SUFFOLK-- Suffolk is the largest city in Virginia by area. The city's Economic Development Director, Kevin Hughes, was recently honored for making the most out of the most land space.

Development Counselors International recently selected Hughes to receive their 40 under 40 Rising Stars in Economic Development award.

Suffolk has had a 32% population increase in the last 10 years.

The city has seen business growth, including Kroger's Market Place coming to Harbor View. Ace Hardware brought 75 new jobs to Suffolk when it built it's new distribution center.

They Navy's Cyber Forces command will move to Suffolk in August and will create 1500 jobs, which will help ease the blow of jobs lost when Joint Forces Command was shut down in 2011.

According to Hughes, 'The expansion of the Panama Canal contributed to the expansion in business to the Port of Virginia. They built a 330,000 square foot distribution center. They were sold on the Port of Virginia.'

He says it's now cheaper to ship cargo through the canal than it is to drive it from the west coast.

Hughes says that one of the best tactics to getting projects through is to present plans to the planning commission that are already set up for success so that deals aren't caught up in feasibility studies and red tape.

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