Isle of Wight economic development director resigns

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Isle of Wight County’s economic development director has resigned.

A county news release dated Oct. 3 states Chris Morello will be leaving the role to take a new position as the assistant director of economic development for the city of Newport News.

Morello began his tenure with Isle of Wight in 2017 as its economic development department’s then-assistant director, and was promoted to director in 2018. According to his LinkedIn profile, he previously worked for Newport News for 18 years from 1999 to 2017.

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“We appreciate his contributions to our team and wish him well in his future endeavors,” the Isle of Wight news release states.

“These past six years serving in Isle of Wight have been extremely positive, and a privilege working with colleagues, appointed officials and elected officials so tirelessly committed to the county’s continued success.  The timing of this opportunity to work again in economic development for Newport News, my hometown, plus many personal and family-related factors, contributed to the decision,” Morello said.

According to Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson, Morello’s resignation is effective Oct. 20.

Isle of Wight County has seen a flurry of new residential and commercial developments during Morello’s tenure, including the start of construction on Riverside Health System’s planned 50-bed Smithfield hospital that’s set to open in early 2026, and a mixed-use community in Carrollton known as The Crossings, which is now building out its commercial phase after stalling from 2002 through 2021.

Earlier this year, Morello and the county’s Economic Development Authority were involved in luring a 130,000-square-foot warehouse codenamed “Project Air Station” as the first occupant of a third phase of the county’s Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park.

According to census data, Isle of Wight’s population has increased 4% over the past two years, making it the seventh fastest-growing county in Virginia.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Oct. 3 at 5:28 p.m. to add a statement by Morello.