Dickens tapped for commission

Published 10:50 pm Friday, June 13, 2014

A former Suffolk mayor has been appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to the state’s Small Business Commission.

E. Dana Dickens III, who served on City Council from 1998 to 2005, will serve on the commission, which exists to make recommendations to the governor on issues of concern to small businesses in the state.

“I am honored to be appointed,” Dickens said on Friday. He said he learned of his appointment earlier in the week.

Email newsletter signup

A North Carolina native, Dickens holds of Bachelor of Arts degree in history and was a teacher before working for the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority and then entering the insurance industry.

He was appointed to the Suffolk Planning Commission in 1990, where he served as vice chair and was chair for the Subcommittee on Ordinances.

After his election to City Council in 1998, he was immediately selected as mayor. He later served on the board of directors and executive board of the Hampton Roads Partnership and on the executive committee of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance. He also served on the Western Tidewater Water Authority and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, as well as the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

In 2005, he stepped down from City Council to become president and chief executive officer of the Hampton Roads Partnership, which is where he honed his small business expertise.

“When I worked eight years at the Hampton Roads Partnership, one of our objectives was to make the region more competitive,” he said. “We learned very quickly that a lot of the new jobs were being created by small businesses.”

The partnership became involved with providing services to small businesses.

“We generated some significant job growth with small businesses by helping them find new markets, better marketing, increasing their Internet presence and that type of thing,” he said. “I have a passion for growing and providing services to small businesses.”

Dickens stepped down from the partnership in 2012, and it has since dissolved, though some of the programs it started continue. He now works as a real estate agent with William E. Wood and Associates and lives in Eclipse with his wife, Linda Dickens.