Governor Northam awards money to support clean transportation

Governor Ralph Northam awarded more than $9.4 million through the first round of the Clean Air Communities Program to fund five government fleet electrification projects. 

To further advance the transition to clean vehicles, the governor also announced a second round of $20 million to help electrify diesel and propane school buses across the Commonwealth. 

The Clean Air Communities Program is administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and was established as part of the agency’s oversight of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. The program invests in a range of technologies that provide cost-effective, near-term emission benefits coupled with investments in zero-emission technologies. Roughly three-fourths of the cost of these projects were funded through the Clean Air Communities Program with state or local governments providing over $3.7 million in matching funds. 

“Supporting clean transportation solutions is a vital part of our efforts to combat climate change and improve air quality in the Commonwealth,” said Northam. “These investments will reduce harmful vehicle pollution, which disproportionately impacts marginalized communities, and help accelerate an equitable transition to a cleaner economy for all Virginians.”

The first round of Clean Air Communities Program award recipients include: 

Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (Dulles International Airport)

$3,970,000 | Five shuttle buses and chargers 

Fairfax County Department of Transportation

$2,997,784 | Four shuttle buses and chargers 

Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services

$1,248,585 | Four electric refuse trucks and chargers

Fairfax County Department of Vehicle Services and Department of Procurement and Material Management

$205,275 | One medium-duty truck and charger used for libraries

In July 2020, the governor announced the first round of the Clean Air Community Program with $20 million to fund the replacement of government-owned fleet vehicles. DEQ will now begin accepting applications for the second round of Clean Air Community Program funds to replace diesel buses with electric or propane school buses with applications due June 15, 2021. Additionally, a third round of funding will begin in the fall. 

“Currently, approximately 99 percent of Virginia’s public school buses use diesel and more than 3,500 buses are at least 15 years old,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “This program will focus on replacing buses in disadvantaged communities already overburdened by pollution.”

In September 2019, Northam directed $20 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust to support new initiatives aimed at deploying electric school buses across the Commonwealth. 

“Collectively, these Clean Air Community Program vehicle replacement projects will avoid the use of more than one million gallons of diesel fuel and prevent the release of over 12,000 tons of greenhouse gases and more than 30 tons of nitrogen oxides and diesel particulate matter,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “This new program to electrify Virginia’s school bus fleets is another important part of our comprehensive approach to reducing climate pollution.” 

DEQ is the designated lead agency responsible for distributing Virginia’s share of $93.6 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. Approximately $82 million has been awarded or earmarked for innovative projects including electric transit, school and shuttle buses, electric equipment at the Port of Virginia, and the development of a statewide electric vehicle charging network.

Student School Board Representative announces for 21-22 school year

Pranav Choudhary, a junior at Langley High School, has been elected by the countywide Student Advisory Council (SAC) to serve a one-year term as student representative to the Fairfax County School Board, beginning July 1. 

Choudhary will participate in School Board meetings as a nonvoting member, filling the position currently held by Nathan Onibudo, a senior at South County High School. He will be the 51st student representative to the School Board.

Choudhary has three main focuses as student representative: academic support, expanding accessibility and communication for resources, and mental wellness. “At the end of the day, everything comes down to communication; even when resources are available in our schools, they are often nearly impossible to find,” he said, adding that combining the relationships he’s built with his personal experiences will enable him to work toward meaningful change.  

Specifically, Choudhary wants to develop a multi-language Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) student newsletter that includes mental health and academic resources. He also wants to help connect students with Systems of Support Advisors (SOSA), full-time academic support counselors in high schools, and expand the program to middle schools. According to Choudhary, this would provide intervention for struggling students as early as possible with visible results. 

And as a representative for all students, he also plans to actively seek out the voices of students from all areas of the county and all walks of life and, in doing so, to gain additional insight on existing problems “in order to develop tangible, workable solutions to solve those problems.

 “I would particularly emphasize the value of direct student support and how it can prevent both mental health struggles and school withdrawal,” he said.  His focus on mental health includes suicide risk screenings every year “to ensure that students who are in crisis can get the support they so desperately need as soon as possible.”

Choudhary has been a consensus builder as a student government contributor. “I’m drawn to building bridges and actively seeking people out,” he explained. “On the Student Advisory Council (SAC) School Community Committee and Relationships Subcommittee, I’ve worked on developing ambitious, goal-oriented solutions to tackle the problems we face.” Choudhary says his efforts have included feedback from students of all different backgrounds, school communities, and academic experiences. 

Choudhary is Langley’s Student Advisory Committee delegate; co-founder and co-chair of the Virginia Teen Democrats; a reporter at the Saxon Scope, Langley High’s student newspaper; Journalism Club president; and a Cappies critic.  In high school, he has studied Russian, Journalism, Theater Arts, and Personal Development along with core courses in English, social studies, science, and math. As a senior, he will study leadership, English, Advanced Placement (AP) government, AP Russian, precalculus with trigonometry, journalism, physics, and economics and personal finance.

Guidehouse announces new headquarters location

Guidehouse, a leading consultancy and solutions provider to the public and commercial sectors, has announced a new global headquarters operation at Tysons Corner in Fairfax County. 

The company is investing $12.7 million to establish the state-of-the-art location. Guidehouse will create more than 1,000 new Virginia jobs over the next three years, and the site will house more than 1,500 employees following its opening later this year. 

Guidehouse is a top 10 consulting firm in the U.S. and the largest consulting firm with equal scale in integrated commercial and public sector capabilities. The new headquarters at 1676 International Drive will accommodate recent growth and increase in demand for Guidehouse’s services.

“Importantly, the building has been re-imagined to include an open air conservatory, and green spaces for outdoor gatherings that align well with Guidehouse office standards for a post-pandemic work environment,” said Charles Beard, Chief Operating Officer of Guidehouse. “The proximity to fresh food dining options in the Boro, access to childcare, and commuting in a sustainable way are all important factors in supporting the wellbeing and creativity of our teammates and their families.”

Guidehouse chose the Fairfax County location for its quality healthcare, access to post-graduate academic institutions, historically strong public and private school advanced programs of learning for dependent children, and the county’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority to secure the project for the Commonwealth and will support Guidehouse’s job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs in order to support employee recruitment and training activities.

“We are very excited to formally announce our new headquarters location in the heart of this vibrant business district in a fantastic location,” said Scott McIntyre, chief executive officer of Guidehouse. “We take pride in our role as a responsible corporate citizen are tremendously pleased to invest in and build a deeper rapport with the Fairfax County business community. The new space is designed with our employees in mind to be enjoyable, to foster collaboration and innovation, and allow our business ample room for continued growth, positioning Guidehouse for the future.” 

Across a range of advisory, consulting, outsourcing, and technology/analytics services, Guidehouse helps clients create scalable, innovative solutions that to solve their most complex challenges. A Great Place to Work-Certified™ Company, Guidehouse is creating a new type of consultancy that brings together a wide array of skills and talents, cultures and communities, and clients to inspire its people and help us build a brighter future.

COURTESY PHOTO

Cutline: Kathy Barlow

Intelligent Waves LLC has announced that Kathy Barlow has joined as its new senior vice president for Contracts and Pricing. Barlow will support Intelligent Waves’ continued growth and will lead the company’s Contracting and Pricing department.

Barlow brings to Intelligent Waves her 25 years of proven executive-level experience in managing strategic areas such as Contract Risk Mitigation, Compliance, Pricing, Contract Management, and Contract performance. Before joining Intelligent Waves, she served as the senior director of Contracts for IntelliDyne, LLC, a local government contractor. During her tenure with this firm, Barlow was responsible for all contract and subcontract activities, price proposals, and negotiations for federal, state, and local government clients.

“We are excited to add Kathy Barlow to our leadership team as we continue to expand our market share and contract vehicles,” said Tony Crescenzo, president of Intelligent Waves LLC. “Kathy’s proven track record in strategic contract management will add value and impact to our organizational growth plan.”

Barlow received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business/Finance from George Mason University, and went on to earn an MBA from Marymount University. She is a member of the National Contracts Management Association. 

COURTESY PHOTO

Cutline: Daniel Phoenix Singh

McLean Community Center gets executive new director

The McLean Community Center (MCC) Governing Board has appointed Daniel Phoenix Singh as the center’s new executive director. 

Singh is replacing George Sachs, who retired May 7, after 11 years of service. 

In his previous position as division chief of Tourism and Cultural Arts for Baltimore County, Singh lead countywide initiatives in coordination with the Tourism Commission and the Arts and Sciences Commission. Singh is also artistic and executive director of Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company, which he founded in 2003. The multi-genre dance company has won national acclaim and was lauded by DC critics as one of the top three local dance companies in 2012. Singh has earned two master’s degrees in subjects that are highly relevant to his new position: a master’s degree in Business Administration from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Maryland.

“On behalf of the Governing Board, we are thrilled that Daniel will be leading the MCC,” said MCC Board Chair Suzanne LeMenestrel. “His expertise in the arts, technology and recreation and his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion will serve our community exceptionally well. We are looking forward to working with Daniel as the MCC welcomes community members back to the center.”

Singh is working with community members, board members and staff to launch several new programs in the next 180 days. He will be working closely with Le Menestrel to conduct in-depth McLean listening sessions to survey community needs, interests and ideas. From the foundation of the community input, the Board and staff will be launching a strategic planning process to bring the community, staff and board vision to fruition. 

“As soon as spacing restrictions are lifted, we will be holding an event to celebrate the life and contributions of Mr. Robert Alden in our theater,” said Singh. “The staff and board are incredibly talented, and the community is very passionate about the mission and have already presented wonderful ideas for us to continue George Sach’s legacy.

“I am incredibly lucky to be inheriting this strong staff that George has so carefully cultivated,” said Singh. “MCC is uniquely positioned to address the pressing issues and ramifications of re-entry into the world after COVID-19; the racial climate and equity needs surfacing in the U.S.; or considering how we can affect change locally for global problems such as climate justice. We want to be ‘The Center of It All’ for both McLean community members and the issues that are of importance to them.”

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