Bret and Amy Baier at a party to celebrate his new book. (Nick Khazal/Dranick/Nick Khazal/Dranick)
Helios Apollo Awards: Maracas greet winners

At the annual Helios Apollo Awards, applause is not the preferred way of showing appreciation. Instead, each table is equipped with a pile of maracas, which attendees are asked to shake when winners and speakers step up to the podium.

The celebration, organized by Kathy Albarado, chief executive of Reston-based Helios HR, honors employers who have exceptional employee engagement initiatives.

Albarado says that all of the nominees demonstrate what she likes to call “a culture of intention,” meaning they are highly deliberate and thoughtful in their efforts to retain top talent.

This year’s winners were Evans, IntegrityOne Partners, Intellidyne, Fulcrum, Neustar and Goodwill of Greater Washington.

The event drew 500 guests to the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner last week. Albarado said that is a major increase in turnout over her first award ceremony in 2007, when guests packed into a Maggiano’s Little Italy.

Mike Waddell of IntegrityOne Partners accepts one of this year's prizes and shows off his orange dress shirt and tie, worn in honor of Helios's signature color. (Rachel Smith Photography/

— Sarah Halzack

Roll the credits: Party marks end of an era

Rest in peace, Potomac Video.

That was the idea behind a party last Wednesday at the Chevy Chase video store — a wake, as the owner called it — that drew nearly 100 long-time regulars and former employees to commemorate the end of the 33-year-old company.

“We got the band back together for one night,” said Matt McNevin, the store’s longtime general manager. “It was fun, but there was a certain air of melancholy.”

Attendees snacked on cupcakes and sipped beer and champagne. Employees raffled off Potomac Video baseball caps and boxed-sets of HBO series such as “Band of Brothers” and “True Blood.” The gathering was supposed to last until 9 p.m., but it went on until well after 10 p.m.

“People kept sticking around,” McNevin said. “It didn’t feel right to kick them out. We wanted to give them a chance to say their goodbyes.”

— Abha Bhattarai

Leaving K Street: Law firm opens new office

Law firm Tully Rinckey celebrated its new address — moving from 1800 K St. NW to new digs at the recently redeveloped 815 Connecticut Ave. NW — last week.

About 200 people attended the grand opening party at the law firm, including Tully Rinckey Founding Partner Matthew Tully, Managing Partner Greg Rinckley, Blacks in Government President Darlene Young and Federally Employed Women President Michelle Crockett.

The firm specializes in federal employment and military law, representing federal employees, unions, associations, military personnel and defense contractors. Its new space on the seventh floor is 6,400 square feet and has views of the National Mall and memorial parks.

— Catherine Ho

Boat ride: Future Fund raises $52,000

The Future Fund, a giving circle for young professionals at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, raised approximately $52,000 at its annual awards gala aboard the Cherry Blossom, a replica Victorian riverboat.

The event honored the Future Fund’s two 2014 grant-winning organizations, Linden Resources and Quality of Life Foundation. Each organization received grants of $20,000 to support Iraq war veterans and their families. The organization has raised over $200,000 since its inception in 2011. All proceeds from the event will support its grant cycle in 2015.

— Vanessa Small

Smile, don’t stare

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett joined the Lollipop Kids Foundation to start “Smile, Don’t Stare,” a disability awareness campaign.

The campaign is designed to help people better communicate with people living with a disability. During a recent event announcing the campaign, a panel of education, business and government leaders along with experts in the disability community spoke about the need for disability awareness and inclusion in the community.

Speakers included Chuck Short, special assistant to Montgomery County Executive; Andraéa LaVant, inclusion specialist at the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital; Diane Nutting, director of access and inclusion at Imagination Stage; Chase Phillips, certified special needs adviser at Merrill Lynch; and Steve Riley, executive director of Potomac Community Resources.

— V.S.