Michael Watson -  Former Guest Speaker at the Leadership Institute

A husband, father, craftsman, entrepreneur and son of a tugboat Captain, Mike Watson knows what it means to put in a hard day’s work. Starting his career as a skilled craftsman and turning that trade into successful businesses, Mike has firsthand experience of the opportunities provided by this great nation and will fight to ensure all Virginian’s have a path to their dream.

A Virginia native, Mike spent much of his youth in Hampton Roads where he worked with his father in the family’s Tug Boat business at Lee Hall. After attending ODU, New River Community College and earning a degree in Instrumentation Technology, Mike worked on both sides of labor traveling the U.S. as an Industrial Instrumentation Technician before moving to North Carolina where he started his family and first business at age 27. In the 24 years since, his employees have traveled to Asia, Africa, Central America and throughout the US, implementing process controls for Energy, Pharmaceutical, Automotive, Aerospace and dozens of other industries; often managing projects specifically designed to address OSHA, FDA and EPA regulatory compliance. In 2005 Mike expanded his second business, precision test-equipment calibration laboratories, back home in Virginia where he and his wife, Amy, wanted to raise their sons.

In addition to receiving state awards including Small Business of the Year and national recognition as finalist for the Blue Chip Enterprise Award, his companies have been solid corporate citizens, supporting charitable, youth league and educational programs, including a fully endowed scholarship fund for disadvantaged students pursuing careers in technology. Mike has been a Boy Scout leader and Little League baseball coach. He frequently spends time promoting opportunities for skilled craftsmen, speaking to high school and college students and is a Senior Member of the International Society of Automation. He serves on the Board of Directors for the New River Educational Foundation, Community College Technical Advisory Committees, Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance – Government Affairs Committee, Virginia Advanced Study Strategies, and BSA Troop 103 Troop Committee. He is also a FAA licensed pilot and NAUI certified Advanced SCUBA Diver.

In his first term as Delegate, Mike received a 100% pro-business rating and ‘Champion of Free Enterprise Award’ from the VA Chamber of Commerce in both years and was named ‘Freshman Legislator of the Year’.  He also has a cumulative rating of 100% from Virginia Free, the state’s leading nonpartisan business advocacy organization.  In 2012 he was appointed to Virginia’s Manufacturing Development Commission and in 2013 to the board of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization.  Mike is a co-founder of the General Assembly’s first ever bipartisan Business Development Caucus.

Mike and his wife Amy, who manages administrative functions at Control Automation Technologies Corporation and facilitates their many family activities, have three sons. Cody, 22 is a 2013 graduate of Virginia Tech; Adam, 17 is a senior at Jamestown High School and an Eagle Scout; Taylor, 14 is an avid swimmer and a Freshman at Jamestown High. The family attends Williamsburg Community Chapel.

Michael Watson