WVSU Hires New CED Extension Agent


Position to support seven-county West Virginia Hardwood Alliance Zone          

Institute, WV West Virginia State University Extension Service has placed a new Extension Agent for Community and Economic Development in Randolph County. John Hayes will serve the seven counties within the West Virginia Hardwood Alliance Zone (WVHAZ), which provides competitive advantages for hardwood industry business relocation, expansion and development.

Hayes will work with businesses and organizations to conduct data-driven research supporting WVHAZ goals and initiatives, as well as provide entrepreneurial training and small business development assistance.

“Hardwood is the third largest industry in the state,” says Hayes, who looks forward to helping promote the industry. “It has been a challenging environment given recent economic times.”

In addition to working with small businesses for training opportunities, Hayes will also support non-profit and community-based agencies and projects within the WVHAZ region. Through a partnership with the Webster County Economic Development Authority (EDA), Hayes will also have an allocated portion of time to work on EDA-specific projects.

The position is one Hayes was drawn to immediately given his history in the hardwood industry, having grown up with family in the lumber business. Prior to joining WVSU Extension Service, he taught for the Timber Industry Technology program at the Fred W. Eberle Technical Center in Buckhannon.

“John’s work history brings great potential to this project,” adds Bill Woodrum, Associate Director of WVSU Extension Service. “He is very well suited to the role and we look forward to watching the position develop.”

WVSU Extension Service’s involvement in the WVHAZ project was a result of a longstanding relationship with Webster County. When the chance presented itself to expand an extension agent role into a regional component devoted to the entire WVHAZ region, officials worked with the WVHAZ board to determine where the best fit would be.

“Our heart is with small business,” says Jenny Fertig, Program Leader for Community and Economic Development with WVSU Extension Service. “We work in areas such as agritourism, specialty foods and the arts. This project is right in line with that vision.”

WVHAZ is a collaborative, multi-county effort led by a board and staff of economic development experts. Participating counties include Barbour, Lewis, Preston, Randolph, Tucker, Upshur and Webster.

Hayes will be located at the WV Wood Technology Center at 10 Eleventh Street in Elkins. He can be reached by calling 304-642-3158 or via e-mail at john.hayes.haz@gmail.com.

For more information on the WVHAZ project, visit www.westvirginiahaz.com.




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