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, May 30, 2008

Generation Charleston Steps Up to the Plate!

Generation Charleston is hosting its Day at Power Park July 18. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. on the patio with food and beverages, and the Power take on the Columbus Catfish at 7:05.

The event is one of Generation Charleston's many networking and social opportunities, but it also is an effort to show younger people what Charleston has to offer. Power Park is one of the city's jewels, so it's a fitting locale.

We believe Charleston has much to offer, and if others agree with us, they are more likely to start and continue their careers here, which benefits everyone.

We are encouraging companies to send their summer interns and young members to the event. Tickets are $12 each, and they are available for individual or group purchase at

Generation Charleston is reaching out to sponsors, too. The modest price includes 15 tickets and logo placement on promotional materials. Call Danny Forinash with the Charleston Area Alliance for more information at (304) 340-4253.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

'WorkAbility 101' to Kick Off 21st Century Courses

The Charleston Area Alliance and the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia are teaming up to offer “Skills for the 21st Century,” a series of courses designed to help employees be better, more productive employees.

“The goal is to be able to offer businesses more skilled employees and more valuable employees,” said Leanne Stowers, the Alliance’s workforce and education specialist. “We want to help them reduce turnover.”

Each “skill set” course includes four classes over a two-month period. The first course, WorkAbility 101, will offer instructors specializing in workplace etiquette, customer service, ethics and business communication.

Future course and class themes will include basic personal finance, computer literacy, meeting facilitation, networking and team training.

“There’s a big list of skill sets,” said Sid Valentine, CTCS coordinator for workforce and technical program development. “These are portable skills workers could take with them their entire careers.”

The first class, which focuses on etiquette, is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon June 9 at the Alliance offices on Smith Street. The other three classes are scheduled for the same time period June 23, July 7 and July 21. The program will then offer another course in August.

The course fee is $50 for Alliance members and $75 for non-members. The per-class fee is $20 for members and $30 for non-members.
To register, call Leanne Stowers at (304) 340-4253 or visit

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Generation Charleston's Homebuyer Panel is This Evening!

Generation Charleston, the young professional's committee of the Charleston Area Alliance, is sponsoring a Homebuyer Panel from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. this evening at United Bank. The event is designed to help first time buyers through the process of finding and purchasing a new home. It also will include a discussion about the development and availability of loft-style apartments in the downtown area.

The Homebuyer Panel features a lineup of regional experts including Barbara Rucker of United Bank; Alan Pennington of Great Expectations Realty; Lew Tyree of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund; and Julio Davalos of Charleston Area Lofts.

“A lot of our members are new professionals who have just moved to Charleston and are faced with the challenge of finding a place to live,” said Danielle Waltz, Generation Charleston Co-Chair. “For first time buyers, the process can be pretty daunting, so we formed this panel as a way to help both our group and the community at large.”

The Generation Charleston Homebuyer Panel is free and open to the public. No registration necessary, and refreshments will be available. United Bank is located at 500 Virginia Street in downtown Charleston.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Speakers to Discuss How Businesses Can 'Go Green'

State businesses and organizations will have the opportunity to learn about "going green," how to improve their environmental performance and reduce the size of their environmental footprint by attending upcoming Environmental Management System workshops sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

There will be three, two-day workshops in two different locations. Each will be directed and instructed by Adolfson and Jeffrey Burke, Executive Director of the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, both of whom are certified EMS Lead Auditors. The EMS workshops also will include guest presenters from West Virginia industries that are going green and have also adopted EMS concepts and principles as their guide. The representatives will share their EMS experiences and case studies to better educate workshop participants.

Three identical two-day EMS workshops are being offered as follows:

July 8-9, 2008 (Registration Deadline: June 18, 2008) Charleston, West Virginia
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Headquarters601 57th Street, South EastCharleston, WV 25304(304) 926-0440

July 10-11, 2008 (Registration Deadline: June 18, 2008)Charleston, West Virginia
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Headquarters601 57th Street, South EastCharleston, WV 25304(304) 926-0440

September 9-10, 2008 (Registration Deadline: August 20, 2008)Martinsburg, West Virginia
Holiday Inn301 Foxcroft AvenueMartinsburg, WV 25401(304) 267-5500
To register, go to:

For more information about the EMS workshops or registration, contact Adolfson at (304) 926-0499, Ext. 1332 or

Job Openings at Netranom Communications

Netranom Communications has two immediate job openings. The company needs two Network Field Technicain at its Hurricane office. Both are full-time with complete benefit packages.

If you know of anyone that works in the computer / networking field and is interested, please pass this message along.

Network Field Technician

Netranom Communications Inc. (Netranom) is a West Virginia based technology solutions provider seeking a Network Field Technician to join a team of technology professionals in it's Hurricane, WV based office.

Candidate should have 2 years of field experience in a similar role. This position will consist of managing internal networks as well as traveling to client sites on an as needed basis to design, implement and maintain customer's networks.

Candidate will work directly with sales staff in pre-sales engineering role.

Duties will include design and maintenance of network infrastructure, server administration, virus protections, data security, data backup, advanced router configuration and install, firewall maintenance, etc.

Candidate will need to possess working knowledge of Microsoft server platforms.

Candidate will work with sales staff and clients to continually update and enhance customer networks.

Candidate will need to have experience setting up computer hardware, network equipment as well as software installation.

Candidate should have good trouble shooting skills as well as customer service skills.

Relative certifications a plus (MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, IP Telephony Certs, etc)

IP Telephony experience a plus.

Salary will range depending on skill level and experience. Netranom offers a challenging and rewarding opportunity for qualified candidates. This position offers an excellent compensation package, benefits including medical, dental, 401(k) and paid vacation.

To be considered for this position, please submit your resume with salary history / requirements to:

This position is available immediately.

Visit our website at for more information.

Randolph County Company Seeks Plant Controller


Armstrong Floor Products is seeking a skilled financial leader to serve as Plant Controller for the Division’s flagship manufacturing facility in Beverly, West Virginia. A critical member of the plant management team, the Plant Controller is responsible for leading all finance/accounting activities at the plant and provides financial expertise to the Plant Manager to drive the successful operations of the facility. Key objectives of this role include: partnering with the Plant Manager to identify, quantify and implement cost reduction initiatives that result in significant savings; developing the plant’s operating budget and monthly forecasts; financial reporting and analysis; leading month end close activities including reporting and variance analysis; inventory and fixed asset control and reconciliation; and coaching, training and developing the plant accounting staff (4 direct reports). Additional responsibilities include capital justification and leading audits of plant's internal controls to ensure compliance with SOX and NAFTA.

The Beverly Plant has approximately 17 acres under roof, manufactures approximately 55 million sq. ft. of solid wood floor products and is one of the larger employers in the area with approximately 850 employees working across multiple shifts. To be a successful financial leader of this large enterprise, the ideal candidate must have a successful track record of upward progression through manufacturing finance roles, experience managing a facility of similar size and complexity with unique product mix and multiple SKUs, be proficient in conducting economic cost studies for new or existing products and manufacturing processes, and have a passion for being a part of a dynamic manufacturing organization. This position reports directly to the Plant Manager with a strong dotted line to the Division Controller, Solid Wood Group.

Required Qualifications:

Bachelor degree in accounting or finance
10 - 15 years accounting experience in a repetitive product manufacturing environment with a minimum of 5 years experience as a plant controller.
Proven operational leadership, especially in identifying, implementing and supporting change that positively impacts the business
Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and organizational skills
Excellent written and verbal communications with the ability to share knowledge at appropriate levels of the organization
Customer focused with strong attention to detail and capable of delivering accurate, quality results in a timely, consistent, and professional manner
Strong leadership, interpersonal, and team building skills
Advanced Microsoft Office skills

Desired Qualifications:

Graduate degree, CMA, CPA or other professional certification preferred
Proficiency with SAP, JD Edwards or similar ERP system preferred
Located in the heart of West Virginia, Beverly is surrounded by beautiful mountain ridges, geological wonders, historic Civil War sites, state parks and national forest recreation areas. The town is conveniently located within an hour’s drive to some of the best ski resorts that West Virginia has to offer (Snow Shoe, Canaan Valley and Timberline).

Bring your ideas. Build your future with us. Armstrong is a recognized global leader in the design and manufacture of ceiling, flooring, and cabinet products. We have won numerous awards from industry associations for our quality products, environmental stewardship, corporate citizenship, safety, and innovation. In addition, our team enjoys a challenging work environment, a competitive compensation plan, and a comprehensive benefits package.

At Armstrong, we recognize that our employees are critical to our on-going success. Our finance organization is comprised of individuals who are experts in their discipline, actively engage with operations to identify ways to improve production efficiencies, realize cost savings, drive change to achieve financial / production goals and implement rigorous internal controls. High moral and ethical standards, integrity and a commitment to excellence are some of the characteristics that we value on the finance team. If you have a desire to work for an organization such as ours, then we would like to get to know you.

Simpler, faster, better together … that’s the commitment of Armstrong World Industries, a global leader in the design and manufacture of flooring, ceiling and cabinets products.

Armstrong is an Equal Employment Opportunities Employer

Apply online at

Monday, May 26, 2008

Marshall Celebrates with the Charleston Area Alliance, the success of their graduate, Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit!

It was very nice to have Dr. Kopp, President of Marshall University on hand to present Brad Smith with the Expect the Best from West Virginia award at the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The "Smith's" United

Ok so there is really no relation; still Chuck Smith and Patrick Smith local Charleston leaders enjoyed meeting Brad Smith, President and CEO of Intuit at the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration. Intuit just reported a very good quarter on May 20th. How many of our readers use Intuit's products? You might and not even realize you do. Do you use Quickbooks at work? Do you use TurboTax to file your tax returns? If you do, then you use a product of Intuit, which is managed by West Virginia Native, Brad Smith.
(From left to right, Patrick Smith, Brad Smith, Chuck Smith, Matt Ballard, President of the Charleston Area Alliance)

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Friday, May 23, 2008

The article below appeared in Wednesday's Daily Mail. It highlights the Live on the Levee series and mentions feedback Generation Charleston had about the event. Check out the first show tonight at Haddad Riverfront Park.

This Weekend Kicks Off a Long Summer of Sizzling Entertainment

By Matthew Thompson
Daily Mail Staff

Memorial Day Weekend brings the unofficial start of summer and kicks off a busy season of entertainment in Charleston.

"There's something special every weekend from Memorial Day to July 4th," said Rod Blackstone, assistant to Mayor Danny Jones.

The season kicks off Friday with the annual Live on the Levee concert series at Haddad Riverfront Park. The concerts will occur every Friday night until August 22.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., the first concert will feature the musical group The Grass Stains followed by Matt & Friends.

Blackstone said the event has been expanded by two weeks this year.

He said city officials noticed last Memorial Day a barge of boaters along the riverfront. So they figured if the time was right for boaters to head outdoors, it might be time for concertgoers, too.
They're hoping the riverfront traffic, plus other events this holiday weekend, will lead to increased attendance for the concerts, Blackstone said.

"It's kind of really the societal start of the summer season," Blackstone said.

The concert series is also occurring 45 minutes later than in previous years.

Blackstone said this decision came out of feedback from Generation Charleston, a committee of young professionals created by the Charleston Area Alliance.

The group said a later start time would give more time after work for people to attend the concerts.

"We could do it right after work, but something a little later encourages people to come home and then go back for the concerts," Blackstone said.

The concerts this year will also feature two acts on Fridays instead of the usual one.

Also this weekend, the 2008 Vandalia Gathering gets underway at the State Capitol complex. The three-day festival weekend begins Friday at 7 p.m.

This is the 32nd year for the event, which showcases traditional music, crafts and culture of West Virginia.

Yearly favorite events include banjo, fiddle and lap dulcimer competitions along with the Liars Contest, which honors the state's best storytellers.

On June 1, Symphony Sunday will be at the University of Charleston. The free event will include food and games as well as performance by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

A fireworks display will close out the day's festivities.

On June 20, the eight-day FestivALL begins with lots of events on both sides of the Kanawha River.

The schedule features the 2008 Smoke on the Water Chili Cook-off at Haddad Riverfront Park. The event, which will celebrate its 10th year, will be June 21.

Other highlights include concerts at the Clay Center featuring Tony Award winning dancer Savion Glover and legendary soul singer Gladys Knight. Glover will perform on June 25 with Knight's concert occurring the following evening.

On June 27, the annual Blues, Brews& BBQ will be on the University of Charleston lawn. The event will feature live performances from singer Shemekia Copeland and blues guitarist Sonny Landreth.

On June 28, the Wine and All That Jazz event will be at University of Charleston lawn. It will feature a concert performance by the Ellis Marsalis Quartet.

For the July 4th holiday, concerts and a fireworks display will occur along Haddad Riverfront Park.

With that holiday falling on a Friday this year, Live on the Levee will feature local Beatles tribute band Rubber Soul followed by a performance from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
Last year, city officials didn't host their own event because July 4th fell in the middle of the week. The city ended up teaming with the West Virginia Power for fireworks and a free concert at Appalachian Power Park.

Now that this year's holiday is tied into a weekend, Blackstone said the city is eager to bring the celebration back to the Kanawha Boulevard.

"There will be people coming for the weekend," Blackstone said. "They can come up to Charleston and see some a really good concert and some of the best fireworks around."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yeager Airport Offering Sign Promotion to Alliance Members!

Yeager Airport is promoting outdoor banner sign opportunities to Charleston Area Alliance members by offering 30 percent off the cost of the signs.

The exclusive deal runs from June 1 to July 30.

The regular price is $795 per month. The price for Alliance members is $550 per month for the duration of the contract.

The all-weather Fast Track signs feature photographic quality reproductions and have a minimum lifespan of five years. They are 30 feet wide and 4.5 feet high and would be attached to Yeager's parking garage, easily viewable for those entering and leaving the airport.

Yeager would like to have between six and nine signs on the garage.

Advertisers would work directly with Tara Graphics in Alabama to design and create the signs. They would also pay shipping, which would be about $40, and the $150 installation cost.

For more information, contact the airport's advertising department at (304) 344-8033 or Danny Forinash with the Charleston Area Alliance at (304 ) 340-4253.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Local company seeks Network Field Technician

Netranom Communications Inc. (Netranom) is a West Virginia based technology solutions provider seeking a Network Field Technician to join a team of technology professionals in it's Hurricane, WV based office.

Candidate should have 2 years of field experience in a similar role. This position will consist of managing internal networks as well as traveling to client sites on an as needed basis to design, implement and maintain customer's networks.

Candidate will work directly with sales staff in pre-sales engineering role.

Duties will include design and maintenance of network infrastructure, server administration, virus protections, data security, data backup, advanced router configuration and install, firewall maintenance, etc.

Candidate will need to possess working knowledge of Microsoft server platforms.
Candidate will work with sales staff and clients to continually update and enhance customer networks.

Candidate will need to have experience setting up computer hardware, network equipment as well as software installation.

Candidate should have good trouble shooting skills as well as customer service skills.
Relative certifications a plus (MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, IP Telephony Certs, etc)
IP Telephony experience a plus.

Salary will range depending on skill level and experience. Netranom offers a challenging and rewarding opportunity for qualified candidates. This position offers an excellent compensation package, benefits including medical, dental, 401(k) and paid vacation.

To be considered for this position, please submit your resume with salary history / requirements to: This position is available immediately. Visit our website at for more information.

Monday, May 19, 2008

BrickStreet to Implement Rate Changes

Some BrickStreet Insurance policyholders have begun receiving notification of rate changes that affect their current policies. These changes are the result of new workers' compensation rates established by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and approved by the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, effective July 1.

The changes affect current policies because of the Anniversary Rating Date Endorsement, which is part of the policy documents policyholders receive. BrickStreet is required to implement the new rates on the Anniversary Rating Date, which impacts policy premiums.

The premium has been recalculated to reflect the new rates and any applicable experience modification factor changes for policies that have Anniversary Rating Dates and/or Rating Effective Dates of July 1. If the recalculation resulted in additional or return premium, it may be spread across the policyholder's remaining installments. If there are no remaining installments, the policyholder will be billed for the additional premium and any return premium will be applied at audit.

If you have any questions, please contact your local BrickStreet agent.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jack Rossi, Chairman of the Charleston Area Alliance Board of Directors, greets Betty Chilton as she arrives at the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration. Brad Smith, keynote speaker and CEO of Intuit and Matt Ballard, President of the Charleston Area Alliance look on.
The Charleston Newspapers are strong supporters of the Charleston Area Alliance and their mission to create a more vibrant community and prosperous economy.

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Scott Rotruck of Chesapeake Energy talks with WV State Tax Commissioner Chris Morris and Chris Ballard of Shinnston at the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration. At the Celebration, Rotruck highlighted the support Chesapeake Energy gives to the Alliance through their sponsorship of the Leadership Kanawha Valley program and support of the economic and community development projects of the Alliance.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Annual Celebration Brings out Leadership of Business Community to Meet with WV Native

The Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration was "the networking event of the year," as one attendee put it.

The event highlighted the success of a successful West Virginian as its keynote speaker, Mr. Brad Smith, a Wayne County native, who is current the CEO of Intuit.

(Featured: Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, Newton Thomas, Jack Rossi and Matt Ballard talk business at the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration)

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5/3 Bank and Intuit together at the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration.

Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit and keynote speaker at the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration here meets with Bob Welty of 5/3 Bank. 5/3 Bank is one of many businesses who support the Alliance and the Annual Celebration. Brad was generous with his time while in his native WV, meeting with business leaders from around the region.

Pictured, from left to right, Jack Rossi, Chairman of the Charleston Area Alliance, Brad Smith, and Bob Welty.

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Want to Take Your Business Overseas?

Are you interested in learning more about conducting business overseas? Would you like to import from or export to Italy?

If so, please join us Thursday, May 22 at the Charleston Area Alliance office for the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Dr. Pasquale Catalfamo, an executive committee member of the Northern Italy Manufacturers Association (API) and owner of New Finishing Line, LLC, located in Charleston.

To schedule a meeting with Dr. Catafamo, contact Lesley Hager at or (304) 340-4253. And click below for more information.

This is an invaluable opportunity to learn first-hand about doing business in Italy and how your company could approach this promising market.

Catalfer SRL is an Italian-based company that manufactures a diverse line of chemicals, tools and abrasives for the automotive, wood and marine industries. Catalfer SRL's North American subsidiary, New Finishing Line LLC, opened in Charleston in March 2006, and is located in the Alliance's business incubator.

As part of his role as a volunteer in API, Dr. Catalfamo has offered to meet one-on-one with Charleston Area Alliance business members who would like to explore import or exports to Italy.

Maple Creative is Looking for Administrative Assistant

Spread the word: Fast paced Marketing and Advertising Firm seeks a full-time administrative assistant.

Qualified candidate must be proficient at typing, filing, answering multiple phone lines, Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook. Dependability and attention to details are necessary. Ability to multi-task, friendly and pleasant demeanor a must. Benefits include: health, dental, 401k and paid vacation.

Please send resume to:

Michael Haid
CEO/Managing Partner
Maple Creative
300 Capitol Street , Suite 1310 Charleston, WV 25301

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Celebrate Small Business

The 2008 Small Business Awards are coming up soon! Join the honorees June 5 at the State Cultural Center.

To register, visit or call Kim Nelson at (304) 414-2474.

Click the invitation below to view a larger version.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Annual Celebration, Celebrates Marshall Graduate.

Brad Smith,CEO of Intuit, and keynote speaker at the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration not only made the Alliance Celebration a great event, but the evening was also a tribute to Brad and his alma mater, Marshall University.

Pictured here:

Dr. Steven Kopp, President Marshall Univeristy, Brad Smith, CEO Intuit, Bill Signorelli, Charleston Area Alliance Board and Security America and Matt Ballard, President of the Charleston Area Alliance

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Annual Celebration

It was wonderful to have Park Chapman of Charleston Newspapers and Brad Ritchie of United Bank on hand to celebrate the success of the Charleston Area Alliance and to welcome WV native Brad Smith home to Charleston.

Smith was the keynote speaker at the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration. Smith is the CEO of Intuit.

Pictured along with guests Brad Ritchie (far left) and Park Chapman (far right) is Jack Rossi, Chairman of the Charleston Area Alliance Board, Smith Center, and Matthew Ballard, President and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance.

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Contact: Kimberly Donahue, 304-399-1042


WINFIELD, W.Va. – The West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WVSBDC) will offer a small business workshop “Licensing & Organizing Your New Business” from 6p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 15 at the West Virginia State Community & Technical College, Cole Complex, Room 112, Institute.

Kathleen Thornton, a business consultant with more than 15 years of experience, will conduct the workshop. Topics include legal organization, licenses and permits, the insurance required and how to find the best location for your business.

Registration is required. The fee is $29. To register, visit and click on Training and Workshop Calendar or call 888-982-7232. Registration is required at least five days in advance.

The West Virginia Small Business Division (WVSBD) is a division of the West Virginia Development Office and works with colleges, universities and other host institutions to provide free business consulting and technical assistance statewide. The WVSBD is a program supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. The SBA cannot endorse any products, opinions or services of any external parties or activities. Workshops, seminars and conferences are held in disabled accessible locations. Arrangements for people with disabilities will be made if requested in advance. For more information, call 888-982-7232.

Monday, May 12, 2008

An Event You'll Never Forget ...

With summer and FestivAll approaching, you can expect some hot dogs at the 2008 West Side Weiner Dog Races.

The event is scheduled for June 21 at Stonewall Jackson Middle School. The registration cost before June 16 is $15 per dog. The cost is $20 if you register the day of the races.

Registration lasts from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The races begin at 1 p.m.

More information, including a schedule, is available at

Proceeds benefit Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and West Side Main Street.

For more information, contact or (304) 720-3161.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It was wonderful to host Brad Smith, President/CEO at the Charleston Area Alliance Annual Celebration. Here Brad Smith meets with a prospect company who was visiting Charleston from Italy considering Charleston as the location for their new US operations.

Looking on is Matt Ballard, President of the Charleston Area Alliance and Jack Rossi, Chairman of the Charleston Area Alliance.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

The 2008 Annual Celebration May 6 at the Clay Center was a big success. One attendee called it the "networking event of the year." Meanwhile, Intuit President and CEO Brad Smith is earning rave reviews for his intriguing presentation about leadership. He is one of the best speakers Charleston will host this year.
Below are the Annual Celebration remarks from Alliance President and CEO Matt Ballard.
Thanks to all who helped make the event so memorable.

Tonight's celebration is about every one of you. After all, YOU are the Alliance, and without you, we wouldn’t have the accomplishments to highlight this evening.

Our 600 members, who represent 40,000 employees, form a powerful and productive coalition to lead our community forward toward a promising tomorrow.

Through a wide range of innovative programs the Alliance – and you – are driving the destiny of our region … Attracting new jobs and investments … helping area businesses accelerate profitability … launching visionary community and cultural enhancement projects … and developing the talent and resources to sustain success today, and tomorrow.

“We are the people we have been waiting for.” That Native American proverb has become part of the lexicon this election year. Political slogans aside, it’s a pretty good description of what the Alliance and its members and partners are all about. You see, while our region and state are blessed with natural resources, natural beauty, and hard-working people with a rich cultural tradition, we also face growing challenges.

Who will take on these challenges?

An individual can only do so much working on their own. I would submit, that when community stakeholders work in concert – through groups such as the Alliance – real change can be accomplished.

We – YOU – are the people we’ve been waiting for to make this happen. And together, we are driving destiny.

Three key principles steer us on this journey:

1) We mean business.

n We meant it when we told Kureah we would be their partners if they came to West Virginia. We first met executives from Kureha two years ago, and the Alliance worked with Dupont, one of our strong industry members, and with the WV Development Office to solidify the Kureha project.

We know that just last month they officially broke ground on the 100 million dollar plant which will house 50 new employees in Belle.

And we meant business when we said we wouldn’t just work with them until they got here, we’d work with them forever… we wanted to help them succeed. I think we’ve been fulfilling that obligation and just in the past couple of months, we’ve been helping Kureha in their search of candidates for many of the job openings they seek to fill. Tonight, I am so honored to ask Nori Kuga from Kureha to stand and be recognized and celebrated. Kuga-san we appreciate your commitment and investment to WV and we are with you the entire way.

n We meant business when we went to work to secure 600 jobs in downtown Charleston at the CASCI building. That old Sears building could have easily become a blight in the center of our capital city, but with help from the Mayor’s office and other partners in economic development, we secured those jobs for at least 15 more years and possibly up to 3 more decades.

n The Alliance and the County Commission meant business when we worked to help NGK on its on-going expansion, which is on-going now with a multi-million dollar investment and new jobs.

n We know business and meant business when we realized that as some in the chemical industry downsized, we couldn’t allow our human capital to leave this area, so the Alliance provided the seed capital to start MATRIC which now employs over 70 people at the Technology park in South Charleston.

n We meant business when we applied and received a state grant to fund a road expansion which allowed Lesley equipment to expand their operations in Cross Lanes, and when we assisted Kanawha Electric expand their operations and double their workforce in the Upper Kanawha Valley onto a remediated Brownfield site.

n We mean business when it comes to facing our biggest challenges: One of our biggest economic challenges is expanded air service.

So we meant business in early 2007 when we started down the path to develop a home-grown airline in Charleston. Most of you know we suspended that project for the time being because of fuel prices. I looked back and when we took on that project with all of our partners, a barrel of oil was around 60-70 dollars. All the economic modeling was projected under the assumption of “conservative” estimates of costs going to $95 dollars a barrel. And of course when the project was suspended, it was 107.

I recently got a new perspective on this increase in fuel prices. My Dad, who is here tonight is a meticulous guy … He taught me when I was younger that when you’re pumping gas you give the nozzle a little shake at the end so that when you put the nozzle back on the stand, none of the gasoline leaks onto the paint of your car. I got a new perspective on that a few days ago at the pump, a guy came over to me and said make sure you shake it to get that last drop, each drop is worth 10 cents!

I’d like to thank everyone who had the leadership to join us in that venture and let me assure you we have not been deterred from the goal, bettering the air service to our region. You will see us working on this challenge again in the future.

n When it comes to international contacts and relationships, the Alliance means business. We know business in that the Euro countries are primed and ready to expand and invest in the US. Last year, you may remember we made an announcement about a new company who was coming to West Virginia, DPR, an Italian company in the printing industry. I’m proud to report things are going well for DPR and Micheal Panzeri, the son of DPR Owner Enrico Panzeri is here with us tonight, Michael please stand and be recognized.

We’re so pleased to have you here in our community Micheal working on the US operations of your fathers business.

Tonight we have with us another special guest, Alessandro Fracas, who is the Export Manager for an Italian company who is strongly considering WV for their US expansion. I expect their final decision will be coming soon, so let’s show Alex with our sound of our applause how much we want his company to join the West Virginia business community!

2) Our 2nd Key Principle is that we ignite success.

n The spark has been lit and the design for Gateway Greenspace has been completed, and is underway across the street! Soon, instead of a bleak asphalt lot, you will see an innovative, sustainable park featuring native West Virginia plantings.

n EcoDwell, a model energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly home was built and sold in partnership with the Religious Coalition for Community Renewal. We’re igniting thoughts of energy efficiency and “green jobs.”

n We’re igniting success as our monthly downtown ArtWalk continues to grow in popularly and flourish through its partnership with the Alliance – exposing more residents and visitors to the rich cultural resources in our area and helping to support area artists and downtown galleries

n We have put the kindling in place and the spark has ignited as we actively participated in St. Albans’ efforts to become a Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh Blueprint Community – an economic development program focusing on housing and community redevelopment.

n And who could argue, that success has been ignited on our east end, with our Main Street program façade grants program businesses that improve their properties. These grants have spurred more than $160,000 in façade investments in the East End., making the neighborhood more inviting to residents, customers and tourists. Our Wireless project is still moving forward for the East End business corridor and with any luck we’ll have that up and running this summer.

3) Our third key principle is to “unite and inspire.” We bring stakeholders together on a range of projects that make our area a better place to live, work and play.

n We united the more than 500 young professionals who have joined Generation Charleston, our young professional’s organization. This dynamic group organizes professional development programs, public service projects and social events with the goal of retaining and attracting young professionals to our area.

n We united by building a bridge between the business community and education, when local automotive dealers had to delaying expansion because they couldn’t find qualified technicians to staff their new locations, we brought the automotive industry together with the Kanawha County school system to develop a program to train students in the area of automotive technology as a co-op program during high school.

n We are reaching out through our internship program and to colleges and universities, both locally and in surrounding states – to help area businesses recruit talented employees and hopefully help bring West Virginians back home.

n And we are uniting and inspiring professional women through our Professional Women’s Council which is growing in popularity and substance. Luncheon speakers this year included Secretary of State Betty Ireland and Supreme Court candidates Beth Walker and Margaret Workman. ...

As you can see, we’re not waiting for change. The Alliance, because of each of you, has accomplished much.

With your continuing support and involvement, we will get closer to our goal of a more vibrant community and prosperous economy for our residents and for future generations.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

New Position Open in Charleston Area

ContactPointe specializes in technology services and employee performance improvement and training. Its comprehensive, customer-focused solutions include managed IT services, training facility coordination, project management, curriculum development and instructor-led and technology-based training for business skills, information technology, proprietary software applications and popular desktop applications.

The Opportunity – Account Executive
The company is seeking energetic individuals for its Charleston office to grow its existing account base through his/her personal sales efforts. This position is responsible for creating awareness of ContactPointe’s image and reputation. This will be accomplished through ongoing prospecting, sales calls and consultative selling.

The Candidate
The successful candidate is an aggressive, solution-driven salesperson who can develop strong relationships with their clients and work to penetrate various parts of the client organization at all levels. High energy, positive attitude, team spirit and professional appearance are absolute requirements.

The successful candidate must:
n Have a professional presence
n Have excellent communications skills
n Be able to give outstanding product and service presentations
n Be assertive
n Be high-energy, aggressive and maintain a positive attitude
n Be someone from whom we would be comfortable buying
n Be proficient with standard office software packages
n Be an excellent team player

The Job Duties

* Identify market potential by qualifying accounts.
* Initiate sales process by scheduling appointments; make initial presentation; understand account requirements.
* Close sales by building rapport with potential account; explain product and service capabilities; overcome objections; prepare contracts.
* Expand sales in existing accounts by introducing new products and services.
* Contribute information to market strategy by monitoring competitive products and reactions from accounts.
* Recommend new products and services by evaluating current product results; identify needs to be filled.
* Update job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities.

The Compensation
The successful candidate will earn a base salary, plus commissions. The company offers an excellent benefits package including health insurance.

The Next Step
Send your resume to

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The article below appeared in today's Charleston Gazette. The 2008 Annual Celebration was a big success, and the Charleston Area Alliance would like to thank everyone, from guests to sponsors, who helped make it happen.

'Always lead with a gentle heart'
Kenova native, now CEO of Intuit, speaks at Area Alliance

By Sarah K. Winn
Staff writer

West Virginia native Brad Smith could have talked about hundreds of things related to business at the Charleston Area Alliance's Annual Celebration on Tuesday. He's the president and chief executive officer of Intuit, the software company that developed Quicken, QuickBooks and Turbo Tax.

Instead, he chose 10 things he's learned about leadership.

"Every one of us is an authentic human. Everyone has his or her own lesson to teach about leadership. No one is the same," he said.

In January, the Kenova native became Intuit's president and chief executive officer. Before being named CEO, he spent five years with Intuit, including serving as senior vice president and general manger of Intuit's small business division, where he was responsible for the company's QuickBooks, Quicken and Payroll products.

Smith earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Marshall University and a master's degree in management from Aquinas College in Michigan.

His lessons were peppered with sports metaphors, movie quotes and hometown stories. His accent, which a former employer tried to eliminate, was familiar.

For Smith, his first leadership lesson is remembering his values, especially those that were forged in his native state.

"This is a very special place," he said. "Always lead with a gentle heart."

Second is having a learn/teach mindset.

"Leaders are defined not by the answers they give, but the questions they ask," he said. Take ideas from others and make them better, he said.

Leaders should make sure their employees know that advancement is possible, he said.

"They have to believe that there is opportunity to move forward," he said.

Next, leadership requires not just talk, he said. "You can be a thinker or a doer or you can be both," he said.

"It takes both a plan and a vision to achieve."

A company's resources should also be allocated properly, he said. A leader must find a way to work for the now, but also put resources into short- and long-term goals, he said.

Taking from an advertising strategy known as the "power of threes," leaders should break down an employee's tasks and goals into groups of three, he said.

Also, a leader is as only good as the team he assembles and keeps working together, Smith said.

"Teams that are not pulling together, they can pull the entire team off track," he said.

Because of the rapid pace of business today, change and planning is necessary, he said.

"Today, the pace of change is moving too fast to write a plan at the beginning of the year and ride it out to the end of the year," he said.

A leader should be able to prepare, learn and adjust, he said.

"I've made many mistakes," he said. "Leaders take risks and sometimes we are wrong," he said.

However, it's a leader's mission to energize, educate and empower his employees, giving both positive and negative feedback, he said.

Finally, leaders should define how they want to be viewed, he said. For Smith, that means leadership through serving others, he said.

"Our brand is our legacy," he said.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Brad Smith Returns Home

"He started singing 'Country Roads' before the jet landed at Tri-State Airport on Monday afternoon."

That's how the feature story about Brad Smith begins in today's Herald-Dispatch.

"And after Brad Smith deboarded, he was spilling with kind words about his home state, a place that taught him many of the values that have helped in business and in life."

Read the entire article at And come to the Clay Center tonight to hear the Kenova native shard 10 life lessons during the 2008 Annual Celebration. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door.

We've been working all day to prepare for the celebration, and we think the event will be one to remember.

More info about Brad Smith: In January, he became CEO of Intuit, Inc., a Fortune 1,000 software company that developed Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax, and tonight he'll be talking about "how important he feels it is to display his West Virginia values with pride."

The Charleston Area Alliance and title sponsor BB&T are excited to present the event.
The grand reception is scheduled for 6 p.m., and the program follows at 7 p.m.
Grand reception tickets are $150 per person for Alliance members and $200 per person for non-members.

We are delighted to welcome Brad Smith home to the Mountain State and look forward to hearing how his West Virginia roots have shaped his successful career.

The Celebration also will feature the 2008 "Expect the Best" award presentations. The winners include Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe PLLC; Blue Smoke Salsa, Inc.; the Appalachian Association of Professional Musicians, Local 136; and the University of Charleston.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Join the Mardi Gras Krewe

Mardi Gras Racetrack & Gaming of West Virginia, formerly known as Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center, is expanding. Be part of the excitement! The track is teaming up with West Virginia State Community & Technical College to recruit dealers for table games - poker, craps, roulette and black jack.

Do you have what it takes to join the Krewe?
Mardi Gras will be hosting career fairs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the following dates and locations:
Monday, May 5: Charleston Civic Center
Tuesday, May 6: Big Sandy Superstore Area in Huntington
Thursday, May 8: Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center

Applicants must pass on-site testing during the fair to be eligible to sign up for classes.

Dealer training will take place at the West Virginia State Community & Technical College starting the first week in June. Poker, roulette and black jack fees are $490 for a seven-week course, while craps is $770 for 11 weeks. For more information on the training classes, contact West Virginia State Community and Technical College Workforce & Economic Development Division at (304) 766-5113.

Friday, May 02, 2008

It's Almost Here!

The Charleston Area Alliance and title sponsor BB&T are pleased to host the 2008 Annual Celebration May 6 at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences.

The year’s keynote speaker is Brad Smith, president and CEO of Intuit, Inc., the maker of best selling financial software such as TurboTax and QuickBooks. A native of Kenova, he became the company’s president and CEO in January of 2008, culminating a five-year rise through the company during which he successfully led each of its major businesses. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Marshall University and a master’s degree in management from Aquinas College in Michigan.

The Annual Celebration also will feature the 2008 “Expect the Best” award presentations. This year’s winners are Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe, PLLC (large organization); Blue Smoke Salsa, Inc. (small organization); the Appalachian Association of Professional Musicians, Local 136 (non-profit); and the University of Charleston, the “Simply the Best” Award of Distinction recipient.

In addition, College Summit, a locally implemented non-profit organization committed to ensuring all West Virginia students who can succeed make it to college, will be presenting scholarships to three area high school students.

The VIP Sponsors are Appalachian Power, Arnett & Foster, Dow, Marriott Charleston Town Center, Motion Master and Rashid Brothers.

The Celebration Sponsors are Brickstreet Insurance, Embassy Suites, Fifth Third Bank, Marshall University, McJunkin Corporation, Thomas Health System, United Bank and Walker Transfer.

The Leadership Sponsors are Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love, CAMC, Charleston Newspapers, DuPont, Jackson Kelly PLLC, JPMorgan Chase, Kanawha Stone, Pullin Fowler Flanagan Brown & Poe PLLC, The State Journal and WesBanco.

The VIP reception for sponsors only begins at 5:15 p.m. The grand reception follows at 6 p.m., and the main program begins at 7 p.m.

Grand reception tickets are $150 per person for Alliance members and $200 per person for non-members.

For more information, contact the Alliance at (304) 340-4253.

Marshall University Announces ThuderFest in Cincinnati

Marshall University and the Cincinnati Reds are teaming up later this month.

The MU Club of Cincinnati, the Marshall University Alumni Association and the Big Green Scholarship Foundation are pleased to announce the 2008 Great American ThunderFest and Big Green Coaches Tour Weekend which will be taking place in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1.

Marshall University alumni, fans and friends are invited to gather together in Cincinnati to celebrate a special day for the Marshall University community at Great American Ballpark when the Reds host the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, May 31.

Many special events are planned at the game, including a pre-game reception inside Great American Ballpark that will include guests from Marshall University and the Cincinnati Reds organization, special Marshall University recognition during the game, performance by the ThunderTones, a Huntington vocal ensemble, during the 7th Inning Stretch, and special Marshall University “first-pitch” honors prior to the start of the game.

On Sunday, June 1, the Big Green Coaches Tour rolls into Cincinnati and will put a capstone on the weekend with a golf scramble and a reception / dinner event at Legendary Run Golf Course. Marshall Coaches and former Marshall Athletes including former Marshall great and NFL tight end Mike Bartrum and Herd basketball player Mark Dorris will be on hand for the golf and the dinner at Legendary Run. Marshall Coaches will provide attendees with an update on Marshall athletic programs and Mike Bartrum will be available to meet and greet Marshall fans and alumni.

More information on the weekend events, including purchasing tickets, booking tee times for the golf outing, and reserving hotel room packages can be found at

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Consider a Summer Vacation Right in Your Backyard

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

Next month marks the beginning of the traditional summer travel and vacation season – something that most of us no doubt look forward to. The tourism industry is hoping that the rising cost of fuel doesn’t cause Americans to cancel their plans to tour our amazing country. Here’s an idea that may help: Vacation close to home.

The cost of gasoline obviously is a concern for most West Virginians, as well, and it cuts into our budgets for vacation. That’s another reason why you should consider the Mountain State for a family vacation if you haven’t already made summer plans. If your vacation plans are already made, then think about taking a long, romantic weekend with your spouse or a quick getaway with your family here in West Virginia.

A West Virginia vacation isn’t great just because it’s nearby and because it requires less fuel – it’s an exciting destination with countless opportunities for every member of your family, regardless of which corner of the Mountain State you visit. Take a trip on which you can learn about your state and our nation’s heritage at historic locations such as Harpers Ferry or the International Mother’s Day Shrine.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Mother’s Day in Grafton, W.Va., so there are special events marking this occasion. And this year, the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine debuts a new $3.5 million company store, museum and gift shop that will help to tell our coal mining story.

Of course, West Virginia is renowned for its vast outdoor recreation opportunities. From hiking to boating and fishing to bird-watching, there’s an activity that is sure to keep kids and parents entertained and relaxed. One of my favorite summertime activities is fly fishing for an elusive trout in one of the hundreds of tumbling mountain streams. It’s great fun for kids of all ages and gives you an opportunity to experience the best of West Virginia outdoors.

And for people looking for a special souvenir trinket, a unique gift or a handmade decoration for their home, shopping is continually ranked as one of the favorite activities for West Virginia vacationers. We have lots of great locally owned shops from panhandle to panhandle.

Lodging choices are as varied as the West Virginia landscape. Bed and breakfast inns and their hard-working innkeepers provide a personalized touch and add excellent local knowledge to your vacation plans. But we also have terrific luxury resorts, rustic state park cabins or tent and camper options that give each vacation and destination its own special flavor. These choices fit all tastes and budgets.

Our tourism industry is made up mostly of small business owners who are committed to making West Virginia a top-notch tourist destination and showing their guests the best in hospitality. In the coming days, I will join them to proclaim the 25th “National Tourism Week,” which encourages us to discover the outstanding cultural and recreational opportunities available in West Virginia and throughout the United States. I hope that this summer you join in that discovery.