Portsmouth City Council
Elizabeth M. Psimas, Councilwoman
A native of Portsmouth, Elizabeth Psimas was raised in Churchland and attended the Portsmouth Public Schools, Nansemond Suffolk Academy, and Westhampton College of the University of Richmond, where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science. After working in the maritime industry for nearly 10 years, she opened her own business, Travel Designers Inc in 1988 in downtown Portsmouth. Travel Designers has flourished over the past two decades – expanded to Norfolk, downsized back to Portsmouth, and is currently on their third office location. They employ four travel consultants and sell vacation, business, group and incentive, cruise and escorted tour travel products to clients all over the United States. Elizabeth personally specializes in incentive groups and F.I.T packages to Europe. She is well travelled in North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Elizabeth has been active in the community for decades. She is a past president of the Portsmouth Service League, a community service organization founded in 1956. Elizabeth’s mother, Hope Morse was the founding president of the Portsmouth Service League. She is also a past director of the American Red Cross, Full Circle AIDS Hospice, the HER Shelter for Battered Women, and several arts organizations. In 1999 Girls Inc Center for Youth awarded Elizabeth their “Strong, Smart, and Bold” award for her community service.
Today, Elizabeth serves as a director for the Elizabeth River Project, working to restore the Elizabeth River to the highest practical level of environmental quality through government, business and community partnerships. She is also a sustaining member of the Portsmouth Service League and a member of the Olde Towne Business Association.
Elizabeth has been committed to the business community and economic development for many years. In 1998 she was named in the “Top 25 Business Women in Hampton Roads” by the Virginia Business Magazine. In 1993, her business was named “Small Business of the Year” by the Chamber of Commerce. She has served as board chairman for the Portsmouth Division of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, first vice president of the Portsmouth Partnership, and president of the Olde Towne Business Association. In 2010 she was honored with the “Community Service Award in Business” by the Virginia Desert Conference of Temples, P.P. by Carlton W. Newton, #3 Imperial Deputy of the Desert of Virginia.
As a political science student, she has been active in many campaigns and social issues. In 2003 Virginia Governor Mark Warner appointed Elizabeth to serve as the Portsmouth representative to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission, a position she held for five years. Elizabeth was elected to the Portsmouth City Council in 2004 and re-elected in 2008. During her previous tenure on the City Council, she served as the City’s liaison to the Mayor’s Military Affairs Committee, the Virginia Maritime Association, the Cultural Alliance of Hampton Roads, and the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO). In 2010, Elizabeth ran in a special election for Mayor. When she lost that election she resigned from the City Council (as prescribed by the city charter). In 2012, she was elected again to the City Council to a four year term. She is currently the Council Liaison to Ports, the Virginia Maritime Association, the Economic Development Authority, and is a member of the Hampton Roads Sports Authority.
Elizabeth attends Trinity Episcopal Church and lives on the downtown waterfront. She enjoys spoiling her godson, nieces, nephews and their families, entertaining, knitting, college sports, and of course – travelling!