Economic Development Profile: Why…West Virginia?
Mitch Carmichael, secretary of West Virginia’s Department of Economic Development, has many reasons why businesses should consider The Mountain State. Here are some of the state’s many business-related activities and advantages.
Mitch Carmichael, Secretary, West Virginia Department of Economic Development
By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2022 Issue
Business Facilities: Tell us about the status of economic development in West Virginia. How is it going?
Mitch Carmichael: Economic Development is on a roll in West Virginia. Our office is busier than it has been in decades, attending innovative events such as South by Southwest in Texas, international trade shows and maintenance, repair, and overhaul events. We are getting in front of more and more global manufacturing, technology, aerospace, logistics and defense companies and many of these companies are saying “yes” to West Virginia.
BF: Why should companies consider The Mountain State for relocation or expansion? What does the state offer?
MC: West Virginia offers a unique competitive advantage. There truly is no better place to build and grow a business in the eastern U.S. than here in West Virginia. More and more companies are taking advantage of the opportunities we offer, including a loyal workforce, pro-business climate, and our prime location. Companies benefit by starting or expanding their business in West Virginia. Being in The Mountain State can help companies reduce distribution, workforce, manufacturing, and energy costs. Search #YesWV on LinkedIn or Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.
BF: What can you tell me about the Ascend West Virginia program?
MC: Initially funded by Brad and Alys Smith, this program has skyrocketed interest in Almost Heaven, West Virginia. The quality of life here, paired with our commitment to investing in the people and places of West Virginia, is creating a unique community and attracting tons of attention. You can learn more about Ascend West Virginia at ascendwv.com.
BF: Are there other programs in the state that you are involved with?
MC: We are embarking on a new broadband program. In late 2021, West Virginia committed to a billion-dollar strategy—the largest investment in broadband in its history—to increase access to West Virginia’s citizens and businesses. This strategy combines federal, state and local government funds and matching investments from private-sector partners to increase the broadband availability to 300,000 more West Virginians.
BBB Regional Challenge—When it comes to recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, cities and towns in West Virginia are in a better place to build than many other communities in the country and a group of state agencies and organizations are out to prove it. The Resilient West Virginia coalition is a finalist in the United States Economic Development Administration’s $1 billion Regional Challenge thanks to a proposal to leverage West Virginia resources and workforce talent to advance the country’s national security and economic interests. More information is available at westvirginia.gov/resilientwv.
BF: What do you see happening in the future in terms of economic development?
MC: We hope that companies will continue looking at the big picture. Since we are a smaller state, it is easy to work with our local, state and federal officials. In West Virginia, we take pride in our loyal workforce. When it comes to attracting businesses, we are affordable and conveniently located close to raw materials and the end-users of many of the products created here.
From the pandemic, we have seen huge economic shifts happening globally and in West Virginia too. We have both the infrastructure and adaptability in place to continue to support the businesses who relocate here and help our existing businesses thrive. That is why companies are expanding, investing and locating in West Virginia.
We check all the boxes and can help companies meet their objectives.