The Hampton Roads Chamber believes in Pivoting to the Positive. When faced with a challenge, we see opportunity. On Tuesday, March 30, we honored the top businesses in the region that also pivoted to the positive and found business resiliency this year.
Bryan Stephens, Hampton Roads Chamber President, and CEO opened the event. “2020 was a year like no other. Businesses large and small had to shut down, regroup, reopen, Throughout the COVID -19 pandemic, the Hampton Roads Chamber has worked to help people find the resources they need to make their business thrive.”
The COVID-19 Business Resiliency Recognition process began by asking members and potential members to tell us their stories. The application stated The Hampton Roads Chamber is recognizing businesses in our region that have demonstrated resiliency, innovation, determination, and agility to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
We received dozens of applicants. Our judges narrowed it down to 27 honorable mentions and 6 resiliency leaders; one each for small, mid-sized, and large businesses, and one each for small, mid-sized, and large non-profit.
Dean Jeff Tanner and the Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business University are working on a study in conjunction with this event.
“we will reopen our program, open for business, that will also take advantage of these principles to help other companies thrive in this region. The top 25 MBA programs and undergrad programs tailored to this region…we are ready to help companies grow their business.”
The Small Non-Profit Honorable Mentions are Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads, and J & A Racing.
The Small Non-Profit Resiliency Leader is VisitNorfolk.
Months of travel regulations hit the tourism industry hard, but VisitNorfolk teamed up with Visit Virginia Beach to create a campaign called together at last.
Since the launch in June of 2020 and through the end of the campaign in November, hotel occupancy in Norfolk and Virginia Beach was ranked number 1 out of the top 25 markets in the nation for 20 weeks straight. “I am grateful for the partnership we have had with Virginia Beach…bringing families, couples, and friends together to our destination but also brings two powerful destinations together,” says Kurt Krause, CEO of VisitNorfolk
The Mid-Sized Non-Profit Honorable Mentions are Nauticus and the Mariner’s Museum.
The Mid-Sized Non-Profit Resiliency Leader is the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. They are honored for their partnerships with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, and Mercy Chefs to prepare and deliver 3000 healthy meals a day for local children and seniors.
“For more than a year now our foodbank team has been on the front lines serving our community since the start of the pandemic,” says Dr. Ruth Jones Nichols, CEO, and President of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia
The Large Non-Profit Resiliency Leader is LifeNet Health.
Throughout the pandemic, they worked to continue their mission of saving lives, restoring health, and giving hope.
“Our goal was not only to protect our mission but our people as well,” says Jim Bibbs, Chief Human Resource Officer of LifeNet Health.
Small business honorable mentions are 3D Extremes, LLC, Array Digital, Freedom Boat Club, Hackworth Reprographics, Inc., Phillips & Peters LLC, Prism Maritime, Regulus Global, Studio Bamboo, Tidewater Psychotherapy Services, The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery, and Via Design Architects.
The COVID Business Resiliency Leader for Small Business is Mad Science of Hampton Roads.
They had to quickly develop a new plan to deliver hands-on, educational, safe, and entertaining children’s Science programs. They dropped off supplies in driveways with program supplies and home lab instructions to teaching via Zoom. Mad Science virtual birthday parties allowed friends and family from around the country to gather virtually and do science together apart.
“Working hundreds of hours…ordering supply bags and packaging supply bags…giving students in the twenty-first-century program can continue to participate,” says Jen Marcus, owner of Mad Science of Hampton Roads as she praises her teams' hard work.
Mid-Sized honorable mentions are AES Consulting Engineers and E.T. Gresham Company.
The COVID Business Resiliency Leader for Mid-Sized Business is the Chesapeake Conference Center. They had to change the way they use their space. They offered lunch to go with curbside pickup, partnered with Mercy Chefs of Portsmouth, and are now offering Lunch with chef restaurant-style meals.
“We have been diligently working hard together to keep our center open and relevant for our community.” says, Donna Cannatella, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Conference Center.
Large Business Resiliency Honorable Mentions are Bauer Compressors, Cox Communications, Top Guard Security, and Virginia Natural Gas.
The COVID Business Resiliency Leader for Large Business is Waterman's Surfside Grill, Chix on the Beach, and The Shack on 8th. When the restaurants had to close, they opened Watermans’ Grocery Market offering everything from fresh seafood to toilet paper. They followed that with Winter Wonderland in the Fall, with 24 local vendors every Saturday and Sunday and a Christmas tree lot. “Taking the moment and embraced the opportunity to really turn the heart of hospitality back to the community,” says Eric Emerson, Operations Director of Waterman's Surfside Grill, Chix on the Beach, and The Shack on 8th.
Bryan Stephens closed out the event by offering a tribute to all our non-profit and business resiliency leaders and honorable mentions today. “You have all demonstrated resiliency, innovation, determination, and agility to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”
Thank you to our sponsors, Elite AV Elements and Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business.
If you missed today’s ceremony, click the video below.