Shifting trends can be challenging for some. We have no choice. Right now, we are in a workforce development crisis. The baby boomers are retiring, and there are not enough young professionals to fill the jobs, let alone fill new jobs created by companies moving here. The time is now, not 30 years from now. We need to market the region to attract the best and the brightest. Site selectors base their decision on a skilled and ready workforce. We continue to be skipped by the big fish like Amazon and IBM because we cannot provide workers.
The Hampton Roads Chamber means business. We set the conditions for businesses to succeed. Without a regional brand, without regional pride, and without a regional workforce, businesses CANNOT succeed in this market. We are losing our population every day while competing markets are growing by hundreds of people daily. For us to remain competitive, we need to try something new and fresh.
This process was not easy. This brand is the result of nine months of research that included 2000 meeting hours and 3000 voices. These voices are the people who care enough about this region to complete the surveys, attend the meetings, to be part of the process. These voices are young, old, white, black, Asian, gay, straight, southside, peninsula, born here, and from away.
The Hampton Roads Chamber recognized the lack of regional brand as an inhibitor to business and took action. At the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Membership, we announced that we would take the lead in rebranding the region to spark economic growth. We joined forces with Reinvent Hampton Roads, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, and the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. Together we secured outside funding and hired SIR to lead the effort. We have much to celebrate: our water, our history, our diversity, our military, our global port, and our future. Innovative growth opportunities like the transatlantic cables, regional fiber network ring, Jefferson Laboratories, and NASA connect us as a region.
We have the good fortune of living where millions of people come to visit. We need to share our amazing coastal lifestyle, our world-class performing arts, and premier festivals with guests so they will become residents. The attraction will be so great they cannot leave.
This is where companies easily connect to one another, the world, and the talent they need. Site selectors and decision makers need to know we have local partners, a global seaport, a global digital port, an exceptional quality of life, qualified talent today and tomorrow. Companies will be connected to the stewards of tomorrow, an innovative community that is investing in the new economic opportunities and a 21st century infrastructure.
This world is becoming increasingly divided. Let's pull together and ignite this region. When someone asks you where you live, proudly say I live in a place where everyone connects, where the coastal environment is breathtaking, and where the heart of our military beats strong.
The Hampton Roads Chamber works to be an inspiring ignitor, a powerful economic partner, an impactful advocate, and a regional collaborator. This brand speaks to the core of who we are and what we strive for daily.