By Stefanie Jackson – Cape Charles has a new town manager, John Hozey III, of Wallops Island, and his first official day on the job is March 9.
“My wife and I are very excited about joining the community of Cape Charles. I’ve been coming to the Eastern Shore my whole life and am so looking forward to now calling Cape Charles home,” Hozey said in a press release.
His current home in Wallops Island has been in his family for three generations. Hozey was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., but his “family has very strong ties to the Shore,” he said.
“When my father was a boy, he used to come down from Philly to spend his summers on Chincoteague with my great aunt,” Hozey said. Her husband was employed at Wallops Island.
The couple built a family home at Wallops Island in the 1950s, which was passed down to Hozey’s father and then to Hozey. Through the years, the Eastern Shore became “a very special place” to his family.
He has been on sabbatical for the past year, renovating the Wallops Island home and tending to family matters, he said.
Hozey’s last job was deputy chief of staff for Gov. Bill Walker, of Alaska. That job ended when Walker’s term expired in December 2018.
When Hozey was asked if he was prepared for the challenges of being a town manager, he noted his 10 years of experience as the city manager of Valdez, Alaska.
He described it as a “small, rural, coastal town.” Valdez has a population of approximately 3,900 and is known for its fishing port and freight terminal. The town supports tourism activities from deep-sea fishing to skiing.
“I’m very familiar with what the job entails, and I’m hoping for that type of longevity here,” Hozey said.
He also was the assistant borough manager of Ketchikan Gateway Borough in Alaska. (Alaska is divided into boroughs, not counties.)
Hozey holds a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
After earning his degree, he spent 11 years in the U.S. Air Force as a rescue pilot and senior rescue controller, Pentagon program manager, and flight commander. He served in Okinawa, Japan, Washington, D.C., and Alaska.
During that period, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Hozey has a total of 21 years of experience working in local, state, and federal government.
His interests include camping, hiking, history, and science.
He and his wife, Rhonda Hozey, have two grown sons, Jack and James, and an Irish setter, Chase.
The couple wants to stay and eventually retire on the Eastern Shore, so John Hozey was “keeping an eye out” for job opportunities during the last year.
“When I saw the Cape Charles town manager job open, I got very excited at the idea of being part of that community, so (I) eagerly applied,” he said.
“I feel incredibly fortunate that I was ultimately entrusted with this position.”