By Tim Ryan

Lighthouse Labs heralds a new chapter with the appointment of Debbie Irwin as its new Managing Director. With a celebrated tenure at the Shenandoah Community Capital Fund, where she significantly amplified its impact and reach, Debbie brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record to Lighthouse Labs. Her strategic insight into the needs of founders, coupled with her deep-rooted connections across Virginia, positions her as a pivotal force for Lighthouse Labs as it sails into its next decade of fostering startup success.

As Innovate Hampton Roads enthusiasts, this development is especially exciting. It underscores the vibrant tapestry of innovation that weaves through Virginia, highlighting the critical role of leadership in nurturing entrepreneurship ecosystems. Debbie’s vision to build upon Lighthouse Labs’ legacy of accelerating dynamic startups promises to inject new vigor into our region’s innovation landscape. Her involvement in various capacities, including the co-founding of The Manufactory Collective and contributions to municipal support programs, demonstrates her commitment to fostering entrepreneurial growth.

This leadership transition comes at a time when Lighthouse Labs prepares to welcome its 16th cohort, signifying continuous momentum in empowering founders. With Art Espey moving to semi-retirement but continuing to lend his expertise as a board member, the organization is poised for an exciting future under Debbie’s stewardship.

For the Hampton Roads innovation community, Debbie Irwin’s appointment should be viewed as an inspiration. It reinforces the importance of strategic leadership and community connectivity in elevating the entrepreneurial ecosystem. As we celebrate this new chapter for Lighthouse Labs, we remain committed to spotlighting stories that inspire and propel our local innovators toward success.