By Tim Ryan

Two regional economic development organizations, Hampton Roads Business Roundtable and Reinvent Hampton Roads, are merging to establish the Hampton Roads Executive Roundtable. The new organization aims to coordinate the alignment of the region’s economic development organizations, strategy, and initiatives while improving economic growth and competitiveness.

Nancy Grden, former president and CEO of Reinvent Hampton Roads, will lead the new organization. Co-chairing the roundtable will be Dennis Matheis, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare Inc., and Cliff Fleet, president and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The roundtable will include CEOs, presidents, and representatives from major regional corporations, organizations, higher education institutions, foundations, and emerging companies.

A main goal of the new roundtable is to promote regionalism over competition among Hampton Roads localities. Combining the groups will bolster funding, improve resource utilization, and increase efficiency when pursuing federal funding. The roundtable also aims to identify key industry clusters to support job and company growth, reverse population losses due to out-migration in Hampton Roads, and implement transformational changes for the region.

As a support organization for GO Virginia Region 5, the new roundtable will facilitate the state’s economic development initiatives, awarding millions of dollars in grants to projects in Hampton Roads, Eastern Shore, and Northern Neck.

The merger represents an important step in aligning economic development leadership, advocating for communities, and setting a clear path for growth in Hampton Roads. The collaboration is expected to strengthen the relationship between business and higher education for talent and innovation.

In addition to the roundtable, the Regional Organizations Presidents Council has been formed to align key regional organizations, including Hampton Roads Alliance, Hampton Roads Workforce Council, and Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, among others. This coordinated effort aims to provide better alignment and collaboration in economic development goals across major metro areas in the region.