just that - a book, and not a replacement for the dedicated individual effort and committed educational village that's ultimately required.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ford's Fish Shack Ashburn Seafood Restaurant - Go There Now

We rarely praise a local business in effusive, sober, unsolicited terms (it's Sunday morning, after all) - but it's now time. Ford's Fish Shack restaurant and bar in Ashburn (near the Ice House) is simply amazing, spectacular and just a really well-balanced, expert delivery of everything a suburban independent themed-restaurant should be...not available in Dulles South, and sprinkled among only a few restaurants in Leesburg and Reston.

The drink menu is perfect, and just yanks you in - with only the very best beers available in our area, by far the best selection east of Fireworks Pizza (Leesburg), west of Dogfish Head Ale House (Rt. 50) and more weather-protected than the NOVA Brewfest. After a Dogfish Head 75 (very rare) and Victory Hop Wallop (just about the most perfect and local incarnation of a hoppy IPA), I wasn't able to try the local Ashburn Rhino..but next time (and it'll be real soon). Pomegranate margarita and blueberry martinis graced the other side of the table - and all was good in drinkland.

The everpresent and encyclopediac (wikipediac?) manager Wayne was constantly available with expert advice on beers, oysters, menu items, local happenings, real-time status of the specials as they ran out fast...he should simply live-blog and tweet all night ("Wayne's Lobstah World"). We had "Wayne's New England Cod", of course, loaded with lump crabmeat and basil mashed - a huge, fat piece of juicy North Atlantic fish...The Connecticut-style Lobstah Roll was absolutely perfect, with loads of real lobster and the perfect complement of slaw, sauce and a soft, not-overpowering roll.

Starting the feast with some regional oysters was a necessity for us (so long as there was some Lobstah to be had later); a couple of Providence, RI premiums and Easter Shore MD seasonals were really tasty (firm and opaque, with just enough saltiness, but not overpowering fishiness or gooiness). Just a tiny bit of lemon needed - no point in any other garnish.

Call-ahead seating was a must this rainy Saturday night - and when we got there an hour later, seating among the lobster and crab pot buoys happened within half a beer. The kid's menu looked pretty tasty, and there were some about...but it's not a real big restaurant, and larger tables would require some pre-planning. This place is truly a unique and well-represented suburban haven for classic-yet-current New England style seafood - without trying too hard. Please open another in the Chantilly area.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dulles South Rt. 50 Widening Traffic Updates 3/19-3/23/2012

Rt. 50 Widening Project Update

(Good progress, but still some time left in this nightmare that is Rt. 50 Traffic...)

3/19/12 – 3/23/12:

1) Westbound Rt 50 from Rt 28 continuing west to Poland Rd/Tanner Ln. Right lane will be closed daily for construction activities on the north side of Route 50 (excavation for new roadway, stone placement, paving, and signal work). Lane closures will start at 9:30 AM and will be removed by 3:00 PM. Right lane closures will never conflict with Left lane closures noted in #2 below.

2) Westbound Rt 50 from Rt 28 continuing west to Poland Rd/Tanner Ln. Left lane will be closed daily for construction activities (setting barrier, excavation, and stone placement) along the median of Rt 50. Lane closures will start at 9:30 AM and will be removed by 3:00 PM. Left lane closures will never conflict with Right lane closures noted in #1.

3) Eastbound Rt 50 from Poland Rd/Tanner Ln to Dulles Court South/Pleasant Valley Rd. Left lane will be closed daily for construction activities (setting barrier, excavation, and stone placement) along the median of Rt 50. Lane closures will start at 9:30 AM and will be removed by 3:00 PM. *NOTE: Due to recent concerns, rush hour traffic will be evaluated each morning prior to setting lane closure.

4) Eastbound Rt 50 from Dulles Court South/Pleasant Valley Rd. to Lee Rd. Left lane will be closed daily for construction activities (setting barrier, excavation, and stone placement) along the median of Rt 50. Lane closures will start at 9:30 AM and will be removed by 3:00 PM. *NOTE: Due to recent concerns, rush hour traffic will be evaluated each morning prior to setting lane closure.

5) Eastbound Rt 50 from Poland Rd/Tanner Ln to Dulles Court South/Pleasant Valley Rd. Left lane will be closed nightly for construction activities (setting barrier, excavation, and stone placement)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Two House Fire in South Riding VA - Loudoun, No Injuries March 10 2012

A fire today fully consumed one house and 2-3 cars, and burned through the roof of an adjacent one today at 4PM on Nicklaus Lane in South Riding, VA - all occupants evidently escaped to neighbors unharmed. A third house suffered major siding damage due to heat. Fire and rescue units responded from all area departments, including Aldie, Dulles South and MWAA.

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