Board Member Marco Martin in Monarch Magazine

Here’s a great article about FOHTA board member Marco Martin from the winter 2013 issue of Old Dominion University’s Monarch Magazine.

Here’s a great article about FOHTA board member Marco Martin from the winter 2013 issue of Old Dominion University’s Monarch Magazine:


Marco Martin ’12

Undergraduate Measures Federal Economic Impact on Hampton Roads

It would have been a daunting job even for a professional economist – to measure the direct economic impact in Hampton Roads of the entire federal sector. That means the impact not only of the U.S. Navy and other military branches, of NASA and the Department of Homeland Security, but also of the lesser referenced agencies such as the Department of Labor and the Department of Agriculture.

Marco Martin got this assignment when he signed on as an unpaid intern in June 2011 with the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance. He was still working on the project when he graduated with a BS/BA in finance in May, and he stuck with it until his report, “Direct Economic Impact of Federal Spending within Hampton Roads, FY 2009-2010,” was finished in July. The document was being circulated in the fall to opinion leaders and economic planners throughout the region.

“My thanks and compliments to Marco,” wrote Craig Quigley, the retired rear admiral who is executive director of the alliance, in a cover note distributed with the report. “To the best of my knowledge, it is the first time that an attempt was made to measure the total direct economic impact of the entire federal sector on Hampton Roads.”

Martin was able to document almost $21 billion in payroll payments to 159,070 federal employees in Hampton Roads and almost $10 billion in procurement spending in the region by federal agencies. That amounts to around 47 percent of the region’s gross product.

Most of the documentation he needed was available through formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. But make that “theoretically” available in some cases, he says. “This was by far the most complex and time-consuming part of the project. For a few organizations, the FOIA process was smooth. For most, it was a tough journey. My boss for the internship, retired Rear Adm. Quigley, who is a great guy, by the way, received one response to an FOIA request two weeks ago (after the report came out). I had submitted the request a year before that.”

Martin said he is also grateful for the help he received from Vinod Agarwal, the ODU professor of economics who advised him during the compilation of the data, and from Greg Grootendorst, an economist with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.

Hard work and ingenuity have been Martin’s secret to success for years.As a pre-teen growing up in economically depressed Martinsville, Va., he was victimized by layoffs that drained his family’s finances. “I believe seeing that made me a lot of who I am and planted the seeds for my passion in finance and economics,” he says. Looking for better job prospects, the family moved to Norfolk, where Martin attended Booker T. Washington High School.

In the 11th grade he was accepted into a dual enrollment program administered by Norfolk Public Schools and Tidewater Community College. He credits the program’s leader, Susan Sigler, with expanding his interest in finance and economics.

It was Sigler who mentioned to a reporter for The Virginian-Pilot that she had gotten astute stock market advice from Martin, and a resulting article about him caught the eye of Nancy Bagranoff, then the dean of the ODU College of Business and Public Administration. “She wrote me a personal note, inviting me to apply. Her note confirmed that (enrolling at ODU) was the right thing for me to do.”

Now that he has graduated – it took him only three years to get his degree – is he still giving out free financial advice? It reveals a lot, he says, that he has chosen to work for a local insurance company.“Risk management, you know.That’s where we are.”

FOHTA newsletter