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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Marketing Genius from Maple Creative Voted Among the Top 100 Business Blogs on the Internet

Maple Creative’s employee blog, has been voted #68 in the Top 100 Business Blogs on the Internet. Rankings are based on a composite measure of the blogs' Technorati and Alexa index values and compiled by John Crickett, a UK-based business consultant.

Marketing Genius is the only West Virginia blog on the Top 100 list, which includes blogs from bestselling author Seth Godin and Fast Company magazine. was launched in 2004 by Maple Partner Skip Lineberg as an outlet for the staff’s marketing advice and musings. In just three years, the blog has grown to an average of 90,000 readers per month. Marketing Genius was also honored in 2005 with a Best Blog Honorable Mention award from Marketing Sherpa.

Announcement for Position of Executive Director
West Virginia Mental Health Consumers' Association

About the Organiziation:
The West Virginia Mental Health Consumers’ Association (WVMHCA), is a consumer-operated, recovery oriented organization, whose membership consists of individuals throughout the State of West Virginia. WVMHCA provides a formal voice for West Virginia’s mental health consumers, including persons with co-occurring mental illness and addiction.

WVMHCA’s mission is to build and strengthen a statewide peer network, to provide a voice for and by people in recovery, and through these efforts to be a key organizational participant, stakeholder, and advocacy agent in all statewide behavioral health policy processes. WVMHCA also trains consumers to be individually significant participants, stakeholders, and advocacy agents in their local mental health systems and communities. WVMHCA implements self-help and mutual support groups and programs throughout the state, as well as lends support to consumers working with more traditional mental health and addiction services.

WVMHCA provides recovery-focused support and services using a skills-based, psychiatric rehabilitation approach in projects that promote recovery, and includes education, community involvement, and workforce development both statewide and locally. WVMHCA provides self-help support to consumers of mental health and addiction services through training, networking, conferences, policy advocacy, education, and information dissemination. WVMHCA also provides fundamental training and education to individuals and systems that come in contact with people with mental illness or co-occurring experiences.

About the Position:
Title: Executive Director of WVMHCA Reports Directly to: Board of Directors
General Description: The Executive Director of WVMHCA provides consumer leadership as directed by WVMHCA’s membership, and with the Board, is responsible for the Organization’s future direction, being mindful of WVMHCA’s mission to create a statewide network, promote recovery-oriented goals, and honor organizational values in direct empowerment and support of people served. The Executive Director manages and directs the organization toward its primary objectives of performing the following duties personally or through subordinate managers:
Basic Duties:
Administrative responsibilities include:
· Oversee WVMHCA infrastructure
· Supervise and work as a team with program management personnel (Management)
· Develop and monitor agency and program budgets
· Negotiate and attend meetings related to WVMHCA contracts
· Prepare agency and program reports, satisfaction surveys, and other necessary reports to the Board and funders

Program management duties include:
· Oversee day-to-day operations of the non-profit agency
· Hire, train, supervise Management and other staff
· Collaborate with Management to plan, develop coordinate, and monitor programs
· Work with Management to identify and solve program problems
· Assist in complaint mediation and resolution

Development, Promotion, and Outreach duties include:
· Develop resources by identifying grant/fund resources, grant writing, and fundraising campaigns
· Oversee membership outreach and development
· Present WVMHCA’s values and public policies to mental health/addiction constituency groups,
planning bodies, meetings, conferences, legislative and other policy venues
· Collaborate with mental health/addiction constituency groups, policy-makers, and other related organizations throughout the State

· Lived experience as a mental health or co-occurring consumer/survivor/peer in recovery
· Master’s degree or five years equivalent combination of education and/or training and experience
· Experience administrating a program or agency
· Experience developing resources, including grant writing and fundraising campaigns
· Experience with membership outreach and development
· Experience working with State and/or local government contracting agencies and processes
· Experience supervising staff and working with people of diverse cultures
· Experience collaborating with other agencies and constituency groups
· Knowledge of and direct experience of the mental health consumer/survivor movement
· Knowledge of agency budgeting, as well as a basic understanding of bookkeeping systems
· Excellent organizational, writing, and speaking skills
· Conflict resolution, problem-solving skills
· Ability to represent the thinking of the constituency, rather than one’s own thinking
· Ability to work collaboratively with persons and groups of differing values and political beliefs

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Salary Range:
Starting salary range: $40,000 - $60,000 depending on level of knowledge, education, and experience
Full time position with benefits
Start date: Early 2008

Application Directions:
Call 1-304-345-7312 for more information.
Please submit cover letter, resume, references (minimum of three), and writing sample (1 page minimum) by December 20, 2007 to:

Mail to: West Virginia Mental Health Consumers’ Association (WVMHCA)
Attn: Angela Rogers, Human Resources
Post Office Box 110000
Charleston, West Virginia 25339

Or: Email:

Or: Fax: 304-345-7303

WVMHCA does not discriminate on the basis of political or religious affiliation, or because of race, sex, national origin, sexual preference, disability, age or marital status, in regard to all phases of employment and services including recruitment, selection, appointment, and training.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour

Attend the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (EET)
during its 1st TOUR IN WEST VIRGINIA!!!!

The event will launch the Montgomery, WV chapter of Entrepreneurship Alliance, Inc. (WVEAI) and is sponsored by WVEAI, an initiative of Region 1 Workforce, along with contributions from the Advantage Valley Entrepreneurial League System (ELS) as a Summit on Area Revitalization (SOAR) initiative.

Where: Davis Hall, WVU Tech campus
When: 3:00 pm on November 15th

Who should attend: Entrepreneurs – Students - Community Leaders

Reserve a seat by contacing Deana Keener at 304-253-6311;

Click here to download agenda.

“Extreme” Agenda - - - What attendees will experience:

Inspirational Keynote
Provided by one of the country’s top young entrepreneurs, this keynote will inspire attendees to take action on their dreams. The content of the keynote will include an inspiring and relatable story where the speaker shares the ups and downs of his or her journey and how exactly he or she became so successful, as well as lessons learned and take-aways that everyone can apply to their life.

Dream Action Workshop

This explosive program inspires students to leverage the power of youth and empowers them to begin their journey by asking themselves fundamental life questions they may have never asked themselves before. It is an interactive program where students identify and develop their core aspirations and share them with each other. By the end of the program, students will have a specific action plan that will take them down the road of passion, purpose, and prosperity!

Extreme Entrepreneur Panel
The Extreme Entrepreneurship Panel is an informal event where attendees connect with successful entrepreneurs on a personal level. Attendees are exposed to different view points on how to achieve success before graduating and learn about the people behind the stories.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stuff Happens

Stuff happens. That’s the assumption most people make when they hear about 600 jobs being retained at CASCI or a new walking tour guide to Charleston’s East End.

The reality is that stuff -- especially good stuff -- doesn’t “just happen.” It usually is the product of years of concerted efforts by government and business leaders, community volunteers and groups like the Charleston Area Alliance who are working to create a more vibrant community and prosperous economy.

Take, for example, the Capitol Market. Now heralded as one of the area’s most successful and popular community development projects in recent history, the Capitol Market faced skepticism and significant fundraising hurdles as it moved from the “that’s a great idea” stage to a real live community marketplace. Determined efforts by volunteers from the Charleston Renaissance, one of the Alliance’s predecessor organizations, sustained the effort during the seven long and challenging years it took to complete the project.

Keeping the “good stuff” happening is the mission of the Charleston Area Alliance. Through a wide array of economic and community development initiatives, we strive to make the area a better place to live, work and play.

As with the Capitol Market, many of these initiatives unfold over several years. Currently, for example, we are working with three sizable companies that are considering the Charleston area as the site for a new operation or expansion. With these potential businesses would come good-paying jobs, capital investment in area land and buildings, and an expanded tax base for our schools and other important government services.

Our job is to help companies both large and small find appropriate land or facilities, develop utility infrastructure to support their operations and work with the state and local governments on incentives for setting up shop here. But it doesn’t happen easily and it doesn’t happen overnight. By the time you hear about a new business opening up, several years may have passed since it first started working with the Alliance.

In addition, confidentiality is critical to most businesses seeking to expand or consolidate its operations in a new location. If they are considering West Virginia, they may not want their competitors to know, and we don’t want our competing states to know either. That’s why you don’t hear about deals in the works until the ink is dry.

The same is often true with our community development efforts. Gateway Greenspace and Rails to Trails are just two examples of exciting projects we’re working on to improve our quality of space and place. But they also take considerable time, money and persistence to become a reality.

When we have good news to share, we’ll be the first to shout it from the rooftops. When we’re not tooting our own horn, however, it means we’re hard at work behind the scenes getting the good stuff ready to happen. That quiet you may hear is actually the lull before the storm of celebration!

In the meantime, if you have been benefited from projects supported by the Alliance, if you believe in our mission, if you share our commitment to creating a better future, please “pass it on” and tell your neighbor, friend or colleague. The more support we have from our members and volunteers, the better we can serve the region and build a more vibrant community and prosperous economy for us all.

Friday, October 26, 2007

October 26, 2007

Advantage looks back at the year
Charleston Gazette Staff writer

Advantage Valley will travel to France in December, officials said during the 11th annual Advantage Valley dinner on Thursday night.

The meeting, held at Charleston’s Embassy Suites hotel, capped off a year of success for the organization. Advantage Valley will partner with the West Virginia Development Office for the foreign trade mission. Representatives from the Charleston Area Alliance, the Putnam County Development Authority and the Huntington Area Development Council will meet with French businesses during the five-day trip.

By working together within the Advantage Valley region — which includes 12 counties in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio — foreign businesses will be more likely to invest, said Mike Herron, president of Advantage Valley.

“We are going to hit France hard for five days,” he said. “French businesses, international businesses will take us more seriously as a player when we have a larger geographical region.” The Advantage Valley region is within 500 miles of where 63 percent of French investment in the United States has been made in the last 10 years, according to an Advantage Valley news release. These investments have been in auto parts, machinery, primary metals, metal products, chemicals, plastic resins and aerospace products.

For Advantage Valley, this kind of regional thinking and economic development support is the mission of the group, said Ellen Cappellanti, chairman of Advantage Valley’s board of directors.
“Let’s promote regionalism and a regional identity,” she said. “It’s a concerted effort.” This year has been a year of transition, with Herron joining as president in March, she said. Also, Advantage Valley is proud of its work with regional entrepreneurs through its Entrepreneurial League System, which was begun in 2003.

The system coaches more than 70 businesses, which employ more than 300 people and bring in more than $30 million in revenues, said S.K. Miller, who serves as a business coach. Some of the successful entrepreneurs were on hand Thursday to tell their success stories.

“To be truthful, I didn’t think I wanted to do this,” said Brenda Hudson, of Hudson-Gillmor Associates. Her company had already been in business five years when they joined ELS. Her business partner, Lisa Shinn, called the program “the best kind of business group therapy I could have.”

Vickie Pullins, of LinguaCare Associates, said her 17-year-old speech pathology business was growing when they decided to join ELS. Their business coach helped the group of speech pathologists create a business mission and vision, even though they didn’t think they needed it.
“We resisted, we rebelled, we asked ourselves, ‘What are we doing?’” Pullins said. Then, she had an epiphany, she said. For the first time, a business decision was made using this mission and vision.

“I realized that that vision and mission is our compass,” she said. Now, LinguaCare has seen a 20 percent increase in gross revenue, she said.

For Dr. David Clayman and Clayman and Associates, the ELS kept him from making the same business mistakes he once made. It helped keep him away from bankruptcy, something many entrepreneurs will face. “There are a lot of people with great ideas,” he said. “There are a lot of people filing [bankruptcy] because of these ideas. They just don’t have the structure.”
ELS gave him that needed structure, he said.

Gov. Joe Manchin, who gave the keynote address at the dinner, lauded Advantage Valley’s support of entrepreneurship and its push for making West Virginia a better place.

“West Virginia and Advantage Valley have the opportunity to make a difference,” he said, “and I look at what Advantage Valley has been able to accomplish while working together.”

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

American Cancer Society needs volunteers
The American Cancer Society is looking for professionals in the Charleston area to participate on the planning committee for the Kanawha County Relay for Life.

The annual event, held at the Capitol complex in June, is an overnight event filled with entertainment, activities and the opportunity to celebrate life—the lives of those who have passed on from cancer and the lives of those who have survived. Funds raised go towards education, awareness, research and local support services for all types of cancer.

Volunteers are needed to help with the following committees; an * denotes a committee that does not have a chair to date: Advocacy, Community Team Recruitment, Corporate Team Recruitment, *Data Entry Chair, Entertainment, *In-Kind Sponsorship, Logistics, Luminaria Marketing and PR, *Meeting Coordinator, Mission Delivery, Recognition, Registration, Accounting, *School Recruitment, RFL Secretary, Sponsorship, Survivor Development, Survivor Reception, Team Recruitment and Team Retention.

Committee members meet once a month from October through the event in June. Anyone interested should contact Jennifer Nugent at (304) 776-5200, x104 or

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

October 23, 2007
Alliance board notes Ky. example
Charleston Gazette Staff writer

West Virginia should take notice of the help that Kentucky is offering to its entrepreneurial citizens, Charleston Area Alliance board members were told Monday.

“It’s tough to go out there and fight every day,” said Charles Counts, an Alliance board member. “Kentucky’s focus is trying to encourage start-up businesses instead of chasing rainbows.” In 2000, Kentucky passed the Kentucky Innovation Act of 2000 to help increase the number of high-technology companies started in the state. The act offers a variety of grants and other financial support to entrepreneurs through one of six regional Innovation and Commercialization centers and six Innovation centers.

Kentucky’s universities fund much of the research and development, and there is some involvement by other state agencies. However, the success of the program is in the use of chambers of commerce to operate the centers, Counts said.

Counts said that the Charleston Area Alliance is in a great position to help encourage entrepreneurship in West Virginia in a similar fashion, he said. The alliance could set up an “angel investor” network and offer funding for these businesses through grants, he said. Alliance board Chairman Jack Rossi said the trip provided “excellent ideas” to consider.
In other business, Alliance President Matt Ballard said the $340,000 loan to complete the renovation on the outside of the Alliance office will be finalized this week. The work must be completed by Sept. 30, 2008, he said. Inside, the conference room floor has been leveled and the carpet will be installed by the end of the month.

Also, the details of the plan for adding traveling options at Charleston's Yeager Airport remain a mystery. At the Alliance board’s August meeting, board member Mike Basile said the transportation committee was working with a private entrepreneur with local ties in regard to options at Yeager.

Ballard said the committee would likely have news at the December meeting.

Also dropping hints of development was Anne Cavalier, saying that the Upper Kanawha Valley Technology Community Building will be “welcoming a major East Coast headquarters for a Canadian company.”She said a ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 12, but she would not elaborate.

October 23, 2007
EcoDwell home has its first owner

Sarah K. Winn
Charleston Gazette Staff writer

Christopher Sattes watched the development of his new environmentally friendly house online after a co-worker pointed it out. He didn’t really plan on buying it because it was out of his price range. “But after looking at, it is worth it,” he said Monday. “Its kind of cool to give back a little bit.”

Sattes, 22, bought his home — called EcoDwell — from the Religious Coalition for Community Renewal. The RCCR partnered with the Charleston Area Alliance to build the environmentally friendly home on Jackson Street in Charleston’s East End.

Sattes, who graduated from Capital High School in 2003, paid $120,000 for the 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom abode, according to county property records. Some of the home’s green features include structural insulated panel walls and ceilings, an energy-efficient heating and cooling system, a metal roof and fluorescent light fixtures.

“It’s just so energy-efficient,” he said. “I don’t have to change the thermostat.” After just a month, Sattes has already seen the impact. His water bill was just $19 in September, he said. His electrical bill was just $20. “It’s a double whammy,” he said. “You are doing good and doing good with your money.”

Sattes considers himself “a pretty conservative Republican,” but still thinks its important to do his part for the environment. His favorite musician, Dave Mathews, really turned him on to green practices, he said. Even though Sattes has moved in, the green home is still connected to the RCCR and the Charleston Area Alliance.

“We will be working with the Charleston Area Alliance and homebuyer to do some energy study comparisons,” said Kim Statome of RCCR. RCCR built the home next door with traditional building materials and they want to compare and track energy usage, she said. Sattes is developing a Web site so the community can track his energy usage. The Web site isn’t up and running yet, but he wants others to be able to see his cost savings. Along with the green building techniques, the house came with some other strings, such as the new owner must meet low- and moderate-income guidelines. To qualify, a single person had to earn a maximum of $30,200 a year.

Sattes, who works in IT for Ameriprise Financial and sells special shot glasses on his own Web site, met the guidelines. For Sattes, most of his friends thought his reasoning for buying a home was strange. “When I rented, I felt like my money was being thrown away,” he said. “Now, all my friends come over and they think it’s cool and high-tech.” Although he considered moving away from Charleston, Sattes said his new home made the difference. “That’s how I got a sweet deal on the house,” he said. “It kind of changed my mind,”

To contact staff writer, call 348-5156.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Appetite for Construction
Appetite for Construction is a 34-city tour that will help people in need of safe, decent, affordable housing realize the dream of homeownership. Switchfoot is teaming up with good friends Relient K, to raise funds for local affiliates of Habitat for Humanity and raise awareness of Habitat’s mission in each city that the tour will reach. The Appetite for Construction tour will donate the net proceeds of $1 per ticket sold for the performance in each city to the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate….yours!!

The partnership with Habitat for Humanity began when the bands were discussing ways to give back to the community and discovered they shared a mutual respect for the organization. The Appetite for Construction tour starts October 16th in Charleston, WV.

In the past four years, Switchfoot and Relient K bands have collectively scored five albums in the top 20 of the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. Switchfoot has sold more than 1 million concert tickets worldwide since the 2003 release of its double-Platinum album, “Beautiful Letdown.” Swithfoot is best known for their song “Meant to Live” which is currently played on the radio.

Tickets are available by going to Then click on ticket link for the Charleston, WV date. The show is next Tuesday, October 16th at 7 p.m. at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium. Tickets are $29 and $25. Since $1 from each ticket sold comes directly back to our local affiliate, we want to pack the house!!
For questions, contact Jessica Hudson, Habitat for Humanity director of development at 720-0141 or 421-3166.

Federal Matches Made in Almost Heaven
Doing Business with the Federal Government Workshop

FAIRMONT, WV - A Government Contracting Workshop “Federal Matches Made in Almost Heaven - Doing Business with the Federal Government” will be held on Wednesday, October 17, 2007, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the West Virginia High Technology Conference Center (formerly the IRS Building), in Fairmont, WV.
West Virginia has 38 federal agencies and 14 large contractors located throughout the state that spend over $2 billion annually. Representatives from several of the agencies and contractors will be participating in this matchmaking event and will be available to meet exclusively with small business owners to provide information on how to do business with them.

Open to existing, expanding or start-up businesses, this unique FREE business program will provide information on federal contracting and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Certification programs. The event will feature panels from the Federal Agency and Prime Contractors as well as individual matchmaking sessions.

Invited Agencies and Prime Contractors include the Department of Energy, Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, NASA, GSA, Veterans Administration, NIOSH, EG&G Technical Services, Stoller, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Kenny Construction, Azimuth, Inc. and more.

The event is made possible by support from the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), the Regional Contracting Assistance Center (RCAC), the Small Business Development Centers of West Virginia, Work Force West Virginia Entrepreneurship Alliance, WVU-Parkersburg, West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation.
To register, go to and follow directions or contact the SBA’s West Virginia District Office at (304) 623-5631. Future “Federal Matches Made in Almost Heaven – Doing Business with the Federal Government” workshops are planned for October 23 in Martinsburg, WV, October 31 in Beckley, WV and November 13 in Parkersburg, WV.
All SBA programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.

You Can Be a Part of the Energy Solution

From The Governor’s Desk: A weekly column by Gov. Joe Manchin

October is Energy Awareness Month. This month also marks the return of Energy Star’s national “Change a Light, Change the World” campaign. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Its mission is to help our citizens save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

Energy Star’s national “Change a Light” challenge encourages each of us replace at least one traditional incandescent light bulb with an energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). You can take the Change a Light pledge online at

Incandescent lights have brightened American homes since Thomas Edison invented the first successful version around 1879. Today, a 22-watt Energy-Star-approved CFL has about the same light output as a 75-watt incandescent. CFLs cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs, but use 75 percent less energy and can last 10 times longer.

We’ve already replaced several of the bulbs in the Governor’s Mansion with CFLs. More than 3,300 West Virginians have taken the pledge and changed more than 8,000 light bulbs at an energy saving cost of over $211,000.

The average home has 30 incandescent lights. The five highest-use fixtures in a home are typically the kitchen ceiling lights, the living room or family room table and floor lamps, and outdoor porch or post lamp. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that replacing the five most frequently used traditional lights with comparable CFLs can help homeowners achieve energy savings of $60 annually.

If all the households in West Virginia replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an Energy Star bulb, the combined individual efforts would save up to 39 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. That is enough energy to light all the households in Charleston, W.Va., for more than 170 days. The amount of energy saved would reduce household electrical bills by a combined total of $2.4 million a year.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if every American home replaced just one light bulb with an Energy Star qualified CFL, it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 800,000 cars.

In July 2007, the state Legislature created the West Virginia Division of Energy. The agency’s mission is to help lead the state and the nation toward energy independence. The division promotes energy efficiency programs such as Ride Share, Energy Star, alternative fuels, recycling and more. For details on these programs and tips for saving energy, visit or call (304)558-2234.

With a change as small as a light bulb, you can make a big difference.

Friday, October 12, 2007

SBA to Host Live Web Chat on
Regulatory Fairness for Small Businesses

WHO: SBA National Ombudsman Nicholas Owens will host the October Web chat on “Regulatory Fairness and Your Small Business.”

Owens, who also serves as assistant administrator for Regulatory Enforcement Fairness at the SBA’s Office of the National Ombudsman, leads the national effort to ensure fairness in federal regulations on small business, while working to diminish disputes between small businesses and federal regulatory agencies.

WHAT: Chat participants will have the opportunity to learn more about how the Office of the National Ombudsman can help small business owners with unfair and excessive federal regulatory enforcement, such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines or other unfair actions by a federal agency.

The SBA’s live Web chat series provides business owners the opportunity to discuss online relevant issues with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs. Participants have direct, real-time access to the Web chats via questions they submit online in advance and during the session, and receive instant answers.

WHEN :Thursday, October 18, 2007, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., ET.

HOW: Chat participants can join the live Web chat by going online to, and clicking the “Online Business Chat” icon. Participants may post questions for Owens before October 18th by visiting, and posting their questions online.

To review archives of past Web chats, visit online at

Thursday, October 11, 2007

University of Tennessee Volunteers, Volunteer

Nearly 25 University of Tennessee student volunteers will make their way to Charleston and leave lasting impressions on three local agencies. The American Red Cross and the YWCA will be the recipients of this group’s goodwill and community service efforts. During their three days in Charleston, students will provide their services in areas such as landscaping, cleaning, painting, and the pre-positioning of disaster supplies.

Charleston was the city of choice for this group of volunteers who are choosing to make a difference in a community instead of relaxing during their fall break. “We are honored to have the UT volunteers in our city. Hopefully they will be inspired to visit more often or make Charleston a future place of residence,” said Alliance CEO/President, Matt Ballard.

In the spirit of giving, local organizations have come together to make sure the students have an enjoyable time and comfortable stay while in Charleston. The North Charleston Community Center is providing shelter, while the American Red Cross is providing cots and personal hygiene items. The Charleston Area Alliance and the City of Charleston have coordinated and arranged this community service project for the volunteers.
Opening Remarks from Matt Ballard, Alliance President/CEO Made During Kick-off Breakfast
I am so proud and honored to welcome you to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia and to the Charleston Area.

You are visiting at a time when our leaves are full of change, the change of color. Things are changing in Charleston too. While you’re here you may take part in an event at our new baseball park or new cultural center. You may find yourself in one of the most successful and one of the few remaining urban malls. Maybe one of our great downtown shops on Capitol Street, and the one thing I know you will find is a community that is collectively seeking to fulfill a mission:

That mission is articulated in the mission statement of the organization that I work for… The Charleston Area Alliance

It states:

Working to build a more Vibrant Community and Prosperous Economy.

We cannot thank you enough for helping us to fulfill this mission.

Growing up, just about two hours north of here…in a middle class family, the son of a coal miner and a school teacher… Philanthropy to me was something for the wealthy, people giving money. This as a young person is what philanthropy meant to me.

You have figured out that philanthropy is not just about giving money…You have made the strategic choice with your philanthropic capital… that is sweat equity… and with it, you are helping us to make a better future for our community and we appreciate your gift to us.

Many of you know that Warren Buffett recently gave most of his fortune away to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When he was asked by President Clinton about this gift (President Clinton who will by the way be in Charleston Saturday) Warren Buffett said the following;

“My gift is NOTHING. I can have everything I want with 1% of my wealth and my work in life has been disproportionately rewarded compared to a teacher or a soldier. I’m just giving back a surplus, claims that have no value to me, but can do a lot for others. The people I really admire are those who give up a movie or a restaurant meal, to help needier people.”

You are those people Buffett admires. We admire you too.

If there is anything that the Charleston Area Alliance can do for you during your stay, please do not hesitate to ask. Our organization has developed an entire program to retaining our youth and attracting new youth to our community. So after you return to the University of Tennessee, and you graduate, please let me be the first person to invite you back, to begin your professional’s career, or start a family, or start your own business in West Virginia.

You see, I mentioned Wild and Wonderful, our state slogan when I first welcomed you. But many call West Virginia, Almost Heaven. I think you’ll find both to be descriptive of this place we call home. I hope you’ll consider coming back and calling it your home too.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company (BrickStreet) is the sole provider of workers’ compensation insurance for nearly all West Virginia employers. Annual premiums exceed $500 million. The workers’ compensation market in West Virginia will open to competition on July 1, 2008. BrickStreet is a 501(c)(27)(b) tax exempt organization. Additional information regarding BrickStreet can be found at

The Audit Committee of BrickStreet’s Board of Directors is seeking a qualified individual to serve as Director of Internal Audit and to develop Brickstreet’s Internal Audit function. This position will report directly to the Chairman of the Audit Committee. The Internal Auditor will assist management in maintaining a high degree of integrity and credibility in the financial reporting process and a sound internal control system. Responsibilities will include reviewing and appraising the soundness, adequacy, compliance and cost effectiveness of operational, financial and information management controls and reporting the results of these examinations to the Audit Committee. Internal audit activities, including investigations, will conclude with a written report communicating results of the review to the Audit Committee of BrickStreet’s Board of Directors and, as appropriate, key members of BrickStreet’s management team. Additionally, the Internal Audit function will assist operational managers by providing results of reviews and comments for operational and control improvements, and assist, as appropriate, the Company’s external auditors.

Qualifications Education & Certifications:

The candidate should be a Certified Internal Auditor or Certified Public Accountant with three to five years of experience. A strong working knowledge of laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the insurance and financial services industries is essential. Personal computer skills, including specific working knowledge of Excel and Word are essential, and the candidate should possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. In addition, maintenance of certifications and on-going professional education should be evident.

BrickStreet provides an excellent working environment in new office facilities in downtown Charleston, WV. Salary is commensurate with experience and skills and an excellent benefit package is provided.

Direct inquiries and resumes on or before October 31, 2007 to:

BrickStreet Audit Committee
c/o Bailey & Glasser, LLP
227 Capitol Street
Charleston, WV 25301
Attn: Marc Weintraub

BrickStreet is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Jennifer Garner still longs for days at home

Matthew Thompson
Daily Mail staff
Wednesday October 03, 2007

Jennifer Garner was headed to Paris, but her mind was on Charleston.
She was heading to the airport in Los Angeles on Tuesday to catch a flight overseas, where she will promote her latest movie, "The Kingdom."

Though she was going to a place most Americans long to visit, Garner said she'd rather be in Charleston to relax.
"I would much rather wake up and go to Taylor Books tomorrow and sit, drink coffee and read the newspaper rather than go to Paris," Garner said in a quick telephone interview that took place while she was riding to the airport.
"It's just the overall feel of it there. The green's there, the people walking down the street. Anyone that doesn't live there or isn't from there just can't understand it."

During the past 10 years, Garner's acting career has taken her a long way from the Mountain State.

She's especially busy right now.
She's promoting "The Kingdom," which also stars Jamie Foxx. Garner plays an FBI agent sent to Saudi Arabia to track down a group of terrorists responsible for an attack against American citizens.

Next month, she makes her Broadway debut in the classic play, "Cyrano de Bergerac." She will play Roxane, the love interest of the title character played by Kevin Kline.

And in December, her next film, "Juno," will be released. In the film, Garner and Jason Bateman play a couple looking to adopt a child from an un-wed, pregnant teen. The film received rave reviews when it premiered last month at the Toronto Film Festival.

The stint on Broadway is especially exciting for the 35-year-old Garner, who has made a national name for herself on television and movies.

Though she's always loved theater work, Garner said an appearance on the "Great White Way" was something she never thought would happen in her career.

"I didn't know you could dream that big -- not that my parents didn't encourage me to dream," Garner said. "It wasn't somewhere in the back of my mind either. When I went New York or with my parents to London to see theater, I didn't think how I could do that."
The actors have been rehearsing for the past month. Garner said the experience has been wonderful.

"Kevin Kline's role is one he was born to play," Garner said. "I'm just happy to get to be there and share the stage with him and working with the all the costars is so much fun."

The play also stars Chris Sarandon, a fellow West Virginian. A Beckley native, Sarandon's 35-year film career has included roles in films such as 1975's "Dog Day Afternoon," and 1987's "The Princess Bride."

During rehearsal for the play, Garner said she found comfort acting with a Mountain State native.

"Oh, we talk about Mountaineer football and friends we have back home," Garner said. "It's funny too because we have a shared vocabulary. When the speech teacher is working with us, we have the same vocal patterns."

The play will be a limited run production. The performances will be from November 1 until December 23. There will be eight shows a week.

Garner is urging people from this area to see the play. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at Ticket prices range from $20 to $100, according to the Web site.

"Just go online, book yourself a ticket, or get in your car because there is nothing better than New York in the fall," Garner said.

The Kingdom finished in second place at the box office during this past weekend, its debut, with $17.6 million.

Garner said she got involved in the project after falling in love with the script.

"I loved that it told the story from both sides," Garner said. "It wasn't villainizing any particular person or country or place or thing."

Garner said the only downside was shooting in the dry climate of Arizona.

"It was the middle of the summer, which brought some challenges because it was definitely hot," Garner said. "It was tough. I tell you I wanted to see lush green mountains, but it was not happening there."

Garner was born April 17, 1972, in Dallas, Texas. While she was in grade school her family moved to Charleston.

Raised by her mother Pat, a teacher, and father Bill, a chemical engineer, Garner grew up in South Hills, graduating from George Washington High School.

The acting bug bit during her adolescent years when she worked in various Charleston Light Opera Guild productions.

After college, Garner went to New York and then Los Angeles where she scored television work on shows like "Law and Order" and "Felicity."

Her big break came in 2001, when "Felicity" creator J.J Abrams selected Garner to star in his new ABC television series "Alias." She starred on the show for five seasons.

That led to a successful film career with roles in "Catch Me If You Can," "13 Going on 30," "Elektra," and "Catch and Release."

On the set of 2003's "Daredevil," Garner got to know star Ben Affleck, whom she married in 2005. They have a 1 1/2-year-old daughter, Violet.

Garner said the family is doing well.

She added they come and visit Charleston when time is available. Their last two visits included trips last summer and at Christmas time.

Contact writer Matthew Thompson at or 348-4834.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Art Director needed for local advertising and public relations firm

Progressive advertising and public relations firm seeks a dynamic, energetic and forward thinking art director with strong design and conceptual skills. We're looking for someone who can create top-quality, high-end work for our clients on time and on budget.

Acceptable candidates will be able to see the big picture while paying attention to the details. Must have experience in campaign design, interactive, photo/video direction and identity design and layout. Must also have great people and presentation skills, and an ability to work well in a team environment and independently.

Required qualifications:
At least 5 years in a design or agency environment.
Strong branding/identity, print and broadcast design experience.
Top-quality verbal and written communications skills.
Proficient with MAC design programs: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Quark Xpress, FLASH.

Also helpful: an enjoyment of competitive foosball, homemade ice cream, a mad array of coffee and after-work fun.

Competitive compensation package.

Send resumes to:

Amanda Wilson
The Manahan Group
222 Capitol Street
Suite 400
Charleston, WV 25301