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, August 24, 2007

Aug. 24, 2007
Chesapeake’s Expansion an Investment in West Virginia From The Governor’s Desk:
A weekly column by Gov. Joe Manchin

In 1989 with just a $50,000 investment and nine employees, Aubrey McClendon had a vision that he could build one of the world’s leading energy exploration companies. Less than 20 years later, McClendon’s company, Chesapeake Energy, is a multi-billion-dollar corporation that now employs about 6,000 in 19 states and is the country’s leading independent producer of natural gas.

That exponential growth didn’t happen by accident. McClendon and Chesapeake’s leaders developed a proven entrepreneurial management system that guided the company through operational and industry challenges, and extremes of oil and natural gas prices. In conjunction with their 2005 acquisition of Columbia Natural Resources, they have an aggressive plan to explore and tap the immense natural gas reserves that lie in West Virginia and the Appalachian Basin – a plan that will continue the company’s success.

In 2005, following the CNR acquisition, I said that Chesapeake had a history of helping its home state of Oklahoma grow and prosper, and that it would bring that same spirit and determination to West Virginia. Soon after, Chesapeake announced it would locate its Eastern Division headquarters here in Charleston.

Aubrey McClendon and Chesapeake’s leadership team promised to not only keep the jobs that existed before its acquisition of Columbia Natural Resources, but to build and expand this company in the Mountain State. We are seeing those plans come to life.

Since November 2005, Chesapeake has added more than 100 jobs in Charleston, and more than 175 in the Appalachian Basin. These are good-paying jobs with benefits that allow more West Virginians to stay home and raise their families here. They are seeking our state’s best and brightest and rewarding them for staying.

On Aug. 23, Aubrey came to Charleston to break ground for his company’s newest building, its Eastern Division headquarters. Hundreds of employees, area residents, business leaders and elected officials who have worked with Chesapeake joined in the historic occasion. The day marked the next chapter of the partnership among our state, our people and a progressive company.
I know that Aubrey and Chesapeake’s leaders and investors have high expectations for their operations in West Virginia. Their new building will be a testament to that – an eco-friendly, “green certified” office that blends in beautifully with its mountaintop setting. Employees will be proud to call it their workplace.

Chesapeake Energy has made an investment in West Virginia that I know will pay dividends for many years to come. I know that in exchange for good-paying jobs with benefits, we will provide hard-working, dependable and skilled employees. That is what West Virginians are.

I have high expectations for West Virginia, too. We will continue to seek ways to operate a more efficient state government that is a partner in business and economic development. And, we will offer Chesapeake’s employees a great place in which to live, work and play. A state that is safe, beautiful and friendly.

A Call to Action for the Betterment of our Economy and Community from Alliance President, Matt Ballard

I have recently met with a company who is locating in Charleston. They are a nationwide company with opportunities for advancement. They will be hiring 100 employees between now and December. They are looking for qualified individuals to fill the positions that are detailed in the PDF attached here.

We really need your help. This company has indicated that if things go well in the first 2-3 years of operation, they will consider making Charleston a regional headquarters, locating an additional 50-100 jobs to the initial 100. So please, if you are interested in any of these positions, send your resume to

If you are not personally interested, please forward this to anyone you think might be interested and ask them to do the same. As a community, we must demonstrate to businesses coming to the area, the quality of our workforce. I appreciate your assistance in this matter.

Again, all résumé's should be sent to In the subject line of the e-mail please type the letters: SEG and then the title of the position(s) of which you are interested.

This could be a chance to bring back some of our peers who have left, but want to return to this wonderful state!


Matthew Ballard
Charleston Area Alliance

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The University of Charleston has several job opportunities available including Director of Student Programs, Student Account Specialist/Clerk, Payroll Clerk, and Assistant Controller.

For the entire list of careers at UC, please visit

Monday, August 20, 2007

Join Us at the Region's Largest
International Trade Financing Conference

Key trade financing players from the U.S. government and private institutions will gather in one place to showcase their products, services and talk about today’s trade financing issues and challenges. This two-day conference will welcome exporters from all over the country, as well as lenders and brokers in the trade-financing field.

Private one-on-one meetings are included in the conference registration and are available with organizations such as EX-Im Bank, SBA, OPIC, USDA, PEFCO, BAFT, BB&T, PNC Bank, UPS Capital, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Steptoe & Johnson, M&T Bank, Huntington Bank, Convest Ltd, US Department of Commerce and more!
September 18-19, 2007
I-79 Technology Park Research Center, Fairmont, WV

For an overview and complete agenda, click here.

To secure your space at the early bird rate, register before August 31 here.

For more information please contact:
Diego Gattesco
Program Manager
WVHTC Foundation Export Program
Ph: (304) 230-7229

Leslie Drake
USEAC Director - U.S. Commercial Service
Charleston, WV
Ph: (304) 347-5123

Michael Boyles
International Trade Specialist - U.S. Commercial Service
Wheeling, WV
Ph: (304) 243-5493

Friday, August 17, 2007

You are our future’
Developers woo city’s young professionals

Charleston Gazette Staff writer

Developers of a condominium project planned for Kanawha Boulevard want Charleston’s young professionals to jump in to the real-estate investment with them.

“If I were your age, I would look at things like this as an investment project,” said Richard Howard, one of the seven siblings developing the Boulevard at 2412. “We don’t have the influx of transients in this town ... you are our future in this city.”

At a Wednesday meeting of the Charleston Area Alliance’s Young Professionals group’s housing committee, architects for the Boulevard at 2412 project explained how the proposed development could fit into the members’ lifestyle.

“This is not an out-of-town developer,” said Adam Krason, an architect with ZMM. “If they didn’t have the heart, they wouldn’t be doing it.”

The heart is that of the Howard family. The seven siblings have proposed the mixed-use project. The project plan has seven buildings, including an 18-unit apartment building on the north side of Washington Street, a 34-unit main building and four smaller buildings that have other condominiums and professional office space.

Also making its home on the property is the future Kanawha Valley Senior Services activities annex.

The buildings will be two to three stories tall along the Boulevard and also on the north side of Washington Street close to other residences, and up to seven stories high for the main tower in the center of the complex.

There will be a total of 58 apartment/condominium units, but potential owners will be able combine units. Kanawha River views, rooftop gardens, concierge services, meeting space and indoor parking are part of the package.

Condominium sizes start at a minimum of two bedrooms, two baths and 1,000 square feet and can be as large as three bedrooms, 2.5 baths and 2,300 square feet. Prices start at about $200,000, Krason said.

Margo Teeter, a realty agent and Howard sibling, said the final price for the condos is still being negotiated.

Still, pre-sales of the condos are also going well, and she has several appointments already set up, she said.

Determining owner association fees is also in the works, Teeter said.

For units not pre-sold, the Howards will take ownership of the units and rent them out, Richard Howard said.

The young professionals in attendance were pleased with the Howards’ plans.

Although he recently bought a house on Quarrier Street, Jason Blackhurst said he would have considered such a place to live.

“There’s less obligation in ownership,” he said as he sat outside of the Boulevard’s sales office, which is the Howard family home. “No patching a roof or mowing the grass.”

While he is optimistic about the project, Blackhurst said the Howards could face some struggles.
“I think the hardest thing to overcome is going to be the pre-sale,” he said. “It’s hard to sell something you can’t see or can’t walk into.”

For Matt Kingery, the chairman of the group’s housing committee, the mixed-use concept of the project is appealing to young professionals, he said.

“That’s what makes it unique,” he said. “Charleston needs something like this ... it will provide some of the services — like parking — that keep coming up [with young professionals].”

To contact staff writer Sarah K. Winn, call 348-5156

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Business, Science, Technology and Research Communities to Hold Statewide Symposium in September

West Virginia's business, science, technology and research communities will gather at the statewide Science, Technology and Research (STaR) Symposium at the Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown on Sept.17-18 to share developments, ideas and collaborations.

Symposium sessions will focus on the national and state outlooks for science, technology and research; technology-based economic development; cutting-edge research being conducted in West Virginia; commercialization of intellectual property; and the role of the state's Vision 2015 strategic plan for science and technology.

The program will feature Dr. Kathie Olsen, deputy director of the National Science Foundation; Kelley Goes, cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Division of Commerce; James Estep, president and CEO of the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation; university presidents Mike Garrison of West Virginia University, Stephen Kopp of Marshall University and James Ramsey of the University of Louisville; Dr. Thomas Bowles, science advisor to the governor of New Mexico; leading scientists from West Virginia colleges and universities; Marianne Clarke, director of the Washington office of Battelle Technology Partnership Practice; and Stephen Turner, president and CEO of West Virginia high-tech company Protea Biosciences Inc.

Special guest speaker Dr. Steve Squyres, principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission and author of "Roving Mars," will give a multimedia presentation, "The Journey to Mars: A Personal Account," at a dinner on Monday evening. In addition, college and university undergraduate and graduate students will be presenting their research in a competition designed to recognize the "Student Researcher of the Year."

The symposium registration fee is $75/person. After the early registration deadline of Aug. 20, the fee is $100. A complete schedule, as well as online registration and hotel reservations, is available on the symposium website at For more information, contact Ginny Painter at or (304) 558-4128, ext. 6.

Sponsors of the STaR Symposium include the Charleston Area Alliance, Fairmont State University, Marshall University, NASA IV & V Facility, NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, National Science Foundation, West Liberty State College, West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (WVEPSCoR), West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation, West Virginia Independent Colleges & Universities Inc., West Virginia University, West Virginia University Institute of Technology and West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Young Professional's Housing Sub-Committee Releases
Minutes from June Meeting

The Charleston Area Alliance Young Professionals' Housing Sub-Committee met on June 20, 2007 at the Offices of Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC.

To review the minutes from this meeting, click here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Director of Operations - Resale Center

The Charleston West Virginia affiliate of a highly respected non-profit organization seeks a dynamic person to oversee all operations of a large resale store. He or she must be experienced in all aspects of inventory, budgeting, sales, internal controls, cash flow, HR, strategic planning and marketing. Extensive knowledge of available technologies and store fixtures is important, as is a familiarity with merchandising theory and practice.

The Director is solely responsible for delivering budgeted sales and earnings, which will include developing new donors that can provide the necessary merchandise, as well as the customers who will buy the merchandise. Control of expenses, personnel costs and other controllable costs must be matched to revenue stream in order to meet budgeted operating results.

The Director must have excellent communication skills. Donor and customer relations demand effective people skills and the ability to relate to people from all walks of life. Employee and volunteer relations also require these skills. The Director must be comfortable with the Christian identity of the parent organization. Our organization is heavily dependent on technology and the Director must have the ability and willingness to use appropriate computer and telephony technology in the operation of the store. PowerPoint presentations to a board of directors will be required periodically to update them on business strategy and business trends.

The Director will oversee a major expansion of an existing operation. One of the key tasks that will set the stage for this expansion is a complete retooling of systems and procedures which will result in measurable growth of our operation. A detailed store operations manual must be created that will document every procedure and process that is created.

Human resource development is a key component of this position, as much of the organization is yet to be defined and will need to be staffed as it is created. Recruiting the right personnel, both paid and volunteer, and providing excellent training will be necessary to successfully build the organization.

The right person for this job will have management experience in a large retail store or distribution center setting. A college degree is preferred. Proficiency in basic business computer applications is a must. Perhaps the biggest prerequisite is an outstanding ability to motivate and inspire a diverse team of people to perform to their potentials.

Salary will be commensurate with experience for this executive level position. Benefits include medical insurance and access to a company administered retirement program. Send your resume and salary expectations as soon as possible via

Monday, August 13, 2007

Young professionals focused on brightening state's future


August 12, 2007

FLATWOODS -- A group of about 25 young working men and women from across West Virginia gathered Friday and Saturday in Flatwoods to talk about the future of their state.

Their realms of expertise varied greatly -- from law to finance to making guitars to designing buildings. And the issues facing their communities of Huntington, Charleston, Parkersburg and Martinsburg vary as well.

But they all have some common goals: to create a business environment and quality of life in West Virginia that not only keeps its best and brightest here in the state, but draws others as well -- and in turn moves the entire state forward.

Their group, Generation West Virginia, is young in more ways than one. Not only does it target those with a young, progressive mindset about how to initiate change, but it's still pinning down the identity it wants to portray to the state.

They want to tackle roadblocks along that path to progress and educate their peers on legislative matters and policies that affect them and the future of the state.

There are about 650,000 people between the ages of 18 and 44 in the state, said Joe Randolph, vice chairman of the Young Professionals Committee in Huntington, a committee of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce. He hopes this group can lead them in finding their voice.

"I feel as though they don't feel like they have a say in their state and hometown, and this may identify with them," said Randolph, a financial consultant and manager of the A.G. Edwards branch in Huntington. "This could be a voice for that generation."

Generation West Virginia has a market that is vast -- young workers and artisans, or students who will one day be working in the state. Some have children, some don't.

But they nailed down some areas where West Virginia shines, and some things they think need addressed if it's to build its future in step with other states, or catch up with them.

Ashley Hardesty, a Morgantown attorney with Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love, heads up a team that took at look at why they themselves stayed in West Virginia, and why they think some of their friends have left.

Not only did many of them stay because of family and roots, but because of the slower pace and shorter commute to work, as well as the lower cost of living and West Virginia's neighborly, friendly culture. The physical beauty of the state and the fact that they have a chance to make a difference here were reasons as well, Hardesty said.

However, some reasons other young people have left are that they get more competitive income in other states, or there were problems with shipping and transportation that made it difficult to run a business here, as well as spotty cell phone service. Others have cited a lack of progressive ideas and diversity in the state as reasons for their leaving.

"The biggest solution we've come up with is education -- pretty much across the board," Hardesty said. Kids need to be educated in financial literacy, high school and college-age students need to know there are opportunities here in the state, today's workers must learn to turn their ideas and research into commercial enterprises, and some members of the older generation could get acquainted with changes needed for economic development.

Generation West Virginia members talked about how the state needs more capitalists willing to take risks on fledgling businesses here. They talked about quality-of-life issues, such as housing, entertainment and child care, and how important it is to preserve the state's values -- avoiding the rat race and keeping the friendly atmosphere -- while moving forward.

"I'm here because West Virginia is an excellent place to live for young people, and I think those qualities need to be highlighted, and to this point, I don't think they have been," said Andrew White, an entrepreneur who owns Andrew White Guitars in Morgantown. "If people are not feeling satisfied, what would make them more satisfied? This group has fingers all over the state, reaching people in each region to find out what we can do to maximize the positive and minimize the negative."

They can learn from each other's successes and mistakes, he said. "It prevents you from wasting a lot of time," White said.

Though it's still in its developmental stages, Generation West Virginia is already a success story, said Chris Slaughter, chairman of Huntington's Young Professionals Committee.

"We want to show that West Virginia's young and talented aren't all leaving," said Slaughter, an attorney with Steptoe & Johnson. "That's what this group's existence shows."

And the group is engaged, trying to share ideas to make a difference.

"The state has had a regional mentality, and this is not about that," he said. "How can we join together and make a difference? I think that's going to be this group's enduring strength. This group is doing a good job of identifying common ground and common goals -- and it's doing a good job of accepting differences."

The best outcome for the group would be "to enhance progressive thinking and foster a culture where people are looking for opportunity and possibility, rather than seeing a barrier," Slaughter said. "Another thing we can do is raise the level of pride we have. The ingredients we have for greatness are right here (in the state). We don't have to import them."

Massey plans new building
Daily Mail business editor
Thursday August 09, 2007

Massey Energy is considering two sites on Corridor G for a regional office, said Jeff Gillenwater, the company's director of external affairs and administration.

"We are talking with a landowner as well as a builder and Boone County officials about the possibility of building a building near Wash Branch off Corridor G," Gillenwater said. "We're also looking at some property along Corridor G in Kanawha County."

"Nothing is finalized yet" and there's no deadline for making a decision, he said. "We're just looking at possible locations, at what fits best."

The Wash Branch location is north of the Waterways Park, near the Boone-Kanawha County border. Gillenwater said he was unsure whether Massey was ready to disclose the exact location being considered in Kanawha County. "The idea is to consolidate a couple of our offices," he said. "I do believe they're looking at a potential three-story building."

Massey now has an office between Kanawha City and Marmet. That office, which includes a helicopter pad, is visible from Interstates 64 and 77. The company also has a field office in Chapmanville.

The two existing offices have a total of 50 to 60 employees, Gillenwater said.

Shelley Huffman, executive director of the Corridor G Regional Development Authority, said her agency "would welcome the opportunity to work with Massey Energy in efforts to locate within the region in Boone County. This office building would provide a springboard to efforts to develop the Wash Branch property."

Matt Ballard, president and chief executive officer of the Charleston Area Alliance, said the alliance has not been working on the project and he does not know the exact location in Kanawha County that Massey is considering.

As for the Boone County property, "If it is the location I'm thinking of, it's pretty much right at the border of Kanawha, Lincoln and Boone counties," he said. "So it would be impactful for all three of those counties. In economic development we think in terms of regional development -- we think of the metropolitan statistical area. And that's in our metropolitan statistical area, so this would be a great job-creation project."

Ballard added, "We hope to establish even further an energy corridor. Think of Massey there and Chesapeake (at NorthGate Business Park). We already have Columbia Gas Transmission and Magnum Coal as well as other stakeholders in the energy industry. We're really creating an energy corridor right around the Charleston area."

Ballard said that because of the time he spent as director of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails system, he knows the Boone County site would require a significant infrastructure investment to develop.

"If that investment commitment is made, that area could develop into one of the best business or industrial parks in the state," he said. "It's beautiful and it's relatively flat."

Contact writer George Hohmann at or 348-4836.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Kanawha early vote big


The Associated Press

August 6, 2007

CHARLESTON -- With most signs pointing to a close election, Kanawha County is on course to cast as many early ballots on the table games question as all three of the other counties that have already decided the issue.

More than 6,600 Kanawha residents have chimed in on whether to make Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center a full-blown casino. Three days of early voting remain before Saturday's special election.

Racetrack supporters and gambling foes alike see victory in sight.

"I think so many folks have just jumped in," said the Rev. Dennis Sparks, executive director of the West Virginia Council of Churches. "There's been so much going on and so much good stuff. We have a lot of momentum."

The antigambling coalition that Sparks helps lead had planned to arrange for a different church to deliver "no" votes to the polling place on each of the 14 days of early balloting. Though their campaign has not unfolded that way, Sparks said he felt his side had the edge in early voting -- until Thursday.

That's when 1,114 people showed up at the county voter registration office, the largest one-day total so far. Pro-table games supporters have targeted Thursdays because the office stays open two extra hours, to 7 p.m. Their campaign rented a nearby parking lot and then notified voters identified as potential supporters through extensive polling.

"Labor has also worked extraordinarily hard to turn out their members, particularly the construction trades and particularly on Thursdays," said Larry LaCorte, a veteran political consultant helping to coordinate the campaign.

Unions see the promise of jobs from table games, and from expanding and enhancing Tri-State if they are approved. But last week's turnout also reflected support from the business community: the Young Professionals Initiative of the Charleston Area Alliance arranged a major turnout to the polling place by its members.

Only the four counties with tracks can vote on whether to allow each to host poker, blackjack and other table games. Thanks to a missed public notice requirement, Kanawha is the last eligible county to hold the necessary referendum this year.

With the vote considered close, allegations have arisen that gambling opponents have been harassed and their anti-table games signs stolen or vandalized.

One Cross Lanes resident told police that someone blasted his "Vote No" sign with a shotgun. The First Baptist Church of St. Albans reported the swiping of its antigambling banner from its front porch.

Table games supporters have cried foul over the role religious groups have played on the other side. A billboard rented in Charleston, which has God urging voters to reject the referendum, has been for them a case in point.

But the pro-racetrack forces have also responded to such efforts with science. Detailed polling has helped them gauge voter opinions. To them, the ensuing analysis suggests their key to winning may lie with the once-low ranks of undecided voters.

Their well-funded campaign has featured daily full-page newspapers ads and even more frequent TV and radio spots. To peel away no-leaning voters, supporters have heeded the poll results and used these ads to highlight the touted economic benefits, and note that gambling already exists in Kanawha County. They have even underscored how voters can rescind the approval of table games after five years.

"What we've seen in our public opinion research is that the number of undecideds is starting to grow. That is very good for us," LaCorte said. "We think we're going to capture their support... Our field operations are going to know who we need to turn out Saturday."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Local magazine seeks writer
COMAR, Inc. is looking for a full-time writer to add to its growing staff. Diverse writing skills are a must. The writer must be comfortable with phone and in-person interviews, must be able to write on a wide range of topics and must be able to work under varying deadlines.

The position requires writing and content editing for COMAR’s six magazines: West Virginia Executive, MetroValley, Entrance, Partners For Life, Meeting Planner and I Do.

Versatility in writing styles is of utmost importance as each of the magazines published by COMAR have different styles. Please send your résumé and samples of your work to

Monday, August 06, 2007


Three of the state’s leading chambers of commerce have formed a strategic alliance to advance issues of common concern to businesses in their communities. The Charleston, Huntington and Morgantown Chambers of Commerce announced today the formation of the “West Virginia Metro Chamber Coalition,” whose members will identify emerging issues and implement coordinated legislative and other advocacy efforts to address them.

The new group will initially focus on six priority issues: municipal pension funding; home rule; funding for WVEPSCoR; incentives for economic development; conducting an objective study of the state’s legal climate; and health insurance options for chamber members.

Chamber Presidents Matt Ballard, Charleston; Mark Bugher, Huntington; and Brad Allamong, Morgantown, created the coalition to elevate issues affecting businesses in metro areas and maximize their resources in resolving them.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and this united group can magnify our impact on issues that matter to our members and our communities,” said Ballard. “We’re excited about the synergies that will flow from this collaboration.”

“The stakes are too high to try to it alone,” added Bugher. “We must share information and work collectively if we are to effectively tackle the serious challenges our members face.”

The West Virginia Metro Chamber Coalition is intended to supplement the efforts of the state chamber in advancing the agenda of the state’s business community.

“This is a group of colleagues working together on opportunities to enhance economic growth and quality of life in our communities,” explained Allamong.

Local university seeks professional to join their team!

University of Charleston is seeking an energetic, enthusiastic, and organized individual to lead its alumni and parent relations program.

The Director of Alumni and Parent Relations is a key member of the University's Advancement team, responsible for building relationships with alumni of the University of Charleston and its predecessor, Morris Harvey College, and leading a program to inform and involve parents of current UC students. He/she reports to the Vice President for Advancement. Duties of the Director of Alumni and Parent Relations include:
  • Planning and implementing events designed to strengthen relationships between the college and its alumni, including a successful program of class and affinity reunions;
  • Participating in student recruitment and orientation activities with a goal of meeting and engaging parents in the life and mission of UC;
  • Cultivating current students, especially seniors, to facilitate their transition from students at the University to alumni who will continue to be involved with the institution and become financial supporters;
  • Planning a program of regular communication with alumni and parents, and working with the Office of Communications to produce and disseminate same;
  • Providing support and guidance for the Greater Kanawha Valley Alumni Association;
  • Working with the Annual Fund Director to identify class agents for each graduating class who will act as liaisons for reunions and fundraising;
  • Identifying, cultivating and involving potential volunteer leaders for UC activities, including the Alumni Board and the Board of Trustees;
  • Identifying and cultivating alumni and parents who may be prospects for major gifts in support of University initiatives;
  • Working with the Associate Vice President for Development to support and facilitate gatherings of alumni around the country;
  • Promoting and coordinating the online community;
  • Working with the Advancement team to plan and implement fundraising programs, including class agent appeals, reunion giving programs, and other development activities;
  • Recommending an annual budget for the Alumni and Parent Program, and assuring that expenditures are in line with approved budget;
  • Working with the Integrated Marketing Team to assure that institutional messages are effectively communicated to alumni and parents;
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor's degree required. Alumni of the University of Charleston or Morris Harvey College preferred.
  • Demonstrated success in program management, event planning, and/or fundraising.
  • Experience with college or university alumni/volunteer programs desirable.
  • Superior verbal, written, presentation and organization skills.
  • Enthusiastic and friendly personality; must enjoy meeting new people.

Interested applicants should forward resumes with three references to: Jennie O. Ferretti, University of Charleston 2300 MacCorkle Ave., SE Charleston, WV 25304

The University of Charleston is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Click here to view the WV Small Business Development Center’s August 2007 Workshop calendar.

August 02, 2007

Training deemed vital to replace work force

Sarah K. WinnStaff writer

West Virginia’s work force is changing and businesses need to plan and prepare, a panelist said during a Charleston Area Alliance CEO roundtable discussion on Wednesday.

“There are so many positions in the [utility] industry that you are not going to be able to fill with middle-aged white men,” said Mark Dempsey, American Electric Power’s vice president of external affairs. “You need to think beyond that.”

Dempsey, along with Tony Mazelon, a vice president and financial consultant with Hilliard Lyons, and Mack McDaniel, the dean for work force and economic development at West Virginia State Community and Technical College, addressed issues with the aging work force during CAA’s CEO Roundtable.

From McDaniel’s point of view, training employees to take retirees’ places is paramount. WVSCTC has partnered with a variety of local companies to develop a work force-training curriculum, he said.

For example, the school developed training programs for Diamond Electric and BB&T and partnered with Charleston Area Medical Center for a registered-nurse training program, which will graduate 140, all with guaranteed jobs at CAMC, in the next three years.

Most of these programs can be set up within six months, McDaniel said. “We take pride in trying to fast track, but keep the quality there,” he said.

The school also offers noncredit workshops and seminars, online instruction and can help with grant funding for the programs, he said.

At AEP, Dempsey has been pleased with WVSCTC’s Power Plant Technology program, which was set up to meet the utility’s requirement that all employees have at least a two-year technical degree.

The program is just a few years old, Dempsey said. Of the first class of 24, all were hired, either by AEP or with other utilities. Of the second class of six students, five have jobs, he said. Dempsey estimates that one-third of AEP’s work force will retire in three to five years. In five to 10 years, half the current work force will be at retirement age.

“It’s a daunting thing,” he said, but training programs and setting diversity goals are key. Along with the power plant technology course, AEP has a lineman training facility in Marmet, he said. Even with the training, it can be hard to find skilled linemen, Dempsey said.

“It is a career. These people are highly trained, and it’s almost a culture,” he said.

That’s where Tony Mazelon comes in. Companies should work to identify internal and external candidates long before employees retire, he said. It’s just good business practice, he said. “You should already know the talent you have,” he said. “If not, do a skill assessment.”

To contact staff writer Sarah K. Winn, call 348-5156.