The March VSRA General Membership Luncheon was held on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at the Portsmouth Renaissance Hotel. The featured Guest Speaker was Senator Frank Wagner of Virginia's 7th District.
Senator Wagner opened his address by acknowledging his happiness to be back amongst ship repairers. He then discussed his successes as a member of the Virginia Senate, including development of the HRTAC to improve transportation in the Hampton Roads area, and his current run for Governor.
Wagner then talked about the need to motivate young people to want to work with their hands. He contended that Virginia has developed a great program for those going to college, but may have done so at the expense of career and technical education. Due to an aging workforce and high turnover, he said, we must make sure students and parents are aware of trades opportunities at an earlier age, and that they understand the opportunities and potential for grown in career pathways - citing what he dubbed, "blue collar millionaires."
Finishing his discussion, Wagner announced the inclusion of an additional $250,000 in seed money for the VSRA Pre-Hire Program in the state budget, renewing funds that he originally legislated in 2015.
Frank W. Wagner was elected to the State Senate of the Virginia General Assembly during a special election in December 2000, winning nearly 70% of the electoral vote. He currently represents the 7th Senatorial District in Virginia Beach, having won re-election in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
Prior to his election to the State Senate, Frank served in the Virginia House of Delegates for over a decade, representing the 21st District in Virginia Beach.
During his tenure in the House of Delegates, Frank served on several committees including Conservation and Natural Resources, Corporations, Insurance, and Banking, Education, Finance, General Laws, and Militia and Police. Currently, he serves on the Governor's Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission, Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services (Chairman); Commerce and Labor; Finance; Rules; and Transportation Committees. He served on the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change and the Virginia Attorney General’s Regulatory Reform Task Force. Frank also serves as the Chairman of The Joint Commission on Administrative Rules, Chairman of the Virginia Manufacturing Development Commission and is a member of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission.
Frank is perhaps best known for his visionary Virginia Energy Plan, legislation that passed in the 2006 Virginia General Assembly session. This legislation directs the Commonwealth to create a comprehensive plan for the development of energy resources, including clean coal, oil, natural gas, wind, solar, tide, current, geothermal, nuclear, alternative fuels coupled with conservation and energy efficiency measures. The ultimate goal of the plan is to achieve energy independence in an environmentally safe and responsible manner. He has spoken at a variety of energy conferences and meetings in Virginia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, California, Washington, Washington, D.C., Nova Scotia, Canada and Oslo, Norway and has testified before Congress on energy matters.
The American Council of Young Political Leaders selected Frank as an “Outstanding Young Legislator” in 1995. In 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009, he received the Virginia Manufacturers Association’s “Industrial Strength Leadership Award”, given to one Delegate and one Senator each year to recognize outstanding leadership on key industry issues during the Virginia General Assembly session. In October 2009, Frank received the Virginia Retail Merchants Association’s Legislator of the Year award. In 2012 he received the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Legislator of the Year award and in 2013 he received the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Competitiveness Award.
Frank Wagner is a 1977 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, receiving a B.S. in Ocean Engineering. He served in the United States Navy as a diving and engineering officer. After his service in the Navy, Frank went into business with his father and started a ship repair firm, Earl Industries, in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Today, he is the President of Davis Boat Works, Inc., one of Virginia’s premier small boat repair firms, located in Newport News, Virginia.
In his spare time, Frank enjoys golf, diving, camping, theater and playing the piano.
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