An official from Amazon spent all day Thursday touring the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
Ardine Williams, Amazon’s Vice President of Workforce Development, spent the full day on a tour of Accomack and Northampton Counties set up by the Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
Her day began with a tour of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel with CEO Jeff Holland, followed by a tour of Northampton County with County Administrator Charlie Kolakowski. Williams, Kolakowski, and Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission Executive Director Robie Marsh toured Cape Charles, Cheriton, Eastville, the former Shore Memorial Hospital in Nassawadox and areas around Exmore, including Willis Wharf to show aquaculture.
Upon reaching Accomack County, Williams and Marsh were joined by County Administrator Mike Mason, Zoning Director Rich Morrison, Senator Lynwood Lewis, Delegate Rob Bloxom and Eastern Shore Broadband Authority Executive Director Robert Bridgham.
In Accomack, Williams was shown the Industrial Park, the Eastern Shore Community College, the Airport, Onley, Onancock and the future site of the Eastern Shore Public Library and Heritage Center in Parksley.
Following the tour of Parksley, Williams was treated to a tour of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility by Jeremy Eggers and Dale Nash, CEO of Virginia Space. Williams saw the capacity for the UAS runway at Wallops, something Amazon has pioneered with their same day drone delivery program.
Next was a tour of Chincoteague Island, followed by a tour of the solar farm in northern Accomack County, which Amazon originally built before selling to Old Dominion Electric Cooperative.
According to Marsh, the ‘fam(short for familiarization) tour’ with Williams spent more time off 13 than on. Williams asked a lot of questions about the Community College and their CDL program, the abandoned hospital building and the Wallops Flight Facility.
The tour was the result of a suggestion by Governor Ralph Northam following the Amazon deal for their ‘H2Q’ in northern Virginia. Northam urged Amazon officials to tour southwestern Virginia, the Suffolk area, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia to see if any future projects could be located in either of these areas.
Williams promised this would not be her last visit to the Eastern Shore.