Norfolk -- Governor Terry McAuliffe today (April 17) announced five new members to the Virginia Port Authority's Board of Commissioners and asked the incoming members to act swiftly to improve The Port of Virginia's fiscal management and return it to profitability.
"The Port of Virginia is one of the Commonwealth's most important economic assets, and improving its performance is one of my top priorities," McAuliffe said. "This team of Virginia leaders has the right experience and vision to strengthen the port financially and put it on the path toward long-term, sustainable growth.
"I know they are just as eager as I am to work alongside the dedicated men and women of The Port Virginia to make it stronger and better prepared to succeed in a 21st century economy."
The new members of the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners are:
G. Robert Aston, Jr., Portsmouth
The chairman of the board and CEO of TowneBank, which he founded in 1998, Bob Aston is a professional banker with 49 years of successful leadership in community banks and a super-regional bank, including 29 years' experience as president and CEO.
Aston has a history of community service, which includes time as past director of Virginia International Terminals, LLC. Currently, he serves on a host of boards and foundations in the community including as the president and chairman of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation and as a Fort Monroe Authority trustee. Aston is a graduate of the National Installment Lending School at the University of Oklahoma and the Graduate School of Retail Banking at the University of Virginia.
Alan Diamonstein, Newport News
Diamonstein is a former senior member of the Virginia House of Delegates and represented the Virginia Peninsula for more than 30 years during his time in office. As a partner in the Patten, Wornom, Hatten, Diamonstein law firm, he specializes in public policy issues and project finance, economic development law and real estate ventures.
He is a past member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, and has served as chairman of the internationally recognized Mariners' Museum in Newport News. During his time in office he served as the chairman of several key legislative committees, and was a budget conferee on the Appropriations Committee for many years. He is widely recognized for his support of Virginia's college and university system and the housing industry. He served on several Presidential Commissions and led the Virginia Housing Study Commission for more than 20 years.
Diamonstein attended the University of Virginia, and, after completing a tour with the U.S. Air Force, received his B.S. degree in commerce. He earned his law degree at the University of Virginia Law School. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Christopher Newport University and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the College of William and Mary.
Gary T. McCollum, Virginia Beach
McCollum is the senior vice president and general manager for Cox Communications. He was appointed to oversee all Cox operations in Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Roanoke in February 2010.
McCollum joined Cox Communications in 1989 as a manager trainee in Hartford, Conn. In 2000, he was promoted to vice president and general manager of Cox's newly acquired Northern Virginia system. In 2006, Gary was promoted to lead the Cox Hampton Roads system and then led the consolidation of all locations into one Virginia operation.
McCollum served eight years on active duty as a military intelligence officer for the U.S. Army and is currently a major in the U.S. Army Reserves. During his active duty military career, he served with the elite U.S. Army Rangers.
He graduated from James Madison University with a bachelor's degree in Russian Studies and Political Science, and from the University of Connecticut with an MBA, where he concentrated on telecommunications.
Val McWhorter, Fairfax
Val McWhorter is a founding partner of Smith, Patcher, McWhorter and has focused his practice in the area of Construction law for 30 years. His practice has included representing contractors in large, complex claims arising under federal, state, and local government contracts, as well as contracts between private parties.
McWhorter served on the Commission on Higher Education Board Appointments under Gov. Tim Kaine and on the State Council of Higher Education during the administration of Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. He is also a former member of the George Mason University Board of Visitors.
McWhorter received his bachelor and law degrees from Washington & Lee University.
John G. Milliken, Arlington
Milliken is a partner with the law firm Venable LLP, and is a former chairman of the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners, a board that he served on from 2002-2011. He served as director of transition for former Gov. Mark R. Warner and then as Warner's secretary of transportation. In addition was a member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
He served on the Arlington County Board from 1981 -1990 and was the chairman in 1984. In 2013, he co-chaired McAuliffe's transition committees on Commerce and Trade and Transportation.
Milliken is a graduate of Haverford College and received his law degree from the University of Virginia.