After graduating from Old Dominion University with a BS in Business and an MA in Economics, Tom Blanchard began his career in urban economic development in 1972 as Economic Development Planner for the City of Norfolk, Va. Model Cities program. Following that, he was Executive Director of the City of Portsmouth, Va. Community Action Organization and in 1976 was appointed Director of The Department of Development for the City of Norfolk, Va.
As City of Norfolk Director of Development he was directly involved in the acquisition and redevelopment of several key parcels of land valued at over $10 million, most on the waterfront. Reuse of these parcels ranged from beach front residential to deep draft channel ship and barge terminals. As Executive Director of the Norfolk Recreational Facilities Authority, he managed the concept development and feasibility for NAUTICUS, The National Maritime Center, a $52 million themed attraction which opened in 1994 on the downtown Norfolk waterfront.
After serving as Executive Vice President of the Greater Norfolk Corporation from 1985 to 1989, he was appointed as President of the Horizons Waterfront Commission in Buffalo, NY. When the Horizons Commission was merged into Empire State Development Corporation in 1995, he was appointed Director of Research and Planning for the Empire State Development Western NY Region. In that capacity, he was responsible for planning and construction of the Erie Canal Harbor project in downtown Buffalo and various projects in downtown Niagara Falls including concept development and feasibility for the Niagara Experience Center.
Tom Blanchard has served on the following boards;
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission representing ESD
National Council for Urban Economic Development, now IEDC, Chairman 1986-88
Downtown Norfolk Development Corporation
Norfolk Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), Chairman
Buffalo Yacht Club, Past Commodore
Tom has received the following awards;
Member Omega Delta Epsilon Honorary Economics Society
Old Dominion University School of Business and Economics, Distinguished Alumni, 1979
International Economic Development Council (IEDC) , Deluca Lifetime Achievement Award, September, 2001
Tom holds a US Coast Guard Master Mariner Credential for 50 ton vessels operating in the Great Lakes and US Inland Waters.