FRANK BATTEN JR.
CHAIRMAN, DOMINION ENTERPRISES, NORFOLK
Batten’s 13-year quest to sell his family’s newspaper holdings was accomplished in May 2021, when Paxton Media Group announced it was purchasing the Landmark Community Newspaper group of 47 daily and weekly newspapers.
Landmark had previously sold off The Virginian-Pilot and The Roanoke Times, where Batten once worked as a reporter and as an advertising rep after earning a history degree from Dartmouth College. He also holds an MBA from U.Va.’s Darden School of Business.
Batten rose through the ranks at Landmark Communications to become CEO of the family business, deciding in 2008 to sell its media holdings. The Weather Channel was sold that year for $3.5 billion to NBC and private equity firms, but selling the newspapers proved slower.
Batten was more interested in technology than ink. He was the largest investor in software company Red Hat, and his $3 million investment at one point was worth $2.5 billion.
Batten is chairman of Dominion Enterprises, which focuses on marketing and software services for the automotive and hospitality industries, and he is also president of the Landmark Foundation and a member of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation board of trustees.
GEORGE Y. BIRDSONG
CEO AND GENERAL COUNSEL, BIRDSONG CORP., SUFFOLK
The Birdsong Corp. and the Birdsong family have been shelling peanuts and funding humanitarian efforts for five generations
Since 1999, George Y. Birdsong has led the 107-year-old family company. The family began shelling peanuts in the 1930s, and when their factory burned down in 1939, Planters Peanuts founder Amedeo Obici asked the Birdsongs to relocate near his facility in Suffolk. Each generation has followed Birdsong Corp. founder T.H. Birdsong into the business, and now three generations of Birdsongs are involved in its management.
A Suffolk native, George Y. Birdsong attended Washington and Lee University and then studied law at the University of Virginia. He and his late wife, Sue, supported numerous philanthropies in their region and were involved in several civic, education and preservation organizations.
The Birdsong Corp. has six shelling plants, and it buys, processes and stores billions of pounds of peanuts each year. Its charity, Peanut Proud Inc., has partnered with Project Peanut Butter to support hunger relief and to help treat severe malnutrition.
RAMON W. BREEDEN JR.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE BREEDEN CO., VIRGINIA BEACH
Breeden worked his way through the University of Virginia and took a job teaching math before starting his real estate development company in 1961, working out of the trunk of a Pontiac convertible and the back room of a grocery store.
Within 15 years, Breeden would be listed among the top 500 builders in the nation, and he hasn’t looked back. This year, his company announced a $2.4 million, 6,500-square-foot expansion of its Virginia Beach headquarters, and it broke ground on the company’s largest apartment complex to date, the $66 million Pinnacle Apartments in Virginia Beach.
At 87, Breeden still pilots his corporate jet and helicopters, and he oversees a company with more than 15,000 apartments and 2 million square feet of retail and office space.
Over the years, he co-founded Commerce Bank, which was purchased by Branch Bank & Trust, and he then served as a state director of BB&T, now part of Truist Financial Group. Breeden also served on U.Va.’s McIntire Foundation board, as well as boards for the Tidewater Builders Association, Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance, and Virginia Beach Education Foundation.
PRESIDENT EMERITUS, OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY, NORFOLK
In June, Broderick retired as ODU’s longest- serving president, returning to faculty status as the board of visitors distinguished lecturer in the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies.
As a journalism student at Northeastern University in Boston, Broderick aspired to cover the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics, until he found a new path that brought him to Old Dominion in 1993 as its public information director. He rose through the ranks, becoming the university’s president in 2008.
During his tenure, ODU raised nearly $1 billion, including its largest single gift of $37 million, donated by Richard and Carolyn Barry in 2016 to establish the Barry Art Museum, and Mark and Tammy Strome’s $11 million donation in 2013 to establish the Strome Entrepreneurial Center and name the Strome College of Business. Broderick also has championed inclusion and diversity, reorganizing ODU’s Office of Affirmative Action into the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. Football also returned to ODU in 2009 after a 69-year absence.
Broderick is former chair of the Council of Presidents of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Virginia Council of Presidents of colleges and universities, and Conference USA’s board of directors. He also served on the NCAA board of directors.
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, REVOLUTION LLC, WASHINGTON, D.C
Forbes estimates America Online co-founder Case’s net worth at about $1.5 billion. He’s best known for founding and leading AOL, the company that paved the way for today’s internet culture.
Today, Case champions talented innovators and entrepreneurs through his Washington, D.C.-based investment company Revolution LLC and through his work with other foundations and partnerships.
Since 2005, Revolution has invested about $1 billion in seed and growth funds into companies that fall outside of Silicon Valley and New York; its Rise of the Rest pitch competition tours the nation, awarding promising startups $100,000 to launch or grow.
In April, Case wrote an essay for The Hill in support of a bill that would use federal funds to set up regional tech hubs across the U.S.
In 2018, Case sold his McLean estate, the childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, to the Saudi Arabia government for $43 million. His wife, Jean, is chairman of the National Geographic Society and owns Early Mountain Vineyards in Madison.
Steve Case is also chairman of the Case Foundation, which partnered with the Kauffman Foundation to launch Startup America Partnership, which has helped more than 13,000 small businesses since 2011.
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, CLEMENTE DEVELOPMENT CO. INC., VIENNA
For nearly half a century, Clemente has been instrumental in shaping Northern Virginia. Even as he developed residential and commercial projects, particularly in the Tysons area, Clemente also spurred the growth of higher education in the region.
He was instrumental in helping George Mason University grow from a small school in 1972, when it was accepted into Virginia’s system of colleges and universities, into the largest public research university in the state, with 37,000 students and four campuses. During the same era, Clemente developed the state’s first condominium project, the Tower Villas in Arlington.
In fall 2019, his company won approval to build a $1.3 billion complex, The View at Tysons, which includes condos, a hotel, an arts center, and office and retail space; it’s set to be capped by a tower billed as the tallest building in the state. The project was paused during the pandemic.
Clemente also serves on the board of directors governing the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
JAMES W. ‘JIM’ DYKE JR.
SENIOR ADVISOR, STATE GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, MCGUIREWOODS CONSULTING LLC, TYSONS
Dyke was a Howard University math major in 1963 when he attended the March on Washington and was moved by Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream.
“My life’s path was forever altered,” he wrote in an April essay for Washington Business Journal. “They were my dreams stated so eloquently that I could not deny their truth. Only government and law could assure the availability of education and economic opportunities for all and effect fundamental and imperative social change.”
Dyke switched courses and ultimately graduated as valedictorian of Howard University’s law school in 1971, launching his half-century pursuit of social justice and opportunity. He served as Gov. L. Douglas Wilder’s secretary of education, worked as a domestic policy adviser to Vice President Walter Mondale and was instrumental in opening Virginia Military Institute to women after a landmark 1996 U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down VMI’s males-only admissions policy. Dyke’s clients include George Washington University and the George Mason University Foundation.
This year, he and Wilder have called for increased state funding for all of Virginia’s historically Black colleges and universities, including private institutions, and Dyke has collaborated on a McGuireWoods project demonstrating how zoning is connected to racial segregation.
OWNER, FRIED COS. INC., CROZET
Fried was the first in her family to graduate from college, and when she attended the University of Chicago law school in the 1950s, she was one of just five women.
She and her late husband, Mark, founded the Fried and Fried law firm in 1962, specializing in real estate law and later launching an Albemarle County-based real estate development company.
They created residential developments and commercial centers and also gave their time and money to philanthropy, including founding Innisfree Village, a residential community in Albemarle for adults with intellectual disabilities, and Charlottesville-Albemarle Riding Therapy, a horseback riding program for disabled adults and children.
Fried also has supported efforts to make Virginia’s community and state college system accessible. The Fried family in 2015 donated $1 million to Germanna Community College, which in 2019 opened the Barbara J. Fried Center, which offers transfer programs including cybersecurity, nursing and business administration.
Fried is on the University of Virginia board of visitors, and she has served as chairman of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the Sorensen Institute’s statewide advisory board.
NOVELIST, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, ALBEMARLE COUNTY
He’s known for his bestselling legal thrillers, but Grisham also spends winters courtside at University of Virginia and University of North Carolina basketball games. When the pandemic shut down college basketball in 2020 just before March Madness, Grisham did what writers do.
“I missed last year’s NCAA playoffs so much that I channeled my energies into writing ‘Sooley,’ my first shot at basketball fiction,” he wrote. The novel follows the story of a basketball player from Sudan and is loosely based on former U.Va. player Mamadi Diakite, a Guinea native who now plays for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Grisham’s own backstory is well known. After realizing he didn’t have the right stuff to play baseball, he went to law school.
He was working as a lawyer in a small Mississippi town when he wrote “A Time to Kill” in 1987. It was barely noticed at the time, but his 1991 second novel, “The Firm,” launched him onto bestseller lists, where he’s remained.
Grisham lives in Albemarle County, where he built six Little League baseball fields on his property. He’s a member of The Innocence Project board, as well as the Charlottesville-based Focused Ultrasound Foundation, which raises awareness of the noninvasive therapeutic technology.
DORCAS T. HELFANT-BROWNING
MANAGING PARTNER AND PRINCIPAL BROKER, COLDWELL BANKER NOW, VIRGINIA BEACH
Helfant-Browning was the first woman to become president of the National Association of Realtors in 1992. She used her influence to join with other real estate brokers to urge President George H.W. Bush to support tax reforms that would help commercial real estate investors.
She also led the association’s efforts to lobby states to enact laws requiring sellers to disclose flaws that affect a property’s value and safety.
The Chesapeake native started her real estate career in 1967 as a new mom, and in 1974, she began her own firm, which became an affiliate of Coldwell Banker after 15 years. In addition to being part of the NAR board beginning in 1983, she was named to the advisory council of Fannie Mae in 1993.
An active community volunteer with ties to the Boy Scouts and Tidewater Community College, Helfant-Browning was on the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce board and was recognized as Hampton Roads Woman of the Year in 1990. She currently serves on the board of Virginia FREE, a nonpartisan group of individuals, corporations and trade associations that advances the interests of free enterprise in Virginia politics.
CEO, SALAMANDER HOTELS & RESORTS, THE PLAINS
As vice chair of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Johnson is the first Black woman to hold stakes in three professional sports franchises: the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
In 1980, Johnson and her ex-husband, Robert L. Johnson, co-founded the BET cable network, then known as Black Entertainment Television. In 2001, Viacom bought the company for $2.9 billion. The Wall Street Journal in 2019 pegged Johnson’s net worth at $1 billion, and she’s been on Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women
Johnson owns a growing portfolio of luxury resorts in Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana, in addition to her flagship property, the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. She also co-founded the venture capital consortium WE Capital to support women-led enterprises that advance transformational social change.
The Pennsylvania native is an accomplished violinist, once telling Reuters that playing was instrumental to her success.
“Things don’t come overnight in life — you have to persevere and stay focused. Music does that for you,” she said. “It also teaches you to be a better listener and communicator.”
VINCENT J. MASTRACCO JR.
PARTNER AND CO-CHAIR, REAL ESTATE STRATEGIES GROUP, KAUFMAN & CANOLES PC, NORFOLK
Mastracco is one of the top securities and corporate finance attorneys in the Hampton Roads region, as well as a mentor to many area lawyers.
A Norfolk native who graduated from the University of Virginia, Mastracco studied law at the University of Richmond and New York University before returning to his hometown to practice. He’s been at Kaufman & Canoles for more than 55 years, having joined Leroy T. Canoles Jr. as the firm’s second lawyer. Today, the firm has approximately 100 attorneys.
Specializing in finances, mergers and acquisitions, Mastracco has played a significant role in projects such as Hilton Norfolk The Main, the Midtown Tunnel and Chesapeake’s Jordan Bridge. As former chair of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s board of directors, he was instrumental in bringing Amazon.com Inc.’s HQ2 to Arlington in 2018. In addition to his continued service on VEDP’s board, Mastracco has served on the Sentara Foundation and Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation boards, as well as the Hampton Roads Business Roundtable.
He is also a member of the Community Leadership Partners with the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, as well as the Virginia Wesleyan University board.
MICHAEL ‘MIKE’ J. QUILLEN
CHAIRMAN, GO VIRGINIA REGION 1 COUNCIL, BRISTOL
A former coal magnate, Quillen serves as chairman of GO Virginia’s most economically challenged region in the state’s far southwest corner, also referred to as the Coalfields. In addition to his work on the public-private GO Virginia Region 1 Council, in which Quillen leads efforts to diversify the Southwest economy, he also is chair of the Southwest Virginia Energy Research Authority, a group focused on renewable energy development.
The Virginia Tech alum was trained as a civil engineer and embarked on a career in mining. In 2002, he founded Alpha Natural Resources, which became one of the country’s largest coal suppliers, serving as its first CEO. Quillen retired as Alpha’s chairman of the board in 2012, after it had become a Fortune 500 company with 13,000 employees.
From 2010 to 2018, Quillen served on Virginia Tech’s board of visitors, including as rector for two years. During that time, Tech solidified its partnership with Carilion Clinic to expand biomedical research in Roanoke. Quillen has served in leadership roles for many of Tech’s foundations, boards and associations, and he is one of the school’s most generous donors. He received the university’s highest honor, the William H. Ruffner Medal, in 2020.
FORMER CEO AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VIRGINIA PORT AUTHORITY, NORFOLK
In March, Reinhart retired after more than six years at the helm of the Port of Virginia. In 2014, when the former president and CEO of Norfolk-based shipper Maersk Line Ltd. was hired, it was a pivotal time for the state-owned port, which had operated at a loss since 2009. The state authority had been considering selling the port, but Reinhart was able to steer it into solvency by 2017.
Reinhart also oversaw a $700 million expansion of the authority’s terminals in Hampton Roads and a $350 million dredging project, begun in late 2019, that will ultimately create the deepest and widest port on the East Coast, capable of handling ultra-large container vessels.
Just before his retirement, Reinhart said that part of the port’s success is due to “creating a team that is aligned by values [and] raising awareness of the port across the state. Grow the business and build the trust.”
As Port Authority head, Reinhart served as a nonvoting member of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Board, and he also served on other professional boards and groups, including the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council and the Nauticus Foundation.
PAM KIECKER ROYALL
HEAD OF RESEARCH, ENROLLMENT SERVICES, EAB, RICHMOND
Royall and her late husband, Bill, underwrote the “Rumors of War” statue installed in front of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 2019. The depiction of a modern-day Black warrior on horseback was created by Kehinde Wiley to counter the Confederate statues along Monument Avenue. The statue was a response to the Confederate equestrian monuments to J.E.B. Stuart and Stonewall Jackson, which were taken down in 2020.
In addition to her philanthropic work, Royall is head of research for Henrico County-based EAB, a direct marketing and recruitment firm for colleges and universities, with 500 employees in Virginia and 1,500 worldwide. It was founded as Royall & Co. by Bill Royall, who sold the business for $850 million in 2014.
A former Virginia Commonwealth University professor of marketing, Royall is a board member for the VCU Massey Cancer Center, the Brandcenter Director’s Council and the VCU School of Business Foundation. She also chairs the Virginia Museum of History & Culture board.
WHAT MAKES ME PASSIONATE ABOUT MY WORK: The opportunities we help create for students and families through greater access to higher education.
WHAT HELPED MY COMPANY WEATHER THE PANDEMIC: A strong culture of support for both EAB employees and our institutional partners (colleges and universities).
RAYMOND D. SMOOT JR.
CHAIRMAN, GO VIRGINIA REGION 2 COUNCIL, BLACKSBURG
The former board chairman of Atlantic Union Bankshares and CEO emeritus of the Virginia Tech Foundation, which manages the university’s assets and real estate, Smoot has been a major player in Blacksburg for decades.
The Lynchburg native, who earned two degrees from Virginia Tech, is a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board and chairs the investment committee of the Association of Public Universities. He also serves on the boards of the Blacksburg/Virginia Tech Sanitation Authority, Virginia Tech Applied Research Corp. and Mountain Lake Conservancy.
On GO Virginia’s Region 2 Council, which stretches from Lynchburg through the Roanoke and New River valleys, Smoot has played a significant role in job creation. Since 2018, the council has directed state funding to 30 economic development projects, creating 250 jobs.
BEST ADVICE FOR OTHERS: Be engaged in your community. Both the community and you will benefit.
FIRST JOB: Cutting grass
WHAT I WAS LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL: Social. It was great fun, and I had some excellent teachers whose talents have impacted my life since.
PEOPLE I ADMIRE: Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan. They faced down governments with tenacity.
FAVORITE BEVERAGE: Sour mash bourbon
FAVORITE SONG: “You Raise Me Up,” by Josh Groban
H. BRIAN THOMPSON
FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE BOARD CHAIRMAN, GTT COMMUNICATIONS INC., McLEAN
The founder of GTT, one of the world’s biggest cloud network providers, Thompson has served as chairman of its board of directors since January 2005.
The past year brought challenges for GTT, which was discussing filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June. In October 2020, GTT sold its infrastructure assets division to I Squared Capital for $2.15 billion after encountering accounting problems between 2017 and early 2020. Last year, GTT’s audit committee determined that some financial statements from those years were no longer reliable, and in May 2020, former CEO Richard D. Calder Jr. stepped down. The New York Stock Exchange delisted GTT in July because GTT had failed to file quarterly and annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Thompson, who also heads Vienna-based private equity investment and advisory firm Universal Telecommunications, played a significant part in determining private industry’s role in developing the multinational telecommunications structure in the 1990s. He also serves on the Irish prime minister’s Ireland-America Economic Board and is a board member for Pendrell Corp. and Penske Automotive Group Inc.
Thompson studied chemical engineering at the University
PAUL B. TOMS JR.
CHAIRMAN, HOOKER FURNITURE CO., MARTINSVILLE
After two decades leading and expanding the furniture company founded by his grandfather in 1925, Toms retired in January as Hooker Furniture’s CEO and president. He remains company chairman.
When Toms started at his family company in 1983, Hooker had about $50 million in annual sales. He was the third generation to lead Hooker and navigated it through an upheaval in the industry as cheaper foreign goods flooded the American market. He shifted Hooker’s business model so that it now imports wood and metal furniture and makes residential upholstery goods.
Though its corporate headquarters is in Martinsville, Hooker employs 800 workers throughout Virginia and North Carolina, from its custom upholstery line by Sam Moore Furniture in Bedford to its higher-end leather line Bradington-Young in Hickory, North Carolina. The company reported annual sales of $515 million last year, although it recorded a $34.8 million loss in the second quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic, Toms said last year.
Five years ago, the company acquired Home Meridian International, making Hooker one of the top sources in the U.S. furniture market. Toms was inducted into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame in 2018.
EUGENE P. TRANI
PRESIDENT EMERITUS, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY, RICHMOND
As the fourth president of Virginia Commonwealth University and its longest-serving leader, Trani oversaw major growth of his urban campus, while also increasing its presence in Virginia’s capital city, from 1990 to 2009.
Trani attracted a total investment of $2.2 billion in city infrastructure to the university area and helped transform downtown Richmond’s Broad Street. He also built up VCU’s Monroe Campus and medical college campus, as well as overseeing the establishment of the VCU Health System and VCU’s College of Design Arts in Qatar.
The Notre Dame and Indiana University alum started as a history instructor at Ohio State University and Southern Illinois University. He rose through the administrative ranks at the University of Nebraska, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Wisconsin before VCU brought him to Virginia. Trani continues to research and write.
FIRST JOB: Delivering newspapers in grade school
HOBBY: Collecting golf course ball markers
FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION: London
FAVORITE SONG: University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Victory March
LUCIA ANNA ‘PIA’ TRIGIANI
PRINCIPAL AND PARTNER, MERCERTRIGIANI, ALEXANDRIA
A native of Big Stone Gap, Trigiani has become a prominent part of Northern Virginia, where she co-founded the MercerTrigiani law firm and is a noted authority on common interest communities, such as condominiums and retirement communities. She also has chaired the Virginia Common Interest Community Board for a decade, serving three governors, and she represents Alexandria on the GO Virginia state board.
A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Indiana and the University of Richmond’s law school, Trigiani is vice rector of the Longwood University board of visitors and a member of the Flint Hill School board of trustees.
Trigiani also has held volunteer roles with the Library of Virginia Foundation, Virginia FREE, Lead Virginia, Commonwealth Catholic Charities Commonwealth Human Services Foundation and the Little Sisters of the Poor advisory board. She’s the former president and chair of the Virginia Bar Association Board of Governors and a member of VCU Real Estate Circle of Excellence.
She also contributed recipes and stories to “Cooking With My Sisters,” an Italian cookbook released in 2004 by her sister, bestselling novelist Adriana Trigiani.
L. DOUGLAS WILDER
FORMER GOVERNOR, COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, CHARLES CITY COUNTY
At age 90, when many political lions have faded into the background, Wilder continues to roar. Virginia’s only Black elected governor, Wilder accused Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe in July of flip-flopping on the blackface scandal that engulfed Gov. Ralph Northam and impacted Attorney Gen. Mark Herring.
Wilder also pressed Northam to use $50 million from the state’s $4.3 billion in federal stimulus funds to invest in Virginia’s historically Black colleges and universities.
A Richmond native and the grandson of enslaved people, Wilder is a Virginia Union and Howard University alumnus and earned a Bronze Star in the Korean War.
After becoming the first Black Virginia state senator since Reconstruction, Wilder was the first Black person to win statewide office in Virginia as lieutenant governor, and he was the first popularly elected Black governor in the nation. Post-governorship, he was elected mayor of Richmond.
In 2001, Wilder began raising funds to build the United States National Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg, but it remains unbuilt and has been dogged by delinquent property taxes.
In 2004, Virginia Commonwealth University named the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs in his honor, and he remains a distinguished professor there.
CEO EMERITUS, PERMATREAT Pest and Termite Control, FREDERICKSBURG
Buena Vista native Wilson rose through the ranks of Orkin Pest Control, where he started in the 1960s as a young graduate of Washington and Lee University. In 1982, after Wilson was responsible for 13 states in Orkin’s Midwest region, he bought Fredericksburg-based PermaTreat Pest Control in a handshake deal. Owned by Rollings Inc., the company had $12 million in revenue last year and employs 88 people in Virginia.
A former Fredericksburg City Council member, Wilson is deeply involved in civic organizations. He chairs the Mary Washington Hospital Foundation board and is a member of the state’s GO Virginia board. He and his wife, Mary, endowed a professorship in entomology at Virginia Tech.
FIRST JOB: Paper route (delivering The Richmond News Leader) at age 11.
WHAT I WAS LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL: Seventh in a class of 61. Voted most flirtatious.
PERSON I ADMIRE: Former Gov. Jerry Baliles. He was a huge supporter of the community college system.
FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION: Hometown Buena Vista, fishing the Maury River.
SOMETHING I’LL NEVER DO AGAIN: I would spend more time with my children as they grew up, as opposed to being so involved with work.
ALAN S. WITT
DEAN, LUTER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT UNIVERSITY, NEWPORT NEWS
In January, upon his retirement after 42 years as CEO of Newport News-based top 100 accounting firm PBMares LLP, Witt was elected to chair the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors. And he didn’t slow down from there. In August, Witt was named dean of the Luter School of Business at Christopher Newport University, his alma mater.
A former CNU rector, Witt helped form the business school and served as executive in residence there this year. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from CNU, with a concentration in accounting, in 1976.
In 1979, Witt co-founded PBMares, where he remains a partner. The firm, which earned $49.1 million in revenue in 2019 and employs 255 people, has offices in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.
A former Newport News City Council member, Witt also was a member of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission and the Commonwealth Transportation Board, as well as former chair of Riverside Health System’s board.
In November, PBMares committed to provide college scholarships for 2021 graduates of An Achievable Dream, a program that assists underserved Newport News students. They will be known as the Alan S. Witt scholars.
Past Living Legends Honorees
- Giuseppe Cecchi The IDI Group Cos., McLean
- Marjorie “Marge” Connelly State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Charlottesville
- William E. Conway Jr. The Carlyle Group, McLean
- Daniel A. D’Aniello The Carlyle Group, McLean
- Andrew Fine The Runnymede Corp., Virginia Beach
- Morris Fine The Runnymede Corp., Virginia Beach
- Richard B. Gilliam The Richard and Leslie Gilliam Foundation, Keswick
- William H. “Bill” Goodwin Jr. Riverstone Group LLC, Richmond
- John T. “Til” Hazel Jr. Developer, Broad Run
- Daniel A. Hoffler Armada Hoffler Properties Inc., Cape Charles
- Winifred Johnson-Marquart The Johnson Family Foundation, Virginia Beach
- Bobbie G. Kilberg Northern Virginia Technology Council, McLean
- Alan I. Kirshner Markel Corp., Richmond
- Harvey L. Lindsay Jr. Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate, Norfolk
- John A. Luke Jr. WestRock Co., Richmond
- Jacqueline Mars Mars Inc., The Plains
- Pamela Mars-Wright Mars Inc., Alexandria
- Charles W. “Wick” Moorman Amtrak, Charlottesville
- Bob Sasser Dollar Tree Stores, Chesapeake
- Stuart C. Siegel S&K Famous Brands Inc., Richmond
- John Stallings* Union Bank and Trust, Richmond
- James E. “Jim” Ukrop New Richmond Ventures, Richmond
- U.S. Sen. John Warner III* U.S. Senate, Alexandria
- John O. “Dubby” Wynne Landmark Communications Inc., Virginia Beach