Newport News, Va. – Virginia Business magazine named Riverside Health System CEO William B. “Bill” Downey among the “Heavy Hitters” in Virginia, aligning him with business leaders across the Commonwealth “who get things done.”

This year’s list of Virginia’s most influential businesspeople from Virginia Business magazine ranged from defense contractors, bankers and health system CEOs to a hotelier, a grocery chain operator, high-ranking tech executives and one global pop music superstar.

Downey was listed as influential, according to Virginia Business magazine, because he “oversees a health system with scores of service locations in eastern Virginia, from pediatric centers to retirement communities. They’re located from Hampton, through Williamsburg, into the Northern Neck and over to the Eastern Shore. Downey seems nearly as present, serving on the boards of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the Virginia Symphony and the Hampton Roads Economic Development Authority.”

Riverside, under Downey’s leadership, was noted for its February 2020 conclusion of a $55 million renovation and expansion to the Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester.

“The health system also was cited by The Washington Post as a positive contrast to the University of Virginia Health System, where an examination found a high number of patients in dire straits because of medical billing,” Virginia Business magazine wrote. “The report lauded a policy by Riverside that forgives bills exceeding annual household income.”

Downey joined Riverside Health System in May of 1981 as an Administrative Extern. He returned to Riverside in June 2001 and became President and CEO in 2012. Previously Downey served as President and CEO of Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem, Virginia and CEO of Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson, Florida.

In 2018, Downey was recognized at the 50th annual Peninsula Humanitarian Awards presented by the Peninsula Chapter of Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC). The awards honored individuals and organizations promoting respect and understanding among people of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds in the Peninsula community.

In 2019, Virginia Business magazine named Downey among the “50 Most Influential Virginians.”

Published: June 5, 2020