The Hampton Roads Chamber and the entire Hampton Roads business community wants to thank and recognize Ira Agricola for dedicating 39 years of loyal service to being "The Voice of Business in Hampton Roads." Agricola began his career with the Chamber in 1981 as the Executive Director in Portsmouth. In 1984, the five-city Chambers merged to create the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and Agricola became the Vice President to oversee the Executive Directors for each of the five divisions.
Agricola grew in his position throughout his many years with the Chamber. He retires this month as the Executive Vice President for Governmental Affairs. In this position he covered the General Assembly every year, living in Richmond for the Sessions.
As the CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber, my daily mission, and my constant focus, is to look for every means possible to set the conditions for businesses to succeed and bring good jobs and economic growth to our region. That means ensuring we have a well-trained and job-ready workforce, supporting policies that will improve our transportation system, and advocating for investments in infrastructure projects that are crucial to attracting new employers and helping existing businesses expand. Infrastructure projects that increase our access to reliable, affordable supplies of energy are among the most critical that the Chamber supports. That’s why I am pleased by a recent common-sense ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States that will allow our region to take a major step forward in that effort.
The Supreme Court found that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, like more than 50 other pipelines already do, can run more than 600 feet below a one-tenth of a mile section of the Appalachian Trail with Forest Service approval. The pipeline will be installed a half-mile away from the trail on each side. No one walking on that path will even know that one of the most important economic development projects in the history of Commonwealth runs beneath the trail. Just like they don’t realize they walk or drive over dozens of pipelines every day.