MBC Members

The MBC provides information, guidance and programs that enable business owners to understand how to work with the City of Virginia Beach. Additionally, you may find useful information relevant to contracting with other government agencies.

Olga Torres.jpgMs. Olga Torres, MBC Chair

Ms. Torres resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is a Senior Marketing Consultant at La Selecta Radio 103.3 FM / WVXX 1050 AM, Hampton Roads Hispanic music stations.  She also offers Spanish/English Interpreting and Translation, and Business Consulting services through her Taína Consulting business.  Additionally, she is a business partner at Dragonfly Latina Productions, promoting events and causes for Latina women. Her broad work experience within the Hispanic community enables her to be a great asset her current employer and clients. Ms. Torres has worked in the interpreting and translation field for the past eleven years.  She truly enjoys the work, and looks for opportunities to take on the type of work that challenges her to continue to grow as a professional in this field. Her ability to always keep an open mind about developing market trends which serve the needs of her clients and the Hispanic community, is what led her to join the team at La Selecta Radio.

An active Partner with Dragonfly Latina Productions since 2015, she was Co-Director of the Miss Virginia Latina and Miss Teen Virginia Latina state pageants. The mission of these pageants is to empower young Latinas who are proud of their heritage and have a desire for achievement, recognition, and the betterment of themselves, their families and their communities.  This mission parallels Dragonfly Latina Productions' vision to provide an engaging and empowering platform for Latinas of all walks of life to shine.

Ms. Torres previously owned and operated Metropolitan Insurance Options, Inc., an independent insurance agency in Aurora, Colorado, where she also served her church community.  Her volunteer work came hand in hand with her work as an independent insurance agent, where 70% of her clients were Hispanics from diverse backgrounds. Because of her work and community involvement, she was recognized as Business Woman of the Year by the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2005.

Ms. Torres' volunteer work continues today.  She served as President of the Hampton Roads Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (HRHCC) for 5 years and is preparing to step into the supporting role of immediate past president.  Under her leadership since August 2012, the Chamber experienced positive growth, visibility, and recognition in the community.  In February 2014 Ms. Torres was recognized by the Urban League of Hampton Roads Young Professionals with a Silver Star of Diversity Award for her volunteer work with HRHCC. In the fall of 2015 she was welcomed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Leadership Forum (HLF), whose Mission is to "focus on development of leaders within the Hispanic community through education, the arts, and cultural engagement".  Some of her other volunteer experience include the Virginia Beach Small Business Subcommittee, Hampton Roads Diversity & Inclusion Consortium, ERT Community Roundtable, AARP Virginia, and since 2012, her vision has been instrumental in establishing the Circle of Latinas of Hampton Roads, which serves as a resource to mainly Spanish speaking Latinas and their families.  In the spring of 2016 Ms. Torres completed a 12 week Board Development program, and was voted president of its graduating class - The United Way of South Hampton Roads' 20th Project Inclusion program.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico until the age of 13, she is very proud of her roots and culture, and has always volunteered with local Puerto Rican organizations wherever she has lived.  On her free time she enjoys spending time with her better half, her young nieces, nephews, and especially with her 6 grandchildren, and is looking forward to welcoming #7 very soon. She loves visiting her beloved Puerto Rico to spend time with her grandmother who will soon celebrate her 95th birthday, and also enjoys golfing, dancing, and spending time with good friends and family.

 Damen Watson, MBC Vice Chair

Damen began his financial career in the heart of Wall Street, serving as a trader on the New York Stock Exchange. The experience was provoking and led him to look outside those walls and invest in a small business within the beverage industry.

In 2013, Damen found what he was looking for within the Philleo & Holladay Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, after two years with Merrill Lynch. He made his move because he wanted to help people and be a part of the traditions of this unique team.

In 2016, Damen joined his family's business, operating as the Quality Assurance Director at Caring Hands S.E.E. Of VA (a provider agency that advocates for individuals with special needs throughout Virginia). Damen's strategic oversight encompasses all organizational areas including but not limited to: patient/family satisfaction surveys, medication management, employee policies implementations, coordination of care, quality management, implementation and monitoring of performance improvement plans and strategies, and overall day to day operations.

A lifelong learner, Damen regularly studies the financial markets and maintains the Designated Market Maker- Series 21, Uniform Combined Law Exam Series 66, as well as the General Securities Representative Series 7- Damen attended the University of Miami, playing guard on their basketball team for two years and studied criminology and business law.

A native of the Tidewater area, Damen is a member of the Monticello Baptist Church. He is a member of the Minority Business Council of Virginia Beach and the Urban League of Young Professionals of Hampton Roads. He also volunteers with various activities in the area supported by Wells Fargo. Damen spends time with his extended family and friends throughout the Virginia Beach area and still enjoys playing basketball and regular exercise. He also loves to travel and keeps a target list of destinations.

 Mr. Ed Hopper, MBC Financial Counselor

Ed  Hopper  is  the  CEO  and  founder  of  ALTOR  Processing  Systems  INC. His company was founded in 1999.  ALTOR is a full service provider that focuses  on  helping  businesses  with  all  forms  of credit  card/debit card/gift card and check processing. Mr. Hopper has been in Marketing, Sales and Service for over 26 years.   He has been in the credit card processing industry since 1995.  

On a more personal level, Mr. Hopper is a firm believer in giving back. He has volunteered and helped out with multiple charities including JDF, JA, Ronald McDonald House and The Noblemen.  

Mr.  Hopper  has  been  with  EMS  as  an  EMT  and  Teacher  (Proctor)  since 2013.  He is currently a member of the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad (VBVRS) station 14.  He also serves as a Sergeant for The Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service at the oceanfront during the summer.

He has been appointed to the Minority Business council and assists with the Outreach Committee.  He resides in Virginia Beach with his wife of 24 years and their 2 children.

Ms. Frances Knight Thompson, MBC Secretarial Officer

Frances Knight Thompson was educated in the Chesapeake Public Schools and is a graduate of Hampton University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education.  She also holds a Master of Science in Education degree in Guidance and Counseling from Old Dominion University and an Endorsement in Gifted Education from the University of Virginia. 

Mrs. Thompson began her career as an elementary school music teacher with Virginia Beach City Public Schools and taught for 15 years.  She continued her career with VBCPS as an Elementary School Counselor for another 15 years. Mrs. Thompson retired in 2014 from VBCPS after more than 40 years of service. At her retirement, she was assigned as Guidance Department Chair for Kemps Landing Magnet School, formerly a Virginia Beach middle school for intellectually gifted students.  Following retirement, Mrs. Thompson worked part-time in the VBCPS Office of Equity Affairs as Project Manager, coordinating professional development for teachers and staff, managing the planning for the VBCPS African American Male Summit, facilitating Candid Conversations about Race, and assisting the Director of Equity Affairs in the daily operations of the office.

During her professional career, Mrs. Thompson was awarded Kemps Landing Magnet School's Teacher of The Year. In 2010, she received the Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission, and also received the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders Award presented by the Urban League of Hampton Roads.  Even in retirement, her passion in education continues to be increasing the identification of students in underrepresented populations for gifted programs, as well as resolving the issue of the disparity in the academic achievement of African American males and their counterparts, a local, state, and national concern for all educators.

Francina.jpgMs. Francina R. Harrison, MBC Member

Francina R. Harrison, MSW, is the visionary behind The Career Engineer® (TCE), http://TCEnow.com & the TCE Network MyTCEnow.com a nationally recognized and award-winning Virginia based consulting firm.  TCE helps career and business professionals increase their "bottom-line" with Transitional Career Management, Strategic Solutions, Outplacement Services, Professional Development Training, Social Entrepreneurship and Power Connections.  The Career Engineer (retired Navy Spouse) has more than 14 years of serving and managing transitional career, business and life programs.  In addition, she also holds a Masters Degree in Social Work, and an undergraduate "Summa Cum Laude" status from Norfolk State University. 

The Career Engineer herself, TCE has received numerous awards and accolades.

  • 2012 Legacies Silver Star Award Winner Jobs/Entrepreneurship: (ULHRYP.org)
  • 2010 Woman in Business Achievement Award (Inside Business Magazine)
  • Featured in BlackEnterpise.com in the "Social Media Connection" Spotlight (2010) 
  • BlackEnterprise.com as "Career Expert You Should Follow on Twitter " (2011)
  • Featured as a  "First Person Spotlight" Inside Business Hampton Roads Magazine
  • Business Innovation Award (2009), Urban League of Hampton Roads
  • Appearances on Tom Joyner Morning Show, Tavis Smiley Radio, FOX, NBC, ABC Affiliates, Mario Armstrong Radio Show and MaxMedia Hampton Roads
  • Interviewed by Chicago Tribune Sourced by CNN, Wall Street Journal and more

Francina is also a recurring expert on Fox43 (Hampton Roads), Fox & ABC affiliates and major media across the USA and is branded "on the Internet" worldwide as a "thought-leader" in the areas of career, business and networking. In addition, Francina serves on several boards/committees including Girls Scouts Colonial Coast, (Board Member), City of Virginia Beach Minority Business Council, Virginia Housing and Community Development Corporation (VHCDC – Former Board Member), Urban League-Hampton Roads (Committee Chair), President of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church's Jobs Network Ministry, and has built a host of domestic and international alliances and partnerships.

 Ron Lewis color.jpgMr. Ron Lewis, MBC Member

CEO/Founder Ronald Lewis is a recently retired Army General who graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Ron has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College.

 

Ron has 30 years of senior executive experience in Defense, Aerospace, Acquisition, Global Security, and Public Affairs. He spent most of his career working as a strategist, leader, and manager. The organizations he led ranged in size from 30 to 20,000 personnel. Much of his recent experience in the Pentagon was at the cabinet level operating across the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Asia-Pacific regions. 

 

Ron is a proven strategic planner, team builder, change manager and communicator. He has comprehensive experience as a trainer/coach at the Department of Defense’s National Training Center. Both statesman and former-warrior, he is a sought after transformational leader, speaker and complex problem solver. He is an expert in crisis management and process improvement.

 

Ron is a global consultant and executive coach who recently joined the Hampton Roads area. He and his diverse team of veteran leaders continue to serve by partnering with government officials and growing business leaders on strategic planning, leader and team development and crisis response. They have conducted leadership and organizational development seminars, resiliency training and consulting services for several regional businesses, schools and municipalities. Ron also serves as the Vice-chair, Military Affairs for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

Clarence Travel picture (1).jpg Clarence Neely, MBC Member

Clarence is married to Shari Davenport-Neely, between them they have six Children and nine Grandchildren. Clarence is currently the CEO of CSVentures Consulting 57 LLC aka Creative Systems a Virginia Beach based multi-faceted consulting agency. He recently merged the Security Consulting Division of the agency with United Defense Contracting LLC. Clarence is a retired Senior Enlisted Member of the United States Coast Guard where he specialized in counter narcotics operations, search and rescue and training.  After retirement he decided to switch gears and go to work in the Entertainment Industry as a Publicist and Marketing Executive. He spent many years writing articles for magazines, promoting concerts and events and has worked with some of the biggest names in show business, such as; Missy Elliott, Chris Brown, Trey Songz and the list goes on. 

 

While the Music Industry was transitioning into the digital world, Clarence decided to add Private Security Contracting and Consulting to his business catalog and took on clients such as the STIHL Corporation, a German company headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia. There he oversaw the Security Operations as a Watch Commander and was promoted to Lieutenant. After a successful run with STIHL, he took on a job with the Department of Homeland Security as a Contactor, specializing in Force Protection.  

 

After a successful run with The Department of Homeland Security, he took on the Security Operations of the largest and newest Luxury Hotel in downtown Norfolk, known as “The Main.” There he helped develop the Security Plans and Operations as a Security Supervisor. Clarence’s positive and can do approach caught the attention of Paul Rodriquez the CEO of NSC Technologies, the largest staffing agency to the Ship Building and Repair Industry in the Coastal Virginia area and was offered to work with NSC Technologies as their Military Liaison and Staffing Consultant, specializing in recruiting prior Military Members with an IT and Cyber Security background. In addition, Clarence currently serves as a Fellow Trainer with the Honor Foundation based in Virginia Beach. Clarence is a well rounded individual that loves to take on challenges to get the job done.   

  Jaketa Clark-Thompson, MBC Member

Jaketa Clark Thompson is a wife, a mother of four, and the proud owner of an award-winning, full-service advertising and marketing agency (Omnia Unlimited LLC). She started her journey as a business owner at the age of 18 when she began working with Fortune 500 companies on their experiential brand activations and has worked in the industry ever since. Marketing and advertising are her true passions, and she loves working with businesses of all different sizes to take their vision to the next level. 

Jaketa enjoys spending a great deal of her time serving her community. She currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Virginia Beach Jaycees, on the VB Board of Directors for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Marketing and Outreach Director for the Atlantic Avenue Association, and as Interim Executive Director for the Virginia African American Cultural Center. In addition, she also serves as a board member for Lynnhaven River Now, Pandas Fight Against Cancer, a founding member of Listen Learn Love, a member of the Virginia Beach Kiwanis,  and is an appointee to the Mayor's IDEA Commission.