Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs hosted a leadership workshop the topic of public-private partnerships (P3s) on Friday, November 7 at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, VA. The P3 Leadership program was an opportunity for professionals in various technical and leadership capacities to examine and engage in discussions surrounding the role of leadership in successful P3s.

An outside observer may note several significant differences between partners – in language used to describe the deal, in financial metrics and expectations, in understanding the project and its impact on community and in the definition of transparency. The workshop focused on where leaders need to concentrate and brought together practitioners from both the private and public sectors who have experienced these leadership challenges first hand to discuss the critical elements of P3 success – culture, the public, shared space and trust – to describe what works and what doesn’t.

“There is no question P3s are emerging as a primary public policy choice for infrastructure, facilities and public services across the Commonwealth,” said SPIA Director Anne Khademian. “But while the benefits of a P3 approach are recognized, such as increased creativity at decreased costs, so too are the challenges, such as complexities of commitments and shortened time frames.”

Workshop participants engaged in group discussions, examined case studies and were challenged to consider P3s as more than just mediums for transportation and utilities projects. Rather, the workshop described ways in which P3s are transforming a new “social infrastructure” where the focus is to maximize public land assets with higher density mixed use development in order to provide public value in the larger context of a community.

The program was coordinated by SPIA Professor of Practice Rob Stalzer, SPIA Director Anne Khademian, and SPIA Program Coordinators for Professional Programs Rosa Castillo Krewson and Emily Swenson Brock. Workshop speakers included:

  • Neil Morgan, COTA Senior Fellow, Virginia Tech, and retired City Manager of Newport News
  • Greg Trimmer, Principal, The JBG Companies
  • J. Douglas Koelemay, Director, Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Young Ho Chang, Senior Vice President, ATCS, P.L.C.
  • Tracy Shelton, Partnership General Manager, Public Safety Transportation and Operations Center
  • Dave Rohrer, Deputy County Executive for Public Safety, Fairfax County, VA
  • Kristi Dooley, Founder, True Purpose Leadership
  • Jim Davis, President, James G. Davis Construction Corporation.