Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Charleston Area Alliance's blog has moved to

We've enhanced the look and content management capabilities to better serve our members.

Be sure to make it one of your favorite site and check it daily for updates.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Gateway Greenspace Update

October 8, 2009

This week, the stream bed is beginning to take shape as seen in the photo above. Large boulders outline the edges of the stream feature which will cascade down all three stepped walls.

One of our largest boulders is being transformed into the lower level bubbler feeding the small stream pool.

Photos and copy by Susie Salisbury

Kanawha Electric & Machine Earns Bearing Certification

Kanawha Electric & Machine, the Charleston-based company specializing in industrial electric motor repair, is now an SKF Certified Electric Motor Rebuilder.

SKF is one of the world’s leading makers of bearing components for industrial machinery.

“This is big news, not only for Kanawha Electric but also for the Kanawha Valley,” said Mike Aeiker, senior vice president at the Charleston Area Alliance, the region’s economic and community development leader.

“The certification means Kanawha Electric is taking its capabilities to the highest possible level,” Aeiker said. “That type of product quality should attract more business to the region and boost the local economy. It’s good news for everyone.”

The SKF certification program recognizes companies that meet exacting standards for repair expertise. The earn the status, Kanawha Electric employees completed extensive training in electric motor failure analysis, bearing installation, lubrication systems and condition monitoring technologies. Certified shops must meet SKF standards in all areas of motor repair and maintenance are regularly are audited to assure compliance.

“We focus continually on quality and value,” said Larry Ward, Kanawha Electric vice president. “Our customers will benefit from the certification. We are confident that SKF’s expertise in bearing engineering, analysis and applications will enhance our ability to maintain leadership position in the electrical and mechanical industry for Mid-Atlantic markets.”

“This certification is a huge achievement for Kanawha Electric, as it would be for any company,” Aeiker said. “The company’s efforts and achievements benefits industries, businesses and citizens throughout the region.”

Kanawha Electric and Machine soon will be celebrating more achievements, including safety and environmental certifications. November will mark 11 years of no lost time relating to Kanawha Electric’s safe working environment. The company also is preparing to unveil expansion efforts next year.

Mark Shaw, Sr. founded Kanawha Electric & Machine Company in 1937. Originally located in Kanawha City, the company concentrated on repair and service of a wide range of electric motors, generators and pumps. Since that time, the primary focus of the business has been serving the chemical, industrial and mining markets within West Virginia.

In 2001, another longstanding West Virginia company, Tramco Services, acquired Kanawha Electric & Machine.

By way of adaptation and investment, the company has expanded its capabilities to meet the region’s growing demand for manufacturers capable of providing precision machined parts and products. Additionally, Kanawha Electric & Machine has broadened its product and service lines to include sales, service and exchange of electric motors, generators, magnets, pumps, welders and fabrication along with a full range of predictive/ preventative maintenance services, including laser alignment, thermal imaging, vibration analysis and in-field polarization index testing.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Maximize Your Membership

Starting at less than a dollar per day, you can be part of a network of 600 businesses and their 40,000 employees who are making a smart investment in their bottom line future -- and the future of our community -- through their membership in the Charleston Area Alliance.

To help you get the biggest bang for your membership buck, the Alliance is presenting a FREE "Maximizing Your Membership" luncheon on Monday, Oct. 12.

Reservations are limited and an RSVP is required. Not a new Alliance member? You don't have to be to attend this luncheon! Maybe you're just curious about Alliance membership or maybe you're already a proud Alliance member --- either way, we're happy to host you as we help you maximize your membership.

You'll meet face-to-face with Board members, Alliance staff and fellow members and learn about the many Alliance programs and services that can help your business today, such as:

Business referrals: As a member, your name is added to our industry-specific roster of businesses and service providers and posted on our Web site. The hundreds of inquiries we receive each year for recommendations are directed to the businesses that have demonstrated their professionalism and commitment to our community through their Alliance membership.

Free technical assistance and business solutions: Our economic development and engineering professionals can provide guidance on a wide range of issues, from land development, to selling your products internationally to recruiting specialized personnel. If we don't have the answer, we know who will. Help is just a phone call away.

Networking and business contacts: Our popular Business After Hours, Charleston Business Showcase, Generation Charleston and Professional Women's Council are just a few of the low-cost forums available for connecting with others and raising the visibility of your business.

Expertise: Our Workability 101, TechKnowledge and other educational programs provide very affordable ways for you and your employees to hear from the experts and stay abreast of industry trends.

Marketing: Through our new "Member Market" program, you can promote your business to the 3,000+ business people, young professionals and community leaders on the Alliance's exclusive email list for only $150 ($100 non-profits). Members may also submit information for inclusion on our blog and calendar of events at no charge.

Special events: Our popular special events, such as the Annual Celebration, Issues & Eggs breakfast and Golf Outing, provide members with cost-effective and highly visible opportunities for showcasing their businesses to decision-makers and business and community leaders in a professional setting

In addition to these direct member benefits, the Alliance delivers a solid return on your membership dollar through the programs and services we provide as a multi-faceted economic, business and community development organization as well as the largest regional Chamber of Commerce in West Virginia.

These include:

Economic vitality and growth for our region
New jobs and new customers for your businesses
Capital investments and improvements in your community
Legislation and policies that promote bottom-line results
Retention of our youth and growing the talent that fuels innovation
Enhanced quality of life and quality of place
A promising future in a community that you and your family can be proud to call home.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Join us Thursday, Oct. 8 for an open house at Mountain State University's Charleston office. Beverages and food will be available.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Staying Smart in a Volatile Market
SMART529, West Virginia’s College Savings Solution

SMART529, West Virginia’s College Savings Solution, is a program of the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office

Nearly everyone is aware that the stock market has been volatile in the past year, but what many people don't know is that markets like this one can be a very good investment.

Of course, you first need to take time to review basic investment principles and make sure you can pass the economic volatility test.

Principle 1: Diversify

Spreading money among different types of investments, i.e. stocks, bonds and cash, does not ensure a profit or protect you from a loss, but it can limit your risk. If one investment loses value, others may offset those losses with gains.

SMART529 makes it easy to diversify your investment. SMART529’s Age-based and Static portfolios offer a variety of investment options to choose from depending on how much time there is between now and college, and your own tolerance for risk.

Principle 2: Keep investing

During times of financial volatility, your first instinct may be to withdraw your money and stay away from investing all together. But you should take the time to reconsider. Why? Because regularly adding to your investments—even during times of market ups and downs—may put you in an advantageous position when the market becomes more stable and begins to make gains again.

With SMART529, starting early and continuing to invest can help you maximize your college savings potential.

Principle 3: Be vigilant*

You should always keep track of your investments and how they are performing, especially in volatile times.

When investing, you should set reasonable expectations and regularly monitor your investments to see if your expectations are being met. Of course, you also have to keep the current market conditions in mind.

SMART529 makes it easy to monitor your account and to find out about regulatory changes, new investment options or enhancements to the program. You can log into your account or find out the latest program news at It’s a great tool to help you stay apprised of the current market situation and for tips on helping you save for your child’s college education.

*Two investment strategy changes are allowed in 2009, instead of the one time per year restriction.

If market worries still prevent you from investing in college savings :

SMART529’s Stable Value Option is the most conservative option in the program, and is available through both SMART529 WV Direct and The Hartford SMART529 Plans. This conservative investment portfolio seeks to maximize current income while preserving principal and delivering stable investment returns. It is very diversified, containing high-quality bonds and other fixed-income investments.*

*This option is subject to both credit and interest rate risk. Share price and yield will be affected by interest rate movements, with bond prices generally moving in the opposite direction from interest rates. Credit risk refers to the bond issuers' ability to make timely payments of principal and interest.

**See the Offering Statement for more information about this investment.

You should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks and charges and expenses of SMART529 and its Underlying Funds before investing. This and other information can be found in the Offering Statement for SMART529 and the prospectuses or other disclosure documents for the Underlying Funds, which can be obtained on this website or by calling toll-free (866) 574-3542. Please read them carefully before you invest or send money. SMART529 is distributed by Hartford Securities Distribution Company Inc. Member SIPC.

1West Virginia provides its residents with tax advantages for investing in SMART529. If you reside in or have taxable income in a state other than West Virginia, you should consider whether your state has a qualified tuition program that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits exclusive to your state's program that are not available under the SMART529 program. Taxpayers and residents of other states who are interested in exploring such tax consequences should consult with a qualified tax advisor.

2Non-qualified withdrawals are taxable as ordinary income to the extent of earnings and may also be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Such withdrawals may have state income tax implications.

Investments in SMART529 are not guaranteed or insured by the State of West Virginia, the Board of Trustees of the West Virginia College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program, the West Virginia State Treasurer's Office, Hartford Life Insurance Company, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., the investment sub-advisors for the Underlying Funds or any depository institution. Investments in SMART529 are subject to investment risks, including the loss of the principal amount invested, and may not be appropriate for all investors.

Investments in SMART529 are subject to certain charges, which will reduce the value of your Account as they are incurred. Please see the Offering Statement for details of charges or fees that apply to the specific SMART529 savings plan.

This information is written in connection with the promotion or marketing of the matter(s) addressed in this material. The information cannot be used or relied upon for the purpose of avoiding IRS penalties. These materials are not intended to provide tax, accounting or legal advice. As with all matters of a tax or legal nature, you should consult your own tax or legal counsel for advice.

Lifetime savings maximum of $265,620 per child.

"The Hartford" is The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.

For more information, visit:

It's Boulder Time at the Gateway Greenspace!

October 1, 2009

We are honored to announce our latest addition to the greenspace - these beautiful boulders were delivered yesterday by Pritchard Mining. We thank Mr. Andrew Jordan for his generation contribution to this community project.

Today, Order's Construction set a couple of boulders into the stream bed.

Photos and comments by Susie Salisbury

Thursday, October 01, 2009

We're Looking for 50 Volunteers

Generation Charleston, the emerging leaders group, and the Vandalia Rotary are teaming to fight homelessness and hunger with four projects on Oct. 10.

The Day of Service project locations include Union Mission, Manna-Meal, the YWCA of Charleston Resolve Family Abuse Program’s Activity Center and a Habitat for Humanity home-build site.

“This is a big effort, and we’ll need at least 50 volunteers to make it a success,” said Robert Rosano, Generation Charleston community outreach co-captain. “Getting more would be fantastic. In just a few hours on a Saturday, we can make a huge difference and positively affect the lives of many people.”

Duties include sorting canned food at Union Mission; serving food and other various tasks at Manna-Meal; painting at the YWCA center and building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Interested volunteers will receive detailed information. To volunteer or for more information, please contact Brooke Pauley, community outreach co-captain, at and specify your top two project location choices.

“Community outreach is one of Generation Charleston’s most important components,” Pauley said. “Making Charleston a more attractive, vibrant place for young talent involves creating opportunities to help those less fortunate. We’ve found that, by and large, people have a strong desire to improve their communities, and when they are part of this kind of work, they find identity in those communities.”

8:15 am - 8:45 am Check-in/Breakfast at the YWCA on Quarrier Street
8:45 am – 9:00 am Depart for respective project sites
9:00 am – 1:00 pm Work at respective project site
1:00 pm – 1:15 pm Travel back from project sites
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Volunteer Appreciation Party at Vandalia Grille. Sponsored by the Vandalia Rotary Club.

This collaborative effort between the Generation Charleston Community Outreach & Housing Teams is Generation Charleston's 4th Quarter Service Project. Previous quarterly projects include the Kanawha River clean-up, a fundraiser for the Childhood Language Center and Summer Fun Day at the Clay Center.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Join us at 9 a.m. Oct. 1 for a flag raising ceremony that recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month on the City Hall front steps.