Pitch and Pilot: Fairfax County Innovation Challenge

carbon neutrality and climate
Wednesday, October 18
Meet the Winner - Street SimplifiedWatch Pitches Here

Goal: improve renewable energy adoption and shift from a carbon-based economy to a carbon-neutral world.

Fairfax County Innovation Challenge Finalists

Agenda    1-3pm

Welcome and Kickoff :
Eta Nahapetian – Eco. Initiatives Coordinator, Fairfax Co
Carola Mandelbaum – Executive Director, Smart City Works

Opening Remarks:
Jeff McKay – Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Panel Discussion:
Rosy Khalife,  CMO, Senseware
Melissa Blanken, CMO, Gridpoint
Adam Windsor, Co-Founder,  Asoleyo
Moderator: Dave McCarthy, Tech to Market Advisor – SBIR/STTR, Office of Science, Department of Energy

Pitch Competition presented by David Heyman – Chairman of the Board, Smart City Works

  • Boulder Ai + AMAG
  • Derq
  • Ford Safety Insights
  • Sensagrate
  • Street Simplified
  • Transoft Solutions

Judges’ deliberation and Networking session

Winner Announcement:             
John W. Foust – Dranesville District Supervisor and Chairman of Eco. Advisory Commission, Fairfax County

Confirmed Judges

Eric Teitelman

Capital Projects and Traffic Engineering Division Chief, Fairfax County Department of Transportation

Yvette White

Board member, Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling


Heidi Mitter

Transportation Planning Specialist at Virginia Department of Transportation

Heidi is a graduate of UVA’s Urban and Environmental Planning program and has worked with VDOT in Northern Virginia since 2015. Her work as a multimodal transportation planner has included transportation demand management programs, multimodal studies and plans, park & ride lot coordination, and she currently serves as VDOT’s district bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.

Michael Fontaine, P.E., Ph.D.

Associate Director / Virginia Transportation Research Council

Mike Fontaine is the Associate Director for the Safety, Operations, and Traffic Engineering team at the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC), the research division of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).  In that role, Dr. Fontaine manages VDOT’s research program in the areas of highway safety, traffic engineering, signal operations, performance measures, intelligent transportation systems, and connected and automated vehicles.  Dr. Fontaine currently serves as the chair of the Transportation Research Board Urban Transportation Data and Information Systems committee and is a member of the TRB Highway Traffic Monitoring Committee.  He also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses on transportation data analysis and highway safety.  Dr. Fontaine received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia and is a registered professional engineer in Virginia.

Lisa Brown

Senior Director, Local Government – Global Markets, Johnson Controls


Fairfax County continues to be a regional climate leader in prioritizing the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In July 2021, in the furtherance of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ FY2020 Environmental Stewardship Vision and Sustainability priorities, the County committed to having carbon neutral government operations by the year 2040. State and local governments across the U.S. have been strengthening existing climate mitigation commitments and setting new carbon neutrality pledges – often through the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance or the Race to Zero campaign.

As localities look to respond to – the challenges and complexities related to spurring economic growth while supporting clean energy – Fairfax County, in partnership with Smart City Works Innovation Hub, proposes to hold an innovation challenge event that focuses on carbon neutral energy. This event aims to find the best ideas and solutions to increase & improve clean energy usage, without negatively impacting economic growth, equity, and sustainability. The county hopes to implement a pilot project to evaluate the effectiveness of the winning solution(s).

Solar energy has increased XX nationally.


Clean energy infrastructure & output has increased, but access remains low.

Victims of air pollution & related health impacts are disproportionately people of color and low income.

About the Competition

In partnership with the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives, Smart City Works will hold a regionally focused virtual Pitch and Pilot to find the best solutions to support Fairfax County’s goals, including decreasing economywide emissions, improving air quality, promoting clean energy, and improving health outcomes among underrepresented populations.

Fairfax County hopes this process will result in a viable pilot project. The County is agreeable to partnering with participants who offer innovative safety solutions that are aligned with County goals and policies.  There are no preconceived notions about the incorporation of any specific technologies, but we do ask that the solution further the County’s goal of being a leader in smart community innovation.

At least eight teams from around the world will virtually present their solutions to an audience of Fairfax government officials and other safety, innovation, and community stakeholders from around the region.


The winning proposal will:

  • Align with both the County’s and the FY2020 Environmental stewardship Vision and Sustainability priorities, guiding principles or goals;
  • Align with the One Fairfax Policy to advance racial and social equity;
  • Incorporate existing data on carbon output and correlated health outcomes;
  • Address relative air pollution challenges at specific geographic location(s);
  • Use an innovative approach to advance County priorities;
  • Prioritize vulnerable populations and disadvantaged communities;
  • Maintain data privacy and security; and
  • Have the potential to scale.

The winning solution will be considered for implementation as a pilot project in Fairfax County.


Companies, entities, or teams of all sizes and from all over the world may submit a proposal. 

Participants must:

  • incorporate an existing or future technology product or program; and
  • be able to implement the solution within a year.



A selection committee will evaluate and score proposals and select finalists. The selection and evaluation process will be based on the criteria identified below:

  • Innovation
  • Scalability
  • Practicality of application
  • Safety
  • Equity and Inclusivity

For any questions, contact us at fairfaxinnovation2021@gmail.com