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Visiting Committee

About WVU Extension's Visiting Committee

Members of the WVU Extension Visiting committee serve in an advisory capacity to WVU Extension. In this capacity, members contribute their time, diverse talents and treasures to help WVU Extension meet its vision and mission.  

Jonathan Adler.

Jonathan Adler

Executive Director

West Virginia Association of Counties

Jonathan Adler joined the West Virginia Association of Counties as executive director in 2017. 

He began his professional career as a newspaper reporter and photographer at his hometown newspaper, the Weston Democrat. His career in public service started 1991, when he served as an aide to Governor Gaston Caperton, traveling West Virginia and promoting the Governor's policies, doing outreach work with public officials and citizens. Adler also briefly served in the Office of Treasurer John Perdue as an assistant, performing many of those same duties.  

From 2001 until 2008, Adler served as the state government relations manager for Columbia Gas Transmission, followed by a brief stint in a similar role for CONSOL Energy. For three years he worked in fundraising and development as assistant vice president for advancement for West Virginia State University.  

Before joining the WVACO, Adler served as executive director for the West Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science (1989) and an Executive MBA (2001), both from West Virginia University. A native of Weston, West Virginia, he and his family currently reside in Charleston.

Butch Antolini.

Butch Antolini

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Butch Antolini is chief executive officer and executive director of the West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority (West Virginia Public Broadcasting). He was appointed to the position in May 2022 after serving as interim director since October 2021. 

Antolini was raised in Randolph County and is a 1982 graduate of the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism (now Reed College of Media) with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. 

During his professional career he spent more than 35 years in the newspaper, radio and media industry across West Virginia and Maryland before becoming the communications director for former West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick in 2013. In 2017 he was named communications director for West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.

Jon Bourdon.

Jon Bourdon

State Conservationist

Natural Resources Conservation Service

Jon grew up in Lee, Massachusetts, and graduated from Morehead State University with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and agricultural business. He began his career with the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) in 1988 as a soil conservationist in eastern Kentucky, after which he held the same position in Connecticut.  

In July 1992 he was selected to become the district conservationist in Marietta, Ohio. Jon served as acting assistant state conservationist for field operations and area resource conservationist in Ohio Area III in 2017. He was selected to serve as as ASTC-FO for Ohio Area III in 2018. Jon served as Ohio’s acting State Conservationist (STC) for four months in 2020 and was selected as the STC for West Virginia the same year.  

Jon resides in Morgantown with his wife Crysta and their six children. In his spare time Jon enjoys comedy, live music, vacations, the New England Patriot, and the Boston Celtics.

Clayton Burch.

W. Clayton Burch

West Virginia Schools for the Deaf & the Blind

Clayton Burch is the Superintendent for West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind located in Romney, West Virginia.

Burch has served in both teaching and educational leadership positions for more than 25 years, and his experience spans early childhood education to post-secondary administration. He most recently served as the 32nd State Superintendent of Schools for West Virginia.  

An advocate for the well-being, engagement, and lifelong achievement of all West Virginia children, Burch understands the importance of supporting children’s social and emotional well-being through practical and systemic approaches. He has prioritized three key areas essential for learning, development and progress: addressing student support and well-being; eliminating barriers to equity and expanding access to technology; and closing academic achievement gaps.

While serving as the WVDE Associate Superintendent, Burch was appointed by Governor Jim Justice as acting cabinet secretary to both the Department of Education and the Arts and the Department of Commerce to assist these agencies during times of transition. He fulfilled these roles while maintaining his responsibilities at the Department of Education.

He has served as an advisor to national organizations, the U.S. Department of Education, multiple governors, and a past presidential committee on early childhood education.

Hawley Carlson.

Hawley Carlson

Executive Director
Volunteer West Virginia/State Committee for National & Community Service

Hawley Carlson serves as executive director of Volunteer West Virginia. She joined Volunteer West Virginia with more than 10 years in the nonprofit and public administration field.  

Prior to joining Volunteer West Virginia, she served as the director of AmeriCorps at Nevada Volunteers and has been an AmeriCorps host site supervisor. She enjoys working alongside the outstanding AmeriCorps members in her current role, as well as in her previous positions at Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Girl Scouts.  

She is an avid volunteer, advocating nationally for increased national and community service on the Leadership Council for State 4 Service, assisting at food banks, and building trails with local hiking trail associations. Currently, she serves on the board of directors for Pollen8 and West Virginia 2-1-1 and is chair of the West Virginia Department of Education’s Early Childhood Advisory Council.  

Hawley received a master's degree in public administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

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Mitch Carmichael

West Virginia Department of Economic Development 

Mitch Carmichael is an accomplished businessman in the field of information technology. He was appointed Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Economic Development in March 2021.  

Prior to this appointment, Carmichael was an elected member of the West Virginia Senate from 2012 to 2020. He served as the first Republican Senate Majority Leader in more than 83 years. His fellow senators unanimously elected Senator Carmichael to the position of Senate President-Lieutenant Governor in January 2017. 

Carmichael also previously served West Virginia as an elected member of the House of Delegates. He was elected to five consecutive terms.  

Carmichael was raised in Jackson County and attended public schools in Ripley, West Virginia. He is an honors graduate from Marshall University with degrees in finance and economics. Upon graduation, he was recruited to one of the world's leading technology companies. Carmichael currently resides in Ripley, where he is active in many community, faith and charitable organizations. 

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Trena Dacal

Executive Director

United Way of Southern West Virginia

Bio coming soon.

Christy Davis.

Christy Hayhurst Davis

Vice President

Hundred Resources, Inc.

Christine (Christy) Hayhurst Davis was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, and raised in Buckhannon and Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from Perry Hall High School outside Baltimore. She graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. 

Christy is currently vice president of Hundred Resources Inc. in Fairmont, West Virginia. She began her career with a predecessor company more than 20 years ago and has worked in escalating roles across all aspects of the business during her tenure. She has grown her knowledge and expertise in all facets of the oil and gas industry, including production and distribution, leasing, contracts, land management, finance, accounting, mergers and acquisitions, and state laws pertaining to oil and natural gas. 

Since 2010, Christy has served as vice president and co-founder of the West Virginia Royalty Owner’s Association (WVROA). WVROA’s mission is to inform West Virginia mineral owners about the state of the oil and gas industry, their leasing rights and promoting legislation and public policies that protect the interests and rights of both property and mineral owners. WVROA has successfully lobbied with other groups in West Virginia in the introduction and passage of multiple pieces of legislation which have now been signed into law. 

Christy is very passionate about charity and volunteer work. She led a multi-level Girl Scout Troop for eight years which at the peak had more than 50 girls in Monongalia County as active Troop members. She has expanded her passion for softball and soccer by coaching youth sports teams. She shares her family’s history of supporting WVU academics, athletics and 4-H programs. 

Christy met her husband of more than 15 years, Jim, at WVU where they were pursuing their engineering degrees. They reside in Morgantown with their three daughters: Audrey, Liz and Kat. In her spare time Christy enjoys reading books and all things Disney, as well as traveling (she has a goal to visit all 50 states with her family before her eldest daughter graduates high school).

Darrell Donahue.

Darrell Donahue


WVU Davis College

Darrell W. Donahue is the dean of the West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and director of the West Virginia Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

Prior to joining WVU, Donahue was director of the Institute of Water Research as well as professor and chair of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University. From 2012-2015, he was at Maine Maritime Academy where he was vice president of Operations and Research Director. Donahue began his academic career in 1996 at the University of Maine where he moved through the academic ranks to professor of chemical engineering and associate director of the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute.

His previous research has a broad spectrum and background. Throughout his career, he has focused on process operations efficiency improvement, near-infrared spectroscopy, and risk assessment. Donahue currently serves as a member of the United Nations International Commission on the Microbiological Specifications for Foods and as an expert on WHO/FAO panels in food safety and defense. He continues to consult with several federal government agencies in the area of risk assessment and its evaluation. In these risk assessment venues, Donahue contributes his expertise to the exposure assessment and dose response portions of risk assessment modeling process as well as contributing his strengths in industrial statistics and Monte Carlo simulation and modeling.

Patrice Harris.

Dr. Patrice Harris

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer


Dr. Patrice A. Harris is board-certified in psychiatry and has diverse experience as a private practicing physician, public health director and patient advocate. In 2018, Dr. Harris was elected as the 174th President of the American Medical Association, the first African-American woman to ever hold the position.

Dr. Harris’ life is marked by her passion to improve the lives of children and communities around her, especially communities of color. She is a recognized expert in children’s mental health and childhood trauma, and integrating public health, behavioral health and primary care services.

She has received numerous awards in recognition of her service and leadership.

Upon completion of her term as President of the AMA, Dr. Harris has continued in private practice. She regularly consults with public and private organizations on health service delivery and emerging trends in health policy. She is a Visiting Professor at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Psychiatry, an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Morehouse School of

Dr. Harris received her bachelor’s, master’s and medical degrees from West Virginia University. She performed her residency and fellowships at Emory University School of Medicine.

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Britney Hervey-Farris

Owner & Operator

Family Roots Farm

With her family, Britney Hervey-Farris owns and operates Family Roots Farm in Brooke County, West Virginia. Family Roots Farm was established in 2012 by Britney and her husband, Charlie Farris. Originally homesteaded in 1770 by Henry Hervey, Britney is the sixth generation to farm the land.  

A family tradition for over 15 years, the family’s sugar maker, Fred Hervey, decided to begin offering the family’s syrup for sale in 2013. Since then, they have expanded to not only 100% pure maple syrup, but also pure maple sugar, maple cream, maple nuts, maple cotton candy and much more. In 2015, Family Roots farm received first place for their maple syrup at the International Maple Conference with a perfect score for their maple syrup. Family Roots Farm has been instrumental in helping to start and grow the West Virginia Mountain State Maple Days. 

In addition to its winter maple enterprise, the Hervey farm prides itself in making the most of the four seasons found in Northern Appalachia, serving as a source of local produce from early spring through the fall and harvesting and producing sweet sorghum in the fall.  

Because of her agricultural contributions, Britney was recognized as a 2017 West Virginia Woman in Agriculture. 

Bruce Hogan.

Dr. Bruce Hogan

Chairman of the Board

Partnerships of African American Churches

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John "JB" McCuskey

State Auditor

West Virginia State Auditor's Office

John “JB” McCuskey is West Virginia’s 21st State Auditor. He is currently in his second term, first elected in 2016. Previously, he served two terms in the House of Delegates and practiced law in Charleston. 

As auditor, McCuskey has made it his mission to ensure an efficient, effective, and transparent government.  

McCuskey is a native of Harrison County, West Virginia. His parents cultivated his deep love of the Mountain State and instilled in him the values of public service. 

He is a graduate of The George Washington University with a degree in political communication. He is also a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law. Before attending law school, McCuskey worked as a civilian for the Department of Defense at the Pentagon in the offices of the Army and Department of Defense General Counsels. 

McCuskey lives in Charleston with his wife, daughters and their dog, where they own a small business. 

Katie Miltenberger.

Katie Miltenberger

4-H Youth Council

Katie Miltenberger is currently a student at West Virginia University studying finance and accounting through the John Chambers College of Business and Economics.  

A native of Fort Ashby, West Virginia, in Mineral County, Miltenberger has been involved in the West Virginia 4-H program for years and serves as the treasurer for the WVU Collegiate 4-H Club. At WVU, she’s also a member of Women in Business, a student-led organization with the mission to unite and empower women focused on success and equality in the workplace.  

Aside from her on-campus activities, Miltenberger has experience staffing WVU Extension 4-H camps as an extension camping instructor, where she facilitates engaging youth activities to create a positive learning environment and guides goal setting leadership classes for campers ages 15 to 21.  

Prior to working as an ECI, Miltenberger held positions in customer service and sales, where she developed interpersonal and problem-solving skills. For summer 2023, she has been offered an internship with Farm Credit of the Virginias in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Shawn Morgan.

Shawn Morgan, Esq.

Managing Member (Bridgeport office)

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC.

Bio coming soon.

Michele O'Connor.

Michele O'Connor

Investment Manager

West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust/TechConnect West Virginia

Michele O’Connor has more than 30 years of experience in the finance and banking industry. She attained her Certified Financial Planner designation along with the Accredited Investment Fiduciary Manager and Development Finance Certified Professional designations. Additionally, she is a graduate of the Venture Capital Institute.

O’Connor was the portfolio manager for the Trust Department at First United Bank and managed over $600 million for the department. She currently serves as the senior investment manager for the West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust, which is a leading West Virginia venture capital firm focused on turning the innovation of new ideas into successful world-class companies.

She is a board member and past chair of TechConnect West Virginia. O’Connor also serves as an advisory board member for the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, the West Virginia Women’s Business Center and the Community Steering Network.

O’Connor graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Maryland University College (now named University of Maryland Global Campus.

Bob Pirner.

Robert "Bob" Pirner


WVU Native American Studies

Bob Pirner, a U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam Era, spent 33 years in West Virginia working to help people with disabilities find independence.

He served as development officer at SteppingStones and led the organization from a rented room in Westover to a $1 million facility at Mylan Park. In 2009, after recovering from cancer, he joined PACE Enterprises as director of development where he helped double the size of the organization.

Mr. Pirner is founder of Operation Welcome Home and Miracle League Baseball, two area nonprofits. He served as the co-founder and former executive director of the West Virginia Association for Disability Employment. He is a leader in the Mountaineer Chapter of Business Networks International and was part of the group’s recognition as one of the top 5% of 10,000 international affiliates. Now semi-retired, he serves as Senior Advisor to PACE Enterprises.

Originally from the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Mr. Pirner is one of 5,000 living fluent speakers of the Lakota Sioux language. Growing up in an isolated community that held on to traditional values, he learned a way of life that honors generosity and courage. He shares that gift by teaching in the Native American Studies Department of WVU.  Mr. Pirner is a frequent visitor to area schools to share Lakota culture with youth.

Mr. Pirner has co-written/published two books about nonprofit leadership, including Walking in Balance and Leading with Balance.  Using lessons from that book, he has been a presenter at state and national conferences sharing his expertise with other nonprofit leaders.

In recognition of his work, Mr. Pirner was recognized with the 2021 Morgantown Human Rights Award. He also is a recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Greg Puckett.

Greg Puckett


Mercer County Commission

Greg Puckett is a native southern West Virginian with a passion for community. An alumnus of Princeton Senior High School and Concord College, Puckett now serves as a Mercer County commissioner. 

Puckett held a number of positions in the local community prior to being elected as county commissioner in 2014, and he is currently the executive director of Community Connections Inc. 

He serves on the Mercer County 911 Board of Directors, Mercer County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Board and actively promotes expansion of the King Coal Highway. He serves on the West Virginia Communities Risk Pool Board and has been added to the County Commission Association of West Virginia Board of Directors and Legislative Committee. 

Puckett also serves the county nationally on the Board of Directors with the National Association of Counties. 

In May 2020, Puckett was awarded the Louis Gorin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Health by the National Rural Health Association. This national award was in response to his efforts in local, statewide, and national advocacy for the betterment of overall public health. In July 2021, Puckett was awarded the National Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership by the Americans for the Arts. 

He volunteers to coach swimming to area high schoolers in nearby Wytheville, Virginia, and is the proud father of two kids who keep him dedicated to making positive change happen and leaving a legacy for the next generation to follow. 

Donald Reed.

Donald Reed


McDowell County Commission on Aging

Dr. Donald Reed Jr. lives in the coalfields of southern West Virginia and has vast experience as a faculty member, researcher and clinician.  

Dr. Reed currently serves as executive director of the McDowell County Commission on Aging, Inc. Prior to joining the Commission on Aging, he served as an assistant professor at West Virginia University, WVU Extension agent, Emergency Room mental health clinician and Network Director for the Southern Coalfields Tobacco Prevention Network. 

His academic research and fieldwork have appeared in publications by the National CADCA Strategizers, the American Legacy Foundation, the Rural Assistance Center, the Journal of Extension and the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network.

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Robert E. Roswall


West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services

Bio coming soon.

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Chelsea Ruby


West Virginia Department of Tourism

Chelsea Ruby was appointed Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Tourism by Governor Jim Justice in March 2021. Prior to this appointment, Ruby served as tourism commissioner for four years.  

As Secretary, Ruby leads efforts to unify and promote the state’s Almost Heaven brand, advance tourism development and promote the Mountain State to a broader audience, featuring West Virginia as a year-round travel destination to both national and international travelers.  

Previously, Ruby served as director of marketing and communications for the West Virginia Department of Commerce. She also was a member of then-Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s communications staff and served as executive director of West Virginia’s acclaimed 150th birthday celebration.  

In 2021, Ruby was named a Young Gun by West Virginia Executive Magazine. She was named Young Practitioner of the Year by the West Virginia Public Relations Society of America in 2014, as well as being recognized as one of West Virginia’s 40 top young professionals by Generation Next in 2015.  

Secretary Ruby currently serves on the board of directors for Travel South USA, the official regional destination marketing organization for the southern United States. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and lives in Charleston, West Virginia, with her husband Steve, and their children. 

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Andrew Schneider

Executive Director

Fairness West Virginia

Andrew Schneider currently serves as executive director of Fairness West Virginia. Since 2014, he has led the effort to advocate for effective lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender policy changes in West Virginia. 

Prior to joining Fairness, Andrew spent seven years as the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, where he was a leader in the successful state campaigns to win transgender civil rights, abolish the death penalty and legalize medical marijuana. 

Before that, he was the executive director of the ACLU of West Virginia for six years. In 2007, he was the recipient of the West Virginia NAACP Freedom Award for leading the successful legislative effort to ban and combat racial profiling in the state. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in European history from Washington and Lee University. 

Robert Shafer.

Robert Shafer

Mayor of Summersville, WV

WV Municipal League

Robert Shafer has been serving as the Mayor of the City of Summersville since 2007. He also is the owner-operator of Shafer Insurance Associates, a business he has been running successfully since 1992. Prior to his career as an entrepreneur, Mayor Shafer served in the United States Marines for 10 years.

Mayor Shafer is an active member of the Summersville community and serves on several boards, including the Nicholas County Community Foundation Board, where he contributes his time and expertise to help improve the local community. He also serves as chair of the Summersville Arena & Conference Center Advisory Board, where he helps to oversee and manage the operations of this important community venue. Additionally, Mayor Shafer is a member of the New River Gorge Development Authority Board and the West Virginia Municipal League Board of Directors.

Mayor Shafer's dedication to community service extends beyond his board positions. He is a member of the Summersville Rotary. Through his various roles and affiliations, Mayor Shafer has demonstrated a strong commitment to serving the people of Summersville and improving the quality of life in the region.

Ami Smith.

Dr. Ami Smith

Interim Vice President for Research & Public Service

West Virginia State University

Ami M. Smith serves as vice president and dean and director of Agricultural Research and Extension at West Virginia State University. She has more than a decade of experience in 1890 Land-Grant Research and Extension Administration including serving as director of the Center for the Advancement of STEM, associate VP for Public Service/director of Extension, and interim associate VP for Research/associate dean for Research at West Virginia State University.  Dr. Smith most recently served as the interim VP for Research and Public Service at West Virginia State University prior to transitioning into her current role.

Dr. Smith earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia State University and a doctorate in biosciences from the University of Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom. As a trained microbial ecologist, Dr. Smith spent her early career in agricultural research studying thermophilic bacteria associated with anaerobic digesters degrading poultry farm waste. She is a Qualified Administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory and uses this tool to help Land-Grant professionals bridge the gap between diversity and inclusion. Dr. Smith serves as vice chair of the West Virginia State University Research and Development Corporation Board of Directors and was recently elevated to co-chair of the ESCOP Agriculture Infrastructure Committee. Additionally, she has served as the chair of the Oral and Poster Presentations subcommittee for the ARD biennial symposium since 2017.

Vinson Snuffer.

Vinson Snuffer

Regional Sales & Lending Manager

Farm Credit of the Virginias

Born and raised in Raleigh County, West Virginia, Vinson Snuffer was raised on his family farm. The farm has been involved in agricultural production for more than 100 years.

He received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, where he was active with Block & Bridle and participated as a member of the Livestock Judging Team.

After graduation, Snuffer moved to Columbus, Montana, to work for Midland Bull Test and assisted in the herd health management of more than 2,000 bulls on a performance-based sire evaluation test. After returning home, he worked in warehouse management. Snuffer currently serves as regional sales and lending manager with Farm Credit of the Virginias where he oversees 30 counties in southwest Virginia and southeast West Virginia. Prior to his current role, he also served in various roles with Farm Credit of the Virginias, including loan officer (Lewisburg) and commercial loan officer with a focus on the beef cattle (Abingdon, Virginia).

When he’s not working, Snuffer operates a part-time Seedstock Angus operation that markets bulls through the WVU Wardensville Bull Test farm each spring.

Snuffer, his wife and three children reside in Abingdon.

Joe Statler.

Joe Statler

Delegate, Monongalia County

West Virginia House of Delegates

A lifetime resident of Core, West Virginia, Joe Statler is a retired coal miner with Consolidated Coal Company. Currently, he tends to his family’s 256-acre farm in western Monongalia County, and volunteers on various boards and other community projects. 

Re-elected to the West Virginia legislature multiple times, Delegate Statler has sponsored numerous pieces of legislation that have passed, including the LOCAL act, with the goal of improving roads across the state.  

He has championed education in Charleston, including serving as vice chair of the House Education Committee. Statler was instrumental in creating and chairing the first House Committee on Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services.  

Statler was elected to the Monongalia Board of Education in 2002 and served as vice president from 2008 to 2012. He has served on the METC Advisory Board since 1992. He also led efforts as co-chair of the Clay-Battelle Athletic Facilities Board. 

As a farmer who believes in the power of education, Statler is a strong supporter of agricultural education and leadership development opportunities for students, especially 4-H and FFA members. Statler also serves as a County Extension Service Committee member for the WVU Extension Monongalia County office. 

Ryan Thorn.

Ryan Thorn

State Director

USDA Rural Development

Born, raised and educated in West Virginia, Ryan Thorn grew up the son of a coal miner and learned early in life the importance of hard work, serving others, and dedication to creating opportunities for rural communities. Thorn has more than 15 years of professional experience, working in the fields of public and government affairs and economic development.  

In March of 2022, Thorn was appointed by President Biden to serve as the State Director for USDA Rural Development in West Virginia. He was tasked with implementing strategy, promoting agency programs, and providing leadership, development and support to Rural Development’s workforce. 

Prior to this appointment, he served more than five years as Economic Development Manager for the Office of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III. In this role, he worked with local, state and federal stakeholders to attract new and expand existing businesses, strengthen public infrastructure, develop a skilled and ready workforce, and create economically diverse and resilient communities across the state.  

Thorn is the first in his immediate family to graduate from college and is an advocate for lifelong learning. He holds a master’s degree from West Virginia University, a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College, and is a board member of the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Foundation. Thorn resides in Charleston, West Virginia.

Kenneth Tyree.

Kenneth E. Tyree

West Virginia State Fire Marshal

Kenneth “Ken” Earl Tyree Jr. was appointed West Virginia State Fire Marshal on January 1, 2015. Prior to his appointment, he served as a Captain and Fire Marshal for Charleston Fire Department from 2008 to 2014. Ken has been involved in the fire service 28 years, having initially served 21 years with the Charleston Fire Department before retiring in December 2014.

 He graduated from West Virginia State University and has completed numerous certifications and training to increase his level of proficiency and understanding in fire and building code enforcement; and as an administrator.   

Ken is a member of numerous state and national fire service organizations to include the Fire Marshals Association of West Virginia, West Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators, International Fire Marshals Association, National Association of State Fire Marshals, International Association of Fire Fighters and National Fire Protection Association.

He is a national executive board member of the International Fire Marshals Association and currently serves as president. He also is a principle member of the National Fire Protection Association, NFPA 1, Fire Code Technical Committee.

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Jill Upson

Executive Director

West Virginia Women’s Commission & Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs

Jill Upson serves as the executive director for both the West Virginia Women’s Commission and the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs. She was appointed to the WVWC in 2022 and to the cabinet-level position with HHOMA in December 2018. 

Elected twice to the West Virginia House of Delegates, Upson served as vice chair of banking and insurance in addition to serving on various committees, caucuses and commissions. Due to her steadfast leadership in criminal justice reform, Upson was recognized by the Governor of West Virginia with his Civil Rights Award. 

Jill Upson holds the distinction of making state history as the first black Republican woman elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates. She also serves as chair of the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission. 

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Upson formed and chairs the COVID-19 Advisory Commission on Racial Disparities which continues to lead in statewide equitable vaccine distribution. She also successfully spearheaded all weekly minority COVID-19 testing sites in multiple locations throughout the state during the height of the pandemic. 

Upson earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Shepherd University. She is married to retired Navy Commander Kelvin Upson and is the mother of DJ and Chandler. 

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David Whittaker


Lewis County Health Department

Bio coming soon.