Virginia Chamber of Commerce elects new chairman at ‘Chamber Day at the Capitol’
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce elected Tom Palmer chairman of its board of directors Wednesday at its annual Chamber Day at the Capitol held at the Omni Richmond Hotel.
Palmer is a senior vice president and regional vice president for the Central Virginia regional commercial banking office of Wells Fargo, based in Richmond. He also oversees the Eastern Virginia commercial banking office.
Palmer served as first vice chair of the board in 2015. He succeeds 2015 chairman Stacy Mendler, chief operating officer of Alion Science and Technology.
The event included speeches from several state officials, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe. He told an optimistic story about the state of Virginia’s economy, while emphasizing the need to improve education, before a crowd of more than 275 business people.
He also said that Virginia needs to ensure it has a well-trained workforce to keep up with the demands of a changing economy. McAuliffe emphasized the need to better fund community college job training programs, while citing the relatively low figure of $5 million a year that Virginia currently spends on such programs. By comparison, North Carolina, one of Virginia’s closest economic competitors, spends $92 million a year on such programs.
“Over the next decade, two thirds of the 1.5 million jobs we will have to fill, here in Virginia, will require the skills and knowledge demonstrated by industry certifications, occupational licenses and other workforce credentials. Not necessarily a four-year degree. But a two-year degree,” he said. “We have to get in the game on this.”