DIRECTOR, VIRGINIA BEACH DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT VIRGINIA BEACH
Under Adams’ leadership, Virginia Beach has seen several company expansions and relocations over the last year, even in the current economic crisis.
In June and July alone, nine companies announced they would either locate facilities or expand in the city. Ranging from manufacturing and biomedical to defense contractors, the businesses plan to add a total of 756 jobs and make capital investments of more than $136 million.
“It is encouraging to see this kind of robust and diverse business activity during an extremely challenging time in our history. It underscores our fundamental strength as an economic center and as a community of choice,” Adams said.
Adams was unexpectedly promoted to economic development director in 2018, after his predecessor, Warren Harris, resigned during an audit. Harris was later indicted on 14 counts of embezzlement, with a trial set for October.
Adams joined the department as Virginia Beach’s purchasing agent in 2015 and was promoted within two years to finance operations administrator, lauded for including more minority- and women-owned companies in contracting and procurement.
He came to Virginia after serving in public and private sector positions in his native Mississippi, where he graduated from Mississippi State University.
R. BRIAN BALL
SECRETARY OF COMMERCE AND TRADE, COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, RICHMOND
After working in the private sector for more than 40 years, former Williams Mullen corporate attorney Ball became the state’s point man for commerce in 2018. Also serving as vice chair of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the University of Virginia graduate has had direct involvement in securing several big-ticket projects: Amazon’s HQ2 East Coast headquarters in Arlington ($2.5 billion in capital investment, 25,000+ jobs), the Micron Technology Inc. expansion in Manassas ($3 billion, 1,100 jobs), Volvo’s overhaul of its Pulaski County truck factory ($400 million, 777 jobs) and Morgan Olson’s van assembly plant located at the former Ikea facility in Pittsylvania County ($58 million, 703 jobs).
BEST ADVICE: Fight for context in your decision-making process. Being too narrowly focused often results in inadvisable decisions.
MY PASSION: Anything outdoors, especially bird hunting, fishing, bird watching and hiking
PERSON I ADMIRE AND WHY: Winston Churchill. A complicated and imperfect person but one to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude for his leadership and unwavering commitment to freedom during WWII.
SOMETHING I WOULD NEVER DO AGAIN: Leave Virginia.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, VIRGINIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, RICHMOND
DuVal served as mayor of Newport News from 1990 to 1996 and served as Virginia secretary of commerce and trade for four years, so he knows how government and business can work together — or not. Since he began leading the Virginia Chamber in 2010, its membership has grown from 847 members to more than 26,000, making it the state’s leading nonpartisan business advocacy organization. He also serves on the boards of Lead Virginia, the GO Virginia Foundation and the Virginia Economic Developers Association. Among the many initiatives that the James Madison University and American University graduate has fostered is Blueprint Virginia, a comprehensive long-range plan for Virginia businesses that has collaborative buy-in from more than 6,000 statewide leaders.
FIRST JOB: Paper route carrier
BEST ADVICE: Commit your life to the purpose of serving people and to improving the community where you live.
I ADMIRE: My father, who invested a lifetime of service to his family and country as a veteran of two major wars
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “The Lion’s Den, A Story of American Renewal,” by Frank B. Atkinson
LARA L. FRITTS
PRESIDENT AND CEO, GREATER RICHMOND PARTNERSHIP, RICHMOND
A Green Bay, Wisconsin, native and product of the University of Wisconsin system, Fritts came to Richmond in August 2019 after a successful stint as director of Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development, as well as various positions with several economic groups in the D.C. region, including as president and CEO of the Annapolis Economic Development Corp. and president of the Washington D.C. Technology Council. Fritts sits on the board of the International Economic Development Council and has been involved in supporting Junior Achievement for 30 years — her first college scholarships were funded through the nonprofit.
FIRST JOB: Golf caddy. My income was solely from the tips, but the real perk was being able to golf free two days a week.
WHAT A COMPETITOR WOULD SAY ABOUT ME: They’d appreciate how competitive I am. Part of why I love what I do is getting the “win.”
I ADMIRE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s broken so many barriers for women, made history in her own right and continues to fight for rights and equality.
FAVORITE SONG: “Lara’s Theme” from “Doctor Zhivago.” The movie was my parents’ first date and every music box I own plays it.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, TYSONS PARTNERSHIP, TYSONS
Glasner is synonymous with Tysons Partnership. He helped found the nonprofit association of Tysons business, government and civic leaders in 2012.
He and his group face the formidable task of helping to transform a 4-square-mile swath of Northern Virginia into the downtown of Fairfax County — a real livable, walkable urban center — by 2050. And it’s well on its way there.
Tysons is home to the massive Tysons Corner Center mall as well as five Fortune 500 firms, including DXC Technology, Capital One Financial Corp. and Freddie Mac. The residents, and a diverse array of small businesses, have been slower to follow. Complicating the area’s comeback from COVID-19 has been the Metro’s closing of its Tysons stop due to construction and the pandemic this summer. It’s a good thing Glasner can keep his head.
By day, the Georgetown Law Center graduate is a trained mediator with his own practice offering mediation and dispute resolution options to courts and private companies.
H. GARRETT HART III
DIRECTOR, CHESTERFIELD COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, CHESTERFIELD
In 2019, nine different companies announced they were investing $248.85 million toward new facilities and plants in Chesterfield, resulting in an estimated 1,959 new jobs. Highlights include projects from Richmond-based Shamin Hotels and Mexico-based packager Cartograf.
This year, DuPont, one of the county’s largest employers, with more than 2,000 workers, announced in January that it would be investing $75 million to modernize its Spruance manufacturing plant. And in June, developers secured approval for Courthouse Landing, a mixed-use development incorporating a 120-room hotel and nearly $265,000 square feet of retail on 124 acres near the county courthouse.
A Virginia Tech graduate, Hart came to the EDA in 2015 after serving as Louisa’s first town manager. He is the former county administrator for New Kent County and also worked for the Virginia Peninsula Economic Development Council. He is a past board chairman for the Southern Economic Development Council.
FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION(S): Beach house with the grandchildren
SOMETHING I WOULD NEVER DO AGAIN: Be a county administrator.
TODD P. HAYMORE
MANAGING DIRECTOR, GLOBAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, COMMERCE & GOVERNMENT RELATIONS PRACTICE, HUNTON ANDREWS KURTH LLP, RICHMOND
In his current role, the former Virginia secretary of commerce and trade helps businesses navigate government roadblocks to growth and development. A Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond graduate, Haymore previously worked in state government under three different governors, also serving as secretary of agriculture and forestry and commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He sits on the Virginia Chamber of Commerce board and on VCU’s board of visitors.
FIRST JOB: At 8, working at my uncle’s leaf tobacco warehouse outside of Danville. I made $20 a week and felt like a millionaire.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Have an open mind about all things in life, continue to educate yourself about these things and never stop learning.
FAVORITE SONG: “See a Little Light,” by Bob Mould and “Eyes of the World,” by the Grateful Dead. I’d like to think both reflect the optimism I carry in life.
WHAT YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: I would change Virginia’s single four-year gubernatorial terms to a single five- or six-year term. Having worked for three governors, I know how difficult it is to set up an administration, develop an agenda and deliver upon it in just four years.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, FAIRFAX COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, FAIRFAX
When he served as the head of Arlington Economic Development, Hoskins was a catalyst behind landing the $2.5 billion Amazon HQ2 deal. As the leader of the Fairfax EDA, which he joined in 2019, he hit the ground running with a $64 million Microsoft deal to build a 400,000-square-foot software R&D center that will bring 1,500 jobs to the area. Hoskins, who earned his master’s degree in real estate finance and economic development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has the magic touch. Since he arrived, Facebook, Google and Amazon Web Services have been among the companies also opening locations in Fairfax.
FIRST JOB WITH A PAY STUB: Assistant manager at a Taco Bell at age 16
WHAT A COMPETITOR WOULD SAY: He is willing to help anyone who asks.
I ADMIRE: James Hankla, former city manager for the city of Long Beach, California. He was a role model and a mentor who helped me forge my career and he fueled my desire to impact the economies of cities to create jobs and opportunities for others.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Steady plodding leads to prosperity; speculation leads to poverty.
CHAIRMAN, VIRGINIA TOBACCO REGION REVITALIZATION COMMISSION, GATE CITY
Despite Democrats holding a majority in the General Assembly this year, state legislators reappointed Republican state Del. Kilgore as chairman of the state-funded Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. Created in 1999 and funded through Virginia’s share of a national settlement with tobacco manufacturers over smoking-related health costs, the commission promotes growth and development in formerly tobacco-dependent locales. In the last two decades, it has issued more than 2,200 grants across Southern and Southwest Virginia totaling more than $1.1 billion. It also has awarded $309 million in payments to tobacco growers.
Another initiative is the commission’s tobacco scholarship fund, which helps former Virginia resident tobacco growers, quota holders and their family members earn bachelor’s degrees. The commission also directly spurs development. Earlier this year, it awarded a $302,000 grant toward the construction of the $2.88 million Floyd Growth Center.
Kilgore earned his law degree from William & Mary and has been a member of the Virginia House of Delegates since 1994, representing Scott and Lee counties and part of Wise, including Norton. He also heads the Coal and Energy Commission and the Southwest Virginia Health Authority.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, ALEXANDRIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP, ALEXANDRIA
For her pivotal roles in brokering Virginia Tech’s $1 billion Innovation Campus in Alexandria and neighboring Arlington’s $2.5 billion Amazon HQ2 East Coast headquarters, Landrum was celebrated as the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Business Leader of the Year, the first female
Heading up the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership since 2015, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business graduate was born at Inova Alexandria Hospital and grew up in the Mount Vernon area. She spent more than six years with the Southeast Fairfax Development Corp., a nonprofit advocacy group for the revitalization of Route 1, before joining AEDP as senior vice president.
In June, Alexandria launched a $4.4 million Alexandria Back to Business grant program, which will issue loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. Funded by the federal CARES Act, the loans will be administered through the partnership.
She recently served as president of the Virginia Economic Development Association’s board and is chair of its nominating committee. Landrum also was a regional fellow of the Urban Land Institute.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, GREATER WASHINGTON BOARD OF TRADE, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Change agent McDougle has been charged with bringing the Greater Washington Board of Trade into the 21st century while fostering collaborations between government, business groups and community leaders in the D.C. region.
He also is making a difference as co-founder of Connected DMV. A nonprofit launched by McDougle and the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Connected DMV seeks to steer Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., toward common goals, programs and approaches. The nonprofit’s COVID-19 DMV Renewal Strategic Task Force is a subcommittee of more than 50 government and business leaders. Facilitated by McDougle, the task force works closely with the administrations of Gov. Ralph Northam, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and plans to present strategies and recommendations later this year for the region’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
McDougle founded the innovation-focused New York-based Blutre Inc. in 2009 after serving as deputy undersecretary for economic affairs for the U.S. Department of Commerce. While he was senior vice president at the Council on Competitiveness, he formed the U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative, a strategy for strengthening U.S. manufacturing exports and job creation.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, VIRGINIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP, RICHMOND
Born in Mississippi, the great-grandson of former sharecroppers, Moret has run the Virginia Economic Development Partnership since 2017 and spearheaded Virginia’s successful effort competing with practically every other state to land Amazon’s $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters in Arlington. That deal was a key reason why Virginia regained its No. 1 ranking in CNBC’s 2019 Top States for Business report.
Last year, Moret launched the state’s new Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a customized accelerated employee recruitment and training program to entice outside firms. It’s already scored successes — Morgan Olson LLC, North America’s largest manufacturer of walk-in delivery vans, is using the program to facilitate the training of 350 full-time workers for its new $57.8 million vehicle assembly plant near Danville.
Created by the Virginia General Assembly, with international offices in Germany, Japan and South Korea, VEDP actively stimulates and supports Virginia’s economy with services including workforce training and negotiating with economic development prospects.
Moret earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and came to VEDP from Louisiana, where he was student body president at his alma mater, Louisiana State University, and served as secretary
of economic development.
MICHAEL J. ‘MIKE’ QUILLEN
CHAIRMAN, GO VIRGINIA REGION 1 COUNCIL, BRISTOL
Quillen founded Abingdon’s Alpha Natural Resources in 2002 and was the coal producer’s first CEO. Under his leadership, it grew into a Fortune 500 company with 13,000 employees within a decade.
He retired in 2012, but you’d never know it. Quillen leads the GO Virginia Region 1 Council, which makes recommendations for state economic development grants for projects in Southwest Virginia. He’s also chairman of the Virginia Energy Advisory Council and serves on the corporate board of Martin Marietta, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based building materials company with operations in 25 states. For nine years, he was a member of the Virginia Port Authority’s board of commissioners, two of those as its chairman.
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Virginia Tech and was honored in May with the William H. Ruffner Medal, the school’s highest honor. Quillen has served as rector of the Board of Visitors at Tech. He has also sat on advisory boards for the Tech College of Engineering and Alumni Association and chaired the school’s finance and building committees.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LOUDOUN COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, LOUDOUN COUNTY
As the head of Loudoun’s EDA, Rizer, a former disc jockey and radio station owner, has helped to turn the county into “Data Center Alley” — the biggest destination in the world for massive cloud data storage centers run by companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google. And that’s no coincidence. About 70% of the world’s internet traffic flows through the county’s Ashburn area. Rizer, the self-styled “Godfather of Data Center Alley,” has helped attract more than $25 billion in investment to the region. A product of Towson University and Virginia Tech’s Local Government Management certificate program, Rizer sits on the boards of the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the Northern Virginia Community College Foundation.
FAVORITE SONG: “Wild Horses,” by the Rolling Stones
RECENT READING: “The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz,” by Erik Larson
ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: Virginia is its best when we act as one. While my job is to promote Loudoun, I recognize we all have a vested interest in Virginia’s economic development success.
ANTHONY J. ROMANELLO
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HENRICO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, HENRICO COUNTY
Former Deputy County Manager Romanello may be new to Henrico’s EDA, but he’s a familiar face to the region, with 26 years of experience in local government. Romanello has been town manager of West Point and served in a variety of functions, including assistant city manager, for the city of Richmond. Henrico, now home to the second largest concentration of jobs in Virginia (193,000), has been active with new economic development notices, including the June announcement that ASGN Inc. will move its corporate headquarters to Henrico, creating a total of 700 jobs statewide.
A 2015 recipient of the Boy Scouts of America’s Outstanding Eagle Scout Award for distinguished service, Romanello earned his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his master’s degree from the University of Virginia.
BEST ADVICE: “Patience attains all that it strives for.”- St. Teresa of Avila
I ADMIRE: My wife, Diane. She cares for five children (ages 24 to 2 1/2), and her ailing mother and has survived life with me for over 27 years.
RECENT LIFE EXPERIENCE: Becoming foster parents and adopting an 11-day-old girl.
ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: We need a second interstate to parallel I-95.
DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY
Last year, Pittsylvania County and the city of Danville were recognized by Site Selection Magazine as the No. 6 micropolitan area in the nation for businesses to locate. Rowe and his staff know how to attract heavy hitters. Dominion Energy announced last year that it would be investing in two solar energy plants in the region and van manufacturer Morgan Olson moved into the former Ikea plant with plans to create more than 700 jobs. Rowe, who received his bachelor’s degree in environmental science and public policy from William & Mary and his master’s in public administration from Virginia Tech, also is board chairman of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance.
BEST ADVICE: Never be afraid to ask questions and always try your best to be a team player. Lose the ego.
FIRST JOB: Working with my father on the Chesapeake Bay/Potomac River as a commercial waterman and charter boat mate
NEW LIFE EXPERIENCE: My wife and I are expecting our first child — a baby girl.
FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATIONS: Lisbon, Portugal, and nearby beaches
DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, CITY OF RICHMOND
Although Richmond’s proposed $1.5 billion Navy Hill development was nixed in February, Sledge and Richmond economic development officials have been working to move forward with a plan by Capital City Partners to develop a 3-acre downtown site surrounding the Public Safety Building — part of the Navy Hill parcel — with a $350 million mixed-use project anchored by VCU Health.
Sledge, previously an economic development director for Henry County, Georgia, and the city of Hampton, has had a lot on his plate as Richmond deals with the pandemic. His office has offered grants for up to $20,000 to city businesses affected by COVID-19 closures and has been tasked with delivering $500,000 in CARES Act grants to shops damaged by recent protests. He earned undergraduate degrees from Morehouse College and Georgia Tech and received his MBA from the University of Phoenix.
FIRST JOB: Paperboy for the Daily Press
I ADMIRE: My children, Amariah, Solomon and Simeon. They each inspire me to be a better person each day to make a meaningful impact on the world we live in.
ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: Equitable economic growth for all Virginians
DOUGLAS L. ‘DOUG’ SMITH
PRESIDENT AND CEO, HAMPTON ROADS ALLIANCE, NORFOLK
Formerly the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, the organization has been in total makeover mode lately, debuting a new name and a revamped board, funding stream and staff, including a new leader seasoned in governance and politics. Smith, who took charge in September 2019, previously served in city management in Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, and was a Portsmouth city councilor. He also was president and CEO of Kaufman & Canoles Consulting. The University of Virginia graduate started his professional life in banking as an assistant vice president at First Union Banking. He also has been a commissioner for the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.
NEW LIFE EXPERIENCE: The COVID-19 health and economic crisis changed everything. Working from home with two school-age children (and my wife) has been a unique experience for all of us.
FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM: U.Va. Cavaliers in any sport
SOMETHING I WOULD NEVER DO AGAIN: Run for political office.
ONE THING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: The Dillon Rule
CHAIR, GO VIRGINIA REGION 2 COUNCIL, BLACKSBURG
Need a steady hand on your board? Call Smoot. The former board chairman for Atlantic Union Bankshares, the Lynchburg native is a director of the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine and the chair of Carilion Clinic’s finance committee. He’s also a past chair of the Investment Committee of the Virginia Retirement System, one of the largest pension funds in the country.
As head of the GO Virginia Region 2 council, Smoot has helped direct millions in state economic development investments to projects in a 13-county, five-city region that includes Roanoke and Blacksburg. Last year, GO Virginia awarded Virginia Tech $546,000 to initiate a technology talent pipeline and to create a blockchain ecosystem catalyst program. In June, Region 2 received $97,200 from the state in a deal partnered with the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council to assist businesses affected by the pandemic. Region 2 and Virginia Tech also received $100,000 to help deliver timely COVID-19 test results to regional health districts.
Smoot’s name is synonymous with Virginia Tech, from which he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and served for years as CEO and treasurer of the Virginia Tech Foundation while also logging time as vice president for administration.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, REINVENT HAMPTON ROADS, NORFOLK
Spore served for nearly 25 years as Virginia Beach’s city manager, overseeing nearly a half-million residents, four military installations and millions of annual beach tourists. Today, he leads Reinvent Hampton Roads, a nonprofit community group that assists with regional job creation and functions as GO Virginia Region 5’s support arm. Reinvent Hampton Roads recently partnered with Virginia Beach-based Elevate U on an onboarding web platform for employers and job seekers that streamlines the hiring and vetting processes. An influential presence on a number of area boards and commissions — including the United Way of South Hampton Roads, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Hospice House of Hampton Roads — Spore earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in urban planning from the University of Illinois and his master’s of public administration from the University of Colorado.
BEST ADVICE: Focus on making a difference and don’t care about who gets the credit.
FIRST JOB: City management intern
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir,” by Samantha Power
WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Dedication to a cause bigger than yourself is the key to real happiness.
BRYAN K. STEPHENS
PRESIDENT AND CEO, HAMPTON ROADS CHAMBER, NORFOLK
Talk about a career change. After a 28-year stint with the U.S. Army, leaving as a colonel, Stephens emerged as president and CEO of Kalmar, a Texas-based equipment manufacturer. Since he began leading the charge at the Hampton Roads Chamber in 2013, the business advocacy group has been awarded a five-star accreditation rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a designation extended to only the top 1% of regional chambers across the nation. One of Stephens’ tasks as of late is helping the local economy deal with COVID-19. The chamber issued an online business recovery guide, walking business owners through responsible re-entry into the workplace as well as providing a central stop for information about grant applications, tax extensions and assistance loans.
WHAT WOULD A COMPETITOR SAY ABOUT YOU? “He’s a strong leader, ethical and trustworthy.”
I ADMIRE: Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. Strong, principled leaders.
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “Building a Vibrant Community: How Citizen-Powered Change Is Reshaping America,” by Quint Studer
RECENT LIFE EXPERIENCE: A new grandson
DIRECTOR, ARLINGTON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, ARLINGTON COUNTY
Hired in January, Tucker is stepping into one of the state’s most prominent economic development positions. His predecessor, Victor Hoskins, who now heads up Fairfax’s economic development, was a key figure in Amazon deciding to locate its $2.5 billion HQ2 East Coast headquarters in Arlington. As the massive e-tailer gears up to reach its hiring goal of 25,000 workers over the next decade, Tucker will be working to help Arlington integrate HQ2 into the greater community, with a focus on spurring small business growth.
That was his specialty in Danville, where, as economic development director, he helped usher in 1,645 jobs and generate $448 million in capital investment. Among his successes, Morgan Olson LLC, North America’s largest manufacturer of walk-in delivery vans, announced last year it would be locating in the former Ikea plant outside Danville, adding 703 jobs.
A James Madison University graduate and Lynchburg native, Tucker also is a seasoned concert pianist who has performed worldwide, including at the Kennedy Center for then-President Bill Clinton. Last year, for Washington D.C.’s Black Theatre & Arts Festival, he was musical director for two stage tributes to Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and other revered African American legends.