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Virginia’s Coastal Charm: A Look at Cox’s Footprint in Hampton Roads

3 different photos of the ocean

This year, we’ve crisscrossed the country to tell the stories of our unique Cox locations. After visits in Austin, TX, Omaha, NE and Burlington, VT, we’re wrapping up 2023 in beautiful Hampton Roads, VA. 

 

As one of the original U.S. colonies, Virginia is renowned for its historical significance, particularly in iconic places like Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.  

But just beyond the Historic Triangle, you’ll find the Seven Cities — a community otherwise known as Hampton Roads — nestled along the coast. 

My colleague, Ajia Robinson, and I spent some time there this fall and, although we didn’t quite reach all seven cities, we were darn close! Our whirlwind tour included all kinds of incredible sights: soft-sand beaches, colorful foliage and a decommissioned WWII–era battleship — plus the many friendly faces of Cox Communications employees who welcomed us with open arms and gave us the lay of the land. 

There are so many opportunities to build a meaningful career at Cox in Hampton Roads, whether you’re in sales, customer service, TV production or field operations. Here’s a look at what Hampton Roads has to offer.

Virginia Beach, VA  

As the name suggests, one of the main draws of Virginia Beach is, well, the beach. But before heading out to the sand and sea, we stopped by for breakfast at the Cox Solutions Store at Red Mill Commons and sat in during the team’s Monday morning huddle. 

Assistant manager Cameron Jarnagin and retail market manager Rosa Wiese celebrated recent wins, but also gave the team a pep talk to prep for the holidays. The key message to the team was to be themselves and establish trust with everyone who walks through the door — that’s the secret to consistency in customer service. 

“You have to stay genuine to yourself,” said Rosa, who oversees retail stores throughout Hampton Roads. “And the cool thing I like about Cox is that you’ll never meet anybody who doesn’t say the same.”

Rosa, who has deep retail experience, says she’s just as invested in the growth and development of her employees as she is in their performance. She sees her role as a leader to help boost other’s careers at Cox, even if that takes them to opportunities in new departments. 

“To coach and develop is my biggest priority,” she said. “I just had five people go to a whole new branch of Cox Business, one of whom was a store manager who’s now a supervisor of a department that never existed before.” 

For our next stop, we hit the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and stopped to admire King Neptune, a 34-foot, cast bronze sculpture of the Roman god of the sea overlooking Neptune Park by the oceanfront on 31st Street and Atlantic Avenue. Virginia-based sculptor Paul DiPasquale was commissioned in 2003 to create this massive piece of public art, which took two years to complete.

After dipping our feet in the sand and water, we headed over to The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center. Our hosts, Ashlee Bruce, Nneka Chiazor, and Dan Urig, had invited us to a milestone celebration in honor of Cox employees who have served 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40-plus years at the company. There were enough attendees to fill out an entire ballroom, which comes to show that this kind of longevity isn’t rare at Cox, especially in Hampton Roads. Nevertheless, it’s a testament to the employees as much as the company. 

“For you to be in this room, with 20-plus years, you’ve performed; you’ve delivered,” market vice president Nneka Chiazor said to the group at the luncheon. “You know what 20-plus means? It means some of you were here back in 1983, when the internet was still a concept. It means that part of your competency is your ability to evolve, adapt and change.”

 

Norfolk, VA

In downtown Norfolk, we passed by the waterfront maritime discovery center, Nauticus, to admire Battleship Wisconsin, one of the largest and last battleships ever built by the U.S. Navy. 

Fun fact: Norfolk hosts the largest naval complex in the world: Naval Station Norfolk. It’s also the site of NATO’s North American Headquarters.

That night, we had dinner with our hosts and a couple of other guests at Brothers: Chops, Seafood and Spirits, which is owned by NBA referee and Norfolk native Tony Brothers. 

Over dinner, Ajia and I got to hear a lot of interesting career stories around the table. Take Patrick Hilton, a classically trained chef who spent 22 years in hospitality before taking a career leap to the communications industry. Now, he’s a regional sales manager. Or Sherri Rome, who served in the Navy for 20 years before she joined Cox. 

I also had a chance to chat with Glenn Starcher, who went from an entry-level part-time retail position to managing the busiest store in the Hampton Roads area to now pioneering a new sales division at Cox Business. He shared how his previous leaders, including Rosa, mentored and inspired him to become a leader in his own right.

“I’m very big about pushing other people and making them shine the light on someone else, because that’s how you get people moved up,” Genn said. “And my past leader, she was very much like, ‘hey, you need to spend time on yourself, too, and move forward.”

After dinner, Ashlee gave us a ride back to our hotel, but not before letting us check out the NEON District, Norfolk’s first arts district, where the streets are lined with large-scale murals and pops of neon color and light. 

Chesapeake, VA

We visited offices in Chesapeake and got a behind-the-scenes look into the different jobs that support the business, from warehouse operations to fleet services to network and field operations. There’s a lot of work that goes into keeping Cox’s services running smoothly, whether it’s residential or business, or even emergency situations, such as a storm outage.

“The buck stops here,” said Jim Bacon, manager of field operations. “When bad storms come through and everybody else is off the streets, my people are up in bucket trucks, working through storms and getting the networks back up and running.”

Everyone has an important role to play, whether you’re in the front lines or back in the office providing support to those in the field, as is the case for senior fleet operations support specialist, Candy Rawson. 

“This company is constantly evolving the people around it to better their lives in every way,” Candy said. 

Our last stop in Chesapeake was to our very own TV studio in the office. At the invitation of Will Rodriguez, east region manager for the Cox-owned Yurview network, we got a front-row view of a taping of Living 757, an innovative show that combines comedy, live music, interviews and Hampton Roads events.

 

 

Newport News and Hampton, VA

On the other side of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, we passed by the Cox office in Newport News, where we met Alex Neely, manager of field operations, and George Kipp, director of field operations. 

After a tour of the facility, we headed out to visit  Fort Monroe National Monument and grabbed dinner at Deadrise, a laid-back seafood spot right on the water at Old Point Comfort Marina.

We said our goodbyes and headed off to the hotel, but not before promising we’d go back again for another visit. By the end of our trip, Ajia and I both agreed there’s just so much more to see and do in Hampton Roads. It’s no wonder many folks set roots down here.

George is one of them. Originally from Connecticut, George and his family lived in Williamsburg for about 15 years before relocating to Las Vegas in 2019. When a position opened up in Hampton Roads in 2022, George jumped at the chance to bring his family back.

“It was an opportunity to get back to where the kids considered home,” he said.

 

View of Hampton Roads from plane window

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