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Monthly Archive for February 2011

KVCTC to Host Oil & Gas Land Series

Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College is offering a Land Professional Skill Set Series that will provide instruction for individuals seeking knowledge about the Oil & Gas industry as it pertains to land negotiations, leases, and court house research.

There will be an information session about the series in Clay County from 10:30am to 12:30pm on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at the Valley Fork Community Center in Wallback, WV and in Putnam County at the Hurricane Town Hall on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 from 10:30am to 12:30pm.

The Land Professional Skill Set Series includes Principles of Land Professional Technology which will begin April 5th, Introduction to Oil & Gas Leases begins May 10th and Introduction to Court House Research and Abstracting begins July 5th.  All classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30-8:30 in Clay County at the Valley Fork Community Center and in Putnam County, location to be announced.

Register online at www.workshops.kvctc.edu. You may also call 304-414-4440 or e-mail workshops@kvctc.edu to register. This program is approved for the Higher Education Adult

Part-Time Students program (HEAPS).   Individuals interested in applying for this funding should call (304) 414-4440 immediately to obtain an application.

Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College offers more than 20 associate degree programs, 15 certificate programs and a variety of skill sets. The college delivers customized credit and non-credit training for business and industry through its Workforce and Economic Development Division. KVCTC has an extensive off-campus network throughout its service region of Kanawha, Putnam and Clay counties.

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admin in Member Posts on February 28 2011 » 0 comments

Kanawha Development Efforts Shift as Recession Eases

This story appears in this week’s State Journal.

By Jim Ross

CHARLESTON — Experts say the national economy is coming out of a recession. Some signs of that can be seen in the activity at the Charleston Area Alliance, the economic development agency of Kanawha County.

In terms of working with prospects, the recession hit Kanawha County in 2008 and is just now starting to ease up, said Matthew G. Ballard, president and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance.

For the three years before the recession, “it was like we couldn’t keep up with the prospects that were coming in,” Ballard said. The Alliance received inquiries from back-office operations, IT centers and food processors, he said. But in 2008, that fell off.

During the recession, the Alliance encouraged local businesses to investigate the possibility of increasing exports as a way of growing their markets. Ballard said he also did a lot of on-site visits to local businesses to see how the Alliance could help them.

“You begin to focus on entrepreneurship and retaining the businesses you already have,” he said.

Things have started to pick up in recent months, Ballard said. Companies plan investments six months to a year or more ahead, so the recent inquiries are good signs things will change soon, Ballard said.

“Now what we’re seeing is a lot of calls on energy things such as the Marcellus shale and opportunities like the tech park,” Ballard said.

The Marcellus shale drilling activity is to the north of Kanawha County, but a byproduct of that activity could be important to Kanawha Valley industries, Ballard said. That byproduct is ethane, which can be used as a feedstock for chemicals that are used in a variety of products made in the valley, he said.

Entrepreneurship is on the rebound with the economy, Ballard said. In late 2008, the Alliance had the lowest occupancy rate ever in its small business incubator in Charleston. Now that has turned around and occupancy is at an all-time high.

The Alliance recently received a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to build out the fourth floor of its building so it can expand the incubator, he said.

The key to entrepreneurship and job creation in the Kanawha Valley is the tech center at the former Union Carbide site, Ballard said.

“It’s absolutely critical. It can’t fail. It’s too important,” he said.

Inventors may invent a new product or process and have the first demonstration in the size of a handheld container, but to get financing for full production they will need to show its viability on a larger scale. That’s where the tech park comes in, he said.

“We need to get some venture capitalists on site or interest in the project going,” Ballard said. “You’ve got to have people to fund these new ideas, and we have very little of that in the state.”

The Alliance is following the progress of two bills in the Legislature, as each would help the state attract and retain industries and educated people, Ballard said.

One is a bill that would give two-year tax breaks to people who earn degrees. The other would provide tax credits for companies that create jobs in industries that do not exist in the state now, such as nanotechnology and cloud computing, Ballard said.

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admin in Economic Development,In the News on February 25 2011 » 0 comments

Build Your Brand Through Earned Media Coverage

Building your brand and distinguishing your business can be tough. But the Charleston Area Alliance and Dixon Hughes want to help.

“Buzz on a Budget:  Building Your Brand Through Earned Media Coverage,” the next session of a new professional development initiative called SUCCESStrategies, is scheduled for noon to 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9 at the Alliance offices, 1116 Smith Street.

Click here to register.

The program will feature prominent media representatives who will share tips for developing positive relationships with reporters and editors and how to effectively pitch story ideas about your business.

Speakers include:

  • Business writer George Hohmann of the Charleston Daily Mail
  • WSAZ-TV Assistant News Director Anna Baxter and
  • Bristol Broadcasting personality Larry McKay

The roundtable will be moderated by Emily Bennington, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Dixon Hughes. 

“Developing relationships and rapport with the media is critical to your company’s success,” said Rick Slater, managing partner for Dixon Hughes. “Paid advertising is one way to get your message out, but you also have to know how to effectively utilize other communication channels, including news releases, follow-ups, media events and Web outlets. Journalists are looking to build relationships in the community, too, so it’s matter of mutual respect and working together.”

SUCCESStrategies, a major education partnership between the Alliance and Dixon Hughes, will provide expert analysis and insight on the critical issues that impact the region’s businesses in a convenient lunch and learn format. The programs will be held at the Alliance office every other month through the end of 2011.

SUCCESStrategies is raising the bar for professional development programming in the Charleston region. As evidenced by the first program, which focused on health care reform and what it means to West Virginia employers, this new series will showcase high level speakers addressing issues of real substance to business leaders in the area.

“Through SUCCESStrategies, our members will learn directly from our state’s business and government leaders about the topics that will shape their future – and then take that knowledge and put it to work in their own offices that same afternoon,” said Alliance President/CEO Matt Ballard.

Registration, which includes lunch, is $15 for Alliance members/$25 future members through March 5.  Prices increase to $25 for Alliance members/$35 future members after March 5. Space is limited.

The Alliance will be able to invoice only for groups of 10 or more. Contact Deb Coffman at DCoffman@CharlestonAreaAlliance.org for more information.

The Alliance cannot issue cancellation refunds within 48 hours of the event. Thank you.

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admin in Events,SUCCESStrategies on February 25 2011 » 0 comments

Learn More About the iPhone Monday

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admin in Member Posts on February 24 2011 » 0 comments

Get Your Executive MBA Online or Through Evening Classes

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admin in Member Posts on February 24 2011 » 0 comments

Be Sure to Pre-Register for Business After Hours

Quaker Steak & Lube is hosting the February Business After Hours. Online registration ends at noon Feb. 24, and prices increase at the door.

Click here to register.

Join us from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at this popular Southridge restaurant for food, drinks and excellent networking opportunities.

Business After Hours is an excellent chance to meet and stay connected with other business and community leaders.

The price is $15 Charleston Area Alliance members and $25 for future members.

Online registration for this event ends at noon on Feb. 24. Prices increase to $25 and $35 at the door.

The Alliance will be able to invoice only for groups of 10 or more. Contact Deb Coffman at DCoffman@CharlestonAreaAlliance.org for more information.

The Alliance cannot issue cancellation refunds within 48 hours of the event. Thank you.

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admin in Events on February 23 2011 » 0 comments

Explore New Cultures at WorldFest

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admin in Member Posts on February 22 2011 » 0 comments

Generation Charleston to Host ‘Dollars & Sense’ This Evening

“Dollars & Sense: Financial Planning and Tax Strategies for Young Professionals,” featuring Marc Arnold of Ameriprise Financial, is scheduled for 6 p.m. this evening, Feb. 22, at the Charleston Area Alliance, 1116 Smith St.

Arnold

“Smart financial planning is critical for young professionals, especially as we navigate challenging economic times,” said Elizabeth Brinson, co-captain of the Professional & Economic Development Team. “The topics will include starting an investment portfolio and planning for retirement, but we also want to focus on wisely handling finances now.”

Arnold also will offer tips about filing taxes with the needs of young professionals in mind.

A Q&A session will follow his presentation.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available.

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admin in Events,Generation Charleston on February 22 2011 » 0 comments

Insurance Commissioner Explaining Health Care Changes

The story below appeared in Sunday’s Gazette Mail. It refers to the Jan. 20 SUCCESStrategies session, which featured Insurance Commissioner Jane Cline.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s sweeping changes are affecting many institutions, including small businesses that are trying to learn more about how to adjust.

West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jane Cline has been meeting with various groups in the state, including members of Charleston Area Alliance, to talk about how the bill works.

Cline’s talk, “Health Care Reform and Small Business: Just the Facts,” elaborates on the policies in the new healthcare legislation, what the insurance commission has been doing to implement the policies, and how small businesses could use the legislation to benefit their enterprises.

“There are 270,000 (West Virginians) that are uninsured right now,” Cline said. “They may have not chosen to take the employer’s insurance option, their employer may not offer coverage, they may be unemployed, but affordability is an issue for many people.”

Most West Virginians get their insurance through their employers. If insurance premiums are low enough that small business owners could afford to insure their own full-time employees, the pool of the uninsured could potentially shrink.

Cline explained the particulars of this legislation to the business owners who attended the meeting for members of Charleston Area Alliance.

To qualify for the tax break, the business would have to have fewer than 50 full-time employees, each making less than $50,000 per year.

If eligible, a business purchasing insurance for its employees will receive a refundable tax credit that pays at most 35 percent of the premium (25 percent if it is a tax-exempt organization). This subsidy will rise up to 50 percent in 2014 when the Insurance Exchange is operational.

“The Insurance Exchange is to be the market organizer,” explained Cline. “It will put in place a portal where individuals or small groups will be able to go and see what options are available to them. It will help determine eligibility for Medicaid or subsidies by the federal government.”

Cline notes that the bill will naturally undergo changes in the coming months and years and advises businesses keep an eye open for changes.

“We would encourage businesses to follow our work here and what we’re doing,” Cline said, “(be) informed as to what the federal law requires and the opportunities that may be available to them as a result of this legislation. If they have specific questions, we encourage them to contact the commission.”

Because the Insurance Commission is organizing the Exchange, Cline requested business owners to contact the commission. “We want and need your input,” she said.

For information, visit http://www.wvinsurance.gov/.

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admin in In the News,SUCCESStrategies on February 21 2011 » 0 comments

City to Host Partnership Program

admin in Member Posts on February 21 2011 » 0 comments

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