HREDA celebrates successful year

Published 6:52 pm Thursday, February 2, 2017

During its 19th annual meeting, held Jan. 26 in Portsmouth, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance hosted three of the nation’s top site consultants for a panel discussion of economic trends and outlooks in the industries of advanced manufacturing, food and beverage processing, and headquarters, shared services and back office operations.

“Regionalism allows us to “box above our weight,” said Didi Caldwell, a senior principal consultant with Global Location Strategies. She was accompanied by Scott Kupperman, consultant and president of Kupperman Location Solutions, and Kim Moore, a consultant and managing director of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who said her first visit to Virginia was great and that the Port of Virginia’s presentation was one of the best she’d ever seen.

The panel was moderated by the Alliance’s newest hire, Eric Miller, executive vice president of business development.

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The showcase project for the year was ADP in Norfolk, a project that will create 1,800 jobs, invest $32.25 million and occupy 286,800 square feet.

A video was shown featuring testimonials of millennials who were hired at ADP last year. Employees Kenya Johnson, Karen Cedillos, Ibrahim Diaite, Justin Dilligard and Lakitta Hicks also spoke in the program, sharing how their job opportunities with ADP greatly impacted their lives and how much they enjoy living in Hampton Roads.

The event was attended by 170 community leaders and stakeholders, including Congressman Bobby Scott and Regional Directors Charlotte Hurd and Diane Kaufman from the Senate offices of Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine.

Local officials included Mayor Donnie Tuck of Hampton, Mayor Frank Rabil and Councilman Linwood Johnson of Franklin, City Councilwoman Jana Andrews of Poquoson, and Vice Mayor Paige Cherry and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Psimas of Portsmouth.

The Alliance’s 2017 chairman, Jim Bourey, and President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Weddle presented their reports and left the attendees with a teaser for the Alliance’s upcoming 20th anniversary event, which will occur this summer.

“Since 1997, the Alliance has been involved with 135 projects, and 94 of those projects are still in operation,” Weddle said.

“These projects currently account for almost 12,000 jobs across the region. As you can see, these projects are fairly well distributed across the region, because our workforce is truly a regional workforce. Thirty percent of these companies have grown employment by 10 percent or more over their original announced level, showing that Hampton Roads really is a good place to do business.”