YPC Report - The Huntington Regional Chamber Of Commerce



YPC Report - The Huntington Regional Chamber Of Commerce
In late December 2005, the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce established a new
committee to address the needs of young business professionals throughout the area.
In its first year of operation, the Young Professionals Committee has created many projects and
initiatives to provide networking and education opportunities in addition to offering an outlet
for young professionals to give back to the community. This committee, in coordination with
the Chamber, is dedicated to developing a core of young leaders committed to growing the
Huntington region and making the Cabell and Wayne County area a better place to work and
The committee, which currently has over 130 members, is comprised of several sub-committees
to provide members the opportunity to become more active in the organization and community.
These subcommittees include: Community Development, Education, Networking, Membership,
Public Relations, and the recently added Recreation Subcommittee.
The YPC has a strong focus on retaining college graduates within the local workforce through
its partnership with the Marshall University Lewis College of Business to mentor students. This
mentoring partnership is very valuable to the area business community, providing great potential to serve as a recruiting tool for companies while also increasing opportunities for Marshall
graduates to gain employment in the Huntington area.
In an effort to provide young men and women with the opportunity to obtain the professional
attire necessary to attend a job interview and begin their careers, members of the Young Professionals Committee also created Geared for Success, a clothing donation program which provides apparel to students completing their GED through
the Youth Empowerment Program. The YPC will continue this project each spring and fall.
Members of the YPC, which represent a vast array of
businesses in our area, also routinely create projects to
assist area non-profits such as the Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity and the Huntington Coalition for the
Through a variety of actions and endeavors, the Young
Professionals Committee is making a positive impact in
the workplace and our community.
Mark B. Bugher
Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce
President and CEO
Developing Leaders. Building Relationships. Achieving Success.
Increase networking opportunities for young professionals so they can develop links to other business leaders in
the area.
Educate young professionals through workshops, presentations and speakers to increase their awareness of
important issues and their effectiveness in business.
Develop a core of young leaders committed to one another and the Huntington region, which will attract other
young professionals to the region and help retain those who are already here.
Advocate for the interest of young professionals in the Huntington region.
What is YPC?
The YPC is a committee of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce. Its members are professionals
under the age of 40 and they represent organizations from a variety of industries, including advertising, financial services, healthcare, higher education, hospitality, legal services, media, and research and technology.
Membership - To ensure the YPC grows as a diverse organization, reflective of the surrounding professional community
and to know our members and their interests.
Education - To provide educational opportunities and resources to members of the YPC and to support education initiatives in the community.
Community Development - To support the YPC’s mission of bettering our community by providing opportunities for
service to our members.
Networking - To create networking opportunities to YPC members to further the mission of building relationships.
Public Relations - To ensure that YPC projects and events are publicized and that the community is informed of important regional issues.
Recreation - To provide sporting, leisure and other non-networking types of events and activities for our YPC members
Ambassadors - To recognize existing Chamber businesses and welcome new businesses to the area, all while promoting the YPC
Chair - Christopher Slaughter
Chris Slaughter, a labor and employment lawyer, practices in the Huntington office of Steptoe &
Johnson PLLC. He is licensed to practice in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Chris received
his BBA from Marshall University, where he was a John Marshall Scholar, and his JD from the
University of Kentucky College of Law.
Chris serves as a vice chairman of the board of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce
and chairs the Young Professionals Committee. He serves on the boards of Goodwill Industries
of the KYOWVA Area, Inc. and the Huntington Museum of Art. Chris is also active in the West
Virginia Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Leadership West Virginia Class of 2000,
and the Leadership Tri-State Class of 2006. Chris lives in Milton, West Virginia, with his
wife, Nicole, and their four children.
Vice Chair - Joseph Randolph
Joe Randolph is Branch Manager and a Financial Consultant with A.G. Edwards brokerage firm in
Huntington. With more than 8 years' investment industry experience, Randolph can offer a wide
range of services, from working with companies helping them establish investment goals to helping individual investors with education, estate, and retirement planning. Randolph, a lifelong Huntington resident, graduated from Vinson High School and Marshall University with a degree in Finance.
Beginning with internships at a law firm and brokerage house in college, Randolph began his career in finance early. Randolph is very active in the community, serving on the Board of Directors
for Kiwanis, the Board of Directors for the Salvation Army, as Chairman of Synergy Business Network, and as Vice Chairman of the Young Professional Committee. He is also a member of Huntington Rotary and is currently on the membership committee. Randolph and his wife Brooke, have
a new son and are members of St. Joseph Church of Huntington. Randolph is a member of the St.
Joe Men’s Club. Currently, Randolph is the youngest Branch Manager in the country for A.G. Edwards. A.G. Edwards has 726 branches worldwide with over 7000 brokers.
Secretary/Treasurer - Christie White
Christie White, Secretary/Treasurer of the Young Professionals Committee, is the Assistant Vice
President Audit and Compliance for The First State Bank. White has worked for the bank for nine
years and has been AVP for five years. White graduated from Marshall University with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Management. White, who is a Board Member on the Independent Communtiy Bankers Association’s (ICBA) Education Certification board, is an ICBA Certificed
Communtiy Bank Internal Auditor, ICBA Certificed Communtiy Bank Compliance Officer and an
ICBA Certified Community Bank Security Officer. White is also on the YPC’s Networking subcommittee. In addition, Christie White is President of the Alpha Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. White
and her husband Brian (fellow YPC Member) live in Milton with their daughter and son.
YPC Chamber Liaison—Tracy Straub
Tracy Straub, Work-Based Learning Coordinator and YPC Liaison for the Huntington Regional
Chamber of Commerce, has been with the Chamber for over ten years. Straub, who graduated
from Marshall University, has a background in public relations and marketing. She coordinates
various school-to-work programs for students and educators in Cabell and Wayne counties.
Straub also handles much of the planning and organizing of YPC events, meetings, etc. As the
YPC has grown, so has Straub’s duties within the Chamber. Straub is also part owner of S&G
Custom Paint & Autobody, with her husband Scott. Straub handles the public relations, marketing
and promotion side of the family owned business. Straub is also a mother of two boys. She is
also involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and has been a big sister for over four years. Straub
also enjoys her new found talent - acting. She performed as an extra in the “We Are… Marshall”
Community Development Subcommittee Chair - Nate Randolph
Randolph is a Project Architect with Edward Tucker Architects, Inc. and has been with the firm
since 2000. His design expertise centers in the commercial, industrial, pharmaceutical, collegiate, and health care sectors. Originally from Scott Depot, West Virginia, Randolph graduated
with high honors from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in
1998. Edward Tucker Architects, Inc. has won state and national design awards with featured
projects in magazines and books.
Randolph is an active member of the Huntington Community and thru the YPC remains involved
with the RTI Huntington Trails project, the Keith Albee Restoration project, Geared for Success,
and service to several other charities and not-for-profit agencies. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the Knights
of Columbus, and a parishioner of St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Randolph’s spare time is spent in real estate investment, private venture development, and restoration projects in the Huntington Community.
Education Subcommittee Chair - Dr. Misty Hutchinson
Dr. Misty L. Hutchinson is the owner and Chiropractor of Hutchinson Chiropractic and Wellness
Center in Barboursville, WV. She is a native of Huntington, graduating from Vinson High School
and Marshall University with a BA in Biology. Upon graduation of Chiropractic school in 1999,
she decided to return to her hometown to practice, which she says is one of the best decisions
she ever made.
Dr. Hutchinson treats patients of all ages ranging from newborns with traumatic births to arthritic
pains of the elderly. Sports injuries, auto accidents and worker's compensation are all a major
part of her practice with specific techniques geared toward headaches/migraines and pregnancy
pains. Her office also offers many other services to the public such as medical massage therapy, physiotherapy, nutrition and weight loss supplements.
Her and her husband's love of animals prompted the opening of two more businesses. Duke's
Dog-Gone Grooming, which is a full service dog-grooming facility with a doggy day care and
Happy Tails Pet-Sitting Services, which offers owners an alternative to kenneling their pets.
Membership Subcommittee Chair - Abe Saad
Abraham J. Saad works in the Labor Department of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in the firm’s Huntington office. Saad, the YPC’s Membership Subcommittee Chair, focuses his practice in the
area of labor and employment law. Abe received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and his legal education from Capital University Law School, where he was a member of
the Labor and Employment Law and the Sports and Entertainment Law Associations.
Saad, is excited to be back in the Huntington area after being away for almost 8 years, off and
on. It is a goal of Saad’s to be involved with making Huntington a better, more attractive place
for individuals to live and work. Saad has 3 sisters, 2 older and a younger sister (YPC Member,
Christina Saad.) Saad, an avid sports fan and player, was captain of his High School soccer
team. He is a proud of the Cleveland Browns, Cavs, Indians and event the Reds. Saad is proud
to serve on the membership committee and pleased to be a part of helping Huntington.
Networking Subcommittee Chair - Chris McNeely
Christopher McNeely, Certified Public Accountant is a manager with The Fyffe Jones Group, a
multi-state based public accounting firm with locations in Huntington, WV; Ashland, KY and
Portsmouth, OH. He practices in the firm’s Huntington, West Virginia office. He specializes in
corporate tax, multi-state taxation and business consulting.
McNeely works closely with a wide variety of businesses including sole-proprietors, partnerships,
LLC’s and corporations. He advises owners on various federal, state and local tax issues as well
as represents the owners for any tax audits that may arise. McNeely also provides various consulting services for his clients.
McNeely is a member of the AICPA, West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is
a committee Chair for the Young Professional Committee in the Huntington Chamber of Commerce and National Treasurer for the Marshall Alumni Association. McNeely earned a BBA Degree in Accounting from Marshall University and is a former College of Business Senator and
past President of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
Public Relations Subcommittee Chair - Jennifer Brooks
Jennifer Brooks is an Account Representative with WSAZ NewsChannel 3, the leading local
television station in the Charleston-Huntington market. She has been with WSAZ for over five
years and specializes with local businesses developing effective marketing campaigns designed
to increase revenues. She also has recently taken on the new responsibilities of Regional Sales
and negotiates with advertising agencies. In addition to WSAZ, Jennifer also represents their
web channel WSAZ.com, the new digital station MyZ and various other products offered at the
Jennifer was born and raised in the Dayton, Ohio area where she also attended college and after traveling a while in her 20’s, made her permanent residence in Huntington, West Virginia in
1997 which she now considers ‘home’. Jennifer has volunteered on various committees with
the Huntington Museum of Art, Hospice of Huntington and the Huntington Regional Chamber of
In her free time, Jennifer enjoys learning new hobbies (but rarely mastering them), reading, trading stocks and spending quality time with friends.
Recreation Subcommittee Chair - Jennifer Gaston
Jenn Gaston, Business Services Officer for BB&T of Huntington, is the newly elected chair of
the Recreation Subcommittee. Once completing her Bachelors in Business Administration in
Marketing from Marshall University, Jenn attended The BB&T University on the campus of
Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. There, Jenn graduated from the BB&T Management Development Program: Class of 2005 and was placed in Charleston, WV as a Credit Analyst. Knowing that Marshall held a special place in her heart, Jenn was pleased to accept a Business Services Officer position with BB&T of Huntington in July 2006. Once relocating to Huntington, Jenn immediately joined the Young Professionals Committee, the Rotary Club of Barboursville, and served as a loaned executive for the United Way of the River Cities. Jenn is very
dedicated to the Huntington community and was most recently elected to a 3 year term on the
Marshall University Alumni Board of Directors (2007-2010). In her free time, Jenn enjoys playing
co-ed softball for Dan’s Sports Shop and utilizing the Huntington Area YMCA’s cardio, swimming, and racquetball facilities.
Ambassadors Subcommittee Chair - Jennifer Wheeler
Jenny Wheeler is chair person of YPC’s Ambassador Sub-committee. She has been an active
part of the Networking, Membership and PR Sub-committees, the website team, and will play for
the softball team. Jenny also represents the YPC and the Chamber on the Community Investment Council of the United Way of the River Cities. She participates in the Chamber’s Women
2 Women and is a member of Junior League and the United States Tennis Association. Jenny
has been employed with the Huntington Museum of Art for the past 3 years.
Born and raised in Huntington, Jenny attended Huntington High School and after graduation in
1994, spent a number of years in the south, first at University of South Carolina from which she
earned a degree and later in Myrtle Beach where she attended school to become a paralegal. Jenny decided to change fields and returned to Huntington in 2003 to study public relations
at Marshall and graduated in 2007. She is now working toward a Master’s degree in Communications.
Young Professionals Committee Volunteer Hours Summary
Monthly Meetings
Read to Me Day
Geard for Success
12 meetings @ 50 people (avg)
Five subcommittees @ 8 people, 1 hr month
8 people @ 1 hr
6 people @ 8 hrs
Clothing organization: 2 people for 3 hrs
6 people @ 4 hours
14 people @ 10 hours (at least)
2 people @ 9 hours
Operation Education
Casino Night
Christmas Tree Sales
MU Lunch Program
Rails to Trails
Various meetings
Movie Premiere
18 volunteers @ 8 hrs
Movie Kickoff
10 volunteers @ 8 hrs
Habitat Build
8 volunteers @ 8 hrs
Bowl for Kids Sake
7 volunteers @ 2 hrs
Community Board of Director Meetings (Chris Slaughter)
Quarterly Leadership Meetings
7 people for two hours @ 4 times
Young Professionals Committee Current Roster
Mr. Bonner Adams
Mr. Kenney Adkins
Mr. Christopher E. Allman
Mr. Aaron Arnold
Mr. Eric Arnold
Ms. Brandon R. Balandra
Mr. Matt Ballard
Mr. Chad Barry
Ms. Valerie Bernard
Ms. Jacquelyn Stout Biddle
Mr. Patrick Blankenship
Mr. Brad Bobersky
Ms. Christine Borders
Ms. Cassey Bowden
Ms. Marylene Brodeur, M.S.
Mrs. Jennifer Brooks
Mr. Chris Bugher
Mr. Mark Bugher
Ms. Jama Burton
Mr. Jackie Cantley
Mr. Christopher L. Carson
Mr. Bryan Chambers
Ms. Mindi Chapman
Mr. Isaiah Childers
Ms. Melinda Cochran
Mr. Max Corley
Mr. Kevin J. Craig
Mr. M. Edward Cunningham, II
Mr. Adam Daniels
Ms. Ashley Daniels
Mr. Jason Davis
Ms. Roslyn Davis
Mr. William Deal
Mr. Jason Dean, P.E.
Mr. Pedro Dejneka
Mr. Corley Dennison IV
Mr. William Chris Drummond
Mr. Jeff Edwards
Mr. Daniel Emerson
Ms. Laura Evans
Ms. Amanda Foo
Ms. Jennifer Gaston
Mr. Eric S. Gibson
Mr. Thomas H. Gilpin
Mr. R. J. Gimbl
Mr. Joel Goldy
Mr. Charles K. Gould
Ms. Ashleigh Graham
Mr. Steven Graham
Mr. James Graley
National Wood Products, Inc.
Kenneth Adkins & Son Insurance Agency
Hayflich & Steinberg, CPA's, PLLC
Marshall ISP Sports Network
Marshall University
Marshall University
Charleston Area Alliance
Chad D. Barry, L. C.
Marshall University
Jacquelyn Stout Biddle, Attorney
Pullman Plaza Hotel
Wells Fargo Insurance Services
Bulldog Creative Services
United Way of the River Cities
Radiology, Inc.
Marshall University Cooking & Culinary Institute
Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce
Charleston Area Alliance
First State Bank
Congressman Nick J. Rahall's Office
The Herald-Dispatch
Peoples Bank
Marshall University Athletics
Service Wire Co.
Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC
Natural Resource Partners LP/
Huddleston Bolen LLP
First State Bank
Mission WV
InfoCision Management Corporation
MC&TC Small Business Development Center
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Merrill Lynch
Marshall University Foundation
Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
Lamar Advertising
Tower Logistics
Huntington Symphony Orchestra
Western - Southern Life Financial Group
EG Productions, LLC
Huddleston Bolen LLP
Marshall University Athletics
Moses Automotive Network
Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC
Bulldog Creative Services
Mission West Virginia
Campbell Woods, PLLC
Young Professionals Committee Current Roster continued
Mr. Derek A. Gregg
Mr. Jason Hager
Mr. John Hall
Mr. Ryan Harrah
Mr. Rich Hatcher
Mr. Ronald H. Hatfield, Jr.
Mr. Pryce M. Haynes III
Ms. Maria E. Hetzer
Mr. Taylor Hood
Dr. Misty Hutchinson, D. C.
Mr. Duke Hutchinson
Ms. Brandi Jacobs
Mr. Scott Jarrett
Ms. Melissa Johnson
Mr. Ted Kluemper, III
Mr. John Lamotta
Mr. Patrick Lane
Ms. Tammy Lee
Dr. Beth LeMaster
Mr. Anders Lindberg
Mr. Christopher J. Luckett
Mr. Clarence Lykins
Mr. Michael B. Maxey
Mr. Troy McClung
Mr. Christopher T. McNeely
Mr. John Mendez
Ms. Heather Metz
Dr. Jason A. Moore, D. C.
Ms. Becky Morgan
Ms. Wendy Murphy
Ms. Amy Nash
Mr. John Oxley
Ms. McRae Pennington
Ms. Cynthia Pistorino
Mr. Deran Pursoo
Mr. Jemmel A. Pursoo
Mr. Joseph A. Randolph
Mr. Nathan Randolph
Mr. Stephen Reidl
Mr. Doug Reynolds
Mr. Deron Runyon
Mr. Abraham Saad
Ms. Christina Saad
Ms. Rebecca McPhail Samples
Mr. Steven Samples
Ms. Lisa Saunders
Mr. Randall L. Saunders, Esquire
Ms. Alicia Pemberton Schimmel
Mr. Rob Sellards, Esquire
Mr. Bray Shamblin
Vandalia Research, Inc.
Media Makers Design Studio
Edward Jones Investments
River Valley Media
Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute
The Hatfield Law Firm
Pryce Haynes Associates
Hayflich & Steinberg, CPA's, PLLC
Somerville & Company, PLLC
Hutchinson Chiropractic & Wellness Center
Duke's Dog-Gone Grooming, Inc.
Ebenezer Medical Outreach, Inc.
American Red Cross, Central W.Va. Chapter
HPT Physical Therapy Specialists
Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity
Express Wireless Corp. of America
First State Bank
InfoCision Management Corporation
LeMaster Family Chiropractic
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
The Fyffe Jones Group
Partners Insurance & Financial Services, Inc.
Advantage Business Connection
The Fyffe Jones Group
Cabell Huntington Coalition for Homeless
Triad Engineering Inc.
Dr. Jason A. Moore, Family Chiropractor
Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce
First State Bank
Smith Barney, Inc.
HPT Physical Therapy Specialists
Marshall University
InfoCision Management Corporation
GeoSyntec Consultants
Flint Group Pigments
A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.
Edward Tucker Architects, Inc.
Sprint PCS
Reynolds & Associates, PLLC
Huntington,WV-Ironton,OH Empowerment Zone Inc
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Marshall University
Huntington Museum Of Art
Huntington National Bank
Offutt, Fisher & Nord
River Valley Media
Offutt, Fisher & Nord
InfoCision Management Corporation
Young Professionals Committee Current Roster continued
Mr. David Sheils
Mr. Rob Simmons
Mr. Christopher L. Slaughter
Ms. RaShawna K. Smalley
Ms. Jaime Smith
Ms. Kathy Smith
Mr. Sam Smith
Mr. Shannon Smith
Mr. Travis Smith
Mr. Kent N. Sowards
Ms. Jessica Spencer
Mr. Joseph A. Stanton
Ms. Tracy Straub
Mr. Justin Swick
Mr. Chris Tatum
Mr. Jarrod Taylor
Ms. Lindsay Wilson Taylor
Mr. Joey Thacker
Ms. Misty Thompson
Mr. Ian Towler
Shannon Walker
Ms. Bobbie Ward
Ms. Keturah Welker
Ms. Rebecca Wells
Ms. Jennifer Wheeler
Ms. Allison White
Mr. Brian White
Ms. Christie White
Mr. Matthew G. White
Mr. Sean M. Wilson
Ms. Anne Yon
St. Mary's Medical Center
Ferris, Baker Watts, Inc.
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
Big Brothers/Sisters of the Tri-State
Fifth-Third Bank
The State Journal
Triad Engineering Inc.
Jordan-Smith Electric Company Inc.
Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute
Armstrong Cable Services
Thornburg Insurance Agency
Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce
Vandalia Research, Inc.
Cabell County Commisison
Hayflich & Steinberg, CPA's, PLLC
Huddleston Bolen LLP
Marshall Athletics
Lanier Worldwide
Vandalia Research, Inc.
Triad Engineering Inc.
Pullman Plaza Hotel
KeShelle Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, LLC
Huntington Eye Associates
Huntington Museum Of Art
US Army Corps of Engineers
Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.
First State Bank
ZBA Financial Group
The Fyffe Jones Group
RE/MAX Professional Advantage
What is YPC?
YPC stands for Young Professionals Committee, a committee of the Huntington Regional
Chamber of Commerce. The goal of the YPC is to offer networking and educational
opportunities to young professionals in the Huntington area.
Another goal is to retain and attract young professionals to the Huntington area.
The YPC offers opportunities to meet and build relationships with other young professionals in
various professions; including business fields such as accounting, financial planning, law,
marketing, advertising, sales, banking, insurance, non-profit organizations and much more.
Below is just a sample of many of the organizations that are a part of the YPC.
A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.
Advantage Business
American Red Cross
Ameriprise Financial Services
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Bulldog Creative Services
Cabell County Commission
Campbell Woods, PLLC
Cabell Huntington Coalition for
City National Bank
Congressman Rahall’s Office
Ebenezer Medical Outreach
Edwards Jones Investments
Edward Tucker Architects
Express Wireless Communication
Ferris, Baker Watts, Inc.
Fifth-Third Bank
GeoSyntec Consultants
Hayflich & Steinberg, CPA’s
YPC Speed
Networking Event
HPT Physical Therapy
Huddleston Bolen LLP
Huntington Area Habitat for
Huntington Museum of Art
Huntington National Bank
Huntington Symphony
Huntington, WV Ironton, OH
Empowerment Zone Inc.
Hutchinson Chiropractic &
Wellness Center
InfoCision Management
Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC
Jordan-Smith Electric Company
Lamar Advertising
Lanier Worldwide
LeMaster Family Chiropractic
Marshall University
Marshall University Athletics
Marshall University Cooking &
Culinary Institute
MC&TC Small Business
Development Center
Media Makers Design Studio
Mission West Virginia
Moore Family Chiropractor
Moses Automotive Network
National Wood Products, Inc.
National Resource Partners
Northwestern Mutual Financial
Offutt, Fisher & Nord
Partners Insurance &
Financial Services
Peoples Bank
Pryce Haynes Associates
Pullman Plaza Hotel
Radiology, Inc.
Raymond James Financial
River Valley Media
Smith Barney, Inc.
Somerville &
Company, PLLC
Spurlock Law Offices
St. Mary’s Medical Center
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
The First State Bank
The Fyffe Jones Group
The Herald-Dispatch
The State Journal
Thornburg Insurance Agency
Tower Logistics
Triad Engineering
United Way of the River Cities
US Army Corps of Engineers
Vandalia Research
West Virginia Public
Western-Southern Life
ZBA Financial Group
The YPC and Marshall University’s
Lewis College of Business have created a
program that will allow business students
to work with active young professionals in
the Huntington area to learn about
existing opportunities, create professional
relationships, and gain real- world
networking and interviewing techniques.
The benefit of working with professionals
who were recently students themselves,
gives business students opportunities to
learn from those who have first hand,
recent knowledge of what it’s like to be
deciding on a career path, job hunting or
starting with a new company.
The YPC has already begun to make an
impact on business students. How?
By going to lunch. Speaking to classes.
Learn what life is like for young
professionals in Huntington by scheduling
a lunch through the business office or attending a speaker presentation… a great
way to get an inside look at local
opportunities and insights.
Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce
Young Professionals Committee
P.O. Box 1509
720 Fourth Avenue
Huntington, WV 25716-1509
Phone: (304) 525-5131
Fax: (304) 525-5158
[email protected]
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Interest building in riverfront
By Jean Tarbett Hardiman
The Herald-Dispatch
July 22, 2007
HUNTINGTON -- It's a hot, sunny afternoon at Harris Riverfront Park.
A couple of people are walking along the sidewalk, and a few more chatting around a picnic table. The
playground is empty, the bathrooms are locked to the public, and the activity is generally sparse.
Outside of special events, such as festivals or Pops concerts with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, foot
traffic at Huntington's most scenic, historical natural resource is very light. But some residents are starting to
think about the possibilities for development at the banks of the Ohio River.
They're concerned about the lack of visibility and accessibility of the river from Pullman Square and downtown.
They want a performance space that's not as vulnerable to the weather. They know the value of the 15-mile
floodwall, which was built after the 1937 flood left 6,000 people homeless. But they wish it looked better. They
wish it didn't cause Huntington residents to forget the valuable commodity they have on the other side.
Mayor David Felinton said he'd like to put together a master plan within the next year with developments that
community members would like to see at the park.
"I've been working with (state Delegate Dale Stephens, D-Cabell), and he's going to make it a priority to be
able to get some money from the Legislature for Riverfront Park, which we'd like to put toward developing a
new master plan for the park," Felinton said.
"In the next few years, there will be a lot of changes with the bike trails, and we'd like an updated master plan
developed by the community that will address new recreational opportunities looking into the bike trails, as
well as reflecting an updated downtown with Pullman Square, development at 9th Street and in a few years,
3rd and 4th avenues as well."
There are currently no long-term plans for the park, he said, although the city is making some efforts to clean
up the park, including the recent clearing of Tent City, a settlement created by the homeless along the
riverbanks just west of Harris Riverfront Park.
Signs of life
Already, one success story exists on Huntington's riverbanks. If you're looking for people along the river, you'd
best go a little to the east of the park, and walk across the boardwalk toward Holderby's Landing restaurant.
Right now, this is where the daily action is, particularly on a Wednesday night when WKEE-FM has live
remotes, or any weekend. You'll see people of all ages listening to music and enjoying a meal or a drink on the
deck, where they can see the sunset beyond the Robert C. Byrd Bridge.
For owner Dave Duffield, the restaurant is not an effort to make money. The Huntington attorney says it's
about the river.
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He wants to celebrate it, and not just the nice scenery. He wants to celebrate its history, how it brought people
and commerce to this area. He wants a museum of river and rail history, more tour boats to dock in
Huntington, and for schoolchildren to come and learn about the roots of their town.
It's not just a river, it's the Ohio River, where Collis P. Huntington, George Washington and James Holderby
traveled, Duffield said. It's a place where river and rail connect the East to the Midwest and beyond.
"We have a rich cultural history here," he said. "We have so much to show and tell with our unique opportunity
in Huntington. ...Water is where all life begins and flourishes, and it draws us to it."
Let's build on that, he says.
There's a "cannot do" focus sometimes in Huntington, he said, "and I'm not about that. At least we're starting
to listen."
Some people do have ideas about how the riverfront can be improved. Community members shared several
with The Herald-Dispatch.
"First of all, they have to keep it clean, and people will go down there," said Parker Ward, a local Realtor who
went to an American Red Cross fundraiser there last weekend. It had a luau theme.
"It's like Pullman Square -- they keep it clean, and people go," he said. "I think if it was cleaned up, they'd have
more functions and fundraisers. It has to make a better first impression."
Other residents talked about a better connection between the riverfront and the rest of downtown.
While it does cut off the city's view of the river, the floodwall is not disposable, Ward said.
"They have that big floodwall there for a reason," he said. "They're going to have to keep that."
Floodwall improvements
The Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce's Young Professionals Committee hopes to secure $18,000
from the Cabell County Commission for an enhancement project for the floodwall. It's planning on purchasing
concrete art forms to decorate the wall.
As opposed to painting a mural, concrete art forms (examples of which can be viewed at
www.concreteartforms.com) wouldn't need a fresh coat of paint as years pass, and would be easier to keep
clean of graffiti, said Joe Randolph, vice chairman of the local YPC.
The YPC has been looking at the project for two years, and that first $18,000 would get it off the ground,
Randolph said.
"It's a small step with large implications that this could be the start of something great in Huntington,"
Randolph said. "The floodwall for a long time has been an eyesore, and this is a way to do something that will
be everlasting."
Chris Tatum, assistant county manager and a YPC member, said the Young Professionals hope they also can
get some money from the city and from private donations for the concrete artwork.
"It's a natural fit," Tatum said. "It's something that's different and could be a real defining part of the Pullman
Square area. ... I think once people see that we're a group of young people concerned about the future of our
area and reputation of our area, they'll buy into it. There's a lot of potential here, and the YPC group just wants
to maximize the potential of the area and keep people at home."
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Randolph and Tatum said the YPC chose this project from many the committee had considered. They wanted
to start with something that city residents look at every day, before venturing inside to the park area, Randolph
"The river is a welcome sight, and right now we have no entrances that say, 'Welcome to the Riverfront,'" he
said. "We're trying to make it inviting for visitors and people who live here, not like a wall that's in Berlin."
The transition from Pullman to the riverfront needs work as well, others said.
Last summer, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall announced that he had secured $500,000 for a pedestrian walkway
stretching from Pullman Square over Veterans Memorial Boulevard to the riverfront. But no announcements
have been made about the initiation of such a project.
Riverfront activities
In the meantime, activities will continue at the riverfront. The Big Sandy Superstore Arena books them. The
riverfront is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased to the city of Huntington, which in turn has
the arena manage and book events there.
The next big event is Huntington Rib & Music Fest, set for Aug. 9-12.
The rib festival is going to be bigger than it has been in a while, said A. J. Boleski, general manager for the
arena. It will feature .38 Special; The Platters, Coasters & The Drifters Show; and country artist Chris Cagle. It
also will have carnival rides, an air show and fireworks, among other attractions.
"We're trying to make it closer to what the Regatta used to be, but not that big," Boleski said.
For festivals, Boleski is thinking that more tall carnival rides -- a Ferris wheel, for example -- might help so that
folks at Pullman, on the opposite side of the floodwall, have a better chance of seeing that there's something
going on at the river. He also thinks a traffic light at 10th Street and Veterans Memorial Boulevard would help.
Along with the annual events already established at the riverfront -- such as X-Fest, Ribfest and the Pops
concerts -- some new events are in the works, he said, such as a motorcycle rally-type event and a blues
Performance space
A performance space that doesn't face so many problems with the rain could be helpful, too, said Boleski. The
Huntington Symphony Orchestra's executive director, Laura Evans, agrees with that.
The orchestra has one more Picnic with the Pops show planned for the summer, the "Dancing Under the
Stars" show on Saturday, Aug. 18.
Evans suggests that as the city moves forward with planning development, it should bring in a consultant.
"I'd like a consultant of some sort to come, take a look at the riverfront, look at the design and say, 'This works,
this doesn't,'" Evans said. "Whatever we do, I'd like it to be able to weather the river and still be a beautiful
While a walkway connecting the downtown to the river could be a big help, Evans thinks it would be best to put
money into the park itself first.
"Unfortunately, that floodwall creates a barrier, and it's like, 'Out of sight, out of mind.' And unless something
spectacular is going on over there, people don't feel a reason to go," she said. "But I feel we have to work
harder to make that space even better. If you could spend the money on making it a more inviting space from
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the railroad tracks even, then (it would be more worthwhile to build a walkway). I'd rather put the money into
the park itself before putting it into making a walkway into a park that's not that well-maintained."
But going beyond that should not be considered too lofty a goal, Duffield said.
"If James Holderby and George Washington, with axes, can build a civilization for you and I," he asked, "can
we not build a ladder over that wall?"
Copyright © 2005 The Herald-Dispatch
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