On the move
Execs taking on new roles across Virginia
Megan Baker, economic development director, Roanoke County
In October 2022, Baker was hired to step into the big shoes of Jill Loope, the county’s longtime economic development director who is set to retire in July. A North Carolina State and Indiana University graduate, Baker came to the Roanoke Valley from the Atlanta area, where she was president of the Fayette County Development Authority.
Earl Barnes, corporate vice president and general counsel, Sentara Healthcare, Norfolk
In June 2022, Barnes became Sentara’s head legal counsel, after previously serving as an executive vice president and chief legal officer for Chicago’s Amita Health system. A graduate of University of Michigan’s law school, Barnes previously was senior counsel of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s health care practice group, and he led the $11 billion merger of Advocate Health and Aurora Health.
Malika Carter-Hoyt, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, James Madison University, Harrisonburg
Carter-Hoyt was tapped as JMU’s first chief diversity officer in August, but it’s not a new job for her — this is her third time as an institution’s inaugural DEI leader. She came to Harrisonburg from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and before that served as chief diversity officer for the city of Worcester, Massachusetts.
Henry Choi, vice president of business development for cyber, electronic warfare and space, Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., McLean
In April 2022, Choi, a 30-year government contracting industry veteran, was hired to lead HII’s Mission Technologies division in Fairfax County. Prior to HII, he was vice president for business development at CACI International Inc. and served in several leadership posts at Northrop Grumman Corp.
Richard “Rick” Cobert, executive director, Winchester Economic Development Authority, Winchester
A former Stafford County economic development manager, Cobert started his job leading Winchester’s EDA in November 2022. He’s a graduate of Randolph-Macon College, and for more than a decade, he worked in economic development for Baltimore County, Maryland, before moving to Stafford in 2012.
Karen Dahut, CEO, Google Public Sector, Reston
Google Public Sector, a Google LLC subsidiary focused on government and educational contracting work, was formed in June 2022, and Dahut started as its CEO in October 2022. She is a former sector president at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she led the company’s $4 billion global defense business. She also served in the Navy
for six years.
Tasha Dean, chief revenue officer,The Martin Agency, Richmond
In December 2022, Dean was promoted as the advertising agency’s first chief revenue officer, after having led integrated production at Martin. She was in charge of a
$100 million annual budget for client production, as well as more than 300 video productions per year, and is responsible now for growing revenue and implementing organizational strategies.
Alan Fabian, market president,, LewisGale Regional Health System, Salem
Fabian was promoted to lead the LewisGale hospital system in
April 2022 after having served as CEO of its hospital in Blacksburg since 2013. HCA Virginia is the parent health system of LewisGale, which has four hospitals in the Roanoke region. Fabian joined HCA Healthcare in 1995, and the New England native worked for more than 18 years in the health system’s Louisiana hospitals.
U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Christopher “Scotty” Gray, commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk
Gray now leads the Navy’s region that stretches from Wisconsin to North Carolina, including five installations in Hampton Roads. The Virginia Beach native replaced Rear Adm. Charles “Chip” Rock, who retired in June 2022, and a great deal of Gray’s focus is recruiting and retaining civilian and military personnel to keep the world’s largest Navy base running.
Andrew Hallman, vice president for national security strategy and integration, Peraton Inc., Herndon
A former CIA deputy director for digital innovation, Hallman joined the government contractor in
May 2022 to lead its national security strategy. He previously led the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Peraton CEO Stu Shea called him “a national asset” when announcing his hire. In addition to his three decades at the CIA, Hallman briefed then-President Barack Obama on intelligence matters.
Dan Hushon, chief technology officer, Guidehouse, Tysons
A longtime tech expert, Hushon joined the global management consulting company in February 2022 to lead its tech operations, including cloud computing and digital solutions. He came from DXC Technology Co., where he served as CTO for three years, and previously worked in executive positions at Sun Microsystems Inc., EMC and Corporation Service Co.’s (CSC) cybersecurity business.
U.S. Rep. Jennifer Kiggans, U.S. House of Representatives, Virginia Beach
A Republican former state senator and a nurse practitioner, Kiggans beat Democratic U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria in a highly competitive race. Both women are Navy veterans, but the similarities stopped there, as Luria gained prominence as part of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Kiggans arrived in Washington, D.C., in time for the GOP’s January battle to elect a new House speaker.
Patrick Kinsman, vice president of offshore wind development, Port of Virginia, Norfolk
Kinsman was tapped in February 2022 to oversee Portsmouth Marine Terminal’s conversion to a logistics hub, where Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy S.A. is investing $200 million to build a turbine blade manufacturing plant. Kinsman’s background includes nearly three decades in the Army, including as commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Norfolk district.
Todd Mooradian, business school dean, William & Mary, Williamsburg
A former William & Mary business professor, Mooradian rejoined the university in August 2022 as dean of the Raymond A. Mason School of Business. Mooradian came from the University of Louisville’s business college, where he served as dean for five years, and at W&M, he was instrumental in the launch of an online MBA. Mooradian’s research has centered on the psychology behind consumer satisfaction.
Ryan Price, chief economist, Virginia Realtors, Glen Allen
Price was promoted from deputy chief economist in May 2022, after more than a decade. A James Madison University and Virginia Tech alum, Price has served as an urban planner for the city of Alexandria and was a researcher at George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis.
Fran Randall, Richmond market leader, Forvis, Richmond
In fall 2022, Randall was named to lead the new top 10 accounting firm’s Richmond market and, weeks later, became a member of its board. Forvis was formed by the June 2022 merger of Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP and BKD CPAs & Advisors. Randall joined DHG in 2019 before the firms’ consolidation, focusing on international tax. A Richmond native, she is a Virginia Commonwealth University alumna.
Stephen J. Shepard, president and chief operating officer, Farmer Focus, Harrisonburg
Shepard joined the organic poultry producer in April 2022 as its executive vice president of operations, and in December 2022 he was promoted to president and chief operating officer. His own focus includes increasing production while reducing Farmer Focus’ carbon footprint. Formerly Shenandoah Valley Organic, Farmer Focus partners with organic chicken farmers on products that are sold at Publix and Safeway stores.
Brandi Smith, vice president of Columbia-class submarine construction, Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News
After 20 years at the shipyard, Smith was tapped to lead the Columbia-class submarine program in July 2022. The 12 Columbia subs are set to replace the Navy’s aging Ohio-class fleet of nuclear submarines. Smith has worked as an aircraft carrier engineer and was acting construction engineering director for the
U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier.
Harold E. “Hal” Thornton Jr., president, Davenport Energy Inc., Chatham
Thornton joined the Southern Virginia fuel company in 1995 as its human resources director, and after serving as executive vice president for 20 years, he was named president in March 2022. Thornton, an Urbana, Illinois, native, is the highest-ranking non family member at Davenport. The company supplies propane and fuel oil to 30,000 customers in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, as well as gas and diesel fuel to 200 convenience stores.
Ajay Vinzé, business school dean, George Mason University, Fairfax County
In July 2022, Vinzé moved east to lead GMU’s School of Business after serving as dean of the University of Missouri’s Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of Business. A booster of online learning before the pandemic, Vinzé says he hopes to create similar opportunities at Mason and also to lower education costs. He previously spent 18 years at Arizona State University, including as director of the executive MBA program.
David Wajsgras, CEO, Intelsat, McLean
Wajsgras joined the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network operator in April 2022, succeeding retired CEO Stephen Spengler. He spent 14 years at Raytheon Co., serving as president of its $7.5 billion intelligence business and was chief financial officer for Lear Corp. Wajsgras inherited a company emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and said late last year that he is open to consolidation but declined to give specifics.
Lori Collier Waran, president, Richmond Raceway, Henrico County
Virginia Business’ former associate publisher and chief revenue officer, Waran became the first woman to lead the NASCAR-owned Richmond Raceway in July 2022. She was previously general manager and publisher of Style Weekly and worked in advertising sales for nearly two decades. One month in, Waran hosted a very special guest at the track: NASCAR team owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan.
Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams (ret.), president, Hampton University, Hampton
A 1983 Hampton alum, the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general became the university’s first new president in 44 years after he succeeded William R. Harvey in June 2022. Williams was the first Black director of the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency and was vice president of Leidos Holdings Inc.’s U.K. operations.
Vida Williams, chief digital and branding officer, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, Richmond
Williams has been an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s da Vinci Center for Innovation, as well as serving as chief diversity officer and chief data officer for SingleStone Consulting. In July 2022, she started in the newly created position at ABC, guiding the state agency’s digital operations, e-commerce and prevention education.