Other Influential Leaders Have Shaped the State - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Other influential leaders helped to shape W.Va. in 2011

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Jim Justice is not alone on The State Journal's list of influential business leaders in the state.

Below are other business and community leaders who were nominated and voted on in an unscientific poll conducted by The State Journal in December via both online voting and email queries.

No. 2, Pat McGeehan, account executive for small business, Frontier Communications

Pat McGeehan enjoys shaping his state in several different ways.

McGeehan graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and served as an intelligence officer in the Air Force, then returned to West Virginia where he is chairman of the Hancock County Republican Party in the Northern Panhandle.

He received several military awards, and wrote a book slated for release this winter, "Bankers and Bureaucrats: Paper Money and the End of American Manufacturing."

McGeehan was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2008 and is planning to run for Senate this year.

No. 3, Steve Roberts, president, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce

As president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Steve Roberts works daily to improve and sustain the business climate of the state.

Roberts is a West Virginia native, and previously served as president of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is president of Leadership West Virginia, and spends time working with West Virginia's Legislature to further prosperity for the state.

No. 4, the late Milan "Mike" Puskar, founder, Mylan Laboratories Inc.

When Milan "Mike" Puskar, co-founder of the world's third-largest generic pharmaceuticals company died this fall, Morgantown lost one of its biggest donors.

Puskar died in early October at age 77. He founded Mylan Laboratories Inc. in Morgantown in 1961.

He was a long-time donor to West Virginia University, giving $20 million to the WVU Foundation's Building Greatness Campaign in 2003, which was the foundation's largest, one-time cash gift.

He also heavily invested in projects that improved Morgantown, such as the Wharf District and Waterfront Place Hotel.

WVU awarded Puskar an honorary doctorate in 2000 and, in 2003, inducted him into its Order of Vandalia in recognition of outstanding service.

No. 5, Bill Raney, president, West Virginia Coal Association

Bill Raney, a coal miner's son, grew up to become the voice of West Virginia coal. As president of the West Virginia Coal Association since 1992, Raney speaks on behalf of the coal industry both on the state stage, as well as the national stage.

A native of Bluefield, Raney graduated from West Virginia University with an undergraduate degree in biology and a master's degree in public administration. He held several positions with what was then the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and also worked with the West Virginia Mining and Reclamation Association.

Raney also is a member of several organizations such as the West Virginia Business and Industry Council, the Don Nehlen Fan Club and the West Virginia Kids Count Fund.

No. 6, Kevin Crutchfield, CEO, Alpha Natural Resources

Kevin Crutchfield, the CEO of Alpha Natural Resources, inherited a lot of responsibility. When Alpha absorbed Massey Energy this year, the responsibility for years of mine practices fell to Alpha, and Crutchfield as its leader. 

But his experience with energy and natural gas runs as deep as West Virginia's coal seams.

Crutchfield has a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Tech and graduated from the Business Executive Program at the University of Virginia's Colgate Darden School of Business.

He joined Alpha in 2003 and moved up in the company's ranks. Before that, he was with Coastal Coal Co. as vice president of El Paso Corp. Prior to that, he was president of AMVEST Corp., a coal and gas producer, and also worked with Cyprus Australia Coal Co. He also worked with Pittston Coal Co. from 1986 to 1995.

No. 7, Aubrey McClendon, CEO, Chesapeake Energy Corp.

As West Virginia's economic ship depends more on natural gas to stay afloat, more people look to Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon for an indication on how that ship is being steered.

Chesapeake is the country's largest natural gas producer, and McClendon has been the chief executive officer and chairman of Chesapeake Energy since he co-founded it in 1989. He also is the founder of Deep Fork Capital. He was an independent producer of oil and natural gas from 1982-1989.

McClendon graduated from Duke University and is a member of several natural gas and drilling organizations. He founded the American Clean Skies Foundation in 2007 to provide information about natural gas and other clean fuels.

No. 8, Susan Brewer, lawyer and CEO, Steptoe & Johnson

Susan Brewer has used the law to bring better health care to West Virginians.

Brewer has practiced for more than 30 years, trying more than 100 jury and non-jury cases in state and federal courts. She joined Steptoe & Johnson in 1980, and has tried cases involving legal malpractice actions, including cases alleging birth injuries.

She has advised health care providers and hospitals and was named the 2011 Morgantown Health Care Lawyer of the Year.

Brewer is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, among other legal organizations.

No. 9 Tom Heywood, managing partner, Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love

If there's anyone with his finger on the pulse of West Virginia, it's Tom Heywood, and he keeps it there by shaking many hands throughout the state.

Heywood is managing partner at Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love, a business law firm with seven regional offices, and practices in corporate, commercial, finance, government and health care law.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in 1978 and his law degree in 1982 from Harvard Law School. 

He is active among several initiatives, including civics and education. He was named the 1999 "Citizen of the Year" by the National Association of Service Workers, received the 1995 "Friend of Education Award" from the Kanawha County Education Association and served as former Gov. Gaston Caperton's chief of staff from 1990 to 1993.

No. 10, Tom Witt, director, WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Many West Virginians won't believe statistics until they come from the lips of Tom Witt. 

Witt is the associate dean for research and outreach at the West Virginia University College of Business & Economics. 

He's also an economics professor at WVU and director of the college's Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He plans to retire in June, but will work part-time on funded research. 

Witt has been at WVU since 1970 and has been director of the College's Bureau of Business Research since 1985. The bulk of his career has been spent in Morgantown.

He has co-authored two books, "West Virginia in the Nineties: Policies for Economic Progress," and "Power from the Appalachians."

He has served as the principal investigator for more than $7 million in sponsored research from several organizations throughout the state, including the West Virginia Development Office, the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, The Greenbrier Resort and former Gov. Joe Manchin's Unemployment Compensation Solutions Taskforce.

Other business leaders nominated this year, included:

11. Bob Mazucca, Boy Scouts of America

12. Gary White, International Resource Partners and the W.Va. Coal Association

13. Dave McMahon, W.Va. Surface Owners Rights Organization

14. Marshall Reynolds, Champion Industries

15. Rick Adams, United Bank

16. Ted Boettner, W.Va. Center on Budget & Policy

17. James H. "Buck" Harless, International Industries

18. Davitt McAteer, Wheeling Jesuit University; Governor's Independent Investigation Panel (GIIP) examining UBB

19. Tom Crouser, Crouser & Associates

20. Andrew Jordan, Pritchard Mining 

21. Jan Vineyard, WV Oil Marketers and Grocers Association; Business and Industry Council

22. Dana Waldo, Frontier Communications

23. Henry Harmon, Triana Energy

24. Philip Reale, Law Office of Philip Reale

25. Tom Jones, United Health System

26. Greg Burton, BrickStreet

27. Terry Lundgren, Macy's Inc.

28. Charlie Burd, Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia

29. Lloyd Jackson, Jackson Gas Co.

30. Phyllis Arnold, BB&T

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