The West Virginia Department of Commerce’s mission is to promote and preserve the well-being of the citizens of West Virginia by providing a cooperative, interagency system that stimulates diverse economic growth, encourages the appropriate use of our state’s abundant natural resources, improves the safety and productivity of our workforce and promotes the beauty and desirability of our state as a world-class tourism destination.
The Department of Commerce currently includes the following agencies:
Ed Gaunch is a native of Boone County, West Virginia. He was appointed in December 2018 by Governor Jim Justice to serve as the Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce.
Gaunch is a graduate of West Virginia State University where he double-majored in Economics and Political Science. Following graduation, he began a career in the insurance industry that spanned more than three decades and included 28 years at the Carson Agency in Charleston, where he served a number of years as President and Chief Executive Officer.
Secretary Gaunch has served on numerous boards and foundations, including the BBT/Charleston Board of Directors, the West Virginia State University Foundation, the Believe West Virginia Leadership Foundation, CAMC Foundation, Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, University of Charleston, Alderson Broaddus College, King College, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center.
He is active in his church, Emmanuel Baptist, where he has served as a deacon and a Sunday School Teacher.
Secretary Gaunch currently resides in Charleston with Marilyn, his wife of more than 50 years. They have two children and five grandchildren.
Director, Marketing and Communications
Executive Director, Development Office
Mike Graney grew up in Mount Hope in Fayette County West Virginia.
Graney, who is successful entrepreneur, spent a large part of his career working in the petroleum industry and served as president of a chain of more than 50 One Stop convenience stores until 2015.
Director Graney is a member of the Executive Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s Buckskin Council. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences.
Graney lives in Kanawha County.
Director, Division of Forestry
Director, Geological and Economic Survey
Mitchel Blake earned his Bachelor of Science in Geology from Waynesburg University. He went on to complete his Master’s Degree and Ph.D from West Virginia University.
Director Blake’s research interests include the Appalachian basin analysis, CO2 sequestration, coal bed methane exploration among other various geologic work.
Director Blake is an adjunct faculty for West Virginia University, Fairmont University and Pierpont Community and Technical College.
He served as a Research Collaborator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
Director Blake has written and co-written many publications for the Geological Society of America Abstract with Programs and The West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey among other periodicals.
Commissioner, Tourism Office
Chelsea Ruby was appointed Tourism Commissioner in January 2017. As commissioner, Ruby leads the effort to advance tourism development, expand West Virginia’s travel and tourism industries and promote the Mountain State to a broader audience, featuring West Virginia as a year-round travel destination to both national and international travelers.
Prior to her appointment as commissioner, Ruby served as Director of Marketing and Communications for the West Virginia Department of Commerce, where she earned numerous state and regional marketing awards for the department’s successful social media, print publications, and comprehensive public relations and advertising campaigns.
She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and lives in Charleston, West Virginia with her husband and two children.
Commissioner, Division of Labor
Mitchell Woodrum was born in Madison, West Virginia.
Commissioner Woodrum earned his Certificate of Achievement in Carpentry at the Boone Technical and Career Center. He worked several years in the construction industry from building homes in Teays Valley and other parts of West Virginia to building commercial buildings in the Washington D.C. area.
Commissioner Woodrum strives to work with Labor and Industry to make the climate in West Virginia better for all employees and businesses. With almost thirty years of experience in the industry, he was appointed Commissioner by Governor Justice in November 2017.
Woodrum is the Chair of the West Virginia Board of Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety as well as an Ex Officio Member of the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board.
Woodrum and his wife Deborah live in Ashford, West Virginia. They have two children, Jacob and Miah.
Director, Miner’s Health, Safety and Training
Eugene White grew up in the coal fields of Southern West Virginia.
With nearly 45 years of hands-on coal mining experience, Director White is dedicated to improving mine safety and training. He joined MHST in 2007 as Inspector at Large for Region 3. He has been a member of the West Virginia State Mine Emergency team for 15 years.
Director White worked for steel and coal companies in numerous roles. He has worked as a coal drill operator, roof bolter and safety committee chairman. His professional certifications include underground coal miner, mine foreman, gas instructor and mine rescue.
White and his wife, Kathy, live in Dorothy, West Virginia. They have two sons and four grandchildren.
Director, Division of Natural Resources
Steve McDaniel grew up in Bridgeport, West Virginia. He attended both West Virginia University and Fairmont State College where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology. He did this while helping his family establish and grow Total Health Services of West Virginia, a medical supply company.
An avid hunter and fisherman Director Cook also likes hiking and kayaking. His passion for the outdoors and the Mountain State runs through his veins.
Director McDaniel established the Mozark Mountain Tree Farm in Tucker County. He is also a member of Trout Unlimited and lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.
Director, Division of Rehabilitation Services
Marijane Waldron has more than 30 years of experience with the state-federal vocational rehabilitation program. She has been committed to providing people with disabilities the work-related services they need to obtain employment throughout her longstanding career with the Division.
Director Waldron earned her undergraduate degree in rehabilitation counseling from Marshall University. She furthered her education by attending West Virginia University where she received her master’s degree in social work and she has expanded her education in executive leadership through San Diego State University.
Waldron began her career with the Division in 1986 as a Rehabilitation Counselor. Throughout her career, she has served as Assistant Director of Client Services, Senior Manager of Quality Assurance and Policy Development, Supervisor of Education and Training, Supervisor of the Blind and Visually Impaired Program, and the Admissions Supervisor for the West Virginia Rehabilitation Center. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the statewide quality assurance program, as well as the electronic case management and fiscal processing systems unique to the Division.
Scott A. Adkins
Acting Commissioner, WorkForce West Virginia