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Business Forum to Address Sea Level Rise Threat

Old Dominion University is partnering with Hampton Roads business leaders to launch a public discussion intended to develop ideas for promoting sea level rise resiliency in the region.

To that end, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Inside Business and the Hampton Roads Business Journal are hosting the Hampton Roads Resilience Forum on Aug. 22 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. RISE, a non-profit organization created to promote resilience innovations is leading the inaugural program and Old Dominion is its presenting sponsor.

This regional forum will bring together experts in business, science, technology, engineering, and water management to jumpstart conversations among the community and local stakeholders about the economic benefit and necessity of implementing resilience initiatives, as well as discuss ideas for new innovations and practices. The forum will facilitate community discussion of ideas and input for use in further developing regional public policy. Attendees will also be updated on local, national and global resilience projects that could be adopted in the Hampton Roads region.

Faculty members from ODU, including Emily Steinhilber, a research assistant professor; Chip Filer, associate of the Economic Forecasting Project and associate professor of economics; Wie Yusef, associate professor of public service; and Ron Carlee, a visiting assisant professor of public service, will moderate panels during the event. Old Dominion President John R. Broderick will also speak.

"One of the important things about this event is it will help us reach a critical new audience — the Hampton Roads business community," Steinhilber said. "As we move forward with building resiliency, economic opportunities and mitigating risk to the economy are at the forefront. Business leaders can work with us to help us move resilience forward in the region."

The program is designed as a community conversation. Speakers and panelists will present relevant examples of work already being done within their areas of expertise, while reviewing relevant opportunities and challenges. A networking luncheon will follow.

Bryan Stephens, president and CEO of the Hampton Chamber of Commerce, said the region's business community cannot idly sit by as waters rise, but must instead "engage in efforts to improve our resilience and coastal adaptation - whether through developing new technology, training local residents for jobs for the resilience economy, or collaborating with local government."

Inside Business publisher, Mike Herron explained there are a number of critical resilience initiatives underway in Hampton Roads.

"Our goal for the forum is to build on these projects," he said. "The forum will generate community collaboration and support for these resilience programs and initiatives and help develop new ideas. We are extremely excited to be partnering with the Hampton Roads Chamber to help further stimulate the economic development of resilience technologies and services across our region.

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