“By thinking and acting regionally,” remarked Barry DuVal, President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber, “this region will grow and prosper together.” DuVal addressed local business leaders and elected officials on May 16th at the Hampton Roads Chamber Leadership. DuVal was briefing on Blueprint Virginia 2025 the Virginia Chamber's comprehensive initiative to provide business leadership, direction and long-range economic development planning for Virginia. This survey of regional leaders and industry experts will identify specific economic drivers that will be combined into a business plan for the commonwealth and delivered to Virginia's next governor following the 2017 election.
Blueprint Virginia 2025's interactive component provided a unique opportunity for business leaders of Hampton Roads to be inspiring ignitors for our region. Attendees used an app to respond to a real-time poll on questions regarding economic policy formation. The poll included questions about regulation, educational priorities, tax reform, and sustainability. These polling questions allow the business community to lead exploration of regional business issues, emerging economic opportunities, and the development of the next generation of future leaders.
As the attendees were lead through the polling questions by Ryan Dunn, Executive Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs for the Virginia Chamber, he mentioned that many of the real-time results mirrored that of the other polling sites in the Commonwealth. "The rest of the Commonwealth is starting to understand the importance of the port, " Dunn said. Education spending and workforce development were an additional area where the Hampton Roads audience mirrored the rest of the Commonwealth, something Shawn Avery, the President and CEO of Opportunity Inc., Hampton Roads’ Workforce Development Board, is very familiar with. "The number one need you hear mentioned [by Virginia businesses] is the need for a qualified workforce," said Avery. According to the real-time results of the polling question regarding workforce development, vocational training and education was the area most local business leaders think Virginia needs to focus on. "For generations we’ve pushed vocational education down, as though it something that people settle for, rather than aspire to. And I think we’re starting to come back to the realization that that’s a bad perception," said Gerry Twigg of VersAbility. The presentation closed by taking a poll of who should be in charge of Virginia’s economic future, and there was an almost unanimous vote that it should be the business community.
The Hampton Roads Chamber means business. We work to deliver inspiring leaders and presentation to our business community in order to ignite and ensure a flourishing business community. Blueprint Virginia 2025 was an excellent opportunity for our business leaders and elected officials to be inspiring ignitors and collaborate about the factors that will shape Virginia’s economic future.
Thank you to our sponsors: Series Presenting Sponsor: Southern Bank; Series Gold Sponsor: Opportunity Inc.; Event Gold Sponsor: Kroger; Media Sponsor: Sinclair Communications.