Commerce Secretary Gaunch continues business listening tour with visits to Wyoming and Raleigh counties
CHARLESTON, WV – Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch today completed his latest set of visits to local businesses throughout West Virginia as part of an ongoing statewide listening tour.
Secretary Gaunch’s recent stops came in the southern West Virginia counties of Wyoming and Raleigh, Aug. 13 and 14.
“Southern West Virginia has suffered more from the downturn in the coal industry than many other areas of the state,” Gaunch said. “We’ve seen a little resurgence in the coal industry. We’re here to talk about how to diversify this economy so they aren’t as dependent the next time we have a downturn in the coal market.”
In addition to visiting individual businesses, the tour included stops at industrial parks and an airport. In each county, Secretary Gaunch and other West Virginia Department of Commerce executives joined a roundtable discussion with local county and economic development officials.
“Under Governor Justice’s leadership, we have been putting an emphasis on getting out and meeting the wonderful business owners and employees who each play a critical role in keeping the state running,” Gaunch said. “These hardworking people are the reason why we’ve been able to build up so much momentum in West Virginia to help our economy grow and encourage even more businesses to locate here.”
On Tuesday, Aug. 13, the tour visited businesses Vecellio & Grogan and Truston Technologies and got overviews of Barkers Creek Industrial Park and John D. Rockefeller IV Industrial Park in Wyoming County.
The listening tours have been “eye-opening,” Gaunch said.
“I have found businesses I did not know existed,” he said, “Truston is a specialty manufacturing company that does work for the U.S. Navy and other businesses. They ship products and do projects all over the world. It’s eye-opening for me to see how the companies operate, how they’re staffed and what we need to do to help them flourish and be more productive.”
On Wednesday, Aug. 14, the Commerce team attended a business roundtable discussion in Beckley and visited the Raleigh County Memorial Airport.
“We need to celebrate our existing businesses,” Gaunch said. “We need tell them we’re glad they’re here and ask them what we need to do to help them do better, be more profitable and hire more West Virginians.”
Additional business listening tours are scheduled for August and September.