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We Want to Help You Make it A Mother’s Day She’ll Never Forget!

Mother’s Day may be over a month away, but if you want it to be the most epic Mother’s Day ever then you want to start planning for it now.

Sit back and think to yourself, “What should I do to really make my mom happy on Mother’s Day?” Would she love to cook with gourmet olive oil? Has she been working so hard that only the best massage could relieve her 9-5 tension? Does she own the room when she shows up flawless in a gown? (more…)

Dumfries kicks off spring events with annual Easter Egg Hunt

The Dumfries Easter Egg Hunt will be taking place this Saturday, March 19, 2016, at Ginn Memorial Park located on Graham Road in Dumfries. Beginning at 11 a.m., the event will kick off with over 8,000 filled eggs to be found which were generously donated by the Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad. (more…)

Here’s what you can shred Saturday at Tackett’s Mill Center

Tackett’s Mill will host a free document shred on Saturday, March 12 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., or until the truck reaches capacity. The shred truck will be located in the commuter lot at the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Minnieville Drive. (more…)

DefCon Cyber on alert in Prince William, protecting critical assets

The time from when a cyber attacker can access a company’s internal systems to the time the company responds is about 204 days or about seven months. Many agencies rely on email alerts to notify them of network intrusions, but they don’t always work. (more…)

Momentum Aerospace Group takes on the world’s most difficult problems

From a sinking ferry on a great lake in Africa, 14 lives were saved.

Flying an unmanned aerial vehicle above Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo in summer 2015, a sensor operator sitting next to the pilot noticed a sinking ferry 40 nautical miles from shore.

“We joke around and say he used the “force” because he’s not a maritime guy, not former Navy or solider,” said Joe Fluet, CEO of Momentum Aerospace Group (MAG).

A total of 21 people were aboard the ferry that was capsizing in the lake. The drone operators had been on a reconnaissance mission seeking out intelligence on an insurgent group on the other side of the great lake. They deviated from the mission, took another pass near the sinking ferry and provided the geo-location position data of the doomed boat to the Congolese coast guard.

“In much of the world, when ferries sink everybody dies because there are no radios, no way to get rescue and no way to contact anybody. Those 14 people got to go home and be with their families that night,” said Fluet.

That was a memorable day for MAG; a six-year-old company Fluet founded shortly after retiring from the Army Reserve. Now with more than 600 employees on five continents, operating about 100 aircraft, the company headquarters sits in Woodbridge, Va.

MAG has become the hub for people who want to work in remote areas of the world, taking on difficult challenges, with the mindset of “country first.”

“We’re not a lifestyle company,” Fluet said. “The happy MAG employee has two things in life: work and family. Someone who wants to come in at nine and leave at five won’t do well at MAG because they won’t be happy.”

Checking and responding to emails late at night, and working on projects on weekends is just the beginning of the workload for the type of employees MAG attracts.

The reward for this work is high. “MAG pays above market for most positions”, said Fluet. “There’s also the satisfaction in a job well done, with a focus of a mission is to “make the world smaller and a safer place.” His company’s interests align with those of the U.S., and he expects the same kind of patriotism from his employees.

Before founding his company, Fluet was tasked in 2004 by the Pentagon to set up the very first Aviation Special Operations Unit in Afghanistan. After two tours in the Army and now with the Army Reserve and National Guard, Fluet was tapped for the project because of his experience in the cockpit.

fluet4He spent one year in Afghanistan, where he called on the help of several contractors to get the job done. Unimpressed with the”mercenary” attitudes of many, the contractors he worked with were more about getting paid than providing a service to their country.

“I was unhappy with the contractors I hired at the time,” said Fluet. “I genuinely believed I could do it better than what I’d seen.”

When MAG began, Fluet found himself in Washington, D.C. almost on a daily basis, in meetings, providing support and winning contracts. Better communications technology today means he and his employees can work better remotely. His presence in D.C. has significantly diminished.

He chose to locate in Prince William County because of its business-friendly climate and proximity to the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir Army Base and Marine Corps Base Quantico. There’s also plenty of military service members in the area to make it feel like home.

“I went for a run one morning, stepped out onto my block, and I counted 11 American Flags outside of houses,” said Fluet. “Where else do you see that?”

More companies like his are locating to Prince William County because there’s Class A office space for 25% less than the cost of similar spaces in Northern Virginia. MAG will continue pursuing business from the military, U.N., and NATO, all while working in more remote and non-permissive areas across the globe.

The region took notice of MAG earlier this month when Fluet took home a 2016 SmartCEO Future 50 Award. The ceremony recognizes the region’s fastest-growing mid-size companies. Collectively, Future 50 CEOs employ more than 8,000, and have a cumulative $2.3 billion revenue.

It’s difficult to list what MAG does in a 15-second elevator speech. Fluet says that’s both a curse and a blessing.

“If you hired me to fly to you to Indianapolis because you needed to interview someone there, I’m happy to do that for you. But there are literally 5,000 companies that can do that. I would prefer to be hired to conduct aerial surveillance in Yemen. Not a lot of companies can do that.”

This promoted post is written by Potomac Local under an agreement with Prince William County Department of Economic Development to showcase business in the region.

Winning spinach and chorizo soup now on Manassas menu

A frigid winter evening didn’t hold people back from coming to historic downtown Manassas for the 2nd Annual Souper Bowl, Friday, Feb. 5.

Crowds filled the sidewalks and shops as they explored downtown and tasted 13 different soups. In the end there had to be a winner, and this year’s Souper Bowl Champion was Mariachi’s Tequileria & Restaurant with their homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup, featured at the Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory.

Mariachi’s is a new restaurant in Manassas opening just over a month ago in the old City Square Café location on Battle Street. They featured two soups at this year’s event – the winning Chicken Tortilla Soup as well as a spinach and chorizo soup.

Originally, the spinach and chorizo soup wasn’t a regular menu item, but after such positive praise at the Souper Bowl, owner Antonio Escamilla added it to the restaurant’s daily menu.

“We’ve had a few different groups of people come in since the Souper Bowl, saying they learned about us and our location after attending the event,” Escamilla said. Mariachi’s is owned by Escamilla, Rafael Martinez, and Primo Castlan who says their goal was to bring authentic Mexican cuisine and traditions to downtown Manassas – “it’s the food your grandmother would make” said Escamilla.

Every Friday and Saturday night a live mariachi band performs in the restaurant but on this First Friday they traveled to both Calico Jack’s and the Center for the Arts to supply an added ambience as attendees sampled the soups from both locations.

Head chef L. Fernando Babadilla says the key to the winning Chicken Tortilla Soup is his homemade tortilla recipe that he has had perfected for nearly five years. Chef Fernando’s secret to the spinach and chorizo soup – homemade chorizo. The chorizo mixed with the creaminess of the spinach makes for a soup packed with flavors everyone can enjoy.

This year’s Souper Bowl saw nearly a 20 percent increase in attendance with many already talking of their excitement for next year’s event.

It was a great kickoff for this year’s series of First Fridays, the next of which is Friday, March 4. Don’t forget to mark your calendars and come out to enjoy a fun evening in historic downtown Manassas! For a comprehensive list of events going on in Manassas this year, go to www.visitmanassas.org.

This post is written as part of a paid content partnership between Potomac Local and City of Manassas to showcase businesses and economic development in the city.

Go green and refill your Manassas Olive Oil bottles

Did you know you can return and refill your old olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottles for a discount, and go green at the same time?

Manassas Olive Oil customers can now return and recycle their used oil bottles.

“The glass bottles we give you, you can refill them as long as they’re brought back clean and dry and refilling them gives you a 10% discount,” said Manassas Olive Oil General Manager Cameron Thompson.

Manassas Olive Oil says recycling old bottles is better for the environment because it keeps empties out of landfills and off sides of the road. (more…)

Have Your Next Group Event at Manassas Olive Oil

This is a sponsored column written by Potomac Local for Manassas Olive Oil

The Manassas Olive Oil Company was founded on the notion that great olive oil should be shared with others.

Alex and his daughter Amanda, both military veterans, opened their shop on Grant Avenue in Manassas to share their passion for fresh olive oils and balsamic vinegar with their friends in thier sunlit tasting gallery.

A tasting is now an event that you can share with your friends and family. Manassas Olive Oil is available for bachelor parties, after-hour night time events, and culinary shows.

Becuase of Manassas Olive Oil, more people in and around Manassas are having fun while tasting delicious oils and vinegar. Recently, Manassas Olive Oil shared partnered with Love, Charley for a First Friday event featuring free tastings, raffles, and coupons. (more…)

Beat winter blues with lecture series at Old Courthouse

In the winter of 2004-05, the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division was in a programming quandary.

There were very few programs offered during the months of January, February, and March and there was, at least, one venue, the Old Manassas Courthouse that was underutilized during those months.

An idea was raised to offer during these months a series of lectures on Thursday evenings that would be free to the public in the upstairs Ball Room of the old courthouse located at 9248 Lee Avenue in Manassas and the Winter Lecture Series was born.

The lectures featured topics that in some way tied to the county. Today the Historic Preservation Division will offer the 12th annual series which is now called the History Lecture Series because in has been extended into April. Topics have ranged from prominent people to historic events that shaped the history of the county, to world events that county citizens might have participated in.

This year is no different. (more…)

Local beans, great atmosphere key to Manassas coffee shop success

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

groundscentralstationPssst, slow down. Take a moment and smell the coffee… or the tea or even the great breakfast sandwiches made by Matt Brower and his team at Grounds Central Station in Downtown Manassas.

Go there for the coffee, go back again and again for the great people and experiences.

I originally found GCS in March 2015 while in Manassas on business. I had time between meetings and wanted a great cup of coffee and an equally good experience. Not being too familiar with Manassas I turned to Yelp for guidance and boom – I found GCS (with a 4.5 star Yelp rating to boot).

Over the past year, I have been back to GCS, oh, a couple of times! I have gotten to know Matt and his merry band of baristas pretty well.

One thing Matt serves – above and beyond a great Americano – is “community.” (more…)

Stay on the path to a New Year, New You at Manassas Park Community Center

“Shaping the Future” is a sponsored column written by Manassas Park Community Center Marketing Manager Jason Shriner. The column highlights the many ways you can have fun, get fit, and improve your life.

With the New Year, now is a great time to think about the year ahead. When I was younger, New Year’s Day didn’t really mean much more than partying, but now it’s a favorite time of mine where I like to set goals for myself. I especially like resolutions that involve learning something new or that result in a tangible finished product.

Over the past few years my resolutions have included listening to more podcasts and TEDtalks, learning to sew (this includes sewing a costume from scratch), creating my own board game, and learning sign language, photography and how to indoor rock climb. When you’re a kid, school can really make learning feel like a chore, but after I graduated college, I realized how much I missed learning new things and challenging myself. You don’t realize how easy it is to stand in one place until you look back on the year and realize it!

Make a promise to yourself this upcoming new year; find the new you! Here are some tips and strategies on choosing resolutions and seeing them through.

1. Be true to yourself and set resolutions you’ll enjoy

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s that if something feels like a chore, then I will find every excuse in the world not to do it. Motivation is an incredibly powerful thing, but it doesn’t come externally. Even when somebody else is encouraging you, you must ultimately want to do it for yourself in order to see your goals through. If you are an extrovert and you have fitness goals, participate in fitness classes! There is nothing more isolating than wearing headphones and working out – totally toxic to an extrovert’s success. Remember to set yourself up for success when choosing your resolutions!

One of my favorite fitness classes at the Manassas Park Community Center is bootcamp. In this high intensity class, the instructor challenges my classmates and me to perform a variety of strength training and cardiovascular exercises, all while maintaining an elevated heart rate. As a self-identifying geek, I never knew I was capable of doing some of the exercises until I participated. It’s not all excruciating work! I feel like we laugh constantly in the class as we awkwardly try new exercises and tease the instructor. Other popular fitness classes at the community center include Zumba, Aqua Zumba, and yoga.

2. Create a plan

Aside from fitness and learning something new, financial responsibility is another popular resolution. Whatever your resolution is, make sure you actually plan out how you’re going to achieve it. Ask yourself these questions to start. Is it fitness related – Where do I want to work out? Should I hire a personal trainer? If it’s learning something new – What time can I dedicate? What expenses are involved? If it’s fiscal What is a budget I can manage? Do I have monthly expenses that I can do without?

One method that helped me save money was to track my spending on a spreadsheet. True, this is a chore (although I do love a good spreadsheet), but knowing that I would eventually have to input a purchase into a spreadsheet where it will be staring back at me – possibly judging me – has been enough to deter me from certain purchases. Plus it’s pretty rewarding to see a year’s worth of spending slowly declining throughout the year! Another tip that I use to talk myself out of a purchase is equating how much an item costs to how much I make hourly. Is this new gadget really worth 2, 4, or 8 hours of my time at work? Cash and especially credit cards can be intangible concepts, but your sweat is pretty real!

Consider incorporating a class into your plan like the programs at the Manassas Park Community Center. INOVA will be teaching a free class called “Eating Better on a Budget” on January 5 or come check out People, Inc.’s free “Credit and Budgeting Workshop on January 20. Talking with professionals and researching ideas online, including articles, videos, and podcasts, are great ways to get fresh ideas to incorporate into your plan.

Belly dancing: Learning new dances, like belly dance, is a great new year’s resolution!
Try group exercise classes or working out with a friend if your routine gets stale
The Manassas Park Community Center recently built a second fitness room featuring all new exercise equipment – come try them out!
The personal trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center love finding new ways to shake up your workout – like boxing!
You can get 2 30-minutes personal training session as part of your membership to the Manassas Park Community Center
Try something you’ve always wanted to, like scrapbooking, by taking a class at the Manassas Park Community Center
Taking classes, like sign language, gives you a chance to meet people who share your interests and can help practice your new skills
Zumba is one of our most popular classes at the Manassas Park Community Center

3. Set realistic and measurable goals

Businesses are successful because employees have somebody holding them accountable. Excellent managers use plans with defined goals to set expectations that both the employee and the manager can agree upon. Similarly, anytime you sign a contract, you’re actually setting a level of expectations. These are expectations you are expected to perform as well as what you expect the other party to perform. Plans, goals, expectations, and accountability all result in getting things done. So why not do the same for your resolution?

I don’t expect you to draw up a contract between you and yourself for your new year’s resolution, but you should at least create an event in your phone’s calendar eight weeks from now that says, “Lose this many pounds,” “Save this much money,” or “Be able to ask for help in the grocery store in a foreign language.” When you have a goal, you have a real expectation with a real deadline for yourself to work towards as opposed to some nebulous concept of “lose weight,” “save money,” or “learn Spanish.” Don’t just set one goal either – set milestones leading up to your final goal so you have a timeline to reinforce your plan.

When setting fitness goals be sure to consult a professional so that you are setting safe and healthy goals. Your Primary Care Physician and the Personal Trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center are two good resources, and a fitness assessment is included free of charge with every membership at the community center.

4. Celebrate accomplishments and be flexible

Willpower is a limited resource. When you’re trying to lose weight, you can only deprive yourself of ice cream for so long. Torturing yourself like this is a surefire way to turn your resolution into a chore. If you reach a fitness milestone, treat yourself! Be flexible and don’t punish yourself for accommodating unexpected events. If your car gets a flat, replacing a tire isn’t a hindrance to your financial goal – emergencies are a reason you wanted to save money in the first place!

5. Don’t stop, won’t stop

It’s going to take persistence and practice to reach your final goal, so don’t give up! It’s said it can take an average of 66 days to form a habit – although this number can vary vastly depending on the habit. [1] If you find your motivation waning, try to focus on the end goal or try to find ways to make the project fun again. Getting a friend involved, changing locations, or switching up your routine can help keep your resolution enjoyable.

Finally, don’t stop once you’ve achieved your resolution. Keep working out, keep saving money, keep practicing that language, but also set a new resolution for yourself! Yes, even in the middle of July! Have you reached your target weight? Why not try hiking or indoor rock climbing? Keep learning and keep moving forward so that next December 31st you can look back and reward yourself for all the resolutions you’ve accomplished – and look forward to all the resolutions you want to try.

How knowing ‘Why’ led website developer WIX to $1 billion

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Five, four, three, two, one… Happy New Year! Well, almost! The New Year is a great time to evaluate our business goals and make sure we know the answer to the question, “Why do we do what we do?”

Here is a great example: Avi, a business associate I met in 1999, said to me at the time, “Rod, I want to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

In 1999 that was easier said than done. But Avi and a few of his associates started a company that set out to do just that. While his company attracted millions in venture funding, they never gained a critical mass and eventually sold to a competitor.

Flash forward several years later to a phone call I received from Avi who proudly claimed, “Rod, I have finally found a way to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

Now, those who know me know that I am a bit of a tech snob. I remember looking at the phone thinking, “WOW, that is a big claim to make!”

Sure enough, Avi’s tenacity paid off. Today his company, WIX, trades on NASDAQ and has a value of just under $1 billion – that’s right – just under $1 billion.

One Degree Capital is a customer of WIX.com, and we love it.

Across three businesses and over 16 years, Avi always knew his “Why” and stuck to it. As quoted from the company’s website, Wix’s vision is “We make it easy for everyone to create a beautiful, professional web presence.”

A common thread that runs through most successful companies is that they know their WHY – the main reason they do what they do. They know and stay committed to their “Why.”

So here is a question for you: As a business owner do you know your “Why?” If you need some help, ask yourself the following questions:

— Why? Why does your business exist? Are you passionate about this?

— Who? Do you enjoy working with your target audience?

— How? Do you serve your customers in a unique and valuable way?

If you are interested in learning more about how to build your “why” here are several great resources:

Simon Sinek, internationally acclaimed author of “Start with Why,” has a powerful TED Talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE that is sure to inspire you to action.

Jeff Parks, a Prince William County-based seasoned consultant and a Coast Guard veteran, says “Live your passion, give your gift.” www.performancebreakthroughs.com. Jeff has helped over 200 organizations define their purpose and build “High-Performance Organizations.”

Margie Warrell wrote this incredible article “Know Your Why – 4 Questions to Tap the Power of Purpose.” Also, she has written three books on Leadership, Life, Courage and Purpose.

Sharon Dilling, owner of Fairfax-based Ability Potentials helps people identify their unique skills, energies, and passions. It works! I took Sharon’s assessment test years ago, and it said I should be the general manager of a commercial finance company. She was right!

As the owner of One Degree Capital for the past six years, I can tell you that I LOVE working with my third hero: The American Small Business Owner. Sharon’s test was so helpful that I have paid for a number of people to take it.

The people who are open and willing to explore the suggested career paths have told me they later that they have truly found their “life’s work.”

What is your “Why?” If you know of any locally owned businesses that have a strong “Why” please share them in the comments section – I would love to learn more about the amazing business owners in our local area.

BBC, WaWa, ’90-Day Fiancé’ are just some of the big names filming in Manassas

The tent was set up and light was barely coming over the horizon when the crew from Twin Productions began filming two commercials for Wawa, the food and gas chain of Pennsylvania.

“Manassas was like a perfect Hollywood back lot,” said Sasha Levinson, director for the Wawa commercials. “So many areas to create stories in, Manassas was an ideal place for our story to come to life.”

“Manassas was the perfect combination of beautiful locations and a cooperative and helpful infrastructure that made shooting our Wawa commercial a wonderful experience,” commented Angela Edwards, Producer for Twin Productions.

This is not the first film crew to choose Manassas in the last several months. Six other production companies have filmed in the City in just a short period of time. The City of Manassas’ new brand touts the City as having an historic heart and a modern beat. These film crews are a perfect example of the new brand.

Filming the City’s Modern Beat was Sharpe Entertainment as they used Stonewall Park to film an episode of “90-Day Fiancé.” Ideology Productions shot a commercial for American Public University also in Stonewall Park.

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Illustrating the City’s Historic Heart was Flight 33 Productions who worked at Liberia Plantation to film an episode of “Codes and Conspiracies” for the American Heroes Channel. Also along the Historic Heart theme was Boundless Productions from the BBC filming a segment of “Great American Railroad Journeys” outside the City’s Train Depot.

As a more “Modern Beat” type of filming, Fox 5 selected the City of Manassas for one of its summer Zip Trips. City staff worked with Fox 5 producers to showcase the City and all it has to offer, ranging from restaurants, to shops to the wonderful community.

A grad student filming his thesis project in the City incorporated both the Historic Heart and the Modern Beat of the City of Manassas. He used a portion of Main Street to shoot a retro movie with 1950’s subject matter.

The Virginia Tourism Corporation website cites a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Public policy which found that more than 8,000 people in Virginia are involved in this industry, which brought more than $500 million in economic impact to Virginia in 2004.

While that data is a bit old, it gives a general perspective on the importance of the film industry to the Commonwealth and, by extension, localities. Film crews spend money with local businesses – shops, restaurants and small businesses all benefit. The crew that filmed for WaWa had more than 60 people on location throughout the day. So not only does all of the filming in Manassas contribute to extending the City’s brand, it really has a positive economic impact as well. Look for the

The City will continue its efforts to work with this important industry in the future.

This post is written by the City of Manassas to showcase businesses and economic development in the city in a paid content partnership with Potomac Local.

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