Leaders Gather in Richmond for Virginia Forum on Infrastructure and Its Impact on Economic Development
September 26th, 2023

Media Contact

Hannah Emerson

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Moments ago, the Virginia Forum on Infrastructure and Its Impact on Economic Development concluded with participation from members of the business community, Governor Youngkin’s administration, and industry experts.

Leaders in infrastructure-reliant industries including energy, broadband, housing, and economic development discussed the importance of infrastructure to their regular operations, how they navigate challenges such as inflation and supply chain shortages, and the opportunities and challenges to infrastructure development presented by technological transformation.

The program featured keynote remarks by The Honorable Sheppard “Shep” Miller III, Virginia Secretary of Transportation, and John Hewa, President & CEO, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative.

At the conclusion of the program, the Virginia Chamber announced the creation of the Blueprint Virginia Infrastructure Executive Committee, which will launch this fall. The Committee will focus on efforts to position Virginia as a leading state for the development of efficient and sustainable infrastructure that supports long-term economic growth such as advancing infrastructure investments, improving broadband access, expanding transportation networks, and supporting industry workforce initiatives. John Hewa of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative will lead as Chair of the committee, and Terry Ellis of Comcast will serve as Vice Chair.

“In many ways, the economy of Virginia, and the United States, depends on high-quality, robust infrastructure,” said Virginia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Barry DuVal. “As our population continues to increase, and technology continues to improve, ensuring continued economic growth will require infrastructure which is planned for and meets future needs.

“Virginia’s economic strength is only as strong as its infrastructure assets. Businesses in every corner of the Commonwealth depend on efficient, effective, and reliable transportation infrastructure to move their goods and services to markets,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation, Shep Miller. “Virginia’s transportation system is a catalyst for jobs and economic growth, ensuring the Commonwealth remains competitive. A high-quality, well-maintained transportation network is essential to being the best state for business.”

“As Chair of the Blueprint Virginia Infrastructure Executive Committee, I look forward to working on policies that address the Commonwealth’s Infrastructure needs for the future,” said John Hewa, President & CEO, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and Chair, Blueprint Virginia Infrastructure Executive Committee. “Industry experts participating in the committee will bring a broad range of institutional knowledge and experience to the group, which will help implement the recommendations delineated in Blueprint Virginia 2030.”


Highlights from the Forum Include:


Keynote and Special Remarks:

The Honorable Sheppard “Shep” Miller III, Virginia Secretary of Transportation

John Hewa, P.E., Dr. Eng, President & CEO, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

Maurice Royster, Equitrans Midstream Corporation 

Lakshmi Williams, General Counsel, Transurban North America and Chair, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors


Panel Discussion – “Blueprint for Success: Integrating Infrastructure and Economic Development”


Brooks Smith¸ Managing Partner, Troutman Pepper – Richmond 


  • Katharine Bond, Vice President for Public Policy, Alternative Energy and Economic Development Strategy, Dominion Energy
  • Susan Dewey, Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Housing
  • Robert Duvall, President, Virginia Natural Gas
  • Chris Kyle, Vice President Industry Affairs and Regulatory, Shenandoah Telecommunications Company
  • Doug Smith, President & CEO, Hampton Roads Alliance

The full program for the Virginia Forum on Infrastructure and Its Impact on Economic Development can be found here: Virginia Forum on Infrastructure and Its Impact on Economic Development – Virginia Chamber of Commerce (vachamber.com)



About the Virginia Chamber Foundation:

The Virginia Chamber Foundation tracks Virginia’s economic competitiveness, conducts research and analysis, and hosts programs connected to the priorities of Blueprint Virginia. In December 2021, the Chamber released its new statewide strategic economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2030, which engaged over 7,000 business, economic development, workforce, education, housing, and other community leaders to lay out a plan to ensure Virginia remains at the top of national business climate rankings. Learn more at  www.blueprintvirginia.org.