NSA names new directors

Published 10:09 pm Saturday, September 14, 2013

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy has welcomed G. Robert Aston, Dr. I.A. “Dimi” Barot and Charles R. Birdsong as new members of its board of directors.

They join current board members: S. Jane Benton, Monica Y. Brothers, Harry L. Cross III, Carlton L. Cutchin III, Rob J. Geis, Donald Z. Goldberg, William W. Hannah, J. Carney Hawks, Patricia P. Hartman, Crystal H. Jackson, Robert W. Jones, Deborah M. McHorney, Dr. Anne E. Morgan, Brian T. Rowe, Roy “Chip” Runyon III, W. Douglas Russell, Nancy M. Tuck and Kenneth W. Wren Jr. R. Scott Carr, will serve for the second consecutive year as chairman.



Aston is a past chairman of the NSA Board of Trustees and a professional banker with more than 48 years of banking leadership, including twenty-eight years experience as president and CEO. He is chairman of the board and CEO at TowneBank and also serves as the chairman of the board and director of the TowneBank Foundation.

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Aston is an active board member on several regional boards and serves as the president and chairman of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation; as director, executive committee member-at-large and past chairman of the board of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum; as trustee and past president of the Old Dominion University Intercollegiate Foundation; and as trustee of the Fort Monroe Authority and a director of the Hampton Roads Business Roundtable.

In 2012, he was honored with the Economic Impact Award from Old Dominion University. He was given the Distinguished Virginian Award from the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Aston was also named the TowneBank Outstanding Philanthropist by the Hampton Roads Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2010 and was the Horizons 2009 Gala Honoree, as well as being honored with the 2008 Lenora Mathews Lifetime Achievement Award by Volunteer Hampton Roads in 2008.

He graduated from the National Installment Credit School at the University of Oklahoma in 1971 and from the Graduate School of Retail Banking at the University of Virginia in 1973. Aston lives in Portsmouth with his wife, Cindy, and has five children and six grandchildren.



Barot was admitted to a seven-year Honors Program in Medicine via Old Dominion University/Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) after graduating from NSA in 1993. He finished college in two and a half years and attended a philosophy school in India, prior to attending medical school. He studied neurology at the University of Miami Hospitals & Clinics and was fellowship-trained in sleep medicine via the Yale University School of Medicine.

He subsequently returned to Hampton Roads to build a multi-center neurology and sleep disorders medical practice. Barot has earned the title of Fellow by the Royal Society of Medicine and has been honored with the Patients’ Choice Award, America’s Top Physicians Award and America’s Most Compassionate Physicians Award.

Barot is board-certified in both neurology and sleep medicine and is on the Board of Visitors of Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he serves as an associate professor. He has been a member of the American Academy of Neurology for more than 10 years and has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

After publishing articles in national journals and chapters in authoritative textbooks on sleep medicine, Barot retired from clinical practice to start his own healthcare companies, including Arima Health.

He is on the Board of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, the Board of TowneBank and was recently appointed to the Economic Development Authority for the city of Suffolk.



Charles R. Birdsong currently serves as vice president of operations and procurement and general manager for the Virginia Carolina region for Birdsong Peanuts. A 1988 NSA graduate, he has been employed with Birdsong, a family business headquartered in Suffolk, since 1992 after graduating that year from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in history.

While at Birdsong Peanuts, he has been working in the areas of procurement, shelling, cold storage, marketing and operations for the company.

He has served on both the Peanut Administrative Committee and the Peanut Standards Board, and he currently sits on the Board of the American Peanut Council. In addition, Birdsong serves as president of the Virginia Carolina Peanut Shellers Association.

Birdsong has served on the Sentara Healthcare Board of Trustees and returns to the NSA Board of Trustees after a previous nine-year term of service. During that time, he served as vice chairman for three years and as chairman for three years.

He currently serves on the board of directors for the Suffolk Foundation and raises money for the United Way of Hampton Roads and the University of Virginia’s Athletic Foundation. He lives in Suffolk with his wife, Davin, and has a son, Will, and a daughter, Penn.