Regionalism & PR Panel: How Communication Shapes our Region
Join us IN PERSON on Tuesday, October 18th for lunch and an informative panel discussion from regional leaders! How does PR/communication shape regionalism efforts in Coastal Virginia and beyond? As the Hampton Roads State of the Region report releases, we’ll engage in a timely and important discussion to explore the importance of a PR perspective for regionalism and discuss ways to unify and move our region forward.
Lunch from Taste provided. Please register by Monday, October 17th.
Dr. Bob McNab, Director, Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy
Brooke Grow, Communications Manager, HRBT Expansion Project, VDOT
Steve Harrison, COO, Hampton Roads Alliance
Mary Fugere, Director, Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau
Moderator: Barbara Hamm Lee
Panelist and Moderator Bios:
Dr. Bob McNab
Professor Robert M. McNab currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Economics and the Director of the Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy in the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University. He has published over 50 articles and chapters and is an Associate Editor with Journal of Economic Surveys and a board member of Public Finance and Management and Management and Organization Review. His research interests include the outcomes of fiscal decentralization and defense economics. Professor McNab has provided advice on issues of strategy, the allocation of public resources, and program evaluation in numerous countries. He has also taught extensively on the question of the efficient and effective use of public resources to domestic and international audiences. He has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Yahoo Finance, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginian Pilot, and Daily Press as well as national, state, and local television and radio. Dr. McNab joined the faculty of the Department of Economics in the Strome College of Business of Old Dominion University in July 2016 and previously was a member of the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California from 2000 to 2016. Professor McNab received his Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Stanislaus in 1991 and his Ph.D. in Economics in 2001 from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Brooke Grow is the Communications Manager for the HRBT Expansion Project, and joined the project in April 2022. Grow has an extensive 20-year career in Corporate Communication, Municipal and State Government Relations, Community Outreach, along with US and International Business Development. For the past eight years, she worked for PRA Group as the Assistant VP of Business Development for its Canadian division; and prior to that she worked for the Virginia Department of Transportation for three years as a Senior Communications Specialist in the Hampton Roads District Office.
A native of Annapolis, Maryland, Grow is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in Corporate Communications. With her husband and two children Brooke has lived in the Hampton Roads Region since 2010.
Steve Harrison joined the Hampton Roads Alliance in June 2019. Steve previously served as Vice President of Business Intelligence & Communications and stepped into the role of Interim Chief Strategy Officer in June 2022. In September 2022, he began serving as the organization's Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Steve assists President & CEO Doug Smith with developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic initiatives while also managing operations, marketing, and business intelligence efforts.
Steve previously served as Research Director for the Alliance from 2010-2012. Between that time and his return to the Alliance in 2019, he served as Business Development and Research Manager for Virginia Beach Economic Development. During his tenure with the city, he significantly enhanced the way Virginia Beach positioned itself as a business destination through the creation of a variety of new portals and documents, including the Virginia Beach Community Profile, websites, and a first-of-its-kind iPad App. His work garnered four International Economic Development Council (IEDC) awards. He also served as a creator and lead of the VABeachBio biomedical business development initiative and on the board of 757Accelerate.
Steve is a Hampton Roads native with extensive experience in Economic Development. He is a two-time graduate of The College of William & Mary, with both a Bachelor’s in Government and a Master’s in Public Policy. He is actively involved in the community and served as President of the Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) in 2021; he currently serves as VEDA's Immediate Past President. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement and as a member of the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC). Steve was named among the Inside Business "Top 40 Under 40" in 2021. He and his husband, Phil, reside in Virginia Beach.
Mary Fugere is the Director of the Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau, leading Hampton’s destination marketing to conventions, sports competitions, group and leisure visitors by promoting Hampton visitor experiences and its venues, including the Hampton Roads Convention Center, Hampton Coliseum, Boo Williams Sportsplex and the new Hampton Virginia Aquaplex, opening October 29. Mary serves on the executive committees of several tourism industry organizations, including the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association; the Virginia Association of Destination Marketing Organizations; Civil War Trails; and serves as President of the Coastal Virginia Tourism Alliance. Mary chairs Hampton City Schools’ Hospitality & Tourism Academy curriculum committee, guiding the Phoebus High School program that cultivates tourism professionals of the future.
Barbara Hamm Lee
Barbara Hamm Lee is the executive producer and host of Another View, a weekly talk show that examines today’s issues from an African American perspective, and airs every Thursday at noon on 89.5 WHRV-FM. She is also the owner of Sharing Info, LLC, a media/communications consulting company located in Norfolk, Virginia.
She is very involved in the community serving as a board member for the Let Freedom Ring Foundation, the Williamsburg Symphony, and the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence. She is a former chair of the board for the YWCA, South Hampton Roads, and the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
Barbara is married to Maxie Lee, has two daughters and a granddaughter and attends First Baptist Church, Berkley.