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DC Power Moves: Drone-focused defense contractor moves to Arlington

Plus, an IT firm made its second acquisition in two months and the Washington Post is planning a “social media journalism” division.

Air Force and Navy flight demonstration squadrons fly over the Pentagon. (Courtesy US Department of Defense)

The past few weeks for the DMV’s tech and business community involved several new leadership hires, headquarters shifts and acquisitions throughout the region. 

Keep reading to get the details on changes at Tyto Athene, the José Andrés Group and REQ. 

Drone firm comes to Arlington 

Auterion, a company that operates a computing platform for autonomous aerial vehicles, announced in mid-May its US headquarters is relocating from Southern California to Northern Virginia. 

The software company will now be closer to federal agencies like the Department of Defense, Auterion noted in a press release. The move also puts the firm near debates and policy development on Capitol Hill. 

“Auterion is at a point in our growth where the move to Arlington reflects our role in meeting the evolving needs of our growing customer base,” said Lorenz Meier, the CEO of Auterion. “Being physically closer to our customers allows us to provide more responsive support and collaborate more effectively.”

IT services company makes another acquisition

Herndon-based Tyto Athene reported its acquisition of the cybersecurity firm MindPoint Group on June 4. It’s the IT services company and defense contractor’s second acquisition in two months, following its absorption of aerospace tech company Microtel back in April. That deal was one of the first major actions taken by Tyto’s CEO Dennis Kelly, who assumed the role in March. 

Tyto mainly works in the defense intelligence sector, providing cybersecurity, advanced telecommunications work and secure networking services. Tyto’s customers include the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice and the FBI. 

“MindPoint’s customer-first ethos and dedication to delivering top-of-the-line cybersecurity solutions make an excellent fit with our mission-focused culture,” Kelly said in an announcement. “The synergies between MindPoint and Tyto enable us to provide a fully integrated cyber solution approach that many of our customers seek to bolster their security postures against evolving cyber threats.”

Tyto signed the definitive agreement, and the transaction is expected to go through by the end of June. 

Tech-focused communications agency taps new president 

Elizabeth Shea first came to REQ in May after the acquisition of her company SpeakerBox Communications, which she ran for more than two decades back in 2019. Before her role as president, she worked as the DC-based firm’s executive vice president of public relations. 

Shea will lead the company’s transition and rebrand following its acquisition by the marketing agency Agital nearly a year ago. REQ, which has an office near Dupont Circle at 17th St. and Rhode Island Ave. NW, primarily works with companies in tech, healthcare, financial services and related industries. 

“The opportunity to grow REQ, and thus Agital, is a role I accept with great pride and excitement as the world of digital marketing and strategic communications evolves,” Shea said in a May press release announcing her appointment. “The acquisition by Agital marked a pivotal point in the company’s trajectory, and we applaud Agital’s focus on building a world-class marketing organization with REQ as a tentpole partner. I strongly believe in the future success of the company and am honored to lead such an experienced team.”

More Power Moves: 

  • The Washington Post’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, has stepped down. Former Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Matt Murray will step in as executive editor until the presidential election this year, then will be replaced by Robert  Winnett, the deputy editor of the Telegraph Media Group. Winnett will assume a new role as editor overseeing several core coverage areas, including technology. 
    • When announcing this leadership transition, the news outlet also revealed that it’s launching a “third newsroom” focused on “service and social media journalism.”
  • Abt Global, a tech-focused consulting and research firm based in Rockville, acquired the  Reston IT company TSPi, the Washington Business Journal reported
  • The professional services and IT company Accenture announced a new DC market leader, according to an emailed announcement. Ed Engles will serve as the office managing director for the firm’s metro DC office, whose oversight spans Baltimore to Richmond. 
  • Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital giant based out of Silicon Valley, is set to open its first office in DC, the Washington Business Journal reported.
  • José Andrés stepped down from the CEO position at his hospitality and media company, José Andrés Group. Andrés will still serve as its executive chairman while Sam Bakhshandehpour takes over the top role.
  • Stride Inc., an online education company based in Reston, announced that it’s combining its CEO and chairman roles, according to the Washington Business Journal
Companies: The Washington Post / Department of Defense / Department of Justice
Series: Power Moves

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