“I’ve been a part of the process with city council for the last ten years. I’ve been doing business in Suffolk for forty years. I don’t plan on changing a lot; I plan on improving the process and communication,” said Suffolk Mayor-Elect Mike Duman.
On December 4th, the Hampton Roads Chamber virtually hosted the Meet the Suffolk Mayor-Elect event welcoming Mike Duman. This event allowed Duman to answer questions from the business community and share his vision for Suffolk.
Before the virtual Meet the Mayor-Elect started, Chesapeake Mayor Rick West took a moment to welcome Mike Duman “to the club”. Duman told Mayor West he is looking forward to working with Mayor West and filling big shoes in the regional department. Mayor West responded that he is also looking forward to working together.
Duman explained that in his eyes, Suffolk is unique because it’s as if there are three cities within one. He went into further detail on the distinction between the different areas, the Northern area of Harbor View, Downtown Suffolk, and rural Suffolk. He then highlighted what he believes is important to address for each area. He cited traffic and infrastructure issues, the necessity of Broadband, attracting businesses to downtown, and managing the growth of the northern areas.
“We need to become a business-friendly city. I want people to be excited to do business in Suffolk. We need to keep the lines of communication open and develop our workforce,” said Mayor-Elect Duman.
When asked about hiring a new City Manager for Suffolk, Duman responded saying it would likely be the biggest decision he and the city council will have to make in the near future. He cited the important role the City Manager plays and which qualities he’s looking for in the candidates. “City manager takes a particular type of person to do the job. They need to be a manager, have a finance background, they need to be able to speak to the business community. It really is a 24/7 job. It’s a challenge to find the right person. The key is that we make the best-informed decision we can, whether it takes one month or six,” said Duman.
Bryan K. Stephens, President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber, spoke with Duman on regionalism and his hope for continued collaboration. Mayor-elect Duman commented, “What benefits the region benefits Suffolk”.
We are grateful to the State of the City sponsors for bringing this event to Chamber members. Thank you so much to our sponsors for making this event possible.