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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Ten Questions with Bob McKenna, President and CEO of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber

(photo: Bob McKenna)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Bob McKenna.

What is your job title and description?

President/CEO of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber.

How do you interact with the local community?

In various ways. It’s pretty much our livelihood here at the chamber. We coordinate and host regular networking events. We attend and participate in partner events. I serve on several nonprofit boards and committees. And, we have a very active Board of Directors who also engage in the local community.

Who do you interact with the local community?

Member businesses, civic leaders and organizations, elected officials at all levels, military partners, educational partners, other regional organizations. In a word, everyone!

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

The chamber staff is small but mighty. We have three full-time staffers and three part-time staffers. Despite the limited staff, we hold between 80 and 100 events per year.

How do you define success?

As a chamber, we define success by providing timely and relevant services that are expected by our business community and our members. We measure that by membership growth and retention, attendance at programs and events and by asking questions of our members as to how we are doing in meeting their needs.

(photo: Bob McKenna)

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

The Peninsula Chamber has grown in every measure objectively and subjectively, including in influence and awareness. Businesses and individuals on the Peninsula know that they can come to us for assistance with building their businesses and establishing relationships. Personally, my most successful accomplishment is raising a great family with my wife of 39 years. Nothing I’ve done professionally even compares to that.

How long have you lived/worked in the Historic Triangle?

I came to the Peninsula in 2003 on Navy orders, did a two-year tour at Cheatham Annex (which included an eight-month deployment to Kuwait), a three-year tour at Little Creek, moved to Jacksonville, Florida for two years and then retired and returned to the Peninsula in 2011.

What is your favorite part of being in the Historic Triangle?

There’s so much to love about this area — history, recreation, proximity to the beaches and the mountains, a great military community. But my favorite part is the great friendships that we have built over the last 20-plus years.

What do you do for downtime/to relax?

My leisure time is spent mostly with my wife. For the past couple of years, we spent a lot of time on the road watching our youngest son play Rugby for VT. We also spend as much time as possible with our grandchildren — two of them live in Williamsburg.

What is the next step in your journey?

Only God knows. I’ll take it one day at a time, trying to find joy in every day. That being said, I still feel young and energetic.

Visit the Virginia Peninsula Chamber to learn more.

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people who live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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