Melwood cutting jobs as sequestration hits

April 28, 2013

As defense contractors wrestle with sequestration’s effects, one nonprofit that does work for the federal government says it’s already feeling the pinch.

Upper Marlboro-based Melwood hires workers, primarily people with disabilities, to provide custodial services and landscaping at dozens of government buildings.

The nonprofit has already been forced to cut about 60 employees and expects to trim about 60 more as contracts are scaled back. Locally, Melwood has cut 28 at Naval District Washington and 17 at Fort Meade.

“This is an alarming situation when you think about the fact that 70 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed already,” said Judith McCowan, Melwood’s chief contracts officer.

McCowan said Melwood has submitted a proposal to provide custodial services at the new Coast Guard headquarters at St. Elizabeths.

“We’ve bid on that in the hopes of trying to recoup some of the jobs that have been lost,” she said.

Sequoia Apps meant to serve as accelerator

After selling his contracting business to Reston-based NCI in 2009, T. Richard Stroupe Jr. dabbled in entrepreneurship. He joined an angel investing group, became an entrepreneur in residence at Georgetown University and started teaching a class at George Washington University on establishing technical ventures.

But by 2012, he was ready to get back to running a company and co-founded Sequoia Holdings, a software development firm with offices in McLean and Reston.

Now, Stroupe is combining his interests by establishing Sequoia Apps, an accelerator meant to help entrepreneurs — including Sequoia Holdings employees — get start-ups off the ground.

“We’re trying to provide ... an easier avenue to the [venture capital] scene for young start-ups,” he said.

Sequoia Apps takes a percentage of equity in exchange for seed funding.

Orbital Sciences conducts Antares test

Dulles-based Orbital Sciences successfully launched its Antares rocket last week in a test that advances its effort to undertake resupply missions to the International Space Station.

The launch was an equally important step for the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport facility on Wallops Island, which state officials hope will position Virginia as a commercial space flight hub.

The success of the launch and the facility would “put Virginia on the map when it comes to space,” said Sean T. Connaughton, Virginia’s transportation secretary, in an interview earlier in this month.

Orbital’s test was focused on its Antares rocket launcher, just one element of the technology needed to deliver supplies to the space station. The Antares vehicle launches the Cygnus space module, which acts as the brains of the operation by housing the avionics, propulsion and navigation systems. Attached to the space module would be a cargo module, built by Thales Alenia.

The test launch used a simulator in place of the Cygnus module.

GAO rejects CAI protest

The Government Accountability Office last month denied a protest filed by Alexandria-based Concept Analysis and Integration — or CAI — against a Labor Department solicitation for cloud-based customer relations software and services.

The company had made it to the competition’s second stage, which required preparing a prototype and live demonstration. After CAI’s demonstration, the agency ruled that its proposal did not comply with the solicitation’s technical requirements.

CAI argued that by advancing the company to the second stage, the Labor Department “misled CAI into believing that its proposal was otherwise technically acceptable,” but the GAO disagreed.

censerm@washpost.com

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April 28, 2013

As defense contractors wrestle with sequestration’s effects, one nonprofit that does work for the federal government says it’s already feeling the pinch.

Upper Marlboro-based Melwood hires workers, primarily people with disabilities, to provide custodial services and landscaping at dozens of government buildings.

The nonprofit has already been forced to cut about 60 employees and expects to trim about 60 more as contracts are scaled back. Locally, Melwood has cut 28 at Naval District Washington and 17 at Fort Meade.

“This is an alarming situation when you think about the fact that 70 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed already,” said Judith McCowan, Melwood’s chief contracts officer.

McCowan said Melwood has submitted a proposal to provide custodial services at the new Coast Guard headquarters at St. Elizabeths.

“We’ve bid on that in the hopes of trying to recoup some of the jobs that have been lost,” she said.

Sequoia Apps meant to serve as accelerator

After selling his contracting business to Reston-based NCI in 2009, T. Richard Stroupe Jr. dabbled in entrepreneurship. He joined an angel investing group, became an entrepreneur in residence at Georgetown University and started teaching a class at George Washington University on establishing technical ventures.

But by 2012, he was ready to get back to running a company and co-founded Sequoia Holdings, a software development firm with offices in McLean and Reston.

Now, Stroupe is combining his interests by establishing Sequoia Apps, an accelerator meant to help entrepreneurs — including Sequoia Holdings employees — get start-ups off the ground.

“We’re trying to provide ... an easier avenue to the [venture capital] scene for young start-ups,” he said.

Sequoia Apps takes a percentage of equity in exchange for seed funding.

Orbital Sciences conducts Antares test

Dulles-based Orbital Sciences successfully launched its Antares rocket last week in a test that advances its effort to undertake resupply missions to the International Space Station.

The launch was an equally important step for the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport facility on Wallops Island, which state officials hope will position Virginia as a commercial space flight hub.

The success of the launch and the facility would “put Virginia on the map when it comes to space,” said Sean T. Connaughton, Virginia’s transportation secretary, in an interview earlier in this month.

Orbital’s test was focused on its Antares rocket launcher, just one element of the technology needed to deliver supplies to the space station. The Antares vehicle launches the Cygnus space module, which acts as the brains of the operation by housing the avionics, propulsion and navigation systems. Attached to the space module would be a cargo module, built by Thales Alenia.

The test launch used a simulator in place of the Cygnus module.

GAO rejects CAI protest

The Government Accountability Office last month denied a protest filed by Alexandria-based Concept Analysis and Integration — or CAI — against a Labor Department solicitation for cloud-based customer relations software and services.

The company had made it to the competition’s second stage, which required preparing a prototype and live demonstration. After CAI’s demonstration, the agency ruled that its proposal did not comply with the solicitation’s technical requirements.

CAI argued that by advancing the company to the second stage, the Labor Department “misled CAI into believing that its proposal was otherwise technically acceptable,” but the GAO disagreed.

censerm@washpost.com

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