“I am confident Hampton Roads will continue to be the world’s largest naval base,” said Admiral Christopher W. Grady, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command for the Chamber Leadership Series on October 18, 2018. Business leaders gathered to hear Admiral Grady speak on the impact the U.S. Navy has on the future of the Hampton Roads region. A region that he states is “synonymous with the Navy,” and home to over 250,000 military personnel. This event marked Admiral Grady’s first major address to the business community.
Speaking from the podium, Admiral Grady thanked the Hampton Roads Chamber for its work with the community’s civilians and leaders, as well as our continued leadership in the region. In continuing with the positive energy in the ballroom, Admiral Grady announced that for the first time in a decade, the Department of Defense will begin the new fiscal year with a defense appropriations bill. Admiral Grady stressed this momentous achievement, because it means that the U.S. Navy will receive the necessary funding needed to restore and sustain its military operations and industrial-based readiness. Annually, the U.S. Navy makes $195 billion in revenues. Admiral Grady stated, “Our profit is readiness and lethality.” The audience also learned that the U.S. Navy will expand its fleet to 355 ships. Admiral Grady says these ships will be our Navy warhorses in 2030. Although some ships have aged and may stay in service longer than intended, there are efforts to modernize those vessels so that they are strong to fight with us in the future.
Admiral Grady emphasized the importance of the U.S. Navy on our businesses. He told the room that “discovering ways to increase workforce capacity” is a top priority. With new graduates about to be released into the workforce, Admiral Grady says that he “will do his best to shine a light” on short-supplied jobs to ensure our businesses do not struggle and continue to flourish. However, that’s not all. He stressed the importance of innovation. Admiral Grady told the audience to “help revolutionize readiness.” He believes that the advancement of science technology will help prepare the Navy in a high-end fight.
After delivering his closing remarks, Admiral Grady graciously answered questions from the audience. When asked by Hampton Roads Chamber President & CEO, Bryan K. Stephens on what advice he would give on the importance of leadership to young professionals, he answered, “It’s all about leadership.” Admiral Grady stressed that it is absolutely critical to set people up for success. To be a successful leader, you must “recognize that our people win the fight for us.”
The Hampton Roads Chamber is proud to host the Chamber Leadership Series. The purpose of the series is to give a platform to business, industry and government leaders to relay their practical knowledge to local leaders to help them rise to the top. As an impactful advocate, powerful economic partner and inspiring ignitor, the Chamber takes the initiative to connect our local businesses with elected officials and executive leaders to create an environment that allows them to thrive. We will continue to bring powerful, inspiring leaders such as Admiral Grady to our region, so that we can provide accessibility to the resources needed for businesses to prosper. Join us at the next Chamber Leadership Series on May 8, 2019 with Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Global Distinguished Professor of New York University.
Thank you to our sponsors: Southern Bank, Series Presenting Sponsor; Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Series Silver Sponsor; Vandeventer Black LLP, Series Silver Sponsor; Virginia Beach Convention Center, Series Gold Sponsor and Inside Business, Series Media Sponsor.