Coinciding with Military Appreciation Month, the Hampton Roads Military Affairs Committee met on Friday, May 10th to discuss regional happenings and roll out exciting announcements for the military community. The Hampton Roads Chamber is committed to supporting our military. The intent of the committee is to communicate, coordinate and collaborate for the benefit of the military members, their families, and veterans in the region. The committee is made up of a diverse group of service members, military families, and local businesses representing all aspects of military life.
President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber, Bryan Stephens said, “A refresh of the Hampton Roads regional brand is underway, which is largely influenced by the military community due to the many commands in the area and the Norfolk Naval Fleet. The goal is to be the number one region in the nation to address issues, challenges, and concerns surrounding the military.”
President of IntellecTechs, Mike Harris informed the committee on a major project, the Hampton Roads Military ‘One Stop’ website. This project stems from the need for organization to reach more military individuals with helpful topics including identifying focus areas for usability and cohesiveness across host websites. The concept will gather information and highlight issues for active duty and transitioning veterans like employment, education, social services, entrepreneurships, healthcare, housing, and financial services, all accessible in one place.
With the assistance and support of the Hampton Roads Chamber, the goal is to premiere the website by the end of the month, have feedback from users by August 2019, with the last phase linking other social media outlets by October 2019. The discussion on the project concluded with specific input from others in the room on website traction and maintenance. An overall willingness and excitement to roll out the site was encouraged by the committee.
Hampton Roads Chamber Vice Chair Military Affairs Ron Lewis provided informational updates to the committee. Lewis said, “Service members should want to be in Hampton Roads. There’s so much going on the purpose of this body it to make this area the assignment of choice. We mobilize business, take on social services, and much more.”
Featured command issues updates came from Captain Chad Vincelette regarding the defense budget being increased and important maintenance of local bases. Various defense committees are in place to discuss these issues and become more innovative to support the repairs of these bases with initiatives including using land through municipal partnerships or commercial airport options and using private and public partnerships.
The Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance (HRMFFA) Craig Quigley gave the federal and legislative updates. Quigley said, “Our organization exists to attract and retain military personnel working with federal, state, local, and business leaders to make Hampton Roads the best location for a federal agency to place working individuals.” including NASA, the Hampton-Virginia Medical Center and the coast guard. Delivered legislative fed priorities to 6 members of delegation to ask for help on a wide variety of issues throughout the years.
Upcoming Memorial Day events for Hampton Roads include the City of Norfolk Memorial Day Ceremony taking place next to the Battleship Wisconsin featuring Congresswoman Elaine Luria to celebrate and recognize the U.S. military. The Patriotic Festival will take place in June featuring country artists in support of the armed forces.
The next Hampton Roads Military Affairs Committee meeting will take place in early August 2019.