Community service is one of the founding pillars of TechArk. We feel it is important to give back to a community that gives so much to us. When Millie Wilkerson nominated our CEO, Pratik Kothari, to participate in the CIVIC Leadership Institute’s Executive Program, he was honored to be included in such a prestigious group of individuals and have another opportunity to serve the Hampton Roads community in a new way.
TechArk CEO Pratik Kothari with CIVIC Leadership Institute CEO, Sarah Jane Kirkland
The primary goal of the CIVIC Leadership Institute is to help Hampton Roads reach its highest potential by connecting executive leaders and inspiring them to serve their community. They are able to accomplish this by maintaining a large network of proven leaders who are passionate about improving life in Hampton Roads and use their influence to spread the word about regional issues and initiatives.
The Executive Program
Participants enrolled in CIVIC Leadership Executive Program for 2019
The CIVIC Leadership Executive Program runs annually from September through May. Each month the participants visit various cities within the region to attend learning days directed by leaders involved in organizations related to the government, economy, defense, education, transportation, industry, not-for-profit, arts and other aspects of business and life in Hampton Roads. These sessions include discussions of current topics affecting Hampton Roads and the opportunity to work on various community impact initiatives that make a difference at both regional and statewide levels.
The program commenced with a two-day opening retreat as an introduction to the program led by Cathy Lewis. Throughout the retreat at Williamsburg, multiple sessions were held discussing the history of the community and wrapped with an explanation of the economic issues with the city. There was also an impactful presentation about the strategy and the future of Colonial Williamsburg.
The next month’s program day took place in Norfolk where a variety of prominent local leaders who had previously completed the CIVIC Leadership Executive Program spoke about their businesses and contributions to the community since finishing the program. The Mayor of Norfolk also had the opportunity to discuss housing and other prominent issues affecting the city. We were given a bus tour of Norfolk and it was an amazing experience.
The third program day was held in Hampton where candidates were able to visit the Nasa Langley Research Center and attended meetings that focused on transportation throughout Hampton Roads and what measures are being taken to improve it including the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.
Chesapeake was the location of the fourth program day where participants had the opportunity to hear multiple members of the city’s government speak about topics related to city planning and how businesses located in Chesapeake are evolving. Also discussed was the vast opportunity Chesapeake poses because of the availability of the land.
The following program day took participants to Newport News. There they had the opportunity to visit Fort Monroe as well as attend a session discussing the importance of Shipbuilding and how it has been incorporated into the local schools.
The influence of The Port of Virginia’s effect on the Hampton Roads’ economy was a key topic presented in Portsmouth and Suffolk on the sixth program day. Participants were able to experience the importance of maritime to the economy firsthand while cruising the harbor between Portsmouth and Norfolk on the Carrie B, a replica of an authentic 19th-century paddle wheeler. Attendees also learned that Suffolk is arguably the caffeine capital of the world as the city receives coffee beans from all over the globe via The Port of Virginia. The coffee beans are then processed and distributed across the country.
Finally, the seventh program day occurred in Virginia Beach. There the discussion focused tourism season at the oceanfront as well as improving the infrastructure of Hampton Roads to better protect against water damage caused by hurricanes and rising sea levels. Education and how students will mold the future of Hampton Roads was also touched upon.
CIVIC Leadership Institute’s Executive Program closed out with a day dedicated to reflecting all the information discussed. Participants then attended the annual Founder’s luncheon and graduated from the program.
Graduation of CIVIC Leadership Executive Class 2019
Overall, the opportunity to participate in the Executive Program by the CIVIC Leadership Institute is one Pratik will never forget. The entire CIVIC Leadership team did a phenomenal job putting together these events. Pratik’s passion for giving back to his community was empowered after taking part in this program and he plans to continue to increasingly support the community with the help of the CIVIC Leadership Institute.
“The experience of participating in CIVIC has been an eye-opener when it comes to learning about this region and its challenges. The friends I made along in the process is the true gem I will cherish forever. It is a network of people that makes this experience so much for fulfilling and truly rewarding” – Pratik Kothari, Founder & CEO – TechArk Solutions.
Cathy Lewis and Sarah Jane Kirkland
“We are so fortunate to have Pratik Kothari as a member of the CIVIC Leadership Institute Class of 2019. Pratik’s passion, energy and commitment to grow the Hampton Roads region is inspiring. We are excited to see the future contributions from Pratik as an alum of CIVIC.”
Sarah Jane Kirkland, President and CEO – CIVIC Leadership Institute
“One of the most impactful aspects of the CIVIC Leadership Executive program is having leaders from a variety of sectors and background in one room discussing the challenges facing our regions. The perspective Pratik brought from both the tech world and as an entrepreneur was an invaluable contribution to this year’s class, especially as he chaired the Community Impact Initiative focusing on the Broadband Cables. During the program year, his drive to make a positive impact on this community was evident. As an alum of the CIVIC Leadership Institute, I look forward to seeing all that Pratik will accomplish and look forward to continuing to collaborate with him on regional initiatives.”
Amasa Smith, Director of Programming and Communications