Provided by Prince William Chamber of Commerce
Prince William Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Debbie Jones announced that she will be retiring from the Chamber after more than 32 years, on Dec. 31, 2022. Debbie has served as President & CEO of the Chamber since July 2014. She has led this business member organization through a period of significant transition, growth, and success.
Debbie began her Chamber career in 1990 when she was hired as the Communications Coordinator; in January 1993 she was promoted to serve as the President & CEO of the then-Prince William County-Greater Manassas Chamber (PWC-GM Chamber), which served businesses and organizations in the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, and throughout western Prince William County. Under her leadership over the next 17 years, the PWC-GM Chamber grew to over 1,000 members. During this time Disney made their announcement to pursue Disney’s America, Cellar Door Productions opened the amphitheater on Wellington Road (Jiffy Lube Live), Robert Trent Jones Golf Club opened and hosted the “President’s Cup,” and as western Prince William County continued to develop, the PWC-GM Chamber opened a satellite office in the Gainesville area to better serve businesses of the growing area.
In 2006 the Executive Committees of both the Prince William County-Greater Manassas Chamber and the Prince William Regional Chamber began to explore the possibility of forming a regional leadership program, and Leadership Prince William (LPW) was created as a stand-alone organization. LPW’s financial foundation and organizational structure were based on the support of both Chambers as well as many regional businesses. In 2007 the first class of LPW graduated. Today LPW is accepting applications for the Class of 2023.
After the successful launch of LPW, private conversations began to discuss the possibility and the impact that a single regional Chamber could offer the growing community. After investigating and creating the possible future organizational structure, members of both Chambers voted on their future. In May 2010 the memberships decided that the Prince William County-Greater Manassas Chamber (established in 1935) and the Prince William Regional Chamber (established in 1955) would be dissolved in July 2010, and the new Prince William Chamber of Commerce was formed.
In the fall of 2010, Debbie became the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and successfully worked to transition the previous Chambers’ members, staff, and Boards of Directors into a single organization with an expanded footprint to best serve the region. After the departure of the then-President, Debbie was promoted to President & CEO and has the led the Chamber since 2014.
During that time, Debbie has created new strong partnerships across the community and state. She has grown one of the largest and most diverse membership bases in the region and created a strong internal team (including a legislation position) that serves the increasing needs of the Prince William region. “As a team, I feel it is extremely important that we never forget who we work for – our members,” said Debbie. The Prince William Chamber engages and works closely with the jurisdictions of Prince William County, the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, their Economic Development Departments, the three school systems’ Career and Technology Education (CTE), local governments and organizations.
Over the past eight years, and especially during a world pandemic, Debbie’s leadership skills have been tested. But as she announces her retirement at the end of December, the Prince William Chamber is in a great place financially, organizationally, and with a solid plan for the future.
“She has led us through the good times and the hard with energy, enthusiasm, optimism, and confidence in our region’s business community. She has been a connector, cheerleader, and good friend to businesses and organizations both large and small. All while having a new ‘boss’ each year! She leaves the PW Chamber in a great place – with a strong financial base, capable and committed staff, strong leadership on the board, and a membership ready to tackle today’s opportunities and challenges,” said Gayle Whitlock, Whitlock Wealth Management, 2021-2022 Chair of the Prince William Chamber Board of Directors.
Debbie is a 2007 graduate of LEAD VA and 2010 graduate of Leadership Prince William. She is a connector of people and community leader serving on numerous Boards including the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the PWC Police Citizen Advisory, Benedictine Sisters of Virginia Advisory Board, George Mason University, Science & Technology Campus Advisory Board and the Northern Virginia Community College Advisory Council. Debbie has received recognition for her contributions and leadership, including being named one of the 2021 Prince William Living Most Influential Women, George Mason University Alumni Association 2019 College of Visual and Performing Arts, Thomas W. Iszard IV, Distinguished Alumni Award, 2018 Kathy Ellington Leadership Award, the Catholic Business Network of NOVA, and the 2016 Prince William Good Scout Award.
Debbie wants to retire now to travel and pursue her other passions and interests. Maybe even use her Art Degree again! “Who knows what Debbie 2.0 will do,” she said. Debbie and her husband Lynn plan to stay in the area.