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Thursday, Feb 22, 2018

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2010: Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy: Vision Hampton Roads - Opportunities PDF Print E-mail

Task Force:  Opportunities

Lead Contact:  Art Collins, Volunteer Chair
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Coastal energy Sub-group Contact: 

Environment Sub-group Contact:

Healthcare Sub-group Contact:  Dr. C. Donald Combs PhD, Eastern VA Medical School
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The “Operations-Tactical Component” of the Plan of Action will address the implementation of specific actions that will have the greatest short term impact on maintaining and growing the three (3) pillars of our regional economy and nurturing those regional assets that have the most realistic chance of diversifying our economy: Opportunities.

Diversifying the regional economy will be the most challenging of the four objectives defined in this document. The Opportunities Sub-committee developed Objectives, Strategies and Actions for four areas of focus: 1. Technology-based business innovation and education; 2. Coastal energy solutions; 3. Environmental distinction; and 4. Healthcare and life sciences.


1. Technology-based business innovation and education:

The regional innovation economy is composed of the network of individuals, organizations and activities that collectively represent the means by which new technologies can be devised and brought to market. The components of the network include: the presence of industry clusters (modeling and simulation, information technology, biomedical research and devices, sensors and marine science); the research strengths of the region; the existing technology transfer infrastructure; interactions between universities and industry; networking; and capital availability.

The modeling and simulation industry, although supported strongly by military sponsors, has expanded to transportation, port operations, education and the medical world. The Bioscience cluster includes research developed at local colleges, universities and federal labs as well as commercial entities and extends to organ replacement, marine science and medical devices.

Although the region enjoys large expenditures on a wide variety of research and development topics, a very small percentage is sponsored by private industry. Nationally, industry sponsorship of university research runs from three to five percent of university R&D expenditures.

The Hampton Roads Technology Council, a nonprofit membership organization (now Technology Hampton Roads), maintains an extensive networking program in the region with numerous events as well as linking its membership with local elected officials, state legislators and economic development organizations. The Council also supports technology cluster organizations for sensors, information technology, electronic commerce, entrepreneurs, robotics, defense and homeland security and modeling and simulation.

Sources of equity capital for investments in start-ups and early stage companies are very limited in Hampton Roads.

2. Coastal energy solutions:

The current global emphasis on low-carbon fuels will create an opportunity for wind energy development. Hampton Roads is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the significant economic opportunity associated with offshore wind development, not only in Virginia’s waters, but also all along the East Coast. The Port of Hampton Roads has much of the industrial infrastructure needed to support the development and maintenance of wind farms off of the Mid-Atlantic coast. Developing wind energy would leverage Hampton Roads port resources and large steel fabrication facilities. We have talked extensively about our Port resources. According to the Virginia Coastal Energy Resource Consortium (VCERC) about 30% of the turbine and tower package cost associated with wind farms might be readily sourced in Virginia. The remaining 70% represents a potential manufacturing opportunity in Hampton Roads.

3. Environmental distinction:

A set of occupations with strong growth potential are in fields related to clean energy production and environmental protection. There are growing opportunities in these fields, particularly for workers with technical skills. A growing list of occupations and industries are becoming increasingly devoted to clean energy production, energy efficiency and environmental protection.

The current administration has pledged to work with Congress to pass comprehensive legislation to protect our nation from the serious economic and strategic risks associated with our reliance on foreign oil and the destabilizing effects of a changing climate. Policies to advance energy and climate security should promote economic recovery efforts, accelerate job creation and drive clean energy manufacturing by: investing in the clean energy jobs of the future, securing our energy future, and closing the carbon loophole and cracking down on polluters. Source: President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)

4. Healthcare and life sciences:

Healthcare is forecasted by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers to remain a large source of job growth in the labor market. The long-term trend toward more employment in healthcare is expected to continue, with many health care occupations, including medical records and health information technicians, registered nurses, clinical laboratory technicians and physical therapists, expected to grow. Hampton Roads can become the place where people from around the world come for specific medical treatments given the current facilities/assets as well as those on the horizon.

Hampton Roads also hosts significant military health facilities. Building of the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), proposed to ultimately link all health providers together electronically to speed medical care and reduce costs, will start at the regional level. The region is an ideal location to pursue health information exchange technologies among military, Veteran’s Administration and private health systems.

Opportunities Objectives-Strategies-Actions

OBJECTIVE:  Hampton Roads will be recognized internationally as a region for centers of excellence fueled by a culture of innovation and economic opportunities. (#1 Ranked Objective)

Strategy 1:  Hampton Roads will be a region of excellence for environmental distinction.

Action 1: Develop and implement the multi-disciplinary systems capabilities to enable critical assessments and tradeoffs between energy, the environment and the economy.

Action 2: Develop a framework for a green economy by connecting all of the public, private, nonprofit and higher education activities aimed at coordinating the regional green agenda in order for Hampton Roads to be a region of excellence for environmental distinction.

Action 3: Develop and implement a regional campaign for awareness of environmental issues and their implications and methodologies for going “green.”

Action 4: Leverage the strong heavy-industry (primarily shipyard trade) capabilities in Hampton Roads to become a center for the manufacture and maintenance of conventional, nuclear and renewable energy-related infrastructure in order for Hampton Roads to be a region of excellence for developing and implementing offshore wind energy and other coastal energy solutions.

Action 5:  Cooperate with regional port facilities in Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia and North Carolina on transportation and logistics of major offshore energy components in order to establish the Port as the manufacturing and supply chain hub of the East Coast offshore energy industry. (identified by Port Sub-committee)

Strategy 2:  Hampton Roads will be a region of excellence for healthcare and life sciences.

Action 1:  Work to insure quality, cost effective healthcare is available to citizens of Hampton Roads in order that businesses may be more competitive.

Action 2:  Address healthcare as a quality of life measure for our region.

Action 3:  Reach out to regional leaders in healthcare to determine and address what they need to grow their industry.

Action 4:  Leverage the academic, research, and infrastructure capabilities of local colleges, universities and federal labs as well as commercial entities to become a region of distinction for the convergence of life sciences, information technology, photonics, nanotechnology and personalized healthcare.


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