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2016 VIRGINIA MEETING & CONFERENCE PLANNER


has planned hundreds of events, ranging from corporate board meet- ings to ship christenings, and wel- comed notable guests on behalf of the company, including presidents of the United States and members of Congress. In recognition of his expertise, Hinnant has been named the first ever Virginia Business Meeting Planner of the Year, a partnership between Virginia Business and the Virginia Society of Association Ex- ecutives, which serves the common- wealth’s association management industry. Hinnant will be honored at VSAE’s 2016 Educational Sympo- sium & Expo Oct. 6 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond. “There are many things for me


to worry about in my current role,” HII President and CEO Mike Petters said when nominating Hinnant for the award. “Given Dave’s capability, our ability to host guests and create the right level of hospitality and pro- fessionalism for an excellent meet- ing environment is not one of them.” Scott Stabler, HII’s vice presi-


dent of internal audit, notes that part of what makes Hinnant an effective meeting planner is his insight when planning events. “One such oc-


casion was the Christening of the Aircraft Carrier USS RONALD REA- GAN (CNV 76) on March 4th 2001,” he says. “Mrs. (Nancy) Reagan came to Newport News (to christen the ship.) The former president (was unable to attend as he was) dealing with the progressive effects of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Dave had a jeweler create a special charm (and bracelet) for Mrs. Reagan, which both commemorated the former First Lady’s participation in the Christening and celebrated the calendar date of March 4th – the Reagan’s wedding anniversary. Mrs. Reagan was quite moved by this gesture.”


The Meeting Planner of the Year


award comes at a monumental time for Hinnant, who is retiring Oct. 31. He started working at Newport News Shipbuilding in 1962 after graduating high school. He held several roles before becoming a meeting planner for the company, including pipefitter, marketing repre- sentative and a variety of jobs in the production control department. “In production control my re- sponsibilities were planning and scheduling and sequencing the building of the ships,” he says. “I think that really helped me with the


Congratulations to t e


2016 Virginia Business Meeting Planner of the Winner & Finalists!


Runner-Up: Beth Prever, TowneBank, Suffolk Finalists:


Freda Mae Dressler Delta Dental of Virginia/Corvesta Inc. Roanoke


Lisa Dyson


TESOL International Association Alexandria


ADVERTISING SECTION


Teri Allanson Ruggles Service Corp. Richmond


Deany Dormer Executive Events Norfolk


38 OCTOBER 2016 Year


Meeting Planner of the Year:David Hinnant, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Newport News 1st


Courtney Fleming Virginia Bankers Association Glen Allen


Tarin Horan


Northern Virginia Technology Council Herndon


event planning responsibilities — to look ahead and think ahead as to what was going to be needed.” But Hinnant is quick to credit


the entire team tasked with ensur- ing HII’s events run smoothly, which ranges from two other meeting plan- ning professionals to the company’s security team. “We try to do a lot of forward thinking and forward planning,” he says in order to have everything covered in case something goes wrong.


That includes being on a first- name basis with senior leaders where events are being held. “He is not reticent to use these connec- tions when necessary,” Stabler says. “He also has an uncanny knack to sense when something is not right and to quietly remedy the situation before anyone is aware that some- thing was awry.”


Hinnant never expected to be- come a meeting planner.


“I am truly blessed to have been


a part of such a great company,” he says. “When I look at where I started and the transformations that have taken place with the company and in my life, in what to me seems such a short time, it’s amazing and noth- ing short of divine intervention.”


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