Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Releases 2014 Annual Report

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In 2014, VPCC initiatives, programs and events strengthened the environment for business on the Peninsula, and were as diverse as they were numerous.

The Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (VPCC) set out in 2014 to seek uncommon solutions to common challenges. The results of its efforts were released in the 2014 VPCC Annual Report.

Throughout the Peninsula region — Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, James City County and York County — the VPCC focused its attention on enhancing the business landscape of the area, working toward a better community for all to live, work and play.

In 2014, the VPCC concentrated its efforts where its members were— 46 percent of VPCC members were based in Newport News, followed by 25 percent in Hampton, 13 percent on the Southside and less than 10 percent each in York County, Williamsburg, Poquoson, James City County and outside the area.

In 2014, the VPCC hosted 115 events that brought together nearly 11,000 people (up from 4,000 in 2011) interested in expanding their connections. The events include women in business programming, leadership training, youth programs, military events, State of the Cities, seminars, expos, job fairs and more.

“The Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce continues to elevate its influence, reach and position within the regional community by excelling at bringing businesses large and small together to further economic growth,” Kasia Grzelkowski, the President and CEO of VersAbility Resources and the 2014 Chair of the Board of Directors Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, said in her letter to members in the Annual Report.

Among the successes VPCC reported for 2014 include the following:

More than 50 businesses and 300 guests attended a premier business expo held by the VPCC that provided businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services to create an awareness of their organization.

In the cities of Hampton, Newport News and Poquoson, the State of the City Series celebrated incredible leadership, growth and results on the Peninsula. The first event in the series, held in Hampton, welcomed Mayor George Wallace to speak on why businesses should choose Hampton to settle, develop and grow. In part two of the series, the high profile, sold out event showcased the excellence of local governance, economic development and community enrichment and renewal in Newport News. The series wrapped up in Poquoson, where Mayor Gene Hunt spoke of the city’s successes and strategic decision-making, and celebrated Poquoson’s position as one of the top 100 perfect suburbs in America.

Hundreds of connections were made possible at monthly events - Coffee Connections and Business Connection After Hours - held at member businesses. More than 20 area businesses hosted one of these events in 2014.

The VPCC continued to focus a large portion of its effort on education and leadership programs. LEAD Peninsula (LP), an organization that works to promote the development of civic leadership from within the business community, and fosters opportunities for increased communication and cooperation among the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Since its beginning in 1984, LP has graduated more than 700 diverse and accomplished individuals.

Connecting with the deep military community across the region, the VPCC continued its recognition and support of service members at an annual recognition lunch and military job fair.

The Youth Career Expo, an annual event hosted with the Peninsula Council for Workforce Development and the Greater Virginia Peninsula School Divisions, continued in 2014, drawing in more than 2,500 students, 300 representatives and 78 exhibitors. Virginia Senator Mark Warner served as the Honorable Event Chair.

Kenneth M. Krakaur was named the 2014 Distinguished Citizen Award. Krakaur serves in a variety of volunteer leadership roles for multiple nonprofit organizations, including the Virginia Peninsula Food Bank, the Hampton Arts Foundation, Patient First Corporation, Bay Primex, Insurance Company, LTD and NuScriptRx. He built a career at Sentara Healthcare and works as the President of Sentara’s Third Core Division with responsibility for risk finance.

VPCC programming was made possible by the 2014 partners and sponsors. VPCC partners in 2014 included the City of Newport News, the City of Hampton, the City of Poquoson, York County and James City County.

Annual VPCC sponsors included Ferguson, Bon Secours Health System, Cox, Old Point National Bank, Newport News Shipbuilding, USAA, Paragon City Center 12, Dominion, Financial Security, Donatos, Thank Goodness it’s Homemade Bakery and Confectionery, Financial Security, PostNet, Spectrum and VersAbility.

Photography support was provided throughout the year by Van H. White Photography, Bob Harper Photography, Timorah Beales Photography, Virginia Peninsula Photography and Washburn Photography.

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA PENINSULA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:

The Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (VPCC) serves the Cities of Newport News, Hampton and Poquoson; and James City County and York County.

VPCC is a business association that "Connects Business with Opportunity" through Facilitation, Advocacy, Communication and Education.

In addition to helping lead the business community on public policy impacting the Virginia Peninsula workforce, the VPCC hosts a series of programs, including the annual State of the City events for Newport News, Hampton and Poquoson; the Peninsula Executive Leadership Forum; Military Day, Job Fair and Recognition Luncheon; Young Entrepreneurs Academy; Pink Bag Lunches; and Business Connections, in addition to numerous business roundtables. As of 2013, YEA! Has graduated 1,394 students who have started over 1,000 businesses and social movements.

The VPCC is located at 21 Enterprise Parkway, Suite 100 in Hampton. For more information, call 757.262.2000 or email info@vpcc.org.

Connect to the VPCC online at http://www.vapeninsulachamber.com and via LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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Stephanie Heinatz
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