The Hampton Roads Regional Chamber Alliance met on April 30, 2018 to discuss their goals for the upcoming year and the successes of their first united effort on their regional legislative priorities and the outcome of the 2018 General Assembly session.
The economies of the multiple cities and municipalities in Hampton Roads are inextricably linked. The Chamber Alliance was formed in 2017 to unite Chamber representatives from throughout the region in order to better set the conditions for businesses to succeed and create a more pro-business regional environment.
This meeting brought together Bryan K. Stephens, the President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber, Bob McKenna, the President & CEO of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Teresa Beale, Executive Director of the Franklin-Southampton Chamber of Commerce, Karen Riordan, President & CEO of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance and Robie Marsh, Executive Director of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber Alliance also includes the Isle of Wight Smithfield Windsor Chamber of Commerce.
Focusing on the mission of growth, prosperity, vitality and greater strength, it is in the best interest of the business community to share best practices and cooperate as an entire region. These joined efforts and increased collaboration result in a high value proposition. Creating a tangible and unanimously agreed upon legislative agenda for our elected officials was one of the first endeavors of the group last fall.
The synchronized efforts of business advocacy allows for the results of collective impact to shine through. As a region that shares the same issues and concerns, the collaborative work involved to shape the legislative agenda was rewarded with legislative wins in the 2018 General Assembly session. The successes included fully supporting the floor on the Hampton Roads Gas Tax and getting a Coastal Resiliency position and defeating the Labor Day and minimum wage legislation.
Learning from their achievements, the Alliance will now tackle 2019 issues, including a fresh look at the Labor Day law, and prepare their agendas well ahead of the next session.
The Chamber Alliance is planning a joint event uniting the Chambers and their respective boards this summer to allow for networking, collaboration and continued discussion on moving the region forward.