June 16, 2013
Cable Show: Industry event draws TV stars to Washington

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s annual Cable Show brought the industry’s business and policy crowd to the District last week — as well as a bevy of celebrities, pseudo-celebrities and television personalities.

The show began Monday with a ribbon-cutting to debut the exhibit floor. Who was holding the scissors? District Mayor Vincent Gray, NCTA president and chief executive Michael Powell, A&E Networks Chairwoman Abbe Raven, the cast of reality TV show “Duck Dynasty” and Mr. “U Can’t Touch This” himself, M.C. Hammer.

Other notable faces spotted were Jennifer Lopez, who was there to promote NUVOtv, an English-language cable network for Latinos, as well as Bravo executive Andy Cohen, HGTV’s “Property Brothers” Drew and Jonathan Scott, and last but not least, SpongeBob SquarePants.

— Steven Overly

On stage: FedScoop hosts annual confab

Federal technology leaders took center stage — literally — at Arena Stage last week, as the theater-in-the-round played host to media company FedScoop’s annual FedTalks conference.

In one session, Teresa Carlson of Amazon Web Services moderated a panel of female tech officials, including Casey Coleman, chief information officer of the General Services Administration; Margie Graves, acting CIO at the Department of Homeland Security; and Robyn East, CIO at the Treasury Department.

Graves said mobile devices are playing a major role in helping DHS do its work, from allowing Federal Emergency Management Agency field agents to better assist those affected by hurricanes to enabling law enforcement seeking the Boston bombers to engage on social media.

— Marjorie Censer

Published: CACI’s London has new book

CACI International Executive Chairman J. Phillip “Jack” London believes in the power of the pen. He revealed to more than 400 human resource professionals at last week’s Human Resources Leadership Awards in Crystal City that he has a new book coming out: “Character: The Ultimate Success Factor,” exploring the importance of ethics in business. The release follows his 2008 title “Our Good Name,” recounting the company’s campaign to rebut media reports about its work in Iraq for the Pentagon at Abu Ghraib prison. Four former inmates have sued the company in federal court, alleging abuse. The Arlington-based contractor has denied wrongdoing.

— Dan Beyers

Scholarships: D.C. students share $500,000

David Rubenstein, co-founder of private equity giant Carlyle Group, gave $500,000 in scholarships to 47 high school students in the District’s public and charter schools at a recent Economic Club of Washington event at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Northwest. Each student will receive $10,000. Also in attendance was Kaya Henderson, chancellor of D.C. Public Schools and Thurgood Marshall Jr., partner at Bingham McCutchen and principal of Bingham Consulting.

— Vanessa Small

Happy: Zell claims a victory in NSF deal

You’d think he would have been crying, or at least punching the table. Or cursing. Or maybe all three.

But Jeff Zell was smiling.

Zell, president and chief executive of the development-cum-consulting firm JM Zell Partners, was one of the early stakeholders in Alexandria who argued that the city had a chance to lure the National Science Foundation out of Ballston to Eisenhower Avenue. Zell hoped the NSF would come to his Carlyle Plaza development; instead the government announced recently that NSF will go to Hoffman Town Center next door.

Despite the loss, Zell (who also has been hired by the The Washington Post Co. to market its real estate) was tickled pink. “That corridor is going to become probably the hottest corridor for growth over the next five to 10 years,” he said. Even if the NSF itself is on the Hoffman property, he said it will bolster all the office buildings, hotels and apartments he plans to build nearby. “Everything that Tysons Corner dreamed of — is going to happen in the Eisenhower Avenue corridor.”

— Jonathan O’Connell

Deep dive: Film director talks about his love of exploration

James Cameron and his DeepSea Challenger submersible have been to some of the most remote corners of the Earth, exploring destinations such as the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on the ocean floor.

But last Tuesday, the film director behind “Titanic” and “Avatar” brought his vessel to a decidedly less exotic locale: the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The mission of the event, presented in partnership with the National Aquarium, was to get children excited about science education and careers.

“I do those movies to get a little money to go do exploration. Because that’s the fun stuff,” Cameron told the scores of students and other bystanders who had gathered on an outdoor plaza to hear him speak.

After the presentation by Cameron, the DeepSea Challenger spent two days at National Geographic headquarters in the District.

The appearance in Washington was part of a cross-country trip Cameron is making with his submersible. He is transporting the Challenger from his California home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., where it will be used for research while Cameron works on film projects. He is stopping along the way to give students a look at the innovative vehicle.

— Sarah Halzack

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