Nearly 25 years ago, a small group of business leaders had the vision and energy to launch Virginia FREE. They saw the need for business to be more involved in state politics and government - and they knew that top-notch, non-partisan information would be required to make good decisions. They saw what similar organizations were doing in other states, most notably North Carolina and Maryland, and they were determined to make it work in Virginia.
After months in the incubator, the idea was brought to the Virginia Business Council, a coalition of corporate CEOs representing major employers in the state. In 1988, the business council enthusiastically adopted the project. Seed money was raised. A chief executive was recruited to launch the effort, and a fledgling statewide business organization began to take shape.
Today, Virginia FREE has far surpassed all expectations. It is a highly effective, respected and powerful business coalition representing a broad, diverse range of business interests. It is the single most influential force shaping Virginia's future and moving the Commonwealth forward.
Through the years, Virginia FREE has benefited from an outstanding leadership team. The Board of Directors includes a distinguished list of top executives from Virginia's leading corporations. Our president, Clayton Roberts, has led the daily operations of the organization since our founding in 1988.
Past Chairmen of the Board:
- J. Carter Fox, Chesapeake Corporation 1988-90
- William W. Berry, Virginia Power 1991-92
- Bernard C. Wampler, Pulaski Furniture 1993-94
- James T. Holland, O'Sullivan Corporation 1995-96
- John B. Adams Jr., The Bowman Companies 1997-98
- Hugh R. Stallard, Bell Atlantic of Virginia 1999-2000
- Frank Armstrong III, National Fruit Product Company 2001-2002
- S. Buford Scott, Scott & Stringfellow 2003-2004
- Robert W. Woltz Jr., Verizon 2005-2006
- Daniel L. Williams, Jr., Richmond Corrugated 2007 - 2008
- John B. Adams, Jr., A. Smith Bowman Distillery 2009 - 2010
- Julien G. Patterson, OMNIPLEX World Services Corporation 2011
- James W. Hazel, Angler Environmental 2012 -