November 2023

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Monthly News from Hampton Roads

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Note from the President

Doug Smith, Alliance President & CEO

I am pleased to provide you with an update on the recent activities and developments in our region supported by the Hampton Roads Alliance. Let me walk you through some of the highlights of our progress in November.

We had the pleasure of welcoming representatives from CIDEP, our Canadian lead generation partner. Our guests toured key locations across Hampton Roads, including Norfolk International Terminals and cities like Newport News, Hampton, and others. Each city's development projects, and community initiatives were discussed in detail, and we provided them with an insightful presentation on regional energy initiatives. At the conclusion of the visit, we had a networking reception in Suffolk with all our local economic development directors. 

Our business intelligence and research team also held an event where we engaged in a meaningful discussion with Renee Haltom from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. City Managers, County Administrators, and Budget Directors from our 14 public investors discussed the economic conditions in Hampton Roads and the outlook for the next year. These insights are crucial as we prepare for the upcoming fiscal year's budgets.

As part of our business development announcements, we celebrated Fugro's expanded Norfolk office, marking their growth in the offshore wind sector and the creation of 15 new jobs. The expansion of Fugro’s Americas Center of Expertise for the industry in Norfolk not only bolsters the state's position in renewable energy technologies but also demonstrates the company's commitment to supporting the offshore wind sector.

Also, Huntington Ingalls Industries kicked off production of a new Newport News Shipbuilding at Fairwinds Landing, a move that promises over $100 million in investment over five years. This move signifies a major investment in the local economy and the shipbuilding industry, reinforcing our region’s status as a significant hub for naval and maritime activities. The expansion of Fairlead's operations is a testament to the strategic importance of the region for naval shipbuilding and maritime operations. This investment not only supports the local economy but also underscores the company's commitment to the region.

We were also happy to announce a significant expansion by Katoen Natie, with an investment of over $59 million and 76 new jobs. This expansion, benefiting from the region's logistics advantages and the Port of Virginia, underscores the company's success in Hampton Roads and highlights the area's strategic importance in the global supply chain network. In 2011, the Alliance, in collaboration our partners, successfully recruited Katoen Natie to the Hampton Roads region and it’s clear that decision continues to pay off with continued investment and expansion.

The momentum we're witnessing in our region is exhilarating, and it's all thanks to the collaborative spirit of our partners and stakeholders. Your dedication to the Hampton Roads Alliance is driving our collective success.

Your ally in economic development,

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$1.2 Million Grant Awarded to Startup Business Programs in Hampton Roads

A consortium of Hampton Roads startup business programs called 757 ScaleUp Alliance received a $1.2 million federal grant to promote job growth in emerging industries. The grant, to be matched by another $1.2 million in local funds, will help 757 Collab in Norfolk fund programming for 30 founders in industries like health care, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, logistics and robotics.

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DOMA Technologies to Expand in City of Virginia Beach

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that DOMA Technologies, a USA-headquartered software and digital transformation company, will invest $3.7 million to expand in the City of Virginia Beach, creating 307 new jobs. The company’s new 69,000-square-foot headquarters facility will house nearly 500 total employees within the next three years.  

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TC Energy Receives FERC Approval for Virginia Reliability Project

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved TC Energy's Virginia Reliability Project, the company said in a statement, adding that it will work to place it into service as soon as possible. It is estimated to add over $500 million of economic value, while creating more than 3,500 jobs in the state, TC Energy said in the statement.

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Workforce Development Leaders Teaming Up in Hampton Roads to Create More Skilled Workers

There is a big push for students to choose technical career pathways and fill critical industry needs in Hampton Roads and across the U.S. Some Hampton Roads mayors, college heads and business leaders held a roundtable talk on what’s needed to stack up the workforce pipeline.

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On The Move- October 2023- Hampton Roads Executive Roundtable

Alexis Majied, Chief Communications Officers of HRT, speaks with Nancy Grden, President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Executive Roundtable, about the Roundtable and its role in the region's economic health.

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I-64 Gap Widening Project

The I-64 Gap Segment C Widening Project includes the addition of one general purpose lane on I-64 east and west from the New Kent/James City County line to approximately 1.15 miles west of Route 199 (exit 234). This project will be the second of three “Gap” segments that will widen I-64 from four to six lanes from New Kent County to James City County.

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Rockefeller Group Partners with Matan Companies to Develop Five-Million-SF Logistics Center Serving the Port of Virginia

Rockefeller Group and the Matan Companies announced the formation of a joint venture partnership to develop a five-million-square-foot industrial and logistics center in Suffolk, VA. The project is moving forward with its first phase, expected to deliver five buildings totaling 2.4 million square feet beginning in 2025. The project, which offers direct access to the Port of Virginia, is connected to major population centers from the Midwest to the East Coast, serving 75% of the U.S. population within two days. 

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International Logistics Service Provider to Expand in Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that Katoen Natie Norfolk Inc., a plastics and polymers warehousing and distribution company and subsidiary of Katoen Natie, will invest $59.9 million to expand in the City of Norfolk. The company will add a 450,000-square-foot warehouse, a rail yard, and expand its existing rail spur to meet increased demand. Virginia successfully competed with Georgia and South Carolina for the project, which will create 76 new jobs. 

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Coming into Focus:

VEDP Hones its Economic Development Strategy

In 2016, amid concerns over how the Virginia Economic Development Partnership was being run, the General Assembly directed Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to examine VEDP’s organizational management and performance. A lot has changed in the seven years since VEDP's review, though.

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Apprenticeships Lead to High-Paying Jobs and Fill Workforce Gaps in Hampton Roads, Experts Say

Apprenticeships help disadvantaged workers get into high-paying jobs while helping employers develop employees and retain them longer, Hampton Roads experts say. “Apprenticeship is a phenomenal pathway into positive economic mobility and family-sustaining wages,” said Christina Brooks, senior director of community initiatives for the Hampton Roads Workforce Council. The council hosted an Apprenticeship Summit during National Apprenticeship Week on Nov. 15 at Virginia Peninsula Community College in Hampton.

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Newport News, Hampton see Growth in Tourism Spending in 2022

Newport News and Hampton saw significant growth in tourism spending in 2022, with Newport News almost fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels in 2019 and Hampton exceeding pre-pandemic spending, according to recently released data from the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

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Civic Leadership Institute Announces its 2023 Darden Award Honorees

The Civic Leadership Institute has announced its 2023 Darden Award honorees. Congratulations to Robert W. Cross, founder of the Virginia Arts Festival, who will receive the Individual Darden Award, and LifeNet Health as the recipient of the Corporate Darden Award!

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HII’S Newport News Shipbuilding Opens Additional Site in Norfolk

HII announced that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has begun production at an additional campus in Norfolk to support the shipyard’s continued progress toward more effective and efficient shipbuilding. The Newport News Shipbuilding Norfolk Campus is located on land leased from Fairlead in the Lambert’s Point area, at a development known as Fairwinds Landing. NNS shipbuilders have worked at the site for several months constructing steel panels that will eventually make up units of Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier Enterprise. 

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$9.8 Billion Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project Receives Final Federal Approval

The $9.8 billion Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project crossed another hurdle after receiving final federal approval, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The 176-turbine wind farm will be 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach and is anticipated to generate enough energy to power up to 660,000 homes, according to Dominion Energy. Construction is slated to start next year with a completion date of the end of 2026, according to Bob Blue, Dominion president, chair and CEO.

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Virginia Natural Gas Foundation Provides Donation to an Ambitious Eco-Conscious Project

The Virginia Natural Gas Foundation donated $75,000 to the Elizabeth River Project, becoming a major sponsor of the Ryan Resilience Series, an ambitious eco-conscious project in the Hampton Roads area. The Elizabeth River Project is a non-profit organization with a 30-year track record that aims to restore the eco-system in the Elizabeth River, an urban river in southeast Virginia. They have made significant progress in rejuvenating life in the Elizabeth River, an impressive feat since the river was long presumed dead. 

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Arrival of Hulking Steel Structures at Port of Virginia Marks Progress in Virginia Offshore Wind Project

Eight 1,500-ton tube-like steel structures loomed at the Port of Virginia on an uncharacteristically warm October morning. Federal and state legislators, joined by local business and elected leaders, were dwarfed by the structures — called monopiles — as they celebrated the steel that marks a new chapter in the nation’s first offshore wind project in federal waters. The monopiles, built in Germany, will serve as the foundations for eight wind turbine towers.

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Norfolk Southern Awards $1 Million to 74 Hampton Roads Nonprofits

Seventy-four Hampton Roads non-profit organizations are set to collectively receive $1 million in grants. The diverse group is committed to positive change in homelessness, education, food insecurity, arts and culture, workforce development, public safety, mental health, as well as environmental preservation and restoration. This is part of a 2021 commitment Norfolk Southern made to contribute $5 million to the Hampton Roads community over five years. In 2022, $1 million in grants were awarded to 57 Hampton Roads nonprofits.

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Ferguson CEO Says Inflation Is Subsiding

Ferguson CEO Kevin Murphy appeared on Bloomberg TV to discuss how inflation is subsiding, Ferguson’s agile approach to residential/non-residential markets, how it is going after the $340B opportunity in the North America construction market, and its supply chain diversification.

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Warner, Kaine, & Scott Applaud Approval of Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project and Over $39 Million in Federal Funding to Support Project

U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine and U.S. Representative Bobby Scott applauded the Administration’s announcement of its approval of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind commercial project. The Department of Transportation announced $39,265,000 in federal funding for the City of Norfolk Economic Development Authority, which is working to convert an existing marine terminal and berth to an offshore wind logistics facility that will support the CVOW project and other projects. Specifically, the funding will make improvements to the berth to support heavy lift requirements and construction of a floating pier.

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New HII Partnership with Old Dominion University Aims to Increase Engineering Majors

More than 22% of the engineering workforce at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of HII, are graduates of Old Dominion University. That number could rise dramatically. NNS, the largest industrial employer in Virginia and a division of the largest shipbuilding company in the United States, will be the lead industry sponsor of the Monarch Accelerator Program to Engineering, which aims to increase the number of engineering and engineering technology majors and degrees, particularly from underrepresented and underserved communities 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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Matt Smith

Director, Energy and Water Technology

Matt Smith joined the Hampton Roads Alliance in August 2020 as the organization's Director of Offshore Wind Business Development; in 2022 Matt's role expanded to cover the wider energy and water technology sectors. Matt leads the effort to develop a supply chain development initiative to promote the emerging offshore wind industry and to position similar energy-based industries for growth in the region. This initiative will position Hampton Roads as the premier destination on the East Coast for offshore wind companies to invest, while also creating new economic prospects for existing businesses, attracting new investments to the region, and sparking new permanent job creation.

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Before joining the Alliance, Matt was a Senior Regional Planner at the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC). He worked in the areas of strategic, environmental, and comprehensive planning. Matt led efforts at the HRPDC on issues ranging from offshore wind to site development readiness. Matt came to the HRPDC from the City of Hampton’s Community Development Department where he helped begin Hampton’s resilience planning program. Prior to his career in community development, Matt worked for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and for a research and consulting firm.

Matt is a native of Hampton Roads. He has a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University and a B.A. in American History from Washington and Lee University.

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