Author Archive

Escape Fires and Healthcare Leadership

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Dr. Pamela RossSome say that health outcomes are not keeping pace with the costs of healthcare while this system is by design, more “disease care” than healthcare and prevention. What can be done about an entrenched healthcare system? Dr. Pamela Ross, a featured physician in the movie documentary Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, gives an inspiring take on lessons learned.  The program was presented on June 12, 2013 and was moderated by SSV President Sue Liberman.


Pamela A. Ross, MD, FACEP, is an associate professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Virginia Health System, and founding CEO of Holistic Medical Consultants. She bases her holistic medical principles and practice on the belief that there is an unbreakable connection between the mind, body and spirit.

A native of rural Decatur, Tennessee, and her parent’s oldest child, Dr. Ross’ exceptional perceptive skills and mental capabilities were realized at an early age. By the time she reached the fourth grade, she was engaged in various public speaking opportunities through 4-H Club, the nation’s largest youth development organization. Public speaking was a skill that Dr. Ross evidently mastered early, but it was her mother’s illness that sparked her interest and curiosity in the study of medicine. Determined to aid in her mother’s care, Dr. Ross focused her education and career goals on becoming a physician.

Dr. Ross received her BA in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and her MD from Emory University School of Medicine. Her distinguished career is filled with notable highlights including receiving an invitation from President Barack Obama to be present in the White House Rose Garden when he presented “Doctors for Healthcare Reform” to the nation – an event that galvanized the eventual passage of the Affordable Care Act by the United States Congress. Most recently, she is a featured doctor in Escape Fire: The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare, a 2012 Sundance premiere movie documentary that tackles the pressing issue of a badly broken healthcare system.

In her 16+ year tenure at the University of Virginia Health System, Dr. Ross has worn many hats. She has served as division director of the Pediatric Emergency Department, director of the Child Abuse Program, director of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner’s Program and director of Quality Improvement. Currently, she serves as ambassador for Sisters Conquering Cancer, a local community grass roots cancer survivor-ship organization; chair of the UVA Cancer Center Minority Recruitment Task Force; and a member of the UVA Compassionate Care Initiative, grounded in compassionate action and empathic leadership. She is also the UVA School of Medicine curriculum thread leader for Complimentary and Alternative Methods (CAM.)

Dr. Ross spends her spare time nurturing her own mental, physical and spiritual well being through reading, meditation, laughter, dance and fellowship in various settings with family and friends.

Program Summary

The intriguing topic addressed by Dr. Pamela Ross was entitled, “Escape Fires & Healthcare Leadership: Lessons I’ve Learned.” Dr. Ross is an associate professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Virginia Health System, and founding CEO of Holistic Medical Consultants. Two central themes are that we don’t have a health care system in this country–we have a disease management system, and to maintain a continuous dialogue on health care is essential. In her remarks she incorporated perspectives from a family practice doctor, patients, and that of herself, an emergency department doctor. Due to her mother’s illnesses, she decided at 11 years of age to become a doctor. Her experiences in medical school led to her specialty in emergency medicine. Emergency medicine represents the health care safety net and the only specialty mandated by law to provide health care to people regardless of their ability to pay.

During the course of her remarks, Dr. Ross cited five leadership lessons she has learned: (1) follow your gut and your dream; (2) the Serenity Prayer; (3) never judge a designated leader until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes; (4) the mantra “no money, no mission” should be completely reversed to “no mission, no money”; (5) “I returned, and I saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all” (Ecclesiastics chapter 9 verse 11).

After engaging in the full practice of medicine for several years, she noticed trends going on in medicine that made her uncomfortable. Patients were losing trust in their doctors, and that she was just a small part of a huge system that is out of control. Decisions made by administrators, policy makers and insurance companies put more distance between the doctor and patient. She learned in a health care marketing class a three-word answer to her question, and it was “follow the money.” For example with investors in pharmaceuticals, if you’re making profits from disease, then what is the motivation to get you to a point where you don’t have to take a whole bunch of pills? The system doesn’t want you to get completely cured, because if you’re completely cured you have no further need of the system.

The above just barely scratches the surface of the points covered by Dr. Ross. To learn how the concept of “escape fire” fits into this discussion on health care, you can listen to the entire presentation via the podcast link above.

The State of the City and County

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Satyendra Huja, mayor of the City of Charlottesville and Ann Mallek, chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors spoke at the Wednesday, May 8, 2013 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at The Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following opening remarks by the participants questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV President Sue Liberman.  A podcast of the meeting is available here.


huju_130508Satyendra Huja is the president of Community Planning Associates, and is also adjunct faculty at the University of Virginia School of Architecture and teaches Urban Planning courses on a regular basis. He was director of Strategic Planning for the City of Charlottesville from 1998 to 2004. Prior to that he was director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Charlottesville for 25 years. He received his Masters Degree in Urban Planning from Michigan State University.

He was elected to the Charlottesville City Council in 2007 and is currently serving as mayor. His experiences are in the area of downtown revitalization, housing, historic preservation, transportation planning, art and culture activities, and neighborhood revitalization.

He has received honors from the Virginia Society of American Institute of Architects, recognition from the PEW Foundation for downtown revitalization, and a special recognition award from Piedmont Council for the Arts for his outstanding contribution and support for the arts. He also has been a consultant to the City of Pleven, Bulgaria, for Economic Development and Tourism Marketing.

mallek_130508Ann H. Mallek, chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, represents the White Hall District. She is an educator and program coordinator for Central Virginia for the Virginia Museum of Natural History. She received her B.A. in Zoology from Connecticut College, New London CT.

Ms. Mallek was elected to the Board in January 2008 and is currently serving as chairman. She serves on the following standing committees: Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission; Piedmont Workforce Network Council; Acquisition of  Conservation Easements; Property Committee;  Rivanna River Basin Commission; Charlottesville/Albemarle/UVA Planning and Coordination Council Policy Committee; LEAP Governance Board; CIP Oversight Committee; and the Crozet Community Advisory Council.

She is a member of the following organizations: League of Women Voters; Albemarle County Farm Bureau; Charlottesville-Albemarle Chamber of Commerce; Piedmont Environmental Council; Southern Environmental Law Center; Rivanna Conservation Society; Ivy Creek Foundation and the League of Conservation Voters.

Program Summary

Ms. Mallek said that the state of the county is good even given the economic downturn. The slide in property tax values has stopped and we see some increases in value along with strong commercial growth. These optimistic signs enable us to think about how we may change our focus going forward and how we address our infrastructure needs. Ms. Mallek visited 3,000 doors during the 2007 campaign and people asked why we are allowing all these people to come and not provide the infrastructure they need—the roads, schools first. One of the consequences of the economic slowdown and the need to balance the budget was to erase quite a few investments in our capital improvement program reducing the budget by $30 million, and also cutting 70 staff through attrition and retirement. Now it is important to change our focus to begin again the process of investing in the infrastructure.

Mr. Huja gave an overview of the geographics, demographics, economics and budget of Charlottesville. We have a good forward looking government and most importantly a very caring and engaged citizenry. In terms of cooperation with the county, there are many joint ventures we work together on. Among those he mentioned were the water and sewer authority, solid waste authority, regional library, regional jail, communications center, convention and visitors bureau, Darden Towe Park, and joint social agency review. Even given all of this he said we could do more and cited several areas including a joint transit system. He discussed the city budget, schools and the extensive involvement of the city in the area of affordable housing. The city has 18.5 percent of the region’s population but provides 57.5 percent of the subsidized housing and so he would like to see the county do a little more in this area. The city spends $200,000 annually for improvement of bike lanes and a half-million on sidewalk improvements because we should have safe walking and biking in our community. Meadowcreek Parkway, a 45-year project, will finally be built this year. The city and county have adopted a joint 50-year water plan. Three new hotels are in the pipeline. Mr. Huja concluded that the state of the city is very healthy and vibrant.

Delegate David Toscano Reports on the 2013 General Assembly

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Delegate David Toscano spoke at the April 10, 2013 meeting to provided his perspective on the issues that came before the 2013 Virginia legislature. Delegates Steve Landes, Rob Bell and Matt Fariss were also invited to speak but were unable to attend. The program was moderated by SSV board member Bill Davis.


toscano_130410Delegate David Toscano is serving his fourth term in the Virginia General Assembly. He represents the 57th District (Charlottesville and part of Albemarle County) in the House of Delegates and, since 2011, has served as House Democratic Leader.

David is a member of the Courts of Justice; Transportation; and Science & Technology committees. He also a member of the Disability Commission and has served on the special Joint Subcommittee to Study Land Use Tools in the Commonwealth and the Joint Committee to study Math, Science, and Engineering. He is also a member of the United Way Board. The Virginia League of Conservation Voters have named David a “Legislative Hero” five consecutive years for his work on environmental issues.

An attorney with Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., David specializes in family law, real estate transactions, and estate planning.

Program Summary

The program for the April meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia was a report from the Virginia delegates on the 2013 General Assembly. Delegates Rob Bell, Matt Fariss, Steve Landes and David Toscano were all invited to participate, but Delegates Bell and Faris declined due to scheduling conflicts. Delegate Landes was hopelessly ensnared in a traffic jam on the way to the program, so Delgate Toscano provided the report. He is finishing his eighth year in the Assembly and second year as Democratic leader in the Virginia House.

Delegate Toscano opened his remarks by highlighting what he saw as the things that were important and that were discussed in this session of the General Assembly. He noted that this was the “short” session (45 days instead of 60 days) which occurs every other year and originally set up to just tweak the two-year budget, but over the years has morphed into a totally new session with all these new bills being introduced. This session will be remembered for the transportation plan. For years he has said that, if we get some leadership, we could get a transportation plan that would raise enough money to fix our roads and bridges, build new roads, speak to our transit problems and provide a dedicated source for passenger rail. The approved plan raises over a billion dollars a year. By necessity, localities have been diverting local funds for road maintenance, but now money will be coming to the localities and also a dedicated source of revenue to fund passenger rail.

The second big thing for this region was the debate about Helen Dragas and the Board of Visitors. As it eventually turned out, she was reappointed on a split vote, and several bills that were introduced related to the governance at UVa largely failed.

A third major item was the debate about Medicaid. Governor McDonnell took a strong position opposing the expansion of Medicaid where the feds would pay 100 percent for the first three years and then eventually decline to the present level of 50 federal/50 state. Delegate Toscano was concerned about the uninsured as well as the status of our major teaching hospitals that are required to serve the uninsured. The expansion could serve 300,000 Virginians, provide 30,000 jobs, and $9 billion in revenue coming to the Commonwealth. A compromise was arrived at establishing a special joint commission which would recommend the expansion only if certain reform measures were met. So, we don’t have the expansion, but rather a road map to getting it, and it will depend upon the next governor and everything may change.

Unconventional Oil: Illuminating the Global Paradigm Shift to New Petroleum Fuels

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

“We will never, ever run out of oil,” says Deborah Gordon in this interesting podcast on the future of fossil fuels.



Deborah Gordon is a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Energy & Climate Program), where her policy research focuses on oil, climate, and transportation issues in the United States, China, and globally. Ms. Gordon spoke at the Wednesday, March 13, 2013 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The program was moderated by SSV board member Grace Zisk.

Since 1996 she has been a policy consultant specializing in transportation, energy, and environmental policy for non-profit, foundation, academic, public, and private-sector clients. From 1996 to 2000 she founded and co-directed the Transportation and Environment Program at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and from 1989 to 1996 she founded and then directed the Transportation Policy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Additionally, Gordon has worked at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (1988-1989), under a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Gordon began her career as a chemical engineer with Chevron (1982-1987). Ms. Gordon also authors a blog on the topic of unconventional oil.

Program Summary

What happened about three years ago shocked the world and the oil companies: recognition of the fact that we will never, ever run out of oil. It’s not oil though, because now economically the prices are high enough, and technologically we’re adept enough, that we can transform anything with hydrogen and carbon in it into liquid fuel.

When you live in the world of scarcity, you act in one way, and when you live in the world of plenty, you act in a very differently, and we’re in a world of plenty, so this is confronting the complexities of oil. Seventy percent is in transportation and 30 percent in everything we use and enjoy in our lives, from plastic bottles to diapers to pace makers.

With so much oil now available, the question is how are we going to prioritize which oils we will use. Even with all the growth in gas, oil will remain the dominant energy force world-wide in the foreseeable future.

After detailing all of the types and sources of new oil, Ms. Gordon described the important knowledge gaps on new oil including: make up of oil and their supply chains; price of oil; geography of oils; geopolitics of oils; sound oil investments; and the social impacts on water and climate change.

Reckoning with Our Racial History in the Era of Obama

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

blackmon_130213The 13th Amendment ended slavery in the United States, or did it?  In the February 13, 2013 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia, Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas A. Blackmon talks about what really happened during reconstruction.   The program was moderated by SSV vice-president Bob McGrath.  Click below to listen to the podcast.


Douglas A. Blackmon is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re- Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, chair of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center Forum program,  and a contributing editor at the Washington Post. Mr. Blackmon’s book was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. The book also received many additional awards and citations and was a New York Times best seller. Mr. Blackmon  is also co-executive producer of a documentary film based on the book which was broadcast on PBS last year. The documentary will be rebroadcast on PBS on February 22, 2013.

Until 2011 he was the longtime chief of The Wall Street Journal’s Atlanta bureau and the paper’s Senior National Correspondent. He has written about, or directed coverage of, some of the most pivotal stories in American life, including the election of President Obama, the rise of the tea party movement, the BP oil spill, and the hurricane Katrina disaster. Prior to his work at the WSJ, Blackmon covered race and politics at the Atlanta Journal Constitution for seven years.

Raised in Leland, Mississippi, Blackmon penned his first newspaper story for the Leland Progress at the age of twelve. He received his degree in English from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. At present he is time sharing between Charlottesville and downtown Atlanta where his family makes their home.

Program Summary

Douglas Blackmon is the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. The book is the story of how, after the Civil War and full citizenship had been extended to the formerly enslaved African-Americans, something happened that most of us don’t know about. Even though the freed former slaves were incredibly impoverished and had been denied education for generations, there was a tremendous move by African-Americans to grab onto real citizenship and participate in elections on a huge scale. They wanted to get away from the folks who controlled them before, and it’s largely a fairy tale that many so loved their masters they wanted to stay behind. They swarmed into schools and the first real public schools were set up. The literacy rate skyrocketed to be comparable with that of poor whites. They began to acquire property and were moving into the mainstream of American life.

But then a terrible thing begins. First, white Southerners couldn’t resurrect the cotton economy without four million slave workers, and they simply could not conceive of any equitable labor arrangements. Thus there was a tremendous need economically to figure out how to get as many African-Americans into a condition as close to slavery as possible. At the same time, whites wanted to stop African-Americans from exercising their civil rights and get them out of the political process.

Beginning in the 1870s, laws were passed that were designed to essentially criminalize black life. It became a crime for any farmer to sell his produce after dark, which meant the African-Americans could only sell to the land owner. It also became a crime to walk beside a railroad track or to speak loudly in the company of a white woman, or to romance or have physical activity with a white woman. But the most insidious laws that were passed imposed tremendous penalties for vagrancy – if you couldn’t prove you had a job you were arrested. Also, it was a crime for a farm worker (who may have been repeatedly lashed, deprived of his fair share of the crops, starved, his wife abused by the landowner, etc.) to look for another job.

Overwhelmingly these laws were only applied to African-Americans. Payments to sheriffs and others were based on a fee system—you had to pay a fee to who arrested you, witnesses against you, the court, and the jailer. The fine for vagrancy might be $5, but the fees could add up to $100 – a full year’s pay. To pay the fine and fees, the convicts were leased or sold back to the same landowner, or to work in coal mines, lumber camps, turpentine camps—all the new industries dependent on this forced labor. The terror of having this happen was greater than even the fear of mob violence, and it resulted in African-Americans going along generation after generation with whatever was imposed upon them. This system persisted right up to the 1940s.

The Financial Crisis: Not a Perfect Storm

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Dr. Richard DeMongWhat role did the human factor play leading to the financial crisis?  What are the difficulties of regulating shadow banks?  Dr. Richard F. DeMong spoke of how the financial system goes awry when risk goes to zero. Listen to the podcast and you’ll also learn the meaning of “moral hazard” and how it played a role in the financial crises of 2008.


Dr. Richard DeMong is the Virginia Bankers Association Professor Emeritus at the McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia. Dr. DeMong received a bachelor’s degree from California State University at Long Beach, an MBA from the College of William and Mary, and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. He is the author of numerous articles on subprime lending, managerial finance, investments, small business, and banking in leading finance and banking journals. Colonel DeMong is a retired United States Air Force pilot.

Dr. DeMong spoke at the Wednesday, January 9, 2013 meeting.  The program was moderated by SSV board member Tom Boyd.

Program Summary

Dr. DeMong began by stating that his goal for the presentation was to look at the financial crisis and some of the background so we could be aware of the influences that caused and created the crisis and perhaps prevent them in the future. He described how the overall economic condition developed well in advance of the crisis, and that we should have seen it coming. Yet as humans we get over optimistic that everything is going to continue just as it is today.

He showed how things got off track without the proper infrastructure, regulation, and proper behavior of all the players. At almost every level we had weaknesses that economists would call moral hazards–not understanding the risks people were taking at every level, all the way from the borrowers and investors through the lenders.

Things have changed since he began in banking in the 1950s when banks would use customer’s savings to lend out. That all changed in the 1990s-2000s with the development of shadow banks. Also, the credit was changed—-where AAA securities historically were supposed to have a very low default rate, this was changed by offering subprime loans. These were originally intended for artists, entrepreneurs and others who have erratic income patterns, but soon these loans were being offered to just about anybody and then bundled together as securities with AAA ratings.

Many lenders began using short-term financing for long-term investments because they felt they could sell the securities at a profit, as it seemed there was no limit to continually increasing home prices. What happened then in September and October 2008 was that many of these investors—-including large investment banks–couldn’t roll over their short-term debt and couldn’t meet their obligations. All of this was taking place outside of the regulated banking system.

Dr. DeMong identified the many actors leading to the crisis, the specific mechanisms employed, and why it will continue to be difficult to institute effective regulation.

Charlottesville 1762 to 2012–a 250 Year Celebration

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

meeks_121114What does the Pony Express, Miss America, the Philadelphia Quakers Major League baseball team, Chicago’s Iroquois Theater and Tsing Kiang Pu, China, have in common with Charlottesville?  Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society President Steven Meeks recaps some of Charlottesville’s fascinating history from its first 250 years.  This November 14, 2012 program was moderated by SSV board member Charles Smith.


Steven G. Meeks was born and raised in Albemarle County and Charlottesville. For most of his adult life he has either worked or volunteered as a public servant, striving always to make his community a better place to live and work. He has written extensively about local history including Crozet, A Pictorial History and is currently working on a book chronicling Charlottesville’s first 250 years.  He is also working on publishing Sheridan’s James River Campaign of 1865 through Central Virginia. Mr. Meeks offers lectures on the history of central Virginia and oversees the operation of the Hatton Ferry, the nation’s last hand-poled river ferry.

More recently, Mr Meeks has demonstrated his interest, competence, and knowledge of historic preservation through the work he has done and continues to do on historic buildings in the Scottsville Historic District.  Since 1990 he has held an elected position as Director of the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District. His current affiliations include being President and Chief Executive of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, a member of the Albemarle County Historic Preservation Committee, Charlottesville Historic Resources Committee, Co-Chair of Charlottesville’s Celebrate 250th Committee, Co-Chair of the Albemarle Charlottesville Sesquicentennial Committee and the Scottsville Architectural Review. He just recently obtained a Certificate in Museum Management. He has also served on the boards of the Albemarle County Fair, the Virginia Association of Fairs, the Scottsville Museum, Albemarle County’s Road Naming Committee, the Scottsville Planning Commission, and the Biscuit Run State Park Advisory Committee.

Program Summary

Steven G. Meeks, president and chief executive of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, drilled down through Charlottesville’s 250 year history when he presented this program on “Charlottesville 1762 to 2012–a 250 Year Celebration.” After presenting a mother-lode of facts and figures regarding the history and development of the city of Charlottesville, Mr. Meeks treated the audience to a virtual tour of the permanent residents of the Maplewood Cemetery, established in 1827, the first of two public cemeteries in the city. None of the churches at the time had cemeteries, and so persons were buried in backyards of residences and this was becoming a real health issue.

Maplewood Cemetery is the permanent resting place for a large number of native sons who have had an impact far beyond the confines of Charlottesville. Here’s just one: this gentleman was born in 1827. He attended the Virginia Military Institute and should have graduated in 1849 but he had problems with frequent misbehavior (this was one of the reasons his father had sent him to VMI). He was suspended and joined the U.S. Army. He fought in the Mexican-American war and was injured and so he returned to Virginia where he was readmitted to VMI and graduated. He entered teaching but became dissatisfied. Joined an express company in Alabama and then a surveying company.

In 1859 he traveled west and became interested in the expansion of the postal services. He was one of the founders of the Pony Express and is credited with making the first complete ride along the Pony Express route. But after six months he became argumentative with the other partners and quit. He joined the Pacific Telegraph Company and was instrumental in stringing the first lines, and at this point was responsible for putting the Pony Express out of business.

The Civil War was starting and he returned to Virginia where he joined the Confederate war effort. He served as a purchasing agent for the Confederacy in Europe and as an intelligence officer. He apparently did so well that he was able to purchase Monticello in 1864 (the property was soon confiscated by the Union). He was sent on a secret mission to Washington DC and he was there when Lincoln was assassinated. He was identified as a spy and arrested. He was then released after swearing a loyalty oath to the Union. He headed back west to Texas and started another stage route express line and also founded a town bearing his name. The town became the county seat, but unfortunately it had been constructed in a low lying area and was wiped out by a flood—even including the county court house. Only the cemetery there remains.

In March 1871, while dining in a Georgetown restaurant, he choked on a fish bone and two days later a doctor tried to remove the bone, but in the process severed an artery and he bled to death. His family brought him back to Charlottesville and he was buried in the family plot with a modest marker in the Maplewood Cemetery. So, dear reader, who was this man? Click on the podcast link above to find out.

What Impact Will the Two New County Shopping Malls Have On Us?

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Chris Engel and Mark GrahamNew malls are springing up everywhere in both the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Chris Engel and Mark Graham spoke on the effect of these new developments on city and county planning.

Mr. Engel and Graham spoke at the Wednesday, October 10, 2012 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV secretary Bill Davis.

Chris Engel, CEcDChris Engel, CEcD is the director of economic development for the City of Charlottesville. He has a bachelor’s degree in geography from Mary Washington College and a master’s degree in planning from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and is a member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) where he is a certified economic developer (CEcD). An active civic leader, his current leadership roles include: Chair of the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau, and board positions with the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development and Charlottesville Business Innovation Council. He has also been a Junior Achievement instructor and Comfort Zone Camp volunteer.

Chris has been instrumental in the development and implementation of Charlottesville’s economic development programs, including BusinessFirst, a personal-visit business retention program, the Shop Charlottesville initiative and the Charlottesville Technology Incubator. He was recently recognized with the 2010 CBIC Leadership Award for his work chairing the Tech Tour, an innovative workforce development initiative that connects students to career opportunities in the technology sector.

Prior to his current position in economic development, Chris worked for the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce and as a cartographer and GIS Analyst for private sector firms in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Mark B. Graham, P.E.Mark B. Graham, P.E., has been the Director of Community Development for Albemarle County since that department was created in 2004 and was instrumental in making it a “one stop shop” for all development permitting and oversight by the County. He brings a somewhat unique set of skills to this position having worked in both the private and public sector, combined with a back ground that includes both an MBA and almost thirty years as a licensed professional engineer. As the Director of Community Development, Mark has been directly involved with most of the large projects approved in the County since 2000, including: Hollymead Town Center, Stonefield (Albemarle Place), Avon / 5th Street (Wegmans), Biscuit Run, Cascadia, Rivanna Village, and many others.

Prior to working for Albemarle County, Mark worked in private industry as a professional engineer and managed development projects in Northern Virginia and Tennessee. His experience also includes working for Arlington County, Virginia as an environmental programs manager and the Texas Department of Highways (now Texas Department of Transportation) as a construction engineer. He has been registered as a Professional Engineer in Virginia since 1984.

Mark holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters of Business Administration from Virginia Tech.

Program Summary

“What Impact Will the Two New County Shopping Malls Have On Us?” Answers to this question were provided by Chris Engel, CEcD, director of economic development for the City of Charlottesville, and Mark B. Graham, P.E., director of Community Development for the County of Albemarle. In order to get all the answers, please listen to the entire presentation on the Charlottesville Podcasting Network (link above).

Retail trends in Charlottesville can be tracked by looking at the various shopping areas. Barracks Road Shopping Center opened in 1957 with over 487,000 square feet of retail space and 113 stores and restaurants. The downtown pedestrian mall opened in 1976 with over 1.5 million square feet, 192 stores and restaurants and structured parking. In 1980 Fashion Square Mall opened with over 572,000 square feet and 80 stores and restaurants. Hollymead Town Center opened in 2003 with over 600,000 square feet and 35 stores and restaurants.

What’s developing now? Hollymead Town Center (Area A–Near Kohls); Albemarle Square (Fresh Market); Shoppers World (Stein Mart); Stonefield (Shops at Stonefield: opening November 2012 will be the Regal Cinema, Trader Joes, Pier One, closely followed by Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, Langford Market, Travinia Italian Grill, Crate & Barrel/Pottery Barn, Burton’s Grill, Hilton and Hyatt Place Apartments).

What’s in the future? 5th Street Station in 2014/2015 with Wegmans; then at indeterminate times: Crozet (Old Trail Village Center and downtown); North Pointe (Route 29 North); Village of Rivanna (Glenmore); and Northtown Center (across 29 from Lowes). The County has estimated that enough property is already zoned to handle anticipated growth for the next 20+ years. Additionally, many existing developments could redevelop or expand (e.g. Fashion Square, Albemarle Square).

Retail growth is a function of rooftops, so retail growth needs residential growth and residential growth needs jobs. Finally, consider the future of commercial development (e.g. wireless Internet, smart phones, social media).

What’s Next for Health Reform?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Carolyn EngelhardCarolyn Long Engelhard spoke at the Wednesday, September 12, 2012 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The program was moderated by SSV Vice President Bob McGrath.

On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court handed down its historic ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with the sole exception that Congress cannot penalize states that decline to expand Medicaid. What does the court’s decision mean for the ACA’s economic viability and the potential to provide health coverage for most Americans? What are the challenges facing President Obama’s signature health care legislation and how might the presidential election affect the fate of the ACA?

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Carolyn Engelhard is a health policy analyst at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, where she also directs the Health Policy Program in the Department of Public Health Sciences. Ms. Engelhard’s academic activities include studying and monitoring changes in health policy at the federal and state governmental levels and teaching in both the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine. In 2007, Ms. Engelhard co-authored a book looking at the myths surrounding the U.S. health care system. In 2009, Ms. Engelhard completed a project in conjunction with the nonpartisan Urban Institute examining the use of public policies to reduce obesity. More recently, Ms. Engelhard co-authored an article in the New England Journal of Medicine examining health insurance premium rating regulation under the new health care reform bill, and completed a textbook chapter examining the effect of the new law on health care organizations.

Program Summary

On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court handed down its historic ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the sole exception that Congress cannot penalize states that decline to expand Medicaid.

Where it all began…. the ACA got through Congress in a very messy way, but was signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. The act was envisioned by the Obama administration to provide almost universal coverage. The United States is the only industrial country in the world that does not have some form of universal coverage for its citizens.

The ACA was designed to build on employee-sponsored coverage (50% are currently covered by their employers), and it would expand Medicaid. However, Medicaid is a categorical program and so only some categories of people are eligible: poor kids, poor pregnant women and persons with disabilities (an adult can be completely destitute but still not eligible for a government program). The act would establish insurance exchanges, and people who fall through the cracks (uninsured, under-insured, those with pre-existing conditions) can go to the exchanges for coverage, and the government will give a subsidy if they are between 100 to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (20 million will go to these exchanges). This will happen through the individual mandate——for the first time in our country, legal citizens will be required to carry health insurance. It is projected that there will be over 30 million newly insured people by 2019——that was the promise.

Where are we now? How many are touched by ACA? Over 3 million young adults have enrolled in parents’ insurance plans; 5.3 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved more than $3.9 billion on prescription drugs; 54 million are eligible for preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs——1 in 4 Americans received a free mammogram, colonoscopy, or flu shot last year; 600,000 new adult Medicaid enrollees in 7 states that have expanded Medicaid; 70,000 are enrolled in temporary “pre-existing condition insurance plans”; 360,000 small businesses who used the 35% tax credit to purchase insurance.

Fifth Congressional District Candidates Forum

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

The Congressional Candidates Showcase Forum is a biennial event sponsored by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia.  This year, only one candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic challenger General John Douglass, spoke at the event.  Congressman Robert Hurt declined the Senior Statesmen’s invitation to attend the forum.  This is only the second time since 1996 that a candidate has failed to attend.  Mr. Hurt also declined in 2010.


Mr. Coy Barefoot

The event took place at the August 8, 2012 meeting of the Senior Statesmen. The meeting was held at The Senior Center in Charlottesville.

The event was moderated by Coy Barefoot.  Mr. Barefoot is the host of WINA’s Charlottesville – Right Now! and an award-winning and best-selling author, radio personality, historian and political analyst.  A podcast of the event is available below.