Hampton Roads Industry Clusters
Reinvent Hampton Roads’ commitment to investment, collaboration and talent development supports growth in key industry clusters that drive economic expansion. Several industry clusters are growing and thriving in Hampton Roads, thanks to competitive incentives, world-renowned laboratories and research facilities, an innovative entrepreneurial scene and a highly skilled workforce.
Here is a brief look at some key industry clusters:
- Economic development opportunities related to the coming expansion and modernization of the Port of Virginia.
- Deep-water rivers provide opportunity for a variety of terminal operations beyond just container terminals.
- The possible rebranding of Region 5 as “Virginia’s Global Gateway” provides a coordination of the Commonwealth’s multi-modal assets (air, rail and ports) which will open opportunities for business attraction.
- Highway improvements will better connect the Port to the I-95 corridor.
- Deepening and widening of the channel will position the port as a leader among the ports on the east coast.
We define “advanced” with the conditions suggested in a 2015 Brookings study on advanced industries. The criteria from that study were:
- R&D spending for the industry in the 80th percentile or $450 per worker
- 21% or more of the occupations in the industry require a STEM education
The region has seen steady employment growth from 2012-2017, increasing 1.4%. This is in line with employment growth nationally (1.8%) over the same time period. Wages in the cluster average $51,000 annually. Also, the cluster is seen as a star given the LQs and employment growth.
- Advanced manufacturing is becoming as much about how things are made than what is made. This opens opportunities for companies to create unique solutions for producers in the region.
- Advanced materials are growing at a rapid rate. The region could leverage the scientific talent at the higher education institutions to contribute in this space.
- The region has potential to leverage its previous assets in modeling and simulation to advance techniques in digital manufacturing.
- Data Analytics and “big data” analysis is becoming a more important part of manufacturing.
The real growth opportunity for firms in this cluster is to become the supplier of cyber and data services to the firms in the clusters above. Firms in the region have significant needs in cyber and data analytics. Those needs represent “low hanging” opportunities for immediate job growth in the cluster.
- A number of the existing regional clusters need services from this cluster. So, growth in shipbuilding and ship repair, for example, will drive growth in cyber and data analytics.
- Analysis of “big data” is becoming increasingly attractive.
- The move to digital manufacturing provides a valuable connection between the cyber/analytics/mod-sim cluster and the regional cluster in advanced manufacturing.
- The Navy’s fleet is aging and will require substantial maintenance and construction of new vessels over the next decade.
- The Jones Act provides a competitive advantage to US shipyards in the construction of tugs, brown-water ships and other ships engaged in "coastwise trade.”
- The region has an opportunity to be the leader in digital shipbuilding with Newport News Shipbuilding, The Apprentice School and ODU’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and
- Simulation Center (VMASC) playing leading roles
- There is an increasing number of national firms establishing a region presence in Hampton Roads. This helps to attract additional talent to the area.
- Regional educational and research institutions are increasing their work in water technology. The Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency represents a recent collaborative initiative among William & Mary, Old Dominion University and Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
- The creation of RISE provides an innovation champion for the cluster.
- Development and attraction of firms that create technologies and software for use in unmanned and aerospace vehicles.
- Expand the use of this technology into agriculture, public safety, engineering and construction (air, ground and water) and unmanned traffic management technologies.
- Leverage the overlaps between the necessary skills in this cluster and Advanced Manufacturing, Cyber, Data Analytics and Modelling/Simulation, and Water Technologies to accelerate innovation and workforce development.