By Tim Ryan

Today, Hampton Roads lost a luminary in John O. “Dubby” Wynne. His name resonates not just for the business acumen he displayed throughout his illustrious career but also for his enduring commitment to innovation and community building in the region we call home. As we remember Dubby, it’s pivotal to focus on his indelible impact on innovation, not just in media but also in our local economy and institutions.

From his early days at Norfolk Academy to his time at Princeton and the University of Virginia Law School, Dubby was the epitome of a lifelong learner, always thirsty for knowledge. His educational background, punctuated by mentorships from figures like Norfolk Academy’s Headmaster J.B. Massey, provided the cornerstone for a career that would redefine industry and community life sectors.

In 1982, Dubby was instrumental in the launch of The Weather Channel while working at Landmark Communications. This move was not just a business decision but an innovative leap. It changed how weather information was disseminated and set a precedent for specialized, 24-hour cable networks. His work earned him several prestigious awards, including the Vanguard Award for Programmers and the Governor’s Award from the National Academy of Cable Programming.

Beyond his media ventures, Dubby was deeply entrenched in civic activities, often using his influence to foster innovation. He was a cornerstone in creating the Go Virginia Foundation, a state-appointed board aimed at financial incentives for localities. By doing so, he gave a much-needed boost to job creation and economic stability in Hampton Roads and beyond. He also chaired Reinvent Hampton Roads, supplementing Go Virginia’s initiatives and focusing on strengthening our local economy.

Perhaps the most striking facet of Dubby’s legacy is his passion for nurturing the next generation of innovators. He was an active member of 757 Angels and invested in several startups based in Hampton Roads and Virginia. Through his investments and mentorships, Dubby provided the lifeblood many young enterprises needed to get off the ground.

Dubby Wynne was not just a successful business leader but a visionary committed to elevating Hampton Roads through calculated risks and innovative ventures. His loss is deeply felt, but his influence will continue to shape the region for years to come. As we mourn the loss of a regional titan, let’s also celebrate the indomitable spirit of innovation that he leaves as his legacy. Thank you, Dubby, for showing us that anything is possible with the right blend of education, mentorship, and community involvement. Rest in peace.

So, as we reflect on Dubby’s incredible life, let us not just mourn the loss but also find inspiration in his unparalleled commitment to innovation and community. Here’s to Dubby Wynne—may his legacy continue to inspire us all.

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