September 14, 2020
In early March, I informed you that our ODU Economic Development Catalyst Task Force had identified the maritime domain as a key focus of its strategy and direction. The task force was co-chaired by community leader Dubby Wynne (the retired president and CEO of Landmark Communications, chair of Reinvent Hampton Roads and chair of GO Virginia Foundation) and Nancy Grden (associate vice president of Old Dominion's Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship). The Hampton Roads community had also recognized ODU as a major catalyst and leader in the maritime economy.
Despite the challenges of the past few months, I am pleased that we have made progress on these efforts in Hampton Roads and at ODU:
In the region, the Hampton Roads Maritime Collaborative for Growth & Innovation (HRMC) was established, with more than 40 members representing business, maritime sectors, offshore wind, the Navy, and regional and state economic development partners. I serve as one of the chairs, along with Dubby Wynne and Ret. Navy Vice Admiral David Architzel.
HRMC will provide thought leadership to encourage long-term economic development and innovation for the region's maritime ecosystem. HRMC identified eight initiatives, including maritime/Navy sustainment, offshore wind, resilience, talent pipelines, supply chain and innovation. Another is for Old Dominion to be a "globally recognized leader in maritime."
These maritime initiatives have even greater promise for impact in these challenging COVID-19 times - providing both a foundation and a catalyst to grow our region in the years ahead. To accelerate that progress, Nancy Grden has been appointed special assistant to the president for maritime initiatives and will serve as HRMC's initial executive director. Nancy also will co-convene a new ODU Maritime Initiative Leadership Work Group, along with Mileta Tomovic, a professor in the Departments of Engineering Technology and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Other members of the work group, representing all colleges, the Graduate School and the Office of Research, will be announced in the near future.
In these unusual times, it is exciting to pursue an opportunity that is a true win-win for our region and ODU. Please join me in supporting Nancy and Mileta in their new assignments. They will keep you informed of future developments.
John R. Broderick