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DAC – Economic Impact Panel

DAC 4-28-22 web size

Defense Affairs Committee (DAC) Economic Impact Panel – April 28, 2022

The Chamber Defense Affairs Committee hosted a panel of local defense sector personnel to discuss the economic and social impact of the sector in Central Virginia.

Over 70 people assembled at the UVA Foundation’s North Fork Meeting Center to share lunch sponsored by Albemarle County. Attendees heard about the opportunities and challenges the defense sector faces, as well as its positive effects that enhance the area.

Albemarle County Economic Development Director Roger Johnson moderated the panel. Panelists included Barry Johnston of Booz Allen Hamilton, Andrew Fraser of Northrop Grumman, James Garrett with Luna Labs, Rob Jones from the UVA Office of the Vice President for Research, James Scofield from the National Ground Intelligence Center, and Colonel Randy Swansiger of the US Army JAG Legal Center & School.

A question-and-answer period followed the presentation. Both panelists and attendees offered ideas and comments that could lead to a robust and sustainable defense environment in the Central Virginia area.

Workforce issues were a key topic of conversation, with both private sector and military entities saying not enough students are going into STEM fields.

DAC intends to facilitate further exploration of how to get the local defense companies more involved with middle and high school students to plant seeds and get them interested in STEM fields. Ideas included internships, mentoring, and judging competitions.