Hughes earns praise

Published 8:34 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Suffolk’s top economic development official has earned national praise through a marketing firm’s “40 Under 40” awards.

Kevin Hughes, the director of Suffolk’s Economic Development Department, was selected for the award by the Development Counsellors International, a New York-based firm that specializes in economic development marketing. A five-member selection committee chose the 40 winners from a pool of more than 150 candidates.


“It is an honor to be included among this dynamic and diverse group of economic development professionals,” Hughes said in a quote emailed by a city spokeswoman. “Working in the field of economic development has been an amazing experience thus far, and I look forward to all the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

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The program is believed to be the first-ever awards program recognizing young talent across the nation in economic development. Hughes was the only honoree from Virginia.

“Kevin is dedicated to the development of the Suffolk business scene,” City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn was quoted as saying in a press release. “He has great vision and work ethic to ensure Suffolk continues to set the pace in the Hampton Roads area. We are proud of his achievement and that he is a member of our team.”

Hughes joined the economic development department in 2005 and was named the director in 2010. Since 2005, he has managed more than 120 new and expanding business projects totaling more than $403 million in capital investment and more than 3,250 new jobs, according to the press release.

He also supervises the Division of Tourism and the Suffolk Executive Airport.

“The people chosen by the selection committee represent a bright future for the economic development world,” said Andrew Levine, president of Development Counsellors International. “They are a new breed of results-driven place makers. We’re very pleased to see Kevin among the winners.”

In a profile on the company’s website, Hughes said the most overlooked issue facing economic development is the connection between schools and businesses.

“The business community must play a greater role in shaping the education programs in our schools to create the most prepared workforce for our country to remain a thriving economy,” he wrote.

For more information about the awards, visit