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, April 27, 2007

April 26, 2007

Urban oasis
Long-awaited greenspace could open next spring

By Jim Balow

Charleston Gazette Staff writer

A series of terraces, planted with native oak, maple, beech and birch trees. Beneath the trees an understory of mountain laurel, dogwoods and flame azaleas, with a groundcover of Allegheny spurge and ladyferns. A small pool surrounded by limestone and boulders.

This fall, workers could begin to transform a rundown parking lot across Washington Street from the Clay Center into an urban oasis. The long-awaited Gateway Greenspace could be open to the public by this time next year, Marita Roos said.

A principal with Philadelphia landscape architects Andropogon Associates, Roos went over final drawings for the project with a reporter Wednesday, pointing out where different individual trees and rocks will be placed. “It will be an assemblage of plants native to this part of West Virginia,” she said. “I guess you could say the theme is Appalachian Spring. Picture Aaron Copland.”

Roos sat down with subcontractors and project backers earlier Wednesday to discuss final details of the park. Potesta and Associates has helped with the design, and Clingenpeel/McBrayer & Associates is the electrical contractor.

The Charleston Area Alliance and one of its predecessors, Charleston Renaissance Corp., has been planning the park for about seven years.

A Renaissance committee headed by Ted Armbrecht raised nearly $2 million, but acquisition of the final parcel of the roughly one-acre site held things up for years. Now it’s on the fast track.

“We should be finished with the design by June, bid the project in July and start construction by September,” Roos said. The trees and shrubs will be arranged on a series of four irregular stepped terraces, the highest 8 feet above street level, she said, “so it will appear if you’re standing on the lawn like a cliff wall.”

Local building materials will complement the native plantings. “We hope to stratify these [retaining] walls with stone native to this part of West Virginia, layered in the order they are found.” Limestone, which crops out of the ground in Greenbrier County, goes lowest, with sandstone above.

Coal, another native rock, is also part of the plan, Armbrecht said. “We’re talking to people about getting a major cut of rock that would show the various layers, including coal.” A dry stream will cascade down the terraces and feed a small pool, Roos said. “We hope to feed it with rainwater that will fill a cistern beneath the terraces. We hope to capture rainwater from the adjacent building [the Byard Trust building on Leon Sullivan Way]. The idea is to feed the plants from West Virginia rainwater.”

Planners see the park as an educational tool, possibly for school groups that visit the Clay Center. Interpretive signs will briefly describe the park’s features, and teacher workbooks will provide more depth.

“This will be a learning space,” Armbrecht said. “Why is it here? Why is it planted some down here, some up there? The rocks will be a major learning experience. Sandstone: How did the sand get here? When was the day of the Great Teays River?”

The park will be as environmentally friendly as possible. Rainwater will be captured on site, so none will flow off into the city’s overburdened storm drains. “We want to use only florescent lighting, and dark skies,” Armbrecht said. Dark skies means the lights will face downward, to avoid adding to light pollution that obscures viewing the stars at night. “We’re going to price out solar panels to provide our electricity. We’re not sure it will work. We may have to supplement it.”

Even the type of grass, or lack of it, will be chosen with care. “We have cut down on the amount of lawn that will be grass, partly for maintenance and partly for use of fertilizer,” he said. “There will be some grass. But it’s not a high-maintenance type of facility.”

To contact staff writer Jim Balow, use e-mail or call 348-5102.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A useful, but often overlooked, resource available to the local business community is the Kanawha County Public Library. The library website offers a number of online, searchable business databases including Business Source Elite, Regional Business News, and Reference USA. These databases provide a wealth of information including up-to-date business news from nearly 1,000 newswires, newspapers, and business journals. Reference USA even offers details about specific companies such as employee counts, primary SIC, estimated annual sales, location, and contact information.

You can access these databases from your home or office computer and all it requires is a Kanawha County library card and an internet connection. These databases are great for marketing, research, sales, or finding a specific company.

Kanawha County Public Library is considering purchasing an additional business related database for the public. You can help them to identify what other business information you are looking for by taking their business database survey.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New Italian Company Coming to Charleston

The Charleston Area Alliance is pleased to announce a new international business making their home in the Kanawha Valley. DPR, LLC, an Italian manufacturer of products used in the label industry will open their Charleston headquarters in June of 2007. The announcement was made public at the Annual Celebration of the Charleston Area Alliance on Tuesday night April 17, 2007.

The company chose West Virginia because of the relationship they created with the Charleston Area Alliance and because West Virginia is a state known for its support of small business according to Enrico Panzeri, President of DPR LLC. “We believe we can make our business grow in Charleston.” DPR fabricates products for the label industry such as re-winders, splitters, cutters and dispensers.

The flexographic print industry is a target market for the Alliance as it works toward the expansion and attraction of new jobs to the region. The strong academic programs in Print Management and Print Technology at West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery are one primary reason for this focus.

“DPR is a great addition to our business community and to the print industry growing in our region,” said Matthew Ballard, President of the Charleston Area Alliance. “Our-long term goal is to create an even stronger cluster of print industry businesses in the Valley which will complement each other, maximize profits, and create jobs.”
Picture from left to Right:
Andrew Dunlap, Economic Development Project Manager, Charleston Area Alliance
Enrico Panzeri, President, DPR LLC,
Micheal Panzeri, DPR
Luca Bortolon, DPR
Matthew Ballard, President/CEO Charleston Area Alliance
At the Annual Celebration of the Charleston Area Alliance

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‘Freakonomics’ is a way of seeing, author says

From the Charleston Gazette

By Sarah K. Winn

Staff writer

Stephen Dubner, author of the widely popular “Freakonomics,” had a few expectations of the audience prior to his speech at Charleston’s Clay Center on Tuesday night.

“Somehow, they think freakonomics will give them that edge in business,” he said. “They are mostly wrong...What I hope they do get out of it is a way of looking at the world.”

Dubner was the speaker at the Charleston Area Alliance’s third annual celebration.
Dubner co-authored “Freakonomics,” a book of real-world examples of how economics works that spent 50 weeks on the New York Times bestseller’s list.

Dubner and co-author, economist Steven Levitt, also maintain a popular Web site,, and write a monthly column in The New York Times Magazine.
Why do people lie?

Dubner began his speech with a quiz.

He asked the audience to raise their hand if they don’t wash their hands after using a public restroom. No hands were raised.

“Some of you are lying,” he quipped.

He knows. He keeps track during his various travels and has found that only about 70 percent of people actually do.

So, why do people lie?

“The circumstances under which a question is asked affects the answer,” he said. “And, in freakonomics, we try to show what people actually do, as opposed to what they will say they will do.”

Freakonomics (and economics in general) is also about how people respond to incentives, he said.

He pointed to doctors at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and its recent hand washing problems. The doctors were not meeting the hand washing requirements and the hospital created a committee to solve the problem, he said.

After going through the normal behavior changing procedures — sending out memos, giving the doctors hand sanitizer as they walked in the door, and offering Starbucks gift certificates to doctors who followed the procedures — nothing really changed, he said.

The solution came from an out-of-the-box maneuver from a doctor who took germ samples from the hospital’s executives’ hands and analyzed them. A picture of an unidentified executive’s hands, swimming with microbes, was then broadcast as a screen saver on every computer in the hospital, he said.

Soon, hand washing by doctors was at 100 percent.

“This illustrates ... that we never really know what incentives are going to work and which are going to backfire,” he said. “[Our job] is trying to find out the right combination of incentives that work.”

Also, freakonomics is about looking for instances of conventional wisdom that turn out to be untrue, he said.

For example, academics have said that people are innately generous.
However, looking at the data from a different angle — examining outside factors like selection bias and emotions — finds that people really aren’t that generous, he said.
“In the simplest terms, freakonomics is about examining data in a quest to challenge commonly held truths,” he said.

“Forget about what you know about a subject and look at it in a new way,” he said.
Expect the Best award

Also, during the event, the Charleston Area Alliance announced its Expect the Best from West Virginia award winners. BrickStreet Insurance, Highland Hospital and the central West Virginia chapter of the American Red Cross received the honor.

Scholarship winners

The 2007 College Summit scholarship winners were also announced. They included Kendall Adams, South Charleston High School; Samuel Sarcone and Yolanda Whitfield, both of George Washington High School; Rachel Adams, Herbert Hoover High School; and Ashley Hudson, Riverside High School.
Each was awarded a $1,000 college scholarship and a laptop computer.

Finally, the Alliance announced a new international business making their home in the Kanawha Valley. DPR, LLC, an Italian flexographic printing company, will move in the Alliance’s incubator office space until it can secure a permanent facility.
To contact staff writer Sarah K. Winn, use e-mail or call 348-5156.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Festivall Poster Released.

This is a tremendous piece of marketing art for Festivall in Charleston West Virginia.

Between Festivall and Live at the Levee, quality of life continues to improve and thrive in our community.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

National Trust Announces 13 Graduate from Main Street Certification Institute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Virgil McDill (202) 588-6218
(202) 588-6141
National Trust Announces 13 Graduate from Main Street Certification Institute
Seattle, Washington (DATE, 2007) – The National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized this year’s graduates from its Certification in Professional Main Street™ Management Institute, which is the highest certification level for practitioners of the Main Street Four-Point Approach, a historic preservation-based economic development methodology. Graduates were recognized for their exceptional aptitude in Main Street revitalization in front of 1,500 of their peers during the opening session of the National Main Streets Conference on March 26, 2007.

“The Certification Institute recognizes Main Street practitioners who have demonstrated a high level of understanding and application of the Main Street Four-Point Approach™,” says Doug Loescher, director of the National Trust Main Street Center. “This class’ ability to execute successful revitalization efforts has raised the bar for professionalism and ability in this field.” Graduates must pass entrance exams; attend two, week-long intense training within a two-year period; and pass four exams.

The following 2007 Certification Institute graduates who now have their Certified Main Street Manger (CMSM) credentials are:
Lisa Croteau, CMSM, Niles DDA Main Street, Niles, Michigan
Frieda Davis, CMSM, City of Decatur Main Street Program, Decatur, Texas
Jeanie Forrester, CMSM, Greater Meredith Program, Meredith, New Hampshire
Debra Fredericksen, CMSM, Elmhurst City Centre, Elmhurst, Illinois
Mary M. Helmer, CMSM, Kansas Department of Commerce, Topeka, Kansas
Heidi Henry, CMSM, Economic Development Consultant, Corvallis, Oregon
Mary Alice Hodgson, CMSM, East End Main Street, Charleston, West Virginia
Carolyn Honeycutt, CMSM, Story City Greater Chamber Connection, Story City, Iowa
Lisa Hooper, CMSM, City of Wyandotte DDA, Wyandotte, Michigan
Lisa Rockley, CMSM, Downtown Manhattan, Manhattan, Kansas
Carolyn Smith, CMSM, The City of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
Ruth Taylor, CMSM, Littleton Main Street, Littleton, New Hampshire
Joan Wessell, CMSM, Downtown Corvallis Association, Corvallis, Oregon

Established in 1980, the National Trust Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes revitalize their traditional historic commercial districts. The Main Street Center leads the preservation-based community revitalization movement and has proven that historic preservation and community-driven economic development effects lasting change. Active in more than 2,050 downtowns and neighborhood business districts, the Main Street program has generated more than $41.6 billion in new investment. Participating communities have created 349,148 net new jobs, 77,799 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 186,820 buildings, leveraging an average of $25.76 in new investment for every dollar spent on Main Street initiatives.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America's communities. Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to protect the irreplaceable places that tell America’s story. Staff at the Washington, D.C., headquarters, six regional offices and 28 historic sites work with the Trust’s 270,000 members and thousands of preservation groups in all 50 states. For more information, visit the Trust’s website at


Freakonomics Coming Soon.

April 17th is quickly approaching. Find out how you can attend the Charleston Area Alliance Celebration. Check out this video!

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Blogosphere at the Charleston Area Alliance

Well, This is the year blogs turn the ripe old age of 10. That’s right, a whole decade of online opinion, rumor, scandal and scorn. And a growth rate of about 1.6 million new blogs daily.

Recently, the Charleston Area Alliance hosted a CEO Roundtable on Blogging. Don't let the name fool you, it's not just for CEO's, but for all business leaders. This roundtable attracted about 25-30 people who are interested in blogging for themselves, the company they own, or the company they work for.

Matthew Ballard, President of the Charleston Area Alliance, Skip Lineburg of Maple Creative and Bob Coffield of the Health Care Blog all presented information on - what is a blog? Why would you want one? What are the positives-negatives? If you visit Bob's blog, (link above) he has posted the PowerPoint from the event on his blog.

Folks, as Matt said in the presentation, blogging is one method of getting customers, making money, and driving your message..... get into it or get left behind.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

How Web 2.0 Savvy is your company?

Apple's Steve Jobs just pressured music company's to be a little more "2.0." You can read an interesting article from Golin Harris Marketing Blog here about this issue. Golin Harris the marketing company for Mattel who picked Charleston West Virginia as the location to beat the world record for the largest UNO game ever.. and guess what, Charleston and West Virginia stepped up and broke the world record.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

New Job Opportunity in the Charleston,, West Virginia Area

Krebs International, A GL&V Company is the world’s leader in hydrocyclone separation solutions. We have been serving process industries since 1952. Krebs Engineers is recognized around the world for its knowledge and expertise in the use of hydrocyclones for the recovery and classification of solids, washing coal and severe-duty slurry pumping. Krebs International works with an unrelenting focus on customer satisfaction and technical excellence. The result is a reputation for innovative engineering, quality products and unmatched service!
Are You?


Looking for a Challenge?

Detail and Customer Oriented?

Krebs International, the world leader in hydrocyclone separation technology, has an exciting opportunity for YOU!!!!

We are currently looking for an Operations Supervisor to start-up our new Warehouse and Service Center in Charleston , West Virginia .

As an Operations Supervisor, you will supervise and coordinate processing materials, distribution and manufacturing products, repair and assemble pumps and cyclones.

The ideal candidate will:
· Have a Mechanical Repair background.
· Have Coal prep plant experience
· Have the ability to read Blue Prints
· Have the ability to operate computers, MS Word, Excel, and Outlook
· Have 5-10 years related experience and/or training.

We offer an excellent benefit package

If you are interested in
joining our team, please
send us your resume along with
salary requirements to:
Krebs Engineers
5505 W Gillette Rd
Tucson, Arizona 85743
Fax: (520) 744-5594

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Sports League News

A message from Co-Chair Charlie Roskovensky:

Hello all,

As sports committee co-chair, I wanted to pass along some information.

The North Charleston Softball League is starting. The league has several levels A, B and C, with A being very good, while C is more social. The league plays on the fields to the left of WV25, about a mile from the Patrick Street Bridge. Tim Fouts is the gentleman who runs the league and he can be contacted at the following number after 2:15 - (304) 549-9593.
The entry fee for a team is $500 and the managers' meeting is on April 4 at 7PM.

Dunbar Softball League - Shawnee Park. This is a Co-Ed league. 5 guy and 5 ladies must be on the field. They play Mon, Tues and Wed. The entry fee is $400 and the Managers' meeting is April 30. The contact is Pete Withrow 595-6749. While this league is competitive, fun is the most important aspect.

YMCA - Volleyball. 3 divisions. Co-Ed, 10 team members, 6 on the court, only 3 males allowed on the court at one time. Starts Mid-May. Entry fee is $150. Contact - Travis Chandler 340-3535 x 1132

Finally, I have put together a Fantasy Baseball League on
If you have ever wanted to play fantasy sports but didn't know how, if you've played before, or if you just want to learn more about baseball.

This is a great opportunity to have some fun and learn more about America's past time.
And best of all it is free, you just need to register with web site. The online draft will take place April 10, 2007 at 7PM.

Unfortunately, I am unable to manage and put together a softball or volleyball team but if anyone is interested please let us know and we put everyone in contact with each other. If you have any question feel free respond to this post or email the Charleston Area alliance at

Charlie Roskovensky

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Next Meeting of the Charleston Area Alliance Young Professionals.

Next meeting April 10th 5:30 pm. at the Charleston Area Alliance Offices. We will have a speaker on business etiquette.

Those who are interested will proceed to the Power Park for a baseball game immediately following the meeting.

Co-Chairs of committees should come to the meeting prepared to give a report to the full group.


East End Main Street Showcased at National Conference
Hodgson earns certification

This week Main Street managers and interested parties in community and economic development met in Seattle Washington and the Annual Main Street National Conference.
From West Virginia, Pat Brown, Executive Director of the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority (CURA), Mary Alice Hodgson, East End Main Street Program Manager, Matthew Ballard, President/CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance, Jennifer Jordan of the West Side Main Street Program, Libby Ballard of Charleston City Planning Office, Bill Woodrum of West Virginia State University, St. Albans Renaissance Director Sally Blessing, and many others attended the conference to attend educacations on mains street, economic and community development.

The most exciting development is that Mary Alice Hodgson, became a certified Main Street Manager. This is a honor bestowed upon those in main street who complete educational courses and then pass a test measuring outcomes from the course work. To the best of our knowledge, Mary Alice is only one of two current practicing Certified Main Street Managers in West Virginia.

Bill, Jennifer, Matt and Mary Alice presented at the conference on the topic of embedded Main Street programs. The concept of an “embedded” Main Street program is one that seems to be catching-on around the country.

The East End Main Street of Charleston West Virginia is embedded in the Charleston Area Alliance. The Charleston Area Alliance is a multi-faceted economic, business, and community development organization as well as the largest regional Chamber of Commerce in West Virginia.

What does this mean for the Main Street Program of the East End?
Administrative Support; whereas most Main Street programs have a staff of one to two people.

Financial Support; the Alliance funds the Main Street Program

A team; to be part of an organization of experts to assist and consult on projects in community development, economic development, real estate and public policy issues.

These benefits have allowed the East End Main Street to “get up and running” more quickly than the average main street program might. It allowed the East End to delve into projects more quickly rather than focusing on the bureaucracy of getting things started.

Needless to say this topic was very popular at the conference. The presenters and in particular Mary Alice were swamped after the talk with question after question of those wanting to know how to duplicate our successes.

What does this all mean? It means that once again the Alliance and its mission are one that demonstrates the fruits of metro-services. It demonstrates that the vision of those who choose and who made the Alliance happen, were correct. It demonstrates that as the Alliance grow, its quality and quantity of success was increase to build a more vibrant community and prosperous economy.

You can find out more about Main Street at

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