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.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Marshall University Job Opening

The Sigma Sigma Sigma chapter at Marshall University seeks a Housemother/Director for 15-17 women, effective immediately. The Housemother/Director would live in the chapter house as a paid employee and serve as the on-site property manager, supervise the staff, manage dining operations and maintain a positive working relationship with the chapter women, Tri Sigma National and Local House Corporation, alumnae and vendors. Benefits include an $800 a month salary, all utilities and food paid, private apartment including a living area, bedroom and bathroom, wireless internet, cable and reserved parking space. Contact Christine at 304-208-5682 after 4 p.m. weekdays.

West Virginia State Tax Department Issues Personal Income Tax Tip #3:
What Form to Use
In early January, the West Virginia State Tax Department issued the 2008 West Virginia personal income tax forms and instructions booklets. Each booklet contains various forms needed for taxpayers to accurately complete a personal income tax return.

Use Form IT-140 Resident if you are a resident who:

Spends more than 30 days in West Virginia with the intent of West Virginia becoming his/her permanent residence; or
Maintains a physical presence in West Virginia for more than 183 days of the taxable year, even though he/she may also be considered a resident of another state.

Use Form IT-140 Part-Year Resident if you are an individual who changed his/her residence either:

From West Virginia to another state, or
From another state to West Virginia during the taxable year.

Use Form IT-140 Full Year Nonresident if you are an individual who is:

A resident of another state who does not maintain a physical presence within West Virginia and does not spend more than 183 days of the taxable year within West Virginia; or
A resident of West Virginia who spends less than 30 days of the taxable year in West Virginia, and maintains a permanent place of residence outside West Virginia.

Use Form IT-140NRS Special Nonresidents if:

You were not a part-year resident of West Virginia; and
You were a resident of Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Virginia for the entire taxable year; and
Your only source of West Virginia income was from wages and salaries.

Use Form IT-140NRC Composite Return if you meet the following description:

Nonresident individuals who are partners in a partnership, shareholders in an S-corporation or beneficiaries of an estate or trust who derive income from West Virginia sources may elect to file a nonresident composite income tax return, Form IT-140NRC. A $50 processing fee is required for each composite return filed.

If a separate individual return is filed, the nonresident must include the West Virginia income derived from the pass-through entity filing the composite return. Credit may be claimed for the share of West Virginia income tax remitted with the composite return.

All of the above tax forms are available at our Taxpayer service locations, local libraries, at some local post offices, and online at

For additional information on tax credits and personal income tax tips, please visit our web site at

*Note this is the third in a series of personal income tax filing tips from the West Virginia State Tax Department.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The article below appeared in the Western Queens Gazette.

American Eagle Offers Flight To-From West Virginia

It's no wonder they call it Nature's Playground. Biking, hiking, boating, whitewater rafting, some of the most breathtaking scenery you'll find anywhere, plus a thriving business community, great dining and plenty of cultural and historical attractions all await you in Charleston, West Virginia. And American Eagle Airlines can take you there with a daily non-stop flight from LaGuardia Airport to Yeager Airport in Charleston, beginning April 7. American Eagle will operate the service with 37-seat Embraer ERJ-135 jets.

"American Eagle is pleased to be the first airline to provide jet service between the state of West Virginia and New York City," American Eagle President and CEO Peter Bowler said. "This service will allow our new customers from West Virginia the opportunity to fly anywhere in the world that American Airlines flies. Business customers will also have the ability to take a quick day trip to New York."

"Reliable and affordable air service to and from West Virginia is enormously important in helping to maintain and attract economic development opportunities, not just from New York City, but from around the world. At a time when airlines are eliminating air service, American Eagle is stepping up to offer new services to West Virginians," United States Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-West Virginia) said. "Yeager Airport has always been an important gateway, and now, even more people can come to the Mountain State to start a new business or experience our breathtaking scenery. I commend American Eagle for offering this new route, and look forward to working with them to promote it."

American and American Eagle currently offer nonstop service to 63 destinations on 222 daily flights from four New York area airports, with 100 daily flights from LaGuardia.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Charleston is one of the 10 Best Cities for Job-Seeking Retirees

As retirement accounts continue to hemorrhage money, many baby boomers are coming to the realization that they'll need to continue working into their traditional retirement years. In fact, a whopping 70 percent of Americans ages 45 to 74 plan to work in retirement--both for enjoyment and because they need the income, according to a recent AARP survey.

But jobs aren't easy to come by right now, especially for workers who are middle age or older. In December alone, U.S. employers shed 524,000 jobs. According to a separate AARP survey, 31 percent of employed adults age 45 and older think it's likely that their job will be eliminated in 2009. It will be challenging but not impossible for these adults to find a new job. "Just because the overall numbers are down, that doesn't mean no one's hiring," says Steven Greenberg, founder and chief executive of, a job search website for those age 40 and older. "There are jobs to be had, and they are looking for people with experience."

It helps if you pick a retirement spot where the economy is strong, the cost of living is reasonable, and employers are hiring. "Industries that were great a year and a half or two ago are now struggling," says Bob Skladany, vice president of research for "The recessionproof industries are the ones where people find jobs when times are tough: healthcare, higher education, government, retail, transportation, and utilities or energy."

U.S. News recently consulted to determine the best cities for retirement-age job seekers. The analysis took into account employment growth, the unemployment rate, housing costs, the cost of living, and proximity to high-quality healthcare. Other factors: the prevalence of job opportunities in industries that tend to welcome older workers, such as healthcare, higher education, government, and service-industry jobs.

Cities with well-diversified economies are thriving despite the recession. More than 145 companies are headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., including well-known names like Expedia, T-Mobile, Microsoft, and The area, which includes nearby cities Seattle and Tacoma, added 19,900 jobs in the past year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Oklahoma City, Okla., earned bragging rights in November 2008 when it tied with Washington, D.C., as the city with the lowest jobless rate in the country. But the cost of living is far lower in Oklahoma than in D.C., making it a better spot for retirees looking to cut expenses. Although it was founded as an oil town, Oklahoma City today boasts an economy that also includes information technology, healthcare services, and the restaurant chain Sonic.

Many of the best places to find enjoyable work in retirement are college towns like Lubbock, Texas, and Charlottesville, Va., both of which have major universities and hospitals that provide plenty of jobs. At Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., 43 percent of employees are age 50 or older. The university also offers valuable perks that may appeal to older workers, such as health screenings on campus, paid time off for caregiving responsibilities, and compressed workweeks that allow for more time to explore Ithaca's famous gorges and waterfalls and the Finger Lakes. Penn State University in State College, Pa., even has a retirement community on campus. Residents can take free courses, pick up priority football and basketball tickets, and visit an on-site ice creamery. And if you can't find a job with the university, there are plenty of positions in town that cater to the university's more than 40,000 students.

The healthcare industry has proved itself resilient in this economic environment. Almost half of the 30 fastest-growing occupations named by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are concentrated within health services, including home health aides, medical assistants, and pharmacy technicians. More than 5,000 people are employed at the nonprofit Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, W.Va., the state's largest hospital. In Rochester, Minn., the Mayo Clinic employs more than 28,000 workers. Jobs within this industry extend far beyond the hospital. For example, a healthcare job could include selling software solutions to clinics, says Mark Anderson, president of ExecuNet, a networking firm. Rochester also has an extensive service industry--including lodging and restaurants--that caters to about 1.5 million people a year, many of whom are visiting the Mayo Clinic.

Public-sector jobs can provide a sense of security during turbulent times. Although they tend to pay on the low side, government jobs typically provide generous health and pension benefits, which many private companies have been slashing. State capitals are often prime spots to land a local, state, or federal government post. Plum jobs at the North Dakota State Capitol Building Tower in Bismarck, N.D., built during the Great Depression, come with a view of a 132-acre park that offers statues, memorials, and trails.

Some of the best cities to find retirement jobs support several industries that tend to hold up well in turbulent economies. Huntsville, Ala., for example, has a mix of government jobs at the Redstone Arsenal and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, healthcare opportunities within the Huntsville Hospital System, and positions at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Verizon Wireless and Boeing Co. also have significant operations in town. It's a good idea to hedge your bets by retiring in a city where several industries are hiring.

Here are the 10 best cities to find retirement jobs:

--Bellevue, Wash.
--Bismarck, N.D.
--Charleston, W.Va.
--Charlottesville, Va.
--Ithaca, N.Y.
--Huntsville, Ala.
--Lubbock, Texas
--Oklahoma City, Okla.
--Rochester, Minn.
--State College, Pa.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The University of Charleston

Global Sensations 2009
This year’s WorldFest includes a Global Sensations dinner and show to be held on Thursday, February 19th beginning at 6pm in the Ballroom of the Geary Student Union.

Explore new cultures through tasty cultural cuisines and a showcase of worldwide traditions in the form of songs, dances, and fashion.

Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance by contacting Audrey Pitonak-Goff at (304) 357-4881 or

Personal Income Tax Tips from the West Virginia State Tax Department

Each week between now and April 15, 2009, the West Virginia State Tax Department will issue a personal income tax tip of the week. Please share the following tips(week 1 and week 2) for your own knowledge and that of your colleagues, associates, members, and others you think will benefit from such correspondence.

Personal Income Tax Tip #1: The Personal Income Tax and Senior Citizens

West Virginia’s senior citizens’ personal income tax modifications and credits differ from other West Virginia tax modifications.

West Virginia taxpayers must file an annual personal income tax return by April 15th each year for the preceding year. You must file a State income tax return: if you were required to file a federal return; if you were not required to file a federal return, but your West Virginia adjusted gross income is greater than your personal exemption allowance; or to obtain a refund. You may be required to file a return even if you do not owe any tax.

A personal exemption of $2,000 is allowed for each person. The number of your West Virginia personal exemptions are the same as your federal exemptions. A surviving spouse is allowed one additional $2,000 exemption for two taxable years following the year of death of his or her spouse.

Computation of West Virginia taxable income begins with federal adjusted gross income to which specific increases and/or decreases are made. Each taxpayer who is (a) age 65 or older during any part of the taxable year; or (b) permanently and totally disabled may deduct from their federal adjusted gross income up to $8,000 of his/her income received from any source. If a joint return is filed by two qualifying individuals, up to $8,000 of income received by each individual may be deducted.

An individual, regardless of age, may deduct up to $2,000 of benefits received from West Virginia Teachers Retirement System, West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System, Military Retirement and Federal Retirement Systems.

The total amount of any benefit (including survivorship annuities) received from any West Virginia state or local police, deputy sheriff’s or firemen’s retirement system may be deducted.

Military retirees are able to take an additional decreasing modification for military retirement up to $20,000.

Please be aware that social security income is taxable for West Virginia income tax purposes to the extent that the income is includible in your federal adjusted gross income.

Seniors that are eligible for the Homestead Exemption Program administered through their county may be entitled to claim a refundable income tax credit. You should review the information on page 41 of the Personal Income Tax Booklet and publication TSD-411.

For additional information on tax credits and personal income tax tips for senior citizens, please visit our TSD-413 publication located our web site at

Tax Tip #2: Who Must File

On or before April 15th of each year, West Virginia taxpayers must file a personal income tax return with the West Virginia State Tax Department. However, the taxpayer required to file a return does not necessarily have to reside in West Virginia. Some taxpayers may not be required to file a federal personal income tax return, yet the taxpayer must file a West Virginia personal income tax return if the taxpayer meets certain criteria.

To help identify who must file a personal income tax return in West Virginia, here is a brief but thorough explanation.

You must file a West Virginia income tax return if:
You were a resident of West Virginia for the entire taxable year.
You were a resident of West Virginia for a part of the taxable year (Part-Year Resident).
You were not a resident of West Virginia at any time during 2008, but your federal adjusted gross income includes income from West Virginia sources (Nonresident); or
You were a domiciliary of West Virginia but you
(a) maintained no permanent residence or dwelling place in West Virginia,
(b) spent less than 30 days in West Virginia during 2008, and
(c) maintained a permanent dwelling place or residence outside West Virginia

You are required to file a West Virginia return even though you may not be required to file a federal return if:
Your West Virginia adjusted gross income is greater than your allowable deduction for personal exemptions ($2,000 per exemption, or $500 if you claim zero exemptions). Your income and number of exemptions are to be determined as if you had been required to file a federal return.
You are due a refund, and claim the refund.

You are not required to file a West Virginia return if you and your spouse are 65 or older and your total income is less than your exemption allowance plus the senior citizen modification. For example, $2,000 per exemption plus up to $8,000 of income received by each taxpayer who is 65 or older. However, if you are entitled to a refund and you wish to claim the refund you must file a return. To claim a senior citizen tax credit, you must file a state personal income tax return.

For additional information on tax credits and personal income tax tips, please visit our web site at

Job Posting - Macy's
Store General Manager for Charleston location

The General Manager is the senior level store executive responsible for all aspects of running a profitable location. Responsible for developing and executing a successful strategy, which generates sales and service, develops people, exploits merchandise opportunities, and meets profit and expense expectations.

Key Accountabilities:
  • Exploit opportunities to attain sales and profitability goals for store through effective use of short and long-range planning, expense management and inventory shortage control.
  • Develop and lead store service culture to ensure consistent high standards of customer service through effective staff planning, monitoring of training programs, and timely communication of advertising and special events.
  • Respond to customers' inquiries and resolve customer issues in a timely and appropriate manner.
  • Ensure compelling merchandise presentation standards to deliver a clean, neat, and easy to shop store environment for the customer through maintaining accessibility standards, density standards, clearance standards, signing accuracy, and fitting room cleanliness.
  • Ensure development of location strategies that drive assortments, price simplification, improving the shopping experience, and marketing.
  • Develop strategy for execution of promotional events, seasonal events and day-to-day operation of the store.
  • Assume a leadership and development role by encouraging a sense of team and embracing diversity through effective total store communication, awareness of morale, staff development, and implementation of selling priorities.
  • Direct the recruiting efforts of the store to ensure staffing is at plan. Improve retention by emphasizing awareness of people development, career development, and succession planning.

Skills Summary:
  • 3 - 5 years experience at senior management level in a retail environment, such as Department Store General Manager or specialty store District or Regional Manager
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Ability to recruit, retain, develop, and motivate a team to achieve performance objectives
  • Strong influencing and negotiation skills
  • Ability to manage and prioritize many objectives at once
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to communicate at all levels
  • Strong merchandising skills
  • Change agent
  • Ability to build partnerships

For more information, please contact Owen Williams at 770-913-5251 or

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Alliance IS Web 2.0

The Charleston Area Alliance is now deep into Facebook with a group created for the Alliance, its East End Main Street Program and its Generation Charleston program. It also has groups on Linkedin for the Alliance and Generation Charleston.

If your business isn't utlizing the web 2.0 tools you may be missing out!

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Deadline Approaching for
'Best Employers for Workers Over 50' Awards

The application deadline for the annual AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 search is quickly approaching. Employers who offer workplace practices and policies that are friendly toward workers aged 50+ are urged to apply at before Feb. 13.
Go to to apply.

As more and more boomers turn 60, attracting and retaining skilled workers will become increasingly critical for employers seeking to retain a competitive edge. Estimates are that by 2016, one-third (34%) of the total U.S. workforce is expected to be age 50 or older, up from 28 percent in 2007.

The AARP Best Employers awards recognize innovative organizations that offer policies and practices that appeal to workers 50+, including flexible work options, training/learning opportunities, competitive health and retirement benefits, and age-neutral performance and appraisal systems. Now entering its ninth year, the AARP Best Employers search honored 50 employers last year.

“AARP recognizes that the future workforce will depend on 50+ workers, which is why every year we honor companies that are industry leaders in establishing policies and practices that meet the needs of older workers,” said Frank Bellinetti, AARP West Virginia Senior State Director. “We are living longer and healthier lives these days, and everyone who wants to continue contributing to society should be afforded that opportunity.”

Any employer with at least 50 employees and based in the United States is eligible to apply to the AARP “Best Employers for Workers Over 50” awards program. This includes for-profit companies, not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions and local, state, and federal government bodies. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) finished first in the 2008 Best Employer search.

An independent research firm and a panel of judges comprised of national experts score applicants. Final ranking is based on these scores after review by AARP. All employers who apply for the award receive valuable workforce management information and feedback about their application.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Alliance President Comments on
Direct Air Service to New York City

"Although we are only 21 days into the new year, today’s announcement by American Eagle Airlines to launch direct air service between Charleston and New York City’s LaGuardia Airport will mark one of the most important dates in 2009 for our city and the State of West Virginia," said Matt Ballard, president and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance.

"This will open a world of opportunity for area residents and business people, who now will have direct access to the financial and cultural capital of the world. The new service will also promote economic development because the Mountain State will be much more accessible to businesses considering relocation or expansion and to tourists. Because international companies considering expansion into U.S. markets will find it easier to get here, this American Eagle flight will also boost foreign direct investment in our region.

"The Charleston Area Alliance extends its appreciation to American Eagle and its congratulations to the Yeager Airport Board, Yeager Director Rick Atkinson and his team, the Kanawha County Commission, the City of Charleston and Sen. Rockefeller for their efforts to help bring the world to West Virginia. Our future is brighter thanks to their hard work."

New Jet Service Connects Charleston and New York City!

American Eagle Airlines, the regional affiliate of American Airlines, will begin nonstop jet service between Yeager Airport in Charleston, W. Va. (CRW), and New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA), beginning April 7.

American Eagle will operate the service with 37-seat Embraer ERJ-135 jets.

"American Eagle is pleased to be the first airline to provide jet service between the State of West Virginia and New York City," said American Eagle President and CEO Peter Bowler. "This service will allow our new customers from West Virginia the opportunity to fly anywhere in the world that American Airlines flies. Business customers will also have the ability to take a quick day trip to New York."

"Reliable and affordable air service to and from West Virginia is enormously important in helping to maintain and attract economic development opportunities, not just from New York City, but from around the world. At a time when airlines are eliminating air service, American Eagle is stepping up to offer new services to West Virginians," said Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV). "Yeager Airport has always been an important gateway, and now, even more people can come to the Mountain State to start a new business or experience our breathtaking scenery. I commend American Eagle for offering this new route, and look forward to working with them to promote it."

Here is the schedule for the flight between Charleston, W. Va., and New York LaGuardia (all times local):

Charleston, W. Va. to New York LaGuardia (CRW-LGA)
Flight Departs Arrives Days
3754* 7:05 a.m. 8:35 a.m. Daily; except Sun.
*Effective April 8

New York LaGuardia to Charleston, W. Va. (LGA-CRW)
Flight Departs Arrives Days
4830* 6:55 p.m. 8:55 p.m. Daily; except Sat.
*Effective April 7

American and American Eagle currently offer nonstop service to 63 destinations on 222 daily flights from four New York area airports, with 100 daily flights from LaGuardia.

American Airlines customers benefit from the AAdvantage program, the industry's first and largest frequent flyer program. AAdvantage members earn miles each time they purchase an eligible published-fare ticket and fly on American Airlines, AmericanConnection, American Eagle or any of our more than 21 airline partners. Customers can enroll in the AAdvantage program at

American Eagle operates over 1,400 daily flights to more than 150 cities throughout the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico and the Caribbean on behalf of American Airlines. American, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection airlines serve 250 cities in 40 countries with, on average, more than 3,400 daily flights.

Learn How to Run a Meeting
with Generation Charleston

Generation Charleston is launching its 2009 Professional Development Series from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, at HospiceCare's new main office building, 1606 Kanawha Blvd, West. That's at 2nd Avenue near Patrick Street.

Gregory Gray, West Virginia House of Delegates clerk, will be discussing Parliamentary Procedure.

Have you meant to read "Robert's Rules of Order" but could never find the time? Do you need a quick brush-up session on how to run a meeting? Then don't miss this special event.

Light refreshments will be available starting at 5:30 p.m. Tours of the facility will follow the free seminar.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

West Virginia Gets a New Area Code
Start Dialing 10-Digit Local Calls NOW

Everyone in West Virginia should now begin dialing all local calls using the area code + seven-digit telephone number.

Effective February 28, 2009, you must begin using the new, 10-digit local dialing procedure or your call will not be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again. Seven-digit dialing will no longer be available beginning February 28, 2009.

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the 681 area code will be added to the same geographic area served by the 304 area code, which is the entire state of West Virginia.

Local Dialing Procedure Change
The new dialing procedure for local calls requires callers to dial the area code + the seven-digit telephone number. This means that all local calls from the 304 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using 10 digits (the area code + the seven-digit telephone number). The dialing procedure for long distance or operator assisted calls will not change.

In addition to changing your dialing procedure for local calls, all services and , equipment that are programmed with a seven-digit number will need to be reprogrammed with a 10-digit number. Some examples are call forwarding features, life safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, security systems, gates, speed dialers, voice mail services and similar functions..

What Will Remain the Same
Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
Your local calls are still local calls, even though they must be dialed using 10 digits.
You can still dial three digits to reach 911 and 411.

Call your Verizon Service Representative at 304-954-6200 for Residential Service or 1-800-562-2355 for Business Service.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pursuing New and Diversified Businesses Key to Success
From the Governor's Desk:
A Weekly Column by Gov. Joe Manchin

A few years ago, when I first introduced the “Open for Business” philosophy to the Mountain State, I wanted to breathe new life into our state by drawing attention to West Virginia’s best attributes.

Since then, with a lot of work from all sides of the table, I think we’ve created a new mindset that has helped us to share what this little state and its people can accomplish when we work together. We have leaned on some of our most marketable strengths to achieve results: Our location, our dedicated work force and our low-cost energy supply.

This past week, I was thrilled to welcome another significant business investment in West Virginia. Platinum Solutions, a technology solutions-based company with headquarters in Reston, Va., and a new office in Bridgeport, has made a commitment to expand and add more jobs in north central West Virginia. The company plans to hire at least 80 people by July 2009, with more expansion possible in the next five years.

Laila Rossi, CEO of Platinum Solutions, said her company is dedicated to building its presence in West Virginia, and they are proud to be able to contribute to the local community. She praised our work force, saying, “We have found an incredible pool of talent in West Virginia which will help us advance our mission.”

Platinum Solutions’ decision reminded me that modern businesses are taking West Virginia seriously and they trust our skilled workers’ ability to meet their needs. In 2006, Inc. Magazine ranked the company the 61st-fastest-growing private company in the United States. Platinum Solutions will allow many of our residents to remain here at home to pursue their careers with a company whose software products are helping to make our country safer.

If we want West Virginia to continue to expand into different markets, we must stay aggressive in marketing our state’s best business assets. We have identified target industry sectors and selected companies that are successfully operating and enhancing West Virginia’s growth in industry areas such as aerospace and technology.

Many world-class aerospace and defense companies, including Pratt and Whitney, Bombardier, Lockheed Martin and ATK, have established manufacturing and repair operations in West Virginia. The state’s colleges and universities are regional leaders and hubs around which the state is building its economic future through high-tech research in medicine, biotechnology, biometrics, forensics and environmental studies.

We have proven our state can attract new business even during tough national economic times, and we will continue to seek both traditional and non-traditional manufacturers to create new opportunities for our state and its people. We will move forward by working hard, staying optimistic and being innovative.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Job Posting - YWCA of Charleston

The YWCA of Charleston is looking for a director of development.

The person in this position provides leadership, management and administrative direction for all aspects of private fundraising, capital development and donor relations.

· Bachelor’s degree with proven record of successful administrative, planning and fundraising experience, including managing volunteers and working with board members.
· Strong knowledge of annual fund, event planning, major gifts, planned giving and foundation relation strategies.
· Knowledge of Raiser’s Edge software preferred.
· Strong written and oral communication skills a must.

The Director of Development works closely with the Director of Marketing and Communications, Executive Director and Board of Directors and manages fund development and campaign committees. The ideal candidate can multi-task and is self-motivated, has written grants and proposals and is comfortable with public speaking. This person is responsible for the planning, implementation and execution of several fundraising events including Women of Achievement, Vintage Art Auction and Guys Night Out. The Director of Development also coordinates with volunteers who organize other fundraising events, including Girls Night Out and Thanksgiving Benefit Dinner.

Salary commensurate with experience. Send resume, cover letter and 3 letters of professional reference by Jan. 19, 2009 to:

Job Posting - Dixon Hughes

Dixon Hughes has an immediate opening for a part-time support staff person. Schedule is 30 hours per week, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

Responsibilities include mail delivery, errands and other administrative duties as needed. Compensation is $10/hour.

Interested parties should contact Fred Dillon via email at or (304) 414-2629.

Join us tonight for Business After Hours at National Travel's new location at Shonk Plaza on Court Street, across from the Town Center Mall.

The event runs from 5 to 7 p.m.

The event is a fantastic networking opportunity. Enjoy entertainment, food and drinks.

Tickets are $10 for Alliance members and $20 for non-members.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Issues & Eggs Scheduled for Feb. 11

To shine a spotlight on polices that will advance the business community's critical goals and share the views of the business community with state lawmakers, the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce and Title Sponsor Appalachian Power are pleased to once again kick off the state's legislative session with "Issues & Eggs," to be held this year on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 from 7:30-9:00 a.m. at the Charleston Marriott.

You won't want to miss this opportunity to join other business and community leaders to learn about the issues that will shape our future and share your views our elected leaders. Become a sponsor or purchase an individual ticket on a first-come basis for "Issues & Eggs" today.

Click the flier above to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

Tickets start at $25 for members/$35 non-members.

Click here to register online, or call (304) 340-4253

Monday, January 12, 2009

Generation Charleston to Host Capitol Kickoff

In celebration of the annual Capitol Classic basketball showdown, Generation Charleston is featuring distinguished graduates of WVU and Marshall University during its monthly meeting.

The event is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13 at McKinley Carter Wealth Management, 2000 Dietrick Blvd.

The focus will be the importance of education in West Virginia and retaining young graduates.

“The Capitol Classic presented a perfect opportunity for Generation Charleston to organize a meeting around education,” said Danielle Waltz, co-captain of Generation Charleston’s Professional Development Team. “Guests will have the opportunity to mingle with dignitaries from both universities and learn more about higher education in West Virginia.”

Guests from Marshall will include Bill Bissett, chief of staff and vice president for communications; Dr. Gayle Ormiston, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Rudy Pauley, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Professional Development; Uday Tate, director of Marshall’s Executive MBA Program; and Rebecca Samples, assistant vice president of development.

Guests from West Virginia University will include Ellen Cappellanti with the WVU Board of Governors; David Hartley, WVU Extension agent; and Tara Curtis, WVU Alumni Association assistant director.

“We are thrilled and honored to have such a distinguished lineup of speakers for the Kickoff,” said Jason Pizatella, Professional Development Team co-captain. “The Capitol Classic each year sparks excitement for basketball fans throughout the region, and Generation Charleston is going to build on that excitement by incorporating issues important to the area’s emerging leaders.”

Spilman Thomas & Battle is sponsoring food for the event. Admission is free.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Join Generation Charleston Tonight at Dak-a-Reez

It's not really the First Friday, but considering holiday celebrations and travel, we thought First Friday should be on the second Friday of January.

It's at Dak-a-Reez, the new piano bar at 808 Kanawha Blvd. The event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will feature drink specials and live music. Generation Charleston is kicking off its new year in style!

FastTrac TechVenture Inaugural Program to Begin Jan. 28

The INNOVA Commercialization Group and the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have announced an educational program designed to help technology and life sciences companies will begin this month. FastTrac TechVenture, a 10-week program aimed at the business and entrepreneurial communities, will be hosted at the South Charleston Technology Park each Wednesday from 2-5 p.m. starting Jan. 28.

INNOVA, an initiative of the West Virginia High Technology Consortium (WVHTC) Foundation, will team up with the West Virginia SBDC to offer the curriculum. INNOVA has offered other FastTrac programs throughout the state since 2004 but announced last month the FastTrac TechVenture program would now be offered in West Virginia.

This program was developed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City as the result of a partnership with North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. TechVenture is designed to offer people in the technology and life sciences industries the tools needed to refine their business ventures, including the business concept itself. Participants will also learn to access capital and advance their ventures to the next business stage.

“We are pleased that FastTrac classes will be available to our state’s technology and life-science entrepreneurs, an important and growing segment for us,” said Kelley Goes, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce. “FastTrac allows business owners to equip themselves with practical ideas to improve performance, with suggestions they can put into action tomorrow. After listening to other businesses who are ‘doing it right,’ business owners change the way critical decisions are made. The 10-week program helps entrepreneurs to take a few steps away from their daily operations and see the big picture. This improves how they innovate – and how they compete."

The West Virginia SBDC, which operates under the state Department of Commerce, provides awards under the Governor’s Guaranteed Workforce Program to aid qualifying FastTrac participants with tuition reimbursement. To qualify, applicants must be SBDC clients that are already in business. Interested persons should contact their SBDC center for full details. SBDC services also include financial loan packaging, marketing and business plans, and consulting.

INNOVA has provided professional and technical assistance to more than 300 companies, completed 10 investments and expended nearly $1 million in seed and early stage capital to West Virginia companies. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a national partner of FastTrac and a supporter of FastTrac programs throughout West Virginia. INNOVA is the administrating body for FastTrac programs in West Virginia.

“We have seen very positive results in INNOVA’s offering of FastTrac programs in West Virginia since we started the programs in 2004,” said Patrick Gregg, FastTrac statewide administrator and INNOVA outreach manager. “These educational programs are invaluable to the members of the business and entrepreneurial communities who have participated in them. The programs give them the tools to increase revenues, grow their businesses and positively affect the economy. INNOVA is now able to offer FastTrac programs to the technology and life sciences sectors, and we feel confident this will contribute to the growth of those industries.”

FastTrac TechVenture in Charleston will be facilitated by Greg Clutter, Director of Commercialization for the Mid-Atlantic Technology Research & Innovation Center (MATRIC), and will be held in Building 740 of the South Charleston Technology Park.

FastTrac TechVenture focuses on developing and marketing technology; developing technology that enables creation or enhancement of a non-technology business; and developing biotechnology and life sciences products and/or services. The curriculum is comprised of 10 modules that will include modes of learning such as small and large group discussion, textbooks developed by the Kauffman Foundation and expert guest speakers. The program will be offered to participants in the format of one, three-hour session each week for 10 weeks.

FastTrac programs in West Virginia are also supported by Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Steptoe & Johnson, AXA Advisors and Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love. Those interested in the FastTrac TechVenture curriculum should e-mail and visit for more information.

The INNOVA Commercialization Group, an initiative of the WVHTC Foundation, is a statewide commercialization effort designed to advance economic growth by increasing the number of new products introduced into the marketplace by West Virginia innovators. INNOVA drives this economic advancement by delivering high-quality entrepreneurial education programs, professional technical assistance, and seed investment capital to regional businesses.

The WVHTC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Fairmont functioning as an engine of economic change for growing a statewide and regional high-tech business sector. The Foundation has established a multi-faceted approach to maximize economic growth, including emphasis on business infrastructure, research and development, and commercialization and workforce development.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The YWCA of Charleston is hosting an "eliminating racism" art contest. Submit you artistic interpretation of "a world without racism" to be displayed at the Clay Center from Feb. 11 to 15 and for a chance to be featured on the cover of the YWCA newsletter. Visit or call (304) 340-3584 for more information. The submission deadline is Jan. 30.

The article below appeared in this week's State Journal. It discusses Generation West Virginia, as well as Generation Charleston, the Charleston Area Alliance's emerging leaders group.

Furthering the Cause

As Generation West Virginia gains two regional groups, organization shifts from introductions to action.

Story by Ann Ali

When Gov. Joe Manchin wanted bold ideas from young voices to improve the state and enhance its image, he immediately looked to Generation West Virginia.

He called for a male and female representative from each of six respective regional groups under Generation West Virginia, and he hosted two meetings in 2008.

If the group were a musical act, the critics would talk about how it quickly paid its dues, used connections and shot to the top of the charts.

The movement of working West Virginians ages 21-45 began about five years ago with individuals in different regions of the state growing concerned about the same thing: the mass exodus of young people. Over time, the individuals started organizing with others who shared their fears, worries and determination to change the trend.

"We're still very new, so we're partnering until we get a lot of our programming under way," said Paul Daugherty, chairman for Generation West Virginia and one of the founders of the state's early organizations, Young Emerging Leaders of the Mid-Ohio Valley, which serves Parkersburg and Marietta, Ohio. He also is a board member for Generation Morgantown.

"That's our goal -- to put a plan in action; we have a big dream and overarching vision, and, for success, we know that we have to complete small tasks with great effort."

'A Fairly New Phenomenon'

The statewide organization had a big year in 2008: an official launch with an inaugural Young Leadership Conference, a large monetary gift from Wal-Mart, a development grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, an election of a leadership team, the launch of the Generation West Virginia Demographic Survey, a partnership with Vision Shared and startups of two more regional groups.

Communities, businesses and nonprofits now have a solid place to turn when seeking new members, volunteers or opinions of the young demographic they all crave.

Emily Bennington, director of marketing and development for Charleston accountants Dixon Hughes PLLC, said the emergence of young professionals' organizations in West Virginia is "a fairly new phenomenon," gaining real voices in respective communities.

"One of the best examples of Generation West Virginia's recent growth is the fact that we were contacted by Gov. Manchin to help him identify and implement new ways to keep young professionals in the state," Bennington said. "He challenged us to think of bold, innovative ideas that could create real impact, and we take that charge very seriously."

The movement started with Daugherty in Parkersburg. He wanted to build opportunities for young people to start and build their careers, so he and a friend researched similar groups in other parts of the country. At the same time, an attorney in Huntington started to rally the city's young professionals to share resources as the Young Professionals' Committee of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"In these six regions of West Virginia, the different groups of young leaders were interested in how do we retain, attract and advance young talent within the state ... so as each group got started, we each, through our own professional networks, began connecting the dots," Daugherty said last year about the organization's genesis.

In Morgantown, Ashley Hardesty said she was unaware of the first two groups.
She said she simply wanted to find more individuals in town who weren't established professionals or students, so she sent an e-mail to all of her friends and asked those friends to send it to all of theirs.

Talk during a statewide retreat for employees of law firm Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love LLP helped Generation Charleston come next as part of Charleston Area Alliance. Martinsburg got its start with just four lawyers and help from other groups still finding their footing.

The founding members of regional groups found out about one another and decided to get together in February 2007 to share concerns and interests. They met a few months after that to smooth the edges of a statewide platform, and, after that, Wheeling added its own group -- OVConnect.

"And I'm happy to announce that groups affiliated with Generation West Virginia are forming in Beckley and the Pendleton County area," Daugherty said. "It's really been one of these things where each group has popped up in its own time frame, and it seems there's about one or two that develop each year."

What They're Doing

Generation West Virginia isn't a fraternity or exclusively for attorneys.

Daugherty said the organization has three components: a voice for a younger generation that never existed before, a source of professional development and a networking organization to retain, attract and advance young talent.

Events vary from speed networking and nonprofit matchmaking to beer-tasting events benefiting West Virginia University Children's Hospital.

"We've had a lot of people that put a lot of hard work into putting on good events and making sure that people have a reason to want to come out and meet people," said Justin Seibert with OVConnect.

"Our goal is within any quarter of the year that we have events in each of those categories, so hopefully we put on three or four events a year that appeal to everyone."

Seibert said his OVConnect's ultimate goal is to be the face of the demographic for the Ohio Valley, to tip the scales for anyone looking to move to the area or questioning staying.

"It's a little more palpable now when people say there's nothing really to do here," he said. "We can say, 'Look, we put out a newsletter with 50-plus events going on.'"

In Huntington, Vice Chairman Adam Daniels said the group constantly refines its approach, but it wants to set itself apart by providing networking, recreation, education and community development opportunities.

"We want to set ourselves apart from other organizations by providing more than just e-mails and a monthly lunch meeting," Daniels said. "As our tagline states, we focus on 'Developing Leaders. Building Relationships. Achieving Results.'

"We aim to do this by providing networking and recreational activities for our members to grow those relationships in formal and informal ways."

And structure is important, too.

Hardesty said Generation Morgantown boosted its numbers with regular social events, and this year it launched new committees. Seibert said OVConnect added board members to share the work.

"We are very systematic, so it's not the Justin Seibert show, and we have that succession plan in place," he said. "Our two buzzwords are 'networking' and 'inclusive.'"

Young Professionals of the Eastern Panhandle now has about 75 participants who attend events, according to R.B. Seem, vice president of commercial lending for MVB Bank.

"We typically meet monthly for mixers for all of our members to mingle and get to know the other young professionals in the area, but as we have grown, we have also started to become active with some community service activities," Seem said.

"We have teamed up with the Martinsburg Afternoon Rotary to conduct the Salvation Army toy drive, and this year we were able to provide gifts for 195 children in the community that would not otherwise have had a Christmas.

"Our members are not just buying little gifts -- they are purchasing gaming systems, bikes, clothes and many other Christmas gifts."

What's Next?

In a state where discussions seldom lead to plans and plans even more rarely lead to action, the strides Generation West Virginia has made are impressive. Daugherty said only two or three other states have such an initiative.

"It's energizing to me as a member of that generation to see my peers stepping up and taking the responsibility," said Juliet Terry, president of Vision Shared, which began providing administrative support for Generation West Virginia early in 2008.

"I think the communication aspect is really what's most critical ... so the fact that these different groups exist and are working together so successfully means that their potential for success is huge.

"Generation West Virginia can really show this state how we're all really on the same team here, and each region has its own special place on the field."

Bennington said all the effort spread throughout regions of West Virginia truly seems to have pushed a statewide movement.

"I look at what we've accomplished in Charleston and think that if this is going on across the state, and I know it is, West Virginia will not only keep our young professionals home, but the state will continue to improve in ways we can only imagine," she said. "I've met representatives from every single group within Generation West Virginia.

"They all have different backgrounds and professions, but everyone has volunteered to be part of this movement because they love their state and want to create more opportunities here."

Daugherty said the upcoming year will include town hall forums starting with Morgantown. That town hall meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27 at the WVU President's home. Two more meetings will be scheduled in Huntington and Wheeling.

The group also took a statewide survey to assess true interest in topics, such as health care, education, housing, arts and culture and child care. The results will be released early this year in a report to Manchin and legislative leadership.

A best practices toolkit will be rolled out this month to help any other regional groups pick up and get started, and the second annual Generation West Virginia's Young Leadership Conference, in partnership with the West Virginia Leadership Conference, is scheduled for April.

"The first GWV Conference consisted of publicly launching GWV, education and leadership development workshops," Daugherty said. "This was a phenomenal experience with almost three times the expected number of people attending the event -- over 180."

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Charleston Area Alliance yesterday provided and hosted a trip to those who were available to visit Sen. Jay Rockefeller for a reception following the swearing in for his fifth term. In addition to beginning this next term in the Senate, he moves from the Senate Intelligence Committee to chair the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Along on the trip were County Commissioner and Alliance Board Member Dave Hardy; Anne Cavalier, Honorary Alliance Board Member, Mayor Dick Calloway, CAA Board; Sally Smith, CAA Board; Wayne Morgan President of WV American Water; Deborah Wanger, IVS Group; Scott Hardy, Virginia Tech student and son of David Hardy; and Sarah McLean, WVU Student working in DC and niece of Sally Smith who met us in DC. Alliance President Matt Ballard, along with Mike Aeiker, Andrew Dunlap and Danny Forinash, also made the trip.

The group travelled in two vans, leaving at 6:30 a.m. and returning at 1 a.m. The long day was worthwhile.

It meant a great deal to the Alliance to have such a great group in attendance for an important moment in public policy in Washington and to honor the West Virginia Senator who will Chair one of this moment's most important committees.

West Virginia American Water President and Experts
Discuss Water and Infrastructure in Documentary

West Virginia Public Broadcasting will be rebroadcasting a documentary titled "Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure" on Thursday, Jan. 8.

The documentary will be followed by a roundtable discussion featuring West Virginia American Water President Wayne Morgan and other industry officials. The 90-minute documentary is a production of Penn State Public Broadcasting, WPSU. It tells the story of our nation’s essential water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

The documentary airs at 9 p.m. with the 30-minute roundtable discussion, which is called "West Virginia Assets: Infrastructure in the Mountain State," set to begin at 10:30.

The other panelists in the roundtable discussion include: West Virginia Water Development Authority Executive Director Chris Jarrett, a former West Virginia American Water president; West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Water and Waste Management Division Director Mike Johnson; Beckley Water Company President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Stanley; and Steptoe and Johnson Attorney John Stump, who represents a number of the state’s public service districts and public utilities.

The panelists provide insight into the obstacles utilities and regulators face in their task of providing West Virginia residents with safe, reliable drinking water. The discussion is hosted by Public Broadcasting's Scott Finn. The documentary and roundtable discussion premiered on the West Virginia television station Dec. 15.

Strategic Alliance Adds Jobs in Charleston

Butler International, a provider of tech outsourcing services, will create an international design center here through a strategic alliance with the Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center (MATRIC).

The full service engineering and design center will create more than 150 jobs in Charleston.

The partnership will enable Butler International and MATRIC, an independent, nonprofit corporation based in South Charleston, W.Va., to bring together their expertise and resources and optimally respond to market demands worldwide seeking engineering project services.

The combined capabilities of Butler and MATRIC will bring more value to customers across wider part of the lifecycle and open opportunities in additional industries.

"This business relationship will extend MATRIC’s R&D capabilities to Butler's customer base and enable Butler’s front-end involvement in higher-level customer projects and programs by providing higher value turnkey solutions" said Ed Kopko, chairman and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Butler International.

Keith Pauley, CEO of MATRIC said the partnership will compliment the two firms’ existing government and scientific research and development capabilities, enabling them to provide a full service delivery model to customers.

MATRIC started in 2004 and has 19 laboratories and 19,000 square feet of laboratory and office space in Dow Tech Park.

The center employs 83 scientists and engineers, including 31 Ph.D.-level researchers. In total, the center has completed $22.5 million in research since it began.

The center comprises five companies focusing on chemical and environmental technologies, health and life sciences and advanced engineering systems. Also, the center has facilitated the start-up of six manufacturing and service businesses.

In addition, MATRIC will receive $2 million in federal funds to start a homeland security data integration center.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Business After Hours 2009

Business After Hours is a monthly Charleston Area Alliance event that brings together business people from around the region to socialize, network and enjoy good times.

This year's series begins Thursday, Jan. 15 at National Travel's new location at Shonk Plaza near the Town Center. It runs from 5 to 7 p.m.

Here are some other confirmed dates:

Feb. 12 - Summit Conference Center, 129 Summers St.

June 18 - Ferguson Enterprises, 160 Spring St.

July 16 - South Charleston and Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureaus

Nov. 19 - Charleston Area Alliance, 1116 Smith St.

If you might be interested in hosting a Business After Hours, contact Lesley Hager at (304) 340-4253.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The article below appeared in today's Charleston Daily Mail. The Charleston Area Alliance participated in the voting.

Top 10 business stories of 2008

by George Hohmann
Daily Mail Business Editor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The national economy closed out 2008 with an avalanche of negative stories but the top West Virginia business story for 2008 is good news: The state finished the year with a budget surplus.

Unofficially, as of the close of business Tuesday, the state had a budget surplus of about $79 million, Mike McKown, director of the state budget office, said Wednesday.

"At the end of October we were up $99 million," he said. "At the end of November we were up $72 million. Certainly we are going to end the first six months (of the fiscal year) with a surplus. Which is good news."

In fact, West Virginia is among fewer than a dozen states that expect revenues to cover spending during the current budget year, according to an analysis released last month by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Gov. Joe Manchin has said West Virginia will not get through the economic downturn unscathed. However, "you need to get up, work hard, enjoy your life - continue to live," Manchin said last month. "If things get too bad, turn off your television. The only thing that can make it worse is if we start believing what we see on television."

Other top 10 business stories for 2008, according to the Daily Mail's annual unscientific poll of editors and movers and shakers in the business world:

2. Century Aluminum must cut costs or close

Century Aluminum told its 685 Ravenswood employees on Dec. 17 that it was immediately shutting down one pot line and may shut down the entire plant in 60 days unless the price of aluminum stabilizes and the company is able to reduce costs.

At a Dec. 23 meeting with Gov. Joe Manchin, U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito and others, Century executives said the company needs to cut costs by 20 percent to avoid shutting down by February.

Manchin said he plans to organize a joint state-federal delegation to meet with executives of the plant's corporate parent to show the support the plant has from all levels of government. Manchin said the delegation also hopes to discuss long-term solutions to modernize the plant to make it more competitive in the future.

3. MATRIC keeps growing

MATRIC - the Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center - keeps growing and now has a staff of 83. Keith Pauley, MATRIC's chief executive officer, said the organization has won $22.5 million in contracts to date.

MATRIC's immediate goal is to hire as many Dow Chemical researchers as possible in 2009 as Dow Chemical downsizes here.

4. Coal-to-liquids plants

A proposed $800 million plant in Marshall County faces financing hurdles after Synthesis Energy Systems Inc., one of the project partners, dropped out in October "due to the difficult financial environment." But during the Dec. 9 West Virginia Energy Summit at Stonewall Resort, Paul Spurgeon of Consol Energy said his company is still "fully committed" to building a coal-to-gas plant in West Virginia.

Spurgeon estimated that the project has been delayed by four to six months because Synthesis dropped out.

Also at the Energy Summit, Adam Victor, president of TransGas Development Systems of New York City, announced the company's plan to build a $3 billion coal-to-gas liquids plant in Mingo County.

Victor said his company's plant would be economically viable even at today's oil price. He said that unlike other projects, which rely on selling debt to investors, TransGas plans to finance the Mingo County plant by selling stock to investors in London.

He expressed hope that his company would get all the permits it needs to build the plant in 6 to 9 months. Victor estimated it will take 90 to 180 days after all of the permits are received to take his company public, and said ground for the plant would be broken soon thereafter.

5. National downturn results in layoffs

A growing number of West Virginia companies are being affected by the national economic recession.

In an effort to match production with reduced demand, Toyota announced in November that its plant would have non-production days Dec. 22 and Dec. 23 and would eliminate 120 part-time jobs. In December the company added 6 1/2 more non-production days to the plant's schedule.
Also in November Rite Aid Corp. laid off 26 associates at its distribution center in Poca.

The shutdown of a pot line at Century Aluminum's Ravenswood smelter last month will ultimately impact an estimated 100 hourly and 20 salaried employees, the company said.

6. (tie) Kureha breaks ground for Belle plant

Kureha Corp. of Japan announced plans one year ago to invest more than $100 million to build a specialty plastics plant at Belle, creating about 50 new jobs. The company said it expected to begin construction in early 2008. Although the project has been delayed, "I assure you that things are moving," Suzuki replied. Kureha PGA LLC President and CEO Mark Suzuki said last week.

Suzuki said the company now expects to start excavation early this month. "We do not believe that the delay of the start of the excavation should cause any serious delay in the overall project schedule," he said.

6. (tie) Patriot Coal buys Magnum

Patriot Coal Corp. bought Magnum Coal Co. in July for $695 million in July. The deal made Patriot the seventh largest U.S. coal producer and the second largest in Central Appalachia.
Patriot operates mines in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky as well as the Illinois Basin region in western Kentucky. Magnum had 12 mines in West Virginia. St. Louis-based Peabody Energy spun off Patriot as a separate company in late 2007.

8. Chesapeake nixes Charleston headquarters

Chesapeake Energy Corp. scrapped plans to build a $35 million eastern headquarters building at NorthGate Business Park.

The company had put the building on hold in January 2007 after a Roane County jury said Chesapeake and NiSource Inc. had cheated landowners and should pay $134.3 million in allegedly unpaid gas royalties plus $270 million in punitive damages.

In May, after the West Virginia Supreme Court refused to hear its appeal, Chesapeake scrapped its plan to build.

9. W.Va. exports jump

West Virginia exported nearly $4 billion worth of products in 2007 - up 23 percent from 2006.
Steve Spence, director of the West Virginia Development Office's International Division, said, "Everything we have indicates this is by far the biggest year ever" for state exports. He said the weak dollar in 2007 was a major factor behind the record number.

10. Competition begins for providing workers' comp

Workers' compensation insurance became a competitive product in 2008.

BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co. took over the business from the state-run Workers' Compensation Commission on Jan. 1, 2006. Last July, the market opened to other carriers.
As of Nov. 7, 125 insurance carriers had issued about 3,500 workers' comp polices in West Virginia with an estimated annual premium of more than $83 million, according to the office of State Insurance Commissioner Jane Cline.

Other top vote getters:
- University of Charleston opens graduate school
- Gasoline prices top $4 a gallon for several weeks
- Wall Street's woes cost state investment board billions on paper
- American Electric Power's proposed $2.3 billion Mason plant in limbo
- Some banks with West Virginia operations line up for federal rescue funds
- Slow economy prompts Toyota to tap brakes on Buffalo plant production
- Coal industry faces mounting criticism
- Incumbent Attorney General Darrell McGraw wins tight race against Dan Greear
- CAMC, Thomas Memorial in multimillion dollar expansions

The story below appeared in Thursday's Charleston Daily Mail. Note the portion recognizing Angus Peyton, who played a major role in the creation of what would become the Charleston Area Alliance.

State mourned loss of many notable West Virginians last year

Some of the world's legends made their exits in 2008.

Several - Mt. Everest tamer Sir Edmund Hillary and chess champion Bobby Fischer - blazed trails and set records. A few, from "Sunny" Von Bulow to "Deep Throat" Mark Felt, were either centered in scandal or cloaked in mystery. Performers Eartha Kitt, George Carlin, Paul Newman and Charlton Heston inspired legions of fans and crossed the generation divide. Some deaths were so unexpected - new anchors Tim Russert, comedian Bernie Mac, actor Heath Ledger - they made the whole nation take pause.

The Mountain State lost several of its own last year.

A governor who came on the political scene as a 20-something with movie-star good looks had enough longevity to get re-elected four decades later as one of West Virginia's elder statesmen.
A lawyer and philanthropist had such a vision for Charleston that it spurred many others in the city to help him make it a reality.

And a witty, wise-cracking newspaper man found he could make people stop and think with a few sentences in a story or just a couple of words that he spoke.

Here's a sampling of the many notable West Virginians who died in 2008.

Del. Bill Proudfoot, D-Randolph, died Dec. 23 after losing control of his truck on an icy U.S. 33 in Barbour County. Proudfoot, 68, of Elkins, was House Judiciary chairman. An 18-year veteran of the House of Delegates, the retired vocational school administrator had served in various leadership posts and was revered for his dedication to his constituents and his family.

Gov. Cecil Underwood, who held the distinction of being both the state's youngest and oldest elected governor, died Nov. 24, at the age of 86, after several years of declining health. The Tyler County native and Republican was first elected in 1956, when schools were still being desegregated, and went back to the Governor's Mansion in 1996 after stints working for coal and chemical companies and serving as president of Bethany College.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Tom Miller died Aug. 12. He was 79. Miller, a longtime Wheeling attorney, served on the court for 17 years, from 1977 to 199, and served several times as chief justice. He was credited with helping the court increase its written opinions. He wrote the 1993 opinion paving the way for many convicted criminals to get new trials after former State Police lab chemist Fred Zain's work was called into question.

Mercer County Del. Eustace Frederick, a Democrat, was a former coal mine operator who got his start in politics when he was appointed to the Legislature in 1993. He was re-elected the next year and served in the House until his death on Nov. 6, at the age of 78. Throughout his tenure, he was known for his strong support of West Virginia coal. He had been ill for several years but continued to attend legislative sessions, remaining vocal about issues closest to his heart, including education initiatives and tax increases.

Robert Staker
, former U.S. District Court judge, died Nov. 30. Born in Kermit, he practiced law in Williamson and took a seat on the bench in Mingo County Circuit Court in 1969. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to serve the Southern District of West Virginia in Huntington, where he retired to senior judge status in 1995.

The former chairman of the state Lottery Commission, John Bowling, was best known in his hometown of White Sulphur Springs as the longtime mayor there, serving at City Hall throughout the 1970s and 1980s. But his elected offices stacked up: He was in the House of Delegates, the state Senate and on the Greenbrier County Commission. By trade, he ran his family's furniture business, Bowlings Inc. He was 77 when he passed away on Feb. 9.

Tom Burns
had long battled Parkinson's disease before passing away Dec. 21 at the age of 80. The state's former economic development director, he was instrumental in helping attract Toyota to open its plant in Putnam County. Burns served in the development office under Govs. Gaston Caperton and Cecil Underwood, but before that he was a successful telephone company executive who worked in several states and New Zealand.


John Deaver Drinko
died Jan. 30 at 86. One of Marshall University's most successful alumni and generous benefactors, the St. Mary's native went to work for a Cleveland law firm in 1945, right out of law school, and eventually became a managing partner. He donated millions of dollars to at least a dozen colleges and universities, including Marshall, which named its library in his honor.

Economic development guru Angus E. Peyton did a little bit of everything. He was a lawyer, a banker, a businessman, but his legacy is that of a loyal philanthropist who worked tirelessly for the causes he cared about. He left his imprint on several major civic ventures, from the creation of the Business and Industrial Development Corp., now the Charleston Area Alliance, to the West Virginia Graduate College in South Charleston. He died Dec. 18 at 81.
Henry E. Payne III made his mark on West Virginia in several ways, as an engineer, a media mogul and a thinker. Described as a brilliant researcher, with degrees from Yale and Princeton, Payne dabbled in rocket science before starting his own company, Payne Engineering. The Illinois native settled in Charleston, where he raised a family and co-founded The State Journal, a weekly business publication.

The senior vice president of operations for Mountaineer Gas, who worked his way up in the industry over four decades, died Feb. 13 on his family's farm. Danny Chandler, 61, had been in the natural gas business in West Virginia since 1967, when he started as an office messenger at United Fuel. He was regarded among his colleagues for his no-nonsense, efficient approach to getting the job done right.