The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual CEO Welcome Breakfast on Friday November 6th to welcome and recognize 29 professionals who have moved into their organization’s leadership positions in the past year. Nearly 200 people attended the breakfast, held at The Founders Inn & Spa. Joe Flanagan, anchor/reporter with WVEC-TV 13 News, served as emcee while sponsors Barbara Smith of Cherry Bekaert and Wade Powell of Dale Carnegie Training provided congratulatory remarks.
Many of the day’s honorees have had long standing commitments to area charities and community organizations, as highlighted in the brief biographies read by Flanagan.
Bryan Stephens, President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, after hearing the short bios challenged people to, “Think about the collective impact of all these leaders if we came together for the good of this community, wouldn’t that be amazing!”
Laura Contreras Rowe, Chief Operating Officer at Siempre Tax was among the honorees. “It feels great to be a Hispanic woman actually being honored for being in a leadership position. We are minorities in this country and it is awesome being honored as a COO Hispanic woman.”
Chief Executive Officer and President of Williams Mullen, Calvin (Woody) Fowler, Jr., just appreciated the opportunity and was humbled at the thought of being honored.
“It is really a wonderful honor, I am based in Richmond but I spend a lot of time down here so it was really nice for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce to include me in this,” said Fowler.
Before ending the breakfast, Mr. Stephens offered insightful words of encouragement that inspired not only the honorees, but the entire room, “The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce along with other regional organizations can come together, and work together, to solve some of the issues, challenges, and concerns that we have here in Hampton Roads, to make this a world class place to live, work, and to raise our families.”
The following 29 individuals were honored at the event:
Captain Douglas Beaver - Naval Station Norfolk
Dr. Elie Bracy III - Portsmouth Public Schools
Thomas Chamberlain – EdLogics
Robert Crum Jr. - HRPDC/HRTPO
Bob Ernst - Bryant & Stratton College
Calvin (Woody) Fowler, Jr. - Williams Mullen
Brian Garrison - Mosquito Joe
Steven Gunn - The Virginian-Pilot/Pilot Media
Scott Kaplan - Tidewater Jewish Federation
Captain Brenda Kerr - U.S. Coast Guard Base Portsmouth
John Kownack - Norfolk Housing Authority
William (Billy) King - Harvey Lindsey Commercial Real Estate
Dr. Scott Miller - Virginia Wesleyan College
J.D. Myers II - Cox Communications
Kevin Page – HRTAC
Wayne Pellenberg - Neptune Video Creations
Jennifer Perry - Wicked Green Paint
Dennis Richardson - HL Development Services Group
Chuck Rigney - Norfolk Department of Development
Laura Contreras Rowe - Siempre Tax
Captain Louis Schager Jr.- Naval Air Station Oceana
Brian Schools - Chartway Federal Credit Union
Marcus Stevens - Brown & Brown Insurance Agency of Virginia
Kevin Sweeney – HREDA
Dean Jeff Tanner - Old Dominion University
Bob Tata - Hunton & Williams
Dr. Michael Thornton- Norfolk Public Schools
Jeff Thorud - Bryant & Stratton College
Win Winslow -The Suffolk Foundation
The Chamber thanks the following sponsors of this event: Cherry Bekaert (Presenting); Regent University (Host); Dale Carnegie Training (Gold); Hunton & Williams; Spectrum Business (Silver); and Inside Business; ABC13News (Media).