Norfolk’s resilience journey

Norfolk possesses remarkable natural and man-made assets: 144 miles of coastline, 125 active and engaged civic leagues, the world’s largest naval station, and the status of most multi-modal city in Virginia. Norfolk’s attractions include the cobblestone streets of the award-winning Freemason neighborhood.

But, having been nearly destroyed during the American Revolution, burned down during the Civil War, and flooded repeatedly over the century, Norfolk also knows a thing or two about resilience.

In this city anchored by the Navy, and taking a whole-community approach focused on hazard mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery, Norfolk has learned to “live with the water” as a coastal city. However, rising sea levels and recurrent flooding remain a major threat. The two largest concerns are local transportation and energy security. Norfolk estimates that thousands of residents could be stranded if a major hurricane hits the region, because the state’s evacuation plan is inadequate. Energy security and redundancy remain a challenge, as power outages present safety and health hazards.

Meet the Chief Resilience Officer

Doug Beaver

Chief Resilience Officer

A native of Honolulu, Hawai’i, Doug graduated from Virginia Tech with a BA in Political Science and was commissioned in the US Navy. He earned an Executive MBA from the Naval Postgraduate School. Doug served for 27 years in the Navy as a Naval Flight Officer, commanding Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123 during deployed operations, and finished his last assignment as the Commanding Officer of Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world.

In August 2019, Doug assumed the role of CRO for the City of Norfolk, where he implements scalable innovative solutions to current and future economic, physical, and social challenges. Doug leads the city’s Ohio Creek Watershed Project, which reduces flooding, improves public spaces, and builds the coastal community of the future. This $112-million project consists of an innovative, holistic, regional resiliency approach that extends beyond infrastructure to encompass community and economic development.

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