Rex Hammond, Class of 2006
President & CEO
Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce
What is new and exciting with you now or since your LEAD VIRGINIA class year?
To say the least, the past few years have been busy and rewarding. Our Chamber is offering
international trips to our members and residents to emphasize the importance of cultural awareness in
expanding business and tourism opportunities with many countries all over the world. As a result, I was
part of delegations that have toured China (twice), Italy and Israel in the past two years; our Chamber
will be touring Ireland, Spain and China in 2012. In September, I began my pursuit of a Doctor of
Business Administration (DBA) degree from the University of Manchester (UK). I am wrapping up my
first semester of the program, which has been extremely challenging and beyond difficult; meeting this
year’s cohort of students from all over the world has been incredibly interesting and enlightening. Last
year, our Chamber earned Five-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the highest
distinction awarded to state and community chambers in America; we are one of 30 of the 7,000
chambers in the Nation to have earned Five-Star Accreditation, twice. Also last year, supporters of the
US29 Bypass of Charlottesville broke through a 15-year stalemate when a succession of political events
occurred that put the beleaguered project back into VDOT’s long-range plan. Recently completing its
second full year of operation, Amtrak’s new Lynchburg to Washington to Boston service shattered
ridership projections and continues to perform as one of the fastest-growing rail links in America. These
highway and rail initiatives had been Chamber priorities for more than 10 years. This year, the Chamber
will embark on a capital fundraising campaign for a new building and location at the intersection of
US29, US460 and US501. I just completed my year as Chairman of the Board of Institute for
Organization Management, a national professional development program offered by the U.S. Chamber
at the University of Georgia. I continue to serve as Chairman of the Board for Fringe Benefits
Incorporated, a for-profit subsidiary of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. Most
importantly, my parents are healthy and my children are growing up, now 9, 10 and 12.
How did your LEAD VIRGINIA experience help to shape you as a leader?
The LEAD VIRGINIA experience taught me more about my home for the past 13 years than everything to
date combined. Understanding the uniqueness of Virginia’s regions and communities better positions
me to serve in a more systemic and holistic manner on a range of public policy issues. As I travel the
Commonwealth, I regularly encounter distinguished alumni of LEAD VIRGINIA.
What is something that LEAD VIRGINIA inspired you to do that you were not doing
before your class year?
Virginia is a melting pot and, like me, most of its current residents are from other places. I am more
effective in my job and more proud to be a Virginian as a result of my participation in LEAD VIRGINIA. I often talk about the “Tale of Two Cities” in respect to the governance and leadership chasm between
Richmond and Washington, D.C. More than ever, I am inspired to work to protect the wonderful
qualities and assets of this great state and the Lynchburg Region.