Kevin Hughes, Director of Suffolk Economic Development, has been involved in the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance in some capacity for almost two decades. In fact, his first job was with the Alliance.
During his time working for the Alliance, he assisted in Target Corporation’s arrival in Hampton Roads for what was then an imports center in Suffolk. Now at over 1.8 million square-feet, Hughes and the Suffolk Economic Development have contributed to Target’s multiple expansions of the Upstream Distribution Center. Hughes says, “It was great to be part of the experience when they initially chose Hampton Roads and Suffolk, and now working on it again almost 20 years later when they’re redefining themselves and hiring different people. It’s really interesting to see how that project has evolved over the years.”
Target’s most recent expansion in Suffolk came at the end of 2018 with a new packing department, resulting in 225 new jobs and $2.8 million in capital investment.
Through his experience both working for the Alliance and as a public sector partner, Hughes definitely sees the benefit in a regional organization. “Everybody benefits when the area grows,” Hughes says. “Investing in the Alliance is essentially investing in your own success.” He sees this a lot in the development of the Centerpoint Intermodal Center in Suffolk, one of the best shovel-ready sites in the region. “The groups that have been working in Centerpoint include engineering firms located in Virginia Beach, law firms located in Norfolk, construction firms located in Chesapeake.” He continues, “When a business chooses to locate in Suffolk, it creates work for everyone that calls Hampton Roads home.”