Full speed ahead
No other region of Virginia moves the entire commonwealth forward like Hampton Roads. Sure, Dee Cee is about technology, government contracting and national politics. And Richmond is about politics that are generally more local.
Hampton Roads, on the other hand, is about the military and commerce. The ports, the railways, interstates, tunnels, trucks and air cargo move millions of shipping containers from across the globe to distribution centers all across Virginia and ultimately to many destinations across the nation.
The past year has been another period of growth for the region. Container volumes are up. Port profitability is up. Projects to widen and deepen shipping channels are nearing completion. Wind power is ramping up, and the $3.9 billion Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion is striving to open in November 2025 as expected. These are all major projects and important investments in the economy of the commonwealth.
Meanwhile, tourism in Virginia Beach is on the upswing. Hotel projects that were launched pre-pandemic have been completed. Occupancy rates for leisure travel were strong this summer, and state and regional hospitality experts have high hopes for business travel rebounding this fall after difficulties during the pandemic’s height. New investments are being made in cultural venues to sustain a thriving arts and music scene across the entire region.
If you aren’t already doing business in Hampton Roads, maybe you should be. The talent pool being produced by local colleges and universities is outstanding. Virginia’s largest manufacturer, Newport News-based Huntington Ingalls Industries, offers extensive training to support a variety of highly skilled positions at its Newport News Shipbuilding subsidiary, the state’s largest industrial employer. There is an ongoing supply of well-trained individuals who are completing military service and looking forward to entering the civilian workforce. In these pages, the new commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, Virginia Beach native Rear Adm. Christopher “Scotty” Gray, discusses how he plans to continue the Navy’s partnership with local developers.
We hope that you will enjoy reading the 2022 issue of Hampton Roads Business as much as we’ve enjoyed reporting on the stories in these pages. Our goal is to help everyone better understand the area’s economy and connect with the businesses that drive its success. Hampton Roads is a team player not only for all of Virginia, but also for points across the nation and the globe.
Full speed ahead!
— Bernie Niemeier,
President & Publisher