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From the President: Unprecedented Collaboration in Hampton Roads

dougheadshotsmallI am thrilled to be the President and CEO of the Alliance. This is a great time to be in Hampton Roads. I have been working in the economic development arena in Hampton Roads over the past 25 years from a variety of seats—as a banker, consultant, economic development director, city councilman and city manager—and I can say with certainty that the level of collaboration in Hampton Roads today is unprecedented.

The region has funded and launched a $5 billion transportation package, improving existing infrastructure and building new roads, bridges and tunnels across Hampton Roads. From 2015 to 2025 the Commonwealth will invest over $1.5 billion in the Port of Virginia creating the most productive port on the East Coast. We are creating a digital ring network that will tie Hampton Roads’ jurisdictions to the new Trans-Atlantic cables coming ashore in Virginia Beach. Under the leadership of Reinvent Hampton Roads, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, we have launched the Envision 2020 Regional Branding Initiative that will help identify the region’s competitive position, communications strategy and naming architecture. 

We have come to understand that economic development occurs at a regional level without regard to political jurisdictions. Great regions have strong well-coordinated public-private economic development organizations. Granted our region has been underperforming relative to our assets, but that is changing, and the Alliance will play an important role.

The narrative that our region does not collaborate is simply no longer true. The model of the new Alliance will be the latest regional initiative to fuel Hampton Roads’ momentum and long-term success. We will fundamentally change the way we conduct economic development in Hampton Roads. The new Alliance represents the transformation from the business attraction organization into a comprehensive regional economic development organization.

I look forward to working with all of you to make Hampton Roads the most connected and collaborative regional economy.

Doug Smith
President & CEO
Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance

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