The Largest Virginia Beach State of the City


The Largest Virginia Beach State of the City
Added on March 19, 2024 by Amanda Duncan to Chamber News

The Largest Virginia Beach State of the City

On March 14, the Hampton Roads Chamber hosted the largest Virginia Beach State of the City in recent years at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Mayor Bobby Dyer and City Manager Patrick Duhaney took the stage to share city updates and join in the celebration of the great city of Virginia Beach!

Both Mayor Dyer and City Manager Duhaney spoke about the power of collaboration. City Manager Patrick Duhaney shared appreciation for Virginia Beach City Council and city staff.  Mayor Dyer continued, “Together with my 10 colleagues, each representing unique districts across our great city, our Focused Action Plan covers three overarching key focus areas – Govern, Envision, and Invigorate.”

Virginia Beach Emergency Management and Public Safety teams were highlighted for their efforts after the EF-3 tornado touched down in the Great Neck area on April 30, 2023. Public safety acknowledgements continued with the announcement of the 50th anniversary of the Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services’ Emergency Coronary Care Program. Not only are they the only volunteer pre-hospital advanced life support team in the nation, but also the first cardiac tech program in Virginia.

Praises continued for the Virginia Beach Fire Department as 56 new graduates joined the department and over 40,000 service calls were responded to. Virginia Beach police were highlighted as Mayor Dyer proudly reported that violent and property crimes as well as motor vehicle larceny were down compared to 2022.

The City Manager went on to share that the 5/31 Memorial Commission has been working on a memorial design that will be constructed in honor of those whose lives were lost on that tragic day. “When completed, this memorial will be a thoughtful and lovely place on our municipal campus where everyone can reflect and remember,” shared City Manager Duhaney.

The Mayor and City Manager gave special thanks to community and city leaders like Ken Stolle, who just retired as Sheriff after a long and faithful career dedicated to the city, and Rocky Holcomb, who stepped down from City Council to take the position as the new Sheriff of Virginia Beach. The Mayor also acknowledged the recent passing of two other significant community leaders, Dr. Clarence Holland and Reverend Dr. Pat Robertson.

The recent success of the city, as supported by its dedicated leaders was shown through its impressive nationwide rankings for 2023. It was shared that Virginia Beach was listed as the third safest large city, the fourth best city for veterans and their families, the fifth best large city for newlyweds, and one of the Top 100 places to live, along with many other impressive rankings involving quality of life, city services, and other local benefits.

The Mayor and City Manager then continued with how the city leaders could “envision” the future of the city. It was shared that Virginia Beach’s future would be secured by projects like flood protection initiatives, multiple significant construction projects, and increasing educational opportunities. City Manager Duhaney explained that they recognize and understand the need and great importance of having an educated workforce prepared for the growth of new jobs, such as those in the data science industry. This goal is supported by partnerships with Virginia Wesleyan University and Old Dominion University.

There was also the exciting announcement of the new Transatlantic Subsea Cables that would connect directly with the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, providing incredible improvements to internet connectivity that will further push the City toward having the best infrastructure and economic opportunity available.

City Manager Duhaney and Mayor Dyer further illustrated the explosive economic growth in the Virginia Beach business community through the expansion of existing businesses in addition to the introduction of “new ventures” to the city. For example, Virginia Beach native companies such as DOMA Technologies, Acoustical Sheetmetal Company, and DroneUP have all seen incredible growth in the past year, as have national and international companies like ThayerMahan, Correll Group, Chorus Intelligence, and KPMG. Virginia Beach has also welcomed new companies to the region, such as LEGO, ZIM American Integrated Shipping Services, and Amazon.

Mayor Dyer and City Manager Duhaney then shared the many ways that Virginia Beach is moving to invigorate its community, pursuing “a clean, inspiring, and vibrant environment where all residents and guests feel safe and where they have access to the services and amenities that provide a high quality of life.” In support of this ambitious goal, the City has seen great success in its tourism industry, with a $300 million increase from 2022, and the funding of more than 32,000 jobs.

In the field of education, Mayor Dyer and City Manager Duhaney explained how local schools and businesses are contributing to the health and success of the City. Virginia Beach schools have reached record-high levels of on-time graduation, along with other incredible awards and milestones. Other organizations like the Virginia Aquarium and Newport News Shipbuilding have also contributed to the educational opportunities of Virginia Beach’s youth. Major Dyer expressed particular excitement for the H.O.P.E. Initiative, explaining that he wanted Virginia Beach “to harness that energy and generosity that runs through our city and help fill the need for purposeful connections and work together as one.” In connection with this initiative, Mayor Dyer recognized Green Run High School football coach, Cadillac Harris for his hard work in “helping our youth excel.”

City Manager Duhaney then congratulated the Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Department for being the 2023 National Gold Medal Award winner for “Excellence in Parks and Recreation Management” by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. In this competitive national competition, Virginia Beach was praised for its many “unique initiatives” such as the Woodstock Park Skate Park, Parks After Dark, and the Bow Creek Stormwater Park.

The Mayor and City Manager concluded the Virginia Beach State of the City by expressing hope for the future while pointing out what the city needs in order to continue its recent progress, like the need for a younger generation of employees and a more competitive job market. As a symbol of this ambitious path forward, the Mayor and City Manager shared the new project called the Virginia Beach Trail which will eventually provide “12 miles of shared-use path” that “will cross the full width of the City of Virginia Beach,” further connecting the community and symbolizing the City’s path toward a great future.

The Hampton Roads Chamber would like to thank Mayor Bobby Dyer and City Manager Patrick Duhaney for sharing community accomplishments, business updates, and exciting future endeavors with our audience.

A major thank you to our event sponsors:
Series Presenting Sponsor: TowneBank
Series Platinum Sponsors: ADP and Bon Secours
Building the Future Sponsor: The Franklin Johnston Group
Series Silver Sponsors: ABNB Federal Credit Union, BayPort Credit Union, Dominion Energy, GEICO, Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Langley Federal Credit Union, Sentara Health Plans, Verizon
Bronze Sponsors: Chartway Credit Union, Kitty Hawk Wind, Willcox & Savage, P.C.
Host Sponsor: Virginia Beach Convention Center
Decor Sponsor: Premier Events Inc.
Series Media Sponsors: WTKR News 3 and Two-Twelve Media