April 2023

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Monthly News from Hampton Roads

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Note from the President

Doug Smith, Alliance President & CEO

It's been an exciting and productive quarter for the Hampton Roads Alliance, and I'm thrilled to update you on our latest efforts to promote economic growth in the region.

One of our focus areas has been workforce development, and we've made some great strides. The Alliance has been collaborating with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council (HRWC) to identify workforce needs and develop programs that create an environment conducive to economic growth and job creation. It was encouraging to see the February unemployment rate in Hampton Roads drop to 3.2%, below the first quarter national average of 3.8%. This drop is a testament to the region’s collective efforts. However, a low unemployment rate is a double edged sword. The positive is that those seeking jobs can find work. The challenge is that companies looking for workers need help. Under the guidance of HRWC, the region must continue to recruit and train more employees to enter, or reenter, the workforce. We believe that a strong workforce is the bedrock of a strong economy, and we are proud to play a key role in the economic success of Hampton Roads.

In keeping with this commitment to workforce readiness, the Alliance recently partnered with HRWC to host an in-depth discussion about the skills young adults need to succeed in the 21st-century workplace. The panel, held in Hampton, was composed of industry leaders and representatives from higher education and the military.

The panel included Captain Janet Days, Commanding Officer of Norfolk Naval Station, Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon, President of Virginia Peninsula Community College, Dr. Corey McCray, President of Paul D. Camp Community College, and Fred Pasquine, President of Fairlead Integrated. It was a valuable opportunity to bring together experts from different sectors and explore ways we can ensure our region's workforce remains competitive and responsive.

The Hampton Roads Alliance and the Hampton Roads Workforce Council are also gearing up for a Regional Workforce Mission to Germany this summer. The goal is to learn more about the German Vocational Education and Training (VET) system, which is widely regarded as one of the most effective systems in the world. By understanding the German approach to workforce development, we can improve our best practices to strengthen the local workforce and attract more international businesses to the region.

As you may know, Hampton Roads is already among the top destinations for international companies looking to establish a presence in the United States. We're proud to be home to nearly 200 international companies, including many German companies such as STIHL, IMS Gear, Liebherr, Busch Manufacturing, Bauer Compressors, Hermes Abrasives, and INIT. Our region's workforce is our greatest asset, and we're committed to coacting with our partners to ensure that it remains strong, competitive, and ready to meet industry needs.

On a more personal note, I would like to acknowledge the passing of Harvey Lindsay — a man of vision, integrity and kindness that leaves a tremendous and lasting impact on our region. He will be missed but long remembered.

Your ally in economic development,

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The Hampton Roads Alliance Celebrates New Announcements at Fairwinds Landing in the City of Norfolk

The Hampton Roads Alliance is pleased to celebrate the announcement of new projects at Fairwinds Landing which will transform the underutilized Lambert’s Point Dock cargo terminal into a hub for offshore wind energy, shipbuilding, and maritime logistics. Two major projects have committed to leasing portions of the site, bringing with them over 700 new jobs and $140 million in capital investment. As Doug Smith, Alliance President & CEO, explains, “Offshore wind in Hampton Roads is growing rapidly, and this project is a major milestone in that growth. We are proud to have worked with the City of Norfolk, Dominion Energy, Fairlead Integrated, Fairwinds Landing LLC, and other partners to bring this vision to life.” 

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Youngkin Announces Record-High for VA’s Agricultural, Forestry Exports in 2022

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced a record value for Virginia’s agricultural and forestry exports as he unveiled the 2022 export data at the Virginia Inland Port facility in Richmond. Newly released data by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) values Virginia’s 2022 agricultural and forestry exports at more than $5.1 billion dollars. The 2022 export total eclipses the previous record set in 2021 by 25%, which totaled more than $4 billion.

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Civic Leadership Institute Names New CEO

Mary Kate Andris has been named the next president and CEO of the Norfolk-based Civic Leadership Institute in Hampton Roads. Sarah Jane Kirkland, the previous president and CEO, left Civic to become ODU’s associate vice president for corporate partnerships in March.

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Emerging Industrial Markets: Richmond & Norfolk, Virginia

"Richmond’s and Norfolk's quick rise as key industrial hubs is due to infrastructure improvements in and around the Port of Virginia, a deep labor pool, the region’s affordability and site availability. Richmond and Norfolk are attractive options for distributors because they are within a 48-hour drive of 75% of the U.S. population," says Bradley Flickinger, CBRE Senior Managing Director.

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NATO Parade of Nations Adds Finland for 70th Year in Norfolk

The NATO Parade of Nations marched for their 70th year as thousands lined the streets to celebrate the long-standing alliance between 31 countries in Europe and North America.

The Alliance is excited to host a delegation of businesses this summer in partnership with the Finnish Embassy, to tour several local maritime and shipbuilding assets.

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Portsmouth Mayor Focuses on Growing Business in State of the City Address

Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover delivered the State of the City address at Rivers Casino, highlighting its success and others in the city, along with future plans to bring new businesses, grow offshore wind and expand the entertainment district. “We want to be that place,” Glover said. “We want to diversify our economy. What the entertainment district has allowed us to do is to create a vision for just that.”

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Hampton Roads Organizations Merge to Form New Roundtable

Two Hampton Roads regional economic development organizations are merging to establish the Hampton Roads Executive Roundtable, with the goal of unifying their efforts. The new organization will combine Hampton Roads Business Roundtable, established in 2012, and Reinvent Hampton Roads, established in 2016, with the primary mission of coordinating the alignment of the region’s economic development organizations, strategy and associated initiatives and improving the trajectory of the region’s economic growth and competitiveness. 

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Hampton Roads Sees Drop in February Unemployment Rate

Over the last few years, local agencies have boosted efforts to grow the Hampton Roads economy and fill vacant job positions.

“We’re coming in as the workforce council to make sure that those businesses have the talent they need to be successful,” said Shawn Avery, the president of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council. Doug Smith, Alliance President and CEO said collaborating with other cities and organizations helped to get to this point.

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Enhanced Customer Service Drives Certified Origins Virginia Expansion

Certified Origins new Newport News facility slated to open in 2024 will allow the olive oil supplier to enhance U.S. operations. In an interview with Store Brands, Nacho Nuez, general manager with Certified Origins, and company CEO Gerard Jara, offered additional insight into the new facility and how it will benefit the company and its retail customers.

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Norfolk-Based 757 Angels and 757 Collab Undergoing Leadership Change

Monique Adams has worked diligently for the past eight years to make Hampton Roads a better place for entrepreneurs to do business. Adams, executive director of 757 Angels, an investment group that helps its members find opportunities that can lead to job growth in Hampton Roads, and managing director of 757 Collab, a founder-focused organization, will step down from her roles this summer.

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Harvey Lindsay Jr., Developer of Military Circle, Other Hampton Roads Properties, Dies at 93

Harvey Lindsay Jr., the developer of Military Circle mall, the original iteration of Waterside and several other properties that defined the landscape of Hampton Roads, died at the age of 93. As the former president and chairman of his family company, Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate, Lindsay transitioned the firm from residential home sales to commercial properties, changing the face of cities like Norfolk, Newport News and Williamsburg, among others, in the process.

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VA to Establish Trade Office in Taiwan

Virginia will establish a trade office in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced after meeting with that country’s president, Tsai Ing-wen. Youngkin’s meeting with Taiwan’s president came during the governor’s first international trade mission.

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Riverside Health System Will Begin Using Cargo Drones to Deliver Medication to Patients’ Doorsteps

Riverside is excited to announce a new partnership with DroneUp, Virginia Institute for Spaceflight & Autonomy (VISA) at Old Dominion University (ODU), the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission, and the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) to begin delivering prescription medications to patients who live on the Eastern Shore and adjacent Tangier Island.

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Virginia Natural Gas Now Supplying Up to One-Half of Customer’s Energy Demands through Additional Procurement of Next Generation Natural Gas

With a continued commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) announced it has increased the amount of its natural gas supply that is procured, transported or delivered by companies committed to lowering methane emissions as part of the approval of its Sustainable Gas Program by the Virginia State Corporation Commission (VSCC).

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Planes, Trains, Cruises: Norfolk Mayor Touts New Transportation Options During State of the City

The city of Norfolk is on the move. Residents and visitors can travel to and from the city on new plane, cruise line and train routes, and a people mover planned for Norfolk International Airport should help. "Norfolk is the most multimodal city in the commonwealth of Virginia,” Mayor Kenny Alexander said during the annual State of the City event.

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Two Grants From Sentara to Support ODU Students Pursuing Healthcare

Old Dominion University has received nearly $400,000 through two programs recently established by Sentara Healthcare to support qualified students pursuing healthcare careers. A check presentation ceremony was held April 12 at ODU’s Broderick Dining Commons. The ODU Educational Foundation received $300,000 through Sentara Scholars and $98,805 through Project CHOICE.

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CHKD's $224 Million Pediatric Mental Health Hospital Marks Milestone in Healthcare for Virginia's Kids

A $224 million pediatric mental health hospital and outpatient center opened its doors last year in Norfolk, Virginia, filling a critical gap in the statewide shortage of pediatric mental health services as medical professionals wrestle with what has been called a mental health crisis among children that has been exacerbated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In recognition of this consequential project, the development earned a 2023 CoStar Impact Award for commercial development of the year in Hampton Roads, as judged by a panel of local industry professionals.

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Dominion’s Renewable Projects Approved by Regulators Despite Cost Concerns

Dominion’s regulators approved a suite of renewable energy projects proposed by the utility in a move that goes against State Corporation Commission staff’s recommendation to deny two projects because of cost concerns.

The commission approved nine solar projects and one energy storage project totaling about 500 megawatts that will be owned by Dominion.

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Sentara Scholarship $100K Donation to Centura College

40 Centura College students were awarded scholarships as part of Sentara Healthcare's Sentara Scholars program. This $100K donation will continue to aid these leaders of tomorrow in pursuing their careers in the industry. Thank you, Sentara, for your commitment to local students in the medical field.

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Jeremy Bridges Named President of Hampton Roads Shipping Association

The Hampton Roads Shipping Association (HRSA) is pleased to announce the selection of Jeremy Bridges as the association’s President effective May 1, 2023. He brings to HRSA a strong portfolio of work experience and skills expansion with industry-leading organizations focusing on collective bargaining, labor-management relations, and contract administration.

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In honor of Administrative Professionals Day, we'd like to highlight the Alliance's stellar administrative and operations employees! Olivia and Adelaide are an invaluable part of our team and we thank you both for your daily dedication and effort!

Olivia O'Bry

Director of Operations

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Olivia O’Bry joined the Hampton Roads Alliance in January 2023 as Director of Operations. In this role, Olivia is responsible for assisting President & CEO Doug Smith and overseeing the day-to-day office management for both the Alliance and Offshore Wind Landing. She is an integral part of the team who provides administrative and financial oversight for the entire organization. Olivia comes to the Alliance with more than two decades of experience working in economic development, municipal government, and military affairs. 

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Adelaide Gilmore

Senior Administrative Specialist

Adelaide Gilmore has been with the Alliance since 2014 and currently serves as Senior Administrative Specialist. Adelaide provides administrative support to the Business Development, Business Intelligence, Marketing & Communications and Investor Relations teams. She is the first point of contact for the majority of inquirers and guests of the Alliance. Adelaide is a key part of the organization's success and is admired by all for her welcoming smile and impeccable hospitality. 

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