Building a path to success
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 Industrial Instrumentation Technology, Mike worked on both sides of labor traveling the U.S. as an Instrumentation Technician before moving to North Carolina where he started his family and first business at age 27. In the 30 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 another business, CATLab – Accredited Calibration Laboratories, back home in Virginia (New Kent County) where he and his wife, Amy, wanted to raise their sons.
Mike’s company was named North Carolina’s Small Business of the Year, earned national recognition as finalist for the Blue Chip Enterprise Award, and has been a solid corporate citizen 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 and works to promote Industry Credentials and Skilled Trade opportunities for high school and college students. He is a Senior Member of the International Society of Automation and serves on the Board of Directors for the New River C.C. Educational Foundation, multiple Community College Technical Advisory Committees, Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance – Government Affairs Committee, Virginia Advanced Study Strategies, and BSA Troop 103 Troop Committee. He recently served on the board of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization and Virginia’s Manufacturing Development Commission. In 2014 Mike was named Coordinator for the Small Business Subcommittee of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and appointed to the Higher Education Advisory Committee for the General Assembly’s House Education Committee. He is also a Life Member of the NRA, an active FAA certified pilot with Complex and High Performance endorsements, and a NAUI certified Advanced SCUBA Diver.
Elected to VA House of Delegates in 2011, Mike rapidly earned a reputation for promoting jobs and business, drafting & passing several job-growth initiatives as well as legislation for child safety, Habitat for Humanity, education, and workforce development. He also successfully carried budget amendments for the College of William & Mary & Jefferson Lab’s Free Electron Laser upgrade. Mike was instrumental in facilitating ‘I-64 widening on the Peninsula’, working directly with Governor McDonnell’s office to make it a priority in his 2013 Transportation Plan. He is also one of four founding members of the General Assembly’s first ever bi-partisan Business Development Caucus. As a freshman legislator, Mike received a 100% pro-business rating & ‘Champion of Free Enterprise Award’ through the VA Chamber of Commerce in back-back years & was named the General Assembly’s ‘Freshman Legislator of the Year’. Today, Mike holds Virginia Free’s highest cumulative pro-business rating of any legislator past or present and was a 2015 nominee for the Daily Press Citizen of the Year for his continued advocacy for small business and workforce development issues.
Mike and his wife Amy who recently started the Mike & Amy Watson Workforce Credentials Scholarship, have three sons. Cody, 26 is a graduate of Virginia Tech and works/resides in Williamsburg with his wife Sara; Adam, 21 is an Eagle Scout and studying Mechanical Engineering at Old Dominion University; Taylor, 18 is a Freshman at James Madison University studying Business . The family attends Williamsburg Community Chapel.