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Monthly News from Hampton Roads

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Note from the President

Doug Smith, Alliance President & CEO

As Spring arrives and we close out the first quarter of 2024 I am happy to highlight a few significant events that have shaped our efforts in promoting economic growth and fostering partnerships in the Hampton Roads region.

On March 7, the Alliance had the honor of hosting the Embassy of Finland, marking NATO's 31st allied nation, for a comprehensive tour of our region. The delegation explored local business opportunities, particularly in shipbuilding and port security, areas where Hampton Roads shines as a global leader. With our strategic location and robust infrastructure, we serve as a pivotal hub for global security, making us an attractive destination for Finnish maritime companies. I extend our sincere gratitude to our investor, VIA Design, for graciously hosting the delegation reception, underscoring the collaborative spirit that defines our alliance.

The Alliance also actively participated in the Submarine Industrial Base Council and Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Council’s annual action days, a vital platform for engaging with supply chain stakeholders and industry leaders. As the United States faces escalating tensions across the globe, the modernization and transformation of our military has become an urgent concern and Hampton Roads is well positions to capitalize on the “Defense Dividend”. 


We also had a successful collaboration event with VEDP in our pursuit of economic development excellence. Focused on Virginia's strategic realignment towards Knowledge Work sectors, including software, cybersecurity, financial services, and aerospace and defense innovation, the workshop underscored the immense growth potential of our state over the next decade. Participants, representing various industries, engaged in insightful discussions, providing valuable feedback to shape pioneering economic development strategies that will propel our region to new heights.


As always, I extend my appreciation to all our partners, investors, and stakeholders for their unwavering support and dedication. Together, we will continue to champion economic prosperity and sustainable growth in this region we call home.

Your ally in economic development,


Finland’s NATO Membership Could Bring New Business to Hampton Roads

The Hampton Roads Alliance hosted the Embassy of Finland this week, leading the delegation on a tour of the region as NATO’s 31st allied nation explored local business opportunities in shipbuilding and port security.

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Building for the Future of our Medical Industry!

Camp Community College Groundbreaking Ceremony

The new Nursing and Allied Health Professions facility project is a total renovation and re-purposing, inside and out, to support the College’s goals. The facility will allow Camp to expand its current Nursing classes and Healthcare related workforce development. The expansion of these programs will help meet the need to hire highly skilled workers to overcome the critical labor need of the healthcare professions within the Hampton Roads Region.

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VA Beach Economic Developer to Lead VA Beach Vision

Laura Hayes Chalk is leaving Virginia Beach’s economic development department to become the executive director of Virginia Beach Vision, a business advocacy group in Virginia Beach, Virginia Beach Vision announced. Chalk, who will start July 10, succeeds Martha McClees, who announced her retirement in November 2023.

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Breeze Airways to Launch Flights from Norfolk to Phoenix, Arizona

If you're looking to take a trip to the Grand Canyon State this year, a new flight from Norfolk will make it easier.

Breeze Airways is launching nonstop service to Phoenix, Arizona from Norfolk International Airport beginning Oct. 3, the low-cost carrier announced.

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Scoop: Walmart, 7-11, Chick-fil-A Pilot New Drone Delivery Tech

Walmart, 7-Eleven and Chick-fil-A will be the first retailers to pilot new technology from a Virginia startup trying to solve drone delivery's ground logistics problems, Axios is first to report. A company called DroneUp, partially owned by Walmart, unveiled a proprietary autonomous drone "ecosystem" that its CEO says will revolutionize last-mile logistics.

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The Future of Energy in Hampton Roads: Local Leaders Weigh How to Meet Rising Demand

Hampton Roads officials are discussing how to address energy demand that’s expected to surge in the coming decades — because they say doing nothing is not an option. The ongoing discussions have grown out of a regional analysis completed a couple years ago called the Hampton Roads Long-Term Energy Roadmap. 

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Third-Party Logistics Provider FreezPak Logistics to Establish New Operation in Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that FreezPak Logistics, LLC, a leading provider of full-service cold and dry storage services, is investing $77.5 million to construct a 245,000-square-foot cold storage facility in the City of Suffolk to serve the Mid-Atlantic region via The Port of Virginia. Virginia competed with Georgia and North Carolina for this project, which will create 80 new jobs.

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Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act have made over $400 billion in federal funding available to local governments to invest in revitalized infrastructure and bold climate action. 

Launched in March 2024, Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities is a three-year initiative to turbocharge 25 U.S. cities’ efforts to leverage historic levels of federal funding to proactively build low-carbon, resilient, and economically thriving communities. Congratulations to Hampton and Newport News, which have been selected to participate in the American Sustainable Cities initiative!

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Colonial Williamsburg Ranked as a Top ‘Treasure Trove’ in the South

Colonial Williamsburg is one of 23 treasure troves of “authentic locales in the South that each offer an experience you can only have there,” according to Southern Living magazine. In this month’s magazine and a special edition of the Best in the South, an online survey among the magazine’s readers rates their favorite places across the South for its 2024 awards. Williamsburg ranks second in the South’s top 20 small towns.

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Council Meeting Features Tributes to Jarratt

Franklin City Manager Amanda C. Jarratt received a variety of tributes to her years of service in the city and the region during the Franklin City Council meeting Monday, March 25, which marked her final time sitting on the dais as city manager. Jarratt submitted her resignation as city manager on Feb. 1, and it became effective at the end of Tuesday, March 26. She has been hired as a deputy city manager for Virginia Beach, the largest city in the state.  

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HII Celebrates 2023 Graduates of the Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School

HII hosted commencement exercises on March 18th, celebrating 133 graduates of the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School. The ceremony was held at Liberty Live Church in Hampton with U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., NNS leadership, and local shipbuilding supporters, alongside family and friends of the graduates. Thomasina Wright, NNS vice president of fleet support programs, and a 1986 graduate of The Apprentice School, delivered the keynote commencement address.

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Stonepeak to Acquire 50% Interest in Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project

Stonepeak, a leading alternative investment firm specializing in infrastructure and real assets, today announced that it has reached an agreement with Dominion Energy to acquire a 50% interest in its Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project through the formation of an offshore wind partnership. The Project is expected to be the largest offshore wind farm in the U.S. and one of the largest offshore wind farms globally upon completion.

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Atlantic Union’s New Hampton Roads Leader is 1st Woman Named Market President in Bank’s History

Richmond-based Atlantic Union Bank announced its new Hampton Roads president is the first female market president in the bank’s history.

Lisa Morgan, with more than 20 years of financial services experience, will serve as the regional liaison to businesses and community partners, the bank announced on March 20. She said she hopes to build upon the bank’s strategic partnerships and expand its market share.

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Newport News Shipbuilding is Hiring Thousands as Navy Submarine Demand Grows

As the demand for nuclear-powered submarines increases, Newport News Shipbuilding said it’s working to hire 3,000 skilled trades workers this year and a total of 19,000 within the decade. Last year, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council reported the region’s maritime shipbuilding vacancies could increase to 40,000 by 2030 if measures to build capacity weren’t taken. And Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro told attendees of a Dec. 14 suppliers conference in Philadelphia that the U.S. shipbuilding industry will need 150,000 new qualified workers in the next 10 years.

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Port of Virginia Shipping Channel Opens to Two-Way Traffic

The Port of Virginia now has the widest shipping channel on the east coast.

That means you may see two ultra-large container vessels passing each other in the channel. This helps strengthen the economy and gets the products you want to shelves faster.

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ODU Receives Federal Funding to Support Maritime Workforce Training in Hampton Roads

Old Dominion University’s Virginia Digital Maritime Center, a newly established entity to support the maritime industry in Hampton Roads, has received $643,000 in fiscal year 2023 Congressionally Directed Spending funds from the U.S. Department of Labor. The federal investment will play a crucial role in advancing the standardization of training and certification requirements across the public and private maritime industry in Hampton Roads.

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HRPDC Economic Monthly

Each month, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) provides economic insights and informative articles to connect you with what changes are occurring in the local economy.

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Carmon Schietzelt

Marketing Specialist

Carmon Schietzelt joined the Alliance in November 2020 as the organization's Marketing Specialist. In this role, Carmon assists with coordinating strategic outreach, crafting communications, and designing collateral for investors and partners in the community.

Before joining the Alliance, Carmon spent several years in a variety of marketing positions for non-profits, small businesses, and large corporations. In previous roles, she has mapped and executed marketing strategies, polished visions and brands, and cultivated business relationships through focused content creation. 

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Carmon holds bachelor's degrees in Classical Studies and Archaeology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Before moving, She lives in North Carolina with her husband and four sons.

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