McAuliffe names members to Port Authority board

Photo by WAVY/Kenny Becker.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Gov. Terry McAuliffe has named five people to the Virginia Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners, and the majority of the new members are from Hampton Roads.

All five members are business and transportation leaders in Virginia. They’ve been asked to “act swiftly to improve the port’s fiscal management and return it to profitability.”

The new members as well as information on each are as follows:

G. Robert Aston, Jr. of Portsmouth

The Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of TowneBank, which he founded in 1998, Bob Aston is a professional banker with forty – nine years of successful leadership in community banks and a super regional bank, including twenty – nine years experience as President and CEO. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer of BB&T of Virginia from January 1995 to June 1998 and as President and Chief Executive Officer of Commerce Bank from April 1985 to January 1995. Mr. Aston began his career at Citizens Trust Company in 1964 and rose through the ranks to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer from 1981 to 1985.

Aston also has long record of community service which includes time as past Director of Virginia International Terminals, Inc. Currently, Aston serves on a host of boards and foundations in the community including as the President and Chairman of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation and as a Fort Monroe Authority trustee. Aston is a graduate of the National Installment Lending School at the University of Oklahoma and the Graduate School of Retail Banking at the University of Virginia.

Alan Diamonstein of Newport News

Alan Diamonstein has an outstanding record as a former elected official representing the Virginia Peninsula for more than 30 years, and as an attorney and statewide leader for initiatives that have improved every community in the Commonwealth.

As a partner in the Patten, Wornom, Hatten, Diamonstein law firm, he specializes in public policy issues and project finance, economic development law and real estate ventures. Major projects in which he has been involved include large commercial and retail properties, planned housing communities and the location and development of successful solid waste management facilities in the southern regions of the United States.

He is a past member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, and has served as chairman of the internationally recognized Mariners’ Museum in Newport News.

As a senior member of the Virginia House of Delegates, he served as the chairman of several key legislative committees, and was a budget conferee on the Appropriations Committee for many years. He is widely recognized for his support of Virginia’s college and university system and the housing industry. He served on several Presidential Commissions and led the Virginia Housing Study Commission for more than 20 years.

He attended the University of Virginia, and, after completing a tour with the U.S. Air Force, received his B.S. degree in commerce. He earned his law degree at the University of Virginia Law School. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Christopher Newport University and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the College of William and Mary.

Gary T. McCollum of Virginia Beach

Gary T. McCollum is the Senior Vice President and General Manager for Cox Communications. He was appointed to oversee all Cox operations in Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia & Roanoke in February 2010. Cox Virginia’s network reaches approximately 777,000 homes through the Commonwealth and has approximately 2,300 employees.

Gary joined Cox Communications in 1989 as a manager trainee in Hartford, Connecticut, and was later promoted to a variety of management roles, including Plant Operations Manager, Director of Network Development, and Vice President of Customer Care. Gary went on to serve as Vice President and General Manager for Cox’s Roanoke, Virginia cable system, spearheading efforts to bring the Information Superhighway to all segments of the community. In 2000, Gary was promoted to Vice President and General Manager of Cox’s newly acquired Northern Virginia system. In 2006, Gary was promoted to lead the Cox Hampton Roads system and then led the consolidation of all locations into one Virginia operation.

Prior to joining Cox, Gary served eight years on active duty as a military intelligence officer for the U.S. Army and is currently a Major in the U.S. Army Reserves. During his active duty military career, he served with the elite U.S. Army Rangers.

Born in a housing project in Richmond, VA, Gary was the first member of his family to graduate from college. He graduated from James Madison University with a BA in Russian Studies and Political Science, and from the University of Connecticut with an MBA, where he concentrated on telecommunications.

Val McWhorter of Fairfax

Val McWhorter is a founding partner of the Tysons Corner based law firm of Smith, Patcher, McWhorter. McWhorter has focused his practice in the area of Construction law for 30 years. His practice has included representing contractors in large, complex claims arising under federal, state, and local government contracts, as well as contracts between private parties. Mr. McWhorter has engaged in substantial litigation before various Federal Boards of Contract Appeals, Federal Courts and State Courts. He has also served as an advocate in the mediation of construction contract disputes before numerous mediators involving a wide variety of projects.

McWhorter served on the Commission on Higher Education Board Appointments under Governor Tim Kaine and on the State Council of Higher Education during the administration of Governor L. Douglas Wilder. He is also a former member of the George Mason University Board of Visitors.

McWhorter received his Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctorate from Washington & Lee University.

John G. Milliken of Arlington

Mr. John G. Milliken serves as a Partner with Venable LLP. In 2013, Milliken Co-Chaired Governor – Elect Terry McAuliffe’s Transition Committees on Commerce and Trade and Transportation. Mr. Milliken served as the Director of Transition for former Governor Mark R. Warner. He is a former Secretary of Transportation and formerly served on the Board of Commissioners at Virginia Port Authority from 2002 – 2011. Milliken served on the Arlington County Board from 1981 -1990 and was the Chair in 1984. Milliken is also a former member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Milliken is a graduate of Haverford College and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law.

“The Port of Virginia is one of the Commonwealth’s most important economic assets, and improving its performance is one of my top priorities,” McAuliffe said. “This team of Virginia leaders has the right experience and vision to strengthen the Port financially and put it on the path toward long-term, sustainable growth. I know they are just as eager as I am to work alongside the dedicated men and women of the Port Virginia to make it stronger and better prepared to succeed in a 21st Century economy.”

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