“Your Chamber is very healthy, growing and having a big impact in Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth,” said Hampton Roads Chamber President & CEO Bryan K. Stephens as he presented the State of the Chamber at the 2018 Annual Meeting. Stephens highlighted the increase in membership numbers and retention, the execution of over 150 events, a successful inter-regional visit to Pittsburgh and a “carefully developed culture, mission and focus for 2019.”
The Hampton Roads Chamber was honored to welcome and share the stage with the Honorable Mark H. Buzby (RADM USN Retired) as the keynote speaker for the Annual Meeting. Buzby lead the Maritime Administration responsible for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and the protection, safety and national security of American ships and ports.
His address echoed many of the Chamber’s own mission and focus for 2018. Buzby lauded Hampton Roads as “Having everything you need in a world class port and marine highway system.” The Chamber has focused on maintaining, supporting and growing the strong economic pillars of our community including the maritime industry and the future of ship building and ship repair in Hampton Roads.
“Ships and sailors is what I’m about and what I’ve devoted my life to,” said Buzby. During his address he highlighted the wealth of assets Hampton Roads has in its water ways, maritme service, and shipbuilding and ship repair industries. “The increased barge traffic on the James River takes 27,000 container trucks off of interstate 64. The Port of Virginia works from a master plan designed to keep this economic engine running, creating 535,000 jobs and an $88.4 billion economic impact across the state.” These staggering numbers emphasize Hampton Roads’ footprint in the Commonwealth’s economy.
Buzby addressed the audience as neighbors having chosen Norfolk as his permanent home after his military service. “You are second to none in the shipbuilding and repair sector. Coastal Virginia has so much going for it. I have made this my home because this region truly understands the importance of seafaring to our national security and this region is vibrant because of the maritime industry.” Maritime Industry Sponsor John Reinhart of The Port of Virginia said, “We are a maritime nation.” We will continue to celebrate the legacy of our region and build toward a future that grows this economic pillar.
The Member Spotlight Sponsor was ADP. Dianne Greene, Division Vice President/General Manager, ADP said, “We must nurture the talent in our region, and change for the workforce of our future.”
The Chamber bid farewell to outgoing board members including 2018 Chair Glen Robertson of Wolcott Rivers Gates. Robertson will remain the Chamber’s General Legal Counsel. Robertson announced the 2018 Volunteer of the Year was Ken Wayland of NDP Agency. Wayland serves as the Hampton Roads Chamber Vice Chair of Marketing Communications. The 2018 Ambassador of the Year was Amy Yendall with one of the Chamber’s newest members, Payroll Vault.
Martin Joseph of 360IT Partners received the gavel as 2019 Chair of the Hampton Roads Chamber Regional Board. He welcomed the 2019 new Regional Board members including: Andrew Hodge, Union Bank & Trust; Ruth Jones Nichols, Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia; James Noel, the Franklin Johnston Group; Julia Rust, Pierce McCoy; and Bert Schmidt, WHRO. The new members of our Executive Committee include: Maureen McDonnell, The McDonnell Group, Chamber Vice Chair Development; Michelle Partridge Lane, Russell’s Heating and Cooling, Chesapeake Division Chair; Tony Goodwin, Northwestern Mutual, Portsmouth Division Chair; and Richard Chaing, Suffolk Executive Offices, Suffolk Division Chair.
Throughout the event, Stephens championed the cause of collaboration for the region and big, bold leadership in the year ahead. The Chamber will lead the effort in regional collaboration and take on the role of rebranding the region effectively. Stephens revealed the 2019 inter-regional visit will be in Raleigh, NC where they have one of the fastest growing innovation and technology centers and the state ranked number one on the Forbes “Best states for Business” list. “I guarantee you, we take this mission very seriously and are relentless in the pursuit of excellence and in serving you, the business community of Hampton Roads,” Stephens said.
In 2018 the Chamber welcomed a record 5 new strategic partners, ABNB, ADP, Langley Federal Credit Union, Norfolk State University and Verizon.
The Hampton Roads Chamber would like to thank our Annual Meeting Sponsors:
Presenting Sponsor, Old Point National Bank; Speaker Sponsor, Bon Secours; Host Sponsor, Virginia Beach Convention Center; Member Spotlight Sponsor, ADP; Maritime Industry Sponsor, The Port of Virginia; AV Sponsor, Productive AV; Décor Sponsor, Premier Events; Design Sponsor, And One; Invitation Sponsor, Communique Printing & Mailing; Silver Sponsors, BB&T, Clark Nexsen, Dominion Energy, Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Langley Federal Credit Union
Photo: The Honorable Admiral Mark H. Buzby