Hampton Roads, Southeast Virginia, Tidewater, Coastal Virginia, The 757, Seven Cities – no matter what you call it, those of us who live, work and play here all call this region by one name: home.
And many in the community are eager to rebrand the region, reinvent its future and further secure its economic outlook.
Cathy Lewis, host of “HearSay with Cathy Lewis" on WHRV-FM and moderator for the 40th Cox Business Executive Discussion Series event, joked about locking the doors to the banquet room in the Westin until a new regional brand was determined.
With all kidding aside, the topic is an important one and was part of the discussion Dec. 11 among the panelists: Bryan Stephens, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber; James Spore, president and CEO of Reinvent Hampton Roads; J.D. Myers II, senior vice president and region manager for Cox Communications Virginia; and Deborah DiCroce, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.
Thom Watkins, vice president Cox Business, said the goal is to help keep the Hampton Roads region a viable center for business.
And each of the panelists had suggestions on how to do that.
“The underpinning of any work that any nonprofit does depends upon a vibrant community, a competitive community or region or whatever it is they serve,” DiCroce said. She pointed out how the Reinvent Hampton Roads initiative grew from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to focus on the region’s economic competitiveness.
“Collaboration is the best strategy for competition,” she said. “There’s no quick fix here … at the end of the day, it’s the marathon not the sprint. And as much progress as I believe we’ve made, the foundation continues for us to work to reinvent Hampton Roads. We’ve got a long long ways to go on this journey.”
Lewis said one of the discussion questions she received beforehand showed concern about a lack of regional cooperation with each locality pursuing its own dreams.
Spore negated that, however, and said the collaboration is much healthier than most people think.
Spore also said the fundamental organizing unit of the economy is the region.
“It’s not the city, it’s not the state, it’s not the nation,” Spore said, noting the tremendous assets in the region. “We’ve got an asset base most regions in the country would die for.”
Among the region’s strengths, Spore mentioned several industry clusters — shipbuilding and ship repair, autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity and scientific research.
Read the full article here.
Photo caption: Bryan Stephens, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber; James Spore, president and CEO of Reinvent Hampton Roads; J.D. Myers II, senior vice president and region manager for Cox Communications Virginia; Deborah DiCroce, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation; and Cathy Lewis, host of "HearSay with Cathy Lewis" and moderator of the Cox Business Executive Discussion series event "Reinventing Hampton Roads" on Dec. 11.