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Veteran moves into civilian career with local assist

Retiring from the military to launch a career in the civilian sector can be “a very difficult transition,” according Chris Albright, a former infantry machine gunner who served in the U.S. Marines Corps for more than two decades. A tight job market has made things even harder, he said.

Albright began looking at employment options in March, anticipating his June retirement. While serving with the Marines, he spent three years in Sao Paulo and Shanghai, guarding U.S. consulates and securing sensitive information and equipment. He also held executive-level positions in physical security, operations management, logistics and planning.

With a bachelor’s degree in information technology and a master’s in cyber-security under his belt, Albright was on track to finish his MBA this summer.

Still, he wrestled with the question, “What’s next?” He knew he wanted to own a business someday, but said, “There’s definitely a lot of fear associated with that.”

At a monthly networking meeting with other veterans, Albright met Phil Trigg, founder of Veterans’ Transition Forum, which connects former members of the military with franchising opportunities. Trigg told Albright about CMIT Solutions, a national company that provides information technology services to small- and mid-size businesses.

Early last month, Albright opened CMIT’s newest office, in Centreville, offering flat-rate, around-the-clock computer maintenance, monitoring and virtual technology packages. With support from the national office and a local bank, he was up and running in far less time than if he’d started a business from scratch.

“It’s a great fit,” said Albright, whose territory covers Centreville, Chantilly, and parts of Loudoun and Prince William counties. “My background in the Marines has prepared me well for this career transition.” He’s glad he could use his education, too, he said, “for something that’s in demand in the marketplace.”

Other local organizations are helping veterans transition to corporate life. Among them is Oracle, which is hosting a “Get Connected” event Nov. 21 at its Reston campus. Also, Northern Virginia Community College is welcoming members of the military community to an open house at its Annandale campus Nov. 9.

Vienna chooses best of Halloween Parade

The Town of Vienna and the Vienna Business Association have announced the winning floats, bands and performers in the 2013 Vienna Halloween Parade, which took place Oct. 23. Winners were recognized at the Nov. 4 Town Council meeting.

• Best in Show: Optimist Club of Greater Vienna.

• Youth Band: James Madison High School Marching Band (first place); George C. Marshall Marching Statesmen (second place).

• Adult Band: Northern Virginia Firefighters Emerald Society Pipe Band.

• Floats with Music: Northwest Federal Credit Union (first); Vienna Inn/James Madison Drama Department (second); Optimist Club of Greater Vienna (third).

• Floats without Music: Montessori School of Oakton (first); Coldwell Banker Residential Realty (second); VYS Under 9 Travel Soccer (third).

• Youth Performing Groups: Vienna Jammers Percussion Ensemble (first); Vienna Dance Academy (second); Cuppett Performing Arts Center (third).

• Adult Performing Groups: GottaSwing Dancers (first); Kena Temple Shriners (second); Cardinal Cloggers (third).

• Antique Vehicles: Daughters of the American Revolution (first); Northern VA Corvette Club (second); Old Dominion Historical Fire Society (third).

Parade sponsors included Pure Chiropractic, Vienna Wireless Society, Robeks, Garai Orthodontics, Govan Builders, Northeast Vienna Citizens Association, Vienna Family Dentist, Bright Horizons and many who provided goodie bags.

White House Internship Program welcomes four

Four students who call Fairfax County home have been selected for the Fall 2013 session of The White House Internship Program.

They are Roma Moradian of Great Falls, a student at the College of William and Mary; Fatema Munis, also of Great Falls, a student at the University of Richmond School of Law; Elizabeth Renda of McLean, a student at the University of Florida; and Emily Whitby of Alexandria, a student at Christopher Newport University.

The mission of the internship program is to make the White House accessible to future leaders and to prepare those devoted to public service for future leadership opportunities.

White House interns work in one of several White House departments, including the Office of Chief of Staff, the Office of Communications, the Office of the First Lady, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Presidential Correspondence, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of the White House Counsel and the Office of White House Fellows.

For more, visit

Finalists named in Scholastic Press contests

Student journalists from three Fairfax County high schools have been named finalists in the National Scholastic Press Association Picture of the Year, Design of the Year and Cartooning contests.

Dakota James Craig of Robinson Secondary School was named a finalist for Picture of the Year for a sports action photo that appeared in Above and Beyond.

Tara Gupta of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology was named a finalist in the Cartooning contest for her Editorial Cartoon that appeared in tjToday.

Katelyn Rebelo of Centreville High School was named a finalist for Design of the Year for her infographic design that appeared in Legend.

More than 1,200 entries were submitted to the Picture of the Year contest, more than 600 to the Design of the Year contest and more than 190 entries to the Cartooning contest.

First through fifth places and honorable mentions will be announced at the Journalism Education Association/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention Nov. 16 in Boston.

Martial arts benefit Springfield PTA

On Oct. 1, Andrew Gause, founder of Andrew Gause’s Martial Arts, started visiting Kings Park Elementary School in Springfield once a week to teach basic martial arts skills to students.

Proceeds from the five-week class went to the school’s PTA. At the end of the program, students earned their white belts at Gause’s school, and the PTA earned $1,000.

Gause’s fundraising program helps local PTAs reach their monetary goals, while students in the program gain martial arts instruction to help them focus and succeed, he said.

Because the program was so popular, a second session is planned for the spring. For more, visit

College scholarships available

American Legion Post 180 in Vienna is offering three scholarships ($1000, $500 and $250) for currently enrolled full-time college students who are sophomores, juniors, seniors or graduate students.

Recipients will be randomly chosen from eligible applicants who apply no later than Nov. 30. Applications may be obtained at Post 180, 330 Center St. N., Vienna or by visiting

For more, call 703-938-8535.

Realty company accepts Toys for Tots

National Realty, at 11890 Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston, is an official Marine Toys for Tots drop-off location through Dec. 16.

Stop by any weekday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and drop a new, unwrapped toy in the donation box in the lobby. Herndon-Reston FISH will distribute the toys to needy children in Herndon, Reston and Loudoun County. Donations to two age groups are particularly needed: newborn to 1 year, and teens. Gift cards are welcome. For more, call 703-860-4600.