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New Keynote Speaker to Address Chamber's 30th Annual Meeting of the Membership

New Keynote Speaker to Address Chamber's 30th Annual Meeting of the Membership
New Keynote Speaker to Address Chamber's 30th Annual Meeting of the Membership
New Keynote Speaker to Address Chamber's 30th Annual Meeting of the Membership
Aneesh Chopra will provide the keynote address at the Chamber's Annual Meeting of the Membership on December 10 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. The Chamber will also recognize outgoing and incoming volunteer leadership and present its Volunteer of the Year Award. The USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia has invited guests from Virginia's Wounded Warriors program to attend the luncheon.

The Chamber’s 30th Annual Meeting of the Membership is being held December 10 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. The 30th Annual Meeting of the Membership, the Chamber’s premier annual event, will be one of the largest gathering of business leaders and elected officials, with more than 500 expected. Admiral Philip S. Davidson will be unable to be our keynote speaker due to a scheduling delay in the Senate. Rather than cancel the Annual Meeting of the Membership outright, the Chamber remains committed to connecting you with influential thought leaders and was able to secure Aneesh Chopra as our new keynote speaker. Mr. Chopra served as the country's very first Chief Technology Officer under the Obama administration, designing the National Wireless Initiative and helped to launch Startup America, executing an "open innovation" strategy across the government built on private sector collaboration. He also has a long-standing interest in seeing Virginia businesses succeed, serving as the Commonwealth's fourth Secretary of Technology under then-Governor Tim Kaine.

Author of "Innovative State: How New Technologies can Transform Government," Mr. Chopra is focused on how challenges in healthcare, energy and education might be best addressed by tapping entrepreneurial problem solvers.  Chopra founded Hunch Analytics, a data and analytics aimed at these same business sectors.  In his presentation to us, he'll specifically discuss how regional collaboration can be harnessed to solve our own regional issues, allowing Hampton Roads businesses to chart a course for not only surviving the trying economic times, but thriving in the years ahead.   

The Chamber will also recognize outgoing and incoming volunteer leadership and present its Volunteer of the Year Award. The USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia has invited guests from Virginia's Wounded Warriors® program to attend the luncheon. To learn more and register.


$60 Chamber Members and $90 Prospective Members

$850 Table Sponsor (Table of 10)                                                                                                                                     

$1,200 Legislative or Wounded Warrior Table Sponsor

In addition to a formal keynote address, the Annual Meeting of the Membership announces the new executive committee as well as the new board of directors. 

The following individuals have been elected as the Chamber’s 2015 officers: 


Joseph R. Witt, CPA is Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Old Point National Bank. Mr. Witt previously held the position of treasurer at Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. Witt has previously served as the Chair of the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Virginia Living Museum, and Chair of the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Director of the Virginia Peninsula Food Bank, the Newport News Education Foundation and the Peninsula Habitat for Humanity.  He currently serves as Chair of the CNU Luter School of Business Board of Advisors and as a Director of the Virginia Living Museum and the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.

Witt earned a B.S. in Commerce from the McIntire School at the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from the University of Richmond. He is also a Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Witt and his wife of 31 years, Kathy, have three children; Karsten, 26, a graduate of James Madison University; Kelsey, 23 a graduate of the University of Mary Washington; and Jordan, 20, a third year student at the University of Virginia.  In 2013, Witt was a member of the Chamber’s Executive Committee and served as Vice Chair of Investments.  Most recently, Witt served as the Chamber’s 2014 Treasurer.



Susan R. Blackman Susan R. Blackman is a partner at Willcox & Savage, P.C., practicing employment law and business immigration law. She helps employers solve a wide array of workplace issues ranging from disciplinary action to matters involving employees’ rights, such to include medical accommodation and compliance with non-discrimination requirements. Blackman represents employers in federal and state court cases and before the EEOC, Dept. of Labor, and various U.S. immigration agencies. She is Chair of the firm’s Immigration Law Team, which obtains visas and green cards for foreign employees, and advises clients about U.S. employment and immigration laws.

Blackman is in “The Best Lawyers in America” for both immigration law and employment law.  Richmond Magazine named her as one of the “Top 25 Women Attorneys in Virginia,” and she was the only Hampton Roads lawyer recognized by Benchmark Litigation as among the top 250 women litigators in the country. In May, Virginia Lawyers Weekly named Blackman as among the “Influential Women of Virginia” due to her achievements in her profession and her service to the community. Blackman is a past Chair of the Chamber’s Virginia Beach Division, has served in various officer positions for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, and received the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013



Shepelle Watkins-White is the owner of ShepelleWatkinsWhite Consulting & Law, PLLC in Chesapeake, Virginia and a member of the Virginia State Bar. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and University of Richmond Law School. In her law practice she routinely represents owners and developers in real estate transactions and zoning and permitting matters. Ms. Watkins-White has represented clients developing property for retail centers, office buildings, multi-family and single-family residential developments, mixed use and conservation uses.  Previous work experience includes working as an assistant city attorney, representing the municipality on land use matters and serving as a law clerk to the First Judicial Circuit of Virginia. Ms. Watkins-White also advises small business clients in entity formation, employment law and contractual matters. Additionally, she has served as a lecturer for municipal government associations and other educational seminars. Ms. Watkins-White serves as Vice-Chair of the Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Chair of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization’s Citizens Committee.  She is a Director for the TowneBank Chesapeake Board and serves on various other boards and organizations within the Hampton Roads area. Watkins-White has served in a variety of volunteer positions with the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, most recently as Vice-Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee and a member of the Regional Board.


We will also be recognizing those individuals serving as members of the 2015 Executive Committee:

Immediate Past Chair
Michael M. Dudley
President, Optima Health Plans

Vice Chair, Communications & Membership
Sharon E. Fanto
Vice President, Cox Communications          

Vice Chair, Governmental Affairs
Stephen R. Romine
Partner, LeClairRyan 

Vice Chair, Leadership Programs
Thomas T. Winborne
CEO, Clark Nexsen, Architecture & Engineering

Vice Chair, Small Business
Martin A. Joseph
President and CEO, 360IT Partners

Vice Chair, Sports
John W. Wilson, Jr.
Co-Owner, WBR Insurance Agency LLC

Co-Chair, Development
Michael J. Fowler, CFP
First Vice President, Merrill Lynch     

Co-Chair, Development
Jeff W. Ainslie
President, Ainslie Group

Chair, Hampton Roads Business PAC
Bill Holloran
Senior Vice President, General Manager, Day & Zimmermann     

Vice Chair, At Large
Deborah Butler
Executive Vice President, Planning & Chief Information Officer, Norfolk Southern

Vice Chair, At Large
Clyde T. Clark, Jr.
Senior Vice President, BB&T

Vice Chair, At Large
David Durham
President, Hampton Roads Division, Fulton Bank Hampton Roads

Vice Chair, At Large
Shep Miller
Chairman, KITCO Fiber Optics

Vice Chair, At Large
Cathie J. France
Chief Public Affairs Officer, The Port of Virginia     

President and CEO
Bryan K. Stephens
President and CEO, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce

General Counsel
Hugh Patterson, Esq.
Partner, Willcox & Savage, PC

Chair, Chesapeake
David Ropp
Chesapeake Market President, Monarch Bank

Chair, Norfolk
Susan Long-Molnar
President, Managing Communications Consulting  

Chair, Portsmouth
Earnhart Spencer
Counsel, Cooper, Spong & Davis, PC         

Chair, Suffolk
Susan P. Davis
Senior Manager, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP      

Chair, Virginia Beach
Glen M. Robertson
Attorney, Wolcott Rivers Gates        

We will also recognize those individuals elected to serve as new members of the Chamber’s Regional Board of Directors:

Bill Bell
Vice President Human Resources & Administration, Newport News Shipbuilding 

John Reinhart
CEO and Executive Director, The Port of Virginia

Michael K. Kerner
CEO, Bon Secours Virginia Health System 

Bjoern Fischer
Vice President of Finance, STIHL Inc.

Gary McCollum
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cox Communications        

Charity A. Volman
President, SunTrust Bank South Hampton Roads Commercial Division Team Leader

The Chamber thanks its sponsors: Old Point National Bank (Presenting Sponsor); Marriot Norfolk Waterside (Host Sponsor); Bon Secours Virginia Health System (Speaker Sponsor); Cox Communications (Media Sponsor); Colonna Shipyard, Inc (Gold Sponsor); Premier Events (Décor Sponsor); and BB&T (Silver Sponsor).

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